Andrew Kern May 21, 2020

Years back I was hanging out with a group of libertarians who wanted to create a movement. They wanted a constitutional amendment that prohibited the government from being involved in education.

In effect, they wanted to outlaw public education because they believed that it destroyed American freedoms.

I think today that it was a charming idea, one that gets a certain temperament aroused to action, which is better than people just complaining.

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Austin Hoffman May 20, 2020

At some point upon entering 9th grade, the mindset of the student changes. Previously, he may have considered grades a curiosity, but now they are a badge of pride or shame. The new obsession with grades is not entirely internal, as parents also look towards college and its guardians: SATs and scholarships. While parents and students may once have accepted that a classical education is meant to nourish the soul in wisdom and virtue, they now confess the real goal is higher test scores and better colleges.

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Joshua Gibbs May 19, 2020

Having quit Facebook six months ago, I have no idea what my thousand or so friends think of the pandemic. They don’t know what I think of it, either. So far as my own opinions go, this is for the best. My feelings about the pandemic have changed quite a bit in the last eight weeks.

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Betsy Brown May 18, 2020

During my first year as a teacher, I moved to a Manhattan neighborhood that was a subway ride away from all my friends. My neighbors and I never learned each other’s names during the two years I lived there. I waved at them from my patio and they waved back from their balcony, but only once or twice. I shared one wall with a stranger I never even met.

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Lindsey Brigham Knott May 14, 2020

I read yesterday a brief review of a recently-published history of earth architecture, and it beckoned my thoughts down a number of less-traveled paths. The term “earth architecture” describes buildings made of dirt, in various forms or mixtures: adobe from Southwestern clay, for instance, or cob from mixed mud and straw in Britain, or even the “soddies” of Laura Ingalls Wilder fame.

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Renee Mathis May 14, 2020

When I first began teaching other people’s children, the thought of assessing their work filled me with no small amount of dread. Even back then, when it was simply known as “grading”, I became anxious at the thought of telling others that their work had, or had not, met the standard. Why oh why hadn’t I decided to teach math? You either get it right or you don’t. Yes or no. Correct or incorrect.  Vainly I searched for encouragement from other Language Arts teachers. The advice ranged from the humorous (“Throw the papers on the stairs.

Joshua Gibbs May 13, 2020

Note: At more than 4500 words, this is the longest essay I have ever published in this column. Were my subject less worthy, I would not waste readers' time with this meticulous unpacking of a somewhat obscure 1990 film. However, I have been carrying a torch for John Patrick Shanley's masterpiece for over half my life, and am delighted to here tell you as much about it as I can.  

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Brian Phillips May 12, 2020

A child’s education is about much more than what goes on in “schooling” proper. Education is not an 8am-3pm proposition. It is taking place all the time - in the culture they are being given in their home and family, in the culture they are being exposed to outside of the home (at school, in social media, technology, friends, etc.), and in what they formally learn in both school/homeschool and church.

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Kate Deddens May 12, 2020

Our world is caught in a surreal stasis. A pandemic flows over us, and  while its  consequences ripple around us daily, many of us are existing in suspended animation. 

We’re living in a time when we’re asked to deny ourselves agency – to refrain from exercising control and influence. 

We’ve stepped back from daily life as we’ve come to know it. Many of us have pulled our strength, our activities, our productivity, our ability, and in short, our power, inward; we’ve retreated into the interiors of our homes, our immediate families, and ourselves. 

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