Monday, January 30, 2006

Something to sink your teeth into

Not. Just had 'em cleaned this afternoon, and I am so not interested in chewing on anything, inncluding my own trenchant prose. But I'll see what I can do.

By the way, my teeth are exceptionally well-maintained. Flossed and brushed and ready to roll. But I need a crown to replace one of my many old fillings. Now I suppose I should research whether crowns are just as bad as fillings for that whole mercury issue. Why can't anything be simple? Why can't I just rely on my dentist to make that choice for me and be assured that he will, of course, choose what is healthiest for me?

Harrumph. No offense to my dentist intended, with whom we are all very satisfied. Except for this issue, which I haven't even discussed with him.

So why do my otherwise exceptionally well-maintained teeth have to throb so much from a simple cleaning? I say Harrumph again. While I'm babying my pearly whites, I've been reading, of course. There was a very interesting discussion over at Political Animal about public vs. private schooling. Basic take was that, after controlling for demographics and location, private school students score lower on a particular achievement test than public school students.

There was then a fair amount of discussion about why that was and lots of anecdotals about how great public school was for X or Y. But what I didn't see discussed was the reason I sent my daughter to a private school for the past three years: social issues. My daughter's a bright munchkin. She was receiving a perfectly acceptable education in our public schools. And she's receiving a perfectly acceptable education at her current private school. What flipped the coin for us in favor of sending her to the private school was size and culture.

She would have been at a junior high with over 1000 other squirrelly middle schoolers whose culture has taken over and turned the school into what I have seen (through my first born's attendance there) as a cesspool of bullying and overfocus on socializing. Instead, she is in a class with 20 some 8th graders and 20 some 7th graders. Parents on are the stick about bullying, and most of us are pushing academics over socializing (ok, at least as well as socializing!).

Additionally, values and ethics are discussed as part of her education. Now, are they always my values? Well, no, not always. But, believe me, I do plenty of proselytizing of my own beliefs with my kids. Hearing another viewpoint is ok with me--gives them something to think about.

Are there downsides to the private education she's receiving? Probably. Not coming up with any at the moment, though. And we are happy with the choice we made three years ago. Next year, she'll be attending the very good local public high school. Her choice, as she wants to go to school with all of her friends, from both schools.

Interesting study released today about ethanol and it's efficacy (or lack thereof) in reducing greenhouse emissions. Says that ethanol made from corn only reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 13%, but same made from "willow trees and switch grass" reduces emissions significantly. Funny. Never have heard of ethanol being made from those others things here in Illinois. Could that be due to the large amount of corn produced here? Will there be fields of willow trees and switch grass in our future?

Last note. The Boys Choir of Harlem may be losing its home in Harlem. It's a pretty sad story of adults failing in their responsibilities to kids, filled with scandal and a touch of intrigue. The Choir got notice that it will no longer be able to use NYC public school buildings after it returned from a tour of the Midwest.

I took that private school Munchkin and a friend of hers to see this Choir on that very Midwest tour. Both girls were floored by how great these kids were at all kinds of music. It will truly be a shameful thing if this choir goes under because adults can't get their act together. Check here if you're interested in supporting them. But you might want to read about what's going on before you put your money into it. :-/

Until tomorrow,


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