Entries by Jamie Gass

Admissions lotteries would harm vocational-technical schools

Expanding the number of seats available in vocational-technical high schools is a good investment for Massachusetts. But it’s critical they are expanded in a way that promotes equity without endangering the academic and occupational excellence that continues to drive burgeoning demand for these schools.

Teachers union wants ed reform money — but not accountability

MTA campaign against graduation test takes their stand to ‘farcical extremes’ Originally appeared in CommonWealth magazine on April 25, 2023 The Massachusetts Teachers Asasociation is calling on its members to be “conscientious objectors” by refusing to administer MCAS and not let their own children take the dreaded tests. Such farcical extremes ensue when a special interest group has had too much power for too long. Massachusetts’ landmark 1993 Education Reform Act transformed K-12 public education by providing substantial funding increases in return for accountability, high standards, and expanded school choice. SAT scores rose for 13 consecutive years. In 2005, the Bay State became the first state to lead all four categories tested on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). By 2007, […]

Civics education is crucial to engaged citizenship

The Founding Fathers believed the main role of public education was not workforce development, but to create citizens prepared for informed participation in American democracy. Without this, they feared the nation might dissolve. Never have the founders looked more prescient.

Civics Education is More Important than Ever

Rather than seeking to raise a generation of political activists and community organizers, civics programs should instill an informed love of our country based on the nation’s founding, how our system of government works, and what Americans have achieved – together with our many failings – since the nation was created.

Time for State Action on Troubled Boston Schools

Given the failures of both appointed and elected school boards, perhaps the time has come to have the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education appoint the members of the Boston School Committee. Patience might be warranted if the Boston Public Schools were improving. But we have waited for decades, and they are only getting worse. Holding adults in the system accountable was a cornerstone of the Education Reform Act. If not now, when?

“America Today is on Bended Knee” – 20th Anniversary of 9/11 – 20 Resources for Parents & Students

The heroic stories of 9/11 are part of our national consciousness and memory. It’s the duty and obligation of the living and those who survived to pass along this history to the next generation. As Americans mourn the events of 20 years ago, while in the midst of another national crisis during COVID-19, let’s recommit ourselves to teaching students and the younger generation about seminal events like 9/11 that still shape our world today. To support this effort, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and high school students.

“Key of the Gulf” – Exploring Cuba – 35 Resources for Parents & Students

Castro’s despotism, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Embargo, remains the Cuban people – vibrant, creative, pious, and poor, who have continued to inspire and awe with their smiles, culture, music, dance, food, tobacco, resilience, and hopes. With the desire of passing along some of this magic to American families, students, teachers, and schools, we’re providing a variety of resources to educate our people about their neighbors, who live a mere 100 miles from our shores, in Cuba.

Great Cities – Additional Resources

Athens: A Portrait of the City in Its Golden Age, by Christian Meier  (Author), Robert Kimber (Translator) The Rise and Fall of Alexandria: Birthplace of the Modern Mind, by Justin Pollard (Author) and Howard Reid (Author) The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens and Rome, by Peter Connolly  (Author) and Hazel Dodge (Author) Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood–A History in Thirteen Centuries, by Justin Marozzi The Great Cities in History, by John Julius Norwich Palaces of the Forbidden City, by Yu Zhuoyun Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century, by Martin Gilbert Rome: The Biography of a City, by Christopher Hibbert A History of Tokyo 1867-1989: From EDO to SHOWA: The Emergence of the World’s Greatest City, by Edward Seidensticker […]

Jeeves & Wooster’s World The Comic Genius of P.G. Wodehouse – 30 Resources for Parents & Students

Life and writing can and should be playful, witty, light, fun, and make us smile. This is particularly important during the hard realities and sometimes loneliness of COVID, lockdowns, masks, and the increasingly stilted use of language today. To provide some much-needed comic relief and to help people of all age groups glory in the English language, take ourselves less seriously, and laugh more – please enjoy the world of P.G. Wodehouse!

Additional Resources: Jeeves & Wooster’s World The Comic Genius of P.G. Wodehouse

1. Video: Stephen Fry on P.G. Wodehouse Sir P.G. Wodehouse Jeeves G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters, by P. G. Wodehouse (Author) and Sophie Ratcliffe (Editor) Bertie Wooster Wodehouse: A Life, by Robert McCrum My Man Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse, 1919 The Inimitable Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse, 1923 “Forty-Seven Ginger-Headed Sailors,” by Jack Hylton and His Orchestra, 1928 Valet Right Ho, Jeeves (Collector’s Wodehouse), by P.G. Wodehouse, 1934 Jeeves & Wooster: The Complete Series (DVD Box Set), Hugh Laurie (Actor) and Stephen Fry (Actor) The Code of the Woosters, by P.G. Wodehouse, 1938 G. Wodehouse – Plum – Bookmark, BBC Documentary Dixieland Jazz Wodehouse: A Life, Robert McCrum, C-SPAN Book TV, Boston Athenaeum Punch (magazine) Anything Goes, by Guy Bolton […]

Additional Resources: Elevating Liberal Democracy

Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville  (Author), Harvey C. Mansfield  (Translator) and Delba Winthrop (Translator) Domestic Manners of the Americans, by Fanny Trollope American Notes for General Circulation, by Charles Dickens  (Author) and Patricia Ingham (Editor) The American Commonwealth (2-volume set), by James Bryce   The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society, by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Diversity: The Invention of a Concept, by Peter Wood  Paranoid Style in American Politics, by Richard Hofstadter   Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students, by Allan Bloom Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race & Sex in Campus, by Dinesh D’Souza How to Fight Anti-Semitism, by Bari Weiss Who Are […]

“Hellhound on My Trail” Celebrating American Blues Music – 35 Resources for Students

As music historian Ted Gioia tells us, the blues are disappearing from popular music, because of modern technology and it not being taught. American schoolchildren need to know more about the basics of blues music history and its many African-American geniuses, who reshaped the sounds and rhythms of all peoples across the globe. To remedy this, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and high schoolers.

Additional Resources: Celebrating American Blues Music

The Mississippi Delta  Dockery Plantation, Dockery, Mississippi Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music, by Ted Gioia   Sharecropping Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta, by Robert Palmer Juke Joint Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, by Ma Rainey (CD) Black Swan Records, Harlem, NYC   Bessie Smith: The Complete Recordings, by Bessie Smith (CD) King of the Delta Blues, by Charlie Patton (CD) King of the Blues, by Blind Lemon Jefferson (CD) Father Of The Delta Blues: The Complete 1965 Sessions, by Son House (CD) Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson, by Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow The Complete Recordings, by Robert Johnson (CD box […]

Celebrating American Independence! – 50 Resources on America’s Founding for Schoolchildren & Citizens

American schoolchildren need to know more about the basic history of and lessons from the American Revolution and War for Independence, including perhaps the greatest leader and hero the country has ever produced, George Washington. To do our small part to help the cause, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, schoolchildren, and citizens better celebrate the Fourth of July!

Additional Resources: “The Jazz Age” 1920s America – 50 Resources for High School Students

Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s (Harper Perennial Modern Classics), by Frederick Lewis Allen This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and the Roaring ’20s, by Roger Kahn  The First Red Scare Prohibition, by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series, by David Pietrusza Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind, by Bruce Watson Negro League Baseball  The Waste Land, by T. S. Eliot The Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and […]

Additional Resources- U.S House

Athenian Democracy, 6th Century BC House of Commons of the United Kingdom 13-14th centuries to the present House of Burgesses, Colony of Virginia, 1642-1776 Continental Congress, 1774-1789 The Federalist Papers: No. 52 (1788), by “Publius” James Madison or Alexander Hamilton The Constitution of the United States, Article. I. Section. 2., The National Archives Frederick Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House of Representatives in the First Congress, 1789 1800 United States Presidential Election John Randolph, by Henry Adams Henry Clay: The Essential American, by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler The House of Representatives, Samuel F. B. Morse, 1822 1824 United States Presidential Election Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union, by Robert V. Remini Arguing about Slavery: John Quincy Adams and […]

Additional Resources: Classical Music

The Encyclopedia of Music: Musical Instruments and the Art of Music-Making, by Max Wade-Matthews and Wendy Thompson The Great Composers: An Illustrated Guide To The Lives, Key Works And Influences Of Over 100 Renowned Composers, by Wendy Thompson Language of the Spirit: An Introduction to Classical Music, by Jan Swafford Organ Works, by Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer) and Karl Richter (Artist) Link to audio: Organ Works, by Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer) and Karl Richter (Artist) Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, by John Eliot Gardiner The Sacred Cantatas (Complete, Nos 1-199, 60 CDs Box Set), by Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer), Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Conductor), Gustav Leonhardt (Conductor) Handel, by Christopher Hogwood Messiah, by George Frideric Handel (Composer) and Neville Marriner […]

Neptune’s Domain – Oceans, Seas, & Their Creatures- 25 Resources for K-12 Students

Since water is all around us and in us, students should know more about the major bodies of water that shape our planet and our lives, including: what we eat, how we travel, our trade, our wars, and the many fascinating creatures who live in the oceans and seas. In fact, scientists estimate that 91 percent of ocean species remain unclassified, and over eighty percent of our ocean is unmapped and unexplored. We clearly have more work ahead of us to better understand the water that covers most of our world. To assist in this aquatic discovering, mapping, and exploring, we’re offering a variety of resources to help parents, teachers, and K-12 students.

Additional Resources – Neptune’s Domain – Oceans, Seas, & Their Creatures – 25 Resources for K-12 Students

Ocean: A Visual Encyclopedia, by DK Publishing The Cod’s Tale, by Mark Kurlansky (Author) and S. D. Schindler (Illustrator) Where Is the Great Barrier Reef?, by Nico Medina The Kraken’s Rules for Making Friends, by Brittany R. Jacobs  Where Is the Bermuda Triangle?, by Megan Stine Sea Monsters: A Voyage around the World’s Most Beguiling Map, by Joseph Nigg 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne Oceanology: The Secrets of the Sea Revealed, by DK Strange Sea Creatures, by Erich Hoyt The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans, by David Abulafia Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, by Simon Winchester Cod: A Biography of the Fish that […]

Additional Resources – “Ballast for the Ship of State” The U.S. Senate – 40 Resources for High School Students

A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (1787-88), by John Adams The Virginia Plan (1787), by James Madison The Federalist Papers: 62 (1788), by “Publius” James Madison The Constitution of the United States, Article. I. Section. 3., The National Archives A Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States, by Thomas Jefferson Filibuster in the United States Senate Thomas H. Benton (American Statesmen Series), by Theodore Roosevelt The Webster-Hayne Debate on the Nature of the Union: Selected Documents, by Herman Belz (Editor) The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun, by Merrill D. Peterson Daniel Webster: The Man and His Time, by Robert V. Remini The Great Speeches and […]