Mary Sheehy Moe

Commentary - January 15th, 2014
1:09 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Swan Song

This will be my last commentary on this program.  As I pondered what to say in parting, I landed on what I what I should have said to you at the start:  why I think ongoing commentary on the subject of public education is important.

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Commentary - December 18th, 2013
11:43 am
Wed December 18, 2013

The Holiday Gift That Keeps on Giving

Of all the tasks involved in being a school board member, certainly the most pleasant is attending holiday concerts. Every year I drop in on school programs throughout Great Falls, and this year, I’ve been focusing on the elementary schools.  The talent and sophistication are certainly more evident in the high schools, but in the elementary schools, every child is part of the program.   And for a couple of hours, you get to be part of the unique mini-community that develops around the hub of a neighborhood school. 

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Commentary - November 20th, 2013
10:13 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Cat-Griz XLV

This weekend will mark my 45th observance of the Bobcat-Grizzly Game, “the Brawl of the Wild,” as it is now hyped.  I’m not too keen on the brawlish aspects of the event, especially what goes on in the stands and in town after the game.  Nor do I like the barbs that fly back and forth for weeks beforehand in the name of rivalry humor.   Some remarks delivered in jest are received as jabs, and why cultivate animosity with a neighbor?  I’m not even particularly a football fan.  Yet I’m irresistibly drawn to the Bobcat-Grizzly game.

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Commentary - October 23rd, 2013
9:42 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Common Core Craziness

"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound and fury, a dimension of fright. You're moving into a land of shadow and little substance, of things and ideas fiercely believed, though barely believable. You've crossed over into the Fact-Free Zone."

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Commentary - September 25th, 2013
9:33 am
Wed September 25, 2013

New Beginnings

“It’s a new beginning!” I tell my grandson at the schoolhouse door.  “Kindergarten!  You’ll learn new things and make new friends.  It’s going to be great.”

Joe isn’t buying it.  Three older kids whirl by, shrieking, and he shrinks back against the wall.  A few feet away, a little girl with French braids does too. 

“What’s your name?” I ask her.  I get a miserable “Celia” in response.  “What a pretty name,” I say.  “Celia, this is my grandson, Joe.  It’s his first day at school.  Is it your first day too?”   Celia nods and sidles away from me.

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Commentary - August 28th, 2013
9:51 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Dream Deferred

Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech as the March on Washington drew to a close.  The nation was wowed.   But as good as the speech is, to appreciate the full range of King’s gifts, you must read the letter from Birmingham jail he wrote five months earlier.  As an example of persuasive writing, it’s top-drawer.   It matches the “I Have a Dream” speech in imagery and musicality, but surpasses it in rhetorical genius.

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Commentary - July 31st, 2013
10:47 am
Wed July 31, 2013

The Section 504 Marvel

It’s strange to me that I know so many parents now who have a child with a debilitating illness.  It’s strange because throughout my own school years, first grade through twelfth, I was aware of only one classmate who was chronically ill.  And over 18 years of teaching high school students, I recall only two with chronic illness.

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Commentary - July 3, 2013
12:47 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Revolutionary Women

In his book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen levels a scathing criticism at the subject of American history as it was taught back when most of us were in high school.  Christopher Columbus was not the first explorer to discover America, and his treatment of the New World’s indigenous people is pretty hard to condone.  The Pilgrims were not benefactors to the Indian tribes in Massachusetts; the reverse was the case.   Manifest destiny, slavery, war … all were sugar-coated beyond recognition and peopled by a monolithic parade of white male heroes.

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