Monthly Archives: June 2015

Bruce Freeman Rail Trail – Framingham Spring 2015 Update

Trails Connecting Framingham

“Bike Friendly,” and “Bike Connectivity” are two terms heard
with increasing frequency in Nobscot and Saxonville, two historic
villages in Framingham. They are situated at opposite ends of Water
Street about a mile apart as the crow flies. Residents of each village
are actively engaged in a series of visionary sessions designed to
give residents influence over the inevitable changes both villages
face over the next decade. There are certainly many challenges and
opportunities unique to each village, which must be considered as
each explores its options for future development.

Both communities have one common feature – a rail trail. In
Saxonville, the mile-and-a-half Cochituate Rail Trail is now
complete and is enthusiastically enjoyed by residents for a number
of different health, recreation, and social purposes. The BFRT will
be a key feature of Nobscot as the trail brings people to the
Hemenway School, the new Framingham Library, and the shopping
center. Over the last decade construction and planning of the trail
have been proceeding slowly from the Lowell-Chelmsford line
south to Framingham. Sudbury, Nobscot’s neighboring community
to the north, is now planning the design of its portion of the trail.

The major stumbling block at this point for both Sudbury and
Framingham is that the right of way of these last seven miles of the
proposed trail is under the private control of the rail company CSX.
The goal is now to place the control of the right of way in the hands
of either local or state government. In other words – and this reality
cannot be overemphasized – the land on which the trail will be
constructed in these two communities must first be purchased.

Progress toward this transfer has been arduous over the last 14
years, but hope has been reignited. Town officials from community,
state transportation officials and representatives of CSX met in late
April to seek a mutually successful transfer of the property to a
public agency. Once this transfer is complete, both Sudbury and
Framingham can complete the BFRT in their respective

In addition, discussion is also beginning to find ways to connect
the BFRT to the Cochituate Rail Trail in Saxonville, the Upper
Charles Rail Trail in Holliston and Milford and the Central Mass
Rail Trail in Sudbury.

These possibilities for connections are extensive and exciting.
Connecting the various rail trails in the region will offer residents a
significant additional option for transportation. If you would like to
find out more about the development of this inter-modal
transportation system or would like to become more involved to
help make it a reality in MetroWest send an email to (John Stasik, the Framingham BFRT rep) with your thoughts.

Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Spring 2015 Newsletter

Click to access BFRT-News-Spring-2015.pdf

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Filed under bikes, places: Framingham, MA

The ADHD Personality: A Normal and Valuable Human Variation

Great article…

The ADHD Personality: A Normal and Valuable Human Variation
For good evolutionary reasons, some people are highly impulsive
by Peter Gray on Aug 19, 2010 in Freedom to Learn

Continue reading

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Filed under ADHD, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School

Is the Common Core killing kindergarten?

Is the Common Core killing kindergarten? – The Boston Globe

I guess you know the answer…

No brainer. 2 main points in the article 1) drilling shows nothing if kids aren’t developmentally ready 2) People are different. And any benefits fade quickly for those who ARE ready, and the negatives DO NOT fade for those who are not (shown in studies both in reading and math)

I would add: 3) school in general ends up being at least 90% extrinsically motivated learning, because people are all different and interested in a HUGE range of different things AND at different times. So to expect someone to be interested in the same topic at the same time at the same pace, etc. it difficult. If school were not compulsory, ok, but it’s not.

Anyway, my kids have been going to Sudbury Valley School since they were 4 where all of this is moot, thank goodness, because it’s just left to the kids themselves, with the staff and other adults in their lives to support them as they desire.

My kids are each very different from each other. One has a dyslexic brain (one of the 5% or so) and it has been frustrating the heck out of him that reading hasn’t just clicked like it has for most of his friends, cousins, etc. So he has been absolutely loving going to an amazing, enthusiastic reading tutor on the side who has been helping with his decoding skills. His choice. But to imagine this in a non-age-mixed, compulsory school setting is difficult.

Peter Gray: How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development. Academic skills are best learned when a person wants them and needs them.

– “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities… It is neurobiological in origin, meaning that the problem is located physically in the brain. Dyslexia is not caused by poverty, developmental delay, speech or hearing impairments, or learning a second language, although those conditions may put a child more at risk for developing a reading disability.”

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A wise prince

Therefore a wise prince ought to hold a third course by choosing the wise men in his state, and giving to them only the liberty of speaking the truth to him, and then only of those things of which he inquires, and of none others; but he ought to question them upon everything, and listen to their opinions, and afterwards form his own conclusions. With these councillors, separately and collectively, he ought to carry himself in such a way that each of them should know that, the more freely he shall speak, the more he shall be preferred; outside of these, he should listen to no one, pursue the thing resolved on, and be steadfast in his resolutions. He who does otherwise is either overthrown by flatterers, or is so often changed by varying opinions that he falls into contempt.

A prince, therefore, ought always to take counsel, but only when he wishes and not when others wish; he ought rather to discourage every one from offering advice unless he asks it; but, however, he ought to be a constant inquirer, and afterwards a patient listener concerning the things of which he inquired; also, on learning that any one, on any consideration, has not told him the truth, he should let his anger be felt.

And if there are some who think that a prince who conveys an impression of his wisdom is not so through his own ability, but through the good advisers that he has around him, beyond doubt they are deceived, because this is an axiom which never fails: that a prince who is not wise himself will never take good advice, unless by chance he has yielded his affairs entirely to one person who happens to be a very prudent man. In this case indeed he may be well governed, but it would not be for long, because such a governor would in a short time take away his state from him.

But if a prince who is not inexperienced should take counsel from more than one he will never get united counsels, nor will he know how to unite them. Each of the counsellors will think of his own interests, and the prince will not know how to control them or to see through them. And they are not to found otherwise, because men will always prove untrue to you unless they are kept honest by constraint. Therefore it must be inferred that good counsels, whencesoever they come, are born of the wisdom of the prince, and not the wisdom of the prince from good counsels.


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texting while walking

Not The Onion!?

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Define freedom

“Remaining at home, however difficult or isolating that becomes, gives older people a sense of control that may prove illusory, Ms. Murray said. “They feel like they have their freedom even though they don’t, really.”

This is a complaint of mine in general… I think sometimes people think that (for instance) their cars make them free. But I’ve personally never felt freer than when living in Geneva, Switzerland for 3 years *without* a car. It’s a small city and it has an amazing (to me!) public transportation system with trams and buses (with dedicated lanes) that run like clockwork.

Anyway, same idea. I think in many cases the idea of the American Dream is quite illusory and is holding us back.

Two American Dreams. One is dead.

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The future is not worth wasting today

“When each nurturing act is administered with the distant future in mind, what becomes of the present?”

How to raise an adult(-child)

“Haims has identified overparenting as a trap. But once you escape the trap, the goal remains the same: to mold your offspring into thriving adults. Whether a child is learning to ride a bike or doing his own laundry, he is still viewed through the limited binary lens of either triumphant or fumbling adulthood. The looming question is not “Is my child happy?” but “Is my child a future president poised to save the environment, or a future stoner poised to watch his fifth episode of ‘House of Cards’ in a row?””

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Filed under kids are complete people, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, today

Interesting side-effects of dual income households

“It’s easy to impose severe limits on the mobility of your children when you are not personally expected to provide 24-hour supervision. When I was a kid, there were a lot of mothers at home who believed that being home with kids was important but did not actually personally enjoy playing with 4-year-olds. Those parents would have rebelled at being told that they should never let their kids out of hearing range. Those mothers are now at work, paying someone else to enjoy playing with their 4-year-old or at least convincingly fake it.”

Seven Reasons We Hate Free-Range Parenting
(Ignore the stupid title… the 7 points are actually describing the factors leading to the overprotective parenting culture that many would say predominates in 2015 in middle-class america)

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Important effects

Mere exposure effect

Novelty effect

Shifting baseline

Decision fatigue

Observer effect

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The risk of a checklisted childhood

“During a decade as Stanford University’s dean of freshmen I knew a large number of college students who had lived fully scheduled lives year-round as children and who, as young adults, couldn’t really tell you why they’d done most of it. Yes, they’d been trying to get into the “right” college. But having done that, they were stuck in perpetual “now what?” mode, hoping someone else would answer that question for them.”

“… Isn’t this summer the perfect time for your teenager to kick around doing nothing? If not now, when? … But doing “nothing” isn’t nothing.”

What’s Your Teenager Doing This Summer? In Defense of ‘Nothing.’

MY COMMENT: As Julie writes, summer can be a great start. Then try a Sudbury school. Students at Sudbury schools get to figure this stuff out year-round, not just during the summer. And not just teenagers. 4-year-olds too! It’s pretty exciting to experience a 4-year old busting out, wanting their freedom for a few hours a day. (Here I write about my then 4-year-old transitioning to SVS from his neighborhood day care which he also loved… but….)

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