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Posts Tagged ‘Corpus Christi

Yet another change of pace

with 31 comments

Outside Corpus Christi’s Art Museum of South Texas on June 3rd as we were walking back to our car I noticed a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) standing on a piling in the bay right at the edge of the parking lot. Hurriedly going to my camera bag and putting on my telephoto lens, I made a bunch of portraits. A man fishing near by noticed what I was doing and volunteered to throw a fish onto the ground near where the heron was. I said sure: he threw his fish, the heron fluttered onto the ground and snatched it up, and I kept taking pictures till the fish disappeared down the bird’s long throat.

  

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Here’s some good news. In Chicago on June 6th, 20-year-old Anthony Perry had just arrived at his train station when he noticed a nearly unconscious man on the electrified third rail. Anthony jumped down on the track bed, nimbly worked his way into a good position, and pulled the injured man away.

“‘I was hoping I could just grab him and not feel nothing, but I felt a little shock,’ Perry said. ‘I felt it all through my body actually. I didn’t let that stop me.’ With the help of another commuter, Perry administered CPR, saving the man’s life.”

You’re welcome to read more about this heroic act and watch a 7-minute video about it.

 

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2022 at 4:27 AM

Pink and blue and a change of pace

with 22 comments

On June 3rd, after touring the exhibits inside Corpus Christi’s Art Museum of South Texas, I focused my attention—which is to say my camera—on the museum’s exterior. If you call these views colorfully and geometrically minimalist you’ll get no argument from me. And speaking of pink and blue, I guess this is a good time for my periodic reminder that before the middle of the 20th century blue was considered the color for baby girls and pink the color for baby boys.

 

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Here’s a passage from Luke Rosiak’s new book Race to the Bottom: Uncovering the Secret Forces Destroying American Public Education.

Beginning in 1985, a federal judge named Russell Clark tried to find out what would happen if money was no obstacle. He ordered a massive spending program that infused billions of extra dollars over twelve years into the decaying city schools of Kansas City, Missouri. This made Kansas City the highest-spending large school district in the country, adjusted for cost of living. It outspent similar districts around the country by two or three times. Clark said that he “allowed the district planners to dream.”

The district constructed laboratories, a planetarium, and an Olympic swimming pool, and it provided kids with computers, foreign language programs, and field trips to Senegal and Mexico. It added all-day kindergarten and aftercare, and every elementary school classroom had $25,000 of toys in it. It had a teacher-student ratio of one to twelve or thirteen and gave teachers 40 percent raises. Clark anticipated that Kansas City students’ achievement would match the national average within five years.

By 1995, the dropout rate had not decreased and test performance showed “no measurable improvement.” Over four years of high school, the average black student’s reading skills increased by only 1.1 grade equivalents. As Gary Orfield, head of the Harvard Project on School Desegregation, whose testimony helped spur the bonanza, later admitted, “They had as much money as any school district will ever get. It didn’t do very much.”

Most people would interpret the statements of politicians to mean that low-income students have less money spent on their education than their middle-class colleagues. This is because they do not understand the power of the word equity to distort reality. Only through such a word can people say that getting the most money for the worst results proves that they are oppressed…. But in reality, equity means writing bigger and bigger checks to the bureaucrats who run inner-city schools, until equal outcomes by students are achieved—even though there is little evidence that money will ever cause that to happen.

That’s because education is primarily about minds, not materials. As a Peace Corps volunteer in 1968 and 1969 I taught math for a year and a half at a school in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where high school graduates pursued a three-year course to get certified as teachers. I was a brand-new teacher myself, only a few years older than my students, far from knowing as much and being as effective as I later became after years of studying and practice. My Spanish was adequate but not perfect. During my first half-year we didn’t even have a textbook. I made things up out of my head and used the school’s hand-cranked ditto machine to run off worksheets. The point is that even with those limited resources the students learned. It doesn’t take a lot of money. It does take a culture of knowledge, something American schools have been increasingly downplaying in favor of sociopolitical indoctrination and the excuse of eternal victimhood.

  

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 17, 2022 at 4:24 AM

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