Philadelphia, the city that gave us Poor Richard, cheese-steak sandwiches and the American Constitution, just opened a new treasure: the Barnes Foundation, one of the premier privately assembled collections of painting in the U.S. with more dreamy Renoirs and searching Cézannes than in the whole of France.
Its arrival in May halfway between the landmark City Hall and Museum of Art on Benjamin Franklin Parkway — Philly’s Champs Élysées — gives visitors a chance to see what was once an almost secret stash of great art.
The catalog is astounding, even apart from Renoirs and Cézannes.
…all previously hard to access, thanks in part to the collection’s former home in Merion, PA, a 45-minute bus ride from downtown. The foundation rarely lent works to other museums, prohibited reproductions and restricted visitation.
Curmudgeonly founder Albert C. Barnes, a medical doctor, chemist and self-made millionaire with a boulder-size chip on his shoulder, once called Philadelphia “a depressing intellectual slum.” He started buying art in the early part of the 20th century and conceived of his collection as an educational institution, not a gathering place for high-society “Sunday” dabblers in art.
It took more than 50 years to give the collection a new home that is open to the public. Not everyone loves it.
In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.
It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.
In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.
His book unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern…(which) describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.
“It’s not just the number of references – it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge,” Ekirch says.
Read on – The Myth of the 8-hour Sleep
“Don Quixote followed nature, and being satisfied with his first sleep, did not solicit more. As for Sancho, he never wanted a second, for the first lasted him from night to morning.” – Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (1615)
You want know what the hardest part about being a teacher in the US is?
It’s living in a culture where everybody thinks they can teach. Which is like saying everybody can be a doctor. Yet that is exactly what happens in teaching.
Everybody knows how to teach and they all get involved. They espouse opinions and beliefs. It’s like teaching is some mystic art that no one knows how to solve.
In the documentary, Waiting For Superman, Davis Guggenheim explores teaching like it is a mystical mess. He focuses on the system and how hard parents are trying. Why tenure sometimes gets in the way, etc. Not really anything different than what’s been said for 50 years.
Here’s something different. It takes three years minimum to become just a good teacher. Five years, minimum, to become a master teacher. Including the one year of post-grad that is six years to master the skill of teaching. If you are good. If you don’t have the right mentoring or curriculum help it could be 7-8 years. How long does it take to be a doctor, or a lawyer or accountant?
What would change if we all thought about teachers as equal to doctors:
– We might give parents and the PTA’s less input into schools (they’re the reason why we have tenure and it’s issues).
– The role of an “active parent” would switch from blaming schools and “watching” teachers to reading, helping with math, and going beyond the classroom to teach new lessons.
– The “business” of teaching would be more like hospitals. With an MBA handling the money, HR executive handling the hiring/firing/development, and master teachers handling the education.
– Lastly, and most importantly, we would all understand that our 12 years of being a student in no way makes us experts. Instead it makes us biased, bitter, and unable to help (at all) until we become master teachers (or at the very least learn something about education).
I really hoped Davis would explore these problems but instead he gave an uneducated “parents view” of education. Thanks a lot bud, you used ur considerable skill and prominence to just make things worse.
*I posted this in Facebook at 11:21pm on October 9th, just after leaving the theatre*