This week’s pick of the best of the blogs includes education reform and Oprah’s embrace of “Waiting for Superman” solutions, a new film about Carson McCullers, and looking at Christina Hoff Sommers’ data for a much-needed fact check.

  • Janice Simpson, former TIME arts editor  and current WVFC contributor, notes in her blog Broadway And Me that the fall theater season–not always the most welcoming to women–this year features a number of our favorite power women. We agree with Simpson about Cherry Jones in Mrs. Warren’s Profession: “It’s been four long years since Jones has been on a New York stage and I’d go to see her if she were appearing in the Ice Capades. ” We’re particularly psyched at the prospect of seeing Vanessa Redgrave on stage again, and so is Simpson, even if she’s not sure that Driving Miss Daisy was meant to be set in pre-Civil War Atlanta, even with Morgan Freeman at the wheel. “But I’ve never seen Redgrave give a bad performance and I don’t expect her to break the pattern this time either.”
  • At the invaluable Flashfree: Not Your Mama’s Menopause, Liz Scherer writes about “participatory medicine,” which she defines as  collaboration between consumers of healthcare and their practitioners and empowered patients. She believes that this collaboration will drive a cultural shift that’s already taking place in our healthcare system. To that end, Scherer is attending  ePatient 2010, a marketing conference that endeavors “to benchmark best practices for reaching and supporting digital health consumers.” One such best practices, writes Scherer, may be “crowdsourcing” patient information, in a way that fact-checks the claims of drug companies and marketers. “Let’s start talking…to each other, to our practitioners and to the world,” she writes. “Let’s figure out what we need, research the hell out of it, seek second and third opinions and insist on making decisions with our practitioners rather than going along with decisions without questioning them, especially when they feel wrong.”
  • Someone had to do it: When we first saw Christina Hoff Sommers’ New York Times op-ed against equal pay laws, we had two thoughts: “Do I have to respond to this?” and “Who the hell is still publishing Sommers?” Luckily, we have the sharp Echidne of the Snakes to break the piece down, including the flaws in the 2009 study from which Sommers draws her data. “Only conservative anti-feminists such as Christina Hoff Sommers knows for certain that women earn less simply because they ‘choose’ to do so. The rest of us have to study the evidence and so on,” Echidne writes. “A lot more boring but also ultimately a better approach.”
  • Do you remember reading Carson McCullers’ The Heart is A Lonely Hunter? Melissa at Women in Hollywood does, and is excited about a new biopic of the author, written by acclaimed author Sarah Schulman, who is adapting her  2002 play Carson McCullers (Historically Inaccurate). The film comes from a trio of power women:   Schulman, Abigail Disney (producer),  and Deborah Kampmeier (director).  No word yet on casting; the film will take McCullers from her young ascendance to her death at 50.
  • Jill Tubman at  Jack and Jill Politics talks about the current education buzz.  “We know what makes good schools: small classes, teachers with the freedom and creativity to teach, high standards, healthy lunches, good books, art/science/music/sports and safety.” She hails Mark Zuckerberg’s gift to the Newark public schools and notes that Oprah last week “devoted most of the show to showing Waiting for “Superman”, the new education documentary by Davis Guggenheim that shows American kids’ desperate need for better schools. The show audience’s reaction to the film was stark: “sad,” “outraged,” “distressed,” “unfair,” and even “I can’t believe this is happening in America.” However, Oprah ended the show on a high note by giving $1,000,000 each to the principals of six leading charter schools across the country that are changing the life trajectories of their students.”

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