Monday, October 12, 2009

Today's Random Thoughts

-Credit Robert Pondiscio with some excellent investigative journalism. At first, we thought that Thomas Sowell was a little harsh when he responded rather brusquely to an 11 year-old's letter.  Thanks to Pondiscio, we now know that Sowell was completely off target.  The 11 year-old that wrote him did so on his own volition b/c he looked up to Sowell and wanted to know what he thought about the economy.  Meanwhile, Sowell's response was that the kid was being manipulated into frittering away his time by a school that was more concerned with feelings than educating their students.  Oops.

-Yesterday's Sunday Commentary is a little different than what you normally see on this blog in that it's more of an emotional response to their experiences than it is a discussion of various policy options and their ramifications.  But I think it's equally important.  The writer, to put it mildly, is exactly the type of person you want teaching your kids.  She is one of the finest individuals I've had the privilege to know and, as such, I listen when she talks about her experiences.  Her experiences in an inner-city school were very different than mine in many ways, but the end result was the same: the school turned a devoted teacher into a dispirited former teacher.  And our worst schools simply cannot afford to do that.

-Interesting piece on "snitching" here (hat tip: Gotham Schools).  When taken to extremes, the whole "stop snitching" thing drives me batty -- and I let the kids know as such when I was teaching.  But while I'm tempted to simply condemn the practice, I notice that few articles on it try and figure out why it started and why it exists.  I don't think everybody has a well thought out rationalization for their refusal to snitch, nor does everybody refuse to share information for the same reason, but it seems overly simplistic to simply say that people don't snitch because they're bad, stupid, or scared.  My best guess is that some segment of the population feels persecuted and/or distrusts authority.  Listen to what students had to say and come up with your own explanation.

1 comment:

Sasha M. Harris said...

Are we to understand from Sowell's comments that students SHOULDN't spend time writing and thinking critically about the world around them? That somehow this is an indulgence that will allow foreigners to outpace them and take their jobs away?

Isn't the Hoover Institute out of Stanford? What are the requirements for belonging to this institution?