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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, May 10, 2015

Literacy Forum: Why Is Math Important?

The New Haven Independent published my account of a recent event on “quantitative literacy” or “numeracy,” exploring “Why Is Math Important?” as part of a Literacy Forum series.

7:49 am edt 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Science Fair(s)

Next week is the New Haven Citywide Science Fair, which in past years has been featured on news reports. 

A February 2011 (February 12) post discussed science fairs and science education.

7:46 am edt 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Appreciating Teachers, Every Day

This is “Teacher Appreciation Week.”

As noted previously – e.g., in a May 2013 (May 5) post – we should recognize the work of teachers every day.  Still, this is a particular occasion to do so.

10:11 pm edt 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

“The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace,” by Jeff Hobbs

I recently read The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, by Jeff Hobbs, who was his roommate at Yale from 1998-2002.

This is a sad, powerful story that shouldn’t be revealed here.  The author is a perceptive writer who balances compassion for his friend with journalistic inquiry and a novelist’s narration. 

One detail that I learned about Newark, New Jersey: According to Jeff Hobbs, it has “the smallest proportion of open space per person of any city in the country.”

7:32 pm edt 

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