Blog: The Educated Reporter
I called subscriber services at the Washington Post last week and got an automated voice that said, “To cancel your subscription, press 4 or say ‘cancel.’” When said “cancel,” I was told, “That is not a valid entry.” When I pressed 4, I was told, “That is not a valid entry.” Nice attempt at self-preservation!
How about that: John’s Incompleters are in fourth place, ahead of Barack Obama (18th) and the Completers (73rd). Not sure how that is possible, given that seven of his Elite Eight are wiped out already, but I guess he gets lots of points for all the upsets. This sort of makes me wish I played a real bracket, because I hate losing.
Well, a couple hours later and I am already out of the game, most likely. Notre Dame, 95 percent of your students graduate! However, you lost in the first round and therefore cannot win the tournament, as I had hoped. Old Dominion (49 percent) triumphed.
This whole project is amusing to me mainly because my husband is now randomly proclaiming “Go UTEP!” Yes, he had to look up what that stands for, and no, he has never cheered for a sports team before in his life. He and the Incompleters were tied, last I looked, for first place in the pool.
Secretary Duncan said yesterday he would like the NCAA to restrict its basketball tournament to schools that can actually graduate their players.
The press releases flowing into my inbox in the past week are mostly some form of “Association for XX Reacts to Administration’s Blueprint for ESEA Reauthorization,” and they are utterly unsurprising. A sampling (and I am not doing this again, so please do not take this as an invitation for more press releases):
When we are talking about, say, buildings, the word “blueprint” means a detailed model of what a structure is going to look like. When we are talking about federal education policy, it turns out “blueprint” means something far vaguer.
“Structured recess” sounds like an oxymoron, especially to those people who are, as one girl in Not Much Just Chillin’ put it, “allergic to anything with the word ‘ball.’” For the introverted and athletically uninclined, fresh hell might be a coach forcing you into a game of kickball during a precious half-hour you could be spending slumped along the wall of the school building, undisturbed by the classmates who will never understand you, reading kiddy manga.
Yesterday’s Education Sector panel on college and career readiness was a success; you can see the video here. Which is funny given that one of the presenters announced that everything she was about to say was on background. I know congressional staffers often aren’t supposed to be quoted instead of their bosses, but this is one Washington habit that will never make sense to me.
Yes, I am overdue in saying something about Diane Ravitch’s book, and I intend to. But in the meantime I will just say this: The reviews of a book are not the book. Especially when I wrote Tested, I was amazed at how people misinterpreted what I wrote; later I would learn they did not read the book but only reviews of it. So an offhand comment by Sandy Kress in National Journal’s conversation about how the feds would hold states accountable on RtTT hit a raw nerve for me.
When it comes to food I maintain what I see as a sensible balance but what others might find hypocritical or insane—there may be cookies in my house, but they are made from scratch and washed down with organic milk, and while this afternoon I snapped at my husband for getting me a doughnut filled with “kreme” rather than custard, far more often (and with nearly equal enthusiasm) I snack on cherry tomatoes.
People often ask me for updates about the kids from Not Much Just Chillin’, who were in middle school eight years ago. I’m in touch with all of them to varying degrees, from Facebook friend to practically siblings—way too close to retain any professional distance. So despite Lily’s mother’s pleas to write another book about her daughter so that she might get into her brain again, I never did so.