Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I like to read books, not magazines, so I'm generally not too good at keeping up with periodicals. But I have managed to finish an article in the most recent Harper's. Written by Jeremy Miller, the piece is called "Tyranny of the Test: One Year As a Kaplan Coach in the Public Schools"; and as I read, I kept thinking I was missing something, somehow, somewhere. But now I think maybe the article itself is not forthcoming in any of the ways that seem important to me. Where's the human connection? The author vaguely introduces us to himself, to a few students and teachers, to the Kaplan corporation. But what's the point? Who or what matters here? The tone seems detached, as if the whole problem of school and test culture and struggling teachers and students is a kind of standing-outside-the-zoo-cage-looking-in matter. Where's the anger about the Kaplan tyranny? The article seems more or less like a shrug. But I'd be interested to hear someone else's thoughts.

Lately I've been reading poems from an anthology I found on the giveaway shelf at the Harmony post office. The name of the book is Introduction to French Poetry, and the question of who in this town might have owned it is a tantalizing mystery, this not being an enclave of French-poetry readers. (And still isn't, seeing as the mystery owner or her heirs left it in the free box along with an outdated stack of AARP magazines.) I'd copy one out here except that I can't figure out how to use this post editor to add accent marks to any of the words.

Dinner: 4 more loaves of bread on the way and a standing rib roast and a bunch of as yet unnamed vegetables. Trying to clean out the freezer before the next side of beef arrives.

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