Sunday Rants (12/06/09)


It’s been a hectic week at home. My son has been keeping us up at night. On Wednesday he slept from 6:30pm-8:00pm and then my wife tried to calm him down for about a half and hour. He fell asleep in her arms but when she went to put him in his crib he woke right up. Then I tried for a half and hour or so and the same thing happened to me. This went on for most of the night until he finally fell asleep from 1am-6am. Needless to say we were both exhausted the next morning. We have (had?) a nice routine going so that makes it tough as well. But one good piece of advice I received was parents need to recognize it’s difficult to stay consistent when your baby is constantly changing.

It’s getting more and more difficult to make it through the NYT. I used some of my increasingly worthless airline miles to purchase a subscription to the WSJ. It’s a decent paper, but I still miss my daily NY Sun. In this weekend’s NYT a couple of items caught my eye. One was an op-ed and the other was a very short piece on the New Black Panther Party (NBPP).

In the latter article, Attorney General Holder announced he is dismissing a voter intimidation lawsuit against the NBPP. The Justice Department filed the suit because members of the group, including one with a billyclub, were stationed outside of a polling place in Philadelphia:

Malik Zulu Shabazz, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, told The Associated Press the civil lawsuit filed by the federal government had ”no merit” because the party doesn’t condone voter intimidation.

Shabazz said he was speaking publicly about the issue for the first time because he wanted to set the record straight before the party began celebrating its 20th anniversary during a national three-day summit that started Friday in Dallas.

”I want everybody to take a second look,” Shabazz said. ”I certainly would like black America and all the world to take a second look at the New Black Panther Party at this point and to understand that we’re sincerely trying to help our people.”

The op-ed concerned the lack of qualified and experienced teachers in low-income communities and our society’s need to train more people to teach. This is a highly laudable goal. But the solution advocated displays how out of touch the NYT’s is with the needs and concerns of low-income people. So what is the solution? Harvard’s new PhD program in education:

[T]he Harvard Graduate School of Education is creating a new doctoral degree to be focused on leadership in education. It’s the first new degree offered by the school in 74 years. The three-year course will be tuition-free and conducted in collaboration with faculty members from the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The idea is to develop dynamic new leaders who will offer the creativity, intellectual rigor and professionalism that is needed to help transform public education in the U.S…

Students will spend the third year of the doctoral leadership program in a “field placement” at some organization or agency — say, a large urban school district or educational advocacy group — to gain practical experience. School officials likened this aspect of the program to a medical residency. Instead of doing a dissertation, the students will lead an education reform project in that third year.

The overall goal, said Ms. McCartney, is to produce a cadre of highly skilled educational leaders who are committed to reform of the profession, knowledgeable about the way children learn and well-grounded in the real world of practical management and politics.

How many of the Harvard grads will stay in the hood after their field placement? How many will even continue to teach? I suspect not many. They will move into policy positions and other places in the educational bureaucracy.

But even if these Doctor’s of Education did stay, one of the main deficiencies would still exist, the lack of teachers who have a mastery of knowledge in a specific field. In other words, the schools–especially schools in low-income communities–need educators with graduate degrees in Math, English, History and the Sciences, not in Education. I’m all for interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary education and research, but these approaches require a strong background in a specific discipline as a foundation.

A slightly amusing story from the idiot activists department. A New Jersey eco-terrorist was busted for selling dope, in China. Justin Franchi Solondz was sentenced to three years in prison for manufacturing drugs:

After serving his time, Mr. Solondz, 30, who is on the F.B.I.’s wanted list, will be deported to the United States, where he faces charges stemming from what the authorities say was his role in an arson rampage that destroyed buildings in three western states as a member of a group related to the environmental extremist organization Earth Liberation Front. He was indicted in absentia in 2006…

According to his father, Paul Solondz, the Dali police said they discovered 33 pounds of marijuana buried in the courtyard of the house that the younger Mr. Solondz rented, as well as what the prosecutor described as a drug laboratory inside the house…

According to federal authorities, Mr. Solondz made incendiary devices that destroyed a horticulture center at the University of Washington in Seattle in May 2001. Prosecutors also accuse him of burning down buildings and vehicles in Oregon that same day, and linked him to a later arson attack in California. The combined loss of property totaled more than $5 million.

On the subject of environmentalists, what’s up with Climate Gate? I’m not one of those people who thinks industrial pollution does not have an impact on the environment. As someone who grew up in Los Angeles in the 1970s, I know it does. But the actions some scientists are taking to marginalize those they disagree with really rubs me the wrong way.

In other news, I’m glad that John Batchelor is back on WABC radio M-F from 9:00-midnight. He used to be on Sundays and then they increased his days to Saturday and Sunday and now he is on seven days a week. Batchelor has a sense of balance and civility uncommon to much AM talk radio. Check him out on the web if you are out of the broadcast range.

Last Sunday I tuned in and was surprised to hear Drinking with Bob on the air before Batchelor. I used to watch Bob rant on Queens Public Television back when we were living in the borough. But WABC? Bob has definitely hit the big time! I know it isn’t highbrow but I wish him plenty of success at WABC. Check out his blog here.

One response »

  1. Oh, the pain of tiredness! We more or less gave up on cots with both of ours when they were quite young, and went through all kinds of musical beds configurations. The youngest still climbs into our bed halfway through most nights, and she’s five!

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