Henry David Thoreau refused to pay the poll tax put in to support the American-Mexican War, and was sentenced to a night in jail. His friend Ralph Waldo Emerson came to visit him and asked him "David, what are you doing in there?" Thoreau replied, "What are you doing out there?"
I helped teach the U.S. Constitution during Constitution Week. Or what's left of it.
"Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster...for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
It was a dark hour indeed on Thursday when the United States Senate voted to end the constitutional republic and transform the country into a "Leader-State," giving the president and his agents the power to capture, torture and imprison forever anyone - American citizens included - whom they arbitrarily decide is an "enemy combatant." This also includes those who merely give "terrorism" some kind of "support," defined so vaguely that many experts say it could encompass legal advice, innocent gifts to charities or even political opposition to US government policy within its draconian strictures. All of this is bad enough - a sickening and cowardly surrender of liberty not seen in a major Western democracy since the Enabling Act passed by the German Reichstag in March 1933.
An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight. It is therefore imperative that the nation see to it that a suitable education be provided for all its citizens... I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
Reading Rockets promises a heck of a lot. I can't wait to sample some of the online video offerings when I'm at school.
Reading Rockets is a national multimedia project offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help.
The Reading Rockets project is comprised of PBS television programs, available on videotape and DVD; online services, including the web sites ReadingRockets.org and ColorinColorado.org; and professional development opportunities. Reading Rockets is an educational initiative of WETA, the flagship public television and radio station in the nation's capital, and is funded by a major grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
Reading Rockets aims to inform and inspire parents, teachers, childcare providers, administrators, and others who touch the life of a child by providing accurate, accessible information on how to teach kids to read and help those who struggle. The project is guided by an advisory panel made up of leading researchers and experts in the field of reading. We produce and distribute research-based PBS television programs, online services, and professional development opportunities, which are available at no cost.
Writing is fundamentally about PURPOSE and AUDIENCE. That is why writing for a prompt students may not care about, for a stranger they will never interact with, to create a product they cannot keep and will be destroyed after it is graded, is a RIDICULOUS model around which many teachers build their writing programs today. (I am talking here, of course, about the event we call “standardized writing assessment” in the great state of Texas.) Of course students need to learn how to write to a prompt. But writing is about so much more than doing something for a test. It is about writing with a PURPOSE for an authentic AUDIENCE that cares enough to not only read, but write back thoughtfully and constructively.