Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 9

Welcome to the ninth edition of The Carnival Of Education. What we have done is assemble a variety of interesting and informative posts from around the EduSphere (and one or two from the Larger 'Sphere) that have been submitted by various authors and readers. We believe that they represent a very wide spectrum of topics, political/educational viewpoints, and writing styles.

The secret for having a well-attended Carnival is publicity. We are requesting your help in getting the word out. The more folks that know about our gathering of posts, the more that will "drop-in" and visit the midway.

An Invitation: All writers and readers of education-related posts are invited to contribute to the tenth edition of The Carnival of Education. Please send your submissions to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net. We should receive your contributions no later than 10:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, April 12, 2005. The Carnival midway will open here at the 'Wonks next Wednesday morning. Get our easy-to-follow entry guidelines here.

And now...let's take a stroll down the carnival midway...

The first exhibit this week is over at A Red Mind In A Blue State. For years, Catholic school systems in many parts of the country have been experiencing declining enrollments. In some cases, parents that have been sending their children to private or parochial schools are choosing to enroll them in the public school system. Tony shows us how this may be more costly than some may think.

Homeschooling continues to be a very hot topic in education today. Classroom teacher John McGeough at A Teacher's Viewpoint
examines some of the reasons why the percentage of parents that choose to homeschool continues to increase.

Charter Schools have been in the subject of several academic studies recently. A book that takes a critical look at charter schools is
the subject of a post by Mark Lerner.

Moebius Stripper is a "twenty-something curmudgeon" who teaches college math in the Province of British Columbia. Over at Tall dark & mysterious, Moebius
lets us listen-in on an intriguing conversation in her office with a pupil that is currently earning a "D" but feels that she should be getting a "B."

Melinama teaches music in North Carolina and writes over at Pratie Place. She
has taken a look at a controversial British study that has a very surprising conclusion: "The less pupils use computers at school and at home, the better they do in international tests of literacy and maths."

The subject of "leveling" (many would say "tracking") classes in a New Jersey school is being examined by Jenny D. She
makes some key observations about how African-American students are over-represented in the lower-tracked classes while underrepresented in the more challenging courses. Be sure to take a look at the lively dialogues that are going on in the commenting thread.

Who says cheaters never win? Over at Joanne Jacobs,
she has the story of a so-called tutor who wrote term papers for lazy students with too much money (and not enough brains) on their hands. The winners were the losers that ended-up collecting their degrees and moving on to good jobs.

Mrs. Frizzle is a junior high school science teacher in New York City's Bronx. She
is challenging her fellow education writers to help her come up with a song (or rap) to help students remember test-taking strategies. The development of test-taking strategies is indeed a life-long skill that all students need during this time of high-stakes assessments.

Indiana Public School Superintendent writes over at The Super's Blog. This week, the Super is giving us
the inside scoop on the New National Voucher Initiative that is being spearheaded by the UN's Kofi Annan. Look at who the head of the Homeschool Division is going to be. Hint: she has a brand-new ankle bracelet. (Extra Credit: don't miss the preceding and successive posts.)

And then there was that scene from the movie Animal House where John Belushi's character "Bluto" laments, "Eight years of college down the drain." Katie, over at A Constrained Vision,
has some thoughts about Graduate School and "Professional" students.

Among those that homeschool students, there is often a desire for kids to participate in the neighborhood school's sports and and other extra-curricular activities. Others say that homeschooled students should not participate. Spunkyhomeschool, who does in fact homeschool six children,
takes a look at both sides of the issue.

Hubes Cube, which is a site that happens to be written by a classroom teacher, addresses a variety of topics including education.
In a post entitled "More Edu-Babble?" Hube examines one of those papers that purports to diagnose and treat what ailes public schools in our country's disadvantaged urban areas.

Overeducation is written by another teacher in the front lines named Jonathan. Jonathan
is looking for suggestions on how to improve real student learning and not just make the classroom a center for test preparation. (Don't miss checking-out the site's motto, in the upper right-hand corner.)

In a posting titled "Differentiate This," lit lover, who is an English teacher, attended a workshop where the presenter indicated the need to use differential assessments when evaluating student progress. Lit lover
wrestles with the fact that this would mean that different kids would receive different grading for the same standard of work and all the ramifications that might entail.

At The Daily Grind, Mr. "M" has generated a book idea from a
sampling of thoughts written by students in his classroom. The proposed book title: "In Their Own Words: A Compilation of Thoughts From Your Kids."

University instructors that
don't know how to speak English properly is the topic that is addressed by Illuminaria's Voice. She points the way to an article that profiles a proposed North Dakota statute that would mandate minimal levels of English proficiency for college professors as well as a set of ascending consequences when they don't.

Another hot-topic in public education today is the subject of school vouchers. At The DC Education Blog,
they have the skinny on the first report of the D.C. Federal Voucher Program. DC Education warns that the mainstream media may be less than objective in its reporting...

A draft letter for high school students entitled "Sisyphus and You"
is proposed by a site called Exploring Character which is devoted to character education. (Every time I push that rock up the hill, it rolls back down...on my toe.)

Before he was an educator, Phil Shapiro was a student in Scarsdale, New York. In high school, he had a math teacher named Mr. Capucci that really made a positive impression upon him.
Check out this video tribute to a teacher that inspired a student to become an educator.

A professor of statistics writes over at Dr. Stat.
In a thoughtful post, the Doctor has a short refresher about the various learning styles of students as well as this quote:

We make much of the phrase "learn how to learn." This [is] supposed to be a primary purpose of modern (postmodern?) education--because knowledge changes so fast we must be lifetime learners. Yet, the "learning styles" dogma suggests that we meet students where they are, and adapt teaching to the student's currently preferred method of learning. This is not "learning how to learn," it is "learning how to stay in a rut."
Precinct 333 has the story of a small evangelical school named King's College that started in the suburbs of New York City and then made the (possibly poor) decision to move into the City. There, it has run into the "buzz saw" of New York politics. What started as a routine re-accreditation has turned into a nightmare that threatens the existence of the college itself.

We public school teachers in California have to jump though a number of "hoops" that are mandated by the legions of expert EduCrats that work in offices but never come near kids. Darren, over at Right on the Left Coast, has the latest installment of a series where he profiles one such hoop, the dreaded "Cross-cultural Language And Development" (CLAD) Certificate. See part I
here, part II here, part III here, and part IV, there.

And now for
something completely different, head over to Polski3's View From Here, and see what happened in Polski's classroom the first day of school following spring vacation. The post is called, appropriately enough: "And Today's Teacher Tips: Be Prepared and Improvise." (This entry is not for those with weak stomachs. You have been warned.)

What happens nowadays when little boys follow the time-honored tradition of roasting ants with a magnifying glass at school? They get a note sent home by the teacher about the need to respect bugs.
See the note that parent Jerry M. (who writes Truth Be Told) sent back to the teacher.

Over at Mentor Matters, teacher Mrs. R.
asks one of teaching's Eternal Questions: Why do strategies that work seem to get abandoned without an explanation? (We wouldn't mind knowing the answer to that one ourselves...)

Here in California, we have a real problem with some parents who illicitly enroll their kids in one school district while living in another. The result is larger classes and stretched resources. Interested Participant is reporting how the Fremont Unified School District has
begun taking a look at where their students really live. Surprise! They are finding abundant examples of fraudulent enrollments.

In a post titled, "Television: Friend or Foe?" The Classical Family tells us that they unplugged the network feed from their television three years ago. The box still gets used for movies, just not for network programming.
They have been having some positive results with the experiment, and advise that those that may be thinking of going "cold-turkey" themselves may experience symptoms of "withdrawal."

And now for a few that were selected by us here at the 'Wonks:

The Politburo Diktat is a site that addresses a wide variety of topics from a right-of-center viewpoint. Recently,
father and daughter have observed one of those academic rights-of-passage common to many of us: The construction of a Sumerian city as a history project. Consider taking a look at the Commissar's ingenious use of Legos. (I still remember building my Sumerian city after all these years!)

Kimberly, writing at Number 2 Pencil,
is bringing to our attention the lamentable fact that a large segment of our society views public displays of foul language and bad manners as socially acceptable behavior. Be sure to take a look at what the commenters have to say...

Erin, over at Critical Mass,
offers us her take on those politically incorrect anti-affirmative action bake sales (as well as the censors that tried to suppress them) that were being sponsored by conservative groups at a variety of college campuses last year. She also lets us in on the latest instance.

Finally, here at The Education Wonks,
we offer our thoughts on "The Red Ink Story." (This controversy just won't die.)
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, and the seventh, here and the eighth, over there. To get to EdWonk's main page, (with a variety of education-related posts) please click here.