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Bishop Zubik: No Common Core in Pittsburgh's Catholic schools

Written by Peter Smith on .

bishop-zubikBishop David Zubik said that Common Core -- the national educational standards that many public and Catholic schools have adopted -- won't be coming to Catholic schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

 

In a March 18 letter, Bishop Zubik weighed in on a debate that has been roiling in educational circles recently.

 

Common Core was put together by representatives of various state, educational and other private organizations, trying to develop standard baselines for what students should be learning nationwide. In addition to critics who say it shoehorns a one-size-fits-all approach to public schools, some in Catholic circles have opposed using standards other than those that start with a Catholic model.

 

Bishop Zubik wrote that even if Pennsylvania were to adopt the Core standards for the public schools, they would not be mandated for parochial ones. 

 

He wrote:

"The Common Core is a set of minimum standards, intended to help public schools with their effort to prepare students for higher education and the workforce. Schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh have always set higher standards, and we continue to challenge students to exceed those standards. 

 

"A number of parents have raised questions about Common Core-related resource materials that conflict with Catholic teaching and have expressed concern about Common Core requirements to collect and report student data in a way that might violate the privacy of students. Be assured that our Catholic identity is the core of our curriculum. Our Catholic faith guides the selection of all curricula, goals, textbooks and other resources. Furthermore, schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh do not share data on individual students with any state or federal databases."

At the same time, Bishop Zubik maintained the diocese's cooperation with the National Catholic Educational Association, which has helped other dioceses to implement the Core standards. The association is having a national convention here in Pittsburgh next month, and it has been helping Catholic school systems adapt to the standard. That, Bishop Zubik said, "has no bearing on education in the Diocese of Pittsburgh."

 

U.S. News reports here on Catholic dioceses that are adopting the Common Core. 

"We've always used a secular standard as our academic benchmark," a California Catholic educator said. "Then our job as Catholic educators is to make sure the faith is infused and the Catholic identity of our schools is strong. That's always been something that we've had to do."

 

 

 

 

 

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Putin's War

Written by Rob Rogers on .

I never would've guessed back in 2012 that a ridiculous comment made by Mitt Romney during a debate would come true. I think Putin was watching that debate. 

032514 Putins War

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The War on Drugs plays it straight at Altar Bar

Written by Scott Mervis on .

WaronDrugs

It’s only March, but the new War on Drugs album “Lost in the Dream” is good enough to secure a place on the year-end lists. I can guarantee it’s in my top 10 because records this good don’t come around often.

I would love to say the same thing about the tour, but ... when The War on Drugs came through Altar Bar on Saturday night, it needed more war, more drugs, more something.
The Philly outfit is less a band than the solo project of singer-songwriter-guitarist Adam Granduciel, who excels in all three of those phases.

It just wasn’t all that much fun watching him do it. There was a static quality — lacking in chemistry, interaction and/or danger — to how The War on Drugs recreated an album that has a lot of movement (though it’s early in the tour).

What had to stand out most to people is how Granduciel wore the Dylan influence on his denim sleeve, especially on the songs “Eyes to the Wind” and “An Ocean In Between the Waves.”

The band took a few tangents from “Lost in the Dream” to revisit “Slave Ambient,” including the rocker “Baby Missiles” and “Come to the City,” and to drop in a dreamy cover of John Lennon’s “Mind Games.”

Maybe "Lost in the Dream" set too high of a bar for the show. Or maybe this was one that would have worked better in a theater like the Warhol, where you could sit back and soak it in with perfect sound.

 

 

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Jeff Goldblum, man of many talents and lover of sandwiches, is having another moment

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

20140324 jeffportlandia400

It's probably inaccurate to say West Homestead native Jeff Goldblum is having a moment because the man always seems to be involved in the most interesting projects. But by Jeff Goldblum standards, this month has been particularly Goldblumian.

He plays a key part in Wes Anderson's marvelous tale of love and death, "The Grand Budapest Hotel." As solicitor for the estate of a wealthy, murdered octogenarian -- played with nervous panache by Tilda Swinton -- his Deputy Kovacs quickly discovers he's swimming in shark-infested waters.

20140324jeffleweekend300Goldblum is also in the coming-soon-to-Pittsburgh release of "Le Week-End," where he plays an old friend of star Jim Broadbent and whose actions lead to revelations.

Up next, "Mortdecai," a drama with Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor and Gwyneth Paltrow.

And the guy is all over television, from recurring appearances on the "Portlandia" to playing a dad on both "Glee" and "The League."

Last week, Goldblum lent his signature quirky style to Portlandia as "The Pull-Out King." Stumbling through a cheesy TV ad and then selling a pull-out sofa to Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen's odd couple, Goldblum was, as usual, deftly walking the fine line between genius quirk and annoying quirk.

He also did an 'ask me anything' on reddit last week, where he disclosed he's never had a cavity in his life, as well as his love for sandwiches.

From the transcript:

"Oooooooooh. SANDWICH. OH MY GOSH.

Oh my gosh.

I love sandwiches.

When I was a kid, every day I had a bacon lettuce tomato sandwich. Then at some point I switched to tuna fish sandwiches. Then turkey and swiss with russian dressing. Now I try to stay in the healthier vein, but I love every moment of my sandwich life."

The ama was also instructional, as Goldblum was asked how to correctly pronounce his name:

"However you want would be fine. I myself say bloom to rhyme with zoom."

20140324 jeffbudapesthotel400

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Phipps Spring Flower Show rocks...literally

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog rainbow roomWelcome to the Rainbow Room in the East Conservatory. It think it's so cool that Phipps created these records for signage. Photos by Doug Oster

One of the joys of visiting the Spring Flower Show at Phipps is sitting on the bench inside the Palm Court as visitors enter. The sweet aroma of hyacinths and colorful blooms elicit wonderful reactions and certainly puts smiles on lots of faces. It's fun to listen to the reactions.

Every show offers a respite from winter, and I've never disliked one, but I love "Rhythm and Bulbs." It pairs music with plants in a perfect combination. It's just fun, that's what I felt walking through the show.

I never thought I'd hear B.B. King, Led Zeppelin or Chuck Berry at the conservatory, but I'm so glad I did. There are rooms offering classical, jazz and other genres too.

It's always the attention to detail which turns an ordinary show into something special. I enjoyed seeing Howlin' Wolf albums under blue lobelia, guitars and amplifiers surrounded by spring bloomers and listening to eclectic musical choices while strolling through the exhibit rooms.

This show takes chances and that's why it's magical.

Did I mention the fountain made of brass instrument? Brilliant!

blog primrose zebraPrimrose 'Zebra Blue' is planted all over this show.

blog ampsI was listening to Chuck Berry (nice and loud) when I shot this flower/amp combo.

blog spring show 5It's nice to see flowers like these after the winter we had.

blog flowering pianoTulips on the piano.

blog spring guitarCool Stella Harmony 12 string in the Sunken Garden.

blog jl hookerJohn Lee Hooker! Yes, they have John Lee Hooker in the conservatory.

blog spring show recordsVery cool blues area in the Sunken Garden room.

Blog its good to be kingIt's good to be king of Phipps...at least for a minute.

 

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