A Public Service Announcement! ;)

A Public Service Announcement! ;)

Friday, October 28, 2011

I am the 66.6%: Frustration with the "2/3's Curse"

I just received notification that my proposed session on graphic novels and the common core has not been accepted to IRA. Surprise, surprise. I've yet to crack the International Reading Association's code of acceptance. What makes this year's rejection sting all the more is something that has happened to me too often in recent years:

The two-thirds curse.

The two-thirds curse has affected me in this way: I write a book proposal, an article, or a conference proposal, and 2 out of 3 peer reviewers have something very positive to say. The third is either not positive or downright damning, and the publishing house, journal, or conference editors or higher-ups decide to side with the minority opinion.

For example, see the reviewer feedback for the GN/CC proposal:

Proposal: Grading Form for Graphic(a) To the Core: Comics, Graphic Novels, and the Common Core

Comments for Submitter
1. The proposal gives a lot of background information on graphic novels and their importance, but does not describe what the attendees will "do" in the session.
2. Very relevant and provocative and timely session! Well written proposal - clear, substantive objectives!
3. As educators "scramble" to understand the Common Core Standards every strategy that is presented is worth examining. The conversation about student achievement, teacher performance and the Common Core takes classroom instruction to the level that has not been thought of in previous years. Hopefully with the method presented, the audience will grasp a clearer understanding of the Common Core and see its alignment with students academic achievement.
Two of those statements seem fairly positive, eh? Alas, it was not enough.

Some will say it is unprofessional of me to share this information, but I've established a record of peeling back the curtain on academia since I've established this blog, and I won't stop now.

I think I'm also going to start putting my money where my mouth is. Conferences are so expensive anyway, and so are membership fees. Add in the costs of journals that my university library already subscribes to or can get me through ILL, and I have to wonder why I keep shelling out dollars and getting a frustrating "return" on my investment.

Ah, the duality of the academic: complaining about not getting into a conference while simultaneously complaining about how much it would cost to attend it!

But, one has to show affiliations to national organizations in academia. It's just sort of a fact.

Maybe it is time for me to seek out a new one and let IRA be for a year or so.

Any takers? Maybe I should just shop myself around to different organizations like a free agent and see if they'll take me. My guess? 2/3's of their membership would be glad to have me, but the key decision-makers will have reservations about associating with someone so clearly exhibiting "self-destructive" behavior like letting the cat out of the bag....

Heck, maybe this is just a little birdie's way of telling me now is the time to get involved with ALA, YALSA, and their new graphic novel subgroup. And haven't I been thinking about joining a middle school-centric organization for a while anyway?

Plus, isn't this the sort of thing that led me to founding SANEjournal? Seeing that a process seems to be broken and instead of *just* complaining about it, trying to do something about it? Yeah, it is.

Yeah... :)


Anonymous said...

I have experienced this same curse if it is any consolation. I let my IRA membership lapse finally and am active in ALA instead since they recognize the power of books in a way Iother organizations do not IMHO.

mjhollman said...

Bucky - this is so odd. Reading the guidelines is like reading the Talmud. The one time I spoke at Ira, I was on a proposal w/two (then) Harcourt Brace folks and a reading specialist from a fairly lge place. Maybe that helped - tho' the proposal and session were great, if I do say so. But it was the vendor assoc that worked, I am quite sure.
There's also ARA to consider - prestigious and interesting, it always sounds to me. And, like I wrote earlier, I think the MLA would have a spot for you, actually. Mine your U of VA network maybe? and take a look at that Celebrity Culture issue, latest one.
I'm not so sure about the middle school thing.