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Practically Idealistic blog
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  John Dewey and Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Teachers, Parents, Literacy, Community

The United Way and New Haven Public Schools highlight “the ART of school success” —  attendance, reading, and time for conversation — as ways for home life to bolster students.  Such efforts demand greater attention, from early childhood on.  Literacy is an appropriate focus.

The New Haven Register recently published "Improving Education Involves Everyone" – a piece that I wrote on related themes.

7:14 am est 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Let Peace Begin

The ineffable cruelty of the violence in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday has prompted grief around the world.

For me, the surreal shock and relative proximity of the events evoked in some ways experiences of September 11, 2001, when I was living and working in Manhattan.

This afternoon, it was moving to listen to a choir perform a “Holiday Joy” concert in which scores of girls participated, from age seven (including my daughter) to teenagers, holding hands as they represented the innocence and ideals we cherish.  The choir sang, in addition to such favorites as “Come all ye faithful” and “Gloria in excelcis Deo” and Hanukah standards, the following words of the song “Let peace begin with me”:

Let there be peace on Earth,
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on Earth,
The peace that was meant to be.

The world is our family,
Brothers and sisters are we,
Let us walk with each other,
In perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me,
Let this be the moment now,
With every step I take,
Let this be my solemn vow,

To take each moment and live each moment
In peace, eternally.
Let there be peace on Earth,
And let it begin with me.

5:41 pm est 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Advanced Placement in New Haven, Students and Teachers

The Yale Daily News (YDN) ran a December 4 article, “City schools win AP recognition,” that included an interview with Wen Jiang, featured days earlier in a New Haven Independent article.

According to the YDN article, “... Jiang attributes the success to a ‘supportive environment’ created by teachers, counselors and peers. Jiang said he felt encouraged to take AP classes and so did many of his peers, adding that teachers would stay after school multiple times a week to help students with their coursework.”

I met Wen Jiang during his middle-school years and applaud him, his character, ability, and effort – and that of the teachers he credits.
10:40 am est 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Donating Blood

I donated blood yesterday and encourage others to give blood, which one may do every eight weeks.

8:39 am est 

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