Greetings from Los Angeles where I am for the next week studying the "Age of Reagan" at Cal Lutheran University. We are at the Reagan Presidential Library every day for class and only at the school campus for meals and lodging. When I pulled up today to check in to the dorm we are staying in all week, all I could thing of was, "I think a Lifetime movie about collage-age girl serial killer Ted Bundy was filmed here in 1982." I can't complain though, we were treated to a wonderful dinner on the patio overlooking the beautiful valley below the Library. The library is really beautiful and the chance not to be on this collage campus all day is a major plus. Plus they have a FULL SIZED AIR FORCE ONE on exhibit!
All week we will be studying the domestic and foreign policies of the Reagan years, or what I call my kindergarten through 8th grade education. I am teaching US History from the Gilded Age to Present history this fall and for the first time every will be able to teach a full on week on the 1980s and the end of the Cold War. It is not without some parallels that my two summer conferences do fit together and will be useful in resources on the Cold War and Atomic Age. I LOVE teaching the election of Reagan and the subsequent shift in US politics and I hope to get lots of documents and related items from this week to use with students (and also personal interest.)
I made one promise to Bill before I left, that being that I would not punch any other participants or the lead Professor, whose 700 page book on Reagan was required reading. Shhhh... I didn't make it but halfway in as I got so pissed off reading his very one-sided account that I just couldn't finish. At one point Bill told me, "who cares if he calls 1980 a realigning election, and you say it doesn't meet all four criteria, like who else knows that useless fact?"
From our posted bios, I am in the minority in the land of Reagan lovers. From our dinner conversations about Common Core I think I may be the only person here that would be willing to take one for the capital L liberal team. I smiled, commented that "since we are working on a document based research project this week, shouldn't we want our students to be using those same skills in class."
My roommates include the program director and a fellow teacher from Texas. Both seem very nice and while I don't expect to be best friends, the program director and I talked a good 10 mins about House of Cards and her work with other Gilder Lehman past seminars she has been assigned as director. She may be my only ally this week, as when she asked about what I choose as a research topic for my other GL seminar on Women's Rights at Harvard back in 2009, I said. "the evolution of the birth control pill and legal challenges to contraception in the US i.e 1960s Supreme Court case Griswold vs CT." She smiled and said, "Hobby Lobby won that one, we (women) sure didn't."
Have a great week. I will with stories to tell I'm sure by end of time in the Land of Ronnie.