Sunday, August 28, 2005

A neat new blog feature, and its a little scary

Thanks to A Constrained Vision my blog now has a cool new feature called gVisit. Apparently its an add on feature of Google Maps that lets you see the locations of your recent visitors. My visitors can be found here.
Do I really want to know where my visitors are from??

I also recently discovered my blog is listed on a national website, a blog created by the American Federation of Teachers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The 29th week of the Carnival of Education

The Carnival is now open.

Thanks to the Education Wonks for hosting it here

One of my favorites this week is by Janet, a New Jersey elementary school teacher, who extolls the joys of shopping at the dollar store.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Texas Speaker of the House blames supers for failures

The Texas Speaker of the House, Tom Craddick, is blaming the states' school superintendents for the failure of the Legislature to find more money for Texas schools.

Of course, the Republicans had no intention of giving the schools more money; they were much more interested in giving tax breaks to 10% of the population while sticking it to the other 90%. Between the rich and the poor, who do you think was going to get the big tax breaks?

The full story is here.

It amazes me that he is griping about superintendents while he and his buddies basically tried to rape Texas public schools. Among the many "reforms" they tried to pass were:

- no education experience needed to become a principal, only management experience (they will need scores of new principals as NCLB sanctions boot the professionals out the door in the coming years).

-NEXT year's accountability standards determine if you are successful for this year. In other words, your school would have been accountable to next year's standards for this year's scores. Principals whose schools did perfectly well on this year's test could have been removed anyway b/c of next year's standards.

- after two years of adequate (by state standards, but actually one) performance a private management company could be brought in to take over a school, if the school failed to meet federal AYP goals (100% by 2014). Guess who the people who own these management companies are friends with? I'll give you a hint; not the Democrats.

- a "raise" for teachers that would have actually amounted to only $500 a year, after the restoration of the $1000 insurance stipend (which was supposed to be restored this year anyway).

I'm proud to say my super was one of the people who led the fight against the Republican proposals.

I guess all of us teachers were supposed to just shut up and teach.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Never step on ticky-tack

Well school is back in session and last week while putting up some posters on the walls outside my lab I learned another one of life's important lessons.


Its worse than gum when it comes to trying to clean it off.

Other impt. life lessons I've learned.

Never run over a newspaper with a lawnmower. Unless you have an hour to kill.

You can't tell people something they don't want to hear. I wish I would remember this one the next time I get in a heated debate with some on Joanne Jacobs.

You can't look cool driving around in a 1985 Toyota Tercell. Sadly, I learned that one through personal experience.

Anyone care to add some more?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Some pictures from Minneapolis

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Minnesota.

This is a photo of the Minnehaha Falls. Minnehaha was the Indian princess in Longfellow's famous poem about Hiawatha.

The hotel we stayed at had a food services convention going on. Whoever was putting on the convention also had a cake decorating contest. These are two of my favorites. They are both cakes, believe it or not.

The Santa Claus cake even featured wrinkles on Santa's toes, which can be seen sticking out from the bottom of the sheets.

Some thoughts on Minneapolis

I just returned from 7 days in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and thought I would share a few of my observations.

Minneapolis is expensive. For example, our rental car cost $137 dollars a week to rent but the total with tax included was $187. That works out to a tax rate of 36% if I've done the Math correctly (always a dicey prospect). We also had to pay $12 a day to park it in the hotel's parking garage, something I've never encountered before. Additionally, everywhere we went we had to pay to park the car with parking fees usually beginning at $5 for the first hour alone. A load of clothes at a self service laundrymat was $2.25 and about another dollar or so to dry. A good hamburger at the equivalent of a Bennigan's was around $9 or so.

The F word is very popular. I saw one person at the zoo wearing a shirt that had a long quote that concluded with the sentence, "How about a nice steaming cup of shut the F_ _ _ up", except all of the letters were present. I also saw a young female walking around with a shirt that said, "Too busy to F_ _ _", all letters included. I also heard in spoken aloud in several conversations, always from a young female.

Minneapolis is very clean. Having grown up in New Orleans and now living in Texas I've grown used to seeing litter strewn everywhere on public streets. Minneapolis, even downtown, is spotless. The city also has a great many beautiful public parks, especially the park containing Minnehaha Falls and Longfellow's former home.

We also saw the funniest play I think I've ever seen in my life. It was called Triple Expresso and it is currently playing in Minneapolis and San Diego. I highly recommend it if you are in either city.