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You can help to build a blog that will explore some of the issues surrounding the standardized test score-based school reform movement.  It will also look into how we can support kids to navigate the educational waters these days.


Hey, Hey, What Can I Do? November 5, 2013

I climbed into the car after work today and this lovely tune started to play.

It was sublime.

Then things went south.

“From the sublime to the ridiculous,” is an expression that is often uttered in my interior monologue. I went from marveling at how amazingly good it felt inside to hear the chord progression of that obscure little Zeppelin tune, to the musical nails on a chalkboard.

I will not pollute my blog with any link or video of the endless George Thorogood song that followed.  I am the anti-fan of George Thorogood.  Suffice it to say that I was desperate to get out of the car by the time we got home.

I’m sorry if you are related to, or enamored of, George Thorogood.  He can’t follow “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do?” without sounding boring, stupid, and repetitive.

Then I voted. I bubbled in a bubble sheet.  The scanner machine said that I had done it incorrectly.  I had to darken my bubbles.  Then I had to get back in line to scan. Technology is so much better than when I could do the little metal flippy things.  There was something about sewers to vote on.  I said “no” to that, even though I couldn’t really read it, as I had left my spectacles in the car. My son and I both voted “no” on having judges be older and keep judging.  We agree that old white guys making decisions is one of our biggest problems.


Turkey Abuse OR Turkey: Food for Thought June 11, 2013

Filed under: food,humor,life,politics,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 4:59 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I am sorry to report that my standing as a slightly leftward, politically aware activist has eroded. Badly.

“Stand up against abuses in Turkey,” reads the subject line of the email.

Now come on and tell me that your mind didn’t, for the tiniest split-second, picture a factory turkey farm, with a contingent of placard-bearing protesters outside the gate.  At the very least, you thought about the turkey sandwich awaiting the lunching hour. Or, more likely, you thought that the gentleman pictured above was asking his thronging flock (not a euphemism), “Who’s your daddy?”

It follows, then, I would argue, that I might become concerned about what horrifying plucking evils have been occurring at Turkey Town Farms.  I might even have clicked on over to the petition-signing link of this email.  That is when I realized that there were humans being abused by other humans of Turkish persuasion.  My bad. Guilt-signed the petition, which I guess means that I should not travel to Turkey anytime soon—at least not before the current regime is, a) toppled, or, b) inspired to mend its unsavory ways.

The moral of the story? Violation of human and animal rights impacts us all.  Read your junk mail carefully.  Maybe, just maybe, we can make a difference. One Turkey at a time.



I’m Conflicted About Quinoa April 4, 2013

Filed under: food,humor,politics — peachyteachy @ 10:22 am
Tags: , , ,

[Cara flower image]

Just when you think you’ve found a superfood and have created a quinoa board on Pinterest (those people are obsessed with quinoa), you find out that there is, after all, a dark side to the craze.

Yup, the New York Times reports that the native folks, who have traditionally consumed quinoa as a staple of their diets, are finding quinoa cost-prohibitive due to its popularity with first-world health nuts.  It would seem that poorer children in Bolivia are beginning to prefer noodles and white flour based stuff to the traditional grain, simply because it has become so expensive.

Of course, some are profiting from the quinoa boom, including native farmers.  But now I’m wondering about the effect upon crop diversity.

What’s a girl to do?  Buy US organically grown quinoa? Buy imported quinoa to support agriculture in a third world country? Shrug the shoulders and say, “This is why I don’t eat superfoods?!”

I am going to go out on a limb and make a pledge not to use quinoa in my seed-based art projects.  There.  I am a virtuous global citizen.




Voter Chicks Rule November 4, 2012

My grandmother was a remarkable woman.  She is the face of Peachyteachy on WordPress.  She was a teacher at a time when it was amazing for a woman to graduate from high school.  She marched for women’s suffrage. Taught in a one-room schoolhouse.  As far as I can tell, the kids who flipped chairs and refused to follow any direction were home plowing the fields.  My mother was also a teacher.  She left the profession when she married and had children in her late thirties. My sixth grade teacher came to her memorial service and expressed to me how much it had meant to him that she was always so supportive and appreciative of his work.  I had not seen him since sixth grade.  What a powerful testament to how meaningful parent support can be to an educator.

I don’t know what either of them would say about what is going on in education right now.  Neither of these women viewed students as statistics, and so I suspect that they would be alarmed at current “reforms.”

Regardless of how they would vote, were they here today, the point is that they carried an understanding of the battle that was waged over a very long time so that they, and I, would be able to do so.  Although it is painful to acknowledge that I cannot strongly endorse many of the choices out there, I will exercise my hard-won right to vote as an American woman.

For anyone who is less than familiar with the story of the struggle for women’s suffrage, I recommend that you (and your daughters) see the eye-opening film, “Iron-Jawed Angels,” and the Ken Burns documentary, “Not For Ourselves Alone,” which details the amazing work of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (neither of whom lived to see the passage of the nineteenth amendment).

I promise to bring back the snark next time.


Treasures of Somebody’s Yard July 24, 2012

You know this guy, right? He’s a leaning cowboy, and he is wall art.  Please do not parade your racial insensitivity and call him a black cowboy.  I saw this guy hanging out on the wall of a garage out in the middle of nowhere.  Predictably, there were other examples of very sophisticated yard art displayed in close proximity, the combination of whose spinning power might very well supply enough energy to run the garage beer cooler.  I can only guess that the owners had recently returned from Windmill Con.

Perhaps the most impressive piece on display stood proudly opposite our friend, the leaning cowboy.  He looked something like this, except that, like Tex, he was nailed up on a white wall. 

As you can see, the long, feathered headdress suggests a stereotypical Plains individual.  I may have neglected mentioning the fact that these folks were spotted neither on the Plains or in anything that could be considered “West,” unless the year were 1786.  Another curious feature of this arrangement was that the native gentleman and the leaning cowboy were not created in the same scale, resulting in the appearance of slight dwarfism on the part of the “chief.”  Is it just me, or could this be viewed as problematic?  Are the enormous Monarch butterflies that surround them on the wall supposed to help to bridge the gap between them? Methinks that one would need at least giant hummingbirds to accomplish that.

Really hoping to see this conversation coming to the forefront of the election, by the way.



When All the Mulch is Gone May 26, 2012

I was at our friendly neighborhood mega mulch mart a couple of weeks ago, and it appeared as though I had somehow missed some universal homeowner memo requiring the purchase of multiple bags of mulch.  Do Homeowner Associations mandate this sort of thing? Are the color options limited? One can only hope that the red stuff is a violation.

I did start to get a little worried about the prospect of a time when the mulch bags run out, when all that is left is a ripped bag of the maxi bark chunks the size of a bar of Ivory soap.  It is 2012, after all.

I remember a time when only a tiny minority mulched their landscapes (or even referred to their yards as “landscapes”–those were pictures above the couch), and most of them used white pebbles, and strategically planted skinny tufts of grass amidst the stones at random intervals, presumably intended to create a sense of whimsical informality.  It was a God-awful time in landscape history.

No, I am not a Geritol customer, but I have what may be a disproportionate awareness of the past of my parents.  I think it is safe to say that folks who have early memories of the Great Depression and WWII tend to be less vigorous mulchmasters than, for instance, Reagan era Young Republicans.  Granted, it takes a darned spritely octogenarian to spread more than a cut off half-gallon milk jug full of mulch, but it’s more than that. Much, much more. It has been suggested in some academic circles that the rise of the mulch nation and its obsession with putting freshly colored stuff on top of everything may, in fact, have been a tribute to Reagan’s own ever-youthful hair color.  Will this man’s contributions ever cease to amaze? I know.

This all begs the sobering question: what will you do when the mulch runs out? Are you prepared to live without it? Or will you be among the numbers shredding dining room furniture?



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