Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Other Education- By DAVID BROOKS

The following is an OP-ED column by NY Times Columnist David Brooks. Mr. Brooks is a well respected columnist and often provides thoughtful and insightful commentary on current events. You can view the entire November 27, 2009 column entitled "The Other Education" by clicking on this link. His feelings on the "other education" many of us receive via music and the popular arts is consistent with curriculum and instruction efforts in schools that attempt to formalize popular culture into the curriculum of a school. While this meets with varying degrees of success, what is clear is that there IS the other education that our students receive. Whether it's via rock and roll, rap, folk, or country music. It is a vital component of a complete education-- the trick has always been to try to formalize it. Elvis Costello once said that writing about rock and roll is like dancing about architecture. Here's David Brooks' attempt--it's well worth your time. -Dr. Petrosino

Like many of you, I went to elementary school, high school and college. I took such and such classes, earned such and such grades, and amassed such and such degrees.

But on the night of Feb. 2, 1975, I turned on WMMR in Philadelphia and became mesmerized by a concert the radio station was broadcasting. The concert was by a group I’d never heard of — Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Thus began a part of my second education.

We don’t usually think of this second education. For reasons having to do with the peculiarities of our civilization, we pay a great deal of attention to our scholastic educations, which are formal and supervised, and we devote much less public thought to our emotional educations, which are unsupervised and haphazard. This is odd, since our emotional educations are much more important to our long-term happiness and the quality of our lives.

In any case, over the next few decades Springsteen would become one of the professors in my second education. In album after album he assigned a new course in my emotional curriculum.

This second education doesn’t work the way the scholastic education works. In a normal schoolroom, information walks through the front door and announces itself by light of day. It’s direct. The teacher describes the material to be covered, and then everybody works through it.

The knowledge transmitted in an emotional education, on the other hand, comes indirectly, seeping through the cracks of the windowpanes, from under the floorboards and through the vents. It’s generally a byproduct of the search for pleasure, and the learning is indirect and unconscious.

From that first night in the winter of 1975, I wanted the thrill that Springsteen was offering. His manager, Jon Landau, says that each style of music elicits its own set of responses. Rock, when done right, is jolting and exhilarating.

Once I got a taste of that emotional uplift, I was hooked. The uplifting experiences alone were bound to open the mind for learning.

I followed Springsteen into his world. Once again, it wasn’t the explicit characters that mattered most. Springsteen sings about teenage couples out on a desperate lark, workers struggling as the mills close down, and drifters on the wrong side of the law. These stories don’t directly touch my life, and as far as I know he’s never written a song about a middle-age pundit who interviews politicians by day and makes mind-numbingly repetitive school lunches at night.

What mattered most, as with any artist, were the assumptions behind the stories. His tales take place in a distinct universe, a distinct map of reality. In Springsteen’s universe, life’s “losers” always retain their dignity. Their choices have immense moral consequences, and are seen on an epic and anthemic scale.

There are certain prominent neighborhoods on his map — one called defeat, another called exaltation, another called nostalgia. Certain emotional chords — stoicism, for one — are common, while others are absent. “There is no sarcasm in his writing,” Landau says, “and not a lot of irony.”

I find I can’t really describe what this landscape feels like, especially in newspaper prose. But I do believe his narrative tone, the mental map, has worked its way into my head, influencing the way I organize the buzzing confusion of reality, shaping the unconscious categories through which I perceive events. Just as being from New York or rural Georgia gives you a perspective from which to see the world, so spending time in Springsteen’s universe inculcates its own preconscious viewpoint.

Then there is the man himself. Like other parts of the emotional education, it is hard to bring the knowledge to consciousness, but I do think important lessons are communicated by that embarrassed half-giggle he falls into when talking about himself. I do think a message is conveyed in the way he continually situates himself within a tradition — de-emphasizing his own individual contributions, stressing instead the R&B groups, the gospel and folk singers whose work comes out through him.

I’m not claiming my second education has been exemplary or advanced. I’m describing it because I have only become aware of it retrospectively, and society pays too much attention to the first education and not enough to the second.

In fact, we all gather our own emotional faculty — artists, friends, family and teams. Each refines and develops the inner instrument with a million strings.

Last week, my kids attended their first Springsteen concert in Baltimore. At one point, I looked over at my 15-year-old daughter. She had her hands clapped to her cheeks and a look of slack-jawed, joyous astonishment on her face. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing — 10,000 people in a state of utter abandon, with Springsteen surrendering himself to them in the center of the arena.

It begins again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

UT's College of Education: Culture of Excellence Propels College of Education to 3rd in the Nation

I think you always have to be a little careful of rankings and the kind of atmosphere it creates and empowers. That having been said, the recent ranking of the College of Education at The University of Texas is worth noting. We are now the 3rd ranked public College of Education in the country and the 7th ranked overall. I have been very fortunate to be able to be part of a number of initiatives including the nationally recognized UTeach Natural Sciences Teacher Training Program and the NSF Funded UTeach Engineering Partnership -Dr. Petrosino

The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education continued its remarkable climb in the U.S. News & World Report - America’s Best Graduate Schools rankings, rising this year to third in the nation among public colleges and schools of education and seventh in the nation overall, tied with Johns Hopkins, Northwestern University, University of California-Berkley and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

U.S. News & World Report uses statistical data from more than 12,000 graduate programs and survey feedback from academic and professional experts nationwide to produce its annual rankings of national graduate programs in education, business, engineering and law. This is the highest ranking that the College of Education has ever achieved.

Last year the college broke into an elite national tier, being placed fifth among public institutions and 10th overall. This year’s rankings position the College of Education in a top-10 category that includes Harvard, Stanford University, Columbia, Vanderbilt and UCLA.

"Since U.S. News & World Report started ranking graduate education programs in 1995," says William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, "our College of Education's rankings have steadily improved, this year reaching third in the nation among public institutions. Innovative research and faculty who are leaders in their fields continue to bring positive recognition to the college, and this consistent show of excellence is to be commended."

The high marks awarded to the College of Education this year also include being ranked number one among public universities that offer both undergraduate and graduate programs and ranked fourth overall in research expenditures. The college is ranked second in research expenditures among public institutions, boasting growth in research and development expenditures from around $1.1 million in 1995 to a current figure of around $31 million.

At the campus level, the College of Education was the most highly ranked college or school for the second year in a row among University of Texas at Austin graduate programs that receive yearly qualitative and quantitative rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

Among the nationally and internationally acclaimed programs and research that fuel the college’s continuing success are:

  • UTeach, a nationally replicated math and science teacher training program
  • the Community College Leadership Program, which is ranked number one in the nation
  • a multi-faceted team of neuroscientists, exercise physiologists and special education faculty who are revolutionizing the study of autism
  • the newly created, multi-disciplinary Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, led by renowned scholar Dr. Sharon Vaughn
  • the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts
  • the Texas Child Study Center, which partnered with Dell Children’s Medical Center and is the premier mental health services facility for children in Central Texas
  • studies from top exercise physiologists on how to maximize physical performance and recover after physical exertion

“It’s hard to describe how happy and proud we were to hear this year’s rankings,” said Manuel J. Justiz, dean of the College of Education. “Our extremely talented faculty, dedicated staff and high-achieving students work so diligently. These rankings are a wonderful recognition of their hard work.”

President Obama Announces $260 Million for New Math and Science Education Partnerships

Charlie Curnow of "The Daily Tell" reports on a new initiative for mathematics and science partnerships.

President Obama announced a new campaign Monday to move U.S. students to the top of global achievement standards in science, technology, education and mathematics education over the next decade through a combination of private, nonprofit and government partnerships.

The new initiative, called "Educate to Innovate," will include $260 million in new programs designed to generate and maintain student interest in STEM subjects.

"Reaffirming and strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation is essential to meeting the challenges of this century," said Obama.

Programs will include public-private partnerships to generate media messaging, interactive games, hands-on learning and volunteer efforts to spark student enthusiasm; pledges by U.S. leaders in science and mathematics to champion STEM education in the public square; and an annual science fair at the White House to showcase student winners in national science, technology and robotics competitions.

Picture: Student teachers in Dr. Petrosino's STEM Education course work with local area middle school students conducting research on an Austin area aquifer.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Response to Anonymous Post on Hoboken Now

The following was posted anonymously on a website supported by The Jersey Journal, a local newspaper servicing Hoboken, NJ. The website is known as Hoboken Now- click here to see original thread. I have tried to simply supply the factual information concerning this post. -Dr. Petrosino

Posted by nice2be
October 15, 2009, 9:10AM

Says ,there, Petrosino had 4 years experience--he was only there for less than 2 years. Raslowski hired him and they have him (JR) down as 1 year experience. Interesting.

Inappropriate comment? Alert us.
Posted by petrosa
November 20, 2009, 10:34PM

>Posted by nice2be
>October 15, 2009, 9:10AM
>Says ,there, Petrosino had 4 years experience--he was only there for less than 2 years. Raslowski hired >him and they have him (JR) down as 1 year experience. Interesting.

I believe I was listed as having 4 years of experience since I taught in the Hoboken School District for 4 years (1987-1991). The site (which many posters to this site seem to utilize) most likely did not load the most recent official data. will eventually show 6 years experience for me once data from 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 is fully loaded into the state's official system.

-Dr. Anthony Petrosino
Former Assistant to the Superintendent
Hoboken School District

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Greetings from Buffalo, NY... "The last show for awhile"

November 22- Buffalo NY. Last show of the 2007-09 "Magic and Working on a Dream" tour by Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band Tour.

A wonderful evening all around. After some logistical nightmares getting INTO the arena--seems as if they had everyone wait outside until the filed the GA seats, causing incredible lines and masses of people waiting to filter into the single ticket takers--the show started a little late. An excellent version of Wrecking Ball-the song is seeming to take on more and more meaning as he performs it in more places other than Giant Stadium---themes of loss, nostalgia, reflection and hope for the future seem to come out in the song more now than when I first heard it a month ago. Kurt Ramm's contributions are taking the song to another level to in my opinion Last nights version resonated especially. from there it was TIES THAT BIND and HUNGRY HEART--a nice one two punch. I especially liked Ties-- very heavy on the 60's guitar parts by Steve.

 A nice intro to GREETINGS which included references to this being the album that started it all--and then into the album. It was very good. Clearly, there are a lot of words shoved into those measures and the band did there best. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT and GROWIN UP were solid---the best part for me was taking the middle of GROWIN UP for a little "storytelling"--that was fantastic and it was basically the story of meeting Clarence. Illusions to King Curtis...."dark and stormy night"..."Asbury Park" get the idea, but it was good. Springsteen saying how Clarence came up on stage and said -- Clarence chimes in "I want to play with you"... It ended with Bruce and Clarence posing as they did for the BORN TO RUN album. And they kept the pose for awhile- a great moment. Really. The rest of the album was wonderful. For me, the highlight of the album set (and maybe of the whole show actually) was LOST IN THE FLOOD. It was played like I never heard it before. Intense...guitar solos....full E STREET BAND treatment...the idea of it being a "war" song really was made apparent to me. His vocals on that song blew me away.

After the album---a change of pace (I think SUNNY DAY and maybe PROMISE LAND)--- next highlight of the show was Stevie Van Zandt's birthday. Nice intro--- "he's....the same age as me" and then a birthday cake. As a special tribute, Bruce said, "here's one of Stevie's favorite songs and want to play it tonight for him" and the band went into RESTLESS NIGHTS---after that SURPRISE SURPRISE again dedicated to Steve...  I think after that it was getting the signs (GREEN ONIONS were played). I never seen so many signs...amazing. Many "Thank You" cards...literally a sea of posters in the GA section. And, an extended time collecting them from the audience. It seemed as if he was really enjoying the signs. After collecting---they did MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY and SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN--the sign for SANTA was great (Bruce sitting on Santa's lap) and he said "I'm going to put this one on my door back home"--- He then spent a little time talking about the people following him around to all his shows..."especially the Italians" and did I DON"T WANT TO HANG UP MY ROCK AND ROLL SHOWS ("what the fuck you think I am...a mindreader? the next time put the goddamm lyrics on the poster") ;-) That went into BOOM BOOM and MY LOVE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN---(the crowd was just yelling and enjoying themselves at this point, smiles all around). I think then LONG WALK HOME, RISING, and BORN TO RUN....Other highlights...."Let me tell you about my band"---and went into TENTH AVENUE as they took bows and went off stage.

 The encores were great---some highlights...a kid getting up and dancing with Stevie during DANCING IN THE DARK...hard to describe the energy at the end going from DANCING IN THE DARK to ROSALITA to HIGHER AND HIGHER to ROCKIN ALL OVER THE WORLD---but he just kept asking the audience "Buffalo, can we take it any higher???" and with each song, he somehow did. Just amazing really--kind of like a frenzy at the end. He shouted more than once "we don't want to go home"...he wore out the crowd. He played well past 11PM and people were leaving and then coming back to their seats...just a great energy in the building.

Two favorite scenes in my mind at the end....Bruce holds up a single "THANK YOU" card (there were dozens maybe more than a hundred in the Pit and GA during the show---he grabbed one and looked into the camera and smiled with the THANK YOU card under his face. A great picture. I missed it. I hope it turns up somewhere- just a great look on his face. Another great scene was him pulling down a banner that was hung behind stage by some fans. It said "It may be only rock and roll, but it feels like love"---and he made sure the cameras caught that and he displayed it in front of the stage--nicely done (After the show I saw the roadies carefully fold that banner up).

End of the show---Springsteen came out on the side of the stage---signed an autograph or two--a couple of band members came out behind him. Last image I saw, Bruce and Clarence walking walking toward one of the arena exits to get them off the arena floor. Springsteen was rubbing Clearance's shoulders as Clearance was sitting in his golf cart driving slowly.

Last show for the E-STREET BAND---I don't think so. But, may the last we see of a regular contribution by some members. We'll see.

A great night---well worth the trip up and spending time in Buffalo.

Picture: "It's only Rock and Roll--but it feels like love"- enough said. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

School Uniforms in Public Schools and the Courts

The following letter to the editor was printed in The Hoboken Reporter (11/14/09), a local paper in Hoboken, NJ. The letter can also be found on line by clicking HERE. The letter raises some very interesting issues around school uniforms and public education. I would recommend anyone wanting a better idea of the legal issues centering around this issue to visit a posting by David L. Hudson Jr, a First Amendment scholar. He has published a nice summary article on the topic entitled: "Clothing, dress codes, and uniforms"

A quick summary of the issues is that many school districts have turned to dress codes and uniforms to promote a better learning environment. They argue that these policies decrease tensions, reduce socio-economic differences and enhance safety. Others contend these dress codes are merely Band-Aid solutions that do not improve safety. Further, they charge that these policies infringe on students’ First Amendment rights of free expression.

The courts have divided over how to resolve dress-code disputes and reached different results. The legal landscape remains muddled over dress codes and uniforms. -Dr. Petrosino


Dear Editor:

Over the past few weeks, there has been renewed talk about school uniforms. Admittedly, there is much room for improvement in the Hoboken Public Schools. Hallmarks of successful schools usually include high expectations of students and teachers, a rigorous curriculum, and a sense of community, or belonging among the student body and faculty. The implementation of a school uniform policy does nothing to address these factors. Bringing up this tired band-aid of a solution is administrative laziness masquerading as educational policy. Let’s look at the facts

1. There is NO conclusive evidence of advantages of school uniforms in terms of reduced school violence or gang related problems. Nor do statistics prove that uniforms increase academic achievement. Supporters who promote uniforms are using misleading statistics. Moreover, these problems are deeply rooted and far beyond the scope of any uniform policy.

2. School uniforms DO NOT save families money. Making a kids’ current school wardrobe obsolete for school brings on additional expense. School uniforms also bring on additional administrative and legal costs for schools, which ultimately we would all have to pay for. 

3. The opinion of the American Civil Liberties Union is that school uniform policies do violate First Amendment rights.

4. A mandatory school uniform policy stifles freedom of expression. Our society already has enough drones who continue making the mistakes of our predecessors. We need to foster creativity and independent thinking. We are obligated to provide an environment where children openly express their opinions and learn tolerance for the opinions of others.

Allowing kids to decide what to wear to school gives them the opportunity to develop decision-making skills and take responsibility for their choices in life. Schools can be happy, successful, peaceful places without uniforms. The proposal of mandatory school uniforms is a passive approach to solving some of the problems that plague our schools. Skeptical parents have every right to wonder whom on the Hoboken Board of Education or the new administration has ties to the uniform company.

There is much to be lauded in the Hoboken Public Schools. As the parents of two sons who have attended Hoboken Public Schools for the past 17 years, we can say that we have seen progress on a number of fronts. But sometimes it seems as if for every step forward, we take two steps backward. Implementing a policy of mandatory school uniforms would definitely be a step backwards. More often than not the causes for these backwards steps include a.) Board of Education politics and b.) An ever changing cast of administrators including the superintendent. For once, let’s actually put our children first and (with some parental involvement) trust them to make the right decisions.

Danny and Caroline Schott

Picture: The Hoboken Terminal, built in 1907, is a two-story Beaux-Arts structure designed by Kenneth Murchison, an architect with the firm of McKim, Mead & White, which designed the original Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan. The picture features the original Tower which was demolished in 1950.  The entire structure sits over water on a steel and concrete foundation, accommodating six ferry slips and fourteen rail lines. The individually roofed train shed arches are an innovative design by Bush. The entire structure is sheathed in copper.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Refusal to Say the Pledge of Allegiance

Will Phillips appeared on CNN Monday morning with his father, Jay, to discuss his refusal to say the pledge of allegiance. "I've grown up with a lot of people and I'm good friends with a lot of people who are gay and I think they should have the rights all people should, and I'm not going to swear that they do," the ten-year-old Phillips said.

"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."
— Justice Robert Jackson in West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette (1943

What actually is a student's right in this case? One pretty useful source of information is the First Amendment Center. Click here to read what their position (and the Supreme Court) has to say about requiring students to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Interesting reading...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Race to The Top of No Child Left Behind?

The $4 Billion Race to the Top Fund has been developed by the Department of Education to help states engage in educational reform and school improvement. The goal is to: 

1) close achievement gaps; 2) increase high school graduation rates, 3) make improvements in student achievement, and 4) better prepare students for college and beyond. 

Race to the Top grants are competitive, in that states must apply, and grants will be awarded to those who have created conditions for reform and plans to increase student achievement.

However, there are some concerns that I think are worth mentioning. For instance, Race to the Top links teacher evaluation with students' standardized test scores. The theory is that holding teachers accountable for gains in students' test scores will motivate teachers to work on professional growth. However, there is little evidence to support this hypothesis. While I support Race to the Top and its efforts to promote teacher effectiveness, I still much question the notion of using students' test scores as a measuring stick.

A second caution is that for a policy that promotes research-based educational practices, little research was involved in policy development and decision-making. While research in the educational policymaking area is not as vast as within other areas, one has to wonder why such research was not consulted during the policymaking process. 

One cannot ignore the conflicting and contradictory messages of the current administration and it's confused Department of Education that seems to say "Don't Teach to the Test" but wants to tie teacher pay to student performance on the same tests. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hoboken Reunion

The term nostalgia describes a longing for the past, often in idealized form. The word is made up of two roots ( nostos "returning home", and algos "pain"), to refer to "the pain a person feels because s/he wishes to return to his native home, and fears never to see it again". ... nonetheless, I find this list provided by the site Hoboken Reunion to be quite exhaustive and interesting. 

Old Blue Eyes - 8th & Garden Street, The Fabian, Rialto, & U.S. Movie Theatres, "The Tubes", Woolworths, The 14th. St Diner, The smell of coffee from Maxwell House, Jitney Buses, Christmas lights across Washington St., The Yum-Yum Yum Man, St. Ann's Feast, The Union Club and St. Michael's Dances,The ''Y" Dances and Demarest Dances, OLG Dances, St. Joe's Boys Club, Hobo's Club, Black Hawks Club

The loud speakers on every corner announcing "NO SCHOOL" due to snow, DOUBLE PARKING, Mayor Grogan and Jerry Malloy, Mickey Finn, Demarest High - Our Lady of Grace, Jeanette's, Joe Bier's Rolls, Moritz Bakery, Schoening's crumb cake, Gustoso's Bread, Abels - Leo's Pizza, The Chatterbox, The Grand Hotel, Myers Hotel, Parking at Steven's Tech, Umlands, Blue Point, Kramers Jewelers
JACK-O-DINES, Johnny on the Pony, Open fire hydrants on warm days, Campus Music Shop, Father Jack, US Steel - US Testing, Wonder Bread & Hostess Factory - Standard Brands - MY-T-FINE, Christmas Carols played over the loud speaker on Christmas Eve, Little Jimmy's Chinese Rest. on Hudson Street,Elysian Field, Tootsie Roll Factory, Town Lunch - Gold Ice Cream Parlor, Holland American Lines - Ferguson Propellers
Angelo Scalzo feeding the prisoners in Hoboken for over 25 years, Fire Chief Carmody making oxtail soup at Scalzo's on Saturdays, 4 Star Chinese (where you could get rice and gravy or a triple decker cheeseburger) on 1st and Washington, The first Blimpe Base on 6th & Washington, On the Waterfront, Buying clams on the street corner downtown, Mr. Pizza making prom gowns, John's Bargain Store
Dances in the park, Umlands Soft Ice Cream, The Rag A Muffin Parade & The Spaghetti Festival, The Modern Restaurant, Hoboken-AC, Sled riding down Murder Hill on 9th & Hudson, Stick ball on 9th & Hudson, The White Poodle in People's Studio, The Clam Broth House, Blackouts & Air Raids, Hanging out at Franklins, Leo Kiely pitching for the Red Soxs, Driving to Callahan's for hot dogs, Friendship Rings
Walking down the viaduct after football games, John's Bargain Store, Nellie's Deli and Muller's Deli 4th & Bloomfield, The Copper Kettle  & Golds Ice Cream Parlor, Crabbing from the 14th street piers, Lipton Tea Company, Greenies by the 10th street park, Playing OUTSIDE until our parents called us in for dinner!!!!!, Just plain sitting on the stoop, The "REC", Hans Jesse Bakery, Bowling at the Elks

Being lowered into sewers to get a pink "high  bouncer ", Dressing up for Halloween, Billy Kunkle and Johnny Kucks pitching for the Yankees, John Romano, who played for the Cleveland Indians in 1961- 1962 !!! , 
The Royal Restaurant ( next to Schoening's ), Biggies, Stan's sport's center, Gardner's (4th & Washington St ), Sorkin's, Dairy Queen ( 3rd & Bloomfield ), Queen's Dept. Sore, "Yankee Bob" riding his bike, playing fly's up and ring-a-lario
School cooking classes at Public Service Electric Bldg. at 6th  and Washington Street next to the A&P, Muser's Delicatessen, Uptown Cafe, Dukes Drug Store, Zepps Candy Store, John's grocery Store, Ralphs Vegetable Store  Ralphs  Butcher Shop and Fred's Delicatessen At 10th and Willow Ave, Cobblestone streets downtown on 5th & Jackson
12th & Willow Police Sub-Station and the "Recreation Hall" above it, Grube's Diner and Mr. Phillip's candy store, Lucy's Candy store ( The best Charlotte Rouge's!) next to St. Francis, making out on River Road (Sinatra Dr.), Castle Point, Castle Point Diner, man with the fish cart yelling "A TRIPE", Mr. Softee, Mojica Taxi, Lalli's Men Store, C.H. Martin, Fabco Shoe Store
Kay's Pharmacy at Third & Washington, Stevens Forum on Garden St., The pencil factory at Fifth and Willow, Mr. Albini and his drugstore, roasting "Hot Mickies", Schnackies on 11th and Washington, Artie Stover, Chasen's Card Store, The showers at the Firehouse on 8th & Clinton, The Fuller Brush Man, The PAL on 6th & Park, The little house in Willow Terrace, Jackie McMullan playing football for Notre Dame
Potato Chips from Lizzy's Candy Store, The "Lincoln Hotel", getting home before the light's went on, "hopsies" the rubber heel from the shoemaker, Tony's Candy Store on 6th & Willow, Stemples Drug Store, The HUB dances, Going "Begging" on Thanksgiving, and who can forget The Blue Point
The Rolls Royce ice cream truck,  the model train display at Christmas time in the window of Beacon Auto Supply on the corner of 6th and Washington St, Stick ball games (one bounce pitch) on the Demarest sidewalk. Three on three basketball games on the new courts in Church Square park. Pop's Candy store on 5th and Park
Mickey Finn's Depart. Store-The Blue Clock on 5th & Wash. Street- The man Juan who sold jelly apples on 3rd &  Madison, Zazzarini the peddler
Stickball in Wallace school yard; (against the wall) or "fast pitch" on 12th & Hudson at "tea pack to Bethlehem Steel", "on-a-bounce" at Demarest or "long ways" on 12th & Hudson east side, but NOT on 9th & Hudson - WHERE?

Anyone remember:
Schafer's for "late night" eating?
Ray's for "chocolate bubbles" (egg creams) & Tane's bar on 12th & Washington?
Harry's Log Cabin next to the Clam Broth?
Beer in containers from the bar behind Vet's Field?
Doc Izzo for everyone's appliances?
Pini brothers for everyone's plumbing?
Duke's & Oliveri's for "shooting pool"?  
Bingo (the best) at Oliveri's?
Adam's Lanes, Empire Lanes & Castle Lanes for bowling?  
LaScallinatta, Vellocci's, Jewel's, Torna's, Balboa's, Flying, (spelling)  for "some" of the "pizza joints" not yet mentioned? 
The Sea Star & the Palace for fishing?
The "sewerage plant" for football leagues?
ALL the old bars on River Street?
The YMCA & Camp Tamaqua?
Leo Smith & "the Rec. basketball program?
The Unico outings?
The BBB baseball league?
The Little League umpire we/wooden arm?
The rag man with /horse & cart?
D'onofrio's (spelling) chili dogs? 
Mary's for eggplant?
How about Meyer Shultz bus and his "back door"?
Everyone afraid to remember "Bibba"?
The Cassolino cookouts after little league games, the "new little league stadium" with showers that were never used, the ILA little league team cheerleaders, stickball at Wallace School yard "lefty on a bounce", the Roller Rink at St Ann's church, trying to get into Stevens fraternity parties for beer and older women, the Grogan rally's, swimming nude at the YMCA (no bathing suits allowed), working for a liquor store and delivering alcohol at 14 years old, the Thanksgiving Day football game with Memorial
Wooden scoters made with 2x4 and a wood milk crate and old roller skates with bottle caps for the number on the front and being an alter boy to get out of class and going to a barber shop for a hair cut, playing pinochle in the back of Schnackies every day after school, Henry's Gift Shop, My Lady's Bag Shop, Mrs. Lewis Baby Shop on 5th & Washington Street.
Andy's Candy Store on 1st & Park Ave. and candy store next door to Joseph F. Brandt Jr. High with the 5 cent bag of potato chips which were the best lose potato chips you could buy. The Birthday truck which delivered your birthday cake and sang "Happy Birthday to you as it drove down the street, the men who swept the streets with their garbage cans and sang, the whip and the roller coaster rides that parked on the block.
Barney's Ice Cream Truck a converted Rolls Royce Then you had the yum yum come around with his ices Then you had the Apple on a Stick man. Holland Bakery at 6th and Washington, Woldfart Bakery next to Schenkenbergs Ice Parlor.
"The circle by the projects, the showers yelling for money for mar. softie, the trains behind the projects, watching the world trade center being built from my bedroom window on Marshall drive. Election time freebies pony rides etc..Camp Tamaqua, the factories, women dressed in morning, the shipyards, Stevens boat which was a dorm, and the fireworks during the feast, the Adams street feast Charlie's candy store on 4th and Adams. Kick the can on 4 corners, melting crayons into bottle caps, Happy's candy store with the monkey hanging over the pole on 5th and Jackson, Saddie F Leinkaulf School ( #8), St. Joes, Father Eugene, Biggies watermelon slices 25 cents."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Marie Totaro's Oral History Project- "We Were Downtown" Sun 11/15 at 4pm. Hoboken Museum located at 1301 Hudson Street

The "Oral History Chapbook" is a wonderful series of recollections of Hoboken history by the people who lived, made and experienced it. Initiated by the Hoboken Historical Museum and supported by John Wiley and Sons-- the series is a fascinating grass roots look at Hoboken past and present. For anyone who defines downtown as "below Willow Avenue" and remembers when Carlo's (pre- the "Cake Boss" ) was next door to Fiore's on Adams St.---you are assured of enjoying this event. -Dr. Petrosino

Marie Totaro, legendary Hoboken baker and past chairwoman of the Feast of St. Ann, details histories of her former dessert café, Le Jardin, and the development of the Feast for the latest in our series of Hoboken Oral History Project chapbooks, "We Were Downtown, Recollections of Marie Totaro." The interviews also yielded lovingly evoked memories of downtown Hoboken, with humor and an eye toward detail. This chapbook offers a rich portrait of a way of life that has almost entirely disappeared from her old neighborhood.

On Sunday, November 15, at 4 p.m., the Museum and the Friends of the Hoboken Public Library will celebrate the release of this booklet at the Hoboken Historical Museum. The event is free and copies of the chapbook will be distributed to all who attend. Refreshments will be served.

Editor Holly Metz and designer Ann Marie Manca have shaped Marie's stories, as told to volunteer interviewer Pat Samperi, for the Hoboken Oral History Project, sponsored by the Museum and the Friends, and printed with support from John Wiley & Sons.

Sunday November 15th at 4 PM at the Hoboken Museum located at 1301 Hudson Street.

Monday, November 9, 2009

REMINDER: Casey and Bella Community Event at the Jubilee Center Tuesday, November 10th

Tomorrow November 10th at 3:30pm the Casey and Bella doggies- pictured with owner and author Jane Lovascio-  will be at the Jubilee Center, 601 Jackson St Hoboken for a community event to raise awareness for two important charities. Buddy, The Cake Boss, is making the cake, and everyone is invited. Please come by to say hello and get a goody bag- The Liberty Science Center will be there doing an experiment, music, book reading, etc... Everyone is welcome!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
3:30pm - 6:30pm
601 Jackson St. Hoboken NJ

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Free Market Flawed, Says BBC Survey

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new BBC poll has found widespread dissatisfaction with free-market capitalism.

In the global poll for the BBC World Service, only 11% of those questioned across 27 countries said that it was working well. Most thought regulation and reform of the capitalist system were necessary.

Economic regulationIn 1989, as the Berlin Wall fell, it was a victory for ordinary people across Eastern and Central Europe. It also looked at the time like a crushing victory for free-market capitalism. Twenty years on, this new global poll suggests confidence in free markets has taken heavy blows from the past 12 months of financial and economic crisis. More than 29,000 people in 27 countries were questioned. In only two countries, the United States and Pakistan, did more than one in five people feel that capitalism works well as it stands. Almost a quarter - 23% of those who responded - feel it is fatally flawed. That is the view of 43% in France, 38% in Mexico and 35% in Brazil. And there is very strong support around the world for governments to distribute wealth more evenly. That is backed by majorities in 22 of the 27 countries.

If there is one issue where a global consensus seems to emerge from the survey it is this: there are majorities almost everywhere wanting government to be more active in regulating business.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reply in NY Times about TOOLS OF THE MIND

This reply was recently published in the NY TImes concerning an article in the Sunday Times about "Tools of the Mind." In the article, the author- Paul Tough- made an error concerning the research base for Tools of the Mind. To read the entire, original article-please point your browser HERE.  -Dr. Petrosino 


The Make-Believe Solution

In his article on preschool and play, Paul Tough writes that “there are not yet firm experimental data that prove that Tools of the Mind works.” While no single study can hope to be definitive, our team at Rutgers published a randomized trial of Tools of the Mind that finds this curriculum substantially reduces behavior problems. Other studies find long-term decreases in delinquency and crime from curriculums with similar features, like daily planning and review. We don’t need to choose between play and academics or socialization and cognitive development; good curriculums provide both.

Co-director, National Institute for Early Education Research
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, N.J.

Tools of the Mind is part of the PRE-K/K curriculum for children in a number of districts in the NY/NJ area, including the Hoboken Public School system. 

Picture: Gillian Laub for The New York Times

Monday, November 2, 2009

Orton-Gillingham: A Detailed Introduction

Orton-Gillingham techniques have been in use since the 1930s. The Orton-Gillingham methodology utilizes phonetics and emphasizes visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles. Instruction begins by focusing on the structure of language and gradually moves towards reading. The program provides students with immediate feedback and a predictable sequence that integrates reading, writing, and spelling.

The Orton-Gillingham method is language-based and success-oriented. The student is directly taught reading, handwriting, and written expression as one logical body of knowledge. Learners move step by step from simple to more complex material in a sequential, logical manner that enables students to master important literacy skills. This comprehensive approach to reading instruction is claimed to benefit all students.

Features of the Approach

Language-based: The Orton-Gillingham approach is based on a technique of studying and teaching language, understanding the nature of human language, the mechanisms involved in learning, and the language-learning processes in individuals.

Multisensory: Orton-Gillingham teaching sessions are action-oriented and involve constant interaction between the teacher and the student and the simultaneous use of multiple sensory input channels reinforcing each other for optimal learning. Using auditory, visual, and kinesthetic elements, all language skills taught are reinforced by having the student listen, speak, read and write. For example, a dyslexic learner is taught to see the letter A, say its name and sound and write it in the air – all at the same time. The approach requires intense instruction with ample practice. The use of multiple input channels is thought to enhance memory storage and retrieval by providing multiple "triggers" for memory.

Structured, Sequential, and Cumulative: The Orton-Gillingham teacher introduces the elements of the language systematically. Sound-symbol associations along with linguistic rules and generalizations are introduced in a linguistically logical, understandable order. Students begin by reading and writing sounds in isolation. Then they blend the sounds into syllables and words. Students learn the elements of language--consonants, vowels, digraphs, blends, and diphthongs—in an orderly fashion. They then proceed to advanced structural elements such as syllable types, roots, and affixes. As students learn new material, they continue to review old material to the level of automaticity. The teacher addresses vocabulary, sentence structure, composition, and reading comprehension in a similar structured, sequential, and cumulative manner.

Cognitive: Students learn about the history of the English language and study the many generalizations and rules that govern its structure. They also learn how best they can learn and apply the language knowledge necessary for achieving reading and writing competencies.

Flexible: Orton-Gillingham teaching is diagnostic and prescriptive in nature. Teachers try to ensure the learner is not simply recognising a pattern and applying it without understanding. When confusion of a previously taught rule is discovered, it is re-taught from the beginning.

Research Support

Despite the long-term and widely established use of Orton-Gillingham techniques, the Florida Center for Reading Research reported in 2006 that it was unable to identify any empirical studies examining the efficacy of the approach specifically as described in Orton-Gillingham training materials. Thus there was no direct research evidence to determine its effectiveness, although there are a variety of studies of derivative methods that incorporate aspects of Orton-Gillingham in combination with other techniques.

An overview of all reported studies of Orton-Gillingham derivative methods, such as Alphabetic Phonics or Project Read, revealed only a dozen studies with inconsistent results and a variety of methodological flaws. In a detailed report in the Journal of Special Education, the authors reported that despite widespread use in a variety of settings for more than 5 decades, “OG instruction has yet to be comprehensively studied and reported in peer-reviewed journals.” They concluded, “the research is currently inadequate, both in number of studies and in the quality of the research methodology, to support that OG interventions are scientifically based.”

Practical Applications

For remedial reading, if a child is dyslexic, you want her to have instruction that focuses on decoding, such as Orton-Gillingham or Wilson Reading (there are others, too).  This may be different from the instruction offered in a remedial reading class; it depends upon your district.  Don't insist on a particular brand name of instruction (i.e. Orton-Gillingham); it's the focus of the teaching that is important.

Picture: Raggamuffin Parade, Hoboken, NJ 2009

Raggamuffin: A homeless or poverty-stricken child. Usually refers to those kids you see in movies set in the 1800's, with those gloves that are cut off at the finger-tips and that wear those beret-like caps.