Kozol campaigns for educational reform

first_imgAt times as he spoke in the Memorial Church last Thursday (Sept. 20) Jonathan Kozol, educator, activist, and author, sounded more fervent than an impassioned man of God preaching eternal salvation.“I’m 71 years old; I’m too old to bite my tongue. … I intend to keep on fighting in this struggle ’til my dying day,” he said.But the salvation that Kozol was advocating was for the public school system in the United States, a system that, in his view, requires, if not divine intervention, at least a drastic overhaul.In an appearance co-sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s (HGSE) Askwith Education Forum, the Cambridge Forum and the Harvard Book Store, Kozol discussed his new book “Letters to a Young Teacher,” a series of letters he wrote to “Francesca” a “glorious, excited, glowing, first-grade teacher” at an inner-city school in Boston. Through the correspondence, the book examines topics Kozol has addressed throughout his career, but focuses in part on the fairly recent “No Child Left Behind” legislation, a bundle of requirements that he argues kill the ability of children to learn and develop through their own curiosity.The law, passed in 2001, requires, among other things, that all students in primary and secondary schools perform at grade level in reading and math by 2014. It mandates greater school accountability and includes punitive measures for those schools that fall short. Kozol contends that the law disproportionately affects inner-city schools and drives away promising young teachers by forcing them to use a scripted curriculum that only prepares students to take tests and not actually engage and learn.He claimed that the law was “created as a shaming ritual by which to discredit the entire concept of our public schools by holding up impossible demands without the funds to pay for them.”Kozol graduated from Harvard in 1958 and was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1964 he took a job as a teacher in a public school in Roxbury, which led to his book “Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools.” The work received the National Book Award in Science, Philosophy and Religion in 1968. He has written numerous books on the subject since.Recently, Kozol has spent a lot of time in Washington, D.C., urging the Democratic leadership in Congress to make what he calls “radical change” to No Child Left Behind in part by drastically reducing the amount of high-stakes testing. A vote to reauthorize the federal law is expected this fall, with the Bush administration pushing to broaden its scope. Kozol is also mobilizing teachers with Education Action, a network of educators whom he hopes will carry on his efforts. He encouraged people in the crowd to sign up.“I pray the young people will join in forces with us older guys,” he said. “Honestly … we need you to carry on.”To further his cause, the Boston native has been on a partial hunger strike since July and has lost 29 pounds. His slender frame and at times hoarse voice were evidence last week of the toll his fast has taken. He called the hunger strike a way to “keep faith with the kids who trusted me” and to promote his campaign for the need for sweeping change.At the beginning of his talk, Kozol asked those in the crowd who were teachers to raise their hands. The air was quickly filled with scores of arms, and a loud wave of applause acknowledging them echoed around the hall.“I always feel safer when I am in a room with teachers,” he said.What followed were his stories of the touching, silly, fascinating world of the children he met through his visits to Francesca’s classroom. He testified to the child’s ability to engage and blossom in the presence of a gifted, dedicated guide. But his lightness was punctuated by serious moments. His voice registered a grave tone as he warned of the impending doom of the country’s public education system should it remain, as he claims, broken by No Child Left Behind.During the questions that followed, Kozol encouraged dissent. Responding to one audience member, who asked how teachers and parents should oppose “moronic mandates,” he said they could simply boycott the tests as some communities have done.“I’d like to see more suburbs doing that because they can afford to take that risk,” he said.He also addressed his feelings toward Teach For America, an initiative designed to encourage a selective group of college graduates and professionals to teach in schools — often in urban areas — for two years. Kozol said the program was marred by the lack of teaching experience of its members.With its resultant high turnover rate and limited training, he contended, “it sort of like builds in instability in inner-city schools … and throws people into the classroom knowing nothing about children.”He urged new teachers who join the program to make “an inward promise to yourself that you are going to stay for seven years.”Many young teachers and students stood in a long line after the talk, waiting to have Kozol sign copies of “Letters to a Young Teacher.”“He really has a love and appreciation for kids and that comes through when he talks,” said Andy Shin, who is enrolled in HGSE’s School Leadership Program. “His voice reminds us what really is important, which is kids.”last_img read more

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LSU’s Jared Poche’s last 2 outings like night and day

first_imgLSU pitcher Jared Poche' (16) is expected to pitch Game 2 against UL Lafayette.LSU pitcher Jared Poche’ (16) is expected to pitch Game 2 against UL Lafayette.BATON ROUGE – As so many LSU people seethed over a noon game Monday instead of a midnight run the night before, LSU pitcher Jared Poche’s performance turned night into day.The Tigers’ sophomore left-hander from Lutcher stepped to the mound at high noon Monday against North Carolina Wilmington after the worst performance of his career. On May 20 at the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Hoover, Alabama, he lasted exactly one inning – allowing three hits, two walks and two earned runs. It was his briefest start of this season by two and two-thirds innings.Poche responded with his second longest appearance of the season at eight and two-thirds innings, limiting UNCW to six hits, one walk and no runs for a 2-0 victory at Alex Box Stadium to go to 8-1 on the season.The win advanced the No. 1 Tigers (51-10) to the best-of-three Super Regional beginning this Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 against UL Lafayette (44-19) at the Box with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.No. 1 LSU advances to Super Regional“You know, it’s pretty indescribable to be honest, walking off the field with all those fans cheering,” Poche said after the regional title game. “Couldn’t help but have a little grin. For me coming off last week’s performance and having an outing like that, it definitely helps for this weekend, momentum-wise. It helps me lock in and get in the zone.”Poche (8-1, 3.05 ERA) is expected to start game two of the Super Regional, which will be Sunday at either 5 p.m. on ESPNU or at 6 p.m. on ESPN2, depending on what happens in the other seven Super Regionals. Freshman right-hander Alex Lange (11-0, 1.76 ERA) is expected to start Saturday.LSU was originally scheduled to play UNCW on Sunday night, but NCAA officials moved the game to noon Monday for better weather after more than eight hours of rain delays through the first three days of the Baton Rouge Regional. Poche had geared himself up to pitch Sunday night.“It was tough, but I mean, I didn’t get to the field until about 8 o’clock,” Poche said. “So I was only here for about an hour (before the postponement decision). It was a little frustrating, but we got past it. Great teams have to handle adversity, and I think we did a great job of that today.”Poche said he did not pitch angry. “No, not really,” he said. “Just kind of wanted to get back to myself.”LSU catcher Kade Scivicque and pitching coach Alan Dunn each told Poche he had not been pitching like himself in recent outings. Before the SEC Tournament fiasco, Poche allowed nine hits and five runs in six innings at South Carolina on May 14 in a 10-7 LSU loss. He lasted just three and two-thirds innings before that on May 8 as he allowed seven hits and three runs to Missouri in an 8-3 LSU win.LSU, UL Lafayette face uncertaintyPoche’s victory over UNCW was his first since beating Georgia, 9-1, on April 18 when he gave up only four hits and one run in seven innings. “I needed to be gritty, and just kind of prove I was better than I was pitching,” he said.The doubters were surfacing as Poche slumped.“He’d had a couple of rough outings,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said, “and people were saying, ‘Why did you stick with Poche?’ Because I know what this kid is made of. I knew today that Jared Poche would go out there and be a man. If he doesn’t succeed, it’s not ever going to be because he choked or he didn’t give you his best effort or he didn’t want to succeed. Just some days, the game is hard to play, and you’ve got to give credit to the other team.”Mainieri also did not have much choice as he has struggled to find a No. 3 starter after Lange and Poche.“He just pitched a tremendous ballgame, and he deserves everything — all the accolades that come his way,” Mainieri said.“It’s a great feeling to be going to the Super Regional,” said Poche, who started LSU’s NCAA Regional opening win against Southeastern Louisiana as a freshman in 2014 before the Tigers lost their last two games to Houston in the Box for the regional title.“It didn’t work out for us,” he said. “We were hoping to get there (to the Super). After winning this game, we’re going to be there. Last year, that atmosphere was unbelievable. I don’t expect anything less.”Mainieri will expect the same or close to it from Poche, who threw 121 pitches Monday and just missed a complete game.“It would have been nice to see Jared finish. He gave every ounce of everything he had on a hot afternoon,” Mainieri said. “I was very surprised he was still in the game at that point. To shut that team down was amazing.”LANGE NATIONAL FRESHMAN PITCHER OF YEAR: LSU right-hander Alex Lange of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was named the national freshman pitcher of the year by Collegiate Baseball on Wednesday.Lange (11-0, 1.76 ERA) became the first LSU freshman in history to strike out 100 batters on Saturday when he struck out 12 in a 2-0 win over North Carolina Wilmington in the Baton Rouge Regional and has 110 on the year. He has limited opposing batters to a .206 batting average on the season for fifth in the SEC.He previously was named a first team All-American and the SEC freshman of the year. Lange is the sixth LSU player to earn national freshman of the year honors. The previous winners were second baseman Todd Walker in 1992, pitcher Brett Laxton in 1993, second baseman Mike Fontenot in 2000, pitcher Lane Mestepey in 2001 and shortstop Alex Bregman in 2013.STALLINGS ALSO HONORED: LSU freshman pitcher Jesse Stallings of Colfax and Grant High was named to the freshmen All-American team by Collegiate Baseball on Wednesday. Stallings (1-2, 2.23 ERA) leads the Tigers with 12 saves and has 26 strikeouts in 32 and one-third innings.last_img read more

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Serena Williams turns ankle in US Open victory

first_imgTennis Serena Williams was in pain – “acceptable” pain, her coach called it – after rolling her right ankle during the second set of a US Open victory. That was the bad news. On a day that defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic pulled out of his match because of a problematic left shoulder, the good news for Williams (pictured) as she pursues a seventh championship at Flushing Meadows and 24th Grand Slam singles title overall is that, while she reached the quarterfinals by beating No. 22 seed Petra Martic 6-3, 6-4 despite the ankle issue, No. 2 Ash Barty and No. 3 Karolina Pliskova both exited her side of the bracket Sunday. Not that Williams seemed to care all that much about being one of only three of the top 12 seeded women who will still be around Monday. ‘’I can’t afford to look at it that way. Every single match I have played, people come and they play their best. The women that I play are not generally playing at this level against other players in the locker room, so for me, I have to be the greatest, whether it’s against the second seed, the No. 1 seed, or the No. 80th player in the world,’’ said Williams, who faces No. 18 Wang Qiang next. “I have to show up or else I’m going to go home.” Williams, who turns 38 this month, appeared to be cruising along to a straightforward victory when she took an awkward step while up at the net for a volley. She tumbled to the ground and sat there, cross-legged, right in the middle of Arthur Ashe Stadium for a few moments. Williams has dealt with various health issues all season, including one that ended her stay at the Australian Open. Still, Martic thought Williams’ play might actually have improved the rest of the way. “She started going for even more, I think. She felt like maybe she couldn’t move that well anymore,’’ Martic said. Her shots were really precise. Serve was unbelievable. And when she hits those backhands and those first serves that well, it’s not easy to play against her.” Williams ended things by raising both arms after smacking an ace at 118 mph, her fastest of the afternoon, punctuating an overpowering performance that included 38 winners to Martic’s 11. ‘’I didn’t know what to expect from her ball. I knew she (hits it) hard,’’ Martic said, ‘’but until you feel it on your own racket, you just don’t know what to expect.’’ The scene Sunday brought back memories of Williams’ Australian Open quarterfinal in January against Pliskova. Williams was way ahead – holding a match point at 5-1, 40-30 in the third set – when she turned her left ankle awkwardly. From there, Williams was no longer, well, Williams, dropping every point she served the rest of the way. She failed to convert four match points in all that day, ceded six games in a row and lost 7-5 in the third. That time, Williams didn’t call for a trainer, which surprised many. Didn’t make that mistake this time. And a couple of hours later, she was walking without any apparent hitch in her step. Williams has not managed to complete a non-Slam tournament in 2019, withdrawing from each with one ailment or another, including a viral illness, a hurt left knee and, most recently, back spasms. – APlast_img read more

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Yager, Powers announce $315,000 grant for ambulance purchase

first_img(NASHVILLE)- State Sen.Ken Yager (R-Kingston) and Rep. Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) have announced Campbell County will receive $315,000 through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).   Yager and Powers made the announcement after receiving the information from the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). The grant will be used to purchase two ambulances to serve Campbell County.“Having access to ambulance services can be a matter of life or death,” said  Yager, who strongly supported the grant application.  “I am pleased this grant will support emergency response efforts.  Both grants reflect a greater investment in the infrastructure of our community, making it a safer place to live and work. Congratulations to the local officials who submitted an outstanding application.”“The safety and security of our communities is a top priority for myself and our local elected officials,” said Powers. “With this much-deserved funding, Campbell County will be able to provide more resources for our EMS responders so they can continue to keep our citizens safe. Congratulations to our local leaders for securing this grant funding, and I will continue to provide assistance as needed.”The funds were allocated under a procedure authorized by the Tennessee General Assembly.  ECD administers the grant program based on priorities set at the local level where community needs are best known. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/14/2019 6AM)Share this:FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

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