Are You The Judge?

download xI’m unsure where the direction of this post will go because my head is all in a jumble. Chances are you’ll get confused as the post continues, but try your hardest to do so, okay? Great.

It’s one thing for someone to know you for a short time, and then suddenly assume they know you enough to judge your future actions and decisions. Judgmental. Are you? I really hope you didn’t answer that with a no. As a human being with flaws out of this world, very far from perfection I think we all do it, and that’s just the way it is.

Don’t you dare think you’re not judgmental because it’s bad thing. The truth is, it’s not. Not always at least. Judgment is a must have characteristic which I think is closely tied to your instincts. The way you judge is what matters, or should I say the reasons your judgments about something or some one are based upon.

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School vouchers and the NCLB conspiracy

I hope a lot of people are concerned by a $100 million voucher proposal recently announced by House Republicans. The bill would provide voucher money to poor communities where public schools aren’t meeting the testing standards imposed by the No Child Left Behind Act.

(And to think some folks wondered what the real strategy behind NCLB was. The law’s goal isn’t to fix public schools—it’s to show how bad some of them are doing in order to justify vouchers.)

Although the bill’s sponsors acknowledged that Congress isn’t likely to vote on it this year, the very attempt proves that the religious right and the Republicans who do their bidding are indeed one rascally group.

Getting poor people to buy in on the voucher idea is a smart strategy, because it hits the public schools where they’re most vulnerable—in the country’s most economically devastated areas, where any kind of school would have a tough time educating children. Pandering to the poor also creates the illusion of the G.O.P. as champions of the disadvantaged. (You may have just choked on your coffee as you read that last sentence, but, hey, money talks in politics.)

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Back On My Feet

images-99My laptop has been repaired, and sadly nothing new will be exposed this post. Why? Well, with the laptop gone, nothing could have been made, created, or the like. But, instead during such a long break I had, I mapped out some ideas on notebook paper and have done a little brain storming for what is to come to the site.

Change is good? Of course it is, so there will be changes, preferably by early September. I think a lot of you will enjoy the updates and changes as the come slowly but surely and can’t wait to see how things turn out.

While I’ve been gone, I completed my Elite Scholar matriculation and successfully gotten through two more weeks of the oh so dreadful school. I also got a new cellphone and have just been going to marching band practice and doing what homework I could before I’d fall asleep from exhaustion.

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Parents Perspective on Teen Text Messaging

download yIt was a foggy, late September morning here in northern Wisconsin. The sun had just come up, the grass was wet with dew, and the kids were scrambling to gather their backpacks and head out the door to catch the bus.

As my two teenage boys strolled across the dewey grass, I peered out the front door to catch a glimpse of both of them side by side, heads down, texting. It was one of those classic moments where you wish you had a camera right there in your hand – they were walking off into the fog toward the bus stop checking their phones and texting at 7:00 am.

It made me think – how much teen texting is too much? At what point does it become a problem, or perhaps, even and addiction?

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

As most of you with teenage children can attest, teenagers love to text. While text messaging with your teens can be a great way to stay in touch with them, it’s also important to set limits and stick to them when their text messaging starts to interfere with other parts of your lives. Continue Reading

A Passion For Art

Klokke works out of a bright, spacious art studio at I.S. 392 in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Student artwork, neatly matted and hung, covers every wall. “If you frame and mount it, the kids feel good about it,” he says. “It means the art is worth something.”

Each year, Klokke selects several students to participate in a special enrichment activity at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Students “adopt” a piece of artwork and do a semester’s worth of research about the piece. Then the students return to the museum to present their research and field questions from other students and museum staff. Continue Reading

Small bakery provides great work experience for students

HOMEMADE_BREAD_AND_SWEET_ROLLS_ARE_MADE_DAILY_BY_JIM_TILLMAN_OF_TILLMAN'S_BAKERY._IT_IS_THE_ONLY_ONE_REMAINING_THAT..._-_NARA_-_558362Rosenberg witnesses first-hand the transformations some students make while working at the bakery. “When they start, the students are afraid to touch anything!” she says. “But then they try, and if they make a mistake, they see it isn’t the worst thing in the world.”

She adds that students working at the bakery might discover talents they never knew they had. Students also gain important math skills as they calculate measurements for her delicious baked goods.

“Working here is hands-on, and the skills stick in your head,” she says.

Not only does Madge provide great work experience for students, she also supports public school libraries through The Fund’s Shop for Class program. Continue Reading

Inspiring school librarian

Each morning at 6:30, Peter flips the sign on his library door to “Open.” Within minutes, the first students appear and by 8:00 a.m. there are as many as forty students packing the room – reading, studying, or using the computers.

“If you can get the kids to come in early, it’s a great way to get their day off and running,” says Kornicker. His book-jammed library is open all day, and he usually spends his lunch period at his desk to serve more students. Continue Reading

The Value of Mentoring a Student

Their first event together was a cook-off at Ernst and Young for all the mentor-mentee pairs which Miller, 23, likened to a junior high school dance. “Everyone was nervous, and nobody wanted to mingle. But we hit it off right away.”

Through their shared experiences, Martha introduced Zuleika to a world she hadn’t experienced and has helped to overcome her shyness. Most memorable was a trip that several of the mentors and mentees took to a dance studio in Manhattan, where the pairs learned to salsa. “I’m used to salsa dancing. In my culture we do it all the time,” Zuleika says. “So I felt like I was helping to teach Martha.”

Lately, Martha and Zuleika have been working on ways to balance the competing pressures of family and school. Zuleika’s mother is in cosmetology school, and since she is the oldest child, she often needs to babysit for her younger brothers. Martha is helping Zuleika come up with a plan for managing her time.

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Transition from a troubled adolescent to star student

“I was scared of hiking and water rafting. I was so scared I was screaming ‘I want my mom!’ But it showed me how to be a leader. If you are not uncomfortable, you are not doing anything. This whole year I was uncomfortable, but if you are too comfortable it means you are only doing the same things over and over again.

Chris White calls Jessica, who was the highest performing girl in his class last year, “the best role model we have. She’s very conscientious and helps the other kids; you can see that the other girls look up to her.” Continue Reading

Why changing large urban high schools into smaller communities works

Martin, a burly, 61-year-old, Long Island native, was taught soccer by a Brazilian Holocaust survivor. He is particularly well positioned to help needy youngsters attain their goals, as his own life once looked despairingly bleak. Twenty years ago, while living in New Mexico, Martin faced significant personal trials and setbacks. He describes his life as “chaotic and unmanageable,” but after returning to New York he worked as a cab driver and got his life on track.

He got a job teaching emotionally disturbed adolescents in East Harlem and became completely focused on making a positive impact. “Knowing you have a path and a direction and a goal makes you succeed. If we can instill that into children we can go somewhere. I put my energies into making their lives better.” Continue Reading