Friday, February 17, 2017

Helping Our Children and Ourselves Understand the Ills of Class

Recently, my son recommended that I read the book Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, a #1 NYTimes bestseller about a young boy growing up in Kentucky and southwest Ohio. For me, there are so many lessons to be gained from reading the book, particularly lessons in class distinctions.

Back in 1999 I wrote an article in Independent School magazine entitled "Class Bias—the Real Enemy." Here is a quote from the article that appeared in the NAIS Trendbook 2012-2013—"What impact does this [class] have on independent school communities? In 'Class Bias, the Real Enemy,' Dane L. Peters argues, 'By the nature of a school's many diverse constituents, there is inextricably woven within the fabric a class thread that can unravel the prevailing mission to educate children.' In addition to addressing access in admissions and financial aid, many schools have found that examining issues of socioeconomic and class diversity can help the school become a more welcoming community for all."

For those who may want to dig deeper into understanding class via Hillbilly Elegy, listen to a podcast from "The Ezra Klein Show" that features an interview with author J.D. Vance; it gives excellent insights into class and how it affects America.

Friday, February 3, 2017

I Came Across a Palindrome the Other Day and . . .

. . . way back when I was teaching my 5th grade math class, palindromes was the subject that really interested my students and me. You know that palindromes are numbers, words, and sentences you can read forwards and backwards, and they are the same, e.g. 32523, Otto, radar, and . . . "Go hang a salami! I'm a lasagna hog!" Yes, that is a palindrome.

Fifth graders are great thinkers. See what I mean when you read "Is That Number Really a Palindrome?," an article I wrote back in 1995 for the publication Teaching Children Mathematics. 

Here is the link to the book GO HANG A SALAMI! I'M A LASAGNA HOG! and Other Palindromes by Jon Agee.