Thursday, December 13, 2007

Three to Read While the Weather is Icky

1) Take the New Yorker's Rudy quiz. I'll help you with one question - former schools Chancellor Rudy Crew (and animal enthusiast?) said this about the other Rudy:

He is not bound by the truth. I have studied animal life, and their predator/prey relations are more graceful than his.

2) Two on merit pay: Prea Prez on Bushwick Community High School's rationale for rejecting merit pay and Teaching in the 408's thoughts on how merit pay could work.

3) Malcolm Gladwell's review of James Flynn's new book, What is Intelligence?

1 comment:

John said...


I love your info. Do you still teach? What type of school?

I've always believed that non-teachers should read Malcolm Gladwell, especially the Tipping Point and his take on Six Degrees of Separation. Together they help explain why high poverty schools are so different. We cross a tipping point when the percentage of "broken families" is 95% or more (like my school) as opposed the 30 to 40%, or when the big majority of students aren't linked (as explained by "degrees of separation") to the broader networks.

I'd love your take on the New Yorker story on medical checklists. They don't seek to micromanage the way that doctors approach 36,000 variations of physical trauma they treat, or mandate top down CYA paperwork. But they empower nurses, they use data to persuade, and they require collaboration and listening to build capacity.

But I'd like you to read it in the context of the NYT Magazine account of a study of maids' health. Just providing accurate scientific info (counter-balancing their negative appraisal of their own activity) lowered fat and blood pressure. Presumably the added ingredient was hope stimulated by knowledge.

Rather than micromanage we should seek more modest approaches. For instance, professional development that reminds teachers to do what we already think we're doing such as teaching note taking to high poverty students.

Good luck when the ice storm hits. I have great memories of the 1978 ice storm that followed my wife and me to the NYC area. I would be loving this one as much if I could still access the education blogs. So I'm hurrying and I probably made more typos than usual.

John Thompson Oklahoma City