Marotta: Time for education system to evolve — just ask the teachers

“The system that I teach in is not designed for how my students grow up,” says one veteran Worcester Public Schools teacher. “They all have phones; they grew up in a digital age … [but] we still have to teach them in a form that they are not going to encounter when they enter the workforce. This is how they grew up taking in information, and it’s the opposite of what we do in our classroom.”

Sina-cism: Yes, Thanksgiving is a religious holiday

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

If you’re even a bit like me, you’ve spent much of this weekend with family and friends, throwing gastronomic caution to the November winds, conveniently ignoring calorie counts, enjoying some concussion-filled football games, and giving thanks to God, capitalism and farmers for making it all possible.

To all such I say, “Happy Thanksgiving!”

Or perhaps you’re worrying about your carbon footprint, enjoying a tasteless turkey alternative, denigrating the current occupant of the White House, gritting your teeth at the presence of any conservatives who might happen to be seated around your dinner table, and trying to decide exactly who or what is responsible for the dubious blessings of your calorie-free desserts and non-alcoholic beer.

To all such I ask, “Have you considered a new holiday?”

Worcester Weekly: Festival of Crafts, holiday concerts + more, Nov. 26-Dec. 2

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Nov. 26 — 35th annual Holiday Festival of Crafts, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Worcester Center for Crafts, 25 Sagamore Road  Still nursing that shiner from your unsuccessful Wal-Mart tussle for the last available Nintendo Switch on Black Friday? Soothe those wounds on Sunday, which marks the end of a three-day run for this “buy local” Worcester tradition that features the handmade goods of more than 60 artisans from across New England.

‘Healing Fibers’ exhibit: Between cultural appropriation and activism

The “Healing Fibers” exhibit on a recent Saturday night was a place to hear the silent cries of those who do not have a voice. The artwork displayed all incorporated fibers in some way, and highlighted the event’s theme of indigenous culture and activism using various perspectives from history, philosophy, aesthetics and politics.

Sina-cism: Yet s’mores liberal hypocrisy on display

If you’re like most Americans, you don’t read much of anything. If you’re like most liberal activists, you only read things you agree with.
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream fame came to Worcester on Nov. 4 to sweeten the effort by “People Govern, Not Money” to gather signatures to put a question on the 2018 state election ballot that seeks to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.

I’ll never eat his ice cream again.

It’s not that I don’t like ice cream. I do, and Ben & Jerry’s is tasty enough. But I really don’t like people tampering with the First Amendment, and if it takes giving up a primary source of cholesterol to make that point, count me in.

The Supreme Court issued the Citizens United ruling on Jan. 21, 2010. If you’re like most Americans, you don’t read much of anything. If you’re like most liberal activists, you only read things you agree with, so I’ll bet you haven’t read much more than a couple excerpts from the 183-page Citizens United ruling.

You should, for it illustrates as only landmark Supreme Court rulings can how fine a creation our Constitution is, and how perilous it would be to chip away at it.

More Sina-cism: Let’s reclaim the liberal arts from today’s liberals

Worcester Weekly: Worcester City Tournament, Social Upheaval + more, Nov. 12-18

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Tuesday, Nov. 14 — Worcester Railers vs. Brampton Beast, 10:05 a.m., DCU Center, 50 Foster St.  Consider this a rivalry game, Railers fans — the Beast are the ECHL affiliate of the hated Montreal Canadiens. And while the new hometown team is aligned with the NHL’s New York Islanders, a) they don’t like the Canadiens much either (who does, eh?) and b) this is still Bruins country. So sharpen the elbows and bring on the intensity for this one.

Railers goalie Mitch Gillam, 25 — and Canadian, but not a Canadien — who started the last three seasons at Cornell University, is among the ECHL leaders in goals against average (first, at 2.00, after Friday’s games) and save percentage (eighth, .929).

HC Prof. Cynthia Hooper: How does an oppressive government celebrate a revolution?

In 1967, to honor the Soviet Union’s first half-century, leaders staged countrywide displays of mass jubilation. They ordered sausages be made with the number “50,” in white fat, running through every slice. But today, though Lenin remains embalmed and on show in a giant mausoleum in Red Square, Moscow is strangely silent. Why this official disinterest, even as the upcoming centennial generates global headlines?

Sina-cism: Let’s reclaim the liberal arts from today’s liberals

The left points a finger of blame at Trump for his obvious verbal excesses, but the fault for the breakdown in civility and discourse is unchecked political correctness. Academia’s descent into madness predates Trump by many years.
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

A generation or two ago, independent thought and expression were alive and well on America’s college campuses. Today, liberal drivel — occasionally punctuated by liberal intolerance and liberal fascism — has all but silenced the liberal arts.

Some incidents — such as the one at Middlebury College in March, when author and sociologist Charles Murray was shouted down and driven from the lecture hall (and a professor assaulted) — garner national attention. For a time, there is discussion over what to do about such intolerance.

The answer, sadly, is usually to forgive such behavior, or punish it so lightly as to encourage more of it. Middlebury claims more than 60 students were disciplined, but none was expelled and none faced criminal charges.

Related Sina-cism: ‘Coming Apart’ at Middlebury, and elsewhere

As disappointing as it is to see students put their education on hold to rudely and violently dismiss anything that might challenge their still developing brains, incidents such as Middlebury’s are not as insidious as the scenarios that play out daily on campuses nationwide.

Wagner: On Thoreau in Central Massachusetts

Thoreau never married and remained childless. And he continued to walk and lecture in Central Massachusetts, working toward the understanding that “Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him.” Worcester would be the city in which he lectured most often. Mark Wagner, director of the Binienda Center for Civic Engagement at Worcester State, takes a walk on the wild side.

On Beacon Hill: Bumping heads

Recap and analysis of the week in local, state and federal government from State House News Service and Sun research.

BOSTON — Trace amounts of bad blood were left spattered on the pages of a budget bill passed by the Legislature last week, and it wasn’t just the cornstarch remnants of a Halloween costume gone awry.

House and Senate Ways and Means Chairs Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, D-Jamaica Plain, and Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, managed to put aside their differences after weeks of stalemate and come to an agreement over legislation allocating the $129 million needed to shut the book on fiscal 2017, which ended four months ago.

The bill signed by acting Gov. Karyn Polito Friday made Massachusetts the first state in the country to ban bump stocks — devices used to accelerate a gun’s firing rate — since the Las Vegas mass shooting a month ago. And it included $3 million for a youth violence prevention program that Sanchez had made a priority even before a 16-year-old was gunned down in his Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

The path to yes, however, was fraught with private backbiting and public statements of frustration that caused the comptroller’s office to miss its annual statutory Halloween deadline to file critical financial reports.

The Democratic infighting contributed to Massachusetts not filing year-end financial documents on time for the second time in three fiscal years.

Sanchez’s statement after the agreement was reached seemed to try to clear the air, thanking Spilka for being a partner in the legislation. But the idea that this was nothing personal, just business, was a hard one to swallow after weeks of bickering through the media.

Sen. Michael Barrett, D-Lexington, did little to alter the narrative of tension between the branches when he took an unsolicited swipe at the House hours before they were set to debate a bill that would commit Massachusetts to the goals of the Paris Climate accord.

Barrett equated the bill to “running in place,” and said more was necessary if the state was to be a leader in combating climate change. Rep. Dylan Fernandes, the freshman Falmouth Democrat and sponsor of the Paris bill, didn’t disagree with Barrett, but said he never pretended that his bill was anything more than what it was: a statement of principle to the “climate deniers” in Washington.

Gov. Charlie Baker held vigil for the budget through Tuesday, and then hopped a jet to Palm Springs, California, for the rest of the week for a little down time with his wife before the sprint to the playground. Perhaps they were able to discuss his re-election plans.

An extended holiday recess for legislators looms after Nov. 15.

— Matt Murphy

Courtesy Sen. Moore's office

Sen. Michael O. Moore

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