Serendipity on Sunday….

Love that assonance alliteration (blame my burned-out brain cells).

It’s been a while and a backlog has built up….and after resurfacing yesterday at the BAPPA digital day I guess I’d better post and dive again.

The afternoon workshops were just as good the am ones. Checked out the Canon and Nikon sessions on their gear w/o much interest (yeah, I’m a videot). Listened in on “Care and Feeding of the 800 Lb Gorilla in the Newsroom.” Pretty bland until RK Hernandez got up and let loose – what a surprise. I’ve never heard him blast or lamblast, so when he lit into the sales department at the Merc News about not selling/knowing how to sell multimedia (he says advertisors were asking to buy into the multimedia pages but sales didn’t know how to handle it)…wow. He kept reinforcing and repeating that what was happening to PJs and VJs was NOT THEIR FAULT. Now that brought some applause…and was sorely needed.

So of course I had to go to his Final Cut on Deadline workshop. He has the basics nailed – what is the minimum you need to survive? Well, first off – don’t go with Pro because Express will do everything you need 99% of the time. How to set the scratch disk – buy an external portable and put all of your media there. How to start a new project – save immediately. How to capture and basic drag and drop editing. Time ran out before he could finish – and he fielded questions as he went along.

Day ended with Scott McKierman (Zuma Press) and Jan Sturmann (Albinocrow) talking about making your way as a freelancer. Not quite a repeat of the am session, which was pretty general – more detailed and again (as many of these sessions are) motivating. YOU CAN DO IT.

On to more of the backlog. Some time ago I mentioned following up on rumors. Specifically a small valley town where the school district superintendent may have worked to get a book banned based on one parent’s complaint.

All along I’ve been in contact with some concerned citizens who feel that this wrong, considering it was only one parent complaining.

Time to go public – now that it seems to be over, although the dust has not settled and there may well be repercussions in the future. The town is Newman and the superintendent of the Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District, epicenter to this story, is Dr. Richard Fauss. Here’s a link to a story run in the Modesto Bee, plus an editorial. Please note the ironic reference in the last lines in the editorial to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. And the final editorial:

We strongly disagree with the decision of Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District Superintendent Rick Fauss to remove the book “Bless Me, Ultima,” by Rudolfo Anaya, from high school classes. Books should be removed from curricula only in rare circumstances — for pedagogically sound, legally sufficient reasons — and only after conducting a thorough, measured review process that includes evaluating controversial excerpts in the context of the book as a whole.
Banning “Bless Me, Ultima” sets a dangerous precedent. Which books will be next? “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman? “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley? The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling? All are on the American Library Association’s list of the most frequently challenged titles. And all, like “Bless Me, Ultima,” are highly recommended by educators across the country.
In our experience, controversies of this sort are best handled by expanding the array of curricular offerings available, not restricting it, and by including more voices in the conversation rather than silencing any. Individual freedom, democracy and a good education all depend on the right to read, inquire, question and think for ourselves.
REBECCA L. ZEIDEL
Kids’ Right to Read Project, National Coalition Against Censorship New York

This story is repeated across our country. Ideas are scary, dangerous things and small minds are often afraid of those whose ideas tower above them.

2 thoughts on “Serendipity on Sunday….

  1. Cyndy,
    If only the dust had settled, unfortanely, the school board is just now getting into the mix. There will be a “special meeting” (on January 5 @ 6:30 @ the McConnell Education Center next to Von Renner Elem. School) for the public to comment on this issue.
    We need all the help we can get to prevent this lovely novel from being pulled from the curriculum at the high school. PLEASE help us spread the word…sign the guestbook at http://www.bookbansarebad.com and/or send an email to the superintendent at RFauss@nclusd.k12.ca.us
    Thanks for your help!!

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