Sunday, August 14, 2016

Norm in The Wave - Summer Lessons

I aimed at tackling some serious issues in my ed column in The Wave this past week but my hair hurt when I tried to think too hard.

School Scope

By Norm Scott 
Friday Aug. 12, 2016

I was going to get into some heavy issues related to race but the summer sun is preventing my brain from processing deep thoughts. So I’ll take a pass until I sort things out.

Despite it being summer, education news continues to flow. NY State test scores were released and as usual there was a lot of controversy over the results with some claims the stats have been juked. My blog has a summary of some of the points made by Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters (
Naturally the charter school lobby and their sycophants in the Rupert Murdock-controlled press (Wall St. Journal and NY Post) jumped in to call for more charters, which really juke the stats by tossing kids who get low scores back into public schools. The public is finally waking up to the charter school scam. The NAACP finally called for a ban on new privately managed charters, which most of them are, Also see “The great charter school rip-off: Finally, the truth catches up to education “reform” phonies” by Jeff Bryant at Salon (

I’ve learned more than a few lessons from being involved in the Rockaway Theatre Company’s production of La Cage Aux Folles, a play that some thought would be a bit too edgy for the Rockaway community (see my Memo from the RTC column). The immensely positive audience reaction from the first weekend almost totally sold out shows belies that thought. The amount of teamwork it takes to put on any play, no less a play of this complexity is enormous. It is not just about the acting, singing, music or choreography but all the other backstage things that must take place like the moveable sets and the amazing costumes – it takes more than a village – it takes an army. The major takeaway for me is the sense of accountability and responsibility everyone has to each other. (I am so nervous that if I am not at my post to move a piece of scenery the entire play will be ruined.)

The presidential election which every day reaches a new level on the bizarro meter teaches us a lesson every five minutes. Democrats who call for Trump to drop out are cutting their own throats. They should pray that Trump stays in the race. I still think it possible we can see someone else running. I fear the other Republicans more than I do Trump. I’m still voting third party at this point though I may give up the ghost and vote for Hillary who I basically see as a center Republicrat. Why are so many billionaires supporting Hillary? Post election I’m hoping to see third and maybe even fourth parties arise to reflect political realities. Bernie Sanders’ people are brewing some kind of post election movement to keep the heat on Hillary if she wins or jump off a cliff if Trump or any Republican wins.

This weekend is the opening of the NYC Fringe Festival at numerous theaters in downtown Manhattan. It is their 20th anniversary. There is a choice of over 200 plays, each performed five times during the two weeks of the festival. Tickets are $18 ($13 for seniors). I’ve been volunteering with them for the past 10 years and get to see quite an unusual selection. Always a fun time

Norm tries to avoid deep thoughts daily at

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