Parent Conferences Coming!

Parent teacher conferences are just around the corner and that’s always a good time for reflection. I think the best conferences are the ones where we have a real conversation about our learning.

This week, in addition to working on our individual learning goals, we’ll spend a little bit of time reflecting on how things are going so far. I’ll ask you to think about your organizational system, your routine for doing homework, and your goals in math, reading/writing and other areas of school. I’ll ask that you either prepare some notes for our conference (I’ll give you a structured form to help you with this)–or, if you want a challenge, you can write an essay or a letter to your parents.

The choice is yours; my expectation is that you come prepared to conferences ready to have an honest and insightful conversation with me and your parents. (For those of you who want ideas about how to write a reflective letter, you can go here for a presentation on the subject 🙂 

The Delhi Metro, Peace and Human Rights

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For years, I’ve put up a Peace Week post about the Delhi Metro. I travel by metro to work almost every day, and I enjoy the time I get to read, listen to a podcast, or talk with my daughter about school or life in general.

I’ve always enjoyed the metro because that’s where I get to see all kinds of people: young people, old people, short people, tall people– stand-up-straight people, lean-against-a wall people.

The metro has never been perfect. But peace isn’t about perfection. It’s about learning how to share spaces with people from all walks of life. The metro is about traveling together, not racing ahead. That’s why in my family we don’t leave home without our Delhi Metro Smart cards.

In many ways, the Delhi metro has improved this year. New lines make it easier to get to new parts of the city. But recently, something’s changed, and all our talk about human rights this week has made me think about the changes on the metro in a new way.

On the metro, I used to be able to get most of the way to work for 13.5 rupees. Now, the same trip costs me 27 rupees.  Fares have doubled for many trips in the city. For me, that’s not a big deal. But for millions of hard working residents of Delhi, higher fares have made the metro too expensive–these people now have to walk, take a crowded bus, or a motor bike. A recent investigation by The Hindu shows that in spite of having many more trains and lines, average daily ridership on the Delhi Metro is lower than it was in 2015! 

What does that have to do with human rights? The metro cost a lot of money to build and expand. Most of that investment came from the government. There are many good reasons to spend money on the metro: reducing Delhi’s air pollution is one. Providing a means for people to get to work quickly and safely is another.

But when government officials decided to expand the metro, they had to use money that could have gone to education, health care, enforcement of child labor laws and many other things that would help give more people access to human rights. That must have been a difficult choice.

India does have to make choices with the limited resources it has. There’s not enough money to do everything we’d like to do. But I have to wonder: when we choose to spend public money on the metro instead of education or health care, shouldn’t everyone have access to it? In the long run, we’d all benefit: the more people who ride the metro, the cleaner our air will be–and clean air is something every human needs!

Reading Check-ins

This week on Monday and Tuesday (Days 5 and 6) we’ll be talking about our reading goals. These will be short blocks due to MAP testing, so I’ll give you some time to work on what you need to get done in other classes. Remember to get a good night sleep and have a good breakfast! That’s good advice any day, but it’s even more important during MAP testing week. MAP tests won’t go on your report cards, but they give us good information about how to teach you better!