Boy Story

Twinfamy


“Guess what, Daddy?” My son said matter-of-factly while putting on his shoes. “There’s another little boy at my school who has the same Spider-Man shoes as me.”

My son is a little on the shy side, so I was excited to hear about him connecting with another kid in his class.

“Cool, Buddy. What’s his name?”

“I don’t know.”

“Oh, well you should ask him. You could say, ‘Hey, look! We have the same shoes on. That’s pretty cool. What’s your name?'”

My son took in this information slowly. He’s a slightly socially awkward overthinker like his daddy (sorry about that, Son), and he appeared to be considering maybe possibly beginning to plan to perhaps think about introducing himself, which made me smile. This is how he warms up to ideas, and then later claims they were his. This is Daddy’s own special form of Inception.

My daughter rounded the…

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The Education of Zachary and the Soulful Struggle for “The Infinite Potential of All Children”

I AM AN EDUCATOR

Zachary_Graduation Zachary’s 5th grade graduation, with Kelly, Jackson, Zachary, Joshua Bock (left to right).

During the last days of the school year I wrote an essay for my website, I Am An Educator.com, about my kindergarten son opting out of the MAP test. I received an overwhelming number of positive responses to that piece, but none more powerful than from a mother from Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Kelly Pylkas-Bock expressed her appreciation for the story of my son opting out, and sent me a truly moving description of her son–and why he cannot be reduced to a score–that she intends to deliver to his councilor when he starts middle school next year. I asked if I could publish her letter to the councilor and she replied,

Thank you for your encouraging response, Jesse. I have already shared my letter with [my son] Zachary because, as early as kindergarten standardized tests impacted his…

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A recipe for family

NaptimeWriting

I’ve been missing my grandmas this month, having lost one twenty years ago and another a month ago.

So I’ve been baking all their favorite recipes.

On St. Patrick’s Day I made my sweet Rose’s soda bread. I first made it right after college, living in Boston, when a St. Patrick’s Day card from my mom made me call her in a panic because it would be my first year since age four without her famous Irish soda bread.

The recipe is still on the back of that Snoopy card from my mom, though the See’s cocoa-and-nougat Irish potatoes that accompanied it are long gone.

My kids love the family’s soda bread. I love the bread. It’s one of our Springtime rituals. And for the first time in twenty years, my soda bread tasted terrible. It was dry and crumbly.

I felt I’d failed grandma.

She will likely forgive me…

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Scrap the MAP Test: My Kindergartener Joins the Opt Out Movement!

I AM AN EDUCATOR

Jesse_MTAS_eventLast week the Seattle School District told my kindergarten son to take the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test.

Given my intense relationship with this specific standardized test–an exam that has forever altered the course of my life–this was a particularly unsettling moment for me. As an authentic assessment activist, I had helped organize a boycott of this test at Seattle’s Garfield High School, I edited the book More Than a Score to tell the story of this movement against the MAP and the subsequent uprising against high-stakes testing, and I speak regularly around the country to share the lessons of the movement to “Scrap the MAP.”

I had long been committed to a fight for public education, but now it just got personal. Now they were trying confine my own boundlessly vibrant son into a test score bubble.

I had felt a great sense of accomplishment in our…

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Civil Rights and Testing: Response to Haycock and Edelman

Deborah Meier on Education

By Marc Tucker
June 10, 2015 11:00 AM
From EdWeek blog Top Performers

Two weeks ago, I published a blog post suggesting that some leaders of the civil rights community might want to reassess their support for annual testing in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Since then Kati Haycock and Jonah Edelman, two ardent supporters of annual testing, have taken issue with me. In this blog post, I respond to their comments.

Haycock says that she is astonished at my arrogance in attacking the leaders of a civil rights community that is “unified” on this issue and accuses me of “baiting” them. What she does not do is rebut any of the arguments I made or offer any evidence that would call my arguments into question.

The civil rights community is not united on these issues. A recent piece by Judith Browne Dianis, John H…

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Is the Common Core killing kindergarten?

Deborah Meier on Education

Read this article from the Boston Globe

By Chris Berdik   June 14, 2015

Last spring, Susan Sluyter quit teaching kindergarten in the Cambridge Public Schools. She’d spent nearly two decades in the classroom, and her departure wasn’t a happy one. In a resignation letter, Sluyter railed against a “disturbing era of testing and data” that had trickled down from the upper grades and was now assaulting kindergartners with a barrage of new academic demands that “smack of 1st or 2nd grade.” The school district did not respond to a request for comment.

But Sluyter’s complaints touched a national nerve. Her letter went viral, prompting scores of sympathetic comments by other frustrated teachers and parents. Sluyter’s letter was fresh evidence for groups of early-childhood educators who oppose the kindergarten expectations for math and English Language Arts, or ELA, set by the new Common Core, the academic benchmarks…

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The Beauty of Teens

The Human Rights Warrior

Photo credit to my son Sevrin Photo taken by (and used with permission from) my son Sevrin at his high school sailing team practice.

As I write this, there are seven teens asleep in my basement.  My son and his friends came back from their high school dance in high spirits last night. Laughing and joking loudly, they boisterously descended on my kitchen, devouring everything within reach (even some chips that I thought I had hidden pretty well).  These guys were the human equivalent of an invading colony of army ants, foraging insatiably through my refrigerator.

Now these boy-men are dead to the world, asleep in a puppy pile on my basement floor.  And I have to be honest – I am loving every single thing about these teens.   In fifteen plus years of parenthood, I have grown accustomed to – perhaps, in some ways, inured to – the many and diverse aspects of wonder in…

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Serial Kid Producer Reveals Top 10 Reasons Not to Have Kids

Barb Taub

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

imgresI was lying awake last night, trying to memorize the feeling of everything being right with my family. We’re all healthy, happy, and remarkably satisfied with where we are in life at this exact moment. Even Child #4 has just taken her last ever Uni final, and pronounced herself ready to go off the family payroll.

A friend asked if I ever regretted having so many kids, or the time/money/everything that it took to raise them. She said her book club (having dispensed with the required 8.5 minutes of book-related discussion) were all talking about the reasons their grown children were not producing grandchildren.

That reminded me of this blast-from-the-past I wrote a few years ago.


Top 10 reasons not to have kids

There are actually LOTS of reasons not to have kids. As a serial kid-producer, I offer a revised list:

10. Vermin =…

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