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The Sun Magazine

The Sun Interview

Invasion Of The Classroom

How Corporations Buy Access to Children — An Interview With Alex Molnar

Alex Molnar is one of the nation’s leading experts on corporate involvement in public education. When we allow corporations to provide school equipment and lesson plans, he warns, we are also exposing children to advertisements and, ultimately, indoctrinating them in the corporate worldview. In effect, we are selling our children to corporations in exchange for a few educational tools of questionable value.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Hector Isn’t The Problem

During my thirtieth year as a school-teacher in Community School District 3, Manhattan, after teaching in all five secondary schools in the district and crossing swords with one professional administration after another as they strove to rid themselves of me; after having my license suspended twice for insubordination and covertly terminated once while I was on medical leave of absence; after the City University of New York borrowed me for a five-year stint as a lecturer in its education department; after planning and bringing about the most successful permanent school fundraiser in New York City history; after helping a single eighth-grade class perform thirty thousand hours of volunteer community service; after organizing and financing a student-run food cooperative, securing more than a thousand apprenticeships, and directing the collection of tens of thousands of books for the construction of private student libraries; after producing four talking job dictionaries for the blind, writing two original student musicals, and launching an armada of other initiatives to reintegrate students into a larger human reality — I quit.

Traveling Mercies

Sam is the only kid he knows who goes to church — who is made to go to church two or three times a month. He rarely wants to. This is not exactly true: the truth is he never wants to go. What young boy would rather be in church on the weekends than hanging out with a friend? It does not help him to be reminded that once he’s there he enjoys himself, that he gets to spend the time drawing in the little room outside the sanctuary, that he only actually has to sit still and listen during the short children’s sermon. It does not help that I always pack some snacks, some Legos, his art supplies, and bring along any friend of his whom we can lure into our churchy web. It does not help that he genuinely cares for the people there. All that matters to him is that he alone among his colleagues is forced to spend Sunday morning in church.

We’re Family In Here

On TV, Julia Child stands beside the butcher block, her face radiating indulgent interest, as a young chef chops celery and tells us how to make shiitake-mushroom soup.

My Father Never

My father never played catch with me when I was a boy ­— a tomboy, that is. I played catch for hours after school with Skipper, Evan, and Sammy, my friends from the neighborhood. And when they moved away, I played catch with myself, bouncing a tennis ball against the garage wall. But my father never played catch with me.


Love, Michael

To me, my brother was his letters home. Even now, his lucid, correct handwriting remains more vivid in my mind than any picture.

Any Comments Or Questions?

Girlie slid out like a hot buttered noodle on that Indian-summer night in October — her father’s birthday, in fact. Chas was in the birthing room, standing next to my hospital bed. A few minutes before, he’d been complaining that his legs hurt and he needed to sit down. The midwife cleaned Girlie off before presenting her, blue-ribbon style, to us, and I thought about how one chapter in my life was ending and a new one was beginning, whether I liked it or not.

Readers Write

Sibling Rivalry

I am five years old and riding in the back seat of my father’s smelly old Plymouth. This is in 1947, long before the days of car seats for children. It’s freezing cold outside, and I am dressed in a snug pink snowsuit with a scarf tied so tight around my neck that I can hardly breathe. My seven-year-old brother and I are playing hide-and-seek inside the car: I try to hide so that, when he sticks his head over the passenger seat, he can’t see me.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

November 2000

I can start the day by criticizing myself for not having gone to sleep earlier, for drinking that extra glass of wine. True, true. But this kind of truth doesn’t set me free. Why not be thankful, instead, that I opened my eyes and got out of bed? To take this for granted would be the day’s first mistake.

Musings From Our Founder ▸


My schooling did me a great deal of harm and no good whatever; it was simply dragging a child’s soul through the dirt.

George Bernard Shaw

More Quotations ▸
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