Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Carnival Of Education: Week 55

Welcome to the midway of this week's Carnival Of Education. All entries were submitted by the writers except those labeled "Editor's Choice," and are grouped into several categories. As always, one can find a very wide selection of posts from a variety of educational and political viewpoints.

If you have a web site and are interested in guest hosting an edition of The Carnival Of Education, please let us know via the email address given below.

Please consider helping spread the word about the midway. Links are appreciated, trackbacks are adored. As always, your comments and constructive criticism are always most welcome.

Next Week's Carnival midway will be hosted by us here at The Education Wonks. Please send contributions to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net. We should receive them no later than 9:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, February 28th. Please include the title of your post, and its URL, if possible. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway of the 56th edition of the Carnival should open next Wednesday morning.

Last week's Carnival, guest hosted by The EdWahoo, is here. See the complete set of archives
there. For our latest posts, please visit our home page.

Let the free exchange of thoughts and ideas begin...

Education Policy:

I think that it's great when high school-age students give some serious thought to what's going-on in education today. A recent Washington Post article by columnist Richard Cohen downplaying the importance of algebra has caused quite a stir in the EduSphere. But it's this teenaged girl who very capably rebuts Mr. Cohen's arguments and may just have a future career as a writer or mathematician.

Editor's Choices: Professor PZ Myers of Pharyngula also has a some choice words about Richard Cohen's assertion that students don't need to study algebra, as does Joanne Jacobs and Learning Sector's

The importance of learning mathematics is also on the mind of Ms. Cornelius over at A Shrewdness of Apes who notes that many of her AP high school students have difficulty figuring out how many points each question was worth on a 20 item quiz. She also has a strong opinon of Mr. Cohen's notions regarding algebra.

What's the real reason why the federal government has gotten so involved in public education during the past few years? Why the reasons are subject to conjecture and debate, The Common Room
proposes some ideas that are definitely thought-provoking.

"Teaching to the test," continues to be hotly debated in the EduSphere with Rhymes With Right taking the position that "
Teaching To The Test" Is "Teaching To The Standards."

Last week's Carnival host EdWahoo has been reading a large variety of posts from around the EduSphere and notes the importance of
seeing the big picture.

At The Art of Getting By, first grade teacher Janet has been taking a multi-post look at some of the many problems confronting today's classroom teacher.
This week's installment examines the issues that are encountered when younger children realize that the school's administration has placed them into groups based upon academic ability. Here's a peek:
At the end of second grade, however, the teachers have to sit down and make recommendations for children in their class who would be best suited for the G&T program. Most of the time this includes kids who get concepts a little more quickly than the rest, but sometimes it's just the kids who are trying their hardest that fill out the rest. Yes in my school, G&T doesn't necessarily mean Gifted & Talented. Sometimes it just means Good & Tame.
Once upon a time, the problem of students who were dressing provocatively was mostly limited to our high schools. This is no longer true; it's now spread to the middle school level. But Spunkyhomeschool tells us where the problem really begins.

Humbly submitted for your consideration is our post illustrating the problems that many districts have in obtaining well-qualified substitute teachers and the
shockingly low requirements that some jurisdictions have when it comes to who "fills-in" when the children's regular teacher is away.

The debate over retention vs. social promotion continues with Why Homeschool
taking a strong position.

It was
fascinating to learn that in Canada's Quebec Province, public school teachers are experiencing many of the same problems that we're having down here in the "The States!"

Editor's Choice: At Edwize, they offer some interesting thoughts about what makes for successful school.

Teaching And Learning:

English teachers take note: What are the risks of teaching a work of literature that you really love? How will you react when you see that students may not necessarily share your enthusiasm? Is there a way to at least give a literary work a chance? Dana Huff
shares one strategy that worked for her.

Minnesota math teacher has a roundup of
unbelievable real quotes from real high school students who were applying for the International Baccalaureate Program. That one about "curiosity killing the cat" really got to me...

Cheating has been a problem in American schools for generations. Mamacita has now caught a student engaging in plagiarism. Check out
the very unexpected response. Bravo!

As a classroom teacher, I sometimes forget that children learn through meaningful conversation as well as through the written word. The Median Sib gives us
a highly readable reminder.

Is it possible to effectively communicate science concepts to non-scientists in a blog? Science and Politics gives us a
step-by-step on how to effectively write that post. (And with a new template, too.)

Polski3 is looking for some help from readers. Even though he's a history teacher, he corrects his students' spelling and punctuation on their assignments. He wants to know: is this a waste of time?

Here's something for those who are interested in Math and Things Mathematical: Sophistpundit offers a
multi-post refresher course in Set Theory.

The Secret Lives Of Teachers:

News Alert! Higher pay isn't enough to keep good teachers in the classroom. Here is
what is also needed.

If you've ever been in that part of a tunnel where you can't see either the entrance or the exit, then you'll appreciate this post titled "
Deep School." This one really hits home with just about any educator in any place at any level.

At the high school where math teacher Darren works, a student was urging folks to eat Chipotle at a local fast-food place in order to "help the people of Darfur." When Darren expressed his concerns over this effort's effectiveness, the student proceeded to lecture him all about Bush, oil, Iraq, Iran, and just about
everything else under the sun. Of course it didn't stop there; somebody complained to a parent. (I think that Oscar Wilde had something to say about kids knowing everything...)

If one stays in teaching long enough, someone is going to ask you to make a presentation to other teachers. At least when it happened to Mike in Texas, he was
able to give his audience an "uplifting" experience.

Smart school administrators and classroom teachers should give serious consideration to becoming proficient in the legal issues and processes that pertain to special education. A Passion for Teaching and Ideas offers
an overview and some practical advice for dealing with those legal requirements and processes.

With 14 years service in a California public school, I thought that I had seen and heard just about everything. But I was not prepared to see Dean Martin as
the subject [seriously] of one student's "hero essay." (I'd be willing to bet that Dino, Sammy, Frank, and Peter are smiling from above over this one!)

Survival Guide For Students And Parents:

Did you have trouble with math? If so, then why? Matthew didn't do so well in high school math and takes
a look at what happened:
While my teachers are not to blame for my failures, a part of the blame has to rest with the system they find themselves in. The entire high school educational system in North America is geared towards producing either basic high school graduates or college entrants. The requirements for both are basically arbitrary, at this point. The courses you take are either completelunnecessaryry for the unskilled, low wage jobs at the bottom of the barrel, or they are inadequate for the high-skilled jobs, which will require either technical or academic training at another institution.
How to Double Your Child's Grades in School is the intriguing title of a book that may be of interest to many parents out there. Kitchen Table Math closely examines the strategies and methods that the book proposes.

Reporter Scott Elliott over at Get On the Bus
shows us parents that teachable moments can come in the most unexpected time and places with the most unexpected people.

When I was a young KidWonk, I was taught the importance of self-control and consideration for others; what we call "good manners." Sadly, this is often missing among our young people. Lennie speculates why this is the case
and proposes some remedies.

Over at The Charlotte Capitalist,
they clarify the differences between tax credits and vouchers.

Testing And Technology:

Writing over at The Thomas Institute, ex-teacher Karen
has some advice for a homeschooler who wanted to know where to obtain standardized tests for her kids.

Inside The EduBlogs:

The 8th edition of The Carnival of Homeschooling is
up and running over at HE&OS.

a neat little poem that should delight a teacher near you: "Seven Books," by Sara Goudarzi. The same source has asked us to announce their writing contest. Consider it done!

Education Matters
explains the differences between taxes and charity. (I've always wondered why after I pay my taxes that I feel as though I'm in need of a little charity...)

If you're interested in learning the ins-and-outs of the financial end of school construction, then
this is the post for you!

Editor's Choice: At This Week In Education, Alexander Russo
takes a look at (and offers constructive criticism of) The Carnival of Education.

And finally: As always, this journey around the EduSphere has been both enjoyable and informative. Thanks to all the contributors whose submissions make the midway's continuing success possible and all the readers who make it rewarding.

This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival roundup. See our latest posts here, and the complete Carnival archives over there.