Sunday, February 20, 2005

A teacher cannot use a book about her class in class

In the ultimate testing irony, a Florida teacher whose class was feautered in a book about the Florida Everglades cannot use that book with her class, as it does not relate to the state's mandated reading test, the FCAT. Brother Jeb is using his big brother's methods to destroy public education in Florida with a mindless test like Texas uses. The link to the story can be found here

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Federal Reading Research is flawed says panel member

A member of the 1997 National Reading Panel says "The scientific research backing federal reading education guidelines has little science and even less research behind it,"

According to panel member Joanne Yatvin, "the payoff for pushing phonics programs goes to the publishers of expensive and disposable workbooks that underpin those programs"

I have been arguing this point on websites such as Joanne Jacobs for quite some time. In my humble opinion, the entire purpose of NCLB is to ensure the failure of every public school in the United States.

The article mentioned above can be found here

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Utah begins the rebellion against NCLB

The Utah House of Representatives has fired the first shots in the rebellion against NCLB, voting the state's system should take precedence over the federal program. The story, via Susan Ohanian can be found
here Of course, the real rebellion will come when the feds start trying to seize million dollar schools and turn them over to their buddies in the private industry.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Texas education news

A good source for Texas Education news is This page is primarily aimed at supts and principals but contains a good daily round up of education stories in Texas. Many link to the Dallas Morning News, Austin-American Statesman and San Antonio Daily.

Students against testing website

I found a great protest website from Students Against Testing. The site features lots of neat things in PDF format such as bumper stickers, flyers and famous quotes about education. My favorite quote comes from none other than Albert Einstein who said, "Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts." This site even sells "No more tests" T-shirts.

This should be mailed to every Texas state legislature who wants to expand testing in Texas and to Dubya.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Texas Computer Educator's Association Conference

I just returned from the TCEA conference and I had a great time among the vendors. I was fortunate enough to win a CPS system from EInstruction . Our 4th grade teachers have been clamoring for some and our Science/Social Studies Curriculum person has been searching for grants to purchase some for our school. I believe EInstruction has a special right now that if you buy one system you get one free and they throw in 2 of their Chalkboard tools for free. I've had a chalkboard on order from them but they are so popular they cannot keep them in stock. The software is outstanding and a new update will be out in the Spring that will make it even easier to use.

I also purchased a copy of Hash, Inc.'s Animation Master. If you've ever seen the short movie of the dancing Alien singing "I will survive", only to have a disco ball crash on her, then you have seen what this program can do. I'm hoping both my kids and I will be successful in learning how to animate.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Automobiles and automobile companies

I've learned a great deal in the last two months about dealing with auto companies. My wife's 3 year old Honda Odyssey required a new transmission (it only had 66, 000 miles). After a little persuasion on my part Honda agreed to pay for the new transmission and its installation even though the vehicle was out of warranty.

At the same time my less than one year old Nissan Frontier (a pickup truck, as required for all males by Texas law) had a torsion rod (it supports the frame and body) break due to a manufacturing defect and Nissan does not have a replacement part in stock anywhere in the country. Needless to say I had a chat with Nissan customer support and they are paying for a rental car for the next month even though its usually not covered. Luckily for me the only rental available was a 2005 Mustang so for once in my life I can say I have a cool car.