If you want to do one thing this year for our children and the future of our nation, read Diane Ravitch’s brilliant and engaging new book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (Knopf, $27.95).
It is a best-seller that could change the course of American education. (Yes, even here in the suburbs.) When I started reading it, I was humbled, excited and sad.Humbled by the depth of her commitment to the nation’s children. Excited that she put everything into one volume. And sad that her book is necessary — because what that says about so many of our elected leaders and their perspective on children and education is distasteful.
So the holidays are over, winter has come and we’re all in a position to get smacked with a hefty case of the seasonal blahs. Until the first rays of spring arrive in a few months, the following are suggested retreats that don’t involve getting on a plane or going beyond Long Island and the five boroughs.
East End Escape
Most people perceive the Hamptons, North Fork and all points around the tip of Long Island as being strictly reserved for summer jaunts. Truth is that even though the temperature is considerably lower this time of year, it’s far less crowded and tailor-made for that get-away weekend. Among the places you can stay are:
Don’t mess with the moms. Okay, nor the dads. But especially the moms. Because they are not going to get tired or get shooed away. Just ask Deborah Abramson Brooks and Allison White.
“My daughter is a minor, and it is my job to protect her,” said Brooks, whose nine-year-old daughter is in the fourth grade in Port Washington public schools.
Where do laptop computers come from? China? Korea? Cupertino, Calif.?
For thousands of needy people around Long Island, their computers come from Jon Zimmerman’s garage.
“I started giving equipment away because I felt bad that some kids could access the internet and some couldn’t,” said Zimmerman, who runs the group Comp4Kids.
Lois A. Schaffer’s story will break your heart. If you are a parent, it will break your heart many times more. Five years ago, Schaffer’s daughter Susie was shot and killed in the kitchen of her St. Louis home by two teenage burglars.
As novelist Joan Didion put it, “What greater grief can there be for mortals than to see their children dead?”
But Schaffer has channeled her grief into a cause and a new book, The Unthinkable: Life, Loss, and a Mother’s Mission to Ban Illegal Guns, published on Dec. 18, the fifth anniversary of Susie’s death.
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