April 2017

HCC: How Women May Earn A Living (1900), Part One

HCC GreenThe suggestion that women’s difficulties in the professional realm came not simply from men’s attitudes or society’s imbalances but because too many women lacked key characteristics or mindsets necessary to succeed might have provoked argument or offense coming from a man – even in 1900. Coming from Candee, a woman from a proud estate who had found her marriage “undesirable” and who was now supporting herself and her children by her own enterprise, it comes across as blunt, but charitable.

It’s as if she’s in her parlor with two or three younger intimates, leaning forward, voice lowered-but-firm as she brings them into her fullest confidence.

Helen Churchill Candee & Women in O.T.

HCC RedCandee's writings on Oklahoma and its people are some of the most insightful and sympathetic of her generation. Her treatment of female society in the territories which is particularly fascinating. She writes with gentle candor, taking the reader into her confidence without ever quite becoming gossipy, only periodically stepping into other narrative “voices” in order to better explore her subject. Surely such forthrightness suggests we might catch occasional glimpses of the woman behind the words? 

Nuptial Benedictions: The Divorce Industry In Oklahoma Territory (Part One)

OK Divorce Fam

The “frontier” was rapidly closing and Oklahoma Territory was the last hope of true homesteading on the continent. Early reports had celebrated its fertile soil and cooperative climate – descriptions which would later be recalled in wry reflection by those who'd embraced them. Then there was the sheer newness and unpredictability of it all – in a nation built on restlessness and possibilities, that alone was sometimes enough.

Oh – and of course, it was a great place to get a divorce.

Helen Churchill Candee - An Introduction

HCC 1920

Helen Churchill Candee was born in 1858 as Helen Churchill (her mother’s maiden name) Hungerford of New York. Her father was a successful merchant, and Helen grew up in relative comfort both there and in Connecticut where the family moved shortly thereafter. More important than the physical provisions prosperity allowed, she was exposed to ideas and stories, music and art, history and culture, in ways unlikely to have been possible had she lived a generation before, or in almost any other part of the country.

Why Are Some Curriculars "Extra"?

CurricularsIf you’re failing Algebra, you can’t play Basketball. But if you’re failing Basketball, they don’t stop you from going to Algebra until you get your game back on track. This little motivational system only works one way. Why?

Algebra is important, but so are athletics. If our goal is “college, career, and citizenship ready,” Basketball is far more likely to help you with the latter two. Algebra wins for the first, but mostly that just means that doing math qualifies you to do harder math.

Koko the Gorilla

Koko the GorillaKoko the gorilla, now over 40 years old, was taught sign language from the time she was a wee little fuzzball, and has been studied ever since. She understands a surprising amount of spoken English and even more ASL, and she signs extensively in response to either. She’s sometimes referenced when animal rights are discussed, and she's essential when the evolution and uses of language are being analyzed. Apparently she can sometimes be quite innovative in her communication.

On the other hand, well... she's somewhat limited by the fact that - and I feel almost cruel saying this... She's a monkey.

The Other (Part Two)

Other America

Given the “All Men Are Created Equal”-ness of our founding ideals, how is it we nevertheless retain such an entrenched sense of “The Other”? I respectfully suggest it’s a combination of five factors. I number them to create a false sense of academic credibility and scientific methodology, when in reality people like lists so bloggers put stuff in lists.

Play That Funky Music (7 Steps Of Professional Growth)

Wild Cherry CoverThe ongoing kerfuffle over #edreform involves large-scale efforts to standardize curriculum, standardize tests, standardize teachers, and standardize kids. Good luck with that. In the meantime, while we decry the nonsense inherent in that approach, I'd like to outline the Seven Steps to Personal and Professional Growth which I believe apply equally well to educators and the common rabble alike. 

If some themes are universal, as my ELA brethren suggest, any classic tale of personal revival should work as a launching pad. I choose as mine the timeless wisdom of Wild Cherry.