Author Praises Catholic Schools

“They reminded me of my own public schooling in the 1950s,” Ms. Ravitch recalled in an interview this week. “The halls were quiet. It was orderly. And there was this commitment from the teachers.”

The NY Times article discusses Ravitch’s book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System.

students in Catholic schools did not necessarily score higher than those in public schools on standardized tests like the SAT, but they were far more likely to take rigorous classes, graduate on time and attend college.

However, we don’t get any reasons, there’s no proof within this article.

The may just be a public plug for the best-selling book, but if I can find it in a library, I’ll be sure to pick it up.


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Deep Sea Oil

Crews were building a containment dome, a 4-story, 70-ton structure that the company plans to lower into place over one of the three leaks to catch the escaping oil and allow it to be pumped to the surface.

That’s what the NY Times report, BP Readies Dome to Contain Spill states.

(Photo from jenny)

This oil spill blows my mind. How are we going to fix this?

Just a few weeks ago I was reading in disgust about the freighter that left more than a mile of the Great Barrier Reef scarred. It was over 10 miles outside of the shipping lanes. So much for taking a “shortcut” through one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems!

For this catastrophe, they’re also thinking about creating a “shut off” valve. Huh? Why didn’t they have this thing to begin with?

“The company took their chances in not having the valve so they could save money,” said Mike Papantonio, one of the lawyers representing the shrimpers and fishermen.


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I <3 Radio Lab!

Radio Lab!

WNYC and NPR brings us…


Tackling the unknowns such as why sleep? what’s love?

It is comparable to This American Life, and although we don’t hear Ira Glass, Robert and Jad are great companions. There are plot twists like in This American Life, but more episodes are available for free download. 🙂


I truly recommend both programs and donating to each to keep them going…for free listening. NPR! NPR!

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Wikis, Blogs, Websites


I’ve been changed.

There’s no more use in denial.

I now have evidence:

My housemates and I are planning a camping trip. Facebook messages are flying back and forth from comments that are useful (i.e. I have a tent!) to…well…ridiculous. As my irritation begins to mount by the quantity of Facebook notices filling my inbox, I start to think, why don’t we throw this on a wiki. And you know what? I might just do that. It’s actually the example our instructor showed us (camping trip) when introducing the wiki: Wiki in Plain English.

Unlike our unpredictable white board, wikis can be reverted back in their histories by the administrator. Malicious or mischievous housemates deleting content? Just revert the page back to the person before “The Deleter” and regain the content.


I fancy myself a “writer”–that is, I like write and I engage with pen/pad even when I don’t “have to”. That being said, I still find the challenge of keeping a class blog a bit daunting. What will I write about? How will I limit myself so that I don’t spend too much time blogging and not enough sleeping?

What does comfort me is the idea that I can maintain very minimal blogs (at least at first) and add more content as I become comfortable with the spurring structure. I would feel as if I’m disappointing someone if I don’t keep up  a very involved blog.

Classroom blog:

I’ll keep it simple. At least at first.


Can be left alone, abandoned.

But they never get dusty: just out of date.

A online, shared, portfolio?


Just keep it updated!


Flickr photos thanks!:

eole, eurleif

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“The Russian Essence”

This is Igor Stravinsky. He spent the first 28 years in Russia, next 29 in Switzerland and France, and last 32 in the United States.

flickr photo

In case you don’t know who Stravinsky is (and you probably do if not only for his prolific music), he was a prominent composer in the twentieth century (you probably know his Firebird suite clips from Fantasia 2000).

In the article, Just How Russian Was Stravinsky?, Taruskin ponders the use of Russian as an apt title for Stravinsky. To illustrate, it is pointed out that the Russian maestro is not Russian, conductor Gergiev is Ossetian. Stravinsky himself fought the Russian reputation most fervently of anyone else. Why would folks continue to praise the Russian composer?

There’s Russian influence in his earliest periods of course–listeners cannot deny. When he moved to Paris, he capitalized on the Russian culture craze (exotic!) and created 3 great “Russian” ballet scores. They were never performed in Russia.

Stravinsky was in pursuit of the argument that Russian music didn’t have to sound Russian–and yet he used folk songs (as Russian as could be!) in his pieces. After the Bolshevik coup and his first flop, Stravinsky decided that he would never go home, and would furthermore stop the Russian reputation.

There’s more of course, but I’ll read on and encourage you to do the same.

Ah, love of music history!


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Flickr photo from La Riviere

In class on Tuesday we explored Smartboards.

There were sounds and scribbling. Interactive, yes. (It was pretty cool to touch the screen, but not too much more unique than my sensitive “mouse” area).

I must admit that I wasn’t too thrilled about this Smartboard revolution, but because I had heard so much praise I wanted to check it out.

  • The screen’s big, but overhead projectors are too.
  • You can write on it…like a chalkboard.
  • You can write on the projected images…like a whiteboard/overhead projector combination.

Okay, okay, I sound pretty sassy. I can see that Smartboards have benefits to them, but a comparable analogy, I think of…

The i Pad. It’s bigger and fans can finally spoon with their love, but really it doesn’t do anything that a i-touch can’t do.


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Unsettled Stomach

Scary News from Hungary

This article,

Hungarian Right, Center and Far, Make Gains

from the NY Times is disturbing and I worry for Hungary’s reputation too. It’s about the elections being held in Hungary now.


  • The far-right leader of Jobbik Party (16.7% votes) used to be a    history teacher
  • The group blames “Gypsy crime” and “Jews”
  • The uniforms resemble Nazi wartime party Red Arrows
  • “Analysts said Jobbik’s growing popularity illustrates how the economic crisis was helping to fuel a regional backlash against minorities, as people look for someone to blame.”
  • “Jobbik has denied being racist, saying that it is merely reflecting the views of many Hungarians.”

A history teacher. How dreadfully ironic!!

“I am so fed up with the situation in Hungary, that we have become the worst economy in Europe, and I think Jobbik can help restore order,” she said outside her family’s house in Gyongyos, an agricultural town in the north that is also home to Mr. Vona’s constituency.

“Many people have lost jobs here, and I am fed up feeling abused by the Roma, who have children in order to get social benefits and sponge off the state,” she added.

This is interesting, the complexity of peoples’ views and frustration with corruption, but I can’t help but worry.


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