Saturday, March 31, 2007

Our Out-Of-Control Schools: Is This The Worst Yet?

As this sad tale about one high school student killing another and two fifth-graders in the same public school system having sex in a classroom reveals, the stories of out-of-control student behavior just get worse:
SPEARSVILLE, La. (AP) -- Two fifth-graders had sex on a classroom floor while two others fondled each other in the classroom, according to a teacher at Spearsville High School.

Union Parish Superintendent Judy Mabry would say only that the allegations were being investigated; Principal Frank Futch said the incident was not indicative of how the school is run.

First-year teacher Michael Walker, who teaches fifth- through eighth-grade English, said three students were either expelled or sent to an alternative school and two others got detention.

Students at the kindergarten through 12th grade school are unruly, disrespectful and rarely disciplined, Walker said.

"They cuss at the teachers and throw things at them, and nothing is done," Walker said. "There was even one student who grabbed a teacher in the butt and nothing was done. The students run the school."

Walker said teachers learned Wednesday about the incident, which allegedly occurred during an assembly Tuesday to talk about a 15-year-old student accused of stabbing another student to death over the weekend.

The assembly was for sixth- through 12th-grade students. Fifth-grade students were not told about it, he said. But one class of about 15 fifth-grade students that routinely moves from a portable building to a main building classroom during the second hour of the school day was unattended on Tuesday.

"The teacher thought it was a normal day and sent the kids to second hour," he said. "She didn't know the teacher that would normally be in there was still at the assembly."

The students were alone for about 30 minutes.

Teachers began to hear rumors around school Wednesday and by the end of the school day, the students involved had confessed.

School officials notified the Union Parish Sheriff's Office on Thursday morning and detectives questioned students.

"This is one incident and everyone is making a big deal out of it," Futch said. "I never had a teacher complain to me, but I have heard them complain to each other."

Sheriff Bob Buckley said charges are likely. "I have zero tolerance for drugs, violence or anything like that that goes on in school," he said.
When a local school system is this dysfunctional, somebody (or somebodies) must be held accountable.

But who?

As for Mr. Walker, the first-year teacher who ran his mouth brought this to the media's (and the community's) attention, his days as an employee of that particular district are probably numbered.

Update: (04/04/07) The young exhibitionists have been busted!
See our latest EduPosts.


Sports Saturday: JOCKular Spelling Lessons Needed!

If the misspelling of their home state's name on those tank-tops is any indication, we suppose that West Virginia's public schools and colleges are in need of some serious EduHelp:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia may have won the National Invitation Tournament, but the Mountaineers' commemorative T-shirts are less than championship material.

They contain a misspelling.

The "West Virginia" printed on the shirts players wore after winning the NIT title with a 78-73 victory over Clemson on Thursday night is missing the last "i" in "Virginia."

WVU sports information director Shelly Poe said the NIT printed the shirts.

Calls to tournament officials were not immediately returned Friday.

West Virginia coach John Beilein also could not be reached for comment. He and the team were on their way back to West Virginia on Friday after winning their first NIT title in 65 years.
We just can't help but chuckle at this one...
See our latest EduPosts.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Today's Non Sequitur: Hypocrite Alert!

John Travolta, the revolting hypocrite.

Heh. Maybe that extra-large gas-guzzler jet aircraft parked in Tony Manero's Travolta's driveway is a symptom that he's compensating for something...

Labels: ,

The Monsters Among Us: What's The Remedy?

Once again, we have female teachers (one of which is married) who have been charged with seducing their young male students. Only this time, there are allegations of deep-rooted racist overtones:
CLINTON, S.C. — The arrest of two female teachers on charges of having sex with their male students has brought cries of lingering racism in one of South Carolina's most conservative counties and evoked some of the South's oldest and deepest-seated racial taboos.

Both women are white. The boys — six in all — are black.

Some of the blacks who make up more than a quarter of Laurens County's 70,000 residents are upset over the handling of the two cases, particularly the release of the teachers on bail. They say the cases reflect the way that crimes by whites against blacks in the segregated South were treated less seriously than other offenses.

"I can assure you if it were an African-American male who committed such an offense against a white female, history shows us that the charges, the punishment and the sentencing would be totally different," said state NAACP President Lonnie Randolph. "The system ain't blind when the perpetrator is an African-American male or female or when the victim is a white female."

County prosecutor Jerry Peace said that the teachers are wearing electronic-tracking devices and that their release on bail — $125,000 for one, $110,000 for the other — was based not on race, but on the danger to the community and the likelihood that the defendants might flee.

In any case, it would be unusual for someone accused of such a crime to be held without bail. Deborah Ahrens, a visiting professor of criminal law at the University of South Carolina, said of the bail amounts for the two teachers: "For the clients that I've represented in the past that were up for similar offenses, that sounds about right."

Signs of racial tension, old and new, are not hard to find in Laurens County. In the town of Laurens, where one of the teachers taught, an old movie theater has been converted into a Ku Klux Klan museum and paraphernalia store called The Redneck Shop. There, visitors can buy bumper stickers depicting three Klansmen and reading, "The Original Boys in the Hood."

Wendie Schweikert, 37 and married, who had been teaching elementary school in Laurens for more than a decade, was arrested last year after the mother of an 11-year-old boy accused her of having sex with the boy at school at least twice. Authorities said they found evidence bearing his DNA in her classroom. She is also accused of having sex with him in her car near a miniature golf course and arcade in Greenville, about 40 miles away.

Allenna Ward, a 24-year-old minister's daughter in her second year of teaching, was fired Feb. 28 after she was charged with having sex with at least five boys. Some of the alleged victims, 14 and 15 years old, were students at the middle school in Clinton where Ward taught. Police say Ward, who is married, had sex with the boys at the school, at a motel, in a park and behind a restaurant.

Attempts to contact the women were unsuccessful, and their lawyers did not return repeated calls.
What can be done to clean our profession up and keep those who would prey upon our young people out of our classrooms and away from our kids?
See our latest EduPosts.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Carnival Of Education: Week 112

Welcome to the midway of the 112th Carnival of Education!

Here's this week's roundup of entries from around the EduSphere. All entries this week were submitted by the writers themselves.

If you're interested in hosting an edition of The Carnival Of Education, please let us know via this email address: edwonk [at] educationwonks [dot] org.

As always, we give a hearty "thank you" to everybody who helped spread the word about last week's midway. Visit the C.O.E.'s archives here and see our latest EduPosts there.

Next Week's Carnival midway will be hosted by Matthew Paulson over at Getting Green. Contributors are invited to send submissions to: ggreenblog [at] hotmail [dot] com , or use this handy submission form. Entries should be received no later than 9:00 PM (Eastern) 6:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, April 3, 2007. Please include the title of your post, and its URL, if possible. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway should open next Wednesday morning.

Let the free exchange of thoughts and ideas begin!

EduPolicy and Politics:

Edspresso shows us that when it comes to philanthropists who are willing to donate some $200 million dollars toward the building of charter schools,
no good deed goes unpunished.

Hube at The Colossus of Rhodey
has the latest in the battle over student-authored school-sponsored publications. This time, it's the State of Washington that is apparently taking on the Supreme Court of the United States. (We're putting our money on SCOTUS.)

Ms. Cornelius of A Shrewdness of Apes
is sounding the alarm about the sad fact that many of our students are being cheated out of the study of history. Here's a sample:
My elementary aged children have spent precious little time on learning about history or geography or economics-- in fact, my first-grader has not had ANY assignments brought home that deal with social studies, while my fourth-grader has covered one unit on state history, and that is all. Meanwhile, hours each day are devoted to test-taking skills as those high-stakes test loom in just a few days' time.
The "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case (background here) is on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rhymes With Right takes a hard look at what might very well be a landmark decision by the Supreme Law-Making Body Court.

While effectively using graphs and data, Friends of Dave shows everyone how some California schools can more than satisfy the state's "high standards" (Even receiving praise from State Superintendent Jack O'Connell.) and yet
still manage to let-down large numbers of minority students.

Who (or what) is ultimately responsible for student success or failure? The student or the "system?"
Judge for yourself.

very intriguing post by Going to the Mat introduces us to the idea of measuring teacher effectiveness based upon concepts of data analysis that proved successful in the world of.... professional baseball.

Should high schools remove books from their libraries and reading lists if they deem them too sexually explicit? Even if such books are considered to be "classics?" NYC Educator invites you to join in the EduDiscussion
over at his place.

What would happen
if we apply the lessons of Henry Ford to public eduction?

Scott Elliott of Ohio's Dayton Daily News wonders if
consolidating school districts might actually cost more money than it saves. (We find that EduCracies are like weeds; they grow no matter what one does to 'em.)

In Texas, the "top ten-percent" are supposed to get into the the state school of their choice. Or are they?

Humbly submitted for your approval is our contribution about what happens when a state finally gets around to taking-over a large city's failing public school system.

From The Classroom:

The Teacher With A Bad Attitude (How's that for a site's title?) loves homework
but is finding-out that many parents have an altogether different attitude...

Joanne Jacobs has this
charming contribution about the mom who discovers that her son has a knack for making things even though the lesson learned may not have been what was intended by the teacher.

Teachers try and try... and try. And still the kids don't "get-it" when it comes to the plague that is plagiarism. (And the clincher? These are students from the other side of the world!)

How about
a few breathing exercises to start the EduDay?

Here's a roundup of essay's
written by the students of Pennsylvania's Red Lands High School. The assignment: complete a project describing a recent brain (or genetic) study that affects behavior. (In a more simpler time we were tasked with essays such as "What I did during my summer vacation." How things have changed over the years!)

We thought that the Hall Monitor was going to take us down memory lane with this submission about Senior Cut Day. That is until we read about
the parents being in on it....

The British teacher who writes over at Scenes From The Battleground shows us that when it comes to the behavior of high-school age students,
we share a lot in common with our Transatlantic Cousins.

We think that hands-on math has a lot to offer. But
we were pleasantly surprised to see that someone has written a skit designed to get students out of their chairs and shaking hands in order to do a math problem.

Brad Hoge of HUNBlog is teaching physics to perspective elementary school teachers. He's promised them that there wouldn't be too much math. But when a math question does need to get asked,
it's important to make sure that it's the right kind of math question.

Here's more evidence that when it comes to teaching high school math, it might pay to put one's mind "in the gutter" before giving them a "hot" warm-up problem. (We couldn't help but smile at the Blogger label for this one: Lesson Plan Mulligans.")

Parent Survival Guide:

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at this submission by Mamacita of Scheiss Weekly. Here's the title:
Parents Who Want Their Daughters to be Whores and How to Spot Them at the Mall. Tragedy or Comedy? You make the call. (In this bonus post, Mamacita makes her opinion clear on the matter of abortion rights.)

Parent Roy Hester is moving from Sumter, South Carolina to Anchorage, Alaska and is
wrestling with the problem of choosing a school for the kids. (As part-time residents of Tamassee, South Carolina, we can't help but wonder what, if anything, the Hester family is going to miss about the Palmetto State.)

Inside This Teaching Life:

How would one measure "Teacher Productivity?" Cold Springs Shops
takes issue with one site's assertion that teacher productivity must be raised before the question of teacher salaries is addressed.

The Science Goddess at What It's Like on the Inside teaches us that it is likely possible to have
a near-fatal Powerpoint Experience.

This submission from the classroom of Missprofe says it all:
Courage, or: Just When You’re About To Take A Mental Health Day.

Polski3 sheds light on the fact that even though he is forced to financially support the California affiliate (CTA) of the National Education Association, (NEA) he's not allowed to run for certain union positions because
he's the wrong race.

Bluebird's Classroom
reminds us of the fact that when all students get an award, it will be the students who ultimately lose out.

California high school math teacher Darren has obtained a free, plastic wrapped copy of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." Consider checking-out
the novel way in which he plans to both view and fact-check this controversial film.

English teacher Dana Huff
takes a position on teachers who publish EduBlogs while urging districts to take advantage of the opportunity to get some candid feedback from their employees.

Teaching And Learning:

Dr. Madeline Daniels presents
a convincing argument that if we teach our students to believe in themselves, they will.

School Governance:

Our school district here in California's "Imperial" Valley is notorious for hiring school administrators based more on their politics and connections rather than their qualifications and proven track records. It's
interesting to learn that the evil twins Nepotism and Cronyism infest the hiring of administrators in a certain school district deep in the heart of Texas.


We've always known that students who do well on the A.P. exams receive a variety of delayed benefits, but who would have thought that
they could get a bonus of several hundred dollars for getting a good score?

School Choice:

From the Carnival's Read The Fine Print Department, we have this submission titled
The Honest, Intelligent, Logical, Humane Way to OPPOSE Vouchers....

Higher Education:

The Rightwing Prof has
some helpful hints for those who are considering a career in the upper reaches of academia.

What's in a school motto? There's more to a school motto than
we ever would have thought...

We agree with
this post's logical assertion that when it comes to online Master's programs, they just aren't as good as degrees that are earned the good old-fashioned way.

Resources and Reviews:

From Book Wink we have
this video booktalk of The Lightning Thief, and The Shadow Thieves, which are two contemporary middle grade novels dealing with characters from Ancient Mythology.

Inside the EduBlogs:

When it comes to the history of Indian Princess Pocahontas' conversion to Christianity, it appears as though some folks in the U.S. Capitol building could
use a history lesson.

And finally: This, like most of our journeys around the EduSphere, has been both enjoyable and informative. Our continued thanks to all the contributors whose submissions make the midway's continuing success possible, the folks who donate their time to help spread the word, and the readers who continue to make it A Free Exchange of Thoughts and Ideas
This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival roundup. See our latest EduPosts here, and the complete Carnival archives (soon to be updated) over there.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

C.O.E. Entries Are Due!

Entries for the 112th midway of The Carnival Of Education (hosted this week by us here at The 'Wonks.) are due today. Please email them to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net . (Or use this handy submission form.) Submissions should be received no later than 9:00 PM (Eastern), 6:00 PM (Pacific). Contributions should include your site's name, the title of the post, and the post's URL if possible.

Those wishing to host an edition of the Midway, please drop us a line via the same email address.

Visit last week's midway right here.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the exhibits should open Wednesday.
See our latest EduPosts.

The Watcher's Council Has Spoken!

Each and every week, Watcher of Weasels sponsors a contest among posts from the Conservative side of the 'Sphere. The winning entries are determined by a jury of 12 writers (and The Watcher) known as "The Watchers Council."

The Council has met and cast their ballots for last week's submitted posts.

Council Member Entries: Big Lizards took first place with The Contranomics of Global Jihad.

Non-Council Entries: American Digest garnered the most votes with Four Years In.
See our latest EduPosts.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Today's Non Sequitur

The Mainstream Media has it all wrong.

Anna Nicole Smith did not die due to an accidental drug overdose.

She threw her life away died due to complications resulting from a case of self-induced terminal stupidity.
See our latest posts.


More Hollywood Idiocy: "Wristcutters: A Love Story"

Considering the epidemic of self-injury that's already affecting many American students, life is difficult enough without this sort of nonsense being thrown at them by the Hollywood Crowd:
NEW YORK -- Fifteen suicide prevention groups are dead set against After Dark Films' proposed campaign for the comedy "Wristcutters: A Love Story," which is set to bill itself with signs showing people killing themselves.

After Dark Films co-owner Courtney Solomon said late Friday that while the film's promotion may feature images of people jumping off a bridge, electrocuting and hanging themselves, they would be displayed as traffic-style stop or yield signs with a barring-style circle and line over the illustrations, along with hearts to reference the film's romantic story line. He said the campaign may change before its mid-July rollout because of the outcry.

Solomon intends to offer screenings or DVDs of the film to concerned organizations in the next few weeks, then discuss the campaign with them and ask for their input. "The movie takes place in purgatory, and its message is that love is better than suicide," he said, adding that the film may even help prevent suicide. "Our job is to get people into the theater in a way that's accessible to them. There are many different ways to skin a cat. God forbid someone was considering committing suicide. This film may change their opinion."

It's just the latest controversy for After Dark, which last week removed billboards and taxi signage for "Captivity," after complaints over depictions of star Elisha Cuthbert being tortured and killed (HR 3/20).

After reading about the "Wristcutters" signage, the R-rated film's target audience of 17- to 30-year-olds, and Solomon's comment that he hopes the signs "don't cause too many accidents," (HR 3/8), a coalition of groups including the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health America and the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA sent a letter to Solomon and Lionsgate CEO Jon Felthheimer on March 13 contending that the marketing campaign is overkill.
Consider going and reading the whole thing.

Seems to me as though the concept for this movie was likely generated by the same people idiots who came-up with "h
eroin chic" and other ad campaigns featuring mal-nourished fashion models.
See our latest EduPosts.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Our Failing Public Schools: When The State Steps In

St. Louis' public school system has gotten so bad that the State of Missouri is taking over:
JEFFERSON CITY — With one St. Louis student in custody and scores of other students and parents choking on tears of frustration, the State Board of Education on Thursday revoked the accreditation of the 169-year-old St. Louis Public Schools and voted to turn its operation over to a businessman with limited educational experience.

"I feel pain for them," state board President Peter Herschend of Branson said of the 150 St. Louis students and parents who crowded a state office building to protest the intervention. "But these young men and women have been denied a decent education by the system."

If the move is not blocked in court, the transitional school board headed by St. Louis County developer Rick Sullivan, chairman of McBride & Son Enterprises, will assume control of the city schools on June 15.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recommended Sullivan for the position after Gov. Matt Blunt formally nominated him.

With Blunt at his side at a news conference in St. Louis on Thursday, Sullivan called the concerns of angry students, parents and teachers his top priority.

"The key will be to listen," Sullivan said. "I am willing to talk to people who will be reasonable."

Sullivan, 54 of Frontenac, is the father of seven. He said he has served as a director on two university boards and has been active with Habitat for Humanity and Teach for America. Mayor Francis Slay and Lewis Reed, president-elect of the Board of Aldermen, will select the other two members of the transitional board.

The appointed board will take over a district teeming with outrage over a move that will strip the city's elected School Board of its power and establish an undisclosed scholastic agenda for the nearly 33,000 students attending schools in the state's largest district.

As the start of Thursday's meeting approached, the escalating tension was palpable.

During the meeting, about 25 students disrupted a presentation to the board with chants of "No takeover! No takeover!" Moments later, they left their seats and converged on board members huddled at the front of the auditorium.

The student at the front of the group bumped into the back of a Capitol Police officer with his shoulder. When the officer attempted to subdue the student, the boy ran out of the building, where he was subdued with pepper spray, handcuffed and taken into custody.

Capitol Police said the student is 16 and attends Roosevelt High School. He was taken to a Jefferson City juvenile facility and later released. His case will be heard in St. Louis.

St. Louis Superintendent Diana Bourisaw criticized police, and linked the scuffle to the state board and intervention.

"The altercation was just another example of the disregard for children that we've seen," she said.

Herschend, who watched the incident, saw it differently. He called the student's actions an "ill-advised move."

St. Louis students are on spring break this week. When they return next week to take state standardized tests, the drama surrounding their district will shift to the state Capitol, where Sullivan's nomination goes before the Senate Education Committee.

Under state law, Sullivan could receive a salary for his CEO duties, but Blunt's office said he will not be paid. Blunt spokeswoman Jessica Robinson said paying Sullivan, especially when the other two board members will not be paid, would send the wrong message.

"The mission of the transitional board is children," she said. "It should not be about money."

The selection of Sullivan did nothing to placate critics who say the intervention disenfranchises city voters and that the loss of accreditation could hamper St. Louis public school graduates when they apply for college.

School Board candidate David Lee Jackson criticized Blunt for reneging on a promise to appoint an educator to the transitional post. Jackson also took exception to having a county resident running the city schools. At the same time, Jackson — a consultant for minority-owned contractors who has worked with Sullivan professionally — praised the nominee.

"He's a tough businessman, and he's a no-nonsense kind of guy," Jackson said. "He'll run the district like a company."

A desire for fiscal responsibility in a district that turned a $52 million surplus into a $24.5 million deficit in five years was a key factor in the state's decision to remove the school system's accreditation, state officials said.

More important, they said, was the district's failure to meet state accreditation standards for everything from graduation rates to test scores in math and language arts in the upper grades.

"Education at the end of the day is how well are the kids doing compared to their peer groups and any other standards. And the standards met for kids in city of St. Louis is dismal. They have earned unaccreditation," Herschend said.

By postponing intervention until June, the state board opened the door for the city School Board — which is expected to seat a new majority after the April 3 election — to mount a legal challenge financed by the taxpayers.

"I think it's appropriate," said board Vice President William Purdy. "The district is under assault and attack and it is appropriate for any district under attack to defend itself."

The city board voted 4-3 earlier this year not to pursue a legal case to stop the intervention. But Purdy and two other board members opposed to the transitional district independently retained a lawyer to examine their legal options. That attorney, Johnny Richardson of Jefferson City, said he will wait for the state board's response to an appeal to reverse Thursday's action.

Purdy and board members Peter Downs and Donna Jones said they will make that appeal.

With the possibility of a businessman coming on board to run the district, state Education Commissioner D. Kent King said a decision on Bourisaw's future as its chief academic officer or superintendent is in the hands of the transitional board.
We'd be willing to bet that state-level EduCrats will not be able to do much better than the local EduCracy did.
See our latest EduPosts.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another Example Of Teachers Being Left Behind

The annual cost for a student to attend Harvard University has now reached $45,620.

Which is more than the annual salary of many of America's public school teachers.

What does that say about Our EduTimes?

Update: (03/23) In other Harvard-related News, can these people be for real?
See our latest posts.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Carnival Of Education: Week 111

Welcome to the midway of the 111th Carnival of Education!

We proudly present this week's roundup of entries from around the EduSphere. All entries this week were submitted by the writers themselves.

If you publish a website and are interested in hosting an edition of The Carnival Of Education, please let us know via this email address: edwonk [at] educationwonks [dot] org.

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about last week's midway. As always, links to the roundup are much appreciated while trackbacks are adored. Visit the C.O.E.'s archives here and see our latest EduPosts there.

Next Week's Carnival midway will be hosted by us here at The Education Wonks. Contributors are invited to send submissions to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net , or use this swell submission form. Entries should be received them no later than Midnight (Eastern) 9:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, March 27, 2007. Please include the title of your post, and its URL, if possible. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway should open next Wednesday morning.

Let the free exchange of thoughts and ideas begin!


Who would have thought that drug fiend recovering addict Rush Limbaugh would have something to say about the federal government's No Child Left Behind Act? Well... he does, and Alexander Russo's This Week in Education
has the scoop.

And who
would have ever guessed that certain courts are foisting inner-city gang-bangers on innocent and unsuspecting rural schools and their communities?

Teacher Bill Ferriter of The Tempered Radical
answers those who are quick to criticize public education but are less than eager to offer workable solutions.

High school principal Kimberly Moritz
gives us a reminder that classroom teachers aren't the only ones being held "accountable" in this New Age Of Standardized Testing and Accountability.

When it comes to EduReform, Friends of Dave says, "Enough already. We know what works.
Why aren't we doing it?"

Scott Elliott demonstrates that when it comes to the allocation of EduFunding,
one hand giveth while the other hand taketh away...

The Rightwing Prof over at Right Wing Nation
takes a hard look at several Reading First schools in the Madison, Wisconsin area and draws some interesting conclusions based upon.... data.

The Voice for School Choice
makes its case that school choice saves money for taxpayers, parents, and even public schools.

Over at Edspresso, Barry Garelick
lays the smackdown on T.C. O’Brien and others of the "contstructivist camp" who're critical of traditional mathematics curricula in k-12 programs.

EduBlogging veteran Dave Shearon
advocates the application of Positive Psychology to public education.

Leadertalk is a group-blog that is written from the perspective of several (mostly) school administrators. In this week's entry, Leader
ponders the possibility that secret messages are being sent to our children each and every school day and that the school system itself is the messenger.

Inside This Teaching Life:

A colleague of California math teacher Darren of Right on the Left Coast recently exhibited Al Gore's Academy Award-winning movie "An Inconvenient Truth" in class. See the colleague's
surprising response when Darren showed him a New York Time's article about the picture's alleged "exaggerations."

lets us in on some of the more er.. ah .... unconventional aspects of her service as a substitute teacher in a very large Special Education class. (Disc. this isn't for the squeamish or faint-of-heart.)

The mother of one of Ms. Cornelius' students
has been giving her just a little too much health-related information about one of mom's children. Here's a sample:
In the past few months, you have assured me that your child has had diarrhea, fevers, hives, anaphylactic shock, and three bouts of the stomach flu, all in amazingly gory technicolor detail. It has gotten to the point where I am afraid to open any emails from you for fear of losing my (non-existent) breakfast-- no doubt in a dull and pedestrian manner compared to the projectile vomiting fit you described to me last month.
When I was a young StudentWonk, the folks from the Junior Achievement organization (website here) paid our Central Florida classroom a little visit. Now Two Knives wonders if Junior Achievement isn't all that they seem to be.

Arizona high school teacher Aquiram of Teaching in the Twenty-First Century
pointedly asks What Does It Mean?

Even though it's a few months old, we think that this entry by Miss Profe about the importance of Home Training
is spot-on.

If one were to slice a great teacher into a hundred parts, what would one find? Math teacher Dan M. has
performed the operation.

At the Schoolhouse Gate
takes a look at the excessive levels of "C.Y.A." thinking that pervades public education nowadays. (Don't miss that mind-numbing quote that was uttered by a brain-addled an overly-cautious school administrator.)

From The Classroom:

One college professor
is getting an education about the high cost of running her mouth allegedly making remarks such as these in an open classroom:
"George Bush was elected president because people in this country can't read" and said Feb. 12 that "I believe in the death penalty … . First we line up everyone who can't think and right behind them, anyone who's ever voted Republican."
Just when we think that we teachers know all the tricks and that the kids can't B.S. get anything by us, NYC Educator snaps us back into reality.

Middle school science teacher Kelly has taken a year off from her assignment in New York City's Bronx and is now teaching in Turkey. Check out
this recent post for yourself and see how different things are for our colleagues over there.... and yet how many things are the same.

IB a Math Teacher has the latest installment in the ongoing ordeal that IB is
having to endure at the hands of an incompetent boob a school psychologist who thinks that teachers have nothing to do with their time other then completing paperwork of dubious usefulness.

Teacher Terrell of Alone on a Limb takes us down Memory Lane (one upon a time I taught 2nd grade) with
an entry about that elementary school staple: story time.

School Governance:

'Tis the time of year when school boards around the country begin making some hard choices about who to let go and what programs must be reduced or eliminated entirely. But the district where the Exhausted Intern works is facing
some difficult choices that even more difficult than most.

International Perspectives:

I think that just about every teacher has had to cancel a video presentation due to "technical difficulties." But mail difficulties? That's a new one. In spite of adversity, Israeli high school teacher Muse
managed to execute an outstanding back-up lesson.

Those who would think that British students are better behaved than those here in the United States have only to
read this post in order to understand that delinquency infests schools on both sides of the Atlantic.

Teaching And Learning:

See how one teacher engagingly used "Star Wars" lingo in order to
imprint upon the memory of her students the differences between various types of liquid measures. (We've been trying to work "death star" into our own disciplinary guidelines for some time.)

New York City math teacher jd2718
has some ideas on the best way for students to effectively review their homework in class.

Reading Recovery is an instructional method whose effectiveness has been hotly debated in EduCircles for some time. Over at D-Ed Reckoning, Ken DeRosa links to, and offers
a reality-check on, The What Works Clearing House's take on R.R.

Trivium Pursuit
offers us an introductory primer on the teaching of mathematics through the ages.

don't forget to check for student understanding!


BooksForKidsBlog (How's that for an EduBlog's name?) has
a handy-dandy "how to" guide for reviewing non-fiction books with an eye toward their appropriateness for children.


Going to the Mat
is sounding the alarm about the disgusting disturbing state of disrepair in Baltimore's public schools. (It would be interesting to discover the state of repair over at the Superintendent Joe A. Hairston's office suite.)

The Parental Perspective:

Here's a parent that has learned a
fundamental lesson about the Whole Language approach to spelling and vocabulary.

What happens when a child doesn't want a parent to read to him or her? Check out how this mom
handled what would be (for many) a most frustrating situation.

The Secret Lives Of Teachers:

At What It's Like on the Inside, the Science Goddess sentimentally reminds us that
we were teenagers once... and young. (With apologies to Messrs. Moore and Galloway.)

Peter Stinson of A School to Call Home once taught in a boarding school. He is looking to return that type of close-knit environment. Meanwhile, he gives us something to chew on with this post aptly titled,
Miscellany and leftover thoughts.

Higher Education:

It's college admissions time. ChemJerk effectively convinces us that
random chance must play some part in that all-too-mysterious process.

Campus Grotto presents
its list of the Top 10 Law Schools. (We can't help but wonder what the yearly tuition of all 10 of them would be if one took the time to add them all up!)

It's hard to argue with the idea that an excellent post-high school education
is often found right in your hometown. Have you visited your local community college lately?

Inside The EduBlogs:

Teacher Chris Wondra
would like to remind everybody that what one says and how one says it does indeed matter.

Henry Cate
let's everyone know that after a looong hiatus, Jim Peacock is once again keeping an eye on "Zero Tolerance insanity" over at Zero Intelligence. (B-T-W: Peacock's Place has a new look; worth checking out.)

For most teachers, getting that first teaching post is rarely easy. For those about to go forth in search of that first teaching job, here are some tips for
how to act at the job interview.

And finally: We've had quite a bit of fun with this week's Carnival and hope to see you here on the midway next week as we continue our efforts to foster The Free Exchange of Thoughts and Ideas

Thanks for dropping by!
This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival roundup. See our latest EduPosts here, and the complete Carnival archives (soon to be updated) over there.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Carnival Entries Are Due!

Entries for the 111th midway of The Carnival Of Education (hosted this week by us here at The 'Wonks.) are due today. Please email them to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net . (Or use this handy submission form.) Submissions should be received no later than 9:00 PM (Eastern), 6:00 PM (Pacific). Contributions should include your site's name, the title of the post, and the post's URL if possible.

If you publish a site and wish to host an edition of the Midway, please let us know by the same email address.

Visit last week's midway right here.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the exhibits should open Wednesday.
See our latest EduPosts.

The Watcher's Council Has Spoken!

Each and every week, Watcher of Weasels sponsors a contest among posts from the Conservative side of the 'Sphere. The winning entries are determined by a jury of 12 writers (and The Watcher) known as "The Watchers Council."

The Council has met and cast their ballots for last week's submitted posts.

Council Member Entries: Eternity Road took first place with Serving While Republican.

Non-Council Entries: Sigmund, Carl and Alfred garnered the most votes with Tenured Deceit.
See our latest EduPosts.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Bad Seed: 13-Year-Old Andrew Riley

This 13-year-old Ohio kid vicious little miscreant is charged with allegedly committing 128 felonies, including beating up the child who turned him in:
The multitude of charges filed recently against a Nelsonville teen has astonished prosecutors, some of whom have practiced law since before he was born.

Andrew Riley, 13, is charged with 128 felonies, in Athens County Juvenile Court. They include burglary, theft, vandalism and witness intimidation. The delinquency charges stem from a crime spree that has lasted more than a year, authorities said.

"In my 30 years of doing this, I’ve never had a juvenile that young with so many charges," Athens County Prosecutor C. David Warren said last night.

Nelsonville police, who continue to investigate the crime spree, have accused Riley of breaking into several homes and businesses, even stealing checks from elderly citizens, Warren said.

At least three other youths, one of them 10 years old, have been charged in the investigation, he said.

"It’s a multitude. This isn’t kid stuff. … He gave a severe beating to one of the witnesses who turned him in," Warren said.

"You’re getting into his violent nature. We either get him rehabilitated now in the juvenile system or we will be dealing with him for the rest of his life."

Riley is in a juvenile detention center; a pretrial hearing is scheduled for later this month.

Barely a teen, Riley is too young to be tried in an adult court. Even if convicted on all counts, he still likely would be freed from juvenile prison no later than when he turns 21, prosecutors said.

Despite the paperwork involved, Warren said he is proceeding with all of the cases, hoping to get some restitution for the victims.

"It is very difficult to explain to a victim whose business has been broken into to say we are going to charge on this but not on yours."

The FullBrooks Cafe, a popular Nelsonville coffee shop, was struck twice, WBNS-TV (Channel 10) reported.

"It sort of like took all the air out of me the first time, and the second time I couldn’t believe it," FullBrooks owner Miki Brooks told WBNS.

Even in a much larger city, the number of charges against Riley would be unusual.

Triple-digit felony counts "would be very high for Franklin County in my 14 years here," said Dennis Hogan, chief counsel for the Franklin County prosecutor’s juvenile division.

Reached at home, Hogan remembered some vandals charged with 50 to 60 counts as the highest he’s dealt with in Franklin County.
There's more, including a video, here.

And let's not forget that under the mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the teachers who are tasked with teaching little monsters such as Riley and his ilk will be labled as "underperforming" if they don't read, calculate, and know science at or above grade-level by 2014
See our latest EduPosts.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Dress Codes For Teachers?

Some Florida schools are having to address the problem of teachers who are baring a little too much skin, piercings, or other body self-abuse "art."
LAND O'LAKES - Remember all the hullaballoo last summer about whether Pasco County teachers wore appropriate clothes to school?

Well, never mind.

A committee of teachers and administrators convened by superintendent Heather Fiorentino, who identified the issue as a problem, completed its review of teacher dress Thursday by deciding that there really is no problem.

The group agreed that attire matters, even suggesting that it deserves a prominent mention in new teacher training. But it deemed the district's current policy, which says the staff should dress in a manner that "will add dignity to the educational profession," as quite sufficient.

"The data speaks. Eighty to 90 percent say everything is fine. For the 10 percent problem the principal can handle it. I think it's overkill" to do more, said Clara Craig, a teacher at Pine View Elementary School.

A survey of principals showed that 82 percent had few to no instances of teachers dressed inappropriately. A survey of employees showed that 97 percent thought the majority of employees dress appropriately.

Some members said campus visits turned up very few examples of "too low, too short, too tight," and those were handled successfully by the principal under the current rules.

The only area where they sought to add some consistency dealt not with clothing, but with body piercings and tattoos. The group recommended that the School Board restrict visible piercings, except earrings, and possibly visible tattoos.

Members hashed out the issue, talking about whether tighter rules would be legally defensible and noting that whatever is done would affect men and women equally. In the end, though, they deemed additional rules on piercings, much more than clothing, as worthy of board consideration.

"The parent expects the teacher to act as a role model," Land O'Lakes High School principal Monica Ilse said. "They don't want their children to get piercings, and yet the teacher has piercings."

Otherwise, the committee recommended leaving things as is, asking each school to work out professional appearance guidelines rather than pushing for a district-level dress code.

"Any school, if you get your staff to buy in at the school level, it really seems to (work better) than if it's coming from any outside source. So I like the idea," said Chris Christoff, principal at Seven Springs Middle School.

The idea raised some concerns for Irene Brown, a teacher who travels among several schools. She worried that different schools could have variations, making it tough for her to know what to wear. She thought a separate standard for traveling teachers might be helpful.

Others suggested that communication with the principal, rather than a written policy, ought to smooth things out. That's where they left the matter.

Teacher dress became a flash point last summer, when Fiorentino said she thought too many teachers were making poor clothing choices. She pressed to add more policy details about exactly what proper attire means.

School Board members said at the time that they thought problem teachers should get individual attention, and encoding a list of clothing dos and don'ts would be unnecessary. Many teachers also complained.

"I think they were kind of angered. They didn't see it as being a big issue," union vice president Frank Roder explained Thursday.

The superintendent moved ahead with the committee nonetheless.

Committee members met three times over six months and discussed what they saw in the district and compared it with other school districts and local businesses.

They tried to be comprehensive, even as many thought it an unnecessary activity.

Still, several admitted, the attention paid to teachers' dress did have an effect.

"I have noticed that teachers do dress up more now than they did at the beginning of the year," said Pam Campbell, who teaches at Woodland Elementary and swears by her open-toed Birkenstock sandals, which might have been banned under the guidelines that initially came out nearly a year ago.
Maybe it would be a good idea if those who wanted to be treated as "professionals" dressed professionally.
See our latest EduPosts.

Labels: ,

NCLB And The New EduReality

With the federal No Child Left Behind Act up for renewal this year, Democratic control of Congress has changed what was once a given into a somewhat likely:
President Bush's signature No Child Left Behind education law is headed for fundamental changes as Congress rewrites it this year, including a likely softening of do-or-die deadlines.

School administrators long have complained about the annual deadlines, which punish schools that do not make adequate progress toward having all children perform at their grade levels.

School officials also have rebelled at requirements that students with limited English ability or with learning disabilities perform as well as their grade-level peers.

Now, those complaints are being taken up by lawmakers spanning the political spectrum.

Key Democrats who control the federal purse strings are demanding changes. Moderate Republicans say the law must be more flexible. On Thursday, they were joined by dozens of GOP conservatives who want an even more radical overhaul.

Lawmakers say a major flaw is that schools that miss achievement targets by a little are treated the same way as schools that miss those goals by a lot. Schools then are labeled as needing improvement and face the same penalties.

"We can't have one-size-fits-all," Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, said Thursday. He led a group of House and Senate lawmakers in introducing legislation that would let states opt out of No Child Left Behind requirements without losing federal education money.

Currently, any state that does not adhere to the requirements of the $23 billion program cannot get the federal dollars that come with it. The requirements include annual testing in math and reading in grades three through eight, and once in high school. The tests must show steady yearly progress toward a goal of getting students working on grade level by the year 2014.

House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri is supporting the conservatives' bill, even though he voted for the law in 2001.

"The overriding intrusion in No Child Left Behind is too large to deal with unless you fundamentally change the legislation," Blunt said.

A former education secretary, GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, said, "That's a visceral reaction to too much federal involvement in local schools."

Alexander is not backing Hoekstra and Blunt in their effort but said their concerns must be taken into account when the law is rewritten.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has testified on Capitol Hill this week, hearing from Republicans and Democrats who want changes.

Rep. James Walsh, a senior member of the House appropriations subcommittee that oversees education spending, wants the law loosened for schools that are failing due to the performance of immigrant students who do not speak English fluently.

The government exempts students who are just learning English for less than a year from taking reading tests. After that time, those students have to be tested and schools are held accountable for their scores.

"We've gotta find a better way to test the progress of these kids," said Walsh, R-New York, who expressed the popular view that a year is not long enough.

When groups of children, such as those learning English or special education students, fail to meet the law's achievement goals, entire schools can be labeled as failing and could face consequences such as having to fire their staffs -- which lawmakers say is unfair.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minnesota, also on the committee that oversees education spending, told Spellings she was upset that some states have lowered the requirements for what students must be able to do on reading and math tests to avoid the law's penalties. That creates a situation where some states look like they are performing well when they may not be.

"We look like we're doing a poor job when compared to states that set the bar low," McCollum said.

The issue has led some lawmakers to call for national educational standards to be included in the law when it is rewritten.

Spellings heard criticism from Wisconsin Democratic Rep. David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who heads the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education spending. Both said they were upset about the law's $1 billion reading program called Reading First.

An Education Department inspector general's investigation found that people in charge of running the program and reviewing grants had conflicts of interest and steered money toward certain publishers of reading curricula.

Spellings expressed concern that the program might be in jeopardy, saying, "I hope we don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Rep. George Miller, D-California, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, who lead the committees in charge of rewriting the education law, have indicated they support the reading program but intend to make changes to it.
My gut instinct on NCLB says that its renewal is likely (A law putting 100% of responsibility for 100% of student success on schools and 0% on parents voters is soooo politically sexy.) but that there will likely be changes, most likely a one or two-year extension on the deadline by which each and every single child in a given school must be reading, calculating, and know science at or above grade-level.

Some educators might think of any short postponement of these deadlines as a "stay of execution" which merely postpones the Day of Reckoning when a teacher will be labled as "underperforming" if a single child in his or her class fails to achieve either of the mandated minimum scores of "proficient or advanced" on a state-adopted-federally-approved standardized test.
See our latest EduPosts.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tips For Teachers

Whether you're new to teaching or have served in the classroom for years, the Rightwingprof has some good common-sense advice for teachers. Here's a sample:
Stick to your topic. This shouldn't need to be said, but these days, it isn't said enough. The school isn't about you, or your ideology, or your idea of "social justice," or "diversity," or "conscienceness-raising." The school is about learning, as in the topic you're supposed to be teaching. If you're throwing out gratuitous political comments, you're wasting time and not doing your job. If you're trying to think of ways to weave your agenda into your topic, not only are you being a narcissistic jerk, but you know what you're doing is wrong — otherwise, you wouldn't be trying to sneak it in.
Consider reading the whole thing.
See our latest EduPosts.



Did you hear the one about the whackjob reading teacher who was canned and claimed in a lawsuit that it was because her employer thought that she was a witch?
CENTRAL ISLIP, New York (AP) -- A teacher who alleged that she was fired from her job because administrators thought she was a witch lost her $2 million lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.

The jury deliberated for an hour before deciding that Lauren Berrios, 37, wasn't entitled to any money from the Hampton Bays school district, her ex-employer. The trial began March 7.

"I think the jury saw this for what it was -- a publicity stunt," said attorney Steven C. Stern, who represented the district. "We're glad the district can put this chapter behind them."

Berrios, who denied ever practicing witchcraft, sued the Long Island district in 2001 after she was dismissed from her job as a reading specialist teacher. After two years, she was denied tenure and let go.

The school district claimed its decision came because Berrios did not get along with co-workers, had a condescending attitude and conjured stories about phantom injuries to her son.

Her attorney, John Ray, said in opening statements that Berrios was a victim of prejudice from her school's principal, Andrew Albano, a born-again Christian. Albano fired her after deciding that Berrios was a witch, according to Ray.

Defense attorney Stern told the jurors that Berrios had told co-workers about visiting a coven meeting, but was not fired for being a witch. Instead, Stern said, she was a bizarre "storyteller" who fabricated tales that her husband was involved in a plane crash, and that her 2-year-old son lost his fingers in a VCR accident.

"These are always difficult cases," Ray said. "We're sad, but it proves Lauren is not a witch."

Berrios now works as a teacher in the Atlanta area. She planned to fly home later Tuesday.

"I'm looking forward to just getting back to my children and my family," said the mother of two.
You just can't make this stuff up....
See our latest EduPosts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Carnival Of Education: Week 110

Welcome to the 110th edition of The Carnival Of Education! We are delighted that the Midway has returned home.

This collection of exhibits from around the EduSphere represents a wide variety of political and educational viewpoints. Unless clearly labeled otherwise, all entries were submitted by the writers themselves.

If you have a website and are interested in hosting an edition of The Carnival Of Education, please let us know via this email address: edwonk [at] educationwonks [dot] org.

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about last week's midway over at What It's Like on the Inside. As always, links to the midway are much appreciated while trackbacks are adored. Visit the C.O.E.'s archives here and see our latest EduPosts there.

Next Week's Carnival midway will be hosted by us here at The Education Wonks. Writers are invited to send contributions to: earthlink [at] earthlink [dot] net , or use this handy submission form. Submissions should be received them no later than Midnight (Eastern) 9:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Please include the title of your post, and its URL, if possible. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway should open next Wednesday morning.

Let the free exchange of thoughts and ideas begin!


When a parent is unhappy about a grade that their child has received, is it ever appropriate to file a lawsuit? That's what happened when one West Virginia high student turned-in a late assignment. But there's more than meets the eye in this one, and the Science Goddess
has the details.

What should be done about "bad teachers?" And how should "bad teachers" be identified? In response to
this post by NYC Educator about bad teachers and bad teaching, Edspresso's Ryan Boots makes some proposals regarding teacher tenure and due process.

Teacher Mike Block over at Alone on a Limb reports that Minnesota’s governor, Tim Pawlenty, recently made some rather interesting remarks regarding why so many high school students are not making the grade
“Too many of our high school students today are engaged in academic loitering for much of their high school career. In too many cases, our high school students are bored, checked-out, coasting, not even vaguely aware of their post-high school plans, if they have any, and they are just marking time.”
But is Pawlenty's assertion that "student motivation" is the missing ingredient of successful EduReform? You be the judge.

Disruptive and defiant students who do their level best to monkey-wrench the educational process and ruin opportunities for others to obtain an education is also
on the mind of Hube over at The Colossus of Rhodey.

California-based math teacher Darren of Right on the Left Coast
takes on the Left's anti-NCLB arguments one-by-one. Agree or disagree, your thoughts will be provoked!

Linda Seebach of the Rocky Mountain News reports that in an attempt to increase student performance, Colorado's Greeley-Evans School District adopted a district-wide reading curriculum last fall. After only a few months, the board and many of the district's teachers
are already at loggerheads.

North Carolina 6th grade teacher Bill Ferriter stirred the pot recently over at the Teacher Magazine website with a piece called "The Problem with Class Size Reductions." In this week's submission, Mr. Ferriter
addresses some of the concerns that were expressed by those who read that thought-provoking article. (Sadly, Teacher Magazine requires free-registration in order to read the original article.)

The federal No Child Left Behind law is up for congressional re-authorization this year. California classroom teacher Polski3
is issuing a clarion call to his fellow teachers to take action in order to fix that which he says has been broken by the law.

Scott Elliott of the Dayton Daily News' edublog Get on the Bus!
takes a hard look at Ohio's 15 years of EduReform and whether or not that effort has been successful.

Matt Johnston asks an interesting question: Has the time finally come for
Independent Assessments as a Counter to Grade Inflation? You be the decider.

The Simple Dollar has an UnSimple post about how the death of the American Public Education System
may be greatly exaggerated and that there may actually be little difference betwixt public and private schools.

At Teacher in a Strange Land, Nancy Flannigan
cautions us that truly gifted children never allow themselves to be bored in the classroom. They will find a way to become engaged. (Though it has been our experience that the engagement in which the gifted engage themselves in may not always be positive.)

What happened when a female student was sent to the principal's office for saying, "That's gay!" in an open classroom? Why, her parents ended-up
suing the school district! (Naturally!)

Presidential Politics and Education:

Over at This Week in Education, Chicago-based EduBlogger Alexander Russo
gives us the skinny on presidential candidate Barack Obama's record on education.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton alluded to the No Child Left Behind Act in
some recent remarks made in the run up to the key Iowa primary caucuses.

From the Classroom:

Be prepared to have your heartstrings pulled. Ms. Cornelius of a Shrewdness of Apes gives us an
eyewitness account and poignant reminder about how teachers are often on the front lines of protecting our older as well as younger students from physical abuse.

What happens when fourth-graders attempt to write essays about American History? A
highly-readable contribution from an elementary history teacher that helps remind us what teaching should be about.

If you want to find out what really goes on in our public school classrooms, talk to a substitute teacher. Or read what Mr. Lawrence has to say over at Get Lost Mr. Chips. In
this week's contribution, Mr. Lawrence tells us that he may not be giving an education, but he certainly is receiving one from his students.

Scroll down in order to get to this humorous submission about what happened when a third-grade math teacher sat down with the kids in the cafeteria and
began trading food with the best of them.

Here's a real-life tale from the classroom that shows what kids often do when a project is assigned a deadline. And what happens when time
finally does run out.

Why are there boys called Cain? Don't these parents have even a basic knowledge of the Bible? These and other mysteries
are addressed by the Mysterious Mystery Teacher who is writing over at the British-based teaching blog called Scenes From The Battleground.

High school math teacher Dan does not assign any homework. Which is interesting. What is even more interesting is why he
doesn't assign that homework.

Teaching and Learning:

California teacher OKP has some
common-sense advice on the judicious use of praise for our kids. Meanwhile, don't forget to reward positive behavior. (Ignore the comparison of students to dogs; it's the thought that counts.)

We think that New York high school principal Kimberly Moritz
is spot-on with this contribution titled: "Student Apathy = Teacher Apathy."

Teacher Dana Huff is looking for readers to give her the names on any books that
America Can't Live Without. (We'll try to drop-in with our choices sometime this evening.)

Parent and Student Survival Guide:

Did you
see the one over at Joanne Jacobs' place about the San Francisco parents who did everything but stage a dog-and-pony-show only to find that their child had been rejected by the top-ten pre-schools? (This story adds a new dimension to the term "competitive edge...)

Remember when we were kids how we used to bring school supplies such as scissors, glue, pencils and pens to class at the beginning of the year? Each youngster had his or her own school desk with his and her very own set of supplies in it. But Mamacita lets us know how even this cherished childhood tradition has been
changed out of all recognition.

Trivium Pursuit makes an unusual (and interesting) argument about why government should not legislate to protect parents' right to
homeschool their offspring.

Have you ever wondered what Unschooling was all about? Cindy gives us
an inside view through her son Eric and his acquired knowledge of.... snakes... and the importance of the child actually being interested in what is being learned.

School Governance:

There's been quite a
dust up over the suspension of three New York State high school students who defied their school's administration and publicly read certain passages from The Vagina Monologues. Now Principal Rich Leprine of John Jay High School gets his turn to speak out. (This just in: Apparently, the girls have beaten the rap.)

The subject of on-going teacher evaluation and effectiveness remains a touchy one for many of us who serve in the classroom. Most educators and non-educators alike agree that there is much room for improvement. The Exhausted Intern has developed
some nifty ideas for fundamentally changing the evaluative process.

Bad teachers and bad teaching do hurt kids. But is it just possible that a bad counsellor can cause even more damage to both kids and teachers?
See for yourself.

The Secret Lives Of Teachers:

And now we have the EduSphere's
very first food fight! (Key quip: "I got your studies right here, pal.")

Over at Casting Out Nines,
they remind us about the importance of not running our mouths speaking too loudly about our college professor's bosses' area of expertise when they're within earshot of an open door!

Unions and Collective Bargaining:

The union that represents teachers in New York City is the AFT-affiliated United Federation of Teachers. Over at JD2718, they
have some suggestions for improving the organization's effectiveness.

In another UFT-related contribution, Dr. Homeslice has this
handy-dandy field guide to the power players in this week's union elections.

Testing and Technology:

The title of this contribution from Let's Play Math says it all:
In honor of the standardized testing season. (Yep.... that time of the year is rapidly approaching....)

Miss Proffe is asking some
tough questions concerning the usefulness of Web 2.0 (Wikipedia article here) for those educators and students who are teaching/learning a second language.

Higher Education:

Chanman is working toward earning his Masters in Education. He shows us that when it comes to taking tests, the powers-that-be in his school
aren't practicing what they're preaching.

a primer for how to get oneself (or one's kid) into an Ivy-League college.

Getting to Graduation
demonstrates how a decrease in student-loan interest rates will effect those who must borrow in order to get that much-coveted college degree.

Inside the EduBlogs:

The Voice for School Choice takes a recent Education Next piece
to task for its naming of three individuals as "education entrepreneurs." According to Choice, things aren't always what they seem.

Matthew Jackson asks
an interesting question: what does it mean to be educated?

And finally: This, like most of our journeys around the EduSphere, has been both enjoyable and informative. Our continued thanks to all the contributors whose submissions make the midway's continuing success possible, the folks who donate their time to help spread the word, and the readers who continue to make it A Free Exchange of Thoughts and Ideas
This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival roundup. See our latest EduPosts here, and the complete Carnival archives (soon to be updated) over there.