Thursday, April 20, 2006

At last a political science professor I agree with

Have you ever noticed how many of the "reformers" the media pays so much attention to are political science professors, history professors or economists? I have the same beef with all of their opinions, they haven't taught one day in a K-12 public school.

I've finally found a poltical science professor I can agree with. His name is Ted Reuter and he refers to the No Child Left Behind act as "Disastrous". Reuter's beefs with NCLB are:

It focuses on punishment, negative labels, and threats. It places too little emphasis on the social causes of poor school performance. It does nothing to improve the curriculum, reduce class size, decrease school size, increase parental involvement, create after-school programs, diminish school violence, lessen absenteeism, or increase funding.


Even Bill O'Reilly agrees with me, we're getting screwed

In a post entitled "You Are Being Gouged by U.S. Oil Companies: O'Reilly says:

It has nothing to do with supply and demand. It's all about exploiting fears about Iran, terrorism, what might happen down the road.

I agree the oil companies are gouging us and said so last week. I disagree with O'Reilly's assertion though that he has been pointing it out for a year. However, he is correct in saying oil and gasoline stockpiles are the highest they have been in years.

Is it a coincidence that just as prices started to stabilize and drop some last week the Bush govt. "leaks" that it is considering a military strike against Iran? Suddenly prices go through the roof again.

O'Reilly has a poll where you can indicate if you agree the oil companies are gouging us.

As for the rest of us we get to bend over and take it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Great Source for PowerPoints

With thanks to a fellow teacher, here is a link to a large collection of PowerPoint presentations, mostly for the elementary and primary levels. These presentations are hosted by Jefferson County Schools of Dandridge, TN. They also have an excellent section on Tech Tutorials.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Cost Analysis For Texas Public Schools

Hosted at Round Rock ISD this cost analysis of Texas public school spending outlines how Texas schools spend their money. Some of the items over very interesting, considering Gov. Goodhair is trying to push through the 65% delusion.

Purchases that are not counted as
“instructional” are critical to the educational
process. Non-instructional purchases
include many items that directly
impact students. Some of these purchases
involve transporting students to and
from school, providing meals in school
cafeterias, maintaining school buildings,
heating and cooling classrooms, and paying
the salaries and benefits of nurses,
counselors, and school principals.

Not factored in to Gov. Goodhair's plan is the skyrocketing cost of transporting students. For myself alone the cost of traveling to school has gone up $13 a week in the last month. I can't imagine what it costs to fill a school bus.

Another interesting tidbit:

Per student spending over the past three
years has been slightly below the rate of
inflation. . .On average, basic educational spending
fell $53 per student short of keeping
pace with inflation.

In short, a classroom with 20 students has lost the equivalent of $1,060 of funding in the last 3 years, due to legislative negligence of school funding.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Jeb Bush and GOP ignoring a mandate from the people

Four years ago the voters of Florida passed an amendment to the state constitution calling for class size reductions, but Jeb and the GOP have refused to fully fund the program, claiming the state couldn't afford it. Now that the state of Florida is awash with billions of extra dollars the GOP is trying a new tactic; claiming the amendment should be changed b/c the state doesn't have enough time to comply.

Funny, the state seems to have plenty of money to fund high stakes tests but here we have a mandate from the people of the state being ignored. Specifically it states in the amendment:

"Payment of the costs associated with reducing class size to meet these requirements is the responsibility of the state and not of local school districts."

I'm not surprised the GOP wants to ignore one reform actually proven to improve student achievement and instead want to push their own agenda, forced failure of the public schools in the name of privatization.

The complete story is available from The Palm Beach Post.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Just Plain Funny

I especially like the recipe for "heckuva job brownies"

Via Susan Ohanian

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bend over and take it

Since I routinely drive at least 50 miles a day round trip to work, I pay very close attention to the price of oil and gasoline. The cost of gasoline has skyrocketed, going up nearly 40 cents a gallon in the last month while the cost of oil has risen, but not as much.

I REFUSE to believe the oil companies are not price gouging. I believe completely the oil companies are sticking it to us because they know their good ole oil buddies Cheney and Dubya are not going to do a damn thing about it.

I'm tired of listening to the oil company defenders claiming supply and demand. The US govt. has been stockpiling oil like crazy for years, a practice that just happens to keep the price high. Oil stockpiles in the US are at a 10 year high, while gasoline stockpiles are well above average. But as the oil companies reap huge profits (Exxon made more last year than any company in history and is now at the top of the Fortune 500 list, with profits up a staggering 42%), Dubya refuses to hear any talk of releasing some of the stockpiled gasoline to help ease prices for us everyday folks.

Too bad education doesn't have friends in high places like the oil companies.