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Catching Up
buzzed, B&W
So, I'm way behind in posting to this thing - whenever I'm at work and come across something I want to blog about, I e-mail it to myself, thinking I'll get around to it when I get home, but I rarely do. Tonight, I happen to be at the Super 8 in Belgrade, MT as I have a MTDI Board meeting I'm at all weekend.

So, the oldest one I'm seeing in my e-mail is July 6th, and it's an article my supervisor forwarded to me. Interesting that the National Education Association is joing the anti-Walmart push, and the fact page is full of interesting tidbits. On a related note, the UC Berkley Labor center did this study (which I mentioned to Robin quite a while ago, but just recently read) that goes into how Walmart, due to their low wages ($9.70 vs. $14.01 in CA) and lack of benefits (i.e. health insurance), Walmart costs CA taxpayers an estimated $86 million annualy through public assistance programs such as WIC, TANF, food stamps, Section 8 housing, LIEAP, free/reduced lunch programs, Medicaid, and CHIP). "The families of Wal-Mart employees in California utilize an estimated 40 percent more in taxpayer-funded health care than the average for families of all large retail employees." Crazy. On one hand, I think Walmart has done some amazing stuff in driving down prices, globalizing our economy, and requiring companies to innovate, but at what cost? This article that I think I might have mentioned in the past does a wonderful job of looking at Walmart's business practices . . .

I'm intrigued by the fact that there's now a DVD for Guns, Germs, and Steel. While I own the book, I haven't read that much of it (I read excerpts for a class in college), but I'm enough of a dork that I want the DVD. As for a way of explaining why the world is the way it is today, I think Diamond does a much better job than Daniel Quinn.

This article on teacher education is interesting, particularly the bit at the end about the TFA person getting their M.Ed. This article looks further into the issue of who is becoming a teacher, and how the field is changing. Perhaps most saddening is the quote: Teaching attracts a "disproportionately high number of candidates from the lower end of the distribution of academic ability." The article is also intriguing in that it talks about the trend of career changers - people going into education post-baccalaureate or mid-career. I'm still not sure if I want to go into teaching or not, but the state of education in our country is abysmal.

I meant to write about Crash right after I saw it, but didn't get around to it. Tony thought it was terrible. He thought that it was too neat, too contrived. While I'll agree with him that it's definitely a stretch, I liked it because it does raise the issues, and it'd be great at jump starting discussions about racism, stereotypes, etc. And while one could argue that it's too neat, I think there's decent complexity in the characters - all of them do things of virtue, and most of them make bad decisions, but decisions that you can relate to on some level or another - in fact, I don't think there's anyone I would label as a villain in the movie. And finally, no matter what, I think you walk away from the movie pondering some issues . . .

All right, enough catching up for now . . .


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