Sunday, June 18, 2006

Villaraigosa's plans to take over L.A. schools

While doing some reading on education for my new website for my upcoming book, BECOMING AMERICANA, I came across an article on how the mayor of L.A. Antonio Villaraigosa plans on taking over the schools.,0,5418816.story?page=2&coll=la-home-headlines

I'm a product of the L.A. Unified School District, and though I can say that for the most part they did an okay job, this is an over inflated district that is way too large to function properly. But should the city/mayor take it over? What is Villaraigosa going to do differently? Does he even realize what a mess the educational system is in? California schools do not allow teachers to teach. They want teachers to follow prescribed lessons in textbooks and instruct students on how to take tests. And with @ 40 kids in their classroom, it's amazing they can even accomplish that. These students who are graduating from the L.A. schools are not prepared to enter the workforce and do much more than follow rules, obey orders, and accept that they are a number in a pack of ignored citizens.

Students are not taught to think. Students are not taught not to creatively solve problems. Students are not free to participate in their education.

So, what will Villaraigosa do to bring the district into the modern era? How is the city going to improve the system? Usually when the government takes over something, it doesn't make things better. At the same time, Bill Gates is working to create schools that are different from the current models, where students want to learn and actually apply for the opportunity to attend his school, and hope they get accepted. They WANT to go to school. Interesting. He doesn't test them, or force them to sit behind a desk all day, or make them memorize useless facts. Students decide what they want to learn. Interesting.

So if anyone is going to take over the LA schools, how about we allow someone who has proven that he can be successful? The way I see it, unless Villaraigosa is planning to completely overhaul the entire school system and start fresh, why bother?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I'm getting ready to launch a new site that will link off of my regular lara-rios .com
The web designer is doing an awesome job. I saw the mock up today, and I really like it. The fun thing about this site is that it will be updated pretty much weekly. I'll have a blog from the point of view of my main character, as well as some informative articles for all of you who are interested in higher education and/or how to achieve success in life. I'm very excited about it! I'll let you know when it's ready -- probably by the end of this month.

Other than that, I'm enjoying being home and taking a break from the book signings. I'm working on The Fat Contest -- my next book, and hanging out with my children. During the summer there are so many great things to do for kids. All the camps, and events at libraries, and fun activities keep them and me busy.

Anyone have their kids home this summer? What fun things do you have planned?


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Getting Cozy with the Media

Today, I'll direct you to the group blog I belong to since I've blogged there this morning. Click on the title to be redirected.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Editing under a campfire

Got back from camping with my son's pack of cub scouts this past weekend. Man, nothing like spending a weekend with a bunch of testosterone-filled men. The dads, not the little boys. I actually had a dad tell me (when I refused a bag of Doritos in the food line because I don't eat some foods with certain chemicals) that I eat what I'm given. Excuse me!! When I repeated that I don't eat chips that are bad for me, he said, "hey, so is smog and we have to breathe it". Whaco. I took the stupid chips and went back to my tent. My husband had a good laugh at what the guy said. Later, I went back to the food area and gave back the chips to a more sane man.

But other than the drill sergeants, it was a good weekend. I hadn't been camping in probably twelve or so years. The kids had a blast. My daughter was stung by something out there and her face and right eye swelled pretty bad -- had me worried. And my son was tackled by another boy, fell and sliced his hand on something sharp. But even with their battle wounds, they were happy as can be. Didn't want to come home.

Of course, I spent every spare second going over my copy edits for BECOMING AMERICANA. I got the edited manuscript Thursday as I was packing to leave. Figures, doesn't it? They expected it back in NY tomorrow. So, let's see, if I had put it back in the mail Friday without even reading it, it might have made it back in time. Even though I sat in my tent with a flashlight Friday and Saturday night trying to read it over, there's just not way it was getting back in time. In fact, I need to go over it one more time tonight.

Today, I hurriedly unpacked and cleaned up as much as I could before a reporter for the Spanish paper La Prensa came for an interview. Her story has to do with how stay at home mothers manage both career and a business. Not really sure how we do it. By getting very little sleep, and having a home that is never entirely clean, and having a great partner. My husband and I are good about sharing responsibilities and working together. We also work in tents in the mountains, at kid's gymnastic and swimming classes, and appear very antisocial to other parents. The article will be in Spanish, but maybe I'll post it anyway when it comes out.

Now I'm off to finish reading through the copy edits.