Blog Log Digital 1/13/09

Our weekly (and, as of late absent) look at the best of Worcester-centric blogs from the past 7 days.

Posted by “Cascading Waters” on Massachusetts has two requirements for time in school: the well-known 180 day rule (which also requires districts to schedule 185 days, including an automatic 5 snow days), and the lesser known 900/990 hour rule, which came in under Ed Reform in 1993. This requires that schools spend 900 hours in elementary and middle school, and 990 hours in high school in “time in learning.” That leaves out lunch, passing time, recess, etc. etc. (If you’ve wondered why recess time seems to be getting shorter and shorter, there’s your answer, incidentally.)

The motivation of this is undoubtably a good one: the idea that one should spend a certain amount of time in education to get maximum benefit is reasonable. Unfortunately, this is another one that runs pretty hard into the facts on the ground. There are always going to be kids who just “get it” right away; does the time requirement apply to them as well? Well, yes, if you’re educating millions of children. Likewise, there are kids who in some subjects could use more time. The relative fairness of that is debatable, which is always true of an institutional system processing lots of people. Any teacher who has taught on a nice day in May or June can also tell you that how much education is actually going on in her classroom is debatable in those circumstances as well. You can certainly force the kids to sit there; whether or not anyone is learning anything at all is questionable. With the advent of the MCAS in May, which exhausts kids in grades 3-8 and grade 10 a month before the current end of school, we have already compounded that problem. To further compound it by extending the school year into July (contractually not allowed in some communities) would be a mistake.
Posted by “Paulie’s Point of View” on
So I left The Beast in the running car with the heat on and I went inside the Cornah Grille to pick up the order…a few moments latah I come out to find that The Beast had managed to lock himself inside and me outside:>) For the next hour, I did everything I could to cajole The Beast to step back up on the armrest to unlock the doors or release a window but he just sat in the seat barking at me!

During this stressful hour, I had numerous folks asking if I wanted to use their Triple A cards , if I wanted to use a phone to make a phone call..some just hollering across the street asking if everything was okay…a real outpouring of offers to help from folks I did not know.

Now if you know me….I am about as stubborn as anyone’s ole man….I’d stand out in the cold for hours before asking or accepting help….so as I am walking around the car begging for The Beast to cooperate, I see this huge man (I’m 250 and this cat was two of me and shortah:>) walking across the street with a wire in his hand and a carrying case that looked like it held either a rifle or a trumpet and he say’s to me.. “I used to own a tow truck, but I kept some tools” and in about 2 minutes he had freed me from the cold!

The Big Man was Big Bob of Big Bob’s Liquors located at the cornah of Pleasant & Richmond and the same cat who only weeks ago defended he and his brother from armed robbers, killing one of the armed robbers who put a gun in his brothers belly . The Big Man had a new customah!

Posted by “Brendan” on
Long before I was born, Worcester decided it did not want anything resembling fun to be seen in public. From skateboarding to alcohol and now weed, if you look like your having a good time on city property chances are good your doing something the city considers illegal. The exception of course is a public festival which will cost you, depending on it’s size, a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in police detail costs; I’ve always considered that the ‘Worcester Tax on Fun’ or ‘WTF’ for short. It makes you wonder if any of our elected leaders have ever been to New Orleans or Las Vegas and more importantly, what did they think? As a city we seem to be genuine in our desire to get people to come to Worcester. What we practice is a completely different ideology. We’re a city of very scared and timid people who don’t like change, even if stagnation kills us. Opposition to public consumption of alcohol and now marijuana is no different, based not on good science or bad experiences but basic and hollow indoctrination to prohibitionist thinking. How can we talk about 18 hour cities and the promise they hold in terms of economic development when remain scared of the very things people tend to do outside of normal business hours? Of course, I could be wrong and am more than wiling to concede that. But if I am, I’d rather admit I’m wrong after seeing an actual problem in public spaces as a result of the changes question 2 made to marijuana’s classification in MA. Just accepting conjecture from elected officials who have nothing but the lessons learned via the D.A.R.E. program, is exactly what got us into this cyclical mode of thinking in the first place.


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