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Apt. 11D
Laura McKenna's Publications and Posts

November 22 2019

Hi all!

It's been two months since my last newsletter. My excuse? I suffered a newsletter identity crisis. What did I want to do here? Who was my audience? Did I want this to be a wonky, insider policy newsletter or a light, fun working mom newsletter? 

I decided to return to my roots.

I was one of the first bloggers. I started blogging in 2003, when my kids were babies. I had just finished a PhD and was teaching a few classes around New York City. Back then, we were plenty poor living in a cockroach-ridden, four-floor walk up. With some starts and stops, I have blogged almost continuously since then. My current blog, Apt. 11D, is still up and running. 

I have always blended content on my blog. Sometimes I write about television shows. Sometimes I provide quick links to great content elsewhere. Sometimes I write about my specialty - education and parenting. Sometimes I write about life in the suburbs. That blend - politics and the personal - is my lane. I write for people who like smart and fun stuff. I'm going to stick with that model here on the newsletter. If time permits, I'm going to move to a weekly model.

Thanks for reading! Laura

Twitter (serious Laura - work and links) Twitter (serious Laura - work and links)
Email (all the Laura's) Email (all the Laura's)
Laura McKenna (serious Laura, publications only) Laura McKenna (serious Laura, publications only)
Apt. 11D (not serious Laura) Apt. 11D (not serious Laura)
Instagram (really girlie Laura) Instagram (really girlie Laura)
Travel For Work (Mostly)
I love traveling, so when Steve had a business trip to Toronto, Ian and I tagged along. When Steve was doing bank stuff, Ian and I visited museums and the CN Tower. In the evening, we met up with family and had cocktails in the lobby of our hotel, The Fairmont. More pictures here

Last week, I went to Chicago for an education writers conference. I'm really regretting not taking the time to take a picture of the sunrise over Lake Michigan or interior of the hotels around the Sears Tower. I lived in Chicago for a couple years, back when I went to the University of Chicago for my masters degree. This quickie trip reminded me how much I love the city, the birthplace of my father and my grandfather. I seriously need to spend more time there and bring the family. 

This trip was complicated by a family health emergency. Balancing work and family is never easy. 
The Rocky Road From High School to College
I bopped off to Chicago last week for an education writers conference related to the transition from high school to college. It's been a frequent writing topic for me, because I have kids who are that age. If I'm obsessed with a topic IRL, it often becomes something I research and write about. 

The conference focused on the problems that lower income kids face when going to college, for obvious reasons. 86 percent of low income kids drop out of college without a degree. That's a rather high number, and we should all question if we are doing right for those kids by sending them off to college with so few tools for success. I wrote a rant-y blog post about that problem, which I'm going to rewrite and send it out for publication. 

And speaking of published articles about the transition to college, I wrote an opinion article in September for The Hechinger Report about how I talked about college costs with Jonah. Read it here
School Buildings Are Falling Down
I spent two months looking at the state of America's schools. They're in trouble, especially in poorer areas.

The states stopped funding schools, back during the recession, and they never put the money back into them. Boilers and HVAC might be boring, but when kids are trying to study in rooms without air conditioners in Arizona in August, we really need to pay attention.

Read more here.
ICYMI - Special Ed Parents

In August, I wrote about my peeps -- special education parents -- for The 74. So many of these parents are forced to turn to each other on amateur websites that they make for themselves to get help navigating a purposefully complex system for getting their kids an education.

My article began with the story of Stasi Webber, who was forced to move across the country just to find the right school for her son with autism. Things should not be so hard for parents, who are already heavily burdened with responsibility. These websites are a sign of how corrupt and broken our schools are for the most needy of students. 
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Laura McKenna · 861 Bingham Rd · Ridgewood, NJ 07450-2111 · USA

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