Song Of The Day: Throwing Stones

Picture a bright blue ball, just spinning, spinnin free,
Dizzy with eternity.
Paint it with a skin of sky,
Brush in some clouds and sea,
Call it home for you and me.

A peaceful place or so it looks from space,
A closer look reveals the human race.
Full of hope, full of grace
Is the human face,
But afraid we may lay our home to waste.

There's a fear down here we can't forget.
Hasn't got a name just yet.
Always awake, always around,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Now watch as the ball revolves
And the nighttime falls.
Again the hunt begins,
Again the bloodwind calls.
By and by, the morning sun will rise,
But the darkness never goes
From some men's eyes.

It strolls the sidewalks and it rolls the streets,
Staking turf, dividing up meat.
Nightmare spook, piece of heat,
It's you and me.
You and me.

Click flash blade in ghetto night,
Rudies looking for a fight.
Rat cat alley, roll them bones.
Need that cash to feed that jones.
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.


Commissars and pin-stripe bosses
Roll the dice.
Any way they fall,
Guess who gets to pay the price.
Money green or proletarian gray,
Selling guns 'stead of food today.

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Heartless powers try to tell us
What to think.
If the spirit's sleeping,
Then the flesh is ink
History's page will thus be carved in stone.
And we are here, and we are on our own
On our own.
On our own.
On our own.


If the game is lost,
Then we're all the same.
No one left to place or take the blame.
We can leave this place and empty stone
Or that shinin' ball we used to call our home.

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

[Bridge two:]

Shipping powders back and forth
Singing black goes south and white comes north.
In a whole world full of petty wars
Singing I got mine and you got yours.
And the current fashion sets the pace,
Lose your step, fall out of grace.
And the radical, he rant and rage,
Singing someone's got to turn the page.
And the rich man in his summer home,
Singing just leave well enough alone.
But his pants are down, his cover's blown...
And the politicians throwin' stones,
So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And it's all too clear we're on our own.
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Picture a bright blue ball,
Just spinnin', spinnin, free.
Dizzy with the possibilities.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
h/t The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics

The Battle Is For Peace. Still.

Saturday Cartoon Fun: Think Before You Speak Edition


Friday Cartoon Fun: Religion As Ultimate Fighter Cage Match Edition

I Am Guest Posting At Dangerously Irrelevant

I almost have a guest post up at Dangerously Irrelevant, Scott McLeod's blog.  I'll have a direct link soon. Direct link.


Thursday Bonus Cartoon Bonus Fun: Losing the Houses Edition

Thursday Bonus Cartoon Fun: The Union Label Edition

Alfie Kohn Lays It Out: School Reform Is A Disaster

...And of course it means describing as "a courageous challenge to the failed status quo" what is really just an intensification of the same tactics that have been squeezing the life out of our classrooms for a good quarter-century now. That intensification has been a project of the Obama administration, even though, as Rep. John Kline (R-MN) remarked the other day, in its particulars it comes "straight from the traditional Republican playbook."

We can show that merit pay is counterproductive, that closing down struggling schools (or firing principals) makes no sense, that charters have a spotty record overall (and one much-cited study to the contrary is deeply flawed), that high-stakes testing has never been shown to produce any benefit other than higher scores on other standardized tests (and even that only sporadically). To make these points is not to deny that there are some lousy teachers out there. Of course there are. But there are far more good teachers who are being turned into bad teachers as a direct result of these policies....
From HuffPo

Thursday Cartoon Fun: Historical Perspective Edition


Youthful Energy Will Not End Poverty

Poverty is the disease.  We see its symptoms all around us.  We see dropouts, violence, hunger, ill health, despair, bankruptcy, poor school performance, crime, and on and on.  I didn't end the cycle when I was in the classroom.  And I tried, hard.

I hear this refrain all too often--education is the way out of poverty--and I shudder.

I shudder because it's a bromide that no longer holds true in America, and too many people still buy into it.

TFAers and other young, energetic, new teachers believe it and perpetuate the notion that teachers and schools will ameliorate the symptom, thereby eliminating the disease.  The reformers agree, and have chosen to pursue charter schools that rely heavily on youthful, nearly temporary, teachers. Well, no; that ain't gonna work.  The problems TFA and other youthful teachers think they are going to tackle are not in-school factors.  So, unless these young teachers adopt these troubled kids, the out of school factors will remain--and they make up between 50% and 95% of factors that influence a child's ability to learn.  Schools are like mirrors of society--they reflect who we are, warts and all.

Impoverished neighborhoods are home to the worst performing schools--that's just a fact.  It's also the only correlation anyone has consistently found in terms of "good" schools versus "bad" schools.  It's so blatantly obvious that I think we must assume it's not really so clear and true.  We are programmed to be skeptical of simplicity.  But Occam's Razor still applies.  We have poverty schools, and rich schools.  It's that stark.

Young teachers (and old for that matter), please stop saying things that will perpetuate the notion that a young teacher full of energy and hope will change the circumstances for millions of systematically impoverished kids.  If you really want to do some good, make clear how stifling poverty is, how these kids show up in pain--both physical and mental, how they show up hungry and dirty, how they get to school before school opens and it's fucking cold outside and they have no coat because mom can't afford one even though she works 2 jobs, and how a couple simple, yet expensive (at the outset) programs could do much more than hope and energy: Universal health care and high-quality early childhood education.

Testing doesn't educate anyone.  Hope doesn't help end the cycle of poverty.  Good policy could.  Good policies that would provide parents in poverty real, actual, tangible help.

This means that the American billionaires (all 400 of them) and millionaires (1 of every 125 Americans) must pay more.  It's called taking care of the least able, and is the only measure of a civilized society.

It's your country.  Vote.

Wednesday Bonus Cartoon Bonus Fun: Foreign Perspective Edition

Wednesday Bonus Cartoon Fun: Ugly American or What Would Jesus Burn? Edition

High-Quality Early Childhood Education Is Crucial

Wednesday Cartoon Fun: Irreverence Edition


Donations Welcome (Sticky Post. New Stuff Below)

Now would be a great time to make your annual donation to The Frustrated Teacher, considering I spent all I had on the bar mitzvah.

You can do it via the TFT/PayPal icon just below the page title (Look--Right above this post!!).

Sentence Of The Day

Obama praised W's love and support of the troops in his recent speech.   Rick Hertzberg responds:
That was kind—and not untrue, as far as it went: there is no reason to doubt that the personal motivations of the second President Bush in launching the invasion and occupation of Iraq included the fine sentiments that his successor now attributes to him, even if these were mixed with others less fine, such as a desire to avenge his father and outdo him in a single bold stroke of Oedipal filial piety.

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