partnerships? true reform vs. just reform (the educational clone wars pt.1)

my good friend antero (see my blogroll) recently had his students examine an article written about their school, the school where most of my students end up attending, the school where i have weathered with pride the last 2 football seasons as a JV and Varsity coach… he put some of their responses, to which i have added my own comments via diigo, here: http://www.diigo.com/08jm5
i also had my own thoughts on the original article here: http://www.diigo.com/08jm6 and here: http://www.diigo.com/08jm7

i am, like many others, student and teacher alike, in a very critical – perhaps hyper cynical mood when it comes to education and reform efforts, those being implemented and those being crafted for the upcoming bidding wars of 2010… it feels like a bad episode of a george lucasian intergalactic showdown… sith lords pretending to be leaders of true reform, the republic being torn apart and pieces being given to the highest bidder… i feel like LA’s own version of the educational clone wars has commenced… and i haven’t finished my jedi training…

ITS A WISE PARENT… OF A WISE CHILD…

recently i have been attending saturday classes for teachers on how to effectively teach gifted and highly gifted (yes there is a difference apparently) students. however today’s session was focused on parents of gifted children and strategies and resources they can use to support the innate and unique composition of their child’s brain… including topics such as: not how to argue with your gifted child. love it!

i can’t help thinking of the infinitely different parent/child relationships, mine as well as those of recent fictional characters i have been introduced to thanks to anterofranny and zooey by j.d. salinger would be a great read for parents of the gifted, in so far as i have read, still plotting along this short read in standard mark gomez form… in particularly entertaining fashion (and relevance to this post) is the relationship between zooey and his mother, Mrs. “Bessie” Glass and their comically profound bathroom discussion where we are first introduced to them… the mother of not one, but many highly gifted and talented children, Mrs. Glass has developed strategies and routines of interacting with her children, some of which are more effective than others (effective at what i am not sure) but all of which are nonetheless hilarious…

reminds me of some exchanges i have had with my mother… sarcastic, sharp, harsh, and abrasive… but loving. these sarcastic exchanges, in the bathroom of all places, were enjoyable reading… and may help to understand the relationship between gifted and children and the gifts necessary for their parents to deal with them:

speaking on zooey’s sister franny:
“Just don’t you be so fresh, young man – Oh, that mouth of yours! For your information, I don’t think it’s at all impossible that the kind of food that child takes into her system hasn’t a lot to do with this whole entire funny business. Even as a child you practically had to force that child to even touch her vegetables or any other of the things that were good for her. You can’t go on abusing the body indefinitely, year in, year out – regardless of what you think.”

“You’re absolutely right. Your absolutely right. It’s staggering how you jump straight the hell into the heart of the matter. I’m goosebumps all over… By God, you inspire me. You inflame me, Bessie. You know what you’ve done? Do you realize what you’ve done? You’ve given this whole goddam issue a fresh, new, Biblical slant. I wrote four papers in college on the Crucifixion – five, really – and every one of them worried me half crazy because i thought something was missing. Now I know what it was. Now it’s clear to me. I see Christ in an entirely different light. His unhealthy fanaticism. his rudeness to those nice, sane, conservative, tax-paying, Pharisees. Oh, this is exciting! In your simple, straightforward, bigoted way, Bessie, you’ve sounded the missing keynote of the whole New Testament. Improper diet. Christ lived on cheeseburgers and Cokes. For all we know , he probably fed the mult -”

Just stop that, now. Oh, I’d like to put a diaper in that mouth of yours!”

classic stuff people…

killing me softly with no songs…

i can’t help but lament when i realize that i am a cog in this wheel, but that i try with all my might to provide opportunities for creativity to be welcomed and valued… actually encouraged. when i lament about these things it helps to have some good british humor to digest some of this reality…

2nd class citizens, smokers, and California contradictions…


i have to say with some weird mixture of satisfaction and self-disappointment that i have been frequenting the reality that would have me labeled as the title of this post… it happens every so often, picking up the bad habit off again and on again. i can’t really ever put my finger on what it is that actually drives me to light up and take my place at the fringe of respectable and civilized society. at times it is a contemplative urge of a feeling, as if it would inspire deeper reflection of the immediate cerebral surroundings i find myself in. the mere presence of certain alcohol and weather patterns serves to motivate my self sabotage of health. and yet at other times it is the need to “bond” and converse with an old friend… or a complete stranger. standing on the curb at the houston airport, in transit back from a binge of tobacco (a once sacred plant to some if i recall), i found myself grinning at the circumstance of other fellow travelers and myself… pushed to the tolerable side of our cravings, like a perfect california contradiction i was, washing my rapidly unsatisfying smoke while drinking an organic naked juice… yet this quickly inspired post was not about my choices or the reasons behind them as much as it was supposed to be about spaces… the ones we travel thru, the identities we take on while in transit, the perspectives that others have of us and these identities, and the structures (both fluid and permanent) that are imposed/self-imposed by our wanderings thru life. is this what i think about when i smoke? not nearly as much as this post suggests… just this last time. a gave a fellow traveler half of my pack… and as i venture to go have my last one for awhile (a really indeterminable amount of time) i will gift the rest of this packaged death to another fortunate soul. and maybe have an interesting conversation or two…