Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

A New Look for Civics Lessons

Saturday, September 21st, 2019

According to a survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, only two out of every five Americans could name all three branches of the federal government and one in five couldn’t name even a single branch. This is better than it has been in past years, but the survey unequivocally shows that Americans really need to know more than they do about how their country works. Fortunately, there is a solution.

High school civics classes, as you’d expect, make a big difference in an adult’s knowledge on the topic. With that in mind, Florida Representative Alcee L. Hastings, along with 62 cosponsors, has introduced a bill to allocate additional funding for civics classes as a means of addressing this issue. Rep. Hastings, however, is not the only one tackling the problem. The Center for Cartoon Studies might seem an unlikely ally in the push to increase civics awareness, but they could very well be the key to getting kids — and adults — up to speed on the way government works.

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Keeping Track Of High School

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

I try to be an involved parent, I really do. It’s hard, though, when you spend most of your time trapped behind a little desk in a cluttered little office, doing things that have nothing to do with your kids. Fortunately, however, I can at least keep tabs on their schoolwork, even while sitting at my desk. Our school district has an online system where parents can view their student’s grades, assignments, and attendance.

With my older two in high school, I want to make sure they are taking the classes they need, not only to graduate, but to get accepted to the colleges of their choice. Further, as part of my efforts to keep their resumes up-to-date, I want to be able to calculate their grade point average. While it might seem like a simple matter of counting up their As, Bs, and so on, giving each a value, and dividing by the number of grades counted, it is actually more complicated than that.

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Junior Resumes

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

One of the things I’ve done for my kids is to create a resume for each of them and keep it updated over the years.  Even if you’re not in the market for a new job, it’s always a good idea to update your resume on a regular basis to avoid having to try and remember what you accomplished over the years when you do decide to look for a new opportunity.  While kids may not have much in the way of real work experience, they do have other accomplishments to keep track of for when they do look for a job, apply for college, or audition for a part in a show.

My oldest is currently working on college applications and his resume has come in handy as a reference for the experiences and achievements he wants to share with colleges. My daughter actually has two, an academic resume and a performance resume. The latter lists, in detail, her skills, talent, and experience in the world of performing arts while the former includes a summary of her performance experience and training along with her academic accomplishments. They are two very different documents intended for very different audiences. My youngest doesn’t have much to put on his resume yet, having just started middle school, but nonetheless I’ve listed his musical instrument training (piano, trombone, and congas) as well as the sports he has been involved in.

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The Future is in the Arts

Monday, March 4th, 2019

In his opening remarks at the annual San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) school site council planning summit, Superintendent Vincent Matthews, Ed.D. displayed the slide below. He explained that all the of these technologies had been developed in the last year, highlighting our need to ensure our students are prepared for a changing world

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Talking to Kids About Trump

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

My Daughter's Whiteboard Crossed out: Equality, Diversity, Constitution, and Education

My Daughter’s Whiteboard
Crossed out: Equality, Diversity, Constitution, and Education

Well that didn’t go the way I’d hoped.  Welcome to a Trumpian world.  Or perhaps I should say dysTrumpian.  In case you hadn’t heard, Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

I’m sure there will be plenty of analysis about how this happened and what went wrong and who is to blame.  Personally, I blame those who underestimated the amount of racism and hatred that has been hiding and festering in this country for at least the last 150 years.  I also blame not only those who fought for Trump but also those who fought against Hillary Clinton.  Too many people went around saying that while Trump was a nightmare, they didn’t trust Clinton or believed she was dishonest or even simply didn’t like her.

But that’s not the issue I need to deal with right now.  What I need to figure out is what to tell my kids.

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De-facing the Book

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

No_Face_logoSo, for a full month, I was off Facebook.

Over the last decade or so, Facebook has managed to become an integral part of our society.  Facebook pages are nearly as important as, if not more important than a company’s website.  A Facebook account has become the single account used to access many other websites, rather than a site-specific account and password.  It is our address book and is trying hard to replace e-mail as our primary means of electronic communication and interaction.

So the notion of not using the site for nearly a month seems ludicrous, even for someone like me who, while not in danger of being called addicted, did use the site fairly heavily.  So how did that go?

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Being a Model Citizen

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Voter PamphletOkay, I admit it.  Other than for a couple of critical issues, I am just not that into politics.  When an election rolls around, I try to pick people who will run things for me the way I want them to, and that’s about it.  So when I realized that today was the primary election here in California — on the way home from taking the kids bowling — I was seriously considering blowing off voting.

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San Francisco History — The Project

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Sara in her pride shirt and mouse earsA few weeks ago, my daughter came home with a list of topics and an assignment to do some sort of project about something related to San Francisco history.  She had been instructed to pick one that her parents knew about so she could get help with it.  I scanned the list of possible subjects and spotted The Gay Rights Movement.  That was a no-brainer.  I grew up in San Francisco and remember the assassination of Harvey Milk as if it were yesterday.  I spent a lot of time — for a straight kid with straight parents — in the Castro because it was close to where I had rehearsals and not too far from the Opera House.  It was a neat place to hang out on the way home.  So, it seemed obvious which topic would be best.  After all, what do I know about cable cars?

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Marriage Equality Is Not Acceptable

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Photo: Mensatic/Morguefile.comIn 2004, newly elected mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom threw away his political future when he directed the county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to all couples, regardless of their genders.  This kicked the fight for marriage equality into high gear and here we are, almost ten years later, and we are well on our way to universal marriage equality in this country.  And that’s not acceptable.  Or, rather, it’s not enough.

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The Downside of Secular Parenting

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

646227_29155629_smAlthough I was raised a devout Catholic — none of this Easter-and-Christmas-only business for us, we were in the front pew every single Sunday — I’ve not been to a religious service in years and, other than Passover Seders with family, I’m not sure my kids ever have.  In general, I firmly believe this is a good thing.  I certainly don’t forbid them from going to church and, if they were interested in going, would definitely facilitate that, but, for the most part, I think they’re much better off spending Sunday mornings in swim lessons than in church.  And yet, as a parent, I recognize that there are some benefits to raising church-going kids that I’m missing.

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