Shut UP, history! You are so crazy!
Born in 1790, John Tyler was our 10th President. He took office in 1841 after William Henry Harrison died. And he has two living grandchildren!
Not great-great-great-grandchildren. Their dad was Tyler’s son.
How is this…
Recently, Paula Deen has admitted that she’s had Type II Diabetes for years. Accordingly, she’s putting out a cookbook of healthy food. Here are some excerpts!
1 lb. bag of Skittles
3 cups ranch dressing
Mix well. Serve room temperature.
Big news, digital media people: Yahoo! is hiring social editors across its News, Sports, Entertainment and Commerce properties. Check out the job descriptions:
Y! Entertainment (Movies, TV, Music and omg!)
Y! Commerce (Travel, Shopping, Autos, and Real Estate)
It’s nice to meet you.
There are lots of reasons we’re excited to be launching the Obama 2012 campaign’s new Tumblr today. But mostly it’s because we’re looking at this as an opportunity to create something that’s not just ours, but yours, too.
We’d like this Tumblr to be a huge…
As long as it flows freely from our taps, many of us fail to fully appreciate the wonders of clean, abundant water. While Cynthia Barnett is not the first to point out that we’re straining the limits of our water supplies, Blue Revolution stands out for its deep reporting, clearheaded analysis, and solutions-oriented approach. By speaking to water experts and managers of all stripes and traveling the globe to see success stories—and failures—Barnett shows how the United States might work out its vexing water problems.
Update: I have appended this follow-up. All Photos are by Sara Krulwich, staff photographer at the NYT and my mother, with two exceptions. The last is a Reuters picture taken at the event, and the first is credited AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh.
Growing up I was a huge apple fan-boy (fine, still am.)…
(Image via The Awl)
The Finnish Approach to Education Reform
Earlier this month the New York Times reported on a study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years, finding that elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise test scores have a long-lasting effect on their students’ lives. The economists behind the study suggest firing under-performing teachers according to a “value-added” evaluation. This would be a consideration on top of the excessive testing teachers endure and the educational bureacracy regularly heaped on them.
Maria Bustillos breaks down the faulty reasoning behind the study’s conclusion in a piece for The Awl. A telling comparison she makes is between public schools and American military schools; the latter are exempt from the No Child Left Behind program, have no standardized testing for students or teachers, egalitarian treatment of children, and trusted, autonomous teachers. They also regularly outperform public schools, with an achievement gap between white and black students that’s shrinking much faster than it is in public schools.
As Bustillos notes, the system in America’s military schools bears a striking resemblance to Finland’s school system following their education reform in the 70s, which it’s often been said the United States could learn a lot from. While the United States achieved middling scores in the latest PISA results, which assess reading, math, and science literacy, Finland scored very highly for the fourth year in a row. With billionaires controlling our schools and arbitrary testing determining our students’ futures, education reform advocates are looking closely at Finland’s system, but most of the discussion appears to miss the point. Americans are largely concerned with tracking student performance with standardized tests, improving teaching with merit pay and accountability for bad teachers, and fostering competition in the private sector. Almost the complete opposite of Finland’s philosophy.
Finland’s education reform began 40 years ago as part of a plan for economic recovery as Finland emerged from Soviet influence, but its success wasn’t seen until 2000 when PISA issued its first set of results. We can now see that the difference between Finland’s weakest and strongest students is the smallest in the world. Part of their success is an overarching “whatever it takes” attitude: teachers are selected from the top 10% of the nation’s graduates and required to get a master’s degree, following which they’re given the responsibility and trust to do whatever they feel is necessary to ensure their students’ success. On top of this, all schools are publicly funded, and the people running them are educators, not business people or politicians. There are no school rankings or comparisons, and there’s no competition between schools. As a result, Finnish children can get the same quality education no matter where they’re from, at the same cost.
- School ‘Reform’: A Failing Grade — Diane Ravitch looks at the current state of education reform in the US and reviews two books on the subject
- Grand Solution or Grab Bag? — “Community colleges are being asked to provide everything from second chances to vocational education. Is America ready to help them succeed?”
- The Education of Ms. Barsallo — Robert Sanchez takes a close look at the life of a first-year teacher in Denver
Introducing our new game called:
“Don’t Be A Di*k During Meals With Friends.”
The first person to crack and look at their phone picks up the check.
Our (initial) purpose of the game was to get everyone off the phones free from twitter/fb/texting and to encourage conversations.
1) The game starts after everyone has ordered.
2) Everybody places their phone on the table face down.
3) The first person to flip over their phone loses the game.
4) Loser of the game pays for the bill.
5) If the bill comes before anyone has flipped over their phone everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal.
-Starting the game after everyone is seated.
-In the rare event that multiple people flip their phones simultaneously, the bill is split between said players.
- Feel free to invoke penalties/strikes systems.
- No touching or messing with anybody else’s phones.
- You don’t have to stack the phones. This was done for picture taking purposes.
- I realize I should perhaps think of a different name for this awesome game. Because I don’t mean to imply that everyone who checks their phone during meals is a di*k.
- I recommend not being such a stickler or hardass on people about the rules and even initiation of the game. Basic premise is to just get people open to the idea of staying active and attentive to one another. But if someone has to take a call; they have to take a call =).
- Have fun! It’s really more of a fun concept in this new age high tech life of ours. Conversation is the spice of life.
Best holiday card award goes to SNL