Social media gobbles up time better spent elsewhere

It's hard to imagine a professional universe where social media isn't part of the strategy, isn't it? You can't just quit FB, Twitter, Instagram etc. That's true to an extent, but the key is coming up with a low-maintenance social media program (Ha! There's an oxymoron) that doesn't detract from the work you do that really matters. As this Times piece says, social media has an addictive quality that erodes your ability to concentrate. It's hard to do good work when you cannot focus for long periods of time without a social media fix. 

 

If you’re serious about making an impact on the world, power down your smartphone, close your browser tabs, roll up your sleeves and get to work.
— Cal Newport

She asked for books, and she got 15,000 books

A mom in a struggling California town posted requests for books on two online writer's groups, and she ended up receiving more than 15,000 books for the local school library. Books, says Garcia, offer a world beyond the isolation that can breed intolerance. "I hear sweet kids say stupid things about Asian Americans and Chicanos. A little diverse information could go a long way in helping stem rural American racism, sexism, and homophobia." 

 

Indian Valley Academy has not had a librarian since 1997. 

Indian Valley Academy has not had a librarian since 1997. 

A few of the many, many things that bug me about standardized testing

When I left my career as an education journalist, I wanted to reinvent myself as an education activist. I have done that over the years by serving on the board of a charter school, starting a neighborhood group to support my local elementary school, and writing op-eds about education for Get Schooled, the AJC blog I founded in 2004.

But some issues bother me so much and on so many different levels, I hardly know where to start to try to make an impact. The fading of recess is one such issue and high-stakes standardized testing is another.

I tried getting my arms around standardized testing in this op-ed for Get Schooled. It started as a letter to the state school board and superintendent, but after months of going back and forth trying to determine the appropriate public forum to read my letter, I gave up, emailed it to them, and published it.

I consider it a very abbreviated screed, focused only on a few of my testing peeves: lying to students about the high-stakes nature of the test, questionable grading practices, and the lack of accountability for testing companies. There are many other concerns I have, but these were some I had not seen discussed elsewhere. It's hard to let some points go unsaid, but it is better to focus on a few digestible points than try to cover too much. There will always be room in the blogosphere for another post about testing.