Sunday, September 26, 2010
New Haven Institute, National Seminars, and White House STEM Report
7:57 am edt
There is news about the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute and the work of its Fellows. Volumes of curriculum units from national seminars are also available.
a Report to the President on K-12 STEM Education, released by the White House, cites the Teachers Institute in the following way (on pages 101-102 of the pre-publication
version of the full report):
"A variety of programs attempt to bridge the gaps between public schools and the STEM professional
community, but not all such programs provide teachers and schools with resources that are useful in their classrooms. Nonetheless,
several programs demonstrate the potential for such connections to benefit K-12 schools. For example, Teachers Institutes,
which began in 1978 in New Haven and have since expanded to cities across the country, pair universities and school districts,
allowing teachers to identify the topics on which they would like to collaborate. University professors then guide these teachers
through inquiry-based learning in a STEM subject area. More recently, National Lab Day (described in Box 8-4) has linked STEM
professionals with K-12 teachers and schools for projects and lab experiments using a technology-based matching service similar
to that used for online dating. The United States is home to more than one million STEM professionals over age 60, many of
whom have retired and could constitute a vast cadre of volunteers for K-12 schools. It is important that we find way to harness
these sources of partnership and expertise in a committed, sustained way relevant to K-12 teachers and students."
. . .
July 10 post to this blog contained news of Congressional legislation to create a grants program to establish Teachers Institutes in states throughout the country, modeled after the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute®.
is some background on recognition over a 30-year period for the Teachers Institute approach.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Science Saturdays: October 2, 9, 16
9:10 am edt
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Organizing Schools for Improvement
1:07 pm edt
I recently read Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago, whose authors identify five “essential supports” or “ingredients” for successful school reform.
From effective leadership to the learning climate, from curriculum and instruction to a school's ties to parents and
the community, these factors are interrelated and interact. Among them is “professional capacity.”
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Constitution Day, 1787 and 2010
12:53 am edt
Yale University recognized Constitution Day, with information about resources including lectures by Yale Law School graduates on the First Amendment and the media and
on campaign finance law.
Burt of the Law School faculty has led Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute seminars, local and national, on subjects such as the Supreme Court in American political history.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
September 11: Remembering and Reclaiming the Day
5:41 am edt
Christian Science Monitor as well as the New Haven Independent covered yesterday’s celebration of Eid al-Fitr, a holiday with resonance for my wife, who warmly remembers many
such occasions with her family and friends. (This year we were not able to participate in an Eid gathering,
but it’s a cultural tradition to which she plans to return.) The coincidence of Eid this year with events to remember victims of the September 11th attacks has led some Muslims to mute or
at least more publicly explain their celebrations and has increased non-Muslims' awareness of Islam.
Susan Campbell's Hartford Courant column describes the “intersection of the feast of Eid (the end of Ramadan), the Sabbath of Repentance (the Sabbath between
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) and the anniversary of 9/11.” West Hartford Rabbi Debra Cantor will mark these occasions
“by sharing her pulpit at… Congregation B'Nai Shalom with Aida Mansoor… a board member of the Muslim Coalition
of Connecticut and a member of the Connecticut Council for Interreligious Understanding.” Today, “the women will
share holy texts and teachings about fasting as Jews prepare for their Day of Atonement, and Muslims celebrate the end of
their holy month of Ramadan.”
In Nicholas Kristof’s Times column on "The Healers of 9/11," he praises the activism of two September 11 widows who are supporting advancement for Afghan women. He
writes, "Will all of this turn Afghanistan into a peaceful country? Of course not. Education and employment are not panaceas.
But the record suggests that schools and economic initiatives do tend over time to chip away at fundamentalism -- and they're
. . .
Today is the ninth anniversary of September 11, 2001. Having
been on 26th Street in Manhattan that morning when the World Trade Center towers were attacked a few miles to the
south, I have reflected each year since on that experience – and in memory
of the victims and their families.
This year, the sobering anniversary of that horrific occasion includes an affirmatively
happy event: the wedding of a friend of mine and his bride, a journalist who has reported for years from places such as Afghanistan,
Iraq, and Pakistan (after they met in
Her reporting has included,
for example, a May 2009 article on madrasas, Pakistan's Islamic Schools Fill Void, but Fuel Militancy . She wrote: "Pakistan's poorest families have turned to Islamic schools that feed and house children while
pushing a militant brand of Islam." The article noted that "only about half of Pakistanis can read and write, far below the proportion
in countries with similar per-capita income, like Vietnam. One in three school-age Pakistani children does not attend school,
and of those who do, a third drop out by fifth grade.” Education of girls is especially deficient.
The wedding today represents
the enduring power of reason, tolerance, freedom and love as a counter to violent hatred. Let’s toast
the couple's marriage, and the work she has done to illuminate our world– its dangers,
its frailties, its humanity, its hopes.
. . .
In November 1990, another journalist reporting
from Pakistan wrote about Afghanistan...
"Praise Allah and pass the ammunition: As Moscow and Washington try to end the Afghan War, the mujeheddin turn up the
heat" in U.S. News & World
"Rebel commander Massoud Ahmed Shah trekked
back to...Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley last week after conquering Islamabad. The best known and least seen of the mujeheddin
warriors, who claims to control a 1,000-mile-long swath of territory along the Soviet border from China to Iran, was received
like a head of state on his first visit to Pakistan since the Afghan War began. Everyone from the President and Army chief
to the American ambassador took time off from Pakistan's political machinations to hear his warning: Don't gamble away the
gains of our 12-year war.… 'An Afghan settlement is bound to be a messy process that could take years,' notes a U.S.
negotiator. The State Department likes to compare Afghanistan to Cambodia, where the United Nations Security Council subscribed
to a peace formula a year before it was accepted by the warring parties. Yes, but. A senior U.S. official concedes that 'Afghanistan
makes Cambodia look easy.'"
than a decade later, in a New York Times article published the morning of September 11, 2001, the attempted assassination (later confirmed) of that same military commander Ahmed Shah Massoud was discussed; reports
initially disagreed on whether he was dead. In retrospect, Massoud’s killing was linked to the 9/11 attacks on the
. . .
Finally, an excerpt
of 2008 recollections, posted on this blog:
September 11, 2001, I was on Manhattan's West 26th Street when the planes struck the World Trade Center just a few miles downtown.
Astonished concern soon turned to horror upon news of the second, third, and eventually fourth planes. As we left our
offices by mid-morning, the smell of explosive chemical fire and spread of dust were becoming evident. By nature a fast
walker, I sped with particular vigor uptown to meet my girlfriend at the landmark location we'd hastily arranged by phone:
Zabar's on Broadway, just north of H & H. (She was evacuating the Citigroup Tower in midtown, which seemed a plausible
terrorist target.) It wasn't the comfort of bagels and lox but merely a familiar rendezvous we were seeking. We
didn't have cell phones, and land lines were rapidly failing, too. So Zabar's it was.
The experiences of those initial hours were surreal,
as the magnitude of the attacks and their impact emerged, the human losses strained imagination, and we worried about what
might come next. Some memories remain vivid. The next day's newspaper included photographs of people leaping to
certain death to flee the flaming towers. Posters with pictures of missing people were everywhere. Shrines grew
to honor fallen firefighters. We explicitly thanked the police officers patrolling the streets. The stir of helicopter
surveillance overhead could be heard for nights to come. Images of the American flag roused a sentimental patriotism, immune
to efforts by politicians -- then and since -- to exploit the attacks to divert attention from our national insecurities.
measure I will forever be a New Yorker, even years after returning to my home state of Connecticut. Peace to those families who lost loved ones . . . years
ago. Those of us who walked away from the shock of September 11 will always remember it and them. In living there
is greater purpose, to savor our days and try to help make the sober brutalities of the world a little less brutal."
Monday, September 6, 2010
Recognizing and Defusing Bigotry Toward Muslims
8:43 am edt
a New York Times article, “American Muslims Ask, Will We Ever Belong? ” notes that “The furor over a proposed center near ground zero has many worried
about their place in American society…. The great mosque debate seems to have unleashed a flurry of vandalism and harassment
directed at mosques: construction equipment set afire at a mosque site in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; a plastic pig with graffiti
thrown into a mosque in Madera, California; teenagers shooting outside a mosque in upstate New York” – a troubling
flare of ignorance-fueled hostility.
Connecticut 18-year-old Tasmia Khan wrote in a September 1 Hartford Courant opinion piece about bigotry she encountered while volunteering at a hospital and wearing a headscarf. A practicing Muslim
and a daughter of immigrants from Bangladesh, she asserted: “Across America, Islamophobic hate speech and political
grandstanding have painted Muslims antagonistically, creating deep negative impressions among those who do not know Muslims
personally. We need to change that and promote peace. The work could start here in Connecticut with more schools, colleges
and institutions making a commitment to diversity and organizing events that promote ethnic, religious and racial tolerance.”
Yale faculty member
Zareena Grewal, in an August 23 Huffington Post piece, lamented: “What alarms me most is the way misinformation about Islam and Muslims, and in many cases hateful disinformation,
dominates the media coverage…. I wish more Americans would reconsider what they think
they know about Muslims and Islam, interrogating why they think
they know it and who they take as an expert.”
Interfaith Youth Core and 100 People of Faith are two promising organizations.
Patel of Interfaith Youth Core spoke at a September 2008 Ramadan dinner at Yale, where encouraging cross-cultural developments include the Slifka Center for Jewish Life’s hosting of an 'iftar' break-fast dinner during Ramadan days ago.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Reading, Writing, and Rigor in High Schools--and Before
7:13 am edt
Strauss of the Washington Post recently featured commentary by Will Fitzhugh on her blog, The Answer Sheet.
this year, her Post colleague Jay Mathews cited Will Fitzhugh and the Concord Review in a column
on encouraging reading of non-fiction in high schools.
A December 3, 2009 post to this blog quoted Jay Mathews in his November 19, 2009 article on "High School Research Papers: A Dying Breed":
"The leading U.S. proponent of more research work for the nation’s teens is Will Fitzhugh, who has been publishing high school student papers in his Concord Review journal
. . .
of years ago, I attempted to sketch "The Roots of Rigor: Early Learning, Reading, Teacher Quality" -- since to demand radically
more from most high-school students without their being further motivated, supported, and prepared in earlier years would
be a limited strategy. Higher expectations at home, at school, and from the community must not begin only when students
are adolescents, even if we can do better by students -- and students themselves can do better -- wherever they may now be.