February 23, 2006
Bronx Charter School for the Arts
Here's a niche in a growing market - Civic Builders in New York takes on one of the most difficult aspects of charter school development, finding real estate. So far, they have completed one project and are currently working on their second.
February 16, 2006
FX's new series, "Black.White." brings two self-defined "progressive" families together to trade ethnicity - wigs, paint, and contacts re-cast a black family as white and a white family as black. The two families then interact with each other and the cameras in a reality t.v. setting... From the NY Times article it sounds as though the white family still doesn't recognize the impact their whiteness has on their privilege and culture. I'm curious to see the show itself, and whether it trivializes, justifies, or condemns the subtle (or not so subtle) racism that dominates American culture.
Before I forget where these articles went:
- NY Times: Housing for Teachers in Santa Clara
- NY Times: As Test Scores Jump, Raleigh Credits Integration by Income
- The Planning Report - The Planning Center Instructs Schools on How & Where to Build
- Teachers as Placemakers: Investigating Teacher's Use of Physical Learning Environment
The City of Liverpool worked with local children to map raod safety hazards between residences and schools. Maps of the results and a film made by the students are on display in the Maritime Museum, and the city council has allocated funding to deal with many of the safety hazards noted by the children.
Nifty online info gatherer/value tracker - some of the data may be incorrect, however, but it's a good start...
February 09, 2006
San Francisco's recent school closures are an apt example of declining children populations in urban areas, but what will the city do with the left over buildings? Granted, the District could make a bundle in SF's real estate market, but in DC Evolve LLC has taken an innovative approach, converting an elementary school into housing rather than tearing it down and rebuilding. The developer also attempted to retain some of the school's charm (?), by leaving in some urinals and preserving a green floor stain from squatting drug users.
The biggest obstacle initially, Mr. Swanson says, was removing pigeon droppings. Three Dumpsters were required for the job. His advice to anyone undertaking a similar project is to "plan triple what you expect to spend." To cover expenses, Evolve sold off other properties it owned because banks wouldn't consent to loans.
February 08, 2006
Thanks to TomPaine for posting about a working paper by Ebonya Washington from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Apparently, if congresspeople have daughters, they are more likely to vote in favor of reproductive choice. I've posted the abstract here, but, unfortunately, the working paper itself costs money.
Economists have long concerned themselves with environmental influences, such as neighborhood, peers and family on individuals' beliefs and behaviors. However, the impact of children on parents' behavior has been little studied. Parenting daughters, psychologists have shown, increases feminist sympathies. I test the hypothesis that children, much like neighbors or peers, can influence adult behavior. I demonstrate that the propensity to vote liberally on reproductive rights is significantly increasing in a congress person's proportion of daughters. The result demonstrates not only the relevance of child to parent behavioral influence, but also the importance of personal ideology in a legislator's voting decisions as it is not explained away by voter preferences.
February 07, 2006
Houston's Board of Education voted unanimously to implement bonuses for teachers based on student progress on test scores.
In its filing last week, the NAACP and other civil rights groups actually asked to be included in the suit with the federal government so that their lawyers could argue on behalf of the fed's. What will the judge decide?
February 05, 2006
The SF Weekly takes a look at the high percentage of African American students in special day classes in San Francisco and the overall performance gap.
Most significantly, the gap between San Francisco's overall score and the score for its African-American students remains far and away the widest achievement gap of California's seven major urban districts. (The Academic Performance Index, or API, measures a range from 200 to a possible high of 1,000.) This gap in San Francisco is 85 points higher than the gap in Sacramento, 96 points higher than the gap in San Diego, and a full 118 points higher than the gap in Los Angeles.
February 04, 2006
We took a quick trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium today - much fun. The photos pretty much set themselves up...
The Exploratorium opened it's new exhibit, Reconsidered Materials, with an evening of live performances and multi-generational fun. In dim lighting, a thrumming d.j. and overwhelmed bar complemented art installations and adults at play amongst the Exploratorium's regular science exhibits.
You win some, you lose some. What started out as an "elegant" romantic history became far more violent than I expected. True, some narratives and storylines call for detailed descriptions of torture and death, but somehow The News from Paraguay dissolved into horror in a jarring, vulgar feeling way. I wish I had not read this book.
February 02, 2006
Hungarian author Imre Kertesz was imprisoned in Buchenwald Concentration Camp as a child during WWII and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002. In Fatelessness he recounts the story of 14 year old Georg Koves, a boy who follows a path similar to Kertesz's own. The power of this book lies in the simple, straightforward depiction of events. The language is clean, without sentiment, and yet terribly vivid. The matter-of-fact narration reveals the initial surprise and step-by-step acceptance of concentration camp conditions as a necessity of survival and a type of guilt, a story that must be shared by Georg afterwards rather than put behind him. There are no new beginnings.
It is by far the most moving, humbling account of the Holocaust that I have read.
The excellent work of Tom Wilkinson, the book's translator, is also worth noting.