Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 17

Welcome to the seventeenth edition of The Carnival Of Education. Here we have assembled a variety of interesting and informative posts from around the EduSphere that have been submitted by various authors and readers. As with other editions, those entries that were selected by us appear at the bottom of the page. We believe that this collection represents a wide spectrum of topics, political/educational viewpoints, and writing styles.

We would like to give a special word of "thanks" to Science and Politics for the excellent job that they did guest-hosting week 16 of the Carnival.

As always, the secret for having a well-attended Carnival is publicity. Please consider helping to spread the word. The more folks that know about this collection of exhibits, the more that will "drop-in" and visit the midway. Trackbacks, links, and general advertising are all appreciated by the editors as well as the participants.

And of course we appreciate any comments, suggestions, or constructive criticism.

An Invitation: All writers and readers of education-related posts are invited to contribute to the eighteenth 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, June 7, 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 on the midway is by last week's guest host, Science and Politics. Here in California, where I teach, children have a statutory right to decline any type of classroom experiment or dissection that may involve the use of a non-living animal. In an in-depth post, Science And Politics examines the issues surrounding the use of animals in research and teaching.

Today's educator must be prepared to successfully overcome a variety of challenges on any given school day. Even though a sixth grader may be out of control and disrupting the school environment, Mentor Matters shows us how the show must go on and the lesson must be taught.

Bells, whistles, glitter, and gold make for pretty portfolios and projects, but shouldn't the emphasis in the classroom be the development of essential skills? Instructivist argues forcefully that schools need to remain focused on key academic concepts.

How much in-depth study of religion is appropriate in public schools? This sensitive subject isn't just on the minds of American parents and educators but is a subject of discussion in other lands as well. Interested Participant
has the story about how the teaching of Islam in public schools is being mandated by authorities in the United Kingdom.

Darren, over at Right on the Left Coast is concerned that the unions which force him to pay dues aren't accountable to their rank-and-file membership. These unions, The California Teachers Association and The National Education Association, don't allow the rank-and-file to vote for their own officers. Darren
has written a post that details his recent experiences at a large union-sponsored anti-Schwarzenegger protest in Sacramento. After reading the post, be sure to go to the main page and check out the numerous photos of the event.

It's crunch time for doctoral student Jenny D as she continues organizing her dissertation. It has been said that "the Devil is in the details," and we can see that Jenny is wrestling with 'Ole Scratch as she examines a mountain of raw data. Take a look at part I
here, and part II over there.

At Se Hace Camino Al Andar, New York City teacher Girlontheescape
has some thoughts about, and has a dialogue with, Jenny concerning her dissertation and good teaching practices. (See the comment section.)

In George Orwell's 1984, it was often asserted that "Less is more." The California State Assembly has now passed a bill that would mandate that California textbooks have a maximum of 200 pages. Over at Number 2 Pencil, they take a
comprehensive look at the issues surrounding this highly controversial proposal. (Our thoughts on this notion are here.)

The subject of the proposed law limiting school textbooks to no more than 200 pages
is also on the mind of Quincy over at News, the Universe, and Everything.

Over on
The Super's Blog, The Super has linked to an article detailing survey research that reveals reason for optimism when considering today's young people. Don't believe all the negative reports you read about "those teenagers today." Did you know that most teenagers say they have a great deal of respect for their parents? Kids are doing alright!

It often seems that the World of Education defies logic or reason. Eduwonk
has the skinny on how the Governator's plan to pay teachers a little more for working in the most challenging (often inner-city) schools is being fought tooth and nail by California's teachers unions. Here is a taste:

"Does he think teachers are whores - that you have to pay them more to do this?" asked Steve Blazak, a spokesman for United Teachers Los Angeles.
Summer vacation hasn't yet begun for the teacher who writes What It's Like on the Inside. In fact, the kids are learning all about Monocots and Dicots (no, they aren't contagious) Everyone could use a little botany in their lives. Beware the angiosperm!

As a classroom teacher, here in the deserts of Southeastern California, it seems that we are constantly testing our students. One of the newest aspects of testing is that many states and districts have introduced an essay component into the assessment mix. Over at A Series of Inconsequential Events, they take
a well reasoned look at just who is grading all those essays...

The Post-Hip Chick is a classroom teacher who practices in California. In this week's entry, she shows us one of the
sure signs of a teacher. (I think that we've all been there.)

Another sure sign that you are a teacher is when you find yourself in Interview Hell. This is a place from which there is no known escape for any teacher hapless enough to be trapped there. And right now, Mike over at Education In Texas finds himself
one of the condemned.

I was amazed to learn that Finland's model of education is so successful that they have been practically overrun with requests by educators from other countries to visit their classrooms. At Assorted Stuff, they ask us to
consider an interesting dichotomy in our society that proclaims itself as valuing education but treats educators altogether differently.

My junior high school will be holding its "graduation ceremony" next week, but (unlike many others) we don't have caps and gowns! Over at Scheiss Weekly, I learned some of the
background and mysteries that surround this particular right of passage that is still performed at junior and middleschools all over The United States.

What happens at an Illinois school when teachers assign homework and it doesn't get done? At Crossblogging, they have the sad story of the school that
has thrown in the towel. Not surprisingly, the students are all in favor of the new policy.

Fred's World is written by a Florida high school teacher. Just before he left for his vacation, Fred takes a look at this past school year in
a highly readable post addressed to his students. (Have a safe & relaxing journey over there Fred!)

A sentiment
felt by many classroom teachers worldwide at this time of the year is expressed by Muse over at Me-ander. (Hang in there! Only 3 weeks to go...)

Over at Ticklish Ears they are
bringing to our attention that fact that thanks to wireless technology, many college students are now fact-checking their professors while the prof is actually lecturing to the class. Ears proposes some intriguing possibilites for wi-fi's productive use in class.

One of the hottest topics in education finance is the proposal that districts should be mandated to spend at least 65% of their total budget in the classroom. In a well-researched post, Stop The Blackmail
discusses this proposal and its feasibility. As a bonus, STB offers for our consideration a plan from New Zealand that may have some merit.

On several occasions, I've noted how (sadly) my California school district doesn't allow student-written blogs. (Our internet filter will not even allow access to any Blogger sites, including the one that you are now reading.) So it's so much more exciting when I read about more progressive locales where students are encouraged to write their own blogs. Up and coming blogger Steve, over at Outside The Cave
is reflecting upon his students' blogging experience. (I'm envious!) Steve also asks us to take a look at "The Afghan Girls Fund Charity Slog." (One of the writers is 13 years old!)

Clarence, over at Remote Access, is highly interested in the use of technology as an aid for teaching students. He has developed
an innovative and exciting method for using iPod shuffles in his classroom.

When it comes to math, kids often need practice with concrete objects before moving on to more abstract concepts. At The Common Room,
they are filling us in on several techniques that use everyday objects for teaching mathematic concepts.

What is the relationship between teacher quality and student outcomes? Even though that should appear obvious, it's not easy to quantify. How does one quantify good teaching? At Highered Intelligence, they take a look at this challenge in a
very thoughtful and in-depth entry.

Over at Going to the Mat,
they ask an intriguing question: Does the dissemination of merit scholarships equate to the purchasing of high quality students in order to increase a college's standing in the U.S. News & World Report rankings? Food for thought.

At Half Sigma,
they address readers comments that were generated from this post on what part genetics may play in students' academic success. (Consider taking a look at the numerous comments found in both posts.)

Should seventh-graders be encouraged to study French? The Parent Pundit
asks why the schools aren't teaching languages that may offer students more long-term benefits. For example, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian are spoken by millions more people than French. Would not students that are fluent in those languages have a marketable skill in the global economy?

I can think of few teaching assignments that would be more challenging than teaching seniors. Yet that's what Coach Brown does over at A Passion for Teaching and Opinions. Here is a sample of
what happens around graduation time:

Evidence of tribulation:-This week the level of guidance and parent calls have tripled when it has, all of the sudden, become clear that students may not graduate. This means I have to put on the patient and practical vibe and remind students and parents that I'm not responsible for the child's behavior, the child is.
Are you a Morning Person? And if you are, were you born that way? Or did you achieve that coveted status through design? The subject of our internal clocks is examined over at Steve Pavlina's Blog. (I'm one of those types that can only sleep about 6 hours no matter what time I turn in.)

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

Joanne Jacobs
is covering a disturbing trend: Schools are now naming multiple valedictorians, often in order to avoid lawsuits.

In New York City's Bronx, Mr. Babylon has been teaching an extra morning class for the past few weeks. Well... maybe teaching isn't the word for it as he has been giving battery after battery of standardized tests to his students. Of course, as the finals are only two weeks away, Mr. "B" has fallen back
on a tried-and-true lesson plan.

Katie, at A Constrained Vision has some thoughts about
another current trend: Some schools are now dropping their advanced placement classes. Congrats on her first column to be published in The Washington Times. (along with Veronique de Rugy)

We are pleased to see that Lisa S. at Education Weak has returned to regular posting. In
a recent entry, She takes a look at a case of "School Administrators Gone Wild." (Hint: 3 1/2-inch nails were involved.)

Finally, here at The Education Wonks,
we present our take on the middle school that is re-fighting the American Civil War with water-balloons, slingshots, and super soaker water guns.

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, and the sixteenth, over there. To get to EdWonk's main page, (with a variety of education-related posts) please click here.