For details about the December 11 all-day symposium, “Artistic Manifestations in Architecture,” at the Whistler House Museum of Art, visit the Whistler House Museum’s website here. The line-up of speakers includes scholars and architects from Wellesley College, MIT, University of Lincoln in the UK, Roger Williams University, National Park Service, and UMass Lowell Department of Cultural Studies. The moderator and organizer is Prof. Liana De Girolami Cheney, chair of the Dept. of Cultural Studies.
“Back Central in Black & White, Inside & Out”
Photographs by Joe Quinlan
Whistler House Museum of Art, 243 Worthen Street, Lowell
On exhibit November 20 through December 30, 2010
Reception: Saturday, Nov. 20, 2 pm — 4 pm
A year or so ago, I decided to trace the steps of my father, uncles and aunts, and document their ‘backyard’: Back Central and its myriad side streets that have been home to countless newcomers to Lowell over the years. Back Central has changed, I am sure, but also has remained the same. Frank and Ernest still opens its doors at the corner of Whipple and Back Central. The streets are still narrow, the house lots still tiny. The owner-occupied residences maintain crisp lawns, street-corner fruit-tree groves, religious statues . . . . These images ideally capture its identity. This project received a grant from the Puffin Foundation, Ltd., of Teaneck, New Jersey.
For more information, visit www.whistlerhouse.org or call 978-452-7641
The December 2010 edition of The Atlantic has an article “Your Child Left Behind” that looks at how students in individual American states compare with students in other countries. Measuring the percentage of students who scored Advanced in standardized math proficiency tests, the study that’s the subject of the article found the top five countries and their percentage of high math performers to be:
- Taiwan – 28.0%
- Hong Kong – 23.9%
- Korea – 23.2%
- Finland – 20.4%
- Switzerland – 19.1%
The top ranking US state was Massachusetts which tied with Slovenia for 17th place with 11.4% of students scoring advanced in math. Minnesota was the next state with 10.8% and then a bunch were grouped at the 6-7% level, wedged between Norway and Spain. The lowest scoring state was Mississippi with only 1% advanced. It was in ahead of Chile and Thailand.
An interactive graphic showing all the scores in the study is on The Atlantic website.
Given the chronic bashing of our public schools here in the Commonwealth, I thought this paragraph from the article was worth sharing:
Reading the list, one cannot help but thank God for Massachusetts, which offers the United States some shred of national dignity – a result echoed in other international tests. “If all American fourth- and eighth-grade kids did as well in math and science as they do in Massachusetts,” writes the veteran education author Karin Chenoweth in her 2009 book, How It’s Being Done, “we still wouldn’t be in Singapore’s league but we’d be giving Japan and Chinese Taipei a run for their money.”
The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog. Check it out.
Scott Brown told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce this morning that he’s “tired of the fluff.” He says that, in nine months in Washington, the Senate has only focused for 12 days on jobs and the economy. Agreed, jobs and the economy should be the #1 focus. But, while he decries the fluff, Brown is remarkably short on substance, even if he is long on charm. Check it on in the Boston.com video. He’s still skating the surface of issues in his presentations, relying on campaign-type slogans about lowering taxes, cutting spending, making government less intrusive. His approach is three-pronged. He wants to reenergize business by changing the business environment through simplifying regulation, getting rid of waste and fraud, creating more certainty by lowering both the corporate tax (to 0% for new start-ups) and capital gains tax rates. All this, he says, will spur creativity and stimulate jobs.
The reality is much more complex. Just try your hand at some of the trade-offs laid out in the Sunday NY Times. There are short-term savings to be achieved, some of which can be achieved with an improving economy and increasing revenues. There is a mid-term deficit, brought on by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and Medicare prescription drug plan, the Bush tax cuts and the stimulus act. There is the long-term structural deficit we face, which will require facing up to some of the hard choices being laid out by the Simpson Commission. Brown didn’t want to get into any details on that.
He’s still basking in the afterglow of his January success (“Mine was one of the most historic elections in the country.”) He’s still marveling that Scott Brown from Wrentham is in the U.S. Senate. And he’s still in campaign mode, repeating the mantra of cutting taxes, spending and the size of government, all the while getting the audience to smile when he mentions the 214,000 miles he has on his truck. Spare me the truck. Spare me the barn coat. Spare me the campaign slogans.
Tell me what you want to do about global warming, the long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security, the military budget, including the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can’t pay for everything with cuts, so where should we raise taxes? Do we, for example, increase the income on which Social Security taxes are levied? Do we raise the retirement age? Do we reduce the mortgage interest deduction on mortgages above a certain amount or cut the deduction for second homes? Do we reduce the number of troops we have in places like Japan and Germany as an unnecessary vestige of World War II? How is he sorting out the trade-offs?
Compared to the “take no prisoners” Tea Party cant we hear nationally, his call for bi-partisanship is refreshing. But with Scott Brown it sounds like another facile slogan. The Simpson-Bowles deficit panel is bi-partisan, and already both parties are horrified by some of the choices we face. Today, at least, Senator Brown sidestepped any specifics, rendering his answers not much better than the fluff he so decries.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
City Councilor Patrick Murphy has a motion on tonight’s City Council agenda to “discuss larger Charter Changes to increase civic participation (including combined districts, at large system, term limits) at Rules Subcommittee.” Because the motion simply asks that these items be discussed at a future subcommittee meeting, I assume tonight’s discussion on the matter will be brief and procedural. In the interest of providing some historical context, here is a brief review of past attempts to alter the city’s method of electing its representatives.
In the 2009 city election, there was a question that asked voters to endorse a weighted vote system called “choice voting.” By this method, voters would still select up to nine councilors, but they would rank them one through nine. One of the motives behind the initiative was to increase the chances that a candidate with a small core of highly committed voters would be elected as opposed to another candidate who had broad-based but only moderately committed supporters. That referendum was defeated 57% to 43%.
In 1993, there were four non-binding questions on the ballot:
• Question 1 – Do you support keeping the present Plan E form of government? Yes-8,234. No-8,779.
• Question 2 – Do you support a change in the city charter to provide for an elected mayor as chief executive instead of an appointed city manager? Yes-10,0441. No-6,760.
• Question 3 – Do you support a charter change that would provide for district councilors instead of elections at large? Yes-6,841. No-9,213.
• Question 4 – Do you support a limit on terms of all elected officials in the city of Lowell to a maximum of 4 two-year terms in office? Yes-11,946. No-5,093.
Nothing ever came of any of these questions, probably because that year also saw the election of six new city councilors, a transition that completely changed the city’s direction. Presumably, the almost entirely new council and the new direction satisfied the voters’ desire for change.
Finally, in 1971, a previously elected charter commission after several years of work proposed a change from the city manager form of government to one with an elected strong mayor. That recommendation was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin.
The Citywide Parent Council met last evening with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Chris Scott, Director of Special Education Sheila O’Brien, and Lowell High Headmaster Ed Rozmiarek. CPC member Kim Scott attended and filed a detailed report on Gerry Nutter’s blog last night.
No this isn’t Woodstock, New York…but according to the person that posted this video it’s the Merrimack Valley version at Camp Paul in Chelmsford in 1969. Great fun to watch.
This video was originally posted by dendog
Tony Sampas’s camera turns skyward, capturing rooftop views of Holy Trinity Church and North Common Village (above) and a bird flying over the roof of the former First Congregational Church Now the Smith Baker Center (below).