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Rev. Andrea Ayvazian: The black history pigeonhole

Friday, February 12, 2016

I have always had a somewhat ambivalent relationship with Black History Month. While I believe deeply in the need to honor and celebrate the black experience in America, I have had questions about why this is supposed to occur during the shortest month of the year. The black experience in the United States — including enslavement, resistance, struggle, courage, discrimination, perseverance, art, music, literature, faith, athleticism, leadership, pain and triumph — cannot be reduced to 28 days per year and then neatly tucked away. I have also felt that Black History Month was embedded in white history year and that February’s Black History Month gave schools, colleges, and universities license to go back to the …

John Paradis: Taking control of our last years

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Last fall, a friend recommended the book, “Being Mortal,” by noted Boston surgeon Atul Gawande. Looking at how Americans approach aging and end of life, Gawande’s book denounces the often extreme and frequently unnecessary life-sustaining measures that the medical world often takes: breathing machines, feeding tubes and an array of painful and invasive treatments. He proposes a significant overhaul of our approach to …

Jim Palermo: Lifting the veil on charter school statistics in Massachusetts

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The charter school debate has taken on new urgency now that Gov. Charlie Baker prioritized lifting the cap on charter schools during his State of the Commonwealth Address. He bolstered his endorsement by stating that Brooke Charter Schools in Roslindale, Mattapan and East Boston had higher scores on the English and Math PARRC Exams than those in the eight traditional public school districts …

Claudia Lefko: The two-way street of any great radio station

Friday, January 15, 2016

I had a commitment at the University Massachusetts on Thursday. I arrived a bit early and took the opportunity to go to the WMUA office to turn in our mugs. We got them maybe five years for our pledge to the station. No one was in the office …

Eve Vogel: Let’s not lose neighborhood elementary schools in Amherst

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Public deliberation over the possible consolidation of the Amherst elementary schools into a single pre-kindergarten and Grade 1 school and a single Grades 2-6 school has been rushed and deeply inadequate. It has become clear that the Amherst school administration is interested in “grade reconfiguration” even if it …

Lucy Van Atta: Oh, the joys of hoofing it in the Valley

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I have, in a sense, “come home.” My grandmother, Lucy Murphy Hickey, grew up in Framingham, in the early 1900s, and I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut from the 1960s and on. In 2008, my husband and I bought a house in Northampton. I spent four years as …

Tom Gardner: The burden of Southern history

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I want to congratulate the young Andrew Morey from Easthampton for his decision to take down the Confederate battle flag after learning of its hurtful symbolism to so many. When I was his age, I found myself also reconsidering the meaning of a flag I had grown up …

Natalia Muñoz: What’s up with the Hillary Haters Club?

Monday, January 11, 2016

My social media is awash with hard-charging conversations between Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters and me, a Loud & Proud Hillary Girl. The back-and-forths go something like this: In an opinion column from Salon, the writer stated: “I still …

John Sheirer: The Sanders-Clinton conundrum

Sunday, January 10, 2016

I’m a fan of Bernie Sanders. He brings energy to the campaign beyond the conventional candidates. And Sanders has championed several core liberal issues, especially income inequality, tax fairness and college costs. I’ll gladly vote for him if he wins the nomination, and I respect and share his …

Jim Palermo: Into the standardized test looking glass

Friday, January 8, 2016

It took 18 months of sustained effort, and a hearing in Hampshire Superior Court, to compel the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to release what turned out to be a one-page typewritten list of the of 49 Massachusetts schools and the 47 school districts that participated …

John Paradis: Lack of state commitment to serve veterans brought leadership change at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home

Thursday, January 7, 2016

When Paul Barabani, a retired colonel from the Massachusetts Army National Guard, became superintendent of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke in 2011, he had a vision: Transform the Soldiers’ Home from the “old” Soldiers’ Home, an aged facility …

Rabbi Justin David replies to Viewpoints essay by Vijay Prashad, then the two exchange responses

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this commentary, Rabbi Justin David replies to a Viewpoints essay by Vijay Prashad. Then the two men exchange responses on the issues raised. Rabbi Justin David NORTHAMPTON — Vijay Prashad’s essay in the Gazette’s Viewpoints section Wednesday contains many sad and tragic truths about lives …

Larry Ely: Fighting cynicism on our ability to respond to climate change

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

One sometimes sees a person in Amherst wearing a T-shirt reading “London, Paris, Rome, Amherst,” which insouciantly and proudly declares Amherst to be as vibrant a center of culture as the world’s great cities. You smile, thinking this comparison is a stretch, while acknowledging Amherst’s quixotic pride of …