After the epic 3-for-3 post on Wednesday, today’s offering promises to get straight to the point. Which, you know, I’ve never been good at, so . . . well . . . you know.
Interesting side note that has nothing to do with today’s links: Today marks the first official day of Fall here in Texas. And not because of today’s date or the turning of the planet or any of that scientific nonsense. No, today is the official beginning of autumn because it’s the first day I put on my TCU sweatshirt after I got out of bed. That, my friends, is how we chart the seasons here in the Jesse household — not by calendars, but by attire.
And now, to “the point”:
For anyone who’s taught in America’s K-12 system — or for anyone who’s close to someone who has — the reasons presented in this Atlantic article regarding why teachers leave the classroom won’t be all that surprising. What I do find interesting, however, is how little money has to do with the problem. True, compensation does come up a few times throughout the piece, but issues of pedagogical autonomy and teacher-administrator relationships seem to weigh far more heavily on the minds of those contemplating an end to their teaching careers. The dilemma for those who care about this problem, then, seems pretty obvious: How do we foster teacher and administrator autonomy when state and national accountability measures are increasingly focused on standardizing pedagogy?
Sorry for the “Atlantic blast” today, but I just can’t help it: this string of e-mails from a dyed-in-the-wool Ayn Randian is just too good not to at least skim through. And after reading though most of the e-mail chain, I’m convinced that the ideas and opinions of the “Atlas Shrugged Guy” are neither crazy not delusional; they’re merely symptomatic of a binaristic worldview that cannot fathom the possibility of more than one successful approach to dealing with reality.
(OK, well, when you put it that way, I guess it does sound a bit delusional. The e-mail exchange is still a fun read, especially if you’ve ever attempted to slog through one of Rand’s “masterpieces.”)
NOTE: I’ll admit I didn’t read the whole thing. However, like any good piece of conceptual writing, do you really need to?
It’s unfortunate that I can only offer up a link to a Washington Post blog post about Oates’s forthcoming story, “Lovely, Dark, Deep,” but Ron Charles’s preview of the piece in which Oates “skewers” Frost gives you a pretty good idea of what we’re in for once the story becomes widely available. (I tried to post a link to the story itself, because it sounds awesome, but it won’t appear in print or online until next month’s Harper’s hits newsstands.)
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal my own biases here: I am no fan of Frost’s poetry, and I absolutely love artist-on-artist crime. There’s nothing about “Lovely, Dark, Deep” that doesn’t strike a chord with me, so if anyone knows where I can get my hands on a copy of this story sooner rather than later, please do share!
[Image of Joyce Carol Oates via NPR.org]