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Showing posts from May, 2011

What Gil Scott-Heron meant to me

I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of poet and spoken-word artist Gil Scott-Heron.  What Gil Scott-Heron's amazing poetry meant to me was that poems could inspire peoples' social consciousness and raise their awareness.  And that they could do so in a way that was really cool!  I could respond aesthetically and emotionally - and even politically - to the words of an African American voice whose life and life experiences were very different from my own.  I am someone who grew up in a fairly homogeneous small-town rural culture in southeast Iowa and then Nebraska.  Reading Gil Scott-Heron's poetry and listening to his rhymes made me stretch outside the boundaries of that culture to realize bigger connections in the social fabric of American life.

With his passing, many of the most influential voices of hip hop and rap have come forward to celebrate Scott-Heron's legacy as they themselves (artists ranging from Chuck D to Eminem) see their art as appreciating and…

Gorging on test scores & starving for meaningful health & fitness data

This afternoon I attended the NE Medical Association's Childhood Health / Obesity policy group meeting.  The group is comprised of various public health advocates - doctors, registered dietitians, nutritionists, and educators, among others - who are working together to propose helpful solutions and policy-level impact in combating obesity.  Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions and the CDC has labeled it accordingly.

The obesity epidemic is real locally, too, and thousands of Nebraskans are affected by it.  Our district is similar to most across the state and we have between 20 & 30% of our students per grade level who are highly overweight or obese.  The health consequences are dire and schools do have a role in this.  We have students with us for a good portion of the day during the school year and for many kids, a majority of calories consumed on those days are at school.  Schools need to promote physical activity for a lifetime and nutrition literacy.  School…