Sunday, May 01, 2005

Tales From The Trenches: Classroom Teachers Speak

Each and every Sunday, we take a weekly tour around some sites that are written by those who serve in the classroom:

In a creative post that carries us back to the days of the Old West, Polski3 has noted that San Diego's fired superintendent, Alan D. Bersin, has signed on as one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's hired guns. Polski wants to know why Schwarzenegger needs so many riders in his posse. As a bonus, read about Polski's face-to-face encounter with California Teachers Association President (CTA) Barbara Kerr.

Music teacher Melinama
has developed an interesting idea: The Blog as a Pet. She discusses the challenge of feeding Her Pet each day. (Around here, we feed our pet, but it seems like we spend too much time cleaning-up after it.)

At No Jack is bringing to our attention that textbook publishers McGraw Hill, who own Standard & Poors, (who in turn own Open Court, and Direct Instruction have a new interest in educational philanthropy. But McGraw Hill isn't building schools or donating texts. The "philanthropy" is to aid in the collection of data for NCLB. (Could there be some sort of hidden motivation here?)

Coach Brown
has a fascinating challenge. What would be the results if us teachers took the same standardized tests as the students? (I actually proposed this to my academic advisor when I was brainstorming ideas for my Masters thesis. He said it would make for an outstanding research project in a large city, but politically impossible in an arcane backwater such as Middletown. I'm glad that I listened to him.)

For all of those teachers that tirelessly volunteer to chaperone dances, work concession stands, and attend Halloween Carnivals on their own time, (and without any thanks from parents nor administrators)
Ms. Smlph has written a post for you. After a cautionary note about the Power of Google, The Fun starts with how she says the boss's name: princi*pal. (We feel your pain, Ms. Smlph, we simply refer to our princi*pal as Mr. Phish, and the superintend*ant as Dr. Evil.)

Is there a time when students that have learning disabilities should not have special accommodations made when taking an examination? Erin, over at Critical Mass, has the fascinating case of a second-year medical student that is suing in order get more time when taking a test that must be passed in order to go on to a third year of medical school.

Jonathan, who writes at Overeducation
offers a thoughtful post concerning all the recent controversy about teachers unions. In a calm and well-reasoned fashion, he presents some alternatives to union membership.

There was a time in our country when young people were expected to display good manners in the presence of adults. (If not among themselves) What on Earth has happened? Bronwen, over at Suburban Decay,
shares with us an incident from her own classroom in which a student gets asked, "Hey kid, are you a boy or a girl?" (Reminds us of an old Saturday Night Live routine called It's Pat.)

Joe, over at Shutupandteach, has written a fine two parter describing the increasing amount of dissatisfaction of with The No Child Left Behind Act. Joe tells us about several states that are using a variety of tactics to challenge Margaret Spellings and the Department of Education over funding the Act. He then gives us his take on the lawsuit brought by the National Education Association in an attempt to get Washington to fully-fund NCLB. See part 1 here, and part 2 over there.

David is a student teacher that is attending University in Scotland. Before that, he served in the Queen's Own Scottish Highlanders. His site, The Cabarfeidh Pages is giving us
the surprising news about a recent visit by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to a school where he was booed by the pupils. (Background article here.)

Poor Jennifer Wilbanks just couldn't bear the attention of some 600 invited wedding guests and marrying into one of the "Pillars" (as CNN calls the fiance's family) of her hometown of Duluth, Georgia. Betsy of Betsy's Page shows us
how easy American women have it when compared to the ladies of Kyrgyzstan, a number of which are literally grabbed off the street and forced to marry.

The federal government only funds some 7% of the total cost of education in this country. Our latest addition to the EduSphere, Assorted Stuff
is telling the government in Washington to either fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act or just take their paltry 7% and go home.

Dave at Hubes Cube
addresses two issues in one post. The always controversial topic of school prayer and the fact that the MSM doesn't use the term "liberal" when describing the American Civil Liberties Union but doesn't hesitate to employ the term "conservative" when speaking of the Rutherford Institute.

Here at The Education Wonks,
we offer our own take on some unexpected problems that have surfaced regarding the standardized tests that are being given to public school students all over the country at this time of the year.

Ed's Note: As this is the first of the month, we've re-posted our statement of beliefs. We think of it as The Education Wonks Manifesto. Read it right here.
For the latest edition of The Carnival of Education, please click here.

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