Category: Reading

Beginning at the Beginning… (Or the beginning of the End, to hear the Mayans tell it)

So, you’re a philosopher?

Actually, no. I am an intermittent blogger and non-custodial father…BUT…

Yes. I think very deeply. (Paraphrased from the opening to My Philosophy, 1988)

Now that we have puttered around and disposed of the 2011 holiday season, it is Tuesday January 3, 2012. Today is the first functional day of the new year. Today is the day that you are supposed to get down to whatever the hell it is you said you were going to do differently from last year.

If you are like me (and despite my incessant desire to proclaim some kind of Singular mode of humanity…you are more like me than either of us care to admit), You made a conscious or not so conscious effort to put off whatever sea change you sought to make in your life until the day when society deemed that life return to normal.

And At the dawn…Here we are. So…what did I decide?

  1. Writers write.

    Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there. – Thomas Berger

    I realized that I spend far more time in 2011 telling people I was a writer and explaining why it was I wasn’t writing than I spent actually writing. After Last year’s pitiful performance…I don’t really deserve the title. I am officially on the writer’s hot seat. When Ed Werder is done chronicling the annual underachievement of the Dallas Cowboys he will stand next to the Wendy’s in front of my Building and discuss the tenuous status of my “writer” title.

    I say all that to say the following:

    If I cannot accomplish significant improvement in my productivity within the next week, I will stop calling myself a writer. If you know me well…I expect you to hold me to that.

  2. Writers read.

    If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write. -Stephen King

    I spend the preponderance of my time Reading. As someone who has left the driving to someone else, I spend most of my commutes and my non working time reading the thoughts, facts, and opinions of others, typically in the form of short bursts of text. The reality is, no matter how many of those short bursts of text a single person or a group of people string together, the ability to focus and follow an extended narrative suffers.

    Your experience may differ…but I can say with certainty that my ability to read is suffering.

    This is not to say your ability to read long form communication must be negatively affected by this change in societal communication, this is to say that my reading, and by extension of my writing. This too, must change.

And so…with that…I give you nominal, yet substantive change. It’s what is hot in the streets in 2012.

An Open letter to Roland Fryer

Dear Dr. Fryer,

I am writing this letter to you because my wife wants to kick your ass.  I think you made an ass of yourself, but I am not inclined to come look for you.  I will just say that you should count your blessings that her niece went to Boston University and not Harvard.

To say she is deeply troubled by your belief in paying children to encourage them to is just not accurate.  I, sir, am deeply troubled by by your belief in paying children to learn.

She is enraged at you because you have chosen a short cut to success.  A shortcut that is antithetical to the true purpose of Education.

Education is not a means to an end.

Sorry, Education is not merely a means to an end.  It is the end.

And the beginning.

and all that stuff in between.

Education is not a road to success.

Education IS success.

Education is a way of life.

There are no shortcuts.

To act otherwise is to short circuit the circle of life.  Whatever short term gains these children receive will come at the expense of what the larger goal SHOULD be.

My wife thinks you have lost your connection with your people.  I disagree.

I respect your committment to closing the achievement gap but I am deeply troubled by you hanging your hat on such a hamfisted short circuiting of educational reform.

You sir, have managed to become the Atkins diet of Educational Reform.  Paying for scores may benefit some children in the short term, but it is certainly not healthy won’t do anything to effect the long term health of the child’s educational prospects without fundamental change in the long term.

There are no Shortcuts, Dr. Fryer.

A full and thorough and unyielding thirst for education is the most valuable attribute a family can have.  Traditionally it is instilled by parents and manifested in their lifestyle.

You cannot buy that.  You can only build it.

To pretend there is a shortcut does a disservice to the children and our culture.

Please rethink this before my wife finds you, for your own safety.


The InkogNegro

This cannot happen

I join with Carmen from All About Race in insisting that George W. Bush not be allowed to screw up anymore than he already has.

From Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO, of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF):

“President Bush’s proposed budget calling for the elimination of Reading Is Fundamental’s (RIF) Inexpensive Book Distribution program would be devastating to the 4.6 million children and their families who receive free books and reading encouragement from RIF programs at nearly 20,000 locations throughout the U.S.”

“Unless Congress reinstates $26 million in funding for this program, RIF will not be able to distribute 16 million books annually to the nation’s youngest and most at-risk children. RIF programs in schools, childcare centers, migrant programs, military bases, and other locations serve children from low-income families, children with disabilities, foster and homeless children, and children without access to libraries.”

We need you to help – NOW. Please Click Here to SEND A LETTER TO CONGRESS.

Find out more, see the timelines and get involved – Today. Time is running out for our kids. We can all stand together on this.

Kindly Post this with a hat-tip to Carmen.

Thank you, Carmen.