I’m an Educator, and I Find Distance Learning Hard to Manage

Close up of a young boy studying and doing homework using his laptop

This morning, I try to get my twins to draw their favorite animal, an assignment we were supposed to have done for kindergarten yesterday. One sobs because her deer does not look like a deer. I want to sit with her but I forgot to print the alphabet for today and I can’t find the password to GoogleClassroom and I don’t know which app is for math. I squeeze my eyes shut and whisper, “I am doing the best I can” — and I almost believe it. I have a PhD in education. I am supposed to be able to figure this out. Professionally, I run parenting groups for families raising spirited kids who want to parent gently and positively. I have written papers on digital literacy, and I regularly consult with school districts on how to support social emotional development during distance learning. And yet, I am failing distance-learning

Read More

Trump’s patriotic education ignores hard truths of U.S. history

Straw man arguments are popular because they’re hard to argue against, but it is certainly the case that President Trump’s recent declarations about anti-racism and education are made of straw — they don’t resemble much of anything actually happening in schools or higher education.

According to press conferences, political rally speeches, and the right-wing author who claims to be the inspiration for Trump’s Executive order, critical race theory has infiltrated higher education and corporate America’s efforts at diversity and inclusion. In response, the president has both forbidden certain ideas in any program that receives federal funding and promised to support a K-12 curriculum that counters the so-called damaging perspective of the Pulitzer Prize winning 1619 Project.

University of Georgia North Georgia professor T. Jameson Brewer

While it is far from clear on how legal or enforceable either of these efforts are given that the federal Department of Education is explicitly

Read More

Tons Of Toys Worked Hard To Keep ‘Neighborhood Toy Store’ Feel

BERNARDSVILLE, NJ—There aren’t many toy stores left. Following the closure of Toys R Us in 2018, there remained few options for people who wanted to shop for toys the old fashioned way. That’s where Bernardsville’s Tons of Toys came in.

a sign above a store in a brick building: The Bernardsville Tons of Toys location

© Carl Stoffers
The Bernardsville Tons of Toys location

“We we are still the local neighborhood toy store,” said the store’s manager, Mike Milnes. “It’s a family-owned business.”


Load Error

Milnes has managed the Bernardsville location on Morristown Road for four years. There are also Tons of Toys stores in Madison, Westwood, and Wyckoff. Leading up the pandemic, Tons of Toys had used the neighborhood toy store philosophy to achieve success.

“We had just had our best holiday season ever,” said Milnes, “January was busier than normal. We were starting to see a lot of new faces in the store.”

But in mid-March, the coronavirus forced most businesses to close.

Read More

Pre-K levels the field in education for Fort Worth kids. But it’s hard to do online.

Every weekday morning last spring, Tamara Sapp sat down with her daughter, logged into her daughter’s online learning portal and started the school day.

Some things went better than others, Sapp said. Her daughter loved music time, but she zoned out during story time. And when her teacher gave her short assignments to help prepare her for writing, it was a struggle to get her to do them.

“She likes to bargain with me — ‘I’ll do half, and then I’ll do the other half later,’” Sapp said.

Sapp’s daughter was in pre-K last year at South Hi Mount Elementary School in Fort Worth. When COVID-19 reached North Texas and school districts across the region shut down, her daughter’s classes moved online.

Trying to do school remotely wasn’t ideal, Sapp said. Even though her daughter was only online twice a day for a half hour at a time, Sapp

Read More