Tuesday, January 31, 2012

poem of the week. Sherman Alexie's "Sonnet, Without Salmon"

Sonnet, Without Salmon

1. The river is empty. 2. Empty of salmon, I mean. 3. But if you were talking to my grandmother, she would say the water doesn’t matter if the salmon are gone. 4. She never said that. I just did. But I’m giving her those words as a gesture of love. 5. She’s been gone for thirty-one years. 6. The water doesn’t matter if my grandmother is gone. 7. She swam wearing all of her clothes, even her shoes. 8. I don’t know if that was a tribal thing to do, or if she was just eccentric. 9. Has anybody ever said that dam building is an act of war against Indians? 10. And, yet, we need the electricity, too. 11. My mother said the reservation needs a new electrical grid because of all the brown- and blackouts. 12. “Why so many power outages?” I ask her. 13. “All the computers,” she says. 14. Today, in Seattle, I watched a cute couple at the next table whispering to their cell phones instead of to each other. But, chivalrous, he walked to the self-service coffee bar to get her a cup. Lovely, I thought. She was busy on her phone while he was ten feet away. When he sat back down, she said, “Oh, I was texting you to get me sugar and cream.”

Sherman Alexie

Thursday, January 19, 2012

assignment to accompany "College, Inc." documentary. Write a letter to miguel or design an informative flyer for our counseling office.


I know you’ve been encouraging me to get off my butt and go to college. I want to go but it’s difficult. I have to work because now that I’ve graduated my parents say I have to “contribute” or move out. So how do I work and go to college at the same time?

My cranky English teacher back at MVH always said that I should never go to a college that has to advertise or send out “sales-people” recruiters. But I met a really nice person who has convinced me that ____________ University would be good for me. It has lots of online classes. She says I can finish college more quickly and easily on a flexible schedule. Many of the classes are online. It’s expensive—but I get financial aide.

Should I go? Or should I listen to MVH teachers and go to community college and then transfer to San Diego State or UCSD. Or UCLA? Or Berkeley?

The recruiter, Sirena, is really pretty and really nice. Hard to decline her offers.

Help me figure this out.

Miguel Paniagua Salsipuedes Cienfuegos Buenaventura
Your assignment: Write an informative response to your friend Miguel.

• watch “College, Inc.” (the documentary on for-profit colleges that aired on PBS. Embedded below)
• take careful notes
• use evidence both statistical and anecdotal in your letter to help Miguel make an informed decision.

Consider the following:
• How much does U of Phoenix spend on marketing?
• How much does U of Phoenix spend on faculty?
• How has Grand Canyon U grown so quickly?
• Why is accreditation worth so much (to the investors?)
• Is a student a customer? Is an education a product?
• What is revealed in the “perfume” example? (as explained by former U of Phoenix admin-guy)
• Is an education something one should “shortcut.”
• How much debt should one take on for college?
• Who profits from student debt? Who suffers?
• Can one “get out of” student debt eventually? Bankruptcy?
• Do you think the wealthy investors who profit from for-profit colleges would send their children to one?
• Should rich people profit from the debt of working people—especially debt incurred in trying to educate themselves?