Archives for the month of: June, 2012

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I write the blog to speak my mind, to open up discussion, to get people thinking, to encourage those who need encouragement, and to shine a light where it is needed into some dark corners of our public life.

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I wasn’t sure what that meant, and did some checking.

He was right.

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Don’t modify or revise what I wrote, though obviously you can say whatever you want about it in  your own voice.

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A reader urged me to write about this story that appeared in the New York Times about the Apple corporation. We all know that these are tough times for the economy, and many people are out of work. But Apple is a company that makes great products and is doing exceptionally well.

Apple is one of the most successful and most profitable corporations in the world. It makes beautiful products (I am working on one now). Its stores provide excellent customer service, which is a rarity in these times. I can remember the frustration of spending hours on the phone trying to get someone to help me fix my Dell. How nice to be able to have a face-to-face consultation with someone who knows how to solve your problems.

Apple compensates its top executives handsomely. According to the story, Apple’s top executive has a sweet deal, worth about $570 million over a few years.

But the 30,000 employees who staff the Apple stores, who are so efficient and knowledgeable, make an hourly wage that is better than the minimum wage but less than $12 an hour. Many earn $25,000 a year.

The technology industry creates wealth but it does not share what it earns with its workers.

And, by the way, the jobs that these Apple employees have are the kinds of jobs that American college graduates increasingly will turn to: service jobs, sales jobs, earning something more than the minimum wage, but not the kind of job that will pay down a large college loan.

It’s better to have a college degree than only a high school diploma, but these days not even college graduates can be sure of getting a good job.

What can we learn from Apple? Maybe you draw a different lesson, but I keep learning the same thing over and over again. Those who accumulate great wealth are not paying a fair share to those who generate that wealth. I am not a Marxist. I am not a socialist. I just think it is not fair to see so many people sinking in our economy while a tiny proportion of our population has money beyond measure.

I have nothing against the wealthy. I don’t care that some people have more wordly goods than others. I understand that life’s not fair. I just harbor this feeling that a person ought to be able to get by on $100 million or so and not keep piling up riches while so many others don’t know how they will feed their children tonight. That doesn’t feel like my America. I grew up right after World War 2 and I remember the sense of shared sacrifice. I remember what the American Dream meant. It meant a middle-class society where no one went to bed hungry at night, and everyone had a fair chance to live a good life if they got an education and worked hard and dealt fairly with others.

It sometimes seems that we have forgotten that vision, that it’s been replaced by the idea of everyone for himself and for himself only.

And one other thing: As more and more people go to college, more and more of them are landing in jobs that do not require a college degree and/or do not pay what they expected when they made the decision to go to college. As you hear “reformers” saying that everyone should go to college, note that they say nothing about how all the new college graduates will find worthy jobs. Earning $12 an hour selling stuff isn’t what most people had in mind when they incurred all that debt.

The economy is changing in ways that none of us fully understands but in ways that increase income inequality, enriching the top 1-10% and almost no one else. We need fresh thinking about who we are and what we are becoming.

Diane

Here is a valuable thumbnail description of the New York state policy agenda.

Review this list and you will see why politicians think and act as they do in New York state.

Do similar lists exist for other states?

A reader sent me a very provocative blog about the future of education by David Warlick, who has long experience in education and technology.

The blog begins with the startling statistic that six media giants control 90% of what we see, read and hear.

He goes on to ask whether the time might come when 90% of our schools are controlled by three big corporations, each with its own board of directors, completely uninterested in the views of parents and teachers.

He writes: “I have come to worry about a greater threat to the democratic foundations of education, a threat so big, so strange, and so insidious, that it is going largely Un-noticed.  It is so large and comes from such high places that I hesitate to do more than whisper it.  I am not a cynical person.  But people whom I admire and respect have gone this far and for some time now – and I will too.  I fear that there is, and has been, an organized and orchestrated effort by people in high places (and low places) to privatize education in America – to take over our classrooms.”

These thoughts have crossed my mind, and I have more than whispered them. I can’t say for certain just how organized and orchestrated this effort is. From the outside, it seems to be very well-organized and very well orchestrated. It is certainly well-funded, and its advocates share a remarkably common vocabulary. Its program is very well designed: First, claim that the schools are failing; second, propose “cures” that have no evidence to support them; third, blame the schools when your “cures” fail (e.g., NCLB, Race to the Top); fourth, hand them over to private managers and for-profit corporations.

It is a frightening scenario, but it is one that is becoming more and more transparent with every passing day.

The corporate reformers have done a bang-up job of making Americans lose confidence in their public schools, even though they continue to admire the public schools that their own children attend.

The game is on.

We must stop them.

Diane

American higher education is generally acknowledged to be the best in the world.

It offers elite colleges and universities where great thinkers and researchers have freedom to teach and study and where young people can learn from them and even work with them.

It offers great state universities where students can learn what they need or want to know about almost anything.

It offers community college where students of any age can learn almost any trade or occupation or fill in the gaps of their education.

It has a large online sector that gets poor results but offers a fast track to a degree in a degree-conscious world.

And it offers many options that don’t fit into any of the categories above.

Now Bill Gates has turned his mighty gaze onto this cornucopia of choices, and he does not like what he sees.

Although he did not stay at Harvard to earn his own degree, his vast wealth makes him an expert on every subject where his gaze falls.

In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, he  shared some of his thoughts about what higher education needs.

And, to this reader, the real jolt comes at the end of the interview, when he refers to NCLB and the SAT as the “gold standard.”

Diane

One of the ironies of corporate-style reform is that the reformers like to pretend that they are leaders of the civil rights movement of our day.

Arne Duncan says that closing low-performing schools, firing staff, and turning around schools is the civil rights issue of our time.

Mitt Romney says that supporting vouchers and charters and for-profit online schools is the civil rights issue of our time. we have heard this from many others in recent years.

This phrase gets attached to every proposal to privatize public education, to crush teachers’ unions, and to break the education profession and open it to amateurs.

But wait. New voices are being heard. Parent activists in minority communities are organizing and speaking out. They don’t see the closing of their neighborhood schools as a triumph for the civil rights movement.  They see the heavy hand of state and federal and city government singling out their communities for school closings and privatization. They don’t think that vindicates their civil rights. They plan to sue, claiming that these policies are violations of their civil rights.

They are starting to  see the national picture. When they do, it will be very hard for hedge fund managers, billionaires, politicians, corporate executives, and socialites to portray themselves in the forefront of “the civil rights issue of our time.” The U.S. Department of Education may not be able to maintain the claim that closing down community schools in minority neighborhoods advances civil rights at the same time that black and Hispanic families are suing them for trampling on their civil rights.

I read this post by Yong Zhao when it came out 18 months ago. I remember thinking that his was a new and important voice in our debates about American education. Others discovered him long before I did, and I am glad I did too. I devour whatever he writes because he is not only a careful scholar but he is wise. He has great respect for creativity, initiative, originality, and inquiry; and he is repelled by standardization and conformity, which is the enemy of the foregoing. The fact that Yong Zhao was born and educated in China and has a deep knowledge of that nation’s education system gives him added authority. It also gives him the perspective needed to put our usual debates into a fresh and original framework. Yong Zhao is now at the University of Oregon and speaks often at international conferences.

I urge you to read his important book Catching Up or Leading the Way.

His new book, just published, is World-Class Learners, a must read.

I have read this essay many times and quoted it many times. I will quote it again, I am sure.

It gives me pleasure to share it with readers of this blog.

“It makes no sense:” Puzzling over Obama’s State of the Union Speech

30 JANUARY 2011

“It makes no sense:” Puzzling over Obama’s State of the Union Speech

“It makes no sense” is perhaps President Obama’s favorite phrase, using it twice in his 2011 State of the Union speech. I like the sound of it and what lies behind it—a simple way to point out the obviously illogical things that need to change. That is how I feel about the education section of his speech. It makes no sense.

President Obama wants to win the future by “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.” “[I]f we want to win the future -– if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas -– then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”

How to win the race to educate our kids?

More math, more science, more high school diplomas, more college graduates, more Race to the Top, more standards and standardization, more carrots and clubs for teachers and schools, and no TV.

Why?

Because China and India “started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science;’” because “[t]he quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations;” and because “America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree.”

None of these makes much sense to me because they are either factually false or logically confusing. For one, President Obama suggested that parents make sure the TV is turned off. If every parent followed his suggestion and turned off the TV, there would be no one to watch his State of the Union next year. As with everything else, there is good TV and there is bad TV. More seriously, I did some fact checking and logical reasoning and here is what I found out.

Is it true that “China and India started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science?”

 

No, China has actually started to reduce study time for their children, with less emphasis on math and science

 

I am not familiar with education in India so I will stick to China and I assume President Obama meant education in schools, not education at home. Unless he meant 50 years ago, the statement is completely false. The school starting age in China has remained the same at age six since the 1980s when China’s first Compulsory Education Law was passed in 1986. Since the 1990s, China has launched a series of education reforms aimed at reducing school hours and decreasing emphasis on mathematics. According to a recent statement from the Ministry of Education (in Chinese):

Since the implementation of the “New Curriculum,” the total amount of class time during the compulsory education stage (grades 1 to 9) has been reduced by 380 class hours. During primary grades (grades 1 to 6), class time for mathematics has been reduced by 140 class hours, while 156 more class hours have been added for physical education. In high school, 347 class hours have been taken out of required courses and 410 class hours added for electives. (People’s Daily,http://edu.people.com.cn/GB/10320480.html)

Is it true that “the quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations?”

 

It depends how one measures quality. If measured in terms of test scores on international assessments, yes, but these test scores do not necessarily indicate the quality of math and science education and certainly do not predict a nation’s economic prosperity or capacity for innovation.

When he says that “the quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations,” President Obama ignores the fact that American students performance on international tests have been pretty bad for a long time, and believe it or not, has got better in recent years. In the 1960s, America’s 8th graders ranked 11thout of 12 countries and 12th graders ranked 12 out of 12 countries on the First International Mathematic Study. America’s 12th graders’ average score ranked 14th out of 18 countries that participated in the First International Science Study. In the 1970s and 80s, America’s 12th graders did not do any better on the Second International Mathematics study, with ranks of 12, 14, 12, and 12 out of 15 educational systems (13 countries) on tests of number systems, algebra, geometry, and calculus respectively. On the Second International Science Study, American students’ performance was the worst (out of 13 countries with 14 education systems participating, America’s 12th graders ranked 14th in Biology, 12th in Chemistry, and 10thin Physics) (Data source, National Center for Educational Statistics). In 1995, America’s 8th graders math scores were in 28th place on the Third International Mathematics and Science Study. In 2003, they jumped to 15th , and in 2007, to 9th place.

Obama also said in his speech:

Remember -– for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers — no workers are more productive than ours.  No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs.  We’re the home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any place on Earth.

So who has made America “the largest, most prosperous economy in the world?” Who are these most productive workers? Where did the people who created the successful companies come from? And who are these inventors that received the most patents in the world?

It has to be the same Americans who ranked bottom on the international tests. Those 12th graders with shameful bad math scores in the 1960s have been the primary work force in the US for the past 40 years. The equally poor performers on international tests in the 70s and 80s have been working for the past 30 years now. And even those poor performers on the 1995 TIMSS have entered the workforce. Apparently they have not driven the US into oblivion and ruined the country’s innovation record.

Is it true that Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of public education in a generation?

 

Again, it depends. It depends on how one defines “meaningful.” If defined as the scale of impact without questioning whether the impact is beneficial or not, it may be true but considering the actual consequences, Race to the Top is neither meaningful nor flexible. It does not focus on “what’s best for our kids” nor spark “creativity and imagination of our people.”

 

I wonder if Obama knows what Race to the Top actually does because it is just the opposite of what he asks for. He says:

What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea -– the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny…It’s why our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea?  What would you change about the world?  What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“Our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world” perhaps explains why the American students scored poorly on tests but have been able to build a strong economy with innovations.

But Race to the Top is about killing ideas and forcing students to memorize equations by imposing common standards and testing in only two subjects on students all over the nation; by forcing schools and teachers to teach to the tests; and by forcing states to narrow educational experiences for all students to a prescribed narrowed defined curriculum.

Race to the Top is precisely what he said it is not: “We know what’s possible from our children when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals, school boards and communities.” It is nothing but a top-down mandate. Race to the Top applications required states and schools to be innovative in meeting the top-down mandates: adopting common standards and assessment, linking teacher evaluation/compensation with student test scores, offering more math and science learning, and allowing more charter schools. In the first round of competition, Massachusetts was penalized for not wanting to rush to adopt the common standards. Pennsylvania was penalized for proposing innovative practices in early childhood education (Source: Let’s Do the Numbers: Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” Program Offers Only a Muddled Path to the Finish Lin By William Peterson and Richard Rothstein)

Race to the Top is anything but what Obama says “the work of local teachers and principals, school boards and communities.” States that were desperate for cash had to use all means to coerce teachers, principals, and school boards to sign on to the application because participation of local schools was a heavily weighted criterion. And if teachers and school leaders did not agree, they risked being accused of not supporting children’s education.

 

And with regard to common standards, while it is true that they were not developed by Washington, but Washington definitely helped with billions of dollars to make them adopted nationwide.

Is it true that “America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree?”

 

It depends for a number of reasons. First, different countries have different definitions of a college degree. Second, not all college degrees are of equal quality. Third, the changes in rank do not necessarily indicate America’s decline. It could simply other countries have caught up.

 

President Obama may be drawing the figures from a report published by the College Board recently. The report cites OCED data and suggests that “the educational capacity of our country continues to decline.” But the data actually do not support the statement.

According to the report, in 2007, America ranked sixth in postsecondary attainment in the world among 25-64-Year-Olds. It ranked fourth among those ages 55 to 64. But for the 25-34 age group, America ranked 12th. Simply looked at the rankings, America is indeed in decline. But looking at the percentages of postsecondary degree holders shows a different picture. For the age group of 25 to 64, 40.3% of Americans held a college degree. The two countries that were immediately ahead of America, Japan and New Zealand, had a lead of less than 1% at 41%. The other three leading countries were Russia (54%), Canada (48.3%), and Israel (43.6%). For the young age group (25-34 year olds), America had 40.4% and five out of the 11 countries led by about 2%. The countries with over 10% lead were Canada (55.8%), Korea (55.5%), Russia (55.5%), and Japan (53.7%). For those ages 55 to 64, America ranked fourth, but the percentage was 38.5%. The countries ahead of America were Russia (44.5%), Israel (43.5%), and Canada (38.9). Based on this data we can draw two conclusions. First America was never number one. Second, the percentage of college degree holders in America has actually increased.

How many more math and science graduates does the US need?

 

President Obama wanted “to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.” This is driven by the belief that America does not prepare enough talents in these areas. But according to a comprehensive study based on analysis of major longitudinal datasets found “U.S. colleges and universities are graduating as many scientists and engineers as ever before.”  The study was conducted by a group of researchers at Georgetown University, Rutgers University, and the Urban Institute. “Our findings indicate that STEM retention along the pipeline shows strong and even increasing rates of retention from the 1970s to the late 1990s,” says the report. However, not all STEM graduates enter the STEM field. They are attracted to other areas.

“Over the past decade, U.S. colleges and universities graduated roughly three times more scientists and engineers than were employed in the growing science and engineering workforce,” one of the study’s co-author Lindsay Lowell was quoted in the study’s press release, “At the same time, more of the very best students are attracted to non-science occupations, such as finance. Even so, there is no evidence of a long-term decline in the proportion of American students with the relevant training and qualifications to pursue STEM jobs.”

What America really needs?

 

President Obama actually got the destination right when he said “the first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.” But he chose the wrong path.

To encourage American innovation starts with innovative and creative people. But a one-size-fits-all education approach, standardized and narrow curricula, tests-driven teaching and learning, and fear-driven and demoralizing accountability measures are perhaps the most effective way to kill innovation and stifle creativity.

What America really needs is to capitalize on its traditional strengths—a broad definition of education, an education that respects individuality, tolerates deviation, celebrates diversity. America also needs to restore faith in its public education, respects teacher autonomy, and trusts local school leaders elected or selected by the people.

In addition, America needs to teach its children that globalization has tied all nations to a complex, interconnected, and interdependent chain of economic, political, and cultural interests. To succeed in the globalized world, our children need to develop a global perspective and the capacity to interact and work with different nations and cultures, the ability to market America innovations globally, and the ability to lead globalization in positive directions. That includes foreign languages and global studies.

Even the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), a direct result of Sputnik and a product during the Cold War, was broader in terms of areas of studies than conceived in Race to the Top and the blueprint for reauthorization of ESA. It included funding for math, science, foreign languages, geography, technical education, etc. Moreover, it did not impose federal mandates on local schools or states.

Heading north for south: A Chinese story for the President

A Chinese story best illustrates the danger of choosing the wrong path for the correct destination. This story was recorded in Zhan Guo Ce or the Records of the Warring States, a collection of essays about events and tales that took place during China’s Warring States Period (475-221 BC). Here is my recount of the story.

The king of the state of Wei intends to attack its neighboring state of Zhao. Upon hearing the news, Ji Liang, counselor to the king rushes to see him. “Your Majesty, on my way here, I met a man on a chariot pointed to the north,” Ji Liang tells the King, “and he told me that he was going to visit Chu.”

“But Chu is in the south, why are you headed north?” I asked.

“Oh, no worry, my horses are very strong,” he told me.

“But you should be headed south,” I told him again.

“Not to worry, I have plenty of money,” he was not concerned.

“But still you are headed the wrong direction,” I pointed out yet again.

“I have hired a very skillful driver,” was this man’s reply.

“I worry, your majesty, that the better equipped this man was,” Ji Liang says to the King, “the farther away he would be from his destination.”  “You want to be a great king and win respect from all people,” Ji Liangconcludes, “You can certainly rely on our strong nation and excellent army to invade Zhao and expand our territory. But I am afraid the more you use force, the farther away you will be from your wishes.”

New York State had the misfortune to win that pig in a poke known as Race to the Top. The state got $700 million.

Our political leaders licked their chops, thinking that this was new money that could be used to offset budget cuts.

Silly them.

Every dollar of RTTT must be used for designated purposes, not a dollar can be moved to make up for deficits elsewhere.

And many districts are now learning that whatever money they get from RTTT will require them to spend two, three, four times as much complying with its requirements.

The State Education Department has been designing an “educator evaluation” system that is so complex, so punitive and so demoralizing that more than a third of the principals in the state signed a petition opposing it and calling for a pilot test. The system, known as APPR (annual professional performance review), assigned 40% of a teacher’s rating to student test scores; if a teacher is “ineffective” in that portion, he or she cannot be rated effective overall no matter how many of the other 60 points are accumulated. In other words, the 40%=100%.

The principals know that this approach will demoralize their staff and harm their students. In these times, it takes tremendous courage and moral fortitude for a principal to take a public stand against any decision made by the State Education Department and the Board of Regents. It’s easy to castigate them as “opposing accountability,” when in fact they are opposing a deeply flawed and ill-conceived, mechanistic approach to evaluation.

The State Education Department, led by Commissioner John King, a young man with experience in the charter school sector, has described the creation of APPR as building a plane in mid-air. In a training session, the principals were shown a video in which the passengers were strapped in their seats while mechanics worked around them to build the airplane as it flew high off the ground. One principal noted that the mechanics (State Education Department bureaucrats?) were wearing parachutes, but the passengers had none.

One of the signatories of the principals’ protest letter was Southold, Long Island, school superintendent David Gamberg. He is a thoughtful, dedicated educator and leads a district where parents and the local community are dedicated to their public schools. Gamberg described the plane as a Spruce Goose.

In Louisiana, as I wrote in a recent blog, the Jindal legislation does not require that teachers in charter schools have certification. Certification is not a high bar in Louisiana, but it does represent a standard: a minimum grade point average in college, a college degree, a passing score on a state or national examination. At a recent meeting, a Harvard-educated member of the state board of education suggested that teachers don’t even need to have a college degree. In some other states like Indiana and Texas, standards to teach are also dropping or have already fallen. Some “reformers” think that any requirement is a hoop or hurdle or obstacle created to keep people out of teaching. Some economists dismiss the value of any credentials or education or experience for teachers.

This reader disagrees with the politicians and economists who think that anyone can teach:

I am getting more than a little tired of the “little return” attitude that puts the problems that students have learning on the teachers. The fact is that teachers have very little if any control over the schools, including curriculum, pace of lessons, materials, and how and when they teach. Then, in order to satisfy testing requirements, they are forced to waste more time teaching test taking skills in isolation from subject matter. Today they even have this crap called “scripted lessons” which the teacher is supposed to read and follow instead of make professional judgments about how to teach the students. One scripted reading program called “Direct Instruction” was used in New Orleans. When I saw it I was shocked. It was an almost identical repackaged version of “Distar” a program that failed in the early 1970s.There are many factors in students’ lives that cause them to do poorly and disadvantaged students are the most likely ones not to do well, not because they are not as smart as advantaged students, but because they do not start at the same place. There are also factors that conservatives do not want to address that cause students to lag behind, such as malnutrition, parent absence because they work two minimum wage jobs, hygiene issues, inability to pay the utility bills because the rent is too high, needing glasses or hearing aids, forcing students to wear uniforms, sibling care starting as early as 3rd grade, abuse and neglect, foster care, homelessness, moving frequently, poor access to medical care, and lack of experiences outside their immediate community. We had kids in Atlanta who had never been to a grocery store and many when I taught in rural Alabama who started school never having seen a flush toilet. (Only one child in that last group had running water.) Teachers have no control over these although in special ed we always kept towels, washcloths, deodorant, sanitary pads, and soap available, made sure kids got their free lunches and kept extra food from home for them in our desks. We do the best we can to provide the best environment for learning as we can for our students. But it takes a teacher to know what the children need and to have A VISION OF WHERE SHE WANTS THEM TO GO. A real teacher is not discouraged by the problems her kids have. She knows they can get up those steps eventually even if she has to get behind and push them.

Yes, some people are successful without a college education. Most of them are either extremely brilliant, savants or very hard workers. Some, like Bill Gates is rumored to, have Aspergers, or act like they do and do a better job working with things and ideas than they do with people. But these are not the norm. Most uneducated people get stuck doing physical labor, food service, or maid work. Education enhances natural gifts and helps those who don’t have them learn the skills and perhaps acquire the professionalism and even the gift that teachers need to stay in the field more than 5 years, or even the 3 it takes to become a teacher following the education.

One last thought, teaching is a calling. It is not easy. It is very difficult. Why would someone want to become a teacher after they retire from another profession,especially if they were never trained to teach unless someone pushed them away from the field because it was not prestigious and they would never make gobs of money,but that was what they always wanted to do and selling computers and making good money at it was never anything but a job? Teaching is not an afterthought or a hobby.

And would a 65 year old who had never taught really want to spend 180 days per year with 35 nine-year olds? They are not strong enough to pick up the severe special ed kids so they would have to go to regular education with its huge classes and no paraprofessional or else do mild disabilities, which, in my opinion, is the hardest type of special education. And then there is learning all the technology, which is different in each system, and the paperwork. I can just see a retired person who is not the parent of a special needs child writing an IEP, running the meeting and making sure that everything is covered so the school can’t ban the child from assemblies or suspend him. I can’t see a not-teacher explain to the principal that this schizophrenic kid who is always in the office complaining that people are talking about him is highly intelligent and that is why he scored ADVANCED on the LEAP, not because the teacher cheated. (This happened to our intermediate EBD teacher in New Orleans.) Then we have to get the parents’ cooperation and also tell the principal that one thing he does not want to hear, “It’s in his IEP” That takes a real professional Certified! A teacher!

I was sad to hear that Nora Ephron died.

We were at Wellesley College at the same time.

She was two years behind me, class of 1962. I am class of 1960.

I was editor of the Wellesley College News when Nora joined the staff.

She was funny and smart.

I didn’t know she came from Hollywood royalty.

I thought she was just one of the girls.

I lost touch with her after I left college, but admired her from afar, like everyone else.

I’m glad I knew her.

She always had this big, tooth smile. Right to the end.

Diane

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