Thursday, February 5, 2009

Contest of the Day: School Choice

Wordle: School Choice Contest The Cascade Policy Institute is sponsoring a contest to promote school choice in Oregon. Here is the description from the contest web site:

School Choice is simply the ability to choose a school other than the local public school near where you live. It might be a religious school, a private school, a virtual (online) school, a charter school, or even another public school in the same or different district than the one you’re assigned to. It might also mean home schooling. Most Oregon families send their children to the local public school, yet a recent poll found that only 13 percent would make that choice if they had other options. The Oregon School Choice Video Contest lets Oregon students and families tell your stories, and possibly win $10,000 to help make your school choice dreams come true. We picked $10,000 for the top prize because Oregon’s public schools already spend more than that each year, on average, for each student. Yet, when asked in our recent poll, 92 percent of Oregon voters thought the public schools spent less than $10,000 per student. So, now it’s your turn: Tell us your story in a short video. Entries will be judged on authenticity, sincerity, passion and creativity; not on the production value of your video. So don’t worry about making a professional-looking film. Just be yourself, tell us why you need school choice or what school choice has already meant to you if you or your family already have it. Be creative, be sincere, and use your video to make the case for school choice.

The deadline is March 25, 2009.

Details and rules are available on the Oregon School Choice Contest website.

Cookbook Library: The Amish Cook at Home, redux

Apparently my review of The Amish Cook at Home had the book's co-author, Kevin Williams, rolling his eyes. I was amazed at the spike in my blog hits after my review went up, and was astounded to find that almost all of my new visitors were coming from The Amish Cook website. Yes, The Amish Cook has a website. And it is great! Full of information and recipes and all kinds of stuff worth reading. I am returning Kevin's favor by providing a link to the website here. But I am afraid my review offended several people when that was not my intent. Let's be clear, I think The Amish Cook at Home is a beautiful book. My only quibble is that some of the recipes are not quite as elegant as the book itself. That does not make them bad. Rest assured, I did not turn to an Amish cookbook looking for frou frou recipes. I grew up in the Midwest -- I long for casserole down to my genes. And I understand that Amish cooks shop at grocery stores and use pre-made ingredients just like everyone else. I simply meant to point out that the book may appeal to a wider audience if the recipes matched the beauty of the photographs and narrative. Many of them did. But there is a segment of the fancy-cookbook-buying population -- call them foodies; or the health-conscious; or West Coasters; or, more simply, snobs -- who would be put off by the recipes calling for Miracle Whip, or canned cream of mushroom soup, or margarine, or the like. Again, that does not mean that the recipes are not good or that they do not appeal to a broad spectrum of home cooks. But I think that there is a divide between those foodies willing to shell out $29.99 for a glossy cookbook, and home cooks looking for yummy recipes to feed their families. The Amish Cook at Home tries to straddle that line.

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