Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mapping the Charter Schools

Hey, it's my first foray into making a map on Google Maps! Here is a map of the current Washtenaw County Public School Academies, a.k.a. Charter Schools, as of March 2011. Are you surprised by where they are located? Oh--and by the way, if you click on one of the markers, you can pull up reviews of the schools too.

View Washtenaw County Charter Schools (2011) in a larger map

If you want to see their addresses in a list, you can find them here (scroll down).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Asking the Right Questions

Rick Garlikov describes the Socratic Method as "Teaching by Asking Instead of Telling."

He has an extremely interesting experiment teaching third graders binary numbers* and writes,  
This was to be the Socratic method in what I consider its purest form, where questions (and only questions) are used to arouse curiosity and at the same time serve as a logical, incremental, step-wise guide that enables students to figure out about a complex topic or issue with their own thinking and insights. 
You will find the experiment here. (Read it! It is fascinating.) 


*By the way, it's okay if you don't know what a binary number is. First of all, if you read about the experiment, you will understand what they are by the end of the article. Second of all, the experiment is not about binary numbers, but it is about asking questions and using the Socratic method.


Memory: When I was in high school, I had a biology teacher who wrote many outlines on the board. Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. . . all nicely outlined in copperplate handwriting. (Yes, she had been raised in Catholic schools and like so many of my public school teachers, I believe she had been a nun.) All of that outlining explained the "what," which we dutifully copied. But it didn't explain the "why." I was always asking "why," and one day, my teacher asked me if there was trouble at my home. (No! Why was she asking? Clearly the line between having an inquisitive mind and being trouble for her was a fine one.) I realize now that she probably did not have a strong biology background, and she knew the basics--but she found questions that she did not know the answer to, to be threatening.

Of course, the great irony of this is that good scientists are not driven by answers--they are driven by questions, and their favorite kinds of questions are the ones that cannot be immediately answered.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Progressive Education in the 1940s

This is a really wonderful little clip about Progressive Education in the 1940s, and so many of the themes are still relevant today!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

There's Lots Going On Locally

Ann Arbor Public Schools are deciding if they should be open for schools of choice. Here's the proposal, the decision comes next week. [Don't get too excited, it would only be for K-6 students.]

Meanwhile, Saline has schools of choice for the high school. [Updated: See the comment that explains this is only true for the alternative high school, which I did not realize. I wonder if there are concerns about "who" would opt in to Saline and if that is really code for concerns about African-American students from Ypsilanti coming in to largely white Saline?] Saline is now considering extending it to the middle school.  The Saline Superintendent described the motivation as "largely financial." I think that's true for every district in the county!

Student applications are still being accepted for the Washtenaw International High School (the new International Baccalaureate program which will be located in Ypsilanti at the former East Middle School). It is open only to 9th graders. There is another parent information session scheduled for March 28th at 7 p.m. (but the web site doesn't say where!). The following districts are in the consortium, which means students from those districts can apply: Ann Arbor, Lincoln, Milan, Saline, Whitmore Lake, Willow Run, Ypsilanti.

Look for Dexter to set up its own IB setup next year, and it won't surprise me if the districts on the west side of the county (Chelsea and Manchester) work out some agreement with Dexter. It is, after all, a pretty far drive from Manchester to Ypsilanti.

Washtenaw Community College has reopened the search for a new president.

The Washtenaw Intermediate School District board continues to interview candidates for superintendent. One candidate, however, Thomas Langdon, has removed his name from consideration because he took another position. And then there were five...

There's a big College and Career Fair next Wednesday March 30th at Pioneer High School from 6-8 p.m. There will be lots of colleges and businesses attending. See the list here.

And according to Annarbor.com, the Scarlett-Mitchell Lab School is still planning a fall 2011 opening. Parents in the area have until Friday to take a survey. I wish they would ask the rest of us to take a (possibly different) survey, and I really hope they don't move forward until they answer these questions:

1. Can people opt out of the school if they prefer a different school?
2. Can people opt in if they are at a different school but want the lab school?
3. How is this going to be paid for? I'd like to know about both the short-term funding and the long-term funding. We've had lots of trials that haven't lasted, and in this financial environment I'm feeling rather nervous. . . especially about the idea of "intersession" being paid for by grants. . . did we notice the report that Ann Arbor Public Schools are expecting a $15 million dollar deficit next year?

The district is already saying that the budget cuts will affect class size, mostly at the high school level. Well, at this point 4/5 of my daughter's high school classes have 32 students or more. So. . . let's have that conversation too. How big were you thinking?

And on May 3d, we will have the opportunity to vote on a special education millage. I'll write about that another day, but if you want to start reading up on it now, try here and here.

Open Classroom Conference This Weekend

The conference starts Friday night, and goes all day Saturday.
It's titled:

Get Up, Stand Up; Democratic Education as a Right

There's lots of good stuff, including:

Deborah Meier and Jane Andrias, talking about progressive education.

Review and discuss the education reform issues brought up in the film Waiting for Superman. Brit Satchwell, Ann Arbor Education Association president (that's the teacher's union) will help the group develop "talking points" in reponse to the film. [I think this is a really great idea. I haven't seen the film because I thought it would upset me; the idea of developing talking points in response to it sounds like an excellent plan.]

There will also be small group discussions led by Chris Curtis (current Slauson principal), Stewart Wood, and Irene Allen.

The conference is at Camp Ohiyesa, which is about a 40-minute drive from Ann Arbor.

Find out more and get a registration form here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Supply. . . And Demand

Recent discussions around teachers' pay (is it too much? I don't think so) and merit pay (does it work?), are closely related to issues of student achievement and how much testing is too much testing. As Diane Ravitch points out very cogently, you shouldn't place all the credit--or all the blame--for school achievement on teachers because student achievement is affected by much more--families, poverty, the societal environment.

But I haven't heard discussion about one area that I think underlies much of this discussion: we are training too many teachers! If you are like me, you know lots of people who have been certified as teachers and are not teaching. Some of them are not teaching because they decided they didn't like it, but many, many more are not teaching because they can't find jobs.

And whom should we blame for training too many teachers? No, don't blame Teach For America. Blame your local universities. 

Within about an hour's drive of Ann Arbor, the following schools are teacher education institutions:

Concordia University
Madonna University
Rochester College
University of Detroit-Mercy
Wayne State University
Adrian College
Marygrove College
Oakland University
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor
Albion College
Eastern Michigan University
Michigan State University
Siena Heights University
Spring Arbor University
University of Michigan--Dearborn
University of Michigan--Flint

Eastern Michigan University is the #1 graduator of certified teachers, but Western Michigan and Central Michigan are close behind.

And the reason all these schools have teacher education programs? Sure, they believe in good teacher education, yada yada yada. In fact, I believe that many of them provide very good teacher education--and what's more, Michigan State University has been nationally ranked as having the #1 programs in elementary and secondary education in the country for several years.

But the real reason that these schools all have teacher education programs is that they are a cash cow. Teachers often need enough subject area credits that they have full, or almost full, majors in two subjects, and then they need the required education courses. And then they need to come back for masters' programs to keep up their certification and be eligible for a higher salary. And compared to a program that requires a lot of instrumentation and materials (say, for example, nursing, dentistry, engineering), teacher education programs are a relatively inexpensive investment for an institution of higher learning.

In fact, according to this report to the state Board of Education, over three years nearly 43,000 would-be teachers took certification tests in the state (and about 90% of them passed). And that doesn't include all the people who started the program, and before they got all the way through dropped out. Do you think Michigan schools have hired anywhere near 40,000 teachers over the past three years? Did you know that studies have shown that many teachers choose teaching so they can stay within an hour of where they grew up?

(And sure, there are some shortages. Over that three-year period, only 10 teachers got certified for the visually impaired, and only 20 got certified for Physical and Other Health Impairments. BUT--2,576 people got certified in English, and 9,184 in Elementary Education.)

Need to understand how education is valued? Look no further than student teaching. Typically, education students who are doing student teaching "get" to pay a full semester's worth of credits (often needing to quit other jobs) while they work full-time for free in a school district. Yes, they get supervision (for which the supervising teachers get a measly stipend of something like $100), but in other college programs, where there are not a surfeit of applicants (take, for instance, many psychology or public health programs), people in training often get paid for their internships, and/or don't need to pay to be enrolled at the same time.

Back in the day when many of these teacher education programs began--back when my mother-in-law became a teacher--it was common for teachers to leave (as she did) when they got married or had children. So, many teachers didn't stay that long.

It's true that a lot of teachers try teaching for 2, 3, 4 years and decide it's not for them. Even accounting for that, we still have too many teachers, many of whom had to find other jobs. And although lots of them aren't teaching, if there were suddenly more openings, I think many of those not-currently-teaching teachers would jump back into the job pool. How many certified teachers do you know who are currently waitressing, working in a small business, working as a teacher's aide or afterschool supervisor, working in an administrative position, or unemployed?

The only reason that people can assert that teachers get paid too much is because there is an ample supply of available teachers to fill in the ranks, at low salaries. (In Willow Run, for example, a new teacher with a B.A. is starting out at about $33,000/year--or approximately $16.50 an hour.)

There is a solution for this: teacher education programs should restrict the number of people they admit to their programs for the next ten years. It's Economics 101: as the supply goes down to the level that matches the demand, the pay that teachers get will seem like a bargain.  Honestly, I think it would be a discussion-changer.

WISD Superintendent Search

I'm reproducing this WISD press release in its entirety.

My Summary: There are six interviews of finalist candidates for the WISD superintendent position. Interviews begin today. All meetings are open to the public and will be held at the WISD, 1819 S. Wagner Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. The Superintendent will have a lot of control over many of the consolidation initiatives that are ongoing, and that will affect every public school in the county. So yes, it's an important position.

Ann Arbor, MI— At a special meeting on March 15, 2011, the Washtenaw Intermediate Board of Education selected six candidates to interview for the position of superintendent. The candidates are:

Christine Beardsley
Ms. Beardsley is in her tenth year as Superintendent of the Oscoda Area Schools. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ferris State University in business administration, her master’s degree in educational administration from Central Michigan University and is scheduled to receive her doctorate in educational leadership in May, also from Central Michigan.
David J. Campbell
Mr. Campbell is in his eleventh year as Superintendent of the Olivet Community Schools. He received his undergraduate degree in education at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater and his master’s degree in educational administration at Illinois State University.
Thomas L. Goodney
Dr. Goodney is in his sixth year as Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Staff at the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (Columbus, OH). He received his bachelor’s degree in mass communications at Northern Michigan University, his master’s degree in speech at Miami University (Oxford, OH) and his doctorate in educational leadership, also at Miami University.
Beverly A. Knox-Pipes
Ms. Knox-Pipes is in her ninth year as Assistant Superintendent for Technology and Media Services at the Genesee Intermediate School District. She received her undergraduate degree in elementary education at the University of Texas at El Paso, her master’s degree at Lesley College (Cambridge, MA) focusing on computers in education and is currently completing requirements for her doctorate in instructional technology and distance education from Nova Southeastern University (Miami, FL).
Thomas M. Langdon
Dr. Langdon is in his seventh year as Superintendent of the Big Rapids Public Schools. He received a bachelor’s degree from Cornerstone University in biology and physical science and a second bachelor’s degree from Calvin College in education. His master’s in educational leadership is from Western Michigan University and his doctorate in educational leadership is from Central Michigan University.
Scott A. Menzel
Mr. Menzel is in his fourth year as Superintendent of the Livingston Educational Service Agency. He received his bachelor’s degree in religion from Vanguard University (Costa Mesa, CA), his master’s degree in philosophy and social policy from the American University (Washington, D.C.) and is completing work on his doctorate from Eastern Michigan University.

The interview schedule is as follows:
Monday, March 21, 2011
6:30 p.m.    Scott Menzel
8:00 p.m.    Beverly Knox-Pipes
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
6:30 p.m.    David Campbell
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
6:30 p.m.    Thomas Langdon
8:00 p.m.    Christine Beardsley
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
6:30 p.m.    Thomas Goodney

All interviews will be held at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, 1819 S. Wagner Rd, Ann Arbor MI and are open to the public.

The Board is selecting a new superintendent to succeed Dr. William C. Miller who retired in December of 2010 after more than 22 years of service to the district, 12 of them as superintendent. Dr. Michael Emlaw, Superintendent Search Consultant for the Michigan Association of School Boards, is assisting the WISD Board with its search. He can be reached at (734) 657.2425 or emlaw@comcast.net.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Congratulations! (I'm Not Mocking It)

Congratulations to the Ypsilanti High School and Community High School Mock Trial Teams that have advanced to the State competition. Last year, I believe they both advanced and Community went to the nationals. This time, Ypsilanti came in first and Community came in third in the regionals. The state competition is coming up--read more here.

And both teams had a major "trial." Both teams sent an "A" team and a "B" team, and in both cases, in the third round, the Ypsilanti A team and B team had to face off, as did the Community High A team and B team. [The implication is this: it's possible for both an A and a B team to advance to the states, but not if they face each other in the third round...And it can be tough to face your schoolmates!]

Rallies!

Ann Arbor Education Association Rally, Open to the Public,
Forsythe Middle School, Ann Arbor, 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday March 15th
From Brit Satchwell, AAEA President:
Thousands from Michigan are going to Madison on Saturday. Over 100,000 are expected. I've heard that many of you plan to drive, and I wish those travelers well. My thanks to them all for standing up for all of us.

For those who cannot go to Madison, AAEA has reserved the Forsythe Middle School Auditorium for a large public-invited ...union meeting on Tuesday, March 15, 4:30 p.m. I've invited the mayor, city council, our AAPS trustees, every teacher in the surrounding districts, our local parents, a few of our heroic legislators.
This is about Synder's budget, its effect on the elderly and the poor, his plan to remove our elected official as he sees fit, the rights of public sector workers to bargain, the plans Michigan is hatching for education and educators. In a nutshell, it's about our democracy, one of hundreds of local rallies taking place next Tuesday around Michigan. We need to pack da joint. Please be there - about one hour - and pass this invitation along to your friends.

There are also rallies at the Capitol in Lansing coming up--
Tuesday (tomorrow) from AARP, from 11-1 p.m.,
Wednesday 3/16/2011 from Working Families Protest at noon,
and Thursday 3/24/2011, a Higher Education rally organized by students, also at noon.
Find more information on all of those here.

So I think we've got the bigger issues covered--pensions, earned income tax credit, K-12 school funding cuts, higher education funding cuts...I'm not opposed to taxing pensions if the lower-income pension-holders are protected. Especially if that saves the Earned Income Tax Credit. Poverty is a major driver of poor educational achievement.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We Deserve Better: Or Go Pack, Go!

By now you've probably heard about the layoffs at annarbor.com. If you haven't, well--there were layoffs. They cut their lead blogger (so much for engaging with the web), they cut their entertainment staff, they cut general reporting...you get the idea. (And they appear not to be able to report on themselves, someone else had to do it for them. But at the link above at least Tony Dearing reacts.)

Right now, they don't even have a higher education reporter, and wait a minute...isn't this a company town? How could you not have a higher education reporter with UM and EMU in your front yard and back yard respectively? That tells you how thin the reporting staff is right now.

And honestly, when it comes to news reporting, I feel that we the people of Washtenaw County deserve better. Annarbor.com cannot cut its way into prosperity when what it needs is more reporters. Sure there are Heritage Newspapers, which is set up with a small-town model and might be all that Milan or Manchester can sustain, but it's not sufficient for Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti. I love the Ann Arbor Chronicle, but they will be the first to admit that their focus is limited, and they are not trying to run a full service newspaper or news site. [If they did, though, I'm sure it would be high quality.] It's unfair to the people of Ypsilanti to have to rely on Mark Maynard's blog to report on the grapevine.

Yesterday, twitter was abuzz with news of the layoffs. (Digression: I find I really like twitter. I can follow breaking news about Madison, WI and Japan and Libya simultaneously! Follow me as schoolsmuse.)

Anyway, someone on twitter asked me what I was looking for. I said, "The New York Times, only local." What???? No, seriously, I mean that. There are still, excellent and viable local papers--and if you lived in New York, you would know that the New York Times really is also a local paper. Anyway--he said he didn't think Ann Arbor could support that. I think he's wrong. In part I am making the same argument that annarbor.com tried to make, "We're such an educated community." Exactly--so people want their news. But we're not dumb, either. We don't want dumb news, we want smart news.

On the other hand, he might be right that there is not a good for-profit model for this right now. I started thinking about nonprofit models--after all, that's basically the world I come from. I don't know that your classic 501(c)3 is the right model either.

But then, I started thinking about the most recent Superbowl. Now, I'm not really a football fan (although I do always read the sports pages), but this Superbowl attracted my attention. In it, we had two small-market teams--Pittsburgh and Green Bay--make it to the top.
Although the greater Pittsburgh area has about a million people, Pittsburgh itself has only around 300,000 (yes, you say, that's the size of Washtenaw County). But they've got major league football, baseball, ice hockey and even soccer. And Green Bay? It's slightly smaller than Ann Arbor, but it's got a professional football team.

So how, you might wonder, does Green Bay survive in the big bad world of the NFL? Well, their fans have faith. But also--they have the right type of organization. Their greatest fans are their shareholders. They are non-profit and community-owned.

According to the Packers web site:
Shareholders
Green Bay Packers, Inc., has been a publicly owned, nonprofit corporation since Aug. 18, 1923, when original articles of incorporation were filed with Wisconsin’s secretary of state. A total of 4,750,937 shares is owned by 112,158 stockholders —none of whom receives any dividend on the initial investment. The corporation is governed by a board of directors and a seven member executive committee.

One of the more  remarkable business stories in American history, the team is kept viable by its shareholders — its unselfish fans. Even more incredible, the Packers have survived during the current era, permeated by free agency and the NFL salary cap. And, thanks in large part to Brown County’s passage of the 2000 Lambeau Field referendum, the club will remain solvent and highly competitive well into the future due to its redeveloped stadium. Fans have come to the team’s financial rescue on several occasions, including four previous stock sales: 1923, 1935, 1950 and 1997.

To protect against someone taking control of the team, the articles of incorporation prohibit any person from owning more than 200,000 shares. 


Whether this is the exactly right model, I'm not positive. There are several slightly different model of cooperatives too. But there is a lot of flexibility in the way cooperatives work, and cooperatives have a long history in Wisconsin and Michigan. We've got credit unions. We've got food co-ops. We've got housing co-ops. Why not a news cooperative?  

The time for planning is now.
It's our county, let's act like it.


And in the meantime? Go, Pack, Go!

Friday, March 11, 2011

When NYC Was A Union Town

Check out this blog post from Mark Naison of Fordham University:

Things We Had When New York Was A Union Town.

I thought this was a really interesting blog post, not least because my parents--who came from working-class families--hugely benefited from policy #6, the free college educations that they got at Queens College and City College. I attribute the life I have today in large part to the opportunities they had then.

As Naison writes:

Let me leave you with some numbers. In the early 1950's when 35% of the American work force was unionized, the United States had the smallest wealth gap (between the top and bottom 20 percent of its population) of any advanced nation in the world. Now, when 11.9% of our workforce is unionized, we have the largest.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Warmth of Other Suns

For my book group I'm reading Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns. It's the story of the Great Migration of black families north in the middle of the 1900s, as told through the eyes of three families. The title, The Warmth of Other Suns, comes from a Richard Wright poem, which says in part,

I was taking a part of the South
To transplant in alien soil...
Respond to the warmth of other suns
And, perhaps, to bloom. 

I am only a short way into the book, but I caught this description of the author's mother, as seen in a photo:
The one in the pearls used to greet the train when she was little and dream of going with it. She would become a teacher and, years later, my mother (p. 12, emphasis added).
Which made me stop and think. I already wrote, in the comments of this post, about how 60% of public sector workers are women. But also, it's well documented that both public sector workplaces and unionized workplaces have been more likely to hire people of color.  (According to the AFL-CIO, public sector workplaces are the leading employer of black men, and the second leading employer of black women.) And my friends tell me that in the black community, public sector jobs are seen as a source of stability and equality--and that the crown of public sector jobs is the job of a teacher.

So--is what is going on in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, to name a few places--simply an attack on unions and collective bargaining, a promotion of private enterprise? Or is it, ultimately, an attack on women that goes along with a "women belong in the home" mentality? Is it a racially-motivated attack? I don't say that lightly, but I also think that it has to be part of the question.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Is it an Emergency?

I don't think people have really understood the emergency financial management bill that has passed the House and Senate and is winding its way to Gov. Snyder's desk. It's not exactly clear under what circumstances a city, county, or school district can be thrown under emergency financial management, but it's pretty clear to me that with revenue sharing cuts, school aid fund cuts, and more, there is a lot of potential for many communities  to be put under emergency financial management...and not necessarily by a person, but potentially by a corporation.

Or, as a friend of mine wrote recently,
These bills will allow someone appointed by the Governor to arrive in a community, strip the locally elected school board or city council of their power, throw out contracts and not be challenged by the people, the elected officials or the courts. Governor Snyder has repeatedly said he supports collective bargaining rights, yet he will sign these bills. He also said he wants to invest in early childhood education, but his budget offered nothing. He offers us a budget of “shared sacrifice” but cuts taxes on corporations and increases taxes on senior citizens and low income working families.
So now, it seems, EVERY state--including Michigan--is Wisconsin. Governor Snyder can "say" that he is not going to mess with collective bargaining, but really, we all know that actions speak louder than words. Look no further than the emergency manager's bill.

You might be interested in Brian Robb's analysis of how all the cuts will affect Ypsilanti

You might be interested in the Detroit News' analysis of how the budget bills would affect eight sample taxpayers.

And here is Rachel Maddow's take on both Wisconsin and Michigan.

And in breaking news from Rachel Maddow's web site:
NBC News reports that the Wisconsin Senate has passed a bill stripping unionized state workers of collective bargaining rights without any Democrats present. It went 18-1 -- Republican Senator Dale Schultz was the lone nay. The Assembly looks likely to vote tomorrow morning. Democrats say the rushed proceedings violate the state's open meetings law and that they'll be asking the State Attorney General to intervene.

Citizens, it's time for us to find our voice. Which might be hard, because every day I find myself more and more speechless.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Good Luck With That, And More

Good Luck With That
The Ann Arbor school board has chosen Patricia Green to be the new superintendent. From what I read, both finalists seemed qualified. She is going to come in on a BIG new salary (comparable to what they are paying the New York City chancellor of schools, I understand). And then she gets to ask everybody to take pay cuts--when last year or the year before that they already gave concessions. Well, I say, good luck with that...

Trademarks
I was very happy to read this article about Ann Arbor trademarking high school logos. Faithful readers of this blog (the few, the proud!) may remember that last year I wrote a blog post titled Varsity Bear.  At a pharmacy I had found this very, very cute Pioneer bear and I had to take a picture of it. The bear on the left also has a purple P.
Liz Margolis, the district's Communications Director, wrote at the time,
"This is troubling for us in the district and especially at the high schools. The schools see no revenue from these sales. We are working to issue letters to these stores asking for voluntary percentage returns to the schools on all sales. The logos and names are "owned" by the district so the district can seek this return."

So, I'm glad to see some resolution for this issue--not just because it brings the district some revenue, but also because it's not always so easy to buy the perfect River Rat jersey. And I hope that Ann Arbor will SHARE its expertise with other districts in the county. After all, Chelsea and Manchester might want to trademark their logos too. I also hope that we can add the Community High School logo, and the middle school logos. I mean, who wouldn't want a

Rainbow Zebra sweatshirt (Community) or a
Golden Bear hat (Slauson) or a
super cute Scarlett Roadrunner!

Diane Ravitch
She's on fire! So is Jon Stewart. If you missed the pieces on his show last week--one an interview with Diane Ravitch, the other some discussion by Jon about "greedy" teachers, you can find them right here at Assorted Stuff's blog. (I was going to post them myself, but I'm feeling lazy.)

I'll tell you what I really respect about Diane Ravitch--she has shown that she has the capacity to change her mind, and admit--out loud--that she made mistakes. The rest of us (and I freely include myself) could learn a lot from her.


Mike Thompson: Those Durn Public Sector Unions
I always enjoy Mike Thompson's cartoons (he's the Free Press cartoonist) and this one seems particularly appropriate. Click on the link, you won't be sorry you did. (But my friend tells me the comments are vicious--I haven't read them.)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ask and Tell, Please

I just noticed that tomorrow night, Thursday March 3d, there is a special forum
Do Ask, Do Tell
at the Neutral Zone, 310 E. Washington, Ann Arbor,
from 7-10 p.m.
Riot Youth presents a Free, community event- Do Ask, Do Tell to have a conversation with LGBTQQA youth activists. Be inspired to help them create positive community change. The evening includes community building, poetry, theater performances and conversation. For more information, click here http://www.neutral-zone.org/events/891/do-ask-do-tell
Now, because of a conversation I had with another parent earlier today, this is my question for you (and please, do tell us)--in the comments section:

1. If your child's school has, you believe, an environment that is friendly to LGBT youth, what is it about the school that makes it friendly?


2. If your child's school has, you believe, an environment that is not friendly to LGBT youth, what is it about the school that makes it unfriendly?

(No need to give the school's names--I'm interested in the characteristics.)

Thanks,

Ruth

So Good: Stewart Gets It Right

Here's what Jon Stewart has to say about teachers and their unions (Hat Tip to Assorted Stuff):

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