Category Archives: Sometimes a Great Notion

This is where we will find success stories – with students, teachers, families – and yes – once in awhile – a particular school, or district which has overcome adversity to provide a winning agenda. You may also find postings regarding proposes POSITIVE changes to and for the education system suggested or presented by both public and private individuals. HEY – if nothing else – look at the work of people such as Kim Allsup. Yeah – Kim is here too.

Oh yes… this is the place you will also find single image posts, which may be quite suggestive in nature – for both positive and/or negative effect.

On Loving Bookstores…

Growing up in a small but well-to-do Kansas town, I had access to several local bookshops – used and new – in grade school. Every bookstore offered joys, mysteries, and delights. Rarely have I walked into one and not found some kind of treasure.

A few weeks ago, while lecturing for a Hillsdale College event in Boise, Idaho, I visited the local Barnes and Noble on Milwaukee Street. It had been at least fifteen to twenty years since I’d last visited that particular store. Wave after wave of nostalgia flowed over me as I opened the front door and walked in. I knew the layout immediately, and, even more powerfully, I knew the smells. The scents of slick magazines, pulpy books, and thick coffee. This was, you see, the very first Barnes and Noble bookstore I had ever visited. Continue reading

How Storytelling Could Revitalize U.S. History Scores

Whatever I teach, I teach storytelling because it is an expression of human creativity that provides perspective. Stories help us understand our world by showing us that random events surrounding our lives only seem random, but are in fact connected. Stories enable us to perceive a higher level of meaning. Fiction such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Alex Haley’s Roots explore the role of cultural storytelling in personal formation. Aesop uses “The Tortoise and the Hare” to explain the virtue of diligence, and Ernest Hemingway critiques modernist conventions of storytelling in “Snows of Kilimanjaro.” Continue reading

Who can find time to read?

Books are good for your brain

Turn yourself into a bookworm. These techniques will help you read more.

Reading books can exercise your brain and even boost your emotional intelligence. Despite this, about a quarter of all Americans haven’t read a book in the last year and our overall book-reading time is on the decline.

In the new year, it’s time to buck this trend. But how do you find the time to read full-length books—and why should you bother in the first place? Continue reading

Evidence Suggests Some Schools are Finally Freeing Students from the Bonds of Mediocrity

By now, many parents know there is something seriously wrong with the average American school. Time and again, children go into the school system as bright bundles of energy, curious about the surrounding world, and time and again, they stagger through the system frustrated and losing their interest in learning. Unfortunately, parents have firsthand knowledge of what former New York teacher John Taylor Gatto explained in his book, Weapons of Mass Instruction:

“After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress genius because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.”

That’s easy enough to say, but is it actually possible to do? Continue reading

Parents protesting contentious curriculum

A California family group says mothers in the state have had enough of public schools exposing their children to radical sex-ed curriculum, and they’re doing something about it.

Leaders of Informed Parents of California recently gathered on the Capitol building steps to make legislators and the State Department of Education aware of their outrage. Continue reading

Kansas State Republican Legislator Introduces Tax Break Bill For Student Textbooks

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a Kansas state freshman Republican representative hopes to help struggling college students burdened by the already high cost of textbooks via tax relief. Rep. Rick Hoheisel suggests that Kansas exempt all textbooks from the statewide 6.5% sales tax, thus saving students money each year they buy new books for their curriculum.

Rep. Hoheisel is a recent college graduate and remembers quite well that he would have to shell out big bucks each year simply to afford required reading. While Kansas cannot control the price of textbooks directly, the state government can control the taxes imposed on said products. Continue reading

An Education to Restore Wonder

On a recent fall afternoon, bright and chilly as it can be in the Midwest, a group of parents in St. Louis had the opportunity for an informal visit from the president of Wyoming Catholic College and his wife, who is an associate professor at the school. The Doctors Arbery — Glenn and Virginia — each brought to the group the approach they take to education at the school, approaches exemplified by those whom they were quoting. Continue reading

South Carolina bill would require high school students to take personal finance class

A new bill has reportedly been pre-filed in South Carolina that would require high school students in the state to take a personal finance class.

Under the legislation from Republican state Sen. Luke Rankin, high school students would be required to take at least one half-credit personal finance course and pass a test at the end of the school year in order to graduate, a local ABC station recently reported. Continue reading

New Study Shows That Students Learn More Effectively From Print Textbooks Than Screens

Today’s students see themselves as digital natives, the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology like smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

Teachers, parents and policymakers certainly acknowledge the growing influence of technology and have responded in kind. We’ve seen more investment in classroom technologies, with students now equipped with school-issued iPads and access to e-textbooks. Continue reading

A Perfect Solution to the Statue-Toppling Problem

Schools ought to teach history, not protest it.

A number of teachers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have pledged to withhold more than 2,000 grades in protest over the university’s plans to house “Silent Sam” in a separate on-campus building. Silent Sam is a statue of a Confederate soldier that stood in the quad at the university until students illegally toppled it earlier this year. Continue reading

4 Ways to Teach Kids Finance

Just 24 percent of millennials demonstrated a basic understanding of financial concepts, according to a recent PwC study.

Flickr-MIKI Yoshihito | CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Finance is hard to see. And as a result, finance can be hard to understand – especially for kids! Let me explain. My sister goes to the grocery store with her debit card. She swipes the card and leaves the grocery store with the card and a bag of groceries.

From her son’s perspective, it seems like a sweet deal! It doesn’t look like my sister gave anything up to get the groceries. Her son doesn’t see the exchange; he doesn’t see that money left my sister’s bank account and went into the shopkeeper’s bank account. He doesn’t see that my sister first earned the money after she provided services to hospital patients. If my sister used a credit card instead of a debit card, the exchange would have been even more confusing! Now a credit card company is lending money to my sister? Continue reading