Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Public Education and Politics

Michelle Rhee, D.C. School Chancellor, will resign from her post tomorrow. Breaking news, yes, but expected: her tenure as the no-nonsense head in the struggling school system has been the subject of endless controversy, praise, and, in part, a new documentary on the failings of U.S. education. I first learned of Rhee’s uncompromising expectations from a long profile in Time; in her public appearances, she comes off as both fearless and resigned. Seems like the D.C. public schools are losing one of their great leaders.

How do we–all of us, not just those with kids in schools or kids in “good” schools–care for our ailing public school system? How do we remove politics–tying property values to school funding, resources to test scores, school leadership to local elections–and put the students first?

I was a kid who went to public schools. In Iowa, there never struck me as much of a disparity between the public and the parochial or prep schools. Some part of me knew that the private school kids had more homework and better college-prep, but even at that young age, when my mother asked me if I wanted to attend the local Catholic secondary school, I mulled it over and said no. The immature kid in me just didn’t want to leave my friends; looking back now, I wonder if I made that decision partly out of fear of higher expectations in a school that seemed, from the outside, more rigorous, more academically-intimidating, and less the slacker atmosphere I knew at my public high school.

 

Kandice Washington, a University of Chicago Charter School teacher, works with her students. The UEI will refine and expand its successful teacher preparation program with an $11.6 million ARRA grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

 

I’m no education scholar but I often wonder about our public system in the U.S. It’s a trickle-up theory, no? If we begin educating our children with low expectations in high school, fast-tracking one student to college-prep while sending another on an alternate, more labor-oriented program of study, how do we divide instead of pool our human resources? Doesn’t our nation suffer from this two-track system as a whole?

All to say that my suburban education system was flawed and yet, pretty good. I’m ambivalent in retrospect. But ultimately I have this luxury of retrospect. I received a strong K-12 education, an even stronger undergraduate experience, and the necessary training and flourishing of the mind as a post-graduate. In my urban neighborhood in Boston, I sometimes ask myself if the kids on my street have the same kind of excellence in teachers, funding, and leadership.

I don’t know the answer.

Advertisements

Filed under: education, intelligence, iowa, politics, united states of america, , , , , , , , ,

Colbert satirizes anti-gay commercial

22348_topnews_colbert469Stephen Colbert satirizes the anti-gay marriage ad by the National Organization for Marriage. As he puts it, the ad is “like watching The 700 Club and The Weather Channel at the same time.”

One of my favorite lines from Colbert–on Iowa’s sanction of gay marriage and its domino effect to New York’s gay marriage legislation introduced by Gov. Paterson: “The same-sex chickens have come home to gentrify their roost.”

Filed under: entertainment, gay rights, iowa, , ,

Des Moines Tries

img_02271

Cutting-edge photography at the Des Moines Art Center. Yesterday's visit included seeing recent acquisitions like Wolfgang Tillmans and Chuck Close.

In my other life, I graduated from Drake University with a theater or journalism degree. I interned at the Des Moines Community Playhouse or wrote captions for The Des Moines Register. Made friends here, spent lots of time with siblings here in the Midwest. I lived in a shitty apartment on Ingersoll Avenue near the Alpine Bar and wrote many failed novels (this part is true). I drank in Des Moines.

Reality: Eighteen years ago, I made the decision to move to the East Coast to attend Boston University, never looking back. So it’s always a strange feeling to imagine what my life might have been if I stayed close to home.

I’m writing this post from a hip coffeehouse called Mars Cafe, with Neutral Milk Hotel playing on the loudspeakers and kids with big bolt earrings and tight pants working as baristas behind the counter. Musicians by night? Web designers? In Des Moines, you never know.

I have to admit, I like Des Moines. On my list of must-do’s in this sleepy little city:

1. The Des Moines Art Center.

Never manages to disappoint. And the curators have subversive taste (more for me to enjoy), running to Kara Walker and her no-nonsense cut-outs that challenge notions of male superiority and African American identity, or Wolfgang Tillmans, whose photographs elevate punks and queers to the level of the Mona Lisa and David.

2. The Salvation Army.

I always find the best stuff at The Salvation Army. The main store is located at the base of the capitol building; this year, I found a pair of super-cool camouflage pants for a couple bucks. In past years, I’ve scored a set of highball mugs with  Freemason logos; 50’s-style tins for flour, sugar, and coffee; and a Boy Scouts t-shirt with Des Moines patches sewn onto the sleeves.

3. Smash.

Brought my friend Dan here last year, and he bought three shirts, including one that reads, “Des Moines: Just Outside the Middle of Nowhere.”

4. ZZZ Records.

Witt and I discovered that they moved this year–he thinks because they were priced out of the East Village–but this place is an institution, no matter where the location (as long as they keep their physical location!–don’t let the economy kill the indie record stores, yo).

5. Tasty Tacos.

I don’t know how to truly express my love for their flour tacos. Light, fluffy, deep-fried goodness. Only in Des Moines.

Filed under: iowa, travel, , , , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Visitor Map

Locations of Site Visitors

RSS Recent Posts from Towleroad

  • Trump Supporter Trails Gay Couple in Orange County, Tells Them They’re Unnatural and Going to Hell: WATCH
    Jessica Lundquist and Tiffany Steinberg were celebrating the two-year anniversary of the time they met on Huntington Beach pier in Orange County, California when they were set upon by a Christian nutjob Trump supporter who followed them, called them… Read The post Trump Supporter Trails Gay Couple in Orange County, Tells Them They’re Unnatural and Going to H […]
  • Fallen Soldier’s Mother Confirms That Trump Said He ‘Knew What He Signed Up for’
    The family of Sergeant La David Johnson, a U.S. special forces member killed this month in an ambush in Niger, confirmed Wednesday that President Donald Trump said during a call to his mourning relatives that the soldier “knew what he signed up… Read The post Fallen Soldier’s Mother Confirms That Trump Said He ‘Knew What He Signed Up for’ appeared first on T […]
  • Rainbow Lifeguard Tower in Venice, California is Saved, Will Be ‘Monument to Acceptance’
    A rainbow lifeguard tower in Venice, California which was the subject of a petition campaign to keep it from being repainted to the standard blue color of other lifeguard towers has been saved. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously t… Read The post Rainbow Lifeguard Tower in Venice, California is Saved, Will Be ‘Monument to Acceptance’ appea […]
  • Paul Feinman, Marsha P. Johnson, Kathy Griffin, Egypt, Demi Lovato, Barack Obama, Joy of Gay Sex: HOT LINKS
    DOUBLING DOWN. Trump denies again making controversial remarks to soldier’s widow: “I didn’t say what that congresswoman said – didn’t say it at all — she knows it,” Trump told reporters. “I would like her to make the statement again because I… Read The post Paul Feinman, Marsha P. Johnson, Kathy Griffin, Egypt, Demi Lovato, Barack Obama, Joy of Gay Sex: HOT […]
  • Bearded Stud’s Sexy Pumpkin ‘Dudeoir’ Pin-Up Shoot is Going Viral
    There are plenty of ways to celebrate the arrival of the fall season but this stud’s 14-shot sexy ‘dudeoir’ pumpkin pin-up shoot has to be one of the best. The model is Jake Thompson and the photos were taken by Thompson’s wif… Read The post Bearded Stud’s Sexy Pumpkin ‘Dudeoir’ Pin-Up Shoot is Going Viral appeared first on Towleroad.

Polls

RSS Breaking News from The Daily Beast

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Pics from Africa 2010

About Me

https://rsiasoco.wordpress.com/about/

About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

Top Clicks

  • None

Categories