Message from Allyn and Bacon

So, I’d say what I’m attempting is too complicated. Also, the writing I sent seemed to succeed as a writing sample but did not succeed as a Chapter One. I kind of knew that. I’m curious what Steve meant by ‘short book.” Somewhere I must have indicated that. So more decisions.

I’m going to work on an spn for perhaps two weeks, then maybe get back to this.

Today was kind of a writing bust. Students continue to intrude, a bit. Interview with Jill mid-day on the place of Standards for teacher education in my work. That was interesting. Caused me to think more clearly about what I do and the future of the enterprise in the way I do it. Here’s what I think.

Teacher Education Programs (TEPS), as currently constituted, those positioned largely at IHEs, should cease to exist. The realities that drive current necessities are demographics. From a racialized / ses perspective, ihes have to jump in the fray, dedicate themselves to research based inquiry on actual issues in public school settings, or die. And if I were king of the production lines, I’m make sure it happened. There’s no need for first year teachers to get hammered. And yet they do. More and more, I consider our practice of sending them off without support to be unethical. The way we prepare them mimics a world that doesn’t exist. They go into something quite different. Granted, we’d hope their cognitive systems could make the adjustment. But context free, I don’t think it will happen. Professional learning needs to be situated in places like where first employment will occur. Sure there are degrees of situating. But bottom line is the necessity of contact; enough contact so that the encounter with “difference” is also a process at once familiar and doable for the individual.

What we are doing now, in the way we do it, is quite indefensible. Period.

“Perhaps Interested”

Dear Professor Rathbone: 

This is just a short note to follow-up on our recent communication regarding your proposal for a text “A Primer on Complex Instruction”.  I have received your material and now had an opportunity to review it.  Quite frankly I am impressed with what you have to say and the passion with which you say it.  The material you have presented is quite interesting and I found it enjoyable and instructive to read.

That said, however, this will be a difficult text to write and present the ideas for CI in a way that will want faculty to adopt it as a supplement to their courses.  The title will have to be more compelling and the prose such that an undergraduate will be able to understand and feel competent to apply the principles.  The chapter one you sent is interesting but not really useful as a first chapter of a book where you lay out what CI is and why it would be valuable for a student to learn.

 At this point, I would encourage you to continue your work and develop enough sufficient content to allow us to evaluate it in the market with possible user reviews.  Since you’re planning a short book I suggest you develop at least half the text for our consideration.  I also encourage you to develop a heading structure for each chapter that will allow the reader to better follow the progression of your ideas within the chapter.

 Again, I want to thank you for bringing your ideas to Allyn & Bacon.  I will look forward to hearing from you regarding your future plans.  Please don’t hesitate to contact either Laura Lee or myself if we can be of further help.

Cordially, Steve

Stephen D. Dragin

Executive Editor & Publisher

Allyn & Bacon

Pearson Education

75 Arlington Street

Boston, MA 02116

Ph:  617-848-7216




Back To Mississippi

from the Vt. Record…

“It was nice to finally see (him) in chains. Friday (the day of the indictment) was a very good day, especially for those seeking justice in Mississippi,” says Ball, an expert on what is considered one of the nation’s most notorious civil rights era crimes and the subject of the 1988 film Mississippi Burning.

The re-opening of the case and the fortuitous timing of the release of his latest book, Murder in Mississippi: U.S. v. Price and the Struggle for Civil Rights (University Press of Kansas), on the 40th anniversary of the murders has positioned Ball as national expert in virtually every major newspaper, on television and in a CourtTV live Internet chat.

Killen is the only person ever charged with murder in the deaths of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney, though 18 were tried on federal civil rights violations in 1967. Of the group, Killen was the only one who never did any time for the crimes because of a lone holdout on his jury.

Ball, who arrived at UVM in 1989 as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences after teaching at Mississippi State University, has followed the case most of his life hoping for another trial. But this final chapter in the unfinished story of the deaths of voter registration workers could very easily not have been told until long after Killen, 79, and Ball were gone if not for the order of a federal judge to open a number of files that were previously closed until 2050.

“There’s no question he’s the one,” Ball says. “He got the order from (Ku Klux Klan Wizard) Sam Bowers to kill Schwemer. The other two were killed because they were with him. He was the target because he was so good at civil rights organizing. Everybody knew (Killen) did it. But this was a closed county and a scary place back then. Everybody knew, but no one talked. They knew where the bodies were buried; they knew the property owner; and the sheriffs who were involved.”



by William Ernest Henley; 1849-1903

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.

The Comprehensive

This is an absolutely fascinating read. The interplay of position, awareness of position, reaction and proaction, anger and acceptance, fury and love, all around the lullaby of slumber is so revealing and instructive. Turning the questions to me…

how do I identify

how am I identified

who do I try to please

how do I know myself

where is my fury placed

what is my accommodation

what are the benefits and burdens of this accommodation

how am I moving forward

what accommodations am I making from a place of sleep

what accommodations am I making from a state of awakeness

what is the lullaby I hear

the dream – candle wax, protection, fire angels, laurens, golden candles, meltings, roofs cracking open, the flood of sunlight…protector

We become what we are

by the refusal of that

which others have made us.

Jean Paul Sartre

Sharpening Neero

Continued the serious revision of the neero paper. Basically doing syntax, verb agreement, gum stuff. I’m still wondering how much of what I’m writing qualifies as spn. There are extended paragraphs that are personal, but not necessarily narrative. MKy biggest question at this point is Am I Telling A Story. In some ways, what I’m doing feels like what Pat showed us during the spn class.

Here’s a transitional paragraph I wrote today I really like:

“This is hard work for them, and its hard work for me. It isn’t easy moving against the grain of instruction that predominates in most of their classrooms. I have to keep their interest and they have to trust me that things are going to work out. I have to recognize that I’m not the most important force in their lives and that our classroom work may be way out of phase for what they are being asked to do in their classrooms from week to week. On the other hand, I work with them on things from week to week on interventions that will help them be better manipulators of the group process in their classrooms:

running effective classroom meetings,

playing fun games that also teach collaborative norms,

sharing words of encouragement (vs. praise) that they’ve given their kids,

discussing how they’ve encouraged their kids with each other over email during the week between classes,

adjusting required curricular tasks to take advantage of kids’ multiple abilities,

working towards from success, not failure,

teaching and building collaborative skills,

playing broken squares and other games that show the need for group process,

teaching them how to point out to all the children in a room the special abilities of one child in a room,

and doing thatmin a way that causes the other kids to want to work with the one child.

Every class, for at least some of the class period, we do a lot together that continues to put before them ways to better equalize the status differences that occur naturally among children. Our goal is to figure out how to enhance the academic work that results when kids can more successfully talk and work together about content of academic import.”

I think what I’ll do now that this paper is written is image the narrative arc of the paper. That may help me identify the narrative, focus on spaces in the narrative, and give me insight into where I can edit more story into the text if needed. The paper is really the story of one semester’s course, grounded in my need to affect schoolchildren’s learning.

Neero Paper Draft One Done

Finished the first full draft of the neero paper. It’s wordy, but I like that it’s finished. I’ll take tonight and go over it for “voice.” It will end up being a hybrid, part spn, part qualitative, with some quantitative analysis thrown in for my confirmational comfort. Give this, it’s probably not an spn.

This does raise the issue of when does an spn become something else… just a paper with lots of personal reflection with it. There is probably not enough story in this paper to qualify as an spn. Tho much of it is my reflection of the moment and the backwards glances are definitely spn material, it doesn’t have the feel of an spn quite yet. I am writing about something other than me… . Have to ask Robert about this. He is the expert.

Snap To The Life Journey

Worked most of the time I had today – which was interrupted with babysitting, Justin leaving, getting ready for VIA, and dinner prep – on the big picture. What’s interesting here is that I’m thinking about the neero paper, thinking about the primer, and rethinking now about the spn book. After today, the spn book looms large. In trying to get a handle on the neero paper, I drew a web flow why cycle of all these connections. Turns out, with my writing during the Fall and my thinking the last two weeks, the life cycle has kind of come together at least from my current perspective. I think today, with a good chunk of time for writing, I’ll start the neero paper and see where it takes me. I’m drawn to use a really big sheet of paper to do the real web but that would be a birdwalk at this point. I need a day for writing. I wish there were some way to capture the web here. But with present technology, I’m not able. Not to worry.

Thank you Martin.

Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.

Still. And probably



Finding My Way

This is all pretty interesting. Finally spent some time finding my way around this place.

Last meeting for me with the eled faculty for a while happened today. Thirteen or so of us there. At one point we split up into two groups. Those who saw themselves here after five years and those who thought they’d be gone after five years. The younger folk all expressed “work is killing me” concerns despite the fact that their question was something like “what kind of program would you like to have when it is yours?” They couldn’t get out of their overpowered feelings of being just too driven and overworked. The other folk could create a wish list for the newer faculty – I wish this for you. The difference between the two groups was amazing. That younger group is going to burn out if something doesn’t change. They are running scared of tenure and all that they have to do (and can’t do because of all the other work they have to do). I think they finally got it when I said, “Hey. Look around. In five years the people in this room will be gone. The program has to be yours, not ours, and that process has to start now.” It was kind of a sobering moment. Then we ate more brownies and cheesecake.

over and out…