a thousand views (and counting …)

First of all, thank you to everyone that is checking out this blog occasionally and using it to link to other recommended resources. I really appreciate your attention and value your time. That’s one of the reasons that it’s difficult to post a new entry … I don’t want to waste your time with useless information. You can find that on your own. 

With that said, I’d like to announce that your faithful participation (or rare perusal) has brought this blog to its one thousandth view. One of the cool things about blogging on WordPress (I haven’t tried any others yet) is that you can track the number of “views” your site is getting. One of the admin tools you have, is called “Blog stats”, and it shows you how many views you’ve had each day, week or month.

Granted, one thousand views is hardly anything, on a medium that can create a viral video which reaches an audience of millions in twenty-four hours. For me, however, it was a lofty milestone I set for myself and the LMC blog. One thousand used to be so much, after all. Before the days of $100,000 college degrees, $500,000 homes, million dollar athletes, billion dollar tunnels … a thousand was a lot.

And a thousand is still a lot (to me). Especially when you’re getting there 15 or 25 or 3 views at a time. A thousand views means writing to only ten or six or one person at a time. So, thank you. A thousand thank yous.

© 2008 henry toromoreno

Free tuition; if you can get in (and qualify)

Unfortunately it’s true that along with the cost of gas and housing, the price of a college education has skyrocketed over the past ten to fifteen years. According to one report, as of 2006, the average cost for one year at a private college exceeded $30,000; with the most expensive tuition being George Washington University’s $37,820. 

On the flip side of this news, there are also a growing number of schools who are interested in helping talented, hard-working students from low-income families. More than ever, colleges and universities are using their growing endowments to help eliminate the costs of tuition for worthy students from poorer families. According to this article, “The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Michigan State University, Miami University in Ohio, the University of Pennsylvania, and Rice University have all eliminated loans from the financial aid packages of low-income students.”

Two years ago, Harvard University announced that it was eliminating tuition for students whose families made less than $60,000.  In January of this year, Holy Cross in Worcester said it would eliminate tuition for students whose families made less than $50,000 and resided in Worcester.  Now comes news that Stanford University has joined this group of higher ed institutions willing to pay top dollar for students from low income backgrounds that show through their hard work and perseverance that they are worthy “investments”.

As competition for talent grows, these programs demonstrate that colleges and universities are willing to finance the cost to retain and develop the local resources. As one writer says, “The aim is to develop the local economy by investing in a high-quality, homegrown workforce.”

© 2008 henry toromoreno

Education News

I hope that everyone is enjoying the February break and that it means you have a little time to catch up on some news of the world. Of course, with the political season among us, that means all kinds of talk about the state of education and the need for reforms will be in the headlines in short time. Before the state of education is reduced to a bunch of catchy bromides, it’s good to take a self-directed survey of the news to see for yourself what is happening. I imagine that if you work in Haverhill, you probably already have a few opinions about where schools and schooling is heading. Anyway, here are a few interesting articles I came across while surfing on the net. Among the writers are two of my favorites, E.D. Hirsch and Howard Gardner. Enjoy.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you get some rest.

© 2008 henry toromoreno

TED Talks streaming videos

If you have twenty minutes (I hear you groaning) and would love to refresh your sense of curiosity, take a look at the TEDTalk videos. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a group that begin in 1984 as a way of beginning a dialogue about the important intersection of culture and media. The web site contains nearly 200 streaming videos called TEDTalks that feature a diverse group of presenters from a variety of fields. Here is a brief sampling of some of my favorites:

© 2008 henry toromoreno

Black History Month

          I am sorry to be so late with a post about Black History Month. I am not sure how many teachers take some time to discuss this topic, but I haven’t gotten any requests for resources or ideas about Black History Month. I hope that means that most people have so much material to share that they can’t possibly use any more from me. Personally, I’m torn about these kinds of celebrations – March is Women’s History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month happens between September 15 and the second week in October – because they tend to exacerbate ill feelings that exist between groups. But these kinds of celebrations were created in reaction to the very real discrimination that has disenfranchized many in our society by using the same identity politics that people now understand to be so divisive.         

          In other words, blacks, women, hispanics, and many others have suffered from the prejudices and biases that created the same identity politics which today necessitates that we take a month (or at least a moment) to acknowledge the contributions of people who were not white men. It is a crude implement to use in trying to correct the wrongs of the past, but it is a start at least, and it is something that I believe belongs in our schools and in our curriculum.          

          I think that the months that commemorate the contributions of these various groups need not be about what makes us different, but about what binds us together. All of the stories that I’ve ever researched for Black History or Women’s History or Hispanic Heritage Month, have had a common thread and it is this:  “Greatness takes a lot of hard work, perseverance and courage, no matter who you are.”

P.S. For any one who watched the Super Bowl hoping to witness a moment in history, congratulations. The 2007-2008 Patriots became the first ever 18-1 team to NOT win a SUPER BOWL. Oh, the irony.

© 2008 henry toromoreno