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David Anthony Colarusso - Sadly not Havoc Dinosaur
Intermittent musings on the law, science, education, technology, design, and life. Also, I build things: furniture, software, reasoned arguments... To learn more about that, click a persona below for my eponymous website.

Society At Large

This category has an op-ed flavor, representing my thinking on an eclectic array of issues. For a similar set of posts, not published here, check out my work over at The Huffington Post.

A Scout is Reverent; A Scout is Brave: What to Do About the Ban on Gay Scouts

by David Colarusso - April 7th, 2013

As a boy I considered becoming a priest. A large part of the appeal was the example set by my pastor, Father Dan. A Jesuit and former English teacher whose homilies referenced Calvin and Hobbs, Father Dan was an intelligent and compassionate man who made you believe you could be better than you were. I came to know Father Dan outside of mass through scouting. Although my troop met across town at a Methodist church, Father Dan helped several of us earn our Ad Altare Dei, an award presented by the Catholic Church to scouts for study of their Catholic faith. I would later receive my Eagle on the same spot where I first received communion.

The Ad Altare Dei is one of many such awards earned by scouts, and I remember thinking at the time how inclusive the Scouts were. If I had been Jewish I could have studied and received the Ner Tamid, Hindu the Dharma, Islamic the Name of God, Baha’i the Unity of Mankind, Buddhist the Sangha, or Baptist the God and Church. In total, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) recognizes awards from a little over three dozen faiths and faith affiliations (such as the Protestant and Independent Christian Churches). Many of these faiths disagree over the nature of God, not to mention, the details of how best to live a moral life. Yet, their members proudly proclaim themselves scouts, alongside those they might otherwise condemn. Why, because they believe in something bigger, scouting’s mission to provide youth with the tools to realize their potential.


A Year in Review, My Fulbright

by David Colarusso - May 27th, 2007

The following is an abbreviated version of the final narrative report I submitted for my Fulbright Teacher Exchange. I have taken the liberty of adding hyperlinks where appropriate. For those of you who didn’t know, I am currently on exchange from Lexington High School in Massachusetts to Broughton High School in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Over two years ago I decided to apply for the Fulbright teacher exchange. Having taught for several years and already holding a Masters in Education, I was looking for new ways to improve my craft. Absent a clear predictive model of human learning, teaching remains more art than science. So I’ve come to believe that beyond a mastery of ones subject and minimal educational training, collecting diverse professional experience remains the surest path to improved teaching. We teachers learn by doing. I applied for an exchange confident teaching abroad would improve my professional skill set, expanding both my experience and perspective. I am happy to say, the exchange has exceeded my expectations.

The most pleasant surprise has been the ease with which I found both social and professional acceptance. Excepting the occasional behavior problems and technical headaches present in all schools, I would be tempted to call my exchange experience ideal. This is not to say it was all smooth sailing, only that I faced the same challenges as my colleagues. Some of these were new to me, and I can’t say that I was always the teacher I would have liked to be. However, I know that upon my return to the States, I will be at least three times the teacher I was. Making this possible was the support and understanding of my exchange school and its highly capable and professional educators.


Viacom admits error; one small content producer takes a breath.

by David Colarusso - April 23rd, 2007

You may remember that all this Viacom YouTube stuff has been making me a little nervous. We’ll now I can take a small breather. Read this great news from the EFF: Viacom Admits Error — Takes Steps to Protect Fair Use on YouTube.

An educational philosophy: What are schools for?

by David Colarusso - April 22nd, 2007

In the past two year’s I’ve had the “pleasure” of contributing to the mission statements of two “learning institutions.” Unfortunately, these statements always seem to fall short of asserting any strong educational philosophy. More often than not, they are meaningless exercises in window dressing. So I decided to give it my best go. Below you’ll find my mission statement for public/state education. Tell me what you think.

Public education should aim to provide students with the skills and experience necessary to individually and collectively construct, acquire, evaluate, and apply robust emotive, descriptive, and predictive models of their world.

Noting these tasks are most often performed within the context of a community and recognizing its role as a public service, schools should aim to assure that individual learners understand their role in the healthy operation of society and that in an ever-changing world, a deliberative democracy is most healthy when comprised of individuals holding a diverse set of beliefs.

Update: 2006-04-29. That last sentence is too long and needs some clarification.

On Education Goes C-SPAN

by David Colarusso - April 8th, 2007

First, I apologize for what some readers may see as a “boring” diversion from our usual educational content, but to piggy-back on my last posting, check out this debate between Mark Cuban and Fred von Lohmann from the EFF. It’s a rather balanced look at some of the issues surrounding the Viacom Google lawsuit. However, I do see a problem with Cuban’s argument for filtering, namely that it doesn’t address the filtering of fair use content (see this post). Anywho, give it a look, and you decide.

[Note: when this was originally posted, this blog was entitled “On Education.”]

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