Reading Captain Underpants

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I used to hear a lot about Captain Underpants during lunch in the schools where I worked. You learn a lot about the lives of your students at lunch table duty! But I have not read Captain Underpants myself in years, so I stopped by the Concord Bookshop the other day and picked up a copy of the first book in the series and sat down and read it. Can I just say that I was laughing out loud? None of this ubiquitously hollow LOL stuff that peppers the internet. I mean, I was truly guffawing.  If I were in 3rd or 4th grade, especially if I were a boy, I would not be able to stop turning the pages. As a 47-year-old woman, I could not stop turning the pages! Read more…

Redshirting in the Age of Academic Kindergarten

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Every September, the incoming group of kindergarteners becomes ever so slightly older.  When I had my daughter almost twenty years ago, I remember a friend of mine exclaiming, “Oh, you’re so lucky, she’s birthday-blessed!” The term referred to her fall birth date, and the fact that she would automatically be one of the oldest students in her class. But in this high-octane world of parenting, we are seeing an increasing wave of academic “redshirt” decisions, especially for “Summer Birthday Boys,” in an effort to give them an academic, social, and athletic advantage by orchestrating their position among oldest and biggest in their grade. Read more… 

Listen to my radio interview on this topic here.

Bridging the New Digital Divide

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At the highest performing urban school in the city of Providence, Rhode Island, the mantra when it comes to education is “children always come first. ” And it isn’t easy.

Like most public charter schools, the Paul Cuffee School strives to provide the same excellence in educational technology as nearby public schools, but because resources must primarily be allocated to paying salaries and leasing school buildings, extra money for technology is scarce. Read more…

When Children Die and It’s Incomprehensible, How We Move Forward as a Society

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Almost twenty years ago, in February of 1993, my daughter was a toddler and sometimes hard to keep track of in stores if I took my eyes off her for a second, as all parents occasionally do. Around that time I lost her in Gymboree at the mall for perhaps 10 minutes because she was playing hide-and-seek in the circular turnstiles of clothing and not responding to my increasingly frantic calls. But she eventually came out laughing and I had the moment many parents have when they are angry and deeply relieved, and I hugged her and admonished her at the same time. Read more…