Author Archive: Kiersten Marek

Elizabeth Warren and I

Kiersten Marek:

Please tell me that Elizabeth Warren is not going to be bought by the Corporate Education Reform movement. That would just be too depressing for words.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

I have recently read that Senator Elizabeth Warren is a supporter of school vouchers. This made people who despise public schools, like certain hedge fund managers, tingle with joy. At last, a progressive who is as contemptuous of public education as they are! At last, someone who will support their efforts to dismantle our nation’s precious democratic institution whose doors are open to all.

About a month ago, I visited Senator Warren in her office in Washington, and she said without reservation that this was untrue.

She told me that she was, like me, a graduate of public schools. Without public education, she said, she would not be where she is today.

I gave her a copy of “Reign of Error,” which she promised to read.

Since I am writing this on an iPad from Louisville, I can’t figure out how to add the photo of me and Warren, holding…

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News from the Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market

From Steve Stycos:

There are 2 more weeks of the winter market! Thursdays from 4:30 to 7 PM at the Edgewood Congregational Church on Broad St.


Add some local flavor to your Lenten, Easter and Passover favorites: fish, bitter greens, potatoes, honey and, of course, eggs are all available from our vendors.

Plus bread, soup, scones, little pizzas, and more.


Blue Skys Farm is featuring “Small State Seeds”, chemical-free and locally grown seeds from Scratch Farm in Cranston. Tried and true veggie varieties for the Rhode Island climate.

Friends of the Pawtuxet River and the West Bay Land Trust will be holding an Earth Day clean up and tree planting on Saturday April 26 from 9 AM to noon at the former DEM depot on Warwick Ave.(just before the bridge, across from the Stop and Shop). Bring clippers, rakes, gloves or just yourself, for an hour or as long as you can spare. Help keep our riverbank and trail clear and trash-free.


Our regular market opens on May 10 (the Saturday before Mother’s Day) at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet. We welcome back our summer vendors, such as Beltane Farm and LeFavorite Bakery and Rocky Ledge (formerly Moosup River) Farm. Stay tuned for more.


See you at the market.

Can Creativity Be Measured?

Kiersten Marek:

An important question and discussion…

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who think that the world can be divided into two kinds of people and those who don’t. No, let me try that again: those who think that everything that matters can be measured, and those who think that what matters most cannot be measured. Count me in the latter group. What matters most is love, friendship, family, imagination, joy….I see no reason to develop measures for those things. And if they were developed, I would doubt their value or accuracy.

But here comes another attempt to measure creativity. This comment was posted by Laura Chapman in response to a discussion of the PISA problem-solving test:

“The PISA examples are math and logic problems. They are not tests of creativity. Look up the tests and informed theoretical work of Joseph W. Getzels and E. Paul Torrance.

“The Torrance tests, available from…

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Rhode Island Social Workers to Join Union, Receive Increased Pay

April Fools!

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

Kiersten Marek:

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

Originally posted on 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

Kiersten Marek:

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

Originally posted on 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.

Kiersten Marek:

These look delish.

Originally posted on 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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Why Patients Leave Hospitals With a Bad Taste In Their Mouths – The Science of Society – Pacific Standard: The Science of Society

Interesting analysis…


Why Patients Leave Hospitals With a Bad Taste In Their Mouths – The Science of Society – Pacific Standard: The Science of Society.

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

Originally posted on 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

Kiersten Marek:

This looks excellent — love the rehearsal pictures!

Originally posted on 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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