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Oct. 7 2009 - 12:39 pm | 2,838 views | 1 recommendation | 1 comment

The Simpsons takes on education

Prior to Sunday, I hadn’t watched a new episode of The Simpsons in about a decade. Not only did I get my fill as a kid (the show started when I was 10 years old!), but I had other things to do and other shows to watch. So when I hopped on the treadmill at the gym a few nights ago and saw the wall-mounted TV playing the show’s familiar introduction with Homer and the gang, I wasn’t terribly excited. That changed very quickly.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say that the episode (“Bart Gets a Z”) is focused on an event (and its aftermath) that occurs in Bart’s classroom. The show’s underlying political/social commentary is spot-on, including jabs at new teachers, veteran teachers, education reform, technology in the classroom, the debate over core knowledge v. critical thinking skills, and more. I was laughing out loud, even though I had to read all the dialogue on closed captioning. Anyone who has spent time in a public school as a student, teacher, or parent will appreciate this, so if you have 22 minutes to spare, visit Fox’s The Simpsons site and watch the episode!


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  1. collapse expand

    People who want to see more of the Simpsons, specifically Marge (and specifically “more of”), she will be featured in Playboy’s November issue. Here’s hoping it’s as, um, enlightening as the episode you saw.

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    About Me

    I'm a Teach For America alum and spent three years as a high school teacher on the west and south sides of Chicago. I've conducted research on turnaround schools with a team from the University of Virginia, consulted for school districts across the country, and done work with New Leaders for New Schools, the Consortium on Chicago School Research, and DonorsChoose.org. Currently I'm finishing my PhD from UVa's Curry School of Education.

    My work has been published in Education Week, the Phi Delta Kappan, and a number of academic journals, and I'm a co-author of the book Teachers' Guide to School Turnarounds. I also contribute monthly to GOOD, the website "for people who give a damn": www.good.is/community/MichaelSalmonowicz

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    I am a contributor for GOOD, the website “for people who give a damn.” You can read my June column here. Past columns can be found here.