I’m back (to posting here)

Part I: I talk about coming back

            Happy day-after-President’s Day to everyone. I hope you are surrounded by people you love and make you happy. After a 13-month hiatus from posting here, I am back. I hope to continue sharing not just useful online resources for school, but interesting insights about living and learning. I miss having a place to not just share my thoughts about the work I am doing, but actually documenting the ever-evolving role of the school librarian.  

            With that short re-introduction done, let me begin by saying that I am excited about relaunching this project that I began way back in December 2007. The things that have changed in that decade are huge, yet incremental, and therefore, sometimes difficult to note as you are living through them (see my previous post for some numbers).

            As with the original launch of this site, this is still an experiment in online librarianship. I view this blog as an opportunity to collect and connect. More than ever before, I hope that this page can be a launching point for teachers and students looking for reliable, fact-checked sources appropriate for school projects. Over the coming weeks, I will be rechecking and reorganizing the pages, links and recommended sites found here, making sure that they are all working, up-to-date and still worthy of your attention.

Thanks to the Way Back Machine (also known as the internet archive) there is a digital “snapshot” of what this blog looked like in its early incarnation. The post from October 2008 shows that Hulu.com wasn’t yet a subscription streaming service. How the times keep changing.

Part II: I recommend some Crash Course lessons

            I am always delighted when I am asked, mostly by our English teachers, to come into class to discuss how to do good academic research online. My presentations have changed over the years to reflect the evolution of the web and to address the particular needs of my audiences. No matter how much I may try, I always feel like I am leaving something out … because I have to.

A slide from my 2005 presentation shows that I was still recommending videotapes from our collection. We have since weeded out about 90% of that collection (mostly duplicates and programs taped from television).

            What began as a curiosity and a marginal technology, has grown into a ubiquitous and all-encompassing force in our daily lives. The web is where we do everything nowadays, but it wasn’t intended to be used mostly as an academic tool, and it shows. During simpler times, it might have been enough to look at the website URL, its domain extension and the About Us page to determine the reliability of the site. Things have gotten a little more complicated, nowadays, and I rarely have enough time to really cover everything you need to know to do good academic research online.

A slide from my 2014 presentation reflects my growing concerns with “aliteracy” (people who can read, but don’t) and the growing amount of bad information.

            Enter Crash Course, a YouTube channel I have recommended and talked about in the past, and even include on my Video Resources page here on this blog. In December 2018, they announced that they would be filming a series called, “Navigating Digital Information”, which I highly recommend to my students and teachers. In the roughly two-hour-long series, I expect that they will cover much of the same information I have presented over the years … checking URLs, using primary sources, avoiding sites that don’t credit their creators, references or link to other sites, etc.

            The fact that Crash Course, and their sponsors (which they prominently reveal and discuss), find it useful to create a series about dealing with online information as a student (and a citizen) speaks to the need we have for good online content that educates us about online content. I know, it begins to feel a little like a conversation in Inception, or with Russian nesting dolls (for you older folks in the reading audience). Prior to this release, Crash Course had a whole series on Media Literacy, which I also recommend in general, and specifically episode 4, Media and the Mind. This episode focuses on the relationship between people and their devices, and how we shape our technology and it reshapes us. I especially recommend the video since it discusses the intersection of psychology and technology, two areas of study that play out every day in our schools.

            In the past month, I have recommended these two series of videos to a handful of classes and hope they will turn to it as an online resource. I have also been advising my students to return to the print resources we have available in our library media center (LMC) collection.

Part III: I remind people of the HHS OPAC

            I will use this last part as a public service announcement to remind people that the HHS LMC OPAC (what a string of letters meaning our online catalog) is available at the bottom of our school’s Launchpad. Once you have reached our OPAC’s home page, you will find a simple search engine to look through our collection.

            I always remind students of the difference between a Keyword Search (general) and a Subject Search (specific), but lately, I have also been focusing on the Series Search to introduce students to a very specific kind of print resource. Many teachers have students write a persuasive essay, where they are able to pick a subject that interests them and research a position on that issue or idea. We have a number of book series that have short, pro-con type essays on a variety of subjects and, unlike information students may find online, these articles are all fact-checked, reliable and appropriate for school work. The series titles are:

  • At Issue (160 titles)
  • Contemporary Issues (20 titles)
  • Current Controversies (52 titles)
  • Issues in Focus (24 titles)
  • Opposing Viewpoints (185 titles)
  • Reference Shelf (104 titles)

Part IV: Closing thoughts and Bonus Find

            As you can imagine, I have more to say about doing online research, but I will save that for next time. If I don’t stop writing this post, I’ll never get it online … and that was one of the reasons I stopped posting for a year; because I never knew when or what to write or how much or for who, if anyone, I was writing. But I do like sharing this information, and so I will try to post every other week here, until the end of the school year.

            In the meantime, let me share one last video series I found on YouTube called “Blank on Blank”. This series’ homepage says it all, “Famous Names. Lost Interviews. Animated Shorts.” Amongst my favorites is Aldous Huxley on Technodictators. Enjoy.

 

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found something interesting and useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2019. All rights reserved

Little known (and therefore under-used) collections

The Haverhill High School Library Media Center (LMC) has a wonderful catalog of books, video tapes (yes, like those used in VCRs), DVDs and other materials that we would love to get into people’s hands. Today, I’d like to share with you a brief description of four collections we have available for students, faculty and staff.

Professional Development: We have a small, but interesting collection of books aimed specifically at people who like thinking, reading and learning about all things education. Perhaps you’d like to read a classic, like John Holt’s 1973 book, How Children Learn or Lev Vygotsky’s 1993 book, Thought and Language. Maybe you’re in the mood for something more current like Harold Foster’s 2008 book, America’s unseen kids: teaching English/language arts in today’s forgotten high schools or Terry Zawacki’s 2012 book, Writing Across the Curriculum : a critical sourcebook. Other titles deal with classroom management, critical thinking, standards & testing, second language acquisition, and other jargon only people in education ever say out loud.

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Graphic Novels: I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I was a child of the comic book and have continued being a fan of the story told in pictures. I still read the “funnies” in the newspaper (yes, the news printed on paper) and I’m a huge advocate of illustrated stories. Some of my first real books were those Illustrated Classics titles that you can find nowadays at Walmart and Costco for $1.99. I’m not sure I could have understood some of those stories (The Three Musketeers or Orwell’s The Time Machine, for example) without the pictures helping me figure out what was happening. We have one hundred illustrated books including Fahrenheit 451, The Metamorphosis, The Odyssey, Beowulf, and Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Many of our graphic novels are adaptations of classic books or in some other way connected to education.

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Literary Criticism: Helping students find online resources for most academic research projects isn’t usually that difficult. There are plenty of free .gov sites, pretty reliable news sources, and Wikipedia (when used in a certain way described in an earlier post) for students to begin their research. One topic that is usually difficult to find online sources for is literary criticism because, let’s face it, who’s thinking about what the green light in Gatsby symbolizes except English geeks? Fortunately, the LMC has a decent collection of “Lit Crit” books, especially for classic works and writers of the traditional literary canon. Best of all, our collection stretches across many generations of writers and critical theory. Among the series that we have are Norton Critical Editions (1960s & 70s), Twentieth century views (1980s), The Greenhaven Press literary companion to American & British authors (1990s), Bloom’s notes (1990s), and Social Issues in Literature (2000s).

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College Ready & Test Prep: Long before the MCAS and PARCC tests showed up, there was the PSAT, the SAT, the ACTs, the ASVAB and a bunch of other tests, known mostly by their acronyms, to strike fear into our teenagers’ hearts. Of course, nowadays there are great online resources such as Khan Academy to help students review complex or confusing topics in any subject, but the books in this collection familiarize students with the test formats and give them practice with actual past exams. We also have titles that cover topics such as preparing a resume, writing a college entry essay, and making the most of your college years. This section is highly recommended for the college minded student who wants to take a serious look at the tests that stand between them and their scholarships. Nothing improves your luck like preparation.

 

So there you have it. Four valuable print based resources that we have in the LMC ready for our students, faculty and staff to use. As a BONUS, I’d like to mention that we also have a number of maps and posters in the LMC that we offer for teachers to use in their classrooms. Most of these are old National Geographic maps and/or illustrations, but they are also in good condition and laminated to protect them from further wear.

 

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found something useful.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2015. All rights reserved.

Welcome Back, 2012-13

Hello everyone, and welcome back! It has been more than four months since my last post; my longest absence/ silent period since starting this blog in December 2007. The reason for this, is mostly due to my own inability to balance all the demands of my life as a father/ husband/ teacher/ brother/ citizen/ person. Writer/ blogger comes in late on a long list of duties, but I expect to be able to squeeze in a full year of posts this time around

I hope everyone had a great summer vacation and that they feel reinvigorated for a new school year. As usual, I find myself anxious with anticipation and cautiously fearful that my good feelings won’t last. One thing that continues trending in a positive direction is the overall cleanliness and appearance of Haverhill High, the building. Improvements have been made both indoors and everywhere on the school grounds, from the parking lots to the pathways leading into the buildings.

This year, of the many improvements made to the school, perhaps the most welcome (and exciting) is the polyvision boards installed in every classroom. This new piece of technology is expensive, but promises to improve instruction and make classroom time more engaging.  Unlike regular whiteboards, smartboards can be connected to a computer and become large interactive presentation tools. The idea, according to proponents of the smartboards, is that this tool will make lessons more interactive and, possibly, entertaining.  We shall see.

For those who would like to learn more about how smartboards can and are being used in schools, (and whether or not they’re worth it) I’ve collected a short list of recommended reads online. Most of the titles speak for themselves:

While we don’t yet have a smartboard in the LMC, I am hoping that the powers that be recognize how much sense it would make to install one in Lab 2. Many teachers, including me, use that lab for demonstrations and talks that require a large interactive screen. As soon as I get to play with one, I’ll let you know what I think. On to other things …

Here’s a brief list of important dates for the LMC:

  • Tuesday, September 4th, teachers can begin booking time in the library. PLEASE NOTE that the LMC labs must be booked online, just like any other lab in the school. We are not responsible for any conflicts, but we will try to help in any way we can.  All other library visits (to take out books or use the pit, for example) should still be arranged at the circulation desk.
  • Friday, September 7th, teachers of Freshman English classes can begin scheduling visits for an LMC orientation. This introduction to the LMC’s rules and resources takes only one class period. Freshman orientation visits will be Monday, September 10th – Friday, September 28th.
  • Monday, September 10th, students who have a regular study period scheduled, can begin signing up for library study.  Students can sign up before first period or at 2:05, after the last school bell. Please call ahead of time if you must send a student or students for any reason to the LMC and ALWAYS send them with a pass. With so many people using the LMC at the same time for different reasons, it gets difficult to keep a track of who belongs there and who doesn’t. We appreciate your cooperation and thank you in advance for your assistance.

Random things that I want to mention:

  • Over the summer, Curiosity, a car sized rover, landed successfully on Mars, proving once again that even if we can’t go there ourselves, we have ways of “getting there” with our technology. Human beings have this amazing ability to imagine ways of doing things that seem impossible before we actually do them. I can’t wait to see all the high definition pictures and data that Curiosity collects over time.
  • I didn’t really watch the Summer Olympics because there was other stuff going on in my life, but I did see Usain Bolt run two races. I couldn’t help but be blown away by how powerful and explosive he looked, especially when I remembered that everyone behind him represented the very best of the rest of the world. This short video, comparing Bolt to every past Gold Medal Olympian, is both telling and incredible, and left me wondering where the upper limits of human performance are.
  • Hans Rosling is back at TED Talks doing the kind of interesting talk, combining statistics and storytelling, that I always find eye-opening. This time around, he explains what is happening in terms of world wide birth rates and why we should be planning for a world with around 10 billion people.

Finally, over the last few years, I have unfortunately been reminded of how quickly our time passes and how suddenly change can come into our lives. In facing these personal losses, I have had much to reflect on, and I have spent a lot of time reliving my days with those people; elders who carried the world on their shoulders for me, until I was ready to bear the weight for myself. I don’t remember specifically how these people, who are slowly disappearing from my life, taught me all the things they needed to teach me about responsibility or respect or love. I just remember that they made me feel special, protected and wanted. They believed in me and I knew it. As a father and an educator, I hope I can make my own children and students feel that way. I want to thank everyone who has supported this blog over the years and I want to encourage readers to leave feedback so that I know what interests you.

Have a great week and thank you for stopping by.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2012. All rights reserved.

My Sketch Up Obsession

               Well here it is, Sunday. I hope you had a great week off and that you are ready for the home stretch. I thought I was going to spend my week playing with the new Mac Book Air that I received right before the break. (Thank you to everyone responsible for getting that wonderful new tool into my hands; from the Superintendent all the way to every tax payer, I hope to use it well). While I did spend about an hour or so getting familiar with it, especially the photo booth feature, I ended up turning back to my own laptop for all my personal uses.

One of these uses was teaching myself to use Google’s Sketch Up 3D design tool. I first mentioned Sketch Up in a post back on Novemer 16, 2008. At that time, I started the program and explored a few of the features, but I didn’t have the time or a reason for learning to use it. On several occasions, as I passed by the A wing, I have seen Mr. Cosgrove’s classes using the program, and it always appeared to be something that was a lot of fun. I just never seemed to need such a tool.

Then one day during vacation, my brother-in-law (who lives in the same town, but whom I never see because that’s just how it goes sometimes) stopped by, asking if I could help him draw a plan for his backyard deck. He carried with him the original plans we had made more than a decade earlier, after a holiday meal. I used to have some cheesy “design” program published by Better Homes Gardens and my brother-in-law still had the printout from that app. I told him that I would be happy to help him with his plans, but that I no longer had that software. This is when I thought of using Sketch Up.

               I downloaded the software, which took no time at all, and started it, thinking I would be able to use it with no tutorials or practice. Everything about the program was familiar; the work area/field, the toolbars, zooming in and out using the wheel on the mouse. After about ten minutes, however, it was clear that I did not know what I was doing. I was thinking and drawing as though I was using a flat two dimensional surface, and Sketch Up is a three dimensional tool. Frustrated, I turned to pen and paper and my brother-in-law and I drafted the plans for his deck the old fashioned way.

Later on that evening, I returned to Sketch Up, determined to learn how to use it. I watched the first two tutorial videos to learn the basics about navigating in the program and how to use the simple tool set. That was enough to get me going. At first, I was happy just making big boxes with uneven rectangles for windows. I learned that cut, copy and paste work pretty much the same, except that they occur in three planes, which can get tricky if you’re not careful.

After mastering the basics, I created the simple patio for my brother-in-law that started this whole learning adventure, but my curiosity was piqued. I started wondering what other things I could do. Could I make a “simple” map of the high school library that I could use in the future? I started imagining a 3D map of the LMC with all areas labeled that would let people take a “virtual tour”. What the hell, I thought, I’m on vacation. How much work could it be to make a simple map?

Needless to say, I ran into problems immediately. How big is the LMC? How tall are the doors? How deep is the pit? What are the dimensions of the pit? How big is the office I sit in every day? Suddenly, I had all kinds of questions to answer. Even if I knew all of this, how would I furnish the area? I still haven’t explored all of the Sketch Up drawings that are available, and anyway, I was kind of hoping to learn more about the software by building all kinds of things.

               That, however, became one of my problems. My obsessive compulsive side took over and I found myself designing everything from file cabinets and lounge chairs, to computers and eventually, giant robots. The more I drew and cut and copied and pushed and pulled and rotated and grouped, the more I wanted to do it.

What is mind blowing about the application is that you can be thinking about the layout for a 150′ x 125′ room one minute (that’s what I ended up estimating the LMC to be) and the next minute you can be designing the 1/4” RCA plugs for the computers that will sit on the desks. I’m still having fun playing around Sketch Up, and hope to complete the LMC library model to use for educational purposes. (At least that’s what I’m telling my wife every time she catches me “playing” around.) Have a great day, and hope to see you all tomorrow.

P.S. After working for hours and hours in a virtual three dimensional world, zooming in and out, panning around the x, y and z coordinates, it was weird coming back to writing a linear post.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2012. All rights reserved.

BONUS: My Secret Robot Project

 

 

Super late February post

               Even though this is a leap year, which means that I had an extra day in February to write a post, I missed writing anything new last month. I haven’t done that very often on this blog, but occasionally I do miss a deadline (there’s no deadline here … there’s no one here, but me). Having a snow day, however, forced me to admit that it was time to get something new up. To make up for the missing post, I offer you a potpourri of sites, insights and personal highlights, in no particular order.

  • The Winter 2011 edition of the HHS student literary magazine, thinker, is completed and available. Contributors and editors receive a complimentary copy and we ask all others to contribute a dollar for the magazine. Currently we are trying to raise money to purchase digital cameras for the lit mag, as we currently rely on student and faculty cameras. Copies of the magazine are available at the library. The Lit Mag also has a blog (that needs to be updated … and will be soon) where you can find most of the work in the printed version. Over time, that site should become an impressive digital archive of our students’ creative talents.
  • We are looking for submissions for the Spring 2012 edition of the above mentioned lit mag. We ask that teachers keep us in mind whenever they see a good piece of writing or artwork anywhere in the school. Many students don’t even know that we have a literary magazine and that we are trying to expand both our audience and the range of the work represented. We’re not just looking for poetry and short stories, we would like to see more essays, plays, graphic adaptations, and other forms of expressions. Submissions can also be sent to my school email at htoromoreno@haverhill-ps.org. Digital submissions are preferred.
  • I want to thank Mr. Levine’s “Debating Critical Issues” class for the invitation to participate in their intellectual jousts. I have been really challenged by the issues themselves, often finding myself having to defend positions with which I do not agree. The discussions however have reminded and reinforced in me the conviction that education is more important than ever. The range of topics we have covered (drinking age, Columbus Day, internet privacy, school uniforms, etc.) illustrates the number of decisions we have to make as citizens. Being informed and understanding why we should or shouldn’t do certain things is the most important thing we can do as free people.
  • Something I learned from participating in the debates was more information about The Keystone Pipeline. I was supposed to defend the building of the Keystone Pipeline, and I did find a bunch of information that suggested all sorts of economic and diplomatic reasons for green-lighting this project. I only did about an hour’s worth of research and during the class debate, I admitted that I did not know much about this subject. No one told the story the way that Garth Lenz shows what is really at stake when we make key policy decisions that impact the environment. (There’s always a TED Talks isn’t there?)
  • The LMC would also like to remind everyone of our small, but expanding, Professional Development collection. While we’ve purchased most of the books, many teachers have also contributed titles from their own libraries, and we want to thank them for thinking of us. Some interesting titles we have are The Obvious Child: Studies in the Significance of Childhood, Frogs into Princes: Writings on School Reform, and See You When We Get There: Teaching For Change in Urban Schools.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you had a safe and productive snow day.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2012. All rights reserved.

Happy New Year, One Week In

……………A very belated Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that you had a great break and that you found yourself surrounded by delicious food, raucous cheer and friendly faces during the holidays. I had a chance to visit my family in New York and it was a great time indeed.

……………As usual, the idea of New Year’s resolutions came up and we made a game of it and laughed about it. While it was a light-hearted discussion, I think New Year’s resolutions are a great way to jump start a personal challenge, make a positive change and/or develop a skill you’ve always wanted. This blog started for me as a New Year’s resolution back in 2007, for the following year. I simply wanted a place to practice writing regularly and a forum that would allow me to communicate my interests (both professional and some personal) with an audience.

……………This post marks the beginning of my fifth year writing this blog. I have written 165 posts and shared over one thousand links to websites from everywhere around the web. Conservatively estimating that each post is about 500 words long, I’ve written over 80,000 words and I am probably closer to 100,000 words or the length of a 400 page book. I am not listing these numbers as a self-congratulatory exercise, but as a demonstration of how accumulating a little work over time can add up to something you didn’t even envision.

……………My mother used to say to me, “the thing to remember about life, is that one day follows the other”. She used this line in bad times as a way of saying, tomorrow you get to try again. She also used this line in good times as a warning, that without practice or a plan, you end up without direction.

……………New Year’s resolutions are something most of us take lightly, but they serve as a yearly reminder to take inventory of ourselves and of our lives. Planning to do something is just the beginning though. The harder part, as we all know, is doing it … and continuing to do it.

……………Thank you for stopping by and I hope you found something worthy of a resolution.

Quick Hits: As usual, there are some finds I’d like to share.

  • Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions: In the spirit of making changes, this infographic from LiveScience.com shows what most people promise to work on for the new year.
  • The Big Waste: The Food Network is not the first place I think of when I think of educational television, but they do have some delicious (and ridiculous) ideas for what to do with food. This program is advertised as something with a conscience, as the Food Network takes a look at how much food we waste on purpose. We throw away lots of food (surprise, surprise) because it just doesn’t “look good”.  (Sunday night, 1/08/12 at 10 pm)
  • A.J. Jacobs: How healthy living nearly killed me. In the spirit of Morgan Spurlock’s 30 day documentaries, Jacobs gives his short talk revealing how following all the best advice about how to live a healthy life led to some small changes that really matter.
  • Sebastian Wernicke: 1000 TEDTalks, 6 words: This statistician has given other TED Talks, and in this one he tackles the job of trying to distill the meaningful content of one thousand presentations to just six words. I could tell you what those words are, but that would rob you of the chance to wonder what they could be.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2011. All rights reserved.

Race, class, work … or how to sell a story

__________My colleague and Words with Friends nemesis, Michael Lavieri, first mentioned reading Gene Marks’ Forbes article, “If I Was a Poor Black Kid” about a week ago. Since then, I have seen, read and heard a number of references and critiques of the article. Everything from indignation about the white author’s simplistic analysis of the current economic situation to overly sarcastic letters in response to Marks’ suggestions. He is not the first (nor I suspect, last) person to be chastised for giving poor black anyone advice. A tradition that I suspect began shortly after Booker T. Washington’s 1895 speech at the Atlanta Exposition, urging blacks to “cast down your buckets where you are”.

__________After reading the article myself, I don’t understand what all the hysteria or controversy is about. Or maybe I understand, a little.  In Time magazine, the writer Toure, responded to Marks’ article by basically condemning the author for having the audacity to give poor black kids any advice since you know, he’s not black, poor or a kid. How dare he? This kind of hulabaloo is about race and its entangled relationship with social class, when the article, with all its obvious limitation is really about work, and the personal responsibility each of us has to hone our talents in spite of our limitations. Amy Chua caused a similar uproar when she published her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, where she praised the rough discipline of her “Chinese” upbringing over the soft laissez faire parenting of “American” mothers.

__________Take away the element of race/ ethnicity, and it’s really a conversation about class differences …. that is, connections and expectations. But Mark’s article, as trite and superficial as it is, is also most importantly about the work that makes the difference between “getting by” and “being great” at something. The work, the commitment and the vision to bring them together is something that no one can give to any of us. Malcolm Gladwell points out in his book Outliers, that there were plenty of kids who grew up in the same suburbs at the same time as Bill Gates, but it only produced one Bill Gates.  The same can be said nowadays of people from all walks of life, from plenty of places (think Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Carter, Justin Bieber … yes even Bieber).

__________Many minority writers, including myself, who have taken the time and energy to respond to Mr. Marks’ suggestions are obviously seething at the paternalism they sense in his work. The idea that all it takes is hard work to make it in this country, however, is one of our nation’s most treasured myths, along with the notion of the DIY individual and the countless tales of bootstrap pulling. Today we remember Horatio Alger not because he was a great writer, but because he cemented in our collective imaginations the archetype for the American hero … a nobody from nowhere, an outsider who through dint of hard work and personal perseverance casts off that most distasteful of all un-American blemishes: poverty.

__________Mr. Marks could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he had just removed one word from his title and thesis. Of course, this would have meant that no one (including myself) would be talking about the article today, and that’s no way to sell a story. What controversy would anyone find with such cream puff advice such as, “And the very best students, even at the worst schools, have more opportunities.  Getting good grades is the key to having more options.  With good grades you can choose different, better paths.” Blah. It’s such a shame that bringing in race is still like throwing a Molotov cocktail into the discussion. But it is and it will remain so as long as class and race are so closely tied together, and as long as we continue to discuss racial groups as monoliths with some sort of essentialist quality that percolates in the blood of each individual.

__________What I found most interesting about Marks’ article was his perfunctory and mostly unintentional revelation that there is a class system at work that most people (black, white, and other) pretend doesn’t exist. He mentions that his own kids have an advantage over the kids in the poor neighboring community just because of where they live and who they’re surrounded by. Then, in the middle of his tips he says this:

  • Most private schools I know are filled to the brim with the 1%.  That’s because these schools are exclusive and expensive, costing anywhere between $20 and $50k per year.  But there’s a secret about them.  Most have scholarship programs.  Most have boards of trustees that want to give opportunities to kids that can’t afford the tuition.  Many would provide funding for not only tuition but also for transportation or even boarding.  Trust me, they want to show diversity.”

__________Three things struck me about this passage. First his admission that most private schools are not filled with the best and brightest students who are there necessarily because they tested in or showed great promise in some field. They are there because they belong to a certain class. Period. Second, the idea that scholarship programs are some sort of secret, even in this day and age of ultra connectedness; some back door entry into the hallowed halls of their privileged institutions. Thirdly, the line “they want to show diversity”. Not they want to be diverse. Not they believe in diversity. They want to “show” diversity. ‘Nuff said.

__________I provide links for all my references, so you can read and decide for yourself how you feel about this all. Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great Sunday.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2011. All rights reserved.