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Friday, August 24, 2007

Summer's (odds and) end

Can't believe how fleetingly the summer passes. School begins on Monday morning and life returns to whatever we call "normal." But today is about spending one last afternoon at the pool (albeit an interrupted one as I take two out of three to football practice). There is so much I've been reading and wanting to comment on, but haven't had the time. So here are some items and abbreviated thoughts.

1. The whole Michael Skube blogger blast in the LA Times this week would be laughable were it not so stinking prevalent, still. Thank God we had Jay Rosen's blowback. Will there ever be an end to the blogger versus journalist dispute? I find it ironic that most journalists, when they leave a mainstream organization either willingly or unwillingly start their own blog. Is this argument merely the result of sour grapes? Envy? Fear?

2. Diane Rehm had an amazing show yesterday, which did much to illuminate the realities of No Child Left Behind. Listen if you have the time. Her guests were Jonathan Kozol and
Dan Brown. Spinning the Bush Administration message was Doug Mesecar, Acting Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. To his credit, Mesecar stuck to the message that NCLB does not put pressure on school districts to teach to the test. He also pushed the mantra of "no excuses," as in it doesn't matter if the kid isn't able to sleep at night out of fear because her mother's a crack whore and has a parade of men in and out of the house during the night. A good teacher should be able to teach her.

3. I've been reading Linda Perlstein's book, "Tested: One American School Struggles to Make the Grade," and was amazed that she was not included on this program. I interviewed Perlstein yesterday afternoon. Her experiences spending a year in Tyler Heights Elementary in Annapolis, Md., are illuminating on many levels, showing how the education reform movement began in 1983 with Reagan's education secretary trying to hold onto his job and guarantee his department's relevance. And who was leading the, "Education should be more like business charge?" Why, it was none other than that bastion of social progress -- the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But that's all fodder for a much longer commentary.

4. Are clotheslines making a comeback? I sure hope so. Let's hope that people who choose to make green decisions about energy are not punished for aesthetic reasons. Thankfully, I do not live in a neighborhood with an association.

5. Now that I have more time on my hands (which I won't really feel until next week when the boys are back in school), I've been thinking of a multitude of projects. But there's one that I'm VERY interested in. LA Observed is one of the coolest sites I've ever seen. I'm interested in starting something similar here in Cleveland. LA Observed is an award-winning online journal devoted to independent reporting, selective linkage and informed commentary on Los Angeles and Southern California. Greater Cleveland could use some independent reporting and informed commentary. I can think of at least a dozen people I'd love to have participate. Jeff? Does this sound like something you'd be interested in?

6. Regina Brett tackled the female attorney issue this morning on WCPN. The doozer from Linda Bluso, who doesn't have children of her own: "Oftentimes they [female attorneys] are so bored at home [on maternity leave] they come back early."


Michelle O'Neil said...

What an interesting post. So many things to look at!

# 6 made me almost do a spit take.

Enjoy your countdown!

Wendy Hoke said...

Thanks, Michelle! I, too, almost did a spit take in response to her comment. Bored? Bored? I was many things on maternity leave, bored was not one of them.

Jay said...

Thanks, Wendy.

I think a Cleveland LA Observed is a very good idea.

Let me know if you decide to do it.

Wendy Hoke said...

Thanks, Jay. I posted some more specifics on what I envision here.

Jeff Hess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Hess said...

Shalom Wendy,

Sorry for the tardy response. I just caught the question on Technorati.

I'd love to do more local blogging, but now that school has started, my blogging time is about to take nosedive.

Thank you for thinking of me.