National School Choice Week Blog

Hey everyone,

Last month I began what will be a monthly contribution to the National School Choice Week blog.

The next National School Choice Week is officially January 22-28 2012, but before and after this special annual event its supporters strive to promote “a K-12 education system that provides a wide array of options…that has the flexibility to personalize and motivate students and allow parents to choose the school that is best for their child.” Basically, this is a national movement to revitalize America’s education system, especially the public school sector.

For September’s post, I discussed the lack of school choice in rural areas and problems it creates.

When I spoke with Roberto Rodriguez, special assistant to the president for education, at an on-campus event, he said that one third of the lowest performing schools are in rural areas.

“It’s not just an urban problem,” he said. “We need to double down on this [rural] investment.”

Rodriguez calls rural schools “potential labs of change,” referring to their isolation and chance to “start over.”

“We need to make working at a rural school an attractive option for teachers,” he explained. “That’s why we’re looking into creating housing options for teachers who can move into rural areas. We also see the importance of creating distance learning partnerships with local colleges and universities.”

As a NSCW student blogger, I’ll continue to discuss issues in education throughout the months ahead.

I hope you check out some of the posts as National School Choice Week approaches.

Best,

Christyn

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Update: “Behind the Counter: Taylor Gourmet”

Hey everyone,

Recently, my story on Taylor Gourmet in Bethesda was published in an online community-oriented paper called “Patch”. After turning the story in for class, I edited it based on my Professor’s recommendations and had it approved for online publication. I hope you enjoy the new version of my story on this local hoagie shop.

Best,

Christyn

Michael Moore discusses activism, new autobiography at Sixth & I Synagogue

WASHINGTON- Supporters welcomed filmmaker and author Michael Moore at Sixth & I Street Historic Synagogue on Sunday, an event sponsored by local bookstore Politics & Prose. Moore is in D.C. to call his supporters to political activism and promote his new autobiography “Here Comes Trouble: Stories from my Life.”

“We live in a liberal nation,” he said. “Most Americans are liberals but don’t call themselves that…we ran away [from the word] and made other words so people wouldn’t hate us.”

He referenced opinion polls, such as one taken last month where “54 percent of Americans say gay marriage should be legalized,” and liberal candidates winning the popular vote in presidential elections as evidence. Moore called for “the majority” of Americans, who want to “end wars now, implement strong environmental protection laws and ensure women are paid the same as men,” to own the word “liberal.”

Despite his support of the political left, Moore criticized President Obama.

He recalled the 2008 presidential election and how impressed he was that Obama’s middle name, Hussein, was included on the ballot.

“That took guts,” he said. “That was the right thing to do in post-9/11 America.”

Now he feels that the president has conceded to the opposing party too much, moving toward the political center out of either “fear or a belief in what he’s doing…which is depressing.”

“What happened to [Obama]?” he asked. “I want him back now.”

Moore also voiced his support for the recent Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, a result of “the rich overplaying their hand.”

In his autobiography, Moore recalled his childhood where one wage supported a household; his father received four weeks of paid vacation as a factory worker and his family was fully insured.

Moore told the audience that since then, the middle class has weakened as a result of the rich’s greed.

“‘Enough’ is the dirtiest word in their vocabulary,” he said. “More than a thousand [protestors] were arrested on Wall Street this weekend and none were bankers. I’ve never seen anything more disgusting in my life.”

The event took a lighter turn as Moore read the audience a chapter from his book. “Bitburg” described the author’s trip to Bitburg, Germany in 1985 with a Jewish friend, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, to protest former President Reagan’s decision to lay a wreath at the graves of Nazi soldiers.

After working for hours to obtain press passes and get through security, he and his friend unfurled a banner reading “They killed my family” when Reagan’s motorcade passed by.

This is just one of many eye-opening accounts in Here Comes Trouble, a book of “non-fiction short stories” which chronicles Moore’s life from birth to the production of his first documentary, “Roger & Me,” in 1989.

Moore then answered questions and told one audience member that he planned to join protestors at Freedom Plaza downtown this weekend.

“We have the people and the moral and spiritual value of who we are,” he said. “Don’t despair-get involved.”