July 3, 2015
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Education Matters

Free Range Parents Saga Nears End as Second Neglect Case is Dropped

06/22/15

Free Range Parents Saga Nears End as Second Neglect Case is Dropped

Maryland Child Protective Services also has changed its policy about unattended children

Posted at 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments

Man Robbed at Gunpoint in Shady Grove Metro Elevator

06/22/15

Man Robbed at Gunpoint in Shady Grove Metro Elevator

Montgomery County police are looking for three suspects in the case that stems from a May incident

Posted at 01:46 PM | Permalink | Comments

06/22/15

What I Learned in History Class

Racism died before I was born. I learned this one afternoon in 1988, clustered with 13 other fourth-graders around a wobbly card table in the dank classroom of St. Mark’s School. Our teacher had set out a series of fuzzy black-and-white photographs from Very Long Ago, which she tapped one at a time with her dagger-like fingernail, offering the briefest possible explanation for each. First was a photo of black men on stools at a lunch counter. This, she stressed, was important. Then there were drinking fountains labeled COLOREDS ONLY, and restrooms labeled exclusively for WHITES; these things were obviously unfair. I remember shivering quietly in my hand-me-down dress, trying to work out what a jim crow was (if it wasn’t a bird), and thinking fountains and toilets...

Posted at 12:59 PM | Permalink | Comments

06/22/15

What They Really Wanted

The little boy was not the only one at his school made of paper. There was a sweet girl with lovely ringlets of alphabet streamers, and another boy whose frequent growth spurts threatened to tear his very binding. There were the twins, both so densely freckled that it was impossible to say whether their skin was blank white and splattered with ink, or construction paper black and speckled with correction fluid. But our little boy was the only child in town whose paper body was recycled. Once, the boy’s mother and father had a different nice little paper boy. He was athletic despite his delicate composition, and preciously affectionate. He was his parents’ pride and joy—perfect and beautiful and whole. Until the rainstorm. Now, as all parents of paper children know,...

Posted at 12:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

06/22/15

La Rambla

La Rambla, like any street, has two ends: One leads to the center of Barcelona, the other leads to the Mediterranean Sea. The street performers leave by the sea end each night—I don’t know why they always choose to go that way. They wave goodbye to me now, as it is past midnight, and like a school of fish in Brazilian-carnival-like costumes, they sashay toward the moonlight-spilled ocean. “Fernando!” they call out to me. Some walk over and playfully mess with my hair. They like doing that because I was born with dwarfism, with a large head that only reaches their waists. They think of me as a little brother, although I am older than most of them. I watch them disappear into the horizon where land and sea meet. Of course, they don’t really walk into...

Posted at 12:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

06/22/15

The Saxophone and I

It took me a week to make a noise on the saxophone, and even then, it sounded like a balloon deflating. I was 9 and had decided to join the school band, a group of third- to sixth-graders who devoted themselves for weeks on end to stirring renditions of “London Bridge,” “Shoo, Fly, Don’t Bother Me,” and “Hot Cross Buns.” I had wanted to play the flute, but was told by the director that what they really needed was another saxophone So there I was, sitting on one of the metal folding chairs that lined the multipurpose room and crying from the frustration and exertion of contorting my face and blowing while an army of flutes and clarinets played hot...cross...buns. Hot...cross...buns. Perhaps from the sheer force of my yearning to play such...

Posted at 12:49 PM | Permalink | Comments

06/22/15

Nathaniel

Everything in the world smells like winter. Its burnt and hazy smell. It wafts through the window of my therapist’s office. She asks me the same question she does every session. Sometimes my answers are long. Sometimes I don't feel like telling the whole story. So, Nathaniel, tell me about Ezekiel. Now that I think about it, that's not even a question. They say talking about him helps. Talking about him has never helped anything. I've said so many words about him, drawn so many pictures of him, dreamed so many dreams about him. Nothing helps. I wish I’d never met him. It's so hard to not be angry with him. I want to say he is the reason for the doctors and the therapist and the pills and the wary look my parents give me. I want to say he's the...

Posted at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

06/22/15

Boxing: A Love Story

 “I’ll beat you!” she said, sizing me up while I punched the focus mitts.  She grabbed her wrinkled yellow hand wraps, winding them around her knuckles.   She looked young, no more than a teenager, her hair shorn, her body all muscle and bone, as she shadow boxed close enough I could smell her—a mixture of Shea butter soap and sweat on damp skin. I was a white woman in her world: a neighborhood boxing gym, tucked away on a clay red dirt road beside a polluted stream snaking its way along the railroad tracks in Accra, Ghana.  Those were my daughter’s first words to me.  She wasn’t my daughter yet.  Neither of us could have imagined the future on that hot November day: how often we would train together, sparring,...

Posted at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

06/22/15

The Bellwether

My father, a lithe, blue-eyed mathematician, liked to tell how he once held his concentration for 17 hours straight on a single math problem. Thirteen and adrift, I had none of his unflinching intellectual mettle. My days at Western Jr. High were daydreams—girls, pinball and Slurpees, the new subway tunnel they were dynamiting under Friendship Heights. My father decided that we needed a weekend alone, together. Camping supplies began appearing in the garage: tarps and a tent, binoculars and bug spray. On the way out of town, we stopped at Louis & Thomas Saltz on Wisconsin Avenue, an upscale clothier that is gone now but once sold a few accessories to go with their expensive suits. A glass display carousel, lit from inside, contained a collection of red-clad Swiss Army...

Posted at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

06/22/15

We're All Going Down

I've never had sex with a stranger, although I can't say they were all really friends. I've held hands with a stranger, though, and that may have been the strangest thing of all. It was a Friday night somewhere over Kentucky. I had a window seat on a flight from Dallas, where I'd been sent on business, back to Washington, D.C., I was making small talk with my seatmate, a man who was probably 20 years my senior, when we hit the storm. With breathtaking suddenness, the plane rocked and rolled, skidding through the air like a car on black ice. Lightning bolts galvanized the darkness outside. Ominous bangs could be heard from deep in the fuselage. The flight attendants put away their drinks and their smiles and strapped into their jump seats, the thing that frightened...

Posted at 12:35 PM | Permalink | Comments

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About This Blog

Education Matters will discuss the news and issues affecting both public and private schools in Montgomery County. We want to talk about what’s happening inside—and outside—the classroom, who’s making the grade and who isn’t.

Julie Rasicot is a former newspaper reporter and managing editor who’s been writing about education for 25 years. She’s a veteran PTA and classroom volunteer who’s the mother of two girls—an eighth-grader and a fifth-grader—attending MCPS schools. None of that seems to matter, though, when she’s struggling to help her kids with their math homework.

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