Posts by: Denis Smith

“Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow.” – H. G. Wells

Media literacy expert and author Frank W. Baker no doubt had H. G. Wells in mind when he addressed state library/media specialists last week at their conference at Ohio State University’s Newark Campus.

“We are in the midst of an education crisis,” he told his audience, mostly members of the Ohio Educational Library and Media Association. Those in attendance knew quite well the extent […]

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“What’s the difference between ECOT and a group of cats,” the joke goes. Answer: Those friendly furry felines don’t really have nine lives.

On the other hand, maybe there is something that our four-legged friends and the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow do have in common: An ability to jump and land on their feet. With such agility, maybe there is something about reincarnation after all.

It wasn’t that long ago when some of us had trouble with deciphering the ECOT acronym, sometimes confusing it with a similar acronym for a magical place in Florida that provides fantasy and adventure. […]

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“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching” – John Wooden

About two decades ago, when I was active in the character education movement and writing grants to assist school districts with programs that taught young people such traits as trustworthiness, respect, caring, responsibility, and fairness, educators would use Coach John Wooden’s memorable quote as a teaching tool.

We introduced children to literature that conveyed these principles for moral development and character formation and offered public figures that were exemplars of some type of virtue. For many of us, that […]

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It’s too bad that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is not deemed as important as the Second, at least to the present occupant of the White House.

And his party.

Last week, President Donald Trump flew to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to lead a campaign rally of his followers. “I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington swamp … with much, much better people,” he told the crowd in the state capital’s Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.

In Trump World, the less desirable people left behind were 2,700 well-dressed […]

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How could the removal of four Confederate monuments in New Orleans provide us a lesson about memorials dedicated to Ronald Reagan?

Hang on to that thought about The Gipper for a moment. Let’s look at the Civil War lesson first.

For years, public sentiment has questioned the appropriateness of an obelisk honoring the killing of police officers by white supremacists in the Crescent City during the turbulent post-Civil War period as well as statues depicting Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Pierre Beauregard. Finally, there is action to remove these symbols of treason that date from […]

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“The government should be run like a great American company.”

We’ve heard this tired, oft-repeated saw before. And if you follow this reasoning, those who come out of a corporate environment, as we are told by Jared Kushner and his father-in-law, possess training and knowledge superior to anyone else’s life experience.

But in our fact-free world of the present, should we ever totally believe this supposed truism?

Nope. But we can thank none other than The Donald for destroying a myth deeply embedded in our consciousness.

But why are people still believing this myth? […]

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As we reflect on a tumultuous week where the FBI Director confirmed that an investigation of some of the president’s closest aides is being conducted to determine if there was coordination of campaign tactics with Russian operatives linked to Kremlin strongman Vladimir Putin, this headline among many was startling: ‘There’s a Smell of Treason in the Air.’

The New York Times headline notwithstanding, if the subject is treason, we’ve been there before. Several times.

In spite of the headlines documenting Russian interference and possible collusion by the Trump campaign to fix the 2016 election, whatever is turned […]

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Who would have ever thought that the term March Madness referred to more than just a basketball tournament? With the Trump Administration, however, madness is second nature, regardless of the month on the calendar.

Last week, we found out that March Madness also refers to the Trump budget process and the cruel, vindictive, and mean-spirited nature of the people who are at war with the sick, the poor, the elderly, and kids. All of these constituencies deserve advocacy as they are caught in the ruthless tactics of the unfeeling budget cutters. Please understand, however, that as an educator, I must […]

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What is it about karma that eventually winds up biting you in the arse? Michael Flynn should certainly know something about that subject.

The guy who exhorted stalwarts in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention in July to Lock Her Up! could himself be vulnerable to being locked up as a result of not registering as a foreign agent with the U.S. Department of Justice.

As thousands of people have recently viewed the grating video of the retired three-star general working the crowd of rabid Hillary haters, many are thinking of one word to describe what has happened […]

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Many of us remember Ronald Reagan’s effective use of the line, “there you go again.” In light of the purposeful Republican destruction of national education policy, it’s fitting that we use the plural form of that riposte and call out the Great Communicator’s successors in the GOP for their serial vandalism of public education.

Yep, there they go again. As Cole Porter would put it, in looking at Republican education policy today, anything goes.

With the spectre of St. Ronald Reagan haunting us, what is it about old nightmares that return, yet again, more than 35 years later? […]

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The pleasant looking woman sitting on the wooden bench directly across from me several weeks ago in the shiny, new red cable car in Wellington, New Zealand had a good ear in quickly picking up American speech.

“Things don’t seem to be going so well back home now, don’t you think”? she asked me in her distinctive Kiwi accent.

“Yep, things seemed to have changed overnight,” I replied. “From what we’ve seen on television in the last few weeks, I’m not sure I recognize my own country anymore.”

“Yes, I’m sure of that,” she responded.

Quite.

As […]

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