Monday, January 21, 2013

Best of the blogathon

Now I remember why I don’t usually post every day: because it makes it almost impossible to respond to people’s comments in a timely fashion, and to comment on other people’s blogs. Some great stuff has been flying by from my fellow blogathoners and in the comments here, and I can only struggle to churn out the next day’s post. With luck, I might be able to catch up on commenting; until then, my apologies.

Nicholas J’s blog is on fire. The value of his view from the inside is especially apparent in posts like “Would that diversity were so simple,” “The Enduring Impact of Budget Cuts,” and “Who is Really to Blame for Discipline Problems?” Anyone who thinks schools aren’t teaching to the test should read his description of how writing in taught in his AP history course. But just go to the front page and read all the way through.

Karen W. has apparently hired a staff of research assistants (a possible violation of blogathon protocol!) to help write her posts. When I see headlines about how the legislature will make education reform a priority, I usually reach for the bottle, but Karen goes to work. It is always easier to read this kind of news when it comes from someone who shares some basic skepticism about it. And her take on what “parent engagement” should really mean is not to be missed.

NorthTOmom, never one to blog daily, has nevertheless posted a four-parter on “Teachers: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly (plus the Sexy!).” Part 3(b), on “the Sexy,” is a great meditation on an aspect of education that few people talk about and that makes people nervous when they do. Also, I should point out that her posts inspired me to post about teachers and gender in the public imagination, which in turn led to a significant increase in traffic to this blog because of all the Google searches for “sexy teacher.” (Now I can disappoint that many more people.)

And when it all gets to be too much, check out Scott’s blog for a musical respite, with original commentary to boot. My favorite, so far, has been the Schubert accompanying this post. But the archives are full of good stuff, too. Scott’s involved in a bigger project of exploring the connection between jazz and American philosophy; you can get a taste here and here. And there’s never any shortage of great music: I’ve been hooked, for various periods, on the Duke Ellington here, the Nina Simone here, and the Van Morrison here, among others. (You can also read Scott’s film writing here.)

What will become of the blogathoners when February arrives?

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