Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 21

Welcome to the twenty-first 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 would like to say a great big "Thank You" to last week's guest host, Jenny D. Her work always helps to keep the carnival fresh and we are frankly envious of her ability to organize the midway in a most engaging fashion.

For those that would like to peruse "back editions" of the Carnival, readers will find a complete set of archives at the bottom of this 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 twenty-second 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, July 5, 2005. The Carnival midway will open here at the 'Wonks next Wednesday morning.

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

The first stop on the week's Carnival midway is at that of last week's guest host Jenny D. In a recent post, Jenny discusses questions that have arisen regarding a survey by the Educational Testing Service (EDS) that concluded there was a disconnect between the respective beliefs of parents and educators regarding a variety of educational outcomes, including achievement levels of economically disadvantaged/minority students as well as very different views regarding The No Child Left Behind Act.

Would you believe that there are actually superintendents out there who would take a teacher to task because the teacher concentrates on technology skills and worries about how his students will compete in the global economy? Writing at Remote Access,
Clarence has some thoughts about what educators should be doing to help prepare students for the new realities of the 21st century economy. Here is one key word from the post: China.

You would think that teachers should be able to pass a relatively-simple assessment of their knowledge in teaching techniques for non English-speaking students who are in the process of learning English. Megan, who is a teacher that practices in California, would like to know why
some teachers can't manage to pass this test. (As a California teacher myself, I've taken and passed the test, [known as the CLAD] and I can affirm that it's not difficult, at least for those who have studied the material.)

Teachers don't do all their teaching in the classroom. Over at Education In Texas, Mike
is telling us about how he and his nephew used to enjoy flying remote controlled aircraft together. That was then. This is now. His nephew, Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant John Simmons, will be receiving his aviator's wings next month!

A number of MSM articles have pointed out that students who write long answers on the essay components of high-risk tests such as S.A.T. are usually awarded higher scores despite the fact that responses may have been poorly organized and full of spelling and grammatical errors. Chocolate and Gold Coins
is asking a good question: Why do so many students simply regurgitate information without really organizing it?

"Student achievement must be a priority, but if style is getting in the way of that, then you need to change that [style]." These are the words of Minneapolis school superintendent Thandiwe Peebles, who has high expectations for student achievement and is determined to close the "achievement gap" between minority and white students. Scholar's Notebook
has all the details.

Do the laws of economics apply to teacher demand and supply? It has often been observed that if teacher salaries are high, the supply of teachers competing for those jobs will also be high. Over at Me-ander, Muse
links to a New York Times article (you may need to register) that illustrates the concept of Teacher Demand And Supply as well as answers to one of life's mysteries: What do some teachers do during summertime?

Alexander Russo is a well-published education writer whose site This Week In Education features a weekly roundup (published most Fridays) of education-related articles from online sources, print media, and posts from a variety of blogs. In
a recent post, This Week takes a well-reasoned look at the Times article that is referenced above.

I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or tear my hair out in clumps when I read this post from Number 2 Pencil. Would you believe that that State of Virginia is
phasing out a basic teacher certification test and replacing it with one that doesn't have a math component? This means that some teachers will become licensed without ever having passed a test in the most basic math concepts. As a teacher in California, I can affirm that the math on the test that California uses (the CBEST) is written at about the ninth-grade level and many would-be teachers have great difficulty passing it.

California teacher Darren, who blogs at Right on the Left Coast,
also has some thoughts on how much math a teacher should know:
Teachers, however, are another story. Teachers need to know more than what they teach. A third grade teacher who cannot do fourth grade math--and that includes fractions, folks--cannot adequately prepare students for the next grade. If they could, why not just have smart high school students teach elementary level math? They know plenty more than the third-graders.
It's graduation day over at the New York City high school where Girlontheescape teaches. Even though she's delighted to see her students graduate, the forward-thinking writer of Se Hace Camino Al Andar is already planning for next year. Now if only colleagues who have a problem would talk to their administrator first before complaining to the teachers union representative...

Should the United States military welcome gays within its ranks? Education commentator Jerry Moore
takes a high school counselor to task over the counselor's letter to the paper which was critical of an officers explanation of current Department of Defense policy.

What is a department head, and why would a school ever need one? Even though our fairly-large junior high school doesn't really have any department heads, (we sure could use 'em) many institutions do and David of Ticklish Ears
may have to get used to the idea of becoming a department head at a North Carolina University.

When is a school year finally considered to be over? Graduation day? Not if you work at the California community college where Radagast teaches. His school year doesn't end until after he has dealt with
all the students that are begging for grade changes. Don't miss the student that wanted "extra credit" for perfect attendance even after taking his brother to the airport!

Why do low-Socio Economic Status students do poorly on standardized tests? This is one of the hottest topics in education today. Quincy, over at News, The Universe, and Everything
discusses the incessant charge of testing bias.

Not being a Math teacher myself, I've only a nodding acquaintance with the debate over "ethnomathematics." Stephan, over at Ziggurat Math
is sounding the alarm that teaching "culturally sensitive math" would be counterproductive to increasing student achievement and therefore hurts the children that it is supposed to help.

Apples are to oranges what schools are to home-teaching. Did you know that some have tried to compare the "costs" of homeschooling vs. those of formal institutions? The Headmistress over at The Common Room
helps us understand that many of the "costs" of homeschooling really aren't costs at all.

Is there ever a time when students should be banned from displaying the flags and other symbols of ethnic or cultural heritage? At Rhymes With Right, Greg
expresses his concerns about how one school's efforts to ban student displays of the Confederate battle flag resulted in the banning of all flags (except Old Glory) and that this might have exceeded the bounds of constitutionality.

Have you ever personally struggled against an educational institution or teachers union? Perhaps you know someone who has? If you do, Stop The Blackmail!
would like to hear from you for a book that they are writing about "Education Martyrs."

My goodness, college isn't cheap. We all knew that. But did you know that Political Calculations
has come up with a nifty little device that shows you estimated costs after they are adjusted for inflation and your investments? They even use my alma mater, Florida State University, as an example. With a soon-to-be-college-age daughter, the math is scary...

Professor Plum has learned that the honchos of a Certain School of Education are very nervous about a proposed study to learn how much (or how little) education students know about how to teach reading. The Professor
shows us to what lengths they will go to in order to avoid being found out....

The proposal to require high school students in the Philadelphia school system to take a class in African history
got the attention of Eric over at Classical Values one morning. This led him to consider why so many kids are completing high school without having adequate skills in reading and writing as well as some possible remedies.

Should colleges and universities be training grounds for workers? Or should they be places that produce scholars? Over at Going To The Matt,
he wrestles with the concept that all students should be required to take 9 courses that cannot be waived. (If you were to choose a basic list of courses, what would they be? It's an intriguing concept...)

As the father of a 13-year-old daughter, (the TeenWonk) I immediately took a great deal of interest when I read this post. Multiple Mentality
has brought to our attention the fact that the Pentagon has hired a private company to compile a data base on most of the nation's 16-18-year-olds. (I try to keep impartial when compiling the Carnival, but I can see no viable reason why the government should allow any company to have access to confidential information about our children. The notion of any for-profit concern having this information greatly concerns me.)

At Crossblogging they
have published a resolution by The Southern Baptist Convention which calls upon members to take a critical look at their community schools curriculum, texts, and programs. The resolution also urges that parents participate in school activities and get to know their children's teachers.

Here is an idea that I've never heard of before: What if all children were to attend private schools? A mother of four boys, Holly Aho, who writes A Soldier's Angel,
urges just that. She firmly believes that private schools would do the best job of educating children, at least through the eighth grade. She bases her assertion on her own experiences as a student as well as those of her son, who attended public as well as private schools.

Coach Brown teaches history at California's Ukiah High School. His site, A Passion For Teaching And Opinions, was one of the first to report the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court called Kelo vs. New London. If you are a homeowner, (or hope to be) you might want to
consider taking a look at this post.

And now for some entries selected by the Editors:

Mz. Smlph is one of a number of teachers that have been participating in Teach for America. She has just finished her second year of teaching in an undisclosed southern town. With a little time on her hands, she
has written an introspective post about several different topics, including her summertime gig as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
has some important news regarding the untimely death of John Walton (son of the late Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart) and what it means to education.

Would you believe that a junior high school in California allowed all of its eighth grade students to participate in the school's "promotion ceremony" even though one fourth of them failed to meet the "graduation requirements?" Well, it really happened and Joanne Jacobs
has all the details.

Tim, at Assorted Stuff, is attending the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC). This is the place to be if you are interested in technology in the classroom. But if you are like me and can't attend, then don't miss Tim's
reports from the conference itself!

Dave Shearon
takes a thorough look at all the ballyhoo surrounding the recent improvement in test scores in Nashville's public school system. He concludes that appearances can be deceiving.

Finally, here at The Education Wonks,
we humbly submit for your approval our take on how two California school districts (including ours) modified their dress codes in response to gang violence in the schools.
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, here the seventeenth, here the eighteenth, here the nineteenth, here, and the twentieth, over there. To get to EdWonk's main page, (with a variety of education-related posts) please click here.