Saturday, August 25, 2007

When Did CNN Turn to Crap?

I used to watch CNN and regularly read their webpage and it was a good source of news. But lately it has all turned to celebrity garbage and Springer type news. Here are a few of the choice tidbits they've been posting lately:

Camp for those who see dead people

"Anchorwoman" pulled after one episode

Lohan gets 1 day jail, 10 in community service

Nicole Richie spends 82 minutes in jail (she must have had a better lawyer than Paris)

Put away the suit and heels

Banning boxers and thongs (next they'll go after muffin tops and whaletails).

Nowhere to be found on their website is any investigative journalism, while MSN has been running an investigative piece on the shoddy treatment of Iraq corruption whistle blowers.

CNN also dropped their education section, which was no big loss as they generally recycled PR releases from the big corporations and think-tanks to make them look like news.

I think I may be switching to a new news source.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Carnival Addenda - The Lost Children Addition

We had several people whose submissions didn't get posted due to problems with blogcarnival, so for those who were left out allow me to present "The Lost Children' addition to the 131st carnival. Of course, I'll need a new subtitle.

People Who Were Inadvertently Left Out of the 131st Edition of the Carnival (Or Sirs Not Appearing In The Carnival)

Are you smarter than a 5th, 4th, um 3rd 3rd - 6th grader? Let's Play Math has a link to some Math problems you can try to solve that are on grade level, although he does mention having to use Algebra on a 6th grade problem. Geez, I didn't nearly fail algebra until I was in 9th grade!

What do you think of the term "charter schools"? JD2718 wonders if they can rightfully be described as public schools, and some of his commenters point out that many charters get to play by special rules the public schools are held to. Is it just a matter of semantics, or is there more to this story?

When should high school begin and where should middle/elementary school end? Friends of Dave discusses school districts trying different strategies; some schools are moving their 6th - 8th grades to elementary campuses, and some are moving them to high school campuses.

How could I have missed frequent carnival contributor Mathew K. Tabor? His omitted submission is entitled 3 Doses of Reality for British Education.

Let the tales of these lost children be told far and wide throughout the blogosphere!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The 131st Carnival of Education

This is my last week of freedom before I have to return to two weeks of inservice training. Yes I said TWO WEEKS. I plan on drowning my sorrows with some good Absolute Vodka and reading some of the excellent entries for this week's carnival.

My Daily Reads

Fans of the Fox TV show 24 will LOVE Mr Teacher's idea for a 24 hour school day. Putting his engineering talents to good use he has figured out many ways school districts could save money by using his idea, not to mention astronomy can be added in for those difficult midnight to 4A.M. hours.

Joanne Jacobs has rightfully been described as the Queen Mother of all education bloggers, and her website has been one of my daily reads for over 3 years now. Joanne discusses research related to learning styles in her entry for this week's carnival.

Raising graduation rates is like herding cats, or so says Ms. Cornelius over at A Shrewdness of Apes. In this week's submission she examines the unintended consequences of NCLB and what may happen as the push for improved high school graduation rates intensifies. Do we want more graduates, or are we willing to accept fewer graduates of a more rigorous and well-rounded curriculum?

Ever encounter a situation where you were totally at a lost as to what to do?It's Not All Test Scores, submitted by NYC Educator, discusses a situation that occurred when he was a first year teacher. By the way, I once had a comb similar to the one you described. Of course, I also used to have hair. After reading his blog for a couple of years now I bet he doesn't have too many of those situations anymore.

Is This How To Build A Better NCLB? ask The Education Wonks. I followed much of what Rep. Miller has said about NCLB lately, and I'm stumped as to what his position actually is. Maybe someone from his home state can enlighten me.

Bloggers Who Obviously Don't Read My Blog, Or They Wouldn't Use Such Big Words, Especially During The Summer

The Red Pencil examines education blogs and discusses a system for rating them. So does this submission from Dangerously Irrelevant. I would have looked myself up but all the colors on Dangerously Irrelevant's chart were giving me a headache. Or could it be I'm just pouting because I wasn't listed in their Top 30?

I knew I was in trouble when I read this title, Po Moyemu--In My Opinion: Albemarle's Home Instruction Policy Manual Update and the Term Educational Progress Discussed. Silvia is a stay-at-home (or really more out-and-about) mom who homeschools her children, volunteers for a statewide homeschool organization, and has some other interests to talk about besides.

According to Hube over at The Colossus of Rhodey, the NEA is also confused about SCOTUS decision regarding race & schooling. Hube didn't use a lot of big words himself, but he seems to understand what they mean.

Bloggers I've Taken An Instant Disliking To, Because They're Probably Funnier Than I Am

TheSexy Secularist! doesn't include a photo of the author, so I took the liberty of supplying one (Hint: I have a Joely Fisher crush). Besides being sexy he's also A Very Sore Loser.

A blog that's new to me, It's Not All Flowers and Sausages, discusses The Great Cockroach Chase that occurred in her classroom. I've never seen a cockroach chase but I have been to cockroach races. I think most people were there just to see a cockroach crash.

Around The Blogs

How many times have you heard the phrase "If it wasn't written down somewhere it didn't happen"? Scott Elias discusses why its important to not only write things down but to do it while you're thinking about it.

What if you could write a 10 step plan for your district? Carnival virgin no more Carey has created a Top Ten List of goals for her district in the upcoming school year.

Speaking of Top Ten lists, how about a Ten Things to Know About the Kids from Scenes From The Battleground? I was both a #1 and a #3 on the bad side list, as when I was in 4th grade I would often steal people's crayons, break them apart and throw them at people when the teacher wasn't looking. If you're out there reading this, Mrs. Pickett, I am truly sorry (and BTW, it was Duane who threw the garbage can down the stairs not me. Admittedly, I did suggest it).

Math Helps You Do Well In Science? As my sister would say, who'da thunk it? Kim's Play Place wonders why someone actually spent money studying this.

Apparently the admissions office at the Chicago Graduate School of Business is suffering from Powerpoint Poisioning, so if you're thinking of applying you might want to practice by taking The Four Slide Sales Pitch challenge from Dan over at dy/dan.

Are you planning with your end in mind or your mind in your end. Yes, I know it brings a naughty image to mind but blame Andy over at HorseSense and Nonsense. He's the one who said it!

If you're searching for a better way to teach the history of Berlin than why not try discussing the Ampelmännchen? He has his own website and you can buy his gadgets all over Berlin.

Dr. Jan's Blog is one of those blogs I need to start reading daily. In her submission for this week's carnival Dr. Jan discusses TeacherTube and Wikis and how they can be used to make history meaningful.

ATR is a term most teacher's outside of New York won't recognize, Norm over at Education Notes Online pokes fun at the Bloomberg/Klein administration and offers a little big of humor for those poor unfortunates who have been labeled ATR.

California Teacher Dude (I can't resist doing that) Guy offers up some tips for developing readers with stamina. As with so many activities, the key to getting better is practice, practice, practice.

I've written before about being stuck in several kinds of interview hell, but Mrs. Bluebird is stuck in vocabulary hell. She's also on an unbelievably short deadline to the first day of school, according to her ticker.

Speaking of going back to school early, Clix of Epic Adventures Are Often Uncomfortable has already had that dreaded first day of school, with several 4 time repeat offenders to make things interesting. Warning: Angst to Follow. Bummer Dude!

Has your school cut back on many of the things it used to supply for you? Matt refers to this as the School Supply Tax and wonders why parents should have to pay for such basic items as hand sanitizer.

Do black, navy or khaki pants or skirts and a solid-color shirt with a collar oppress the freedom of expression of students, when they are a required school uniform? The Colossus of Rhodey has found some parents who feel it is.

Lack of support from administration is often cited as a reason for teachers to leave the profession, IB A Math Teacher discusses a NY Times Story regarding the changing student grades by administrators.

I fear for Mamcita's safety. She has written that it upsets her to see her students so anxious over their final exams, after all its just a piece of paper. If she's not careful one of those "reform" groups is going to put a dead horse head in her bed for messing with their profits.

Steven of REALITY ON A STICK has some thought provoking comments on education and the sense of community. Luckily for me he didn't use to many big words so I was able to follow his essay.

Once again Alvaro is nagging encouraging us to Exercise Your Brain! . NOW GET THOSE LAZY PARIETAL LOBES OFF THE COUCH AND LEARN SOMETHING! He also points out how spending 5 hours a day on the couch watching TV is not good for your mind or your body.

Christina has The Low-Down on Federal Student Loans. Her website was having some problems as I'm writing this so here is the description she wrote for her submission.
Federal loans are a great option when your other financial aid doesn't cover the total cost to attend school. If you're like most students you often find yourself at least a couple thousand short. So instead of picking up another part-time job consider taking out a federal loan.

Hopefully her site will be up and running again shortly.

Bloggers with the word "Right" in the their title

Rightwing Prof has a little ditty about Jack and Diane a story about a "presenter" at an academic conference he attended. According to the professor, "The story is true, the names have been changed to protect the stupid".

Darren of Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher wonders if NEA Members Are Homophobes. As a Texas teacher, where we can neither strike nor collective bargain and the powers of unions are greatly diminished, I sometimes have difficulties in understanding the ins and outs of powerful unions. Darren does a much better job of explaining it than I can.

Check Out My Homey

In many families, bedtime becomes a special place where parents and children enjoy reading a book together. Not surprisingly the effects of such interactions are felt throughout the child's life. Life Without School writes about reading with her children in My Autodidacts and Me: Book Learning.

Thanks to all who submitted. Next week's carnival will be hosted by Lennie of Education Matters. Entries should be submitted no later than 10 P.M. EST to Lennie(at)EducationMatters(dot)US or you can use this handy form.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Best Lies Money Can Buy

Remember a couple of months ago when the Broad Foundation and the Gates Foundation teamed up to form a $60 million public relations campaign? What that money is being spent on is now coming out.

First there was the "study" by ETS that claimed the majority of Americans are in favor of NCLB. Here is the "question" they used to get those results:
“The No Child Left Behind Act provides federal funds for school districts with poor children in order to close achievement gaps. It also requires states to set standards for education and to test students each year to determine whether the standards are being met by all students. In addition, No Child Left Behind provides funding to help teachers become highly qualified. It also provides additional funding and prescribes consequences to schools that fail to achieve academic targets set by their state. Based on this statement and anything else you may have heard, would you say that you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the No Child Left Behind Act?”

For a great in-depth analysis see Schools Matter.

Now comes a new "study" from the Hoover Institution gleefully claiming they got the same results. No big surprise, they used basically the same question:
As you may know, the No Child Left Behind Act requires states to set standards in math and reading and to test students each year to determine whether the standards are being met. This year, Congress is deciding whether to renew the No Child Left Behind Act. What do you think Congress should do?

For a good laugh, here's the "alternate" version:
As you may know, federal legislation requires states to set standards in math and reading and to test students each year to determine whether the standards are being met. This year, Congress is deciding whether to renew this federal legislation. What do you think Congress should do?

I would like to propose a new question for the next study. What kind of results do you think they'd get with this one:
"As you know, the No Child Left Behind Act represents the largest federal intrusion onto states' rights in the history of the United state, is most likely unconstituional, allows the federal govt. to mandate 100% of what is being taught in schools while only picking up 7% of the cost, and is opposed by over 80% of current and former educators, do you think Congress should renew this federal legislation?

I haven't tweaked any of the "experts" over at Joanne Jacobs in awhile. I think I'll go drop this question on them.