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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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Sunday, November 10, 2013

History, Civics, and STEAM vs. STEM

The Connecticut Mirror published my piece on "History, Civics, and Balancing 'STEM'" – an effort to relate debate over the humanities to civic literacy.

7:37 am est 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Literacy Forum: Teachers, Librarians, and Young Readers

A recent Literacy Forum gave voice to teachers, librarians, and students addressing, “Why read?”

This is a timeless question that each generation has to answer, from the agricultural and then the industrial era to the advent of radio, TV, and many more technologies since.  One accessible, brief exploration is Motoko Rich’s November 2007 New York Times article.

Francis Bacon, in 1597, recognized that “knowledge … is power.”  In his 1625 essay Of Studies, he asserted: “Reading maketh a full man ... and writing an exact man.” 

In 1771, George Washington wrote: “I conceive a knowledge of books is the basis upon which other knowledge is to be built.”

Amid all that has changed over the centuries, these insights endure.

7:57 am est 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Blood Time

It’s bloody likely that I’ll give blood next week, eight weeks since my last donation.  More donors are needed.

10:36 pm edt 

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