Saturday, February 17, 2018

TCR Summer Program 2018


The Concord Review Summer Program for 2018 provides guidance for high school students in writing high-caliber, in-depth History research papers over two weeks. 

Students attend interactive group classes, have individual meetings with the instructors, attend a question and answer session with past authors, research and write independently, visit historical sites, prepare presentations for the final conference, and learn about submitting to The Concord Review

Please visit http://www.tcr.org/summer or contact steven.lee@tcr.org to learn more and apply.

San Francisco                                     June 11 – June 22, 2018


Day program at San Francisco University High School



Boston                                                        July 1 – July 20, 2018

Boarding program at Brandeis University



Seoul                                                     July 29 – August 10, 2018
 

Day program at Dongguk University, the National Library of Korea, and the National Assembly Library of Korea



http://www.tcr.org/summer

 steven.lee@tcr.org



Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Dumbed Down



In U.S. Public Schools,
Arithmetic leads to Calculus at the end of High School.

The 5-Paragraph Essay leads to the 500-Word Personal
Essay at the end of High School.

Writing is the most dumbed-down part of Education
in U.S. Public Schools.

Will Fitzhugh
The Concord Review
tcr.org 

Friday, February 2, 2018

CONTENTLESS WRITING

George Mason University
History News Network

Contentless Writing
By Will Fitzhugh

Mr. Fitzhugh is Editor and Publisher of The Concord Review [fitzhugh@tcr.org] and Founder of the TCR Institute and the National Writing Board [www.tcr.org].


Abraham Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg was short. Indeed, the President had spoken and taken his seat before many in that large crowd gathered outdoors even realized that he had spoken. Fortunately, an alert reporter took down his words. Short as the speech was, it began with a date and a fact—the sort of factual content that is being drained away from student writing today.

The very idea of writing without content takes some getting used to. I was taken aback not long ago to read the comments of a young woman who had been asked how she felt about having a computer grade the essays that she wrote on the Graduate Management Admission Test (Mathews, 2004). She replied that she didn’t mind, noting that the test givers were more interested in her “ability to communicate” than in what she actually said.

Although style, fluency, tone, and correct grammar are certainly important in writing, folks like me think that content has value as well. The guidelines for scoring the  writing section on the SAT seemed to say otherwise, however. Readers evaluating the essays are told not to take points off for factual mistakes, and they must score the essays “holistically”—at the rate of 30 an hour (Winerip, 2005).

Earlier this year, Linda Shaw of the Seattle Times (2006), reported that the the rules for the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) do not allow dictionaries, but “when it comes to the writing section, there’s one rule they can break: They can make things up. Statistics. Experts. Quotes. Whatever helps them make their point.” According to Shaw, the state’s education office announced that “making up facts is acceptable when writing nonfiction, persuasive essays on the WASL.”
Lest you conclude that writing without content, or writing nonfiction with fictional content—think James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces—is limited to the Left Coast, think again. Across the United States, even the most prestigious writing workshops for teachers generally bypass the what to focus on the how.

All writing has to have some content, of course. So what are students encouraged to put down on the page? In its 2003 report, The Neglected ‘R’, The National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges, gave us a clue. According to the report, the following passage by a high school student about the September 11 terrorist attacks shows “how powerfully children can express their emotions.”

    “The time has come to fight back and we are. By supporting our leaders and each other, we are stronger than ever. We will never forget those who died, nor will we forgive those who took them from us.”


Or look at the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) the supposed gold standard for evaluating academic achievement in U.S. schools, as measured and reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. In its 2002 writing assessment, in which 77 percent of 12th graders scored “Basic” or “Below Basic,” NAEP scored the following student response “Excellent.” The prompt called for a brief review of a book worth preserving. In a discussion of Herman Hesse’s Demian, in which the main character grows up and awakens to himself, the student wrote,

    “High school is a wonderful time of self-discovery, where teens bond with several groups of friends, try different foods, fashions, classes and experiences, both good and bad. The end result in May of senior year is a mature and confident adult, ready to enter the next stage of life. (p. 22)”

As these two excerpts show, both the National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges and the NAEP seem to favor emotional and personal writing, at least at the high school level. If personal memoir and “fictional nonfiction” were the sorts of writing that college courses required—not to mention in business, government and other lines of work—then perhaps it wouldn’t matter. After all, top executives at ENRON wrote quite a bit of fiction before their arrests, not to mention some well-known journalists who substituted fiction for fact in their reporting.

The problem is that students must know facts, dates, and the viewpoints of various experts and authors to write their college term papers. The Boston Globe has reported some frightening statistics about students’ knowledge gaps. Sixty-three percent of students graduating from Massachusetts high schools and attending community colleges are in remedial courses, as are 34 percent of those attending four-year colleges. (Sacchetti, 2004)

A survey of leading U.S. companies revealed that organizations are spending more than $3 billion each year in remedial writing courses for both hourly and salaried employees (National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges, 2004).

Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay


As it happens, some teachers and students in U.S. high schools know that writing serious, factual history research papers is good and necessary preparation for future writing tasks, and that it’s a superb way to learn history and practice scholarship. One student, whose history essay appeared in The Concord Review (see “Raising the Bar for Expository Writing,” p. 46) was so interested in the trial and excommunication of Anne Hutchinson in the early 1600s that she spent several months during her Junior year doing independent study at a public high school in Massachusetts. Her 13,000-word research paper won The Concord Review’s Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize [she graduated summa from Yale was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and now has a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT].

The student found Anne Hutchinson’s independence inspiring. In the following extract from her paper, the student discusses the accusations made against Hutchinson during the trial in which this courageous woman was excommunicated for questioning in private the authority of the ministers as the sole source of God’s wisdom:

    “...This bitter speech, made by a man who had seen his entire career threatened by the woman now standing before him, opened a trial marked by extraordinary vindictiveness on the part of the men presiding. Why? Because their regulatory power had been, up to this point, thwarted. Hutchinson had done nothing in public, nothing that could be clearly seen and defined, nothing that could be clearly punished. The principal accusation leveled against her was failure to show proper respect to the ministers, but again, she had made no public speeches or declarations, and the court would soon find that producing evidence of her insolence was very difficult.

    The assembly did not immediately strike to the heart of the matter: Hutchinson’s disparagement of the ministers of the colony as under a covenant of works. Instead, the presiding ministers first accused her of disobeying the commandment to obey one’s father and one’s mother by not submitting to the ‘fathers of the commonwealth,’ as [Governor] Winthrop termed it. Next, Hutchinson’s meetings were condemned, despite her citation of a rule in Titus exhorting the elder women to teach the younger.”

This is factual writing about a historical event—a trial—in which the facts of the case were of the greatest importance. Fiction was not the focus here. The author’s emotions, and her “experiences in high school,” were distinctly of secondary—if any—importance in her account of these events in American religious and legal history.


Some readers may mistakenly assume that writing with content is common in schools. In 2002, the Roper Organization conducted a [unique] study for The Concord Review and found that in U.S. public high schools, 81% of teachers never assign a 5,000-word research paper—that’s 8,000 words shorter than the previously cited award-winning essay—and 62% never assign a 3,000-word nonfiction paper. (The Concord Review 2002). Although 95% of teachers surveyed believed that research papers were “important” or “very important,” most reported that they did not have time to assign and grade them.

When Support Trumps Rigor


In her report for the Fordham Foundation on state social studies standards in the United States, researcher Sandra Stotsky (1999), cited a newspaper article about a Hispanic high school student named Carol who was unprepared for college work. Described as a top student, the girl was stunned by the level of writing that her Boston college demanded of her. Although the student said that she had received encouragement and support from her high school teachers, she wished that her teachers had given her more challenging work. According to the reporter, the student discovered that “moral support is different from academic rigor.” Stotsky noted that teachers often substitute self-esteem-building assignments for rigorous work. The same newspaper article described a high school teacher,

    “who had had her students “write a short story about their lives” because, in the teacher’s words, it allowed them to show “a high level of writing ability” and to realize that “their own experience is valid and useful.” This teacher is also quoted as believing that this assignment reflected her “high expectations” for her students. It apparently did not occur to the reporter that this kind of writing assignment today, especially for high school students from minority groups, is more likely to reflect a concern for their self-esteem rather than a desire to challenge them intellectually. A regular flow of such writing assignments may be part of the reason that Hispanic students like Carol are not prepared for college-level writing.” (pp. 269-270)

Students like Carol who belatedly discover their lack of preparedness for college work are far more numerous than one might think. Through a survey of recent high school graduates (Achieve, Inc., 2005), the National Governors Association learned that a large majority of students surveyed wished that their teachers had given them more challenging work. Moreover, the High School Survey of Student Engagement (Indiana University, 2004) found that 55% of the 80,000 students surveyed said they did fewer than three hours of homework each week, and most received As and Bs anyway.

Anything But Knowledge


Writing about oneself can be the work of genius, as Marcel Proust demonstrated so well in his masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time. But limiting students to thinking and writing almost entirely about themselves in school is, well, limiting. The Boston Globe, which annually celebrates essays on Courage, asks students to submit short essays—not about someone else’s courage, but about their own. Of course, famous people like Anne Hutchinson, Winston Churchill, or Martin Luther King, Jr., don’t have a monopoly on courage. But it would be refreshing for students to look outside themselves from time to time to reflect on such qualities in others. Unfortunately, solipsism seems to have become the order of the day; the lack of a sustained focus on objectivity and rigor in writing is showing up in poor literacy rates, greater numbers of remedial classes in college, and higher college dropout rates.

In 2005, comedian Stephen Colbert introduced the idea of "truthiness" into the English language. The term characterizes speech or writing that appears to be accurate and serious, but is, in fact, false or comical. In college, I learned that one of the tasks of thought is to help us distinguish appearance from reality. The goal of "truthiness" is to blur that distinction. On satirical news programs, like The Daily Show, this dubious practice brings the relief of laughter, but on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning—in which students are told that it’s OK to make things up—it just brings confusion, even to the task of writing “nonfiction.”

Postmodernists and deconstructionists at the university level have long been claiming that there is no such thing as truth, but here we have high school students being told, on a state assessment, that when writing nonfiction, it is OK to invent an expert, and then “quote” him in support of an argument they are making.

The danger is that practices like these can lead high school students to believe that they don’t need to seek information about anything outside of their own feelings and experiences. However, college students are still expected to read nonfiction books, which obviously deal with topics other than their personal lives. Students also have to write research papers in which they must organize their thinking and present material coherently. Too many students are not prepared to do this, and many end up dropping out of college. What a terrible waste of time, hopes and opportunity!

Will Fitzhugh [founder]
The Concord Review [1987]


References

Achieve (2005). Rising to the challenge: Are high school graduates prepared for college and work? PowerPoint presentation prepared by the Peter D. Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies. Available: www.achieve.org/files/poll.ppt http://www.achieve.org/files/poll.ppt

The Concord Review, (2002). History research paper study (conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis). Available: www.tcr.org/tcr/institute/historytcr.pdf http://www.tcr.org/tcr/institute/historytcr.pdf

Indiana University. (2004) High School Survey of Student Engagement. Bloomington, IN: [Martha McCarthy]

Mathews, J. (2004, August 1). Computers weighing in on the elements of essay; Programs critique structure not ideas. The Washington Post

National Center for Education Statistics. (2002). The Nation’s Report Card: Writing Highlights 2002. http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main/2002/2003531.asp

National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges. (2003). The neglected ‘R’; The need for a writing revolution. New York: College Board. www.writingcommission.org http://www.writingcommission.org

National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges. (2004). Writing: A ticket to work...or a ticket out: A survey of business leaders. www.writingcommission.org http://www.writingcommission.org

Sacchetti, M. (2005, June 26) Colleges question MCAS success; many in state schools still need remedial help. The Boston Globe.

Shaw, L. (2006, March 17). WASL writing: Make it up as they go along. The Seattle Times, p. B1.

Stotsky, S (1999). Losing Our Language: How Multicultural Classroom Instruction is Undermining Our Children’s Ability to Read, Write, and Reason. New York: The Free Press, pp. 269-271

Winerip, M. (2005, May 4). SAT Essay rewards length and ignores errors. The New York Times. www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~rgibson/satessay.html

This essay was first published by Educational Leadership [ASCD] and is reprinted with permission of the author.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

ALSO HISTORY

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.
The Knowledge Deficit
New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006, pp. 78-79

The association of language arts mainly with fiction and poetry [And not with History books—WHF] is an accident of recent intellectual history that is not inherent in the nature of things.

    The substantive topics in literature, history, the arts, and the sciences that literate Americans take for granted are deeply interesting and highly engaging to children.

    For many years the great reading researcher Jeanne Chall complained that the selections offered in language arts classes did not provide students with the knowledge and language experiences they need for general competence in reading. She observed that far too much time was being spent on trivial, ephemeral fictions and far too little on diverse nonfictional genres. In the two decades since Chall entered this complaint, little has changed. Most current programs still assume that language arts is predominantly about “literature,” which is conceived as poems and fictional stories, often trivial ones meant to be inoffensive vehicles for teaching formal skills. Stories are indeed the best vehicles for teaching young children—an idea that was ancient when Plato asserted it in Republic. But stories are not necessarily the same things as ephemeral fictions. Many an excellent story is told about real people and events, and even stories that are fictional take much of their worth from the nonfiction truths about the world that they convey.

    The association of language arts mainly with fiction and poetry is an accident of recent intellectual history that is not inherent in the nature of things. Older American texts that were designed to teach reading, such as the McGuffey Readers, contained moral tales and historical narratives as well as fictional stories (not that we should go back to the McGuffey Readers, which have many shortcomings). Ideally, a good language arts program in the early grades will contain not only fiction and poetry but also narratives about the real worlds of nature and history. Ideally, such a program will fit in with and reinforce a well-planned overall curriculum in history, science, and the arts. The recent finding that word learning occurs much faster in a familiar context implies that the overall program should stay on a subject-matter domain long enough to make it familiar. As we’ve seen, such integration of content in reading and subject-matter classes will serve simultaneously to enrich background knowledge and enlarge vocabulary in an optimal way.

    That fictional stories can covey factual and moral truths is the traditional ground for defending their value and importance in education. The truth-telling and knowledge-enhancing aspect of fiction is emphatically just as important as the aspect of fiction and poetry that stimulates children’s imaginations. The romantic idea that literature should mainly nurture the imagination fits in well with the generally romantic flavor of early childhood education in the United States today. I do not wish to appear in any way hostile to developing children’s imaginations. But the second- and third-rate fictions that are too often presented to children in the early grades are far less stimulating to their imaginations than classical stories and well-presented narratives about the real world.

    We need to re-conceive language arts as a school subject. In trying to make all students proficient readers and writers, there is no avoiding the responsibility of imparting the specific knowledge they will need to understand newspapers, magazines and serious books directed at the national language community. There is no successful shortcut to teaching and leaning this specific knowledge. Those who develop  language arts programs at the school level or in publishing houses must understand that the skills they wish to impart are in fact knowledge-drenched and knowledge-constituted. The happy consequence will be reading programs that are much more absorbing, enjoyable, and interesting than the disjointed, pedestrian programs offered to students today.

Monday, January 15, 2018

PERSONAL WRITING


Personal writing does not prepare students for college writing tasks.

Friday, December 29, 2017

TEACHING WRITING (ENCORE)

“If we do not demand that those who want to become teachers are themselves very good writers, why would we expect our teachers to be good teachers of writing?” 

Our Students Can't Write Very Well—It's No Mystery Why
National Council on Education and the Economy
By Marc Tucker on January 12, 2017 6:33 AM

My organization decided a few weeks back that we needed to hire a new professional staff person.  We had close to 500 applicants. Inasmuch as the task was to help us communicate information related to the work we do, we gave each of the candidates one of the reports we published last year and asked them to produce a one-page summary.  All were college graduates.  Only one could produce a satisfactory summary.  That person got the job.


We were lucky this time.  We are more often than not disappointed at the subpar writing ability of the applicants for openings at our organization.  Many applicants are from very good colleges.  Many have graduate degrees.  Many are very poor writers.


Their lack of writing ability does not augur well. 
When we look at what they have written, the logic of the narrative is often very hard to find. It would appear that their lack of writing ability stands as mute testimony to their lack of thinking ability.


How, we ask, could this have happened?  The answers are not hard to find.  My friend Will Fitzhugh points out that high school students are rarely required to read entire works of fiction and are almost never asked to read entire works of non-fiction.  I know of no good writers who are not also good readers.


More directly to the point, high school students are hardly ever asked to write anything of significant length. 
Why not?  Because in this age of accountability, they are not tested on their writing ability.  By which I mean that they are not asked to submit to the testing authorities 10- or 15- or 20-page papers in which they are expected to present a thesis and defend it, analyze something complicated from multiple points of view and draw a reasoned conclusion, or put together a short story in which characters are developed in some depth and insights are revealed. 


This point is critically important.  There is only one way that we can find out whether a student can write a substantial research paper—by asking them to write a substantial research paper and looking carefully at the result.  If we do not ask them to produce this product—over and over again, as they get better and better at it—then they will not be able to do it well.  If they have not done the work, then neither their teacher nor the engines of the accountability system can assess it.  If this sort of serious writing is not done and—in our accountability-oriented environment—is not assessed, then it will not be learned.  End of argument.


Oh, sure, we have tests of writing ability for college-bound students, but they do not ask the student to produce anything like what we asked our candidates to produce.  They ask a student to choose one word or phrase from a list to fill in the blank in a passage.  That is not writing.  It is something else. PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments have made progress in more effectively evaluating the writing skills of our students, but many states are actively taking steps away from these types of assessment tasks.  And it is of course true that asking a student to write a one-page summary of a longer piece is no test of their ability to write a well-argued, fact-based, 10- or 20-page research paper.


We are fond of producing long lists of things we want 21st century students to be able to do.  But the ability to write well and think critically always tops the list, both because so much work requires these skills and because they are so fundamental to so many other kinds of cognitive activity we value.  What could be more central to a good education?


So it is simply unbelievable that we do not build our curriculum around the assumption that we will be asking students to read demanding books—not just parts of books, but whole books—and then asking them to write, at length and in detail, about what they have read, explicating, analyzing, synthesizing and summarizing it, with insight and narrative skill that demonstrates their ability to think clearly.  Isn't that the heart of the matter?


Writing is a craft.  Like any other craft, it is learned only by doing it, over and over and over, at increasing levels of challenge, under the watchful eye of an expert.  How on earth are our students to learn to write if we do not ask them to write, and write a lot, and write well?
  The reason, of course, that they are not asked to write much is because their ability to write a substantial paper is not tested.  And why, in this age of accountability, when we judge teachers by how well their students do on the test, would we expect their students to write well when we do not test their ability to write a good paper, 10 to 20 pages in length?


Our own research tells us that a large fraction of community college professors do not assign writing to their students because their students cannot write and the professors do not consider themselves to be writing teachers. It is no wonder that employers like us find it so hard to find candidates with serviceable writing skills. 


What do you suppose would happen if a state announced one day that it was redesigning its accountability system and half of a teachers' rating would henceforth depend on their students' grades on long research papers in the subject taught by that teacher—papers, say, at least 15 pages long at the high school level?  They might be told that that grade would depend on the way evidence was presented and marshaled, the range of the evidence presented, the depth of the analytical ability displayed in the essay, the logic and persuasiveness of the argument made, and so on. 


I am not arguing that we should do this, but simply making the point that if we really cared about the ability of our students to think and write well, we would assign substantial papers frequently, critique those papers effectively, and expect students to write well long before they left high school.  It is hard to reach any conclusion on this point other than that we simply don't care whether or not our students can write effectively, if we judge by what is assigned to students, what is expected of students, the instruction we offer students, the way we evaluate their work, the design of our accountability systems or our criteria for graduating students from high school. 


But assume for the moment that all these issues were addressed.  Can we then assume that our students would be graduating high schools able to think clearly and write well?  I don't think so. 


I said in passing above that writing is a craft and crafts are best learned by apprenticing oneself to an expert, in this case an expert writer.  This suggests that if our students are to become good writers, they will have to get their work critiqued in detail by teachers who are themselves good writers. 


But I also said at the beginning of this blog that we and many other employers are having a very hard time hiring anyone who is a good writer, even graduates of leading universities and graduate schools.  We know that most of our teachers come not from our leading universities but from institutions that get their students from the lower half of the distribution of high school graduates going to college.  If there is no reason to assume that the graduates of the leading institutions are themselves good writers, what would make us assume that the graduates of less demanding institutions are better writers? 


It is true that many universities require applicants to submit a short essay as part of their application.  But I am willing to bet that few, if any, require their applicants to do something as straightforward as our request to our job applicants to summarize a complex research paper in one page, on demand, in a short time, capturing all the key points and creating a narrative that makes sense of it all for the reader.
If we do not demand that those who want to become teachers are themselves very good writers, why would we expect our teachers to be good teachers of writing?  We should, in fact, be requiring our candidates for teaching positions to write 20-page papers of their own which analyze and summarize a topic from the literature in their field. We should be asking them to produce, on demand, a one-page summary of something they are given to read that is complicated and difficult. 


But we don't do any of these things.  So, once again, I conclude that we are not serious.  We are not serious about teaching students to reason and write well and we are not serious about hiring teachers who have the skills needed to teach our students how to reason and write well.  We are no doubt lucky to have many teachers who know how to read and write critically and care enough to pass those skills on to their students. But if these core skills were really important to us, we would be making very large changes in curriculum, demanding much more reading of complete novels and non-fiction, asking our students to write much longer papers much more frequently, providing expert and copious commentary on what they had written, changing our accountability systems to reflect these priorities and, not least, we would be making sure that our teachers are themselves very good writers.


I very much doubt that our high school graduates write less well than high school graduates used to write.  But jobs for truck drivers, hamburger flippers and grocery store check out clerks are disappearing fast. This is just one more—but crucially important—arena in which our education system is failing to adapt to a fast-changing environment.

Monday, December 18, 2017

ALL-ATHLETICS

The work of Massachusetts high school athletes and coaches is all around us in The Boston Globe on a regular basis, but the work of our high school scholars and teachers is nowhere to be seen in that public record.

All-Athletics
Will Fitzhugh, The Concord Review
18 December 2017

The Boston Globe has been publishing for 145 years and the hints that it may have to fold have distressed its many readers. Each Fall, Winter and Spring the paper publishes a special section, of 15 pages or so, called “All-Scholastics,” on notable public high school athletes and their coaches. There is a mention of athletes and coaches at local prep schools as well.

Today the latest Winter “All-Scholastics” section arrived, with the latest “Ten Moments to Remember” in HS sports and with reports on the best athletes and coaches in Boys’ Basketball, Girls’ Basketball, Volleyball, Golf, Football (3 pages), Field Hockey, Boys’ Cross County, Girls’ Cross Country. The Preps and Swimming parts consolidate celebration of boys’ and girls’ accomplishments, perhaps to save space (and cost).

Each section also features photographs of 9-16 athletes, with perhaps a twitter-sized paragraph on their achievements. In addition, there are 31 photos and tweets about some coaches, spread among the various sports. There are 26 “Prep” athletes mentioned, from various sports, but I didn’t see any “Prep” coaches profiled. For each high school sport there are two “Athletes of the Year” identified, and all the coaches are “Coaches of the Year” in their sport.

There may be, at the same time, some high school “Students of the Year” in English, math, Mandarin, physics, Latin, chemistry, European history, U.S. history, AP biology, and the like. There may also be high school “Teachers of the Year” in these and other academic subjects, but their names and descriptions are not to be found in The Boston Globe, the most well-known paper in the “Athens of America” (Boston).

It may be the case, indeed it probably is the case, that some of the athletes featured in the Winter “All-Scholastics” section today are also first-rate high school students of math, English, science, history, literature, and languages, but you would not know that from the coverage of The Boston Globe. The coaches of the year may in many, if not all cases, also be excellent teachers of academic subjects in the Massachusetts public and private schools, but that remains only a guess as well.

When the British architect Christopher Wren was buried in 1723, part of his epitaph read, written by his eldest son, Christopher Wren, Jr.: Lector, si monumentum requiris, Circumspice. If you wanted to judge his interest, efforts and accomplishments, all you had to do was look around you. His work was there for all to see.

The work of Massachusetts high school athletes and coaches is all around us in The Boston Globe on a regular basis, but the work of our high school scholars and teachers is nowhere to be seen in that public record.

If one seeks a monument to anti-academic and anti-intellectual views and practices in Boston today, one need look no further than The Boston Globe. I read it every day, but I never see any attention and recognition for the academic efforts and accomplishments of Massachusetts secondary students and their teachers, because there is none now, and never has been any, no many how many reports on education reform and academic standards it may have published over the years. If you ask how much The Boston Globe (and I am sure it is not alone in this) cares about the good academic work now actually being done by high school teachers and their students in Massachusetts, the answer is, by the evidence, that they do not.