August 27, 2020

Official Knowledge: Democratic Education in a Conservative Age by Michael Apple continues my early 90s influences. He was writing in an earlier conservative age we are. Michael Apple is such a great source of sociological context for schooling. Excerpts below.

He was writing in an earlier conservative age we are. Michael Apple is such a great source of sociological context for schooling. Excerpts below.

“Yet the powerful are not that powerful. The politics of official knowledge are politics of accords or compromises. They are usually not impositions, but signify how dominant groups try to create situations where the compromises that are formed favor them. These comprom...

August 27, 2020

Once again, a book from the early 90s examines the problems I see in our 2020 educational institutions. Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality by Jeannie Oakes, was actually written in 1985, and was one of my summer reads. 

The school I currently teach in is one of the remaining middle schools in our district that separates math, science, and English into “regular” and “advanced” levels in the 7th and 8th grades. 6th grade was added to the school later, so I am fortunate to not have classes that are tracked this way. We notice huge declines in classroom behavior as kids move from 6th to 7th grade. I’ve never believed that something magical happens between 6th and 7th grade that ma...

July 11, 2020

Jia's book of essays, Trick Mirror, comes out in paperback this week. The audio version is excellent--I recommend!

Here's are some excerpts from a recent interview with her in Interview mag. I think a lot of it can connect to what we do with schooling.

INTERVIEW: What has this pandemic confirmed or reinforced about your view of society?

TOLENTINO: That capitalist individualism has turned into a death cult; that the internet is a weak substitute for physical presence; that this country criminally undervalues its most important people and its most important forms of labor; that we’re incentivized through online mechanisms to value the representation of something (like justice) over the th...

July 7, 2020

preamble/why am I here?

I’ve posted so intermittently here, and often just cataloging my reading, like a running record.

(Check out my new lists. It’s an affiliate link, full disclosure, though I’m not even sure how that works. Mostly I appreciate a space to share books in categorized lists that supports small bookstores and is aesthetically pleasant.) 

I am currently trying to maintain my quarantine bubble as much as I can, so while this summer is full of pain and tension and and confusion and  limbo, it is also, perhaps. My READINGEST SUMMER EVER. Look forward to some recs at the end of this note.

Anyhow, I haven’t written here a ton or consistently because, well, the...

April 25, 2020

(drafted earlier this month)

I watched a video of a friend, an art therapist, talking to a local public radio personality about using art therapy activities to cope during social distancing and I cried because my first thought was: this is the kind of work we should be doing in schools. But we mostly don’t.

Just before the covid-19 response kicked in here we were on strike. Watching and experiencing the switch from adversarial strike mode, returning to the top-down model as we hard shifted into “distance learning” prep, was like watching several car crashes all at once, standing next to them and figuring out how to react, deflect, intense and confusing. Some people going into h...

December 8, 2019

This weekend I returned to a handful of articles by Gay Ivey, looking for inspiration for building the reading community in my classroom. (Click on her image at right for her google scholar citations. Also Peter H. Johnston, her collaborator on several of the articles.) 

I am going to excerpt two of them here--I will try not to paste the articles in their entirety, though I will want to. In reviewing these I felt regret that I never was able to visit a classroom at a high school in Madison that was built on these strategies during my time there, but I also felt edified about the practices that I hesitate to bring into my own classroom because I feel they are counterproductive....

November 27, 2019

 This is a book I've had in my stack for awhile but I finally dove into it a couple weeks ago, finishing it in a few days. I usually love Lisa Delpit's work, so it was not surprising that I got into this book, but I didn't realize that it had an anthropological focus. Parts of the book examines the cultural specificity of literacy practices, and how school may unknowingly alienate groups of students by promoting only one type of literacy and communication. It's really worth a read! It helped me better understand some of the things I really dislike about my current school's curriculum.  Soon I hope to read something more recent of hers to see how her ideas are evolving...

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