Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 18

Welcome to the eighteenth 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.

We have listed complete set of Carnival archives at the bottom of the post.

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. Trackbacks, links, and mentions all help.

And, of course, your comments and constructive criticism are always most welcome.

An Invitation: All writers and readers of education-related posts are invited to contribute to the nineteenth edition of The Carnival of Education. Please send your submissions to: owlshome[at]earthlink[dot]net. Contributions should be received no later than 10:00 PM (Eastern) 7:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, June 14, 2005. The Carnival midway will open here at the 'Wonks next Wednesday morning.
(The time change is needed because we will be publishing the next edition of the Carnival from the eastern time zone.)

And now.... let's see what the midway has to offer this week.

Our old friend William Shakespeare said it best when his Juliet uttered to her Romeo, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet." At What It's Like on the Inside, we learn that names do make a difference when it comes to the real world of teaching and learning.

If you like controversies, California is definitely the place to be! At The Common Room,
they take an in depth look at some of the issues surrounding the adoption of state-approved textbooks- including the notion that no book should be over 200 pages in length.

Here is a term: "Signature Pedagogy." The term was coined by Carnegie Foundation president Lee Shulman to explain the unique characteristics of each area of formal education for any given profession. (Examples: law school, medical school, teacher education Etc.) Chris Correa
introduces the term to the EduSphere. I'm sure that we will hear more about Signature Pedagogies as the debate over reform of teacher-education continues to intensify.

Like ourselves, Pamela is a fan of Ayn Rand. Her site, Atlas Shrugs, is
bringing to our attention the changing of the guard at the Columbia Journalism Review. The publication's new chief editor will be Victor Navasky who had headed The Nation. How fast can one say "Another sharp turn to the left over at Columbia U?"

It's not unusual for teachers to offer students the opportunity to write letters to members of the United States Congress. And it's not that unusual for students to get a reply. But it's highly unusual for a member of Congress to respond to the letters by dropping by the classroom for a little chat with the students. Coach Brown, of A Passion for Teaching And Opinions tells us all about Congressman Mike Thompson's
highly informative visit to his high school class.

It can be successfully asserted that the key to success in just about any area of life (including education) is self-discipline. Steve Pavlina has written
a highly readable post about this very topic. Here is a sample:
The five pillars of self-discipline are: Acceptance, Willpower, Hard Work, Industry, and Persistence. If you take the first letter of each word, you get the acronym "A WHIP" - a convenient way to remember them, since many people associate self-discipline with whipping themselves into shape.
Students carping about having to do too much work in school is nothing new. But when a student writes an email to complain, shouldn't he or she use standard spelling and grammar? Or is it all an act? Multiple Mentality has the clues to this mystery. In a bonus post, M.M. witnessed a middle school age child giving his mom a hard time at the local Wal-Mart. How times have changed!

Spelling Bees have been in the news quite a bit lately. Over at CrossBlogging, they examine the
significant presence of homeschooled children in the just-completed National Spelling Bee. This post also features an interesting breakdown of the reasons why many parents choose to homeschool their children.

An astute parent promotes summer reading for his or her child. At Ticklish Ears,
they have some great ideas when it comes to addressing one of parenthood's Eternal Challenges: How do I get my child to read more? Consider checking out some of those titles...

Many California teachers feel that their unions aren't responsive to the concerns of their rank-and-file membership. That sentiment is fueled by the fact neither The National Education Association or The California Teachers Association allow its rank-and-file membership to vote for their own officers. Over at Polksi3's View From Here, Polski
is telling us about a small victory that the local rank-and-file has won against it's unelected full-time NEA/CTA operative. Sadly, many of California's teachers will still be forced to pay additional monies to these unions, even if they don't want to belong.

If a student with a learning disability graduates from high school but still can't read or write well enough to attend college or get a job, does that mean he or she should be able to sue the local school district? Interested Participant is reporting
that's exactly what happened in Pennsylvania!

A discussion has been taking place in the EduSphere over whether or not video games can be powerful tools for teaching kids. Clarence, writing at Remote Access, has been a part of this dialogue for some time. In the
latest installment, Clarence wonders if "bad" video games have anything positive to offer students. (There are lots 'o interesting links to be had on this post.)

Should Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) classes be known by another name? How do kids feel when some of their friends are placed in GATE classes but they aren't? Outside [The Cave]
ponders this particular aspect of ability tracking.

Is there a correlation between grade point average and popularity? And is the correlation, if any, the same for all races? And how does a child's socio-economic status affect all of the foregoing? At Half Sigma,
they examine a Harvard study that focused on these variables.

Are there any similarities between a family and a classroom? In a
most engaging read, The Daily Grind details for us eight such similarities and how they're connected to Mr. McNamar's classroom.

Have you ever considered how math problems are formulated before they are presented to students? Jay, at MathandText
has written a thoughtful post about how textbook problems often have little or no application in the outside world.

My 13-year-old daughter (the TeenWonk) is already eagerly making her college plans. Expensive college plans, that is. Therefore anytime someone writes about the high cost of college tuition, they have my undivided attention. In
a recent post, The Quietist has some thoughts about how some of that tuition money is being used by these institutions and what the future holds for soon-to-be-attending students. (gulp!)

delicate subject of race relations on our college campuses is the subject of some thoughts by Quincy at News, the Universe, and Everything. Here is a key passage:

Fear not, for I have a solution to this seemingly intractable problem. We should establish cultural re-education centers, in the tradition of the great Chairman Mao, to teach people to think and act as their race should. Imagine it! When you put a re-educated black man into the mix, you'll know exactly what you're getting. No variables, no surprises. He will act just as he should. You will be able to perfectly balance your institution to get the desired results.
No Left Turns would like to know why the Political Left is choosing to turn a blind eye to substantive issues (such as education) and is instead concentrating its energies toward winning a series of "symbolic victories" such as pressuring city governments into passing resolutions calling for an end of the Iraq War and the development of a system of universal health care.

Brand-new blogger Shep "B" over at Mistaken Optimist advocates the development of nationwide tests and is concerned about improving teacher quality and instructional programs. Here is a taste:

The unions need not be a fatal obstacle. There is plenty of money in the system to keep a lot of people happy-the challenge is to steer that money increasingly toward those activities and products that actually increase student achievement, and toward well-designed R&D that can identify same.
Muse, who teaches in Israel, writes over at Me-andar. Muse shares with us her thoughts on what makes this the worst time of the year. (For me, it's the beginning- memorizing the names of 180 students. Check out Muse's follow-up here.)

Blood. It's not just for vampires anymore. Actually, a variety of different cultural groups have engaged in this behavior down through the centuries. At Classical Values,
they are reporting Philadelphia, while on a field trip, a third-grade class learned all about groups that have continued this custom to the present day. Eric, who writes at Classical Values, would like to know why the speaker extolled these groups' knowledge of family and community in spite of the fact that substantial numbers of girls and women have been subjected to the ordeal of "female circumcision."

Before he became a teacher at the age of 32, Darren who publishes Right on the Left Coast, paid enough into the Social Security system to qualify for a pension upon reaching retirement age. Now, he
has learned that his check will be reduced because he now pays into another retirement system. It's called the "anti-double dipper provision." Interestingly, Congress, which passed this law back in the '80s, exempted itself from these provisions. In a bonus post, Darren would like those of his students who drive Acuras and Avalanches to buy him a car to replace the Kia that Darren currently drives.

At Stop The Blackmail!
they are requesting that high school teachers consider giving a brief survey of Western Culture. There are 28 short answer questions. (And no, I won't disclose either my scores or TeachWonk's)

The absurdity of many efforts to increase (or protect) student self-esteem is the subject of
a recent post by Henway "T" at Sense of Soot. The legendary "Red Ink Story" makes its latest appearance! (Our take: Oct '04, and Apr '05) Check out the parallel between Esteem and Rock-and-Roll!

Anxiety, relief, or delirium...
How does a parent feel when their child leaves home for an overnighter? (I'm an "anxiety" man myself!) See how Rachel felt over at Willow Tree.when her daughter caught the bus out of town.

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

D.C. Education Blog is reporting on the mess over at Jefferson Junior High. Would you believe that this school has been the cause of picketing at district headquarters? Perhaps the reasons have something to do with the fact that they have not had a permanent principal, or maybe it's that one of the seventh-grade English classrooms is staffed by a librarian. Or maybe people are upset about declining academic performance, or perhaps it's the increasing rodent infestation. Nevertheless, D.C. school superintendent Clifford B. Janey has been slow to get anything done to remedy the situation. is covering the story of how in Franklin, New Hampshire, the school board in is refusing to allow students from a public charter school to participate in the 81st annual "Class Day" parade down Main Street. (To us, this appears to be sure idiocy in action.)

Students of immigrants from India have been having phenomenal success in spelling bees. Betsy's Page
examines some of the possibilities why.

Over at Pratie Place, Melina, the daughter of Melinama, is heading south. Don't miss her highly engaging
two-day travelogue as she journeyed from her home in North Carolina all the way to Mississippi. (For us, that's a day trip. Driving in shifts, we are about to travel 2164 miles in 36 hours, health and machinery permitting.)

Jenny D. has been attending a series of presentations (in an amphitheater, no less) on education by David Labaree, Lee Shulman, and David K. Cohen. Jenny
offers some great thoughts on each of the three lecturers.

Finally, here at The Education Wonks, we humbly submit for your approval our thoughts on teacher recruitment and retention. We call it,
Highly Qualified Teachers: Supply And Demand.
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 the fourteenth, here the fifteenth, here, the sixteenth, there and the seventeenth, over there. To get to EdWonk's main page, (with a variety of education-related posts) please click here.