1. NCTE announced that Tony Danza will do the Opening Session at the annual conference. Don't get me wrong: I loved him in Taxi. My kids loved him in Who's the Boss. I know he spent a whole year teaching with cameras following him and recording his experiences. I know he has a book about the experience as well. So, he will put fannies in the seats at conference. But (you saw this coming, right?) I think I suffered from whiplash when I read this. Last year's speaker was Sir Ken Robinson. Thus year, an actor who taught a year and wrote a book about it. We are not talking even about someone like Tracy Kidder who spent a year observing classrooms and wrote the groundbreaking AMONG SCHOOLCHILDREN. I know Danza learned a lot about how difficult it is to teach. His book talks about that, too. But, there is a part of me that sees inviting an actor who taught for a year as the keynote speaker as more of the disrespect teachers already suffer. It is sort of like having a secretary of education who never, well, you get the idea. Are there not other options for us? Can we not honor some of the veterans of the classrooms? Have folks who are fighting censorship, battling back against insane narrowing of curriculum, speaking up about teaching ALL children? I know they are out there. I guess they just don't attract a large audience. But COULD they if given the forum?
2. Arne Duncan tweeted that the arts are important in education yesterday. Yeah, STEM emphasis, CCSS, testing: that is an art all right, the art of deception. Quit talking about the arts in the abstract, Secretary Duncan, and make it part and parcel of the school day.
3. Duncan defended a pal of his who is losing his position in Connecticut because he lacks education credentials (state law). Duncan calls it an outrage. I cannot imagine why *whistles innocently*.
I do not want to continue on with rants. I want to end this on a positive note (LA, perhaps, or is TI more positive?).
1. Thanks to all the folks who took time to comment on yesterday's post about supplies for a new school year. My colleague, Karin Perry, and I filled 4 book carts with weeded books. Karin snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook inviting our current and former students to COME AND GET 'EM! Before I left work last night, someone had taken books from the cart. I know more are headed to the office today and tomorrow. I also know we have more to weed, so there will be other reasons to drive to campus and snag some free books.
2. Another positive (to counter all the negativity above): yesterday 4 faculty members and two of our students sat and participated in the SLJ Summerteen event online (others joined from home). It was a terrific day that reminded all of us of the richness of YA books and authors.
3. Finally, I have two long flights in the next couple of weeks and I am packing first: BOOKS. I am taking the big, hairy books that will prop nicely on the seat back that will be in my lap from the row in front of me. I will blog them while traveling and then float them on when I get to Sweden. Books are gong international (and so am I!).
Happy Thursday, folks. Soon, I will be speaking with the EC of ALAN and getting the scoop on the list of speakers. Look for that post in the next couple of days.