Monday, January 26, 2009


I was up late the other night with a cranky 18 month old. He actually gets up way too often at around 3 in the morning. During this free time I usually catch up on my Daily Show, but sometimes I get to watch the news.

I don't much care for the TV news, if anything I might watch my local station, WGN, and not just because my cousin is a producer. At 3 AM though the news is limited to 24 hour networks. So I decided to switch between MSNBC and FOX. I figured if I watch the two most slanted newscasts I might find some sort of middle ground.

It didn't work. MSNBC had some Democratic congresswoman. She and the anchor spent the entire time I watched wondering if Kirsten Gillibrand were in the pocket of the NRA and speculating on what other secret right wing ties she might have. I guess they didn't realize that there used to be a time when it was ok for politicians to differ a bit from the strict party line.

Photo found on flickr creative commons search

FOX had three talking heads on and the drivel coming out was no better. They couldn't wait to tell us hew unsafe the country was because Obama singed an order to have Gitmo closed. After five minutes I was ready to buy steel shutters for my windows and erect a pill box on my roof.

In the end I switched to Sports Center. I haven't much cared about basketball since Michael Jordan retired (the first time), but at least it wasn't negative. I don't know who was playing and truthfully I didn't care. All that mattered was that they were showing highlights and talking about success instead of failure.

Reflecting back I don't think it is any wonder that most progressive educators tend towards encouragement and setting high standards. This is what works, this is what keeps students coming back each day and putting in the effort. While the model that tests students and only sets a line between success and failure sets the focus on low standards.
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