Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 15

Welcome to the fifteenth edition of The Carnival Of Education. Here we have assembled a variety of interesting and informative posts from around the EduSphere that have been submitted by various authors and readers. As with other editions, those entries that were selected by us appear at the bottom of the page. We believe that this collection represents a wide spectrum of topics, political/educational viewpoints, and writing styles.

As always, the secret for having a well-attended Carnival is publicity. Please consider helping to spread the word. The more folks that know about this collection of exhibits, the more that will "drop-in" and visit the midway. Your comments and constructive criticism are always most welcome.

The guest host of next week's Carnival will be... Science And Politics. The midway will return here to the 'Wonks the following week.

An Invitation: All writers and readers of education-related posts are invited to contribute to the sixteenth edition of The Carnival of Education. Please send your submissions to: Coturnix1 [at] aol [dot] com. Contributions should be received no later than 5:00 PM (Eastern) Tuesday, May 24, 2005. The Carnival midway will open at Science and Politics next Wednesday morning.

And now.... lets see what the midway has to offer this week.

Have you ever had trouble with an essay question on a test? And I you weren't able to answer, could you ever imagine being punished for it? In what has to be one of most outrageous instances of an EduCracy running amok, Number 2 Pencil has the story of a 9-year-old child that was suspended from school because he could not answer a test question!

If you find yourself reading about students who refer to New York's subway as an "Escalade," kids knocking-out push-ups in class, and a large male student being robbed of his neckchain by literally having it jerked from behind, then you know that's
it's all in a day's work over at Mr. Babylon's place.

In my experience as a classroom teacher, I've never even heard of a school administration that is so obviously clueless as to require that teachers dress in waitstaff uniform to serve parents at a "Parent Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon." Written by a classroom teacher, A Series of Inconsequential Events
tells us the unbelievable (but true) story. Here is a taste:
There was a stack of large, black, shiny plates and there was a stack of smallish, white, 100-for-a-dollar styrofoam plates. The stacks were explicitly labeled with arrows. An arrow pointed to the black plates reading, "For the parent volunteers" and an arrow pointed to the white plates reading "For the teachers."
On a recent field-trip to a local recreation center, Bud The Teacher was watching some skateboarding students put themselves through their paces. He then decided to get on a 'board himself, with predictable results. Even though he suffered no damage, a student's sprained wrist had Bud second-guessing the field trip. Until he remembered that life does indeed have hurts as well as successes. So then, Bud asks, why do we block websites?

Who is in the best position to determine what pre-school children should be taught? Should that arbiter be the State, or the Parent? Over at Scholar's Notebook,
they are alerting us that many parental prerogatives are in danger of being co-opted by from Minnesota's parents by the state government.

Would you believe that in Houston, Texas, the school board actually reduced the amount of math that students need in order to get a diploma? Even though the board soon reversed course, the many are left wondering if Superintendent Abe Saavedra knows what he is doing. Assorted Stuff
lets us know about a Georgia district that seems to know a better way when it comes to restructuring their math curriculum.

A brand new blogger to the EduSphere, Steve teaches 9th grade World History in Virginia. In his very first post (written on May 10th) at his site, Outside The Cave, Steve has
some great thoughts about what teachers can learn from writing their own blogs. (Welcome to the EduSphere, Steve!)

More than one educator has lost his or her job due to an ignorance of the Law as it applies to them. In Loco Parentis is a site that is written by a former-math-teacher-now-law student named Andy "A" who has an especial interest in education law. This week, Andy
gives us an introduction to NCLB as it applies to students with disabilities. Even though he has graduated from law school, Andy's heart is still in the classroom and he is seeking employment as a math teacher.

In a post that is guaranteed to tug at your heart-strings, Spunkyhomeschool
lets us in on a conversation that she had with her teenage son about growing up. Here is a sample:

When there was a lull in the conversation, I switched the subject to a scripture that I had been meaning to ask him about. Proverbs 22:36 says: "My son, give me thine heart and let thine eyes observe my ways."

This seemed like the appropriate time to ask him if we still retained his heart even though he was in the middle of growing from a boy to a man.

He grinned and said, "Mom, if you and dad didn't have my heart then do you think I'd be sitting here with you at Arby's right now?"

Polski3 is concerned about a cousin of his that is in trouble with the Law. Polski tells us that when his cousin was younger, he had a fifth-grade special education teacher that locked him in a closet when his behavior was not satisfactory. Could this have had something to do with the cousin's later brushes with the law?

Was there a painting or photo from your childhood that you dwell on today? Perhaps it was a pretty picture that you saw on the wall, or a photograph of an intriguing-looking relative. At times, such an image can have an effect that lasts far beyond childhood. Over at The Common Room, there was just such a picture. It was unsigned print of a girl reading a book that hung on the wall of the childhood home. What was the painting's name? Who painted it? The child didn't know. But years later,
the adult solved the mystery.

What would you do if your young daughter was dropped off by her school bus at the other side of town and you were left waiting at her regular bus stop? That's what happened to the Florida teacher who writes over at Fred's World. Fred
reminds us to be mindful of the busses that our children ride every day.

Over at Cross Blogging, they are asking for
responses to this question: Discussions of school choice and vouchers nearly always assume that public schools are permanent parts of the American educational scene. Increasingly I wonder why. Why should there be any public schools?

Will our students be properly prepared to compete in the global economy? This is a hot topic in the EduSphere. Writing over at Remote Access, Clarence Googled "21st century skills for students" and got 3,370,000 hits. Clarence has noticed that many politicos and other "experts" have much to say, but it seems that many classroom teachers don't. (Here is mine: It's one thing to help students develop a set of work-related skills but it's quite another to help them acquire the vision to help build that future...

Preparing students to be "globally competitive"
is also on the mind of Mrs. Ris over at Mentor Matters. As Mrs. Ris works with students who have severe emotional disabilities, she explores the topic from the unique viewpoint of a special education teacher.

Newsweek has been having some credibility problems lately. Here is one more. I agree with Half Sigma that Newsweek's list of America's top high schools
is a work of fiction. For starters, all schools that had competitive admissions were excluded from consideration.

Which of the fifty states has: Ineffective schools; Bloated and incompetent EduCracies; Millions of dollars wasted on unproved curricula; and finally, the lowering the test scores needed in order for students to be awarded a high school diploma? If you said Arizona, you would be correct and Interested Participant
has the details.

There's nothing like a little tale of corruption and malfeasance to get my blood boiling in the morning time. Wizbang!
has the disgusting details of how the school system in the city of Everett, Massachusetts has wasted untold millions of dollars. When will folks learn that waste fraud and abuse hurts kids? Be sure to catch the follow-up story here.

What would you think if you knew a class was limited to only 18 students but that 10 of those seats were reserved for minorities? Can "Affirmative Action" be truly positive when it has a negative effect on a person? Over at A Clear Voice, Illuminaria
gives us the skinny about this case of discrimination at The University of Oregon.

Here in the United States, each of the states sets its own content-area standards. The advocacy for a single National Standard
is considered over at Multiple Mentality. Even so, M & M also tells us that it's important for students to have the chance to broaden their horizons with elective classes. (This sort of reminds us of the old saying, all work and no play makes...)

Did you know that uploading documents into a website isn't all that difficult? Over at Stop The Blackmail, they have sent this
step-by-step protocol to their school district's governing board of directors in hopes of getting them to make documents available to the public.

And now for a few entries that have been selected by the editors:

Many educators concede that it may be nearly impossible to meet the No Child Left Behind Act's stated objective of having 100% of kids achieve academic proficiency. But if not 100%, then what percentage would be both acceptable and realistic? Over at Jenny D's, they are
having a lively discussion about what that goal would be.

Photon Courier brings us
the disappointing news that there is a trend whereby college libraries are eliminating their collections of books in favor of electronic media. We find this news to be both distressing and disquieting.

A Constrained Vision, continues to update us whenever there is news about the use of "Blaine Amendment" type laws to oppose parental choice. In her
latest installment, Katie, is reporting that Florida's voucher laws are being challenged as unconstitutional under the state's Blaine Amendment.

Who were the teachers that truly made a positive difference in your life? Over at Tall, Dark & Mysterious, Moebius Stripper has a visit with the high school math teacher who helped inspire her to study math. That's just one aspect of this excellent post. Don't miss it.

Finally, here at The Education Wonks, we offer our take on the Tennessee elementary school principal who banned kids from reading Bibles at recess.

Carnival Archives

The first edition can be seen here, the second here, the third, here, the fourth, here, and the fifth, here, the sixth, here, the seventh, here the eighth, here the ninth, here the tenth, here the eleventh here the twelfth here, the thirteenth, here and the fourteenth, over there. To get to EdWonk's main page, (with a variety of education-related posts) please click here.