"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


tuesday this & that

  • Some resesarch on why it's bad (especially for other kids) to delay putting your kid in kindergarten for no good reason.
  • My congressman, Michael McCaul, is terrible at his job. I say this not as a disaffected Austinite who was redistricted out of having real representation, but as a political scientist who knows a little bit about what works and what doesn't. He's pretty ineffective as a legislator, but my main complaint is that he has TERRIBLE constituent services. His staff almost never answers letters or makes a big effort to reach out to the district. He's my primo example in classes of what not to do if you're an elected official. Well, McCaul has a serious challenger this time around, and all of a sudden, he's apparently really interested in what the voters think. Showing up in northwest Austin at a gas station is a start, even if it reeks of being a political stunt. The most clear sign he's worried is that I just received a reply to an email I sent to his office. It's the first letter I've gotten from them in four years.
  • Christopher Dickey's new piece on politics in the south is worth reading, if for nothing else than the comments from Earl and Merle Black, the best twin political scientists in the land.
  • Jon Meacham has other comments on what's going to happen in the south this year.


Blogger the librarian said...

For the past several nights I have gotten "5 Second Survey" automated phone calls asking if I will vote for McCaul,Larry Joe, or if I'm undecided. Wonder who's paying for those?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008 9:33:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

If McCaul's name is first, it's probably the RNC!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008 10:27:00 PM

Blogger MamasBoy said...

"Some resesarch on why it's bad (especially for other kids) to delay putting your kid in kindergarten for no good reason."

So, who decides what a "good" reason is for delaying kindergarten, or are there any good reasons?

My kindergarten teacher thanked my parents for holding me back, and I do believe that being one of the oldest in my class gave me an advantage and helped me mature a little bit before being subjected to our incredibly boring public educational system. Most boys just aren't ready to sit still for very long, especially with many school districts transitioning to all day kindergarten. Trying to subject boys (and some girls) to this at the "normal" age only leads to unnecessarily medicating kids with various drugs like Ritalin in order to make them more manageable in the classroom.

My oldest son is 5 this year, and kindergarten enrollment is mandatory, so my wife and I will be homeschooling him. My sister (whose husband is a principal) asked yesterday what we are going to do with him. My response was, "Not much." He has more important things to worry about than academics. We *might* work with him an hour a day on various things like understanding our base 10 number system and learning his letters, but mostly his education will be experiential and informal, directly primarily by his own natural curiosity, learning about birds and animals around our house, learning about the globe and where/how other people live. The most important part of his education, though, will be just playing with his toys, running around outside with the dogs and learning to do his chores reliably. There will be plenty of time to make up for what he has "missed" later on.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008 4:02:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

MB, I think there are good reasons to hold some children back, but according to my friends who are facing these decisions at the moment, it's become almost the norm, such that some of them expect to be criticized for enrolling their perfectly-mature-for-age-5 children in school. I think the article does a good job of explaining why knee jerk reactions aren't a good idea, and points out that holding a child back has implications for other children in the class as well.

Thursday, August 07, 2008 1:44:00 AM


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