Giants Thunder By

The Economist reconfigures an old way of picturing inequality:
Imagine people’s height being proportional to their income, so that someone with an average income is of average height. Now imagine that the entire adult population of America is walking past you in a single hour, in ascending order of income.

The first passers-by, the owners of loss-making businesses, are invisible: their heads are below ground. Then come the jobless and the working poor, who are midgets. After half an hour the strollers are still only waist-high, since America’s median income is only half the mean. It takes nearly 45 minutes before normal-sized people appear. But then, in the final minutes, giants thunder by. With six minutes to go they are 12 feet tall. When the 400 highest earners walk by, right at the end, each is more than two miles tall.
via Sully

Saturday Bonus Cartoon Fun: End Tyranny Edition

Saturday Cartoon Fun: Debt Ceiling Edition

What Would You Ask A TFAer? Updated Again

I am interviewing a former TFA member tomorrow for a future post. What questions do you want answered? Let me know in comments.

Update: Some questions so far:

  1. Was 6 weeks enough training to make you "Highly Qualified?"
  2. Did Whitney Tilson ever hit on you?
  3. What did you learn from the veteran teachers?  
  4. What do you think the veteran teachers learned from you?
  5. How were students characterized?
  6. What was your worst fialure?
  7. What was your greatest success?
  8. Were you told that 2 years of teaching experience would prepare you for a career in education administration?
  9. Did you get support from TFA?
  10. Were you given a leadership role at your school?
  11. Do you believe TFA teachers can do the job of replacing teaching as a career by cycling through new teachers every 2 years?
  12. What is TFA's greatest strength.
  13. What is TFA's greatest weakness?
  14. What pedagogy/strategies most crucial in your content area?
  15. What pedagogy & dev psych did TFA give?
  16. What did you teach and why? 
  17. Why did you join? 
  18. Why not major in Ed?
Keep them coming!

Update II: Frank has written his own guest post at An Urban Teacher's Education blog because I am too slow to get his interview transcribed.  You need to read his take on TFA.


I'll Be On Blog Talk Radio Tonight

Come listen to the Total Education Show tonight at 8pm Pacific time. Neil Hayley (The Total Tutor), Larry Sand, Darren Miller, Jason The Public School Guy and I will engage in another debate. You can call in! Check out the link.

It is a left/right type of thing with Larry and Darren fighting against unions, tenure and reasonableness.  Jason and I will argue that unions do good, high-stakes tests should not be high-stakes, and charters are the first step in the privatization of public education.

Should be fun!

Obama Sees Education As "a path out of poverty."

A White House Spokesman, @pfeiffer44, said he would answer questions about the SOTU speech Obama gave.

I aked him why poverty was left out of the speech, as poverty is the strongest correlate to academic success. After a week of waiting, I got a response. This is an official White House response, remember.

Weak sauce, IMHO.


Thursday Bonus Cartoon Fun: Punxsutawney Phil Edition

Thursday Cartoon Fun: Unfriend Edition

This Kid Does Not Suffer Generational Poverty

In this video we see quite clearly one kind of parenting that exists in this world. It's the kind of parenting many teachers hate because they cannot keep this kind of kid interested because they know everything already. Teachers have this extreme in their classroom as well as the other extreme--that of a kid who wouldn't be able to tell you that the Granny Smith apple on the table is green.

You want successful students? Figure out how to prepare them when their parents don't play Periodic Table games.

Perhaps early childhood education programs are needed? Perhaps universal health care could alleviate some stress for families not yet up to snuff on the Periodic Table?


Wine Country Is Lovely

I frequently fall asleep on the couch late at night as I'm watching the Daily Show and stuff. Friday night, since there is no Daily Show Fridays, I fell asleep easily. I finally woke up at about 4am and started to head to my bed to finish sleeping. I noticed my cell phone blinking.

I have an app that silents my phone, unless you are a privileged caller and then you can ring through. Of course The Frustrated Son has these privileges, as do his mother, my mother, and a couple other important people.

Friday my son went on a weekend retreat with his Temple group, called Midrasha. It is for Jewish Bay Area high schoolers, so there were about 150 teens up there, along with a bunch of staff. These are all good kids, the cream of the crop, I like to think. It is the reason I am okay with my son getting all Jewy.

So, late Friday night the kids were in their cabins being idiots. They were playing a game called condom. The idea is to wrap yourself in your sleeping bag as if you were a penis in a condom and you try to beat the crap out of your condomized friends. WTF?! So, some kid smashed his head into my kid's mouth, knocking one of his front teeth a bit, making it bleed and causing the medic there to call me. The calls came at about 1:30am, while I was snoring on the couch, my cell phone on silent, and the medic calling me from the phone at the camp--he couldn't get through.

So, at 4 in the morning, once I wake up enough to listen to the voice mail, I find out all the above. The voice mail is from The Frustrated Son, who is laughing because his friends didn't think he has the 'guts' (I should probably say 'balls' here) to tell me the name of the game, but he did. It was apparently hilarious because all I could hear for the next few seconds was laughing. I knew then my son was fine(ish).

I was a camp director, so this kind of thing does not freak me out, especially since the kids were laughing. I know medical staff at camp always play it safe, wisely.

Finally, at 9:30 in the morning Saturday, about 9 hours after the injury, they got in touch with me. They said the medical types who were there think the kid needs to be seen by a dentist. They called one who agreed. The camp is about 50 miles away from my house.

At 9:30 I got in the car and headed up. I was there by about 11am. I got the kid, and all his stuff and we headed home because our appointment wasn't until 3pm, about 30 miles away--in the opposite direction--from the house.  I figured he was done for the weekend.

We went to the dentist appointment and the kid basically needed a root canal. In an hour his tooth was reamed, filled, and anchored to his other teeth with a strip of mesh glued across his top few teeth. It was 4:45 by the time we left.  The dentist and his assistant were absolutely awesome.  In every way.  If you need a dentist in Orinda, get in touch with me.

We needed to get some antibiotics, but I got a few loose ones from the dentist and I will fill the prescription in the morning.

At 4:45pm we headed back to the retreat. He was back by 6:30, before dinner had ended. I was looked upon by the staff as possibly the best father that ever lived. They would be correct.

I then got back in my fucking car to make the hour and a half trip back home.

I put about 360 miles in yesterday--mostly through Napa's wine country. It's lovely out there. I got home at about 8pm and collapsed on the couch. I woke up at about 3 in the morning this morning.

What a day.

And that's why I didn't blog yesterday.

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