Blaming Schools for Student Absences is Like Denouncing Doctors for Disease



If something is wrong with children, it must be the school’s fault.


If kids can’t read, write and do ‘rithmetic, the teachers must not have taught ’em right.

It couldn’t have anything to do with home life, generational poverty, economic inequality and systemic racism.

Except that it almost always does.


The fact is children who don’t live in safe, loving homes have much greater difficulty concentrating and caring about academics. Kids with impoverished parents are much more likely to go to underfunded schools and sit in classrooms that are racially segregated.

None of that is under the control of teachers or schools, but a focus on high stakes standardized testing, school privatization and dangerously unregulated ed tech hides the problem.

It’s not that teachers don’t teach. Inequality, prejudice and privatization – these are the root causes and the reason we do nothing about them generation after…

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Teaser Tuesday: It Started With a Cat #fantasy #shortstories

Cool Guy and Author, Charles Yallowitz has so many fantastically completed books. I need to step up my game! #TuesdayThoughts

Legends of Windemere

Cover Art by Circecorp

Here’s another one from The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks.  I’m finding it difficult to locate the older teasers, so they might all be new.  This is a part from Ichabod Brooks & the Phantom Archer.  The adventure is him judging an archery tournament, which couldn’t possibly go askew.  I mean, it isn’t like he’s recognized a pattern of odd events in his life.  Enjoy!

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Cover Design: 4 Tips to Keep in Mind – by Renee Wittman…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

on Jami Gold:

If we’ve been part of the writing community for a while, we’ve probably come across some basic advice about cover design. Those of us who get a say into our covers—either because our publishers listen to us or because we self-publish—might have even paid attention to some of those tips. *grin*

But as with most aspects of writing, there’s always more to learn. I’ve talked before about finding cover artists and my struggle to find diverse cover art. The latter is something both I and the author of today’s guest post have in common.

Another thing we have in common is a pet peeve for an issue found in celebrity magazines all the time, and yet authors are far too likely to make the same mistake on our covers. To address that and other cover issues, author and artist Renee Wittman is here today to share

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Scottish history is not so sweet when it comes to slavery

Repeating Islands

West Indies, Antilles Islands, slaves working in sugar cane mill[Many thanks to Dale Battistoli for sharing links to this article.] This post about the colonial Scottish presence in Suriname, is a shortened version of an academic article (see links below). David Worthington (Head of the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands)explores Scottish participation in the slave plantation economy in this Caribbean South American country.

Our modern relationship with sugar is a less than happy one: an obesity crisis, mounting queues for dental surgery and a tax hike attest to that. But there was a time in Scotland’s past when there was an even less appealing aspect to it and not just for health reasons.

“Ball of suggar”, “candied bread suggar”, “pouder sugar”, “panellis sugar”, “licorish ball” and “confected candie”. These strange-sounding items were the more exclusive, tooth-decaying treats to enter the diets of the richer members of Highland and Moray society in the 1680s…

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11 Elements of Writing Noir

Writers Anon - Taunton's Writing Group

Noir has its roots in hardboiled fiction, such as Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain. This detective fiction then influenced cinema and became film noir, developing the tropes we’re familiar with from Humphrey Bogart and co. Cinema then influenced fiction again to create noir fiction, which differs from hardboiled, as it doesn’t put the detective at the centre of the story.

There is more to noir than trilbys, trench coats and femme fatales, so let’s break it down:

  1. The outsider: the noir protagonist is an outcast – perhaps a soldier coming home

    elements of noir fiction Still from The Postman Always Rings Twice

    after the war, a released prisoner or just a stranger in town. Traditionally the lead is male, but a noir such as Mullholland Drive puts women firmly in the centre, so feel free to deviate from the usual.He or she is a dropout, a loser and nobody cares about them and…

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How Much to Show of Side Characters

A Writer's Path

by Doug Lewars

Consider a scene in which a CEO is meeting with some senior executives. Of interest to the story are a couple of individuals – say John and Frank. There are, however, say eight people in the meeting. Presumably we need to know something about the CEO but there are five who are minor characters. One way of handling the dialog is to use generalities

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Coming In Late! (Depression and Anxiety Advise)

Straight real talk. I love Charles’ blog. He often has the most relatable content, hilarious memes, and I’ve learned a lot following him. He’s someone I’d like to get to know face-to-face, but for now this will have to do. Here’s a great snippet from his latest blog post on depression and anxiety: “You also have those who claim mental illness for attention or as a way to get out of criticism. Can’t tell you how many people I’ve run into who say ‘That’s just my OCD’ when they’re really just trying to get their way with something. I’m sorry, but wanting pepperoni on all of the pizza instead of half when you need to share isn’t cool, especially when you were fine with it last weekend. All of this brings up a challenge where it’s simply easier to heal the wound after the fact than prevent the injury from happening in the first place.”

Legends of Windemere

The picture might be crueler than I intend, but there are times when I feel that way.  So, I’ve been down a lot over the summer because of the stress.  Being exhausted means my thoughts get the best of me and then I post about it because this is an outlet.  On these posts, I see a few people show up and try to cheer me up (I think) with flowery, positive language. Some appear on all my posts, but others only on the downers. Thank you for the attention, but a strange thought hit my mind when it comes to this action.  Where are these types of people when things are going well?

I’m reminded of when I read about Tzedakah, which is Jewish charity.  As kids, we have a Tzedakah box where we put loose change. In my Hebrew School, there was a poster about it and I…

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How music took down Puerto Rico’s governor

Behold, the power of music.

Repeating Islands

perreoIn the Washington Post, Verónica Dávila and Marisol LeBrón recently wrote on “perreo combativo” [contestatory or combative perreoperreo is the dance style associated with reggaetón] and underground music, which “overcame censors to gain popularity and political power” in the context of the massive protests and creative demonstrations that forced former governor Ricardo Rosselló to resign in Puerto Rico.

On July 24, Puerto Ricans made history when, after nearly two weeks of massive public protests, Ricardo Rosselló finally resigned as governor. Puerto Ricans found increasingly creative ways to gather people in the streets to demand this change. They protested on horses, motorcycles, jet skis, kayaks, yoga mats and by banging pots. Yet it was the young people dancing provocatively on the steps of the oldest cathedral in the New World to the boom-ch-boom-chick-boom-ch-boom-chick of reggaetón beats that may have finally forced Rosselló out of office.

This “perreo combativo

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5 timeless pieces of advice from Beloved author Toni Morrison

nothing in the rulebook

Few writers consistently and exuded as much visionary force as beloved author Toni Morrison, who has died today at the age of 88. The author of 11 novels, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, having published her first novel, The Bluest Eye, in 1970.

In her stunning Nobel prize acceptance speech (which you can read and listen to in full right here on Nothing in the Rulebook), she said: “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

As the tributes to this towering force within literature flow in, we have gathered together some of her finest pieces of advice – for writers, as well as for human beings.

1. The past is not over

In what is perhaps the finest ‘commencement’ address of all time, in her speech at Wellesley College in…

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