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This Is Where it Gets Good December 11, 2010

Posted by monty in education.
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I tell all my methods students that teaching isn’t about instant gratification. I tell them that if they want a job where they’re immediately going to see the effects of their work, teaching isn’t it.  You plan, you instruct, you cajole, you cheerlead, you give endless feedback and encouragement, and you do it all with the blind faith that what you’re doing is going to pay off in the end.  If you need to see immediate dividends, find something that involves applause.

I tell them that what passes for instant gratification are the little victories: seeing students get interested in a book, noticing progress in their writing, listening for moments of insight during class discussion.  You become highly attuned to those triumphs, and you modulate your definition of what constitutes success.  You know you won’t often be thanked for what you do, but in some ways that’s okay, because teachers – the real ones who’ve gotten into the profession for the right reasons – know it’s a calling, and that they do this because they couldn’t picture themselves doing anything else.

But the funny thing is, sometimes gratification does happen.  Often it’s delayed, but that doesn’t make it any less sweet.  Case in point: the photo above.  This was taken a few weeks ago at the annual National Council of Teachers of English conference in Orlando.  While there I presented a session with three of my former student teachers (pictured above), who are all teaching in their own classrooms now.  It was great to reconnect with them, but it was also inspiring to see that they’ve turned into the kind of teachers I knew they would – teachers who are intelligent, compassionate, and thoughtful, and who are truly making a difference in the lives of their students.  And to hear all of them say they benefited from the class in which I taught them was just icing on the cake.

And in extremely rare instances, there is instant gratification.  My semester ended last week, and I input final grades yesterday afternoon.  Last evening, I received this email from one of my students:

I just wanted to thank you for being such an inspiring professor. You went beyond just teaching us the material. I feel like you did everything you could to help us become good teachers. You made yourself available for us, and I could tell that you were really sincere in wanting to help us. You offered honest advice, like telling us how to make up stories if a smelly kid stands in front of the air conditioner. 🙂 Seriously, your stories about your experiences with teaching, and your advice about teaching in general, gave me a well-rounded perspective about what teaching is like.

I actually didn’t want to be a teacher anymore going into this class at the beginning of the semester, and now I’ve regained my desire to teach. You definitely played a role in my change of heart towards teaching, along with the experience that I had in the Internship.

I just wanted to let you know that you impacted my life in a good way, and I really appreciate it. You also modeled the type of teacher that I want to be. I’ve had great teachers before, but I’ve never had one that’s made me think ‘I hope I can be as good of a teacher as they are one day’. I know that sounds kind of mushy, but it’s true. You are personable, but not overly friendly. You are knowledgeable, but not preachy. You are experienced, but you acknowledge that your experiences aren’t the only relevant ones. Overall you exemplify the balance that teachers should have.

I could go on but this is getting a little lengthy so I’ll bring it to a close. Pretty much: thanks for being an amazing professor. Your efforts did not go unnoticed.

I shouldn’t have to point out why this is such an extraordinary message to receive.  As teachers, it’s always nice to receive validation that what we do seems to be working, but beyond that, you can’t underestimate the rejuvenating power of a little gratitude.  The next time I grow whiny and neurotic and self-defeating on here about my choice of profession, someone remind me of this post, and the photo and message that accompany it.  This is why I do what I do, and, as always, the students make it all worthwhile.

*****

Current listening:

Beulah – The Coast Is Never Clear (2001)

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Me, I Disconnect from You December 7, 2010

Posted by monty in Uncategorized.
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2 comments

I just don’t know what to think about Obama anymore.

I’ve been a political cynic as long as I can remember.  When my high school had a mock trial for the 1990 midterm elections, I wrote a lengthy diatribe on the ballot about how any election was simply a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils and it didn’t really matter what person was in office.  Apparently my handwriting was more recognizable than I thought, because later that day a history teacher accosted me in the hall, screaming about how I was “dead wrong.”  So much for the secret ballot.

My general indifference continued through the 1992 election and ’96 elections (I was pro-Clinton, but was I really going to be pro-Bush or -Dole?), and I didn’t really get my dander up until the Bush debacle in 2000.  Even then, it wasn’t so much an endorsement of the Democratic party on my part as much as it was disgust at the nimrod who had been swept into office on the back of the Supreme Court.

It took Obama to get me excited.  He was going to fight for universal health care, closing Guantanamo, and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  He was smart and funny, he was young, and he seemed willing to go to the mat in defense of those things in which he believed.  I threw my weight behind him whole-heartedly, and, like many in this country in 2008, I believed.

But now?  Not so much.

It started with the administration’s handling of the health care bill – drawing out that debate torturously month after month; finally, after all that consternation, passing a candy-ass simulacrum of a real health care bill; and then, in a final insult, not campaigning hard behind it, weak as it was, to let the public know that there actually was some good stuff in it.  So now we have a health care bill that hardly anyone knows anything about and which the administration doesn’t seem interested in touting.  The perception seems to be that it’s a bill wreathed in shame, even though it’s at least a step in the right direction.  But the mishandling of the process and the shortcomings of the final product have to be laid at the feet of Obama and his party, who were unequivocally in control of Washington during the debate.

My disillusion got up a full head of steam as soon as I learned about Obama’s education policies.  I’ve discussed this issue in more detail elsewhere on this blog, so I won’t rehash the past now.  One thing I will say, though, is that the intervening months between that post and this one have only made me sadder and more frustrated.  Obama has doubled down (through Education Secretary Arne Duncan) on the idea that more testing is the key to a better education.  I’m reminded of the quote by the late, great James Moffett, which went something like this: “Frequently measuring your height doesn’t make you taller.”  As usual, teachers have been left almost entirely out of this conversation, so now we have the new Common Core Standards (developed by the very testing companies that stand to profit from them), a push to evaluate teachers based on the test scores of their students, and a misguided belief that if we just throw enough money at charter schools, everything will get better overnight.

(And, as a side note, you should all be glad I wasn’t blogging a couple months ago when NBC aired its propaganda hack job, “Education Nation,” which practically gave Davis Guggenheim’s anti-teacher, anti-public school puff piece Waiting for “Superman” a blow job on national television.  I was not a happy fella that week.)

And now there’s this deal with the taxes, adding more to the deficit and lining the pockets of the people who got us into this fiduciary mess in the first place, all in the name of playing nice with a political party that’s going to tar and feather Obama no matter what he does.  What – did he really think that he was going to wipe the slate clean with Boehner and crew by extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich?  If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that trying to “compromise” with the GOP is a zero-sum game.  If Obama cured cancer, they’d lambaste him as a Socialist for using tax dollars to do so.  Extending the tax cuts for the rich was a craven thing to do – and he can deny this all he wants – all in the name of political expedience.

I’m mad at the Republicans too, don’t get me wrong.  But in a way I’m less angry with them because I’ve come to expect them to obstruct and, as the party of old rich white dudes, I can’t fault them for playing to their base.  I only wish Obama had the courage to do the same.  Because, see, right now he doesn’t need the Republicans to defeat him.  The Democrats in general, and Obama in particular, are the most self-defeating bunch of ninnies I’ve ever seen.  Instead of taking the fight to the Republicans and drawing a line in the sand about their beliefs, they bow and scrape and kowtow as though it’s going to make any difference.  The result is twofold, with neither half being any good.  They give the Republicans more or less exactly what they want, and in the process, the very people who trusted Obama, who believed in him, who voted for him, are being told that their faith was misplaced.

I know – and so, likely, does Obama – that I don’t have a real choice here.  It’s not as though I’m going to vote for the Republicans in 2012.  And it’s not as though a vote for a third party candidate amounts to anything except a feeling of smug superiority as I exit the voting booth.  So it’s either not vote at all, or vote for the guy who’s not as bad as the crazy bitch from Alaska, the rich Mormon, the fat Bible thumper, or the disgraced lunatic.  It’s not a choice at all, but it’s what we’re going to be faced with in a couple years, and it’s unbelievably disheartening to see how quickly I’ve become cynical again.

Thanks, Obama.  Bang-up job you’re doing.

*****

Current listening:

Rjd2 – Since We Last Spoke (2004)

The Sea Is a Good Place to Think of the Future April 14, 2010

Posted by monty in education.
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3 comments

When I moved from Santa Barbara, California, to the metro Atlanta area nearly a year ago, I freely admit to having many preconceived notions about what I’d encounter there.  Admittedly, these were mainly fueled by my childhood memories of The Dukes of Hazzard, and I fully expected to find myself surrounded by hayseeds and bumpkins whose family tree, to borrow a line from Bill Hicks, was a stump.

And I was really in the dark when I imagined what my students would be like.  I had become accustomed to working with preservice teachers who were intelligent and motivated, and who were receptive to any ideas that they thought would make them better teachers.  Most importantly of all, their students were their primary concern, and they wanted to make sure – even as student teachers – that they were doing right by them.  I didn’t know what to expect from my students in Georgia.  The popular perception – not entirely unearned – is that Southern education is a sham, and I could easily picture a classroom full of mouthbreathing troglodytes who were only getting into the teaching profession for the summers off so they could help their pappy run the family moonshine business.

What I found – because I’m always wrong – is that my students were much like those I had in California.  Undergrads this time, true, but no less concerned with their future students’ well-being, and just as sponge-like in their hunger to soak up any ideas that sounded promising.  It’s been a humbling experience to see my own prejudices so thoroughly shattered, and for a while I’ve been operating under the belief that the only substantial difference between preservice teachers in California and those in Georgia is their geographical location.

Until today, that is.

On the schedule for today was the understandably delicate issue of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (GLBT) students in class.  When you’re dealing with preservice teachers, it’s important for them to see that this isn’t an issue to avoid, and with preservice English teachers especially, it’s increasingly crucial that they be aware of the Young Adult literature available to help students who are out of the closet or questioning their sexual orientation come to grips with who they are.  The statistics dealing with LGBT teens who commit suicide (or make an attempt) are staggering, and teachers should be equipped with the knowledge that these struggles are happening in their classrooms, and they need to be confident in strategies to ensure that those classrooms are a safe space for all students to learn.

In California – at least the part of it where I spent the last several years – the idea that LGBT students shouldn’t be accepted or treated respectfully in classrooms would be laughed at.  It’s something I didn’t spend a lot of time formally talking about in class, simply because in the course of our discussions we explored the need for safe spaces and for ensuring that different perspectives and voices are honored, and above all, that no student in the classroom should feel harassed or intimidated.  To spend time belaboring the point with these students would be like reminding someone of the importance of breathing.  Their attitude of acceptance was a foregone conclusion.

(As a side note, notice that there’s a difference between acceptance of homosexuality and promotion of it.  I’m not asking teachers to change their religious beliefs or prejudices.  It’s not appropriate for me to foist my own beliefs on others, and while it would be nice to live in a world where religious mania and close-minded bigotry didn’t rule the day, I understand that that’s a battle too big for me to fight alone.  All I’m asking is for teachers to treat all their students like human beings, which shouldn’t be a radical proposition.)

Today, however, I encountered the first substantive difference between the two states.  My students read a series of articles about acceptance of LGBT teens in the English classroom, and how literature can be used to give those students a voice.  One of the articles (quite reasonably, I thought) advocated teachers putting a rainbow sticker or maybe a small flag somewhere in their classroom to acknowledge it as a safe, harassment-free space.  The derision this idea received is akin to those people who, when reminded of Black History Month, belligerently ask, “Why isn’t there a White History Month?  Well?”  Several of the students amazingly saw this as being discriminatory toward straight people – that by putting up a rainbow sticker, you’d also need to put up a “straight” sticker, and a sticker supporting interracial relationships, and, even though I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, a bestiality sticker.  Making a public display, however modest, of GLBT acceptance was “going too far,” in one student’s words.  By the end of their table discussion, this small group was practically rolling on the floor in delight at all the clever new “politically correct” stickers they were coming up with, all so that, heaven forbid, GLBQT teens could feel accepted and safe.

The thing that drives me absolutely insane about this line of (non)logic is the majority culture’s failure to realize how many things they take for granted. There isn’t a White History Month because every fucking month of the year is White History Month.  Putting up a rainbow sticker doesn’t discriminate against straight people because straight people dominate every facet of our society and determine the rules that non-straight people have to live with.  It’s a short-sighted view of the world that’s completely ignorant of just how good the majority culture has it.  And as a member of that majority culture in just about every way (except for the atheism and the baldness), it’s something I try not to forget.

More difficult to handle was the student who actually suggested that, because public schools are funded by taxpayer money, we should segregate schools to protect the general public’s desires.  That idea is so beyond the pale – that corralling all the gays into their own school would be a good idea, because goodness knows we haven’t learned anything about racial or religious discrimination in this country – that I was completely at a loss for words.  I couldn’t begin to come up with an even-handed, rational response, so I just let it go.  Would it have made me feel better to tell her she was crazy?  Absolutely.  Would it have done any good?  Probably not.

(I should also mention, just for accuracy’s sake, that this wasn’t symptomatic of the entire class.  There are, for instance, three students whose more enlightened views on this issue I already know, and while I wish they had spoken up so I didn’t have to, I understood their silence.)

The most difficult thing about today’s class was being reminded yet again how bigotry often exists where you least expect it.  The conversation today doesn’t begin to change my mind about these students – I still maintain that they’re smart, dedicated, and well-intentioned.  But they’re also clearly products of their environment: conservative and religious, and living in a state whose discriminatory practices are well-documented.  And it’s clear that when it comes to equal rights and fairness for all, we still have a long way to go.

*****

Current listening:

Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring (2010)

Roll Away Your Stone December 2, 2009

Posted by monty in education, teaching.
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1 comment so far

Thus far, I’ve purposely avoided writing about my current teaching experience.  I don’t think it’s entirely appropriate (or professional) to mix that experience with some of the mindless nattering I regularly do on here.  But for my current class on the principles of writing instruction, their final assignment was to write a letter to the class describing what they’re taking from it, what they enjoyed, whose writing stood out to them, etc.  The main tenet of the class is that teachers of writing are writers themselves, and to that end, the class wrote a lot, and they shared all (or almost all) of it in writing groups and with the entire class.  It was an invigorating experience, and I thought I’d share the letter I wrote the class, just to give a little snapshot of what I’ve been up to in the classroom, and to let those of you who actually know me to see what I look like as an honest-to-goodness professor.

*****

Dear  students,

The learning curve for me in this class was fast and steep.  As I prepared to teach my first class in my first semester, I was plagued with the usual insecurities I always feel when I’m getting ready to teach a class for the first time.  These anxious, imaginary situations invariably ended with an armed student rebellion, and me being drawn and quartered in the parking lot outside the English Building.  I’m thankful that didn’t come to pass, although I realize the semester isn’t yet over, so anything’s possible.

What I didn’t anticipate is the level of care and commitment all of you would bring to your writing in this course.  On the first day of class I established what I hoped would be our guiding principle: Teachers of writing are writers themselves.  It’s one thing to say that, and another to see it in practice.  And I saw it consistently for 16 weeks.  All of you, whether you believe it or not, are writers, and that vital characteristic is going to enable you to become excellent teachers of writing, who engage and challenge his or her students to become more competent, confident, and sophisticated in both their writing and their thinking.

As I’ve listened in on your writing groups – and especially as I’ve had the pleasure of hearing your Shared Public Writings – I’ve been entertained, educated, moved, and inspired.  There has been great humor and creativity in these writings, but also extraordinary acts of bravery.  You’ve taken many of these writings to places I never envisioned them, tackling moments of personal anguish, insecurity, and sadness, but never doing so in a way that seems self-centered or whiny.  You’ve written with passion, as Tom Romano advises us to do, and you’ve embraced Natalie Goldberg’s wild mind (even if you’ve fortunately not started hallucinating small furry animals at your side).

Despite the fast pace of the class and the extraordinary amount of work I’ve asked you to do (and believe me when I say I appreciate every ounce of effort you put into what we did here), I hope you’ve taken something away from this class – no matter how small – that you can use in your future teaching.  For me, one of the things I hope you’ve seen is that confidence in writing often comes with understanding the nature of the process.  Writing well isn’t easy.  It isn’t a static, one-shot deal.  A piece of writing evolves over time, and that evolution is sometimes painful and uncomfortable.  But that isn’t something of which to be frightened.  It’s an exciting challenge that indicates real learning and development.  I saw you take up that challenge this semester, and I hope it’s something you’ll remember as you prepare to take over your own classrooms in the next few years.

In closing, it has been a true honor and a real pleasure to have you as my inaugural class.  I realize I came dangerously close to the armed rebellion scenario when I assigned the portfolio, but I thank you for hanging in there, and I hope you see (either now or later) that there was a method to this class’ madness.  I’ve had a terrific time this semester, and I wholeheartedly enjoyed seeing you begin to make the transition from being my students to being my colleagues.

Cheers,

*****

Current listening:

The Velvet Teen – Out of the Fierce Parade (2002)

The Gift That Keeps Giving November 22, 2009

Posted by monty in education.
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5 comments

If there’s one thing I learned from this weekend’s debacle (and you can read about it here, if you’re so inclined), it’s that hitching yourself to a research topic is just as much a leap of faith as embarking on a novel-writing project or deciding to audition for a play or any number of other creative acts.  I know it’s not conventional to think of research as an act of creativity, but I think it is, especially when you’re working in a largely untraveled area.  To take up a research interest is to make a commitment, and when it doesn’t come to fruition – despite your best efforts – it’s every bit as disillusioning and disappointing as getting that rejection letter from a publishing house or not seeing your name on the cast list for that play.

For the last three years I’ve practically lived and breathed California’s educational content standards at the high school level.  I know these suckers inside and out.  I’ve examined them, analyzed them, unpacked them; looked at how they’re assessed by state tests; spent hours interviewing teachers about them, and more hours transcribing those interviews; compared them to the standards of another state, which meant immersing myself in those standards for a couple months; read dozens of books and articles about the development of standards at the state and national level; and then, at the end of it all, wrote a 350-page dissertation that I was led to believe was ground-breaking work.

Turns out that either it isn’t, or it is, and nobody cares.

That’s the biggest kick in the teeth about the weekend, really.  Yes, there were other disappointments, but there’s nothing quite like pouring your life into something and having it roundly dismissed.  And what’s worse, it’s something in which I strongly believe.  State departments of education around the country are doing their damnedest to reduce public education to its lowest common denominator, to dumb it down so that it can be easily assessed and quantified by multiple-choice tests.  One of the primary ways it does this is through curricular standards documents that represent jargon-filled, but ultimately meaningless, statements of instructional purpose, often written by people with minimal (or no) classroom experience.  And yet these statements dictate what gets taught, regardless of how nonsensical they might actually be.

My presentation this weekend was going to unveil a good chunk of this analysis, as well as some important data from my teacher interviews – data which reveals exactly what a group of teachers (the people most beholden to the standards) thinks of them.  I spent time developing research I believed in, and more time preparing a presentation that represented this research in what I hoped to be an engaging, provocative way.

And no one showed up.

It kinda hurts.

The big implication for me and my chosen career path (chosen for the moment, that is; we’ll see if it sticks), is that I don’t have the faith in my research, my writing, or myself to soldier on in the face of indifference.  I’d love to think I could be one of those guys who just hunkers down, puts on his blinders, and ignores the world outside in favor of something about which he’s passionate.

But I’m not one of those guys.  I don’t believe in a lot of things, and I put myself at the top of the list.

And I’m not sure what that means for my future in this profession.

*****

Current listening:

Animal Collective – Fall Be Kind EP (2009)

Current reading:

Stephen King – Everything’s Eventual (2002)

Here, it Never Snowed October 24, 2009

Posted by monty in education.
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1 comment so far

dunce-cap

Barack Obama’s embrace of hope and promise of change clearly didn’t extend to his selection of Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  The Secretary – the guy nominally in charge of the nation’s schools, despite the fact that he has no teaching experience himself – recently went on the warpath against schools of education, dubbing them “mediocre” and calling for – you guessed it – more accountability.

On the surface, Duncan sounds like he’s on the right page.  For instance, he’s critical of the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act.  The catch, though, is that you have to read a little bit further to discover the true nature of his criticism.  Essentially, he doesn’t believe the current law goes far enough.  He doesn’t like that some schools can be punished even though their students are making steady progress (which is to his credit), but his solution to fixing NCLB?

More standards and more tests.

This is precisely the problem of having someone in a position of power who doesn’t really understand the nature of the job he’s tasked with overseeing.  This is true of Duncan, of the Secretaries of Education who preceded him, of state Departments of Education, and even – in many cases, I’ve found – of school district and individual site administrators.  As soon as you have someone overseeing education who doesn’t have substantial real-world experience in the classroom, he inevitably thinks that the panacea for what ails education lies in the ability to crunch numbers.

One of his proposed solutions to “fix” schools and schools of education?  More specific test data so that a student’s score can be traced back to individual teachers, and then further back to where that teacher was trained.  I have absolutely no problem with accountability, but the problem for me is the notion – which too few people seem willing to challenge – that student success can be accurately and solely determined through standardized tests.  In Duncan’s perfect world, a student’s performance on a test – which can be affected by a wide range of factors, many of which have nothing whatsoever to do with the student’s teacher – can be used to judge whether that teacher is doing a decent job, and whether the school that trained that teacher is worth its salt as an institution of higher learning.  It’s a ridiculous notion.

Let me give you some practical info, based on my own research.  Setting aside the more commonly-known problems with standardized tests (test bias, test anxiety, limitations in assessing critical thought, etc.), the real issue comes down to how accurately the tests assess the standards they purport to be assessing.  I looked at California’s STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) system, given each spring, and which contains subject tests that are supposedly tied directly to the state’s content standards (the state-mandated statements that dictate what students should learn in each grade).

I analyzed the test items that were identified as assessing student knowledge of the Literary Response and Analysis standards (those standards that deal with reading literary texts – novels, poetry, drama, etc.).  At the 9th grade level, only 25% of the questions (4/16) were, in my judgment, accurately evaluating the standard they claimed to be (a thorny issue that I’ll unpack more completely later).  At the 10th grade level, nearly half were acceptable (8/17); a better statistic, to be sure, but not nearly good enough when these are supposed to be bulletproof tests that assess student knowledge and teacher performance.  More troublesome is my finding that nearly a third (30%) of the questions actually assessed a skill other than the identified standard (such as recognizing vocabulary in context), and exactly a third were so flawed that I couldn’t tell what they were assessing.

Do you see the problem here?  For Duncan and his disciples, test data is what drives their evaluation of students, teachers, and schools.  But how can that data be used in good conscience if the tests themselves are only acceptable a third of the time?  I know I examined only one particular subset of questions and standards, but when you take into account other factors, like the fact that the California writing standards are assessed solely through multiple-choice questions – as opposed to, you know, writing – it’s not hard to see that this is a far-from-ideal system to evaluate student performance, let alone teachers and teacher-training programs.

The other issue at play is that of the content standards themselves.  In my analysis of California’s twelve Literary Response and Analysis standards, I found that ten of them were substantially flawed to the point where they were virtually untestable, unteachable, and – most importantly – uninterpretable.  And remember that these are the statements supposedly governing what kids learn.  If we were to pretend for a moment that high-stakes standardized tests were the perfect vehicle to assess students and teachers, how could we reasonably assume the test-makers themselves to construct a valid assessment based on such problematic standards?  The short answer: we couldn’t.

This is why the brand new Common Core standards being developed at the national level should be looked at suspiciously.  Like California’s, they’re being written externally, with little or no actual input from practicing teachers or experts in the relevant fields.  Instead, they’re being developed by three companies – Achieve, Inc., ACT, and College Board – that also play a role in the testing business.  So, to compound the lack of subject-matter expertise, we also have a significant conflict of interest.  It’s good that the National Council of Teachers of English roundly criticized the draft standards in a recent review, but more educators and professional organizations need to push back on these standards, and push back hard.  I’m not anti-standards, but if we’re going to make them, let’s make them right, and have them made by people who actually know what they’re doing.

So this is what’s at the heart of the Arne Duncan Problem.  A man who thinks we can standard and test our way out of whatever educational problems we have, but who doesn’t seem to put much stock in the educators who will be most affected by his mandates.  This is why you don’t put someone who’s never actually been a professional educator in charge of our educational system.

Obama, sadly, has fallen in line.  What was his rhetoric during the campaign?  Reward good teachers and punish the bad ones.  And how do we reward good teachers?  Pay them more, based on their students’ test scores.  The whole thing is a ridiculous mess, and it reflects what I think is the real problem at the root of all this: a general bureaucratic mistrust of the experience and expertise of educators, which robs them of the ability to play a role in creating the very policy that they’re expected to follow.

* NOTE: I have a wealth of data to support the claims I’m making, especially as they pertain to California’s standards and the new Common Core standards.  The data was omitted for the sake of readability.  For anyone interested in learning more about standards and testing than you’ve ever wanted to know, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to chat.

*****

Current listening:

Oasis be here now

Oasis – Be Here Now

Current reading:

BANR2005-full

Aimee Bender – “Tiger Mending” (in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005, ed. by Dave Eggers)

Last movie seen:

stepfather-poster-0

The Stepfather (Nelson McCormick, dir.)