stephanie jones

Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

“What Money Can’t Buy”

In class-sensitive teaching, classism, economics and economies, Education Policy, Uncategorized on November 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm

“What Money Can’t Buy”

Have we plunged off the cliff of a market economy and into the unforgiving sea of a market society? This is a terrific interview and I can’t wait to read the book.

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Jonathan Kozol and the assault on children and youth

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm

When will we call it the way we see it? Our country’s blatant abuse of and assault on children and youth is undeniable and despicable and criminal.

Jonathan Kozol was on Tell Me More today and gave a fine interview, ever focused on the most basic and material conditions of childhood that wound millions every day. Check out the interview, and you tell me if we have a Human Rights problem in the US.

What is Inquiry?

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm

What is inquiry? This question has haunted me for quite awhile as I hear folks talk about inquiry-based education, inquiry-focused curriculum, and what is and is not inquiry.

I’m not sure I can say that one thing is inquiry and another thing is not.

Can silence be inquiry?
As I sit in a large unfamiliar room right now at the National Council of Teachers of English, I am silent, and I am wondering. How does a room like this get built? Why is it that so many people have arrived early for this session? What do these people want from this session? From the conference? From their living in the world?
I am silent. I am curious. I am wondering.
Is that inquiry?

Can listening to a lecture be inquiry?
I love a good lecture, listening to someone talk about something they know a lot about, something they are passionate about, something they can offer me as another way of seeing and living the world.
I am also silent during lectures, and I am not talking, and I didn’t get to choose the topic, and I am fascinated – swept up into a world of curiosity and wondering and rethinking and re-seeing.
Is this inquiry?

Why is it that things have to be named? That one word or phrase must be defined – and as a result invite some things in and exclude other possibilities?

Why is it that something like “inquiry” is linked to a particular way of using our body and our language? Couldn’t it be a way of living in the world? That we can inquire into the topic or issue at hand, that we can inquire into our own imagination and thoughts, that we can inquire into the words and actions of someone else?

I am an inquirer. Whether or not that fits within the educational term inquiry is left unknown.

Faced with tragedy, families, children, and communities count on public schools

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Public education, and more specifically, public school teachers, are consistently blamed for the failures of society. But when tragedy strikes, such as Hurricane Sandy in the northeast, the infrastructure of a public school system is important for bringing a sense of community and normalcy back to children’s and families’ lives.

Read this article to remind yourself about the significant social and cultural role the public education infrastructure provides, and ask yourself “What if this didn’t exist?” because that’s what a whole lot of corporations and politicians want: the end of the public education infrastructure.

And then ask yourself – what is public education for? 

I imagine after reading this article you’ll come up with a lot more reasons than “to produce high test scores”.

 

Wondering what you can do about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy?

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Click here to see what the Literacy Lifeboats Initiative is all about – and ask yourself what you, and perhaps your students or community, can do to help those in need right now.

hurricane-sandy-relief-nj-540x360.jpeg (Image from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey)

The images are shocking, the stories of survival – and death – grueling, and the reality that people woke up today without a home, a school, a job, or the basic necessities for life is paralyzing.

Super Storm Sandy took on our country in a way most of us thought was impossible. As the hurricane devastated the shores of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and others on Monday, I ran to my backyard in Georgia to secure objects that were being blown around: pillows, a bird house, a shade umbrella. I couldn’t believe the wind we were feeling, all the way in Athens, Georgia, that was directly connected to the storm battering the northeast. My hair was flying around my face in every direction and trees were bending.

The winds continued on Tuesday, though not nearly as strong, and I watched television and listened to the radio without being able to say a word. Katrina came to mind for so many, though it’s impossible to compare tragedies of one kind to another.

Wednesday I double- and triple-checked my flight that was scheduled from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. and determined that I would travel as planned (to the NAEd Annual Retreat – shout out to everyone there!). D.C. had fortunately dodged the most dangerous parts of the storm. As I left, however, I still didn’t know if I would be flying to New York City on Saturday as I supposed to do (for a fabulous visit with folks at TC! Shout out to you all!).

I was stunned to find out that much of the water had been pumped off the runways at LaGuardia in New York, at least one runway was completely operational, and my flight was scheduled to take off and land on time. Now, given my experience living in nyc, I had serious doubts about whether “on time” was possible under the best circumstances, but I was willing to give it a try. Teachers College (where I was headed) and the surrounding neighborhoods had power and water and had not suffered tremendous damage, so my schedule there was also to move along as planned.

While I was in New York from Saturday until this past Wednesday (barely making it out of LaGuardia before it was shut down again to prepare for the Nor’easter), I stayed away from the areas with the most suffering. I figured if I didn’t have a dump truck for hauling things away, a semi-trailer for bringing needed things in, or at least was a part of an organized group on the ground getting people what they needed, I better not step foot in those communities. The last thing people need in times like this is for tourists to be walking around wide-eyed and open-mouthed.

But my joy of being back in New York with friends and meeting new people was certainly tempered knowing so much suffering was being experienced just beyond the boundaries of my visit. What could I do? I wondered…

So check out the Literacy Lifeboats as one possible way you can help.

And of course you can also help victims of Hurricane Sandy at: American Red Cross; The Salvation Army and many other Relief Funds.

 

 

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