Add Your School | Teaching Tolerance

This past year, the Mix It Up at Lunch was a major success in all schools that tried it. As far as I’m concerned, this activity should not be restricted to a school-wide lunchtime encounter once a year, but is something that can easily be used–with minor modifications–in every classroom as both a classroom management tool and, more specifically perhaps, a teaching tool. I said so in this blog when re-blogging Teaching Tolerance’s “How to Seat Students” back in October of 2011. The whole point is to get students–ones who would not normally make an effort to talk to each other–to get to know each other through a structured discussion. In some ways, that makes this activity a school-wide application of classroom-based collaborative learning techniques.

Specifically, however, the intent of Mix It Up at Lunch is to break down the walls of intolerance through discussion on about a safe topic in a safe environment. I loved the idea of it when it was first publicized, and I continue to love the idea of it today. It’s an activity every school should try, at least one day a year every year. Even if we can dispel some of today’s hate myths, there will always be new ones to address.

So let your school become part of the solution toward ending hate. Click on this link and get your school involved. Add Your School | Teaching Tolerance.

If the link does not work, copy and paste this URL into your browser. http://www.tolerance.org/mix-it-up/add

And for your convenience, here are the URLs for my blog about “, “mixing it up” followed by the URL for Teaching Tolerance’s original  blog on the event.

http://blog.emillereducation.com/2011/12/14/mixing-it-up-how-to-seat-students/

http://www.tolerance.org/blog/how-seat-students

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Partnership for Los Angeles Schools Receives $1.6 Million in Foundation Backing for Its Digital Learning Initiative | Digital Learning Now

Hmmm… This is interesting. Wonder if I somehow missed this in the local media… Or maybe it’s something that LAUSD isn’t advertising? I’m assuming LAUSD is the “Los Angeles Schools” mentioned in this article…

Partnership for Los Angeles Schools Receives $1.6 Million in Foundation Backing for Its Digital Learning Initiative | Digital Learning Now.

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Link URL: http://digitallearningnow.com/news/partnership-for-los-angeles-schools-receives-1-6-million-in-foundation-backing-for-its-digital-learning-initiative/

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Education as a Political Pull-Toy?

Just sayin’…

The way education is being treated by mayors in large urban centers–as though it is a political pull-toy–is so objectionable to me that just reading this type of article ties my stomach into knots.

New York City After-School Programs May Be Trimmed in Budget Talks – NYTimes.com.

The article above, from the NY TimesOn Education column, has the following headline:

Curtailing a Service That Parents Depend On

Within the lines of this piece, columnist Michael Winerip says,

This year, one of the mayor’s most worrisome proposals — and I mean “worrisome” in the sense that he has thousands of blue-collar and poor parents very worried — is to cut back the city’s after-school programs.

Currently, New York finances enrichment programs that run from 3 to 6 p.m. at 454 sites, serving 53,000 elementary, middle and high school students and costing $90 million; the proposal is to reduce that to 261 sites, serving 27,000 children for $71 million.This would save $19 million in a budget of $67 billion, or about a quarter of 1 percent.

Says author Marianne Williamson via Facebook:

The problem isn’t just in New York…it’s national. In Los Angeles, the gifted and talented program is being eliminated, as is all the funding for our prestigious academic decathlon team, which has won 12 national championships! Two entire weeks have been cut from LAUSD’s schedule in the last two years. CA has the worst teacher-student ratio in the nation, and the worst guidance counselor-student ration, and the worst librarian-student ratio. #50 out of 50.

Is this really what we want for American education? Do we want our cities to fail by creating a culture of failure in our schools? I worked in New York, I currently live in Los Angeles. I am mortified that such things are happening in these schools. And this is just a sample, I’m sure.

I am old enough to have experienced any combination of enrichment programs (and lack thereof), either as a young student, a teacher, a parent, a teacher educator, and just an interested citizen. My experience tells me that we cannot touch our educational institutions–especially K-12, where the foundations for life are laid–and expect improvement in our overall lot.

Our children are the ones who will lead our communities in less time than any of us would like to admit. Do we want millions of uneducated thirty-somethings across all our major cities planning for our retirement, determining if we really need social security, or caring if we can get around? Will we reap what we sow if we fail today’s students?

Just something to think about…

It’s time to take education out of the political arena and establish it as a sacred artifact to be treated with ultimate respect, never to be used as a token of leverage by political parties or government legislative branches.

New York City After-School Programs May Be Trimmed in Budget Talks – NYTimes.com.

If the link above does not work for you, copy and paste the URL below into your browser:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/28/nyregion/new-york-after-school-programs-may-face-trims.html?_r=2

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