Happy Birthday Snoopy

Good Monday Morning. I hope where you live you have had some cool weather. It is hot, hot, hot here in Texas. Thank goodness we had all that rain in the spring, and I look back on those days with fondness.

First up today is the birthday celebration for Snoopy. I had fun drawing Snoopy, after watching the video I linked to in Friday’s blog, and here is my picture.


If you drew a picture, don’t forget to share it on Twitter with the hashtag #drawsnoopy. Let’s all join the party.

After the fiasco that was last Thursday’s political debate, during which there was so much rancor among the candidates I hesitate to call it a debate, there has been a lot of commentary on news outlets and social media, with much speculation as to which candidate won.

In my opinion, nobody.

I have been kicking that poor “can we not be civil to each other” horse for so long, readers here might be tired of hearing it. But maybe if we keep saying it often enough people will begin to listen.

A Facebook friend wrote this on Saturday, and I thought it was worth sharing.

Have Americans become “too politically correct”? If anything, it seems to me that we need to relearn the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable. Many years ago I remember seeing Ricardo Montalban on the Tonight Show. Carson paid a compliment about him being well-known for being so well-mannered. I have to paraphrase his response, but it went something like this:

‘Let me tell you about manners. They’re nothing more than treating others with respect. When we sit down to a meal, I eat with my mouth closed. Not because it’s good manners, but because I respect you, and no one likes to look at a mouthful of chewed food.’

I have to applaud Bernie Sanders for his efforts to apply that same principle to his campaign. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see all the candidates treat one another, and all of humanity, with dignity and respect?

Today I want to celebrate all the strong women and men who are heading back to classrooms this month as teachers. Several members of my family are among those, and I know that it gets harder and harder each year to go back with that sense of enthusiasm and excitement for teaching that teachers once had. This excerpt from a letter of resignation I found on Daily Kos says it all:

The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom.

We have become increasingly evaluation and not knowledge driven. Process has become our most important product, to twist a phrase from corporate America, which seems doubly appropriate to this case.

After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered.

For the last decade or so, I have had two signs hanging above the blackboard at the front of my classroom, they read, “Words Matter” and “Ideas Matter”. While I still believe these simple statements to be true, I don’t feel that those currently driving public education have any inkling of what they mean.

Sincerely and with regret,

Gerald J. Conti

It is well worth your time to go read the entire article. What are your thoughts on what has happened with standardizing public education? Please share in the comments.

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