Thursday, December 27, 2012


Obituary: R&B singer Fontella Bass has died. She is best remembered for her 1965 hit "Rescue Me." She came from a musical family:

Bass was born into a family with deep musical roots. Her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass, one of the Clara Ward Singers. Her younger brother, David Peaston, had a string of R&B hits in the 1980s and 1990s. Peaston died in February at age 54.

Bass was 72 had died from complications of a heart attack she suffered some three weeks ago.


Although many Montessori ideas have been influential on education, especially through the constructivist theories of Jean Piaget, and have been used in public education, I am totally opposed to those schools receiving any kind of taxpayer money. Ditto for Waldorf schools. That's because their theories are completely at odds with what the "reformers" demand of public education students. If Waldorf kids, who typically aren't taught reading until second or even third grade, can't possibly do well on the standardized tests required of Title I students in kindergarten, first, or second grade, why should those schools receive ANY taxpayer funds at all?

Of course I am totally opposed to the very idea of charter schools, but the idea schools like those would not even be held to the same standards galls me.

Anyway, here is a piece from the Atlantic about Montessori schools and current controversies.

In the U.S., Montessori has two major accrediting bodies that, together, accredit or affiliate with around 4,000 schools. The first -- Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) -- was founded by Maria Montessori in 1929 in order to perpetuate her own work. Montessori started her first school, the Casa dei Bambini, in a Rome tenement in 1907. Over time, she developed a comprehensive system for teaching children through middle school, and left notes that suggested a way to adapt her ideas at a high-school level. Montessori subscribed to constructivism, a theory of education that says students do better if we let them piece together how the world works by moving through it themselves than if we deliver knowledge top-down.

The writer seems to be unaware of how much influence constructivism has had in public education. "Hands-on" science and math are outgrowths of this.

Another obituary: Norman Schwarzkopf of Desert Storm fame has died at the age of 78. He died from complications of pneumonia:

The seemingly no-nonsense Desert Storm commander's reputed temper with aides and subordinates supposedly earned him that rough-and-ready moniker. But others around the general, who died Thursday in Tampa, Fla., at age 78 from complications from pneumonia, knew him as a friendly, talkative and even jovial figure who preferred the somewhat milder sobriquet given by his troops: "The Bear."

That one perhaps suited him better later in his life, when he supported various national causes and children's charities while eschewing the spotlight and resisting efforts to draft him to run for political office.

He lived out a quiet retirement in Tampa, where he'd served his last military assignment and where an elementary school bearing his name is testament to his standing in the community.

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