Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 27

We are pleased to announce that the midway of the twenty-seventh edition of The Carnival of Education is now open for your reading pleasure. 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.

For those who would like to read back-issues of the Carnival, you'll find a set of complete archives at the bottom of this post.

A successful carnival is a team effort. Please consider helping to spread the word. The more readers who know about this collection of exhibits, the more that will "drop-in" and visit the midway. Trackbacks, links, and mentions all help.

A number of sites have been very helpful in publicizing the midway. We thank you for your support as well as several folks who have expressed an interest in guest-hosting the Carnival. If you would like to guest host an edition of the Carnival, please contact us at owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net.

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

An Invitation: The next edition of the Carnival will be guest-hosted by David over at Ticklish Ears. Please send your submissions to: david[at]ticklishears[dot]com. Contributions should be received no later than 9:00 PM (Eastern) 6:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, August 16th, 2005. (Please note the time change.) The Carnival midway will open over at Ticklish Ears next Wednesday morning.

And now.... let's take a look at this week's midway.

Where does the summer go? Whether you are a university professor or a public school teacher, the end of summer is a time of reflection. It's also a time to look forward to the challenges of a new year. And for some of us, it's a time to steel our nerves against the trials and tribulations of What's to Come. In an "Ode to Summer," A Series of Inconsequential Events, takes one last humorous look back to the Vacation that Was....and What will soon Be.

The State of California has mandated that Coach Brown must take a course in "Multiculturalism." So he has been keeping us updated as he works toward completing his assigned travail. In
the most recent installment, the writer of A Passion for Teaching and Opinions has reproduced a checklist that the course's textbook "recommends" that teachers use in order to see if the classroom is "multicultural." (Beware of "question number 5" - you've been warned.)

Have you ever had to work around an unpleasant and arrogant co-worker? In public education, this unfortunate situation happens all too frequently. Over at Rhymes with Right, they
show us one reason why so many public school educators have to put up with those types of colleagues.

Should "intelligent design" be taught in public schools? And if so, would it be taught alongside evolution? When the President stated last week that I.D. should be taught alongside evolution, it set-off a debate that reverberated throughout the 'Sphere. In this week's entry, Spunkyhomeschool
asks the question that most students will ask their teachers should the teaching of I.D. become policy.

The teaching of intelligent design
is also on the mind of Lennie over at CrossBlogging and he is looking for reader input. He has a transcript of President Bush's remarks, and links (including ours) to what is being said out in the 'Sphere.

In a
recent speech, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said, "Back in Texas, we like to say, "In God we trust - all others bring data." Over at D.C. Education Blog, they got the data and they use it to take a good look at the public school system in the nation's capital.

Just about anyone who has ever taught in a public school system can cite multiple instances where the public's money has been mis-spent through waste, fraud, and abuse. But just how much would that be? Over at Et Tu Bloge,
they argue forcefully that the amount is more than many would think, and provide some remedies.

At Jenny D's place, the commenters are having a lively discussion about how we can best address the fact that our public schools generally aren't doing a very good job of "turning around" low-achieving students. What's the best way of helping these children when they don't have supportive parents? Among other things, Jenny posits that perhaps the solution begins with taking a look at how we train teachers. Consider taking a look at
part I here, and part II over there.

Isn't it a lot of fun when you read an article in the MSM and spot an obvious mistake in the writer's reasoning? And then you wonder... was it a mistake or was it Something Else? Over at Number 2 Pencil,
they correctly point out the flaw in a critic-of-testing's assertion that the S.A.T. test is not a good indicator of likely success for college students.

Remember when girls went to school looking like kids instead of grown-up women going out on a Friday night date? With the 13-year old TeenWonk now entering ninth-grade, she'll no longer be wearing a uniform to school. Over at Scheiss Weekly, Mamacita is telling me exactly
what's waiting for us at the stores as we begin looking for those back-to-school clothes.

Isn't there any experienced classroom teachers out there offering sound, practical advice to colleagues (both beginners andveteranss) on how to have a productive year? You bet there is! Mrs. Ris at Mentor Matters
has that sound advice. Whether you are a teacher, administrator, or parent there is something here for you.

Would you believe that
Williams College has a blog that is authored by a number of students and alumni? What a model for a group blog! Despite a tax-increase and a $250,000 grant from Williams, the local high school is still having problems with its funding. With some $12,000 being spent per student, what seems to be the problem? EphBlog makes some recommendations to bring the situation back under control.

Does your local elementary district really teach history to the kids? Or is it similar to Polski3's district, where the history curriculum is largely make-believe and lip-service. He should know, because when students arrive in his seventh-grade classroom they are completely unprepared because, as Polski testifies,
many elementary teachers are neglecting history in favor of those items that are subject mandated NCLB testing: math and reading.

Was the composer Mozart born knowing how to compose great music? I think that just about everyone would agree that he was born with talent, but at News, the Universe, and Everything, Quincy reminds us that Mozart's masterpieces were also the result of many years of practice, hard work, and self-discipline. Quincy
engagingly discusses, among other things: "What if Mozart had attended an American public school?" And how can our schools bring out the creativity that's in all children?

In the thrust for educational reform, one key component that is often overlooked is the need to reform school management. Going to the Mat
didn't overlook it! (Full disclosure: this is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts.) Matt considers the idea that perhaps we should adopt the New Zealand model of school oversight.

Can too much of a good thing be a bad thing? Over at MathandText,
they caution us that not all math should come from the so-called "real world." (I know what I would jump over if I could jump like a flea. ;))

It's always exciting when we learn of a new voice in the EduSphere. Reporter Scott Elliot of the Dayton Daily News has launched a new blog called Get on the Bus. In this week's Carnival entry, Scott asks us: "How do you know when someone is a great teacher?" The
answer will surprise many...

When it comes to test-taking, is laziness on test day a factor in poor testing outcomes? In a recent post, Chris Correa offers commentary on, and links to a study that
supports the surprising idea that high students who are paid cash for correctly answering test questions don't do significantly better than those who are not paid.

is letting us know that there are folks who are attempting to expunge anything from tests and texts that might be offend anyone's sensitivities. Here is a sample:
In these excerpts in American Educator, Diane Ravitch relates how the most unlikely topics were considered offensive by a bias and sensitivity review panel and excised from a reading test. For example, in what amounts to a falsification of history, the panel - rejected a passage about patchwork quilting by women on the western frontier in the mid-19th century. - Social classes could not be shown to exist in ancient Egypt, owls had to vanish (offensive and frightening to some). A black girl could not be portrayed as weak in math even though another black girl aced it.
Bright Mystery is written by college math professor Robert "T." Since his early-morning calculus section will be the very first college class that his incoming freshman will experience, Robert is making a list of things that he should say in order to get those beginners off to a good start and he would like your suggestions.

I well remember when parents who wanted to teach their children at home were forced to struggle against "the system" in order to achieve that right. But with rights come responsibilities. Should parents who teach their children at home be accountable for the effectiveness of their teaching? In
a recent post, Ruminating Dude considers this sensitive topic.

There have been a number of studies that have examined the corralation between employment and education. But did you ever consider what, if any, correlations there are between
unemployment and education? Leave it to Political Calculations to come-up with something new and different!

Just about all of us have thought about the teachers that we had when we were in school. But how many of us have ever made a post in order to pay tribute to those that helped make reading this Carnival possible? Well... over at Spiral Visions,
they have done just that! (Among us EdWriters, this could be the start of something...)

Would you believe that merit pay for teachers is being considered, in of all places, Massachusetts? It goes without saying that pay would be based largely upon test results. Diane Weir
has all the details.

Not too long ago, (week 24) we had a submission from Ogre's Politics & Views. Well, like ogres, Borgs are also interested in education, and a borg-written site called Resistance is Futile has sent us an
interesting post about all the lessons that Harry Potter doesn't teach. And yes, those are "Gullyborg's" feet!

One of the things that almost all teachers have in common is the need to have effective public-speaking skills. Steve Pavlina has
some good common-sense advice that just about anyone who is interested (and as educators we should be) in honing their ability to speak in front of groups.

Are there any comparisons to be drawn between counterfeit currency and some high school diplomas? Reader John S. of Napa, California, has sent us
a letter that strongly advocates the need for National Content Specific Standards.

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

one of the best education-related posts that we've read ever, Ms. Frizzle has created a well-constructed teacher-education curriculum for the college-level . We are simply amazed at all the thought and hard work that must have went into the construction of this excellent post. In a bonus entry, check out the "working vacation" (with photos) that this New York City science teacher enjoyed in California's wilderness.

Joanne Jacobs is one of our daily reads. This week,
her post about why many U.S. high schools are adopting literature anthologies that weigh up to seven pounds each really caught my eye. And don't miss finding out who's just Wild About Harry Potter. guest blogger GGW (I know what the initials stand for, but you'll have to find out for yourself) has posted a
great intellectual exercise in creatively staffing a school. They call the post "Teacher Choice Gone Wild."

One would think that a book called The Princess Diaries (Volume II) would not present any unexpected problems for the teacher of the student who chose this particular book. Think again. See how Melinama, who is a music teacher during the school year but has been mentoring a 10-year-old girl this summer,
dealt with a very delicate situation.

And finally, we here at The Education Wonks humbly
submit for your consideration our take on the NCAA's ban on the use of Native American team names and masots during college playoffs and championships. (As an alumnus of Florida State University, it just had to be said.)
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, the twenty-fifth, here, and the twenty-sixth, right here. To get to EdWonk's main page, (with a variety of education-related posts) please click here.