Archive | social issues RSS feed for this section

Ultrasounds and “Following the Child”

16 Sep

Child development begins at conception, as does our responsibility to protect it and remove any obstacles that will hinder its progress.  Here are my thoughts on ultrasound and child development…


Your OB-GYN sure does have big ears…

11 Feb

One more reason to have your baby at home or in a birthing clinic…

Keeping It Real… Montessori-style!

16 Dec

Ever wonder why fantasy is not a part of the Montessori approach?  Read all about it in my new article in!



Define “Good Teacher”

11 Dec

One of my classmates found this article in the Washington Post.  Here’s the summary:

“While debate rages in the education world about how to measure effective teaching – or whether it is even possible to do so – research funded by a prominent advocate of data-driven analysis [the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation] has found that growth in annual student test scores is a reliable sign of a good teacher… The foundation in the past year has collaborated with local teachers’ unions on reshaping teacher pay and evaluation in several major school systems.”

Guess who was paid $45 million to do the research?  Educational Testing Services.  Because nothing says “impartial research results” like hiring the country’s largest test-producer to point out the importance of testing to evaluate both children and teachers!

Basically, here’s how I imagine the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would define a good teacher:

Good teacher: (n.) 1. One who bribes, threatens, punishes, and in many other ways manipulates children to reach arbitrary markers set by moronic politicians. 2. One who robs children of the joy of learning in order to procure a bonus and pension.

Here’s my definition of what they consider a “good teacher”:

Good teacher: (n.) 1. One who is bribed, threatened, punished, and in many other ways manipulated to reach arbitrary markers set by moronic politicians.  2. One who is robbed of the joy of teaching in order to finance a broken and corrupt system.

I’m seeing a pattern…

Author’s note: Shortly after posting this, Alexa pointed out that the New York Times had also written about this study, although they give a somewhat different take on the methodology and results.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Teachers whose students described them as skillful at maintaining classroom order, at focusing their instruction and at helping their charges learn from their mistakes are often the same teachers whose students learn the most in the course of a year, as measured by gains on standardized test scores, according to a progress report on the research.”

I still have major issues with equating “students who learn the most” with “gains on standardized test scores” and pegging the blame or glory on the teacher…

And on the topic of toys…

20 Nov

Greetings from the land of “oh my gosh when am I going to finish these observation reports and write two essays and type up countless presentations”.

I interrupt my regularly scheduled academic freak-out to bring you this: The Michael Olaf Christmas catalog.

Heck, if those well-meaning relatives and friends of yours insist on buying your child stuff, it might as well be beautiful, age-appropriate, developmentally supportive, and long-lasting, right?

I know that’s where I’ll be shopping when hubby and I have kids…

Now back to work curves… *sigh*

It CAN be done!

6 Nov

I have posted in the past about the overwhelming amount of plastic toys children seem to have nowadays (the average child gets 70 toys per year).  I’ve also worried about how I will manage to keep to a minimum the amount of gifted plastic toys in our household when I have children of my own.  Commenters have discussed how their efforts to minimize commercial toys have been thwarted by well-meaning friends and relatives who give these less-than-ideal items as gifts.

But, much to my relief, one of my favorite bloggers has proved that it CAN be done!  You CAN control what type of gifts your child receives, you CAN create awareness for your child and your close ones, and you CAN make a positive impact in the lives of others while doing it!  Head on over to About a Girl and read about simple but AWESOME birthday gifts that keep on giving…

Here’s how she handles requesting birthday gifts from friends and family…

And here’s the type of gifts she and her husband provide for their child…


Read it, See it, Hear it… Then LIVE IT!

2 Nov

If you haven’t yet seen the 12-minute animated YouTube video based on Sir Ken Robinson’s 55-minute speech, then I suggest you head on over to Kelly has done an amazing job transcribing the best parts of the talk, and she also shares her viewpoint as a parent (you can also see the video on her blog!).  It’s wonderful to know that there are so many parents who understand the importance of supporting their child’s creative thinking abilities.  If you’re one of them, what are you waiting for?  SPREAD THE WORD!!!