Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 26

The midway of the twenty-sixth edition of The Carnival of Education is now open for your enjoyment. We hope that you'll find that this collection of writer-submitted posts is representative of the very wide range of thought that is out there in the World of Education.

As always, those entries selected by the editors appear at the bottom of the page.

There is a comprehensive listing of Carnival archives at the bottom of this post.

A successful carnival is a team effort. 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.

To those who have helped to publicize the Carnival, we offer our deepest gratitude.

Your comments, constructive criticism, and suggestions are always heartily welcomed.

We are seeking to send the Carnival on more "road trips." So, if you have a website, and are interested in guest hosting The Carnival of Education, please contact us at the email address given below.

An Invitation: All writers and readers of education-related posts are invited to contribute to the twenty-seventh 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, August 9th, 2005. The Carnival midway will open here at The Wonks next Wednesday morning.

And now.... let's take a look at the exhibits.

Jenny D did a fabulous job of guest hosting last week's Carnival. This week, Jenny takes a look at a recent New York Times article about teacher education programs and she puts forth some thought provoking ideas about how things might be done better. Then examine Mrs. Ris' take on the same Times article over at Mentor Matters.

Do teachers lose any of their First Amendment Rights when they become employed in a public school? Over at Right on the Left Coast, high school teacher Darren has been having a running dialogue with
an irate parent who wants to get him fired because her 13-year-old son visited his site. The parent is threatening to contact Darren's superintendent, principal, union, and anyone else that she can think of. (Even though the posts themselves have no graphics, Darren links to a nude protest in Berkeley and two amorous canines.)

In a post entitled "Here is your certificate, now the parents own you," Mr. McNamar, the teacher who writes over at The Daily Grind
also weighs in on Darren's situation while telling us about the controversy that erupted when some students read one of his blog's entries. In a bonus post, check out Mr. McNamar's idea for a reality TV show called Hell's Classroom.

Shakespeare's Juliet
once asked, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet." Unlike the Bard's famous rose, teacher Betsy Newmark shows us that there's quite a bit of difference between what used to be called history and is now known as social studies. Somehow, the educrats have managed to take all the joy out of what should be the most fun class in the school. (We think that Betsy's Page gives an excellent prescription for remedying this lamentable situation.)

Under the umbrella term of "staff development," most working teachers are subjected to a variety of programs, presentations, gimmicks, bells, whistles, and group activities that are supposed to somehow help the teacher to be more effective in the classroom. Many districts miss out on what should be an excellent opportunity by scheduling staff development that is a waste of valuable time and money in that these presentations often offer little in the way of how to be a better teacher. Assorted Stuff
has a practical approach that sure makes a lot of sense to us.

Over the months, we've seen a number of posts about what should be taught in just about every academic course except chemistry. Well, that's now changed. The Ruminating Dude
has impressed us with a post dedicated to what would make a good high school chemistry curriculum. Be sure to check out the dialogue that's going-on among the commenters.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has set itself an interesting goal: That no student from a low-income family should graduate owing a debt to the school. Over at The Sharpener some of our transatlantic cousins
are wondering if there's some lessons that the British could learn from Chapel Hill and apply to their own system of higher education.

Should a person's race, gender, or sexual orientation ever give him or her an advantage when it comes to applying for a school or job? Or should we as a culture be striving toward a "color blind" society? Is the spending of public funds on "diversity" programs ever justified? Quincy, at News the Universe, and Everything,
raises the issues and gets the thought process in gear.

When a student takes an advanced placement biology course, some schools require that chemistry be taken as a prerequisite. But some schools have been known to wave that requirement if the student is "motivated." What It's Like on the Inside offers
a realistic approach to the debate in a post entitled Equal vs. Fair.

Once upon a time, I actually had to teach junior high school math to a class of 30 non English-speaking students. One of the concepts that caused my students a great amount of angst was "the order of operations." I was lucky in that I enjoyed teaching math, but I realize that many teachers and parents don't. Read
this post from MathandText. It may assist you in helping the math student that is in your classroom or in your home.

Some communities are taking drastic action in order to address the problem of student truancy. At CrossBlogging,
they are concerned about a proposed daytime curfew in Rockford, Illinois that will apply to homeschoolers as well as those students who attend public school.

In Texas, the soap opera that is the debate over public education finance just goes on and on. See what happens when the lifetime Republican teacher who writes over at Rhymes With Right
has finally had enough of Republican Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst's shenanigans and inane remarks on the subjects of textbooks and fair compensation for the state's notoriously underpaid classroom teachers. Of course the Lieutenant Governor was all for increasing the already hefty pensions of the state's lawmakers...

The State of Texas is well represented in this week's Carnival. In a post entitled "No Play, No Pass" the teacher writing at Brown Bag Blog
is taking a look at how the powers-that-be expect higher and higher percentages of students to pass the state's standardized tests each year but aren't taking into consideration a variety of factors that will affect that percentage. Here is a sample:
The vague term - tougher standards - makes it sound like the kids were taking harder tests. That's really not true. The TAKS tests were comparable in difficulty to those from last year. What tougher standards means is that the state is now expecting an increased number of kids to pass the same tests.

Kids are given tests in math and language arts and in most years they also take TAKS tests in social studies and science as well. Each year you expect the kids to do better than the kids tested last year. There's a few major problems with that methodology.
See if you can correctly guess the required education class that California teacher Coach Brown is taking. In the four weeks that he has attended this class, he's been called: a racist, a bigot, a capitalist pig, a supporter of American imperialism, (He has no idea why) a symptom of the institutional Racism so prevalent at American schools, and an ignorant supporter of racial profiling. If you guessed that Mr. Brown was taking the required course in "Multiculturalism" then you've guessed correctly. (Most of us have been there; hang tough, Coach.)

The Eternal Debate: Are teachers considered to be "professionals?" For a variety of reasons, many folks don't consider teachers to be "professionals" on a par with other recognized professions such as medicine or the law. Over at Going to the Mat, they have some great common-sense ideas why this is so and
what might be done in order to reverse this perception and increase the effectiveness of teachers in the classroom at the same time.

As the father of a 13-year-old daughter (the TeenWonk) the two words "college aid" demand my closest attention. At Soccer Dad,
they ask an interesting question: If government-guaranteed student-loans weren't so easy to get, would tuition be so high? Food for thought.

We enjoy reading Living the Scientific Life, which is written by a college instructor in New York City who uses the pseudonym Hedwig the Owl. In a
well-written entry, the Owl deals with the last session of her students' one required science class, which included dissection. (As a Student-Wonk, I loved science in general and biology in particular.)

What if we simply paid parents $1000 if their children did well in school? Believe it or not, the idea is being discussed in the MSM. Interested Participant
has the details.

How much control should any state's education bureaucracy have over children when it comes to non education-related items? At Stop the Blackmail, they
forcefully argue that parents should re-assert their prerogatives and prevent The System from further eroding parental rights.

To us, the use of blogs in education is an exciting topic. Sadly, our California school district doesn't allow students to write school-sponsored blogs. Ph.D. candidate Paul D, over at Info Theory
has some great insight into the use of blogs as a vehicle for the purposes of fostering dialogue, discovery, and competition among engineering students.

Steve Pavlina's Blog is always and interesting read. In
this week's submission, Steve let's us in on a few of the strategies that he uses to overcome negativity and keep focused on the tasks at hand, which is a concern to a great many of us classroom teachers.

And now for some entries that have been selected by the editors.

At This Week In Education, Alexander Russo
takes a thorough look at a recent lengthy New York Times article that supposedly examines the state of teacher education in this country. Consider This Week's post to be your guidebook as you journey through the Times piece.

The subject of teacher education, or rather the lack of effective classes in teacher education, is the subject of
a highly-readable post by Mz. Smlph. The real pity is that almost all of us teachers have had to pay good money for the types of bad classes that she was forced to take.

really liked this post from Joanne Jacobs, which is all about how students in Milwaukee learn better in K-8 schools and some of the "alternative" campuses that are being opened soon. You don't want to miss this one.

On Monday, the President stepped right into the controversy over the teaching of "intelligent design" by indicating that it should be discussed along with evolution. Professor Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a good sampling of what's being said about this out in the 'Sphere.

At Number 2 Pencil, Kimberly let's us know that the problem of poor student discipline
isn't limited to American schools. The system of government-operated schools in Britain is not only breaking-down, but in some areas, the students rule the school. I wonder how things would be if the sons and daughter of the British ruling class also attended these government schools rather than elite "public" boarding schools such as Eton and Harrow?

And finally, we here at The Education Wonks
humbly submit for your consideration our post that describes a new type of public charter school in California and how, if successful, the school's supporters may change the whole process used to found these institutions.
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, the twentieth, here, the twenty-first, here the twenty-second, here the twenty-third, here the twenty-fourth, here, and the twenty-fifth, over there. To get to EdWonk's main page, (with a variety of education-related posts) please click here.