Sentences to Ponder: NOLA Seniors; Red Poverty; Russo on Alt; Advice from 1690s


1. NOLA seniors

“Before Hurricane Katrina turned New Orleans’ public school system inside out, barely half of all high schoolers graduated in four years. Since then, schools – most now run independently by non-profits — have stressed graduation and college for all, with many adding ‘college prep’ to their marquees and naming even kindergartens after universities. Something seems to have worked. Last year, 73 percent graduated on time, according to the Louisiana Education Department. The rate for black males, 65 percent, beat the Louisiana and national averages.”

2. Sex, drugs, and poverty in Red and Blue America 

“In 2013 just under two-thirds of the births in the city of Muskogee, 62.6 percent, were to unwed mothers, including 48.3 percent of the births to white mothers… the Baltimore riots have become a vehicle for conservatives to point to the city as an emblem of the failure of liberalism and the Democratic Party. The current state of affairs in Muskogee suggests that the left does not deserve exclusive credit for social disorder.”

3. Alt School – over hyped?

“No doubt, AltSchool an interesting model, and news of the $100 million investment that’s being made in the model is worth noting… AltSchool is only two years old. Just four schools serving only a few hundred kids are participating so far.”

4. Advice columnists from the 1690s

Q: Why is thunder more terrible in the night time?
A: In the dead of night, noises are rendered more distinct and consequently more terrible by the universal stillness everywhere else.

Q: Is it proper for women to be learned?
A: All grant that they may have some learning, but the question is of what sort, and to what degree? Some indeed think they have learned enough if they can distinguish between their husband’s breeches and another man’s… Others think they may pardonably enough read, but by no means be trifled with writing. Others again, that they ought neither to write nor read. A degree yet higher are those who would have them read plays, novels, and romances—with perhaps a little history, but by all means terminating their studies there, and not letting them meddle with philosophy… because it takes them off from their domestic affairs and because it generally fills them of themselves … ’tis a weakness common to our own sex as well as theirs… We see no reason why women should not be learned now. For if we have seen one lady gone mad with learning… there are a hundred men could be named, whom the same cause has rendered fit for bedlam.

Q: What’s love?
A: Love, and you’ll know … We’ll give you the best description we can of that passion, which we have some reason to know … ‘Tis a mixture of friendship and desire, bounded by the rules of honor and virtue … Love, being a medium between pure friendship and perfect desire, ’tis warm enough to keep friendship from an ague, but not so furiously hot as to set all on fire.

Q: Is there, do you think, a large part of the world still left to discover?
A: Yes.

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