Sacrificing Social Workers, Psychologists, Counselors, the Arts, and Athletics for Test Prep

Oh, and happy social work month (sorry for the sarcasm!)…

Diane Ravitch's blog

Kathleen M. Cashin and Bruce S. Cooper are on the faculty of Fordham University. Dr. Cashin, an experienced educator, is also a member of the New York State Board of Regents. She is regularly in the minority on votes that increase the pressure for high-stakes testing. Dr. Cooper is a scholar who has written about school finance for many years. In this essay, they criticize the state’s pressure to raise test scores while sacrificing the social and emotional supports that students need to succeed in school. Schools across the state, restricted by Governor Cuomo’s 2% tax limit, must cut somewhere, and they are forced to cut such necessary services to students as social workers, psychologists, counselors, as well as the arts and athletics. These demands and the sacrifices they require will prove harmful to students, in the short run and the long run. A cardinal rule of medicine, derived from…

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Teacher: How New Jersey Is Trying to Break Its Teachers

Powerful testimony for how teaching is being taken over by data-mining and teachers are being given many conflicting priorities to deal with.

Diane Ravitch's blog

This letter arrived from:

Douglas McGuirk

English Teacher

Dumont High School Dumont, NJ

My Testimony about the AchieveNJ Act:

The AchieveNJ Act is certainly doing its part to make a convoluted mess out of the art of teaching our children.

In this testimony, I will address the most readily apparent of its many problems: data collection, Student Growth Objectives, Student Growth Percentiles, PARCC tests, and the new observation system. The AchieveNJ Act, and all of its affiliated changes, is simultaneously stretching the education profession in two different directions, most likely to the point of snapping it in half. I am no longer certain about what my job description is these days; am I a teacher, one who attempts to engage students and help them understand subject matter and their world, or am I a data collector, one who keeps statistics on all manner of measurables in a theoretical attempt to…

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Weekend Baking. Lemon Crackle Cookies With Cardamom.

These look delish.

The Paddington Foodie

I’ve always loved the combination of lemon and cardamom,  a common and very popular flavour pairing in Scandinavian baking. Warm, aromatic and gingery cardamom has a natural, almost effortless affinity with tangy citrus. Legend has it that the spice was first introduced to the Nordic countries over a thousand years by The Vikings during their raids on Constantinople.

This weekend, courtesy of  the fruit of my lone but flourishing lemon tree,  I decided to bake Lemon Crackle Cookies. A delicious citrus variation of  one of the most popularly requested (and previously posted) biscuits in our house Rich and Fudgy. Chocolate Crackle Cookies.  For this version I amped up the lemon flavour with the welcome addition of cardamom. Crisp on the outside yet soft and cake-y on the inside with an intense citrus hit these  definitely gave their chocolate counterparts a run for their money. This recipe is a keeper that…

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Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, RISD’s first black grad: A talk at Newport Art Museum

Gallery Night Providence

Nancy Prophet

“Cutting Stone” the Art & Life of RI Black Sculptress Nancy Elizabeth Prophet.  A talk by Amalia Amaki, foremost scholar on Prophet.  This free event takes place Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 6:00pm, at the Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI. Prophet, RISD’s first Black graduate in 1918, attended École des Beaux-Arts in Paris where she lived nearly a decade, and had tenure at the historically Black Spelman College, where she created a degree program in 3-D art.

In 1932 Prophet exhibited at the Newport Art Museum winning Best in Show.  See a special exhibit and learn about her fascinating life here and in Paris.  this weekends exhibit includes two of Prophet’s sculptures and her portrait. Both events are funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and sponsored by Opera Providence.

Nancy Elizabeth Prophet (1890-1960) was from Warwick, RI. Few of her sculptures survive, including…

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in the studio with boundless plotnikov

This looks excellent — love the rehearsal pictures!

Setting The Barre


There are just 4 short days until the opening night of Boundless Plotnikov.  We’re busy putting the finishing touches on the ballet before it’s time to hit the theater tomorrow night to begin staging.

It’s been over a month since I last performed, and I am really missing the stage.  The lights.  The wings.  The way our score fills up the house like helium into a balloon, sticking to the perimeter and engulfing every inch of empty air with its sound.  One of my favorite things about this profession is the electric and exhausting magic of theater week.  Bring it on.

For tickets.

Photos by A. Cemal Ekin.

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Billionaire Arnold Backs Both Sides in Rhode Island Race

Diane Ravitch's blog

Texas billionaire John Arnold, who has drawn attention for his interest in public sector pension reform (meaning that public sector pensions are too generous), is supporting both sides of the gubernatorial race in Rhode Island.

David Sirota wrote about how the Arnold Foundation underwrote a PBS special on the pension crisis and underwrote a Brookings Institution report on the same subject. PBS returned $3.5 million to the foundation because of Sirota’s disclosure.

Arnold is also a major supporter of charter schools, Common Core, and other “reforms” favored by corporate reformers.

The Providence Journal reports:

” PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Billionaire Houston philanthropist John Arnold is not only investing heavily in the political future of state General Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo — he’s also backing a national education effort showcasing her Democratic rival: Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

“Arnold’s philanthropic organization, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, has awarded $4.25…

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