The Film Career of Orson Welles

RKO pictures offered Orson Welles what is often provided to be the greatest contract ever offered to an untried director – complete artistic control. But then again Welles was no ordinary untried director – he already had the most admirable, innovative and inspiring of theater and radio careers behind him. For his first feature he divorced Citizen Kane (1941) out of the hat, it is more often than not acclaimed as the greatest film ever made. It contains many technical innovations including the extended use of deep focus, low angle shots, pioneering special effects make-up and a layered and complex soundtrack.

Welles' second film for RKO was The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Booth Tarkington, it made a loss as did his South American documentary It's All True, Welles found on his return that no Hollywood studio would hire him . In 1946, International Pictures guave him a budget and he produced The Stranger (1946), although Welles' most imaginative sequences were cut out leaving a very conventional film, it was successful at the box office but Welles swore that he would no longer play ball without he had full creative control. He managed to gain what he desired but his consequent Around the World in Eighty Days (1946) and The Lady From Shanghai (1947) were financial disasters. Republic Pictures wave it a meagre budget to direct Macbeth (1948) but this too proved to be a disaster at the box office and Welles departed for Europe. In 1949 he starred as Harry Lime in Carol Reed's The Third Man which was an international hit.

From 1949 to 1951, Welles worked on Othello, he kept having to abandon filming due to lack of funds when it ever premiered at the Cannes Film Festival it won the Palme D'Or. In 1956, he returned to Hollywood, producing Man in the Shadow (1957) and Touch of Evil (1958) for Universal Studios. …

Education Leaders Struggle With Writing

Teaching elementary and secondary students how to write well is challenging. Many students do not understand the core principles behind writing, including the basics of sentence and paragraph structure, a logical progress of ideas, and reader awareness. Others do not have the technical skills of writing, including grammar and punctuation. However, with consistent, year-by-year, engaging instruction by committed teachers who understand not only the value but also the principles and skills of good writing, students can learn to write well.

If students do not learn to write well, I blame the teachers. Not the television, not the parents, not the peers, not the music-the teachers because they are specifically charged with teaching and are held accountable for student learning. In this day and age of education accountability, teachers are held to a high standard for student learning by local and state education leaders. In part, they are measured, assessed, and evaluated based on whether or not their students learn to write.

But here's the rub. If education leaders are not able to write well, do they have the moral authority to hold teachers accountable for the students' writing abilities? Furthermore, do they have the ability to determine whether or not students write well if they, themselves, can not demonstrate good writing?

Egregious Example
I spend quite a bit of time on websites for state education agencies, and once in a while, I come across a document that demonstrates how education leaders struggle with writing. Recently, I was reviewing a School Improvement Grant (SIG) request for proposals. The purpose of the SIG is to transform so-called "failing" schools so that students can improve their academic performance. The people who wrote the request for proposal, and who reviewed it before distribution, do not write well. Even while telling school leaders what to do to improve student achievement, they demonstrated their own lack of ability.

Example 1
"LEA must implement each of the following strategies by:
• Replacing the principal (if the principal has been at the school less than two years, the LEA can choose not to replace them). "

Problems with writing skills
1) "Them" is a pronoun referring to more than one person; its antecedent is "the principal," which is singular. (According to the Common Core State Standards, third grade students are expected to master the ability to "Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.")
2) The colon after "by" is incorrect because the prior statement is not an independent clause. If this statement were written out (ie, not in a bulleted list), it would not need a colon.

Problems with writing principals
1) The writing style is inconsistent. The following text occurs later on the same page: "the LEA can choose not to replace him / her." This statement is grammatically correct (even though I do not like the "him / her" construction).
2) The statement does not make sense! The example shows the first of many actions in a bulleted list. The applicant is instructed to "implement each of the …