Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 19

Welcome to the nineteenth 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 offer a comprehensive listing of Carnival archives at the bottom of this post.

A successful carnival is a team effort. 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 mentions all help.

To those that have helped to publicize the Carnival, we offer our deepest gratitude.

And, of course, your comments, questions, constructive criticism, and suggestions for improvement are always most welcome. We are looking for ways to improve the midway. Perhaps by grouping the entries into categories? Or is the Carnival good "as is?"

Next week, the Carnival will be guest hosted by Jenny D. (Thanks Jenny!) Please follow the submission guidelines given below.

An Invitation: All writers and readers of education-related posts are invited to contribute to the twentieth edition of The Carnival of Education. Please send your submissions to: jdemonte[at]comcast[dot]net. Contributions should be received no later than 10:00 PM (Eastern) 7:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, June 21, 2005. The Carnival midway will open at Jenny D's place next Wednesday morning.

And now.... let's see what the midway has to offer this week.

Every teacher who has ever taught for any length of time has had at least one or two students whose behavior tries the soul. But it's the student who makes a credible threat of causing bodily harm that every teacher dreads most. See how Mr. Babylon, who teaches in New York's Bronx, dealt with that threatening student.

Many public school teachers are forced to pay monies to one or more unions. (in my case, NEA and CTA) This is true, even though few, if any, of these unions allow rank-and-file members to directly elect their own officers in contested elections or determine the amount of dues. At Polski3's View From Here, Polski
is expressing his concerns over the anti-democratic practices of the California Teachers Association. (Consider checking out the lively discussion in among the commenters, including Yours Truly.)

There are commencement speakers and then there are commencement speakers. Melinama's Pratie Place
is telling us of an outstanding speech that was delivered by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Doug Marlette to her son's high school graduation ceremony. This is definitely one to read. Here is a taste:
Be competitive, but remember, envy is not competition. The word "competition" derives from the Latin con, which means "with" and petere, which means "to strive." Competition- to strive together. Competitors are in secret alliance, not to do each other in, but to bring out the best in each other.

Above all, remember: You are not your resume. External measures won't repair you. Money won't fix you. Applause, celebrity, no number of victories will do it. The only honor that counts is that which you earn and that which you bestow. Honor yourself.

And despite all I've said about the authorities, honor your parents. You will eventually realize that there are no grownups. We are all children in various stages of growing up. ... a pretty good definition of maturity is knowing how immature you are. A pretty good definition of sanity is knowing how crazy you are. A pretty good definition of wisdom is knowing how foolish you are.
Did you know that some folks are sounding the alarm over proposals to legislate mandatory pre-school? Certain publications would have us believe that Big Brother is threatening to force the enrollment of three-year-olds at your local version of Romper Room. Over at they have the low-down on what is real and what is nothing more than someone's straw bogeyman. In a bonus post, Eduwonk has the latest on Milwaukee's experiences with its voucher program and public charter schools as well as the differences between the two. (If you want to know the latest trends in educational policy, as well as a faithful interpretation of all the related rhetoric and jargon, Eduwonk should be on your daily list of "must reads." It's one of ours!)

This could be the start of a meme. At A Series of Inconsequential Events they have a "
top ten countdown" of guidelines for teachers during summer vacation. (All ten are great, but we really like numbers 9, 2, and 1.) What top ten guidelines would you recommend for having a great summer? Make your own list and then tag three of your friends...

Substitute teachers have a unique perspective. For them, almost every day is like the first day of school. Greg, over at Delenda Est Carthago,
has been doing some long-term substitute teaching at a Phoenix charter school. Would you believe that on a typical day at this school only two or three students bother showing up to class on time? Foul language abounds, and when students get bored with a class, they simply stand up and wander into someone else's classroom for a visit. (What part of NCLB addresses these types of behaviors?)

There is a
list out there of "the most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries." One of the books that made that dubious list is John Dewey's Democracy and Education. In a well-reasoned post, Chris Correa examines why some might view Dewey's theories as a threat and gives us some straight talk about how the book ended-up on that list.

Does it take a village to prepare a child for kindergarten, or does it take a family? At Scholar's Notebook, they are telling us about
the latest attempts to transform Minnesota from the North Star State into The Nanny State.

Anyone who quotes Ayn Rand and Oscar Wilde has my interest as well as my attention. Atlas Shrugs is reporting
a sampling of incidents involving controversies that surround teaching students about gay/lesbian relationships. Pamela (aka Atlas) is asking two good questions: "When is this poisoning of childhood waters going to stop? Can't kids be kids?"

One of the hottest topics in education has been, is, and will be, school vouchers. At No Left Turns, they are giving us
the latest news from the front lines of the struggle over vouchers in Florida.

As a classroom teacher who teaches in California, I haven't received any sort of pay raise in over three years. In fact, due to increased insurance costs, my paycheck is now smaller than it was three years ago. I realize that times are tough all over. And then I read something like
this post by Stop The Blackmail that reminds me not everyone in public education is tightening their belts. (Who says you can't get rich in public education? Arrrgh!)

Wouldn't it be great if kids all over the world had access to laptop computers and the know-how to use them productively as a learning tool? Tim, at Assorted Stuff,
has the latest on this idea, as well as some of the pitfalls to its implementation.

Have you ever been curious about how all those essay questions on these mass-produced tests get scored? Over at What It's Like On The Inside, they're as good as their name as
they give us the skinny on the grading of some 120,000 (!) A.P. Biology tests. And there are pictures to prove it!

Do you think that it's vital for parents to be informed about the type of surveys questionnaires that your children are completing at school? At Cross Blogging,
they have the story about the school that was asking 6th graders about their sexual habits. The problem is, the school didn't let the parents in on their little survey...

An urban legend comes true. Interested Participant
is reporting the tale of the kid that was expelled from middle school due to drug possession, and was then placed on educational plan that included in-home tutoring. The kid receives a report card with passing marks and is then promoted to the next grade. So.... what's the problem? In four months, the tutor rarely showed up at the kid's house.

Is giving a student a grade for effort a good idea? Many of us k-12 teachers (and I suspect a number of college professors as well) have given students credit "for trying." Over at Going to the Mat, they
take a look at the issues surrounding this practice.

Are you a tenure-track college professor who blogs under your own name? (sorry, no
Phantoms) If you are, then Blogs for Industry is compiling a list and would like you to drop by.

The "student from hell" is every teacher's nightmare. And it seems like just about every teacher has experienced this nightmare at least once. Mamacita, over at Scheiss Weekly,
tells us about a student who wasn't only an awful dream reality for his teachers, but was a terror to his classmates as well. The authorities wouldn't do a thing to put a stop to the little thug. And then the little miscreant finally went too far...

On the first day of school, I used to give my eighth-grade students a little math problem. I would ask them, how much is 1/2 + 1/4. Amazingly, less than 25% of my students could get the correct answer. Over at Math and Texts,
they have some ideas about the teaching of fractions.

Many American school districts (even elementary ones) are having to implement separate programs for their pregnant students. But the problem isn't just an American one, Rhymes With Right is reporting an instance in England where a single mom has three daughters, all of which became pregnant before their 16th birthday. And then Rhymes tells us all about how this problem
has manifested itself at the school where he teaches! Here is a sample:
Frankly, such things are all too familiar to me. We had three sisters at our school this year who were all pregnant at the same time, and who all gave birth within six months. I recall a couple telling me that the reason for their pregnancy was that they had nothing to do for two weeks during Christmas break but have sex, since there was nothing good on television. I even had one girl whose mother, upon being informed that she was pregnant and didn't know whether it was the child of her 20-year old boyfriend, the 26-year-old married guy in the next apartment, or the 31-year-old married guy upstairs, expressed joy -- "It will be so nice to have another baby around the house now that your little brother is starting school!"
Perhaps the most sublime challenge that we as educators face is teaching students how to think, not merely giving the correct answer. And why on earth would a parent hold a college professor accountable for their child's academic performance when their son or daughter suffers from an undiagnosed learning disability? At brightMystery, college professor Robert "T" wrestles with these issues.

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if teachers simply passed all students regardless of the quantity or quality of their work? Well, it's been studied before, and the London-based New Economist
presents the details of the experiment.

Curriculum that doesn't work as intended. Colleagues that aren't receptive to change. Handling difficult students both in the classroom and out. Does all of this sound familiar? Muse, who writes over at Me-ander,
lets us know that these are problems that educators must cope with.... in Israel. It seems as though some challenges confronting classroom teachers are universal.

Have you ever wondered what an education is worth? Over at Political Calculations, not only do they
have the info, but they've developed a nifty little device for converting data from graphs into current dollars.

A recent escapee from Blogspot, Ashish's Niti (Niti is Sanskrit, the blog will tell you what it means.) is written by a software engineer in California's Silicon Valley. There's nothing like a little meme to get the creative juices flowing, and it seems that Ashish
has been tagged with the book meme.

And now, for some entries selected by the Editors:

Isn't Google a really great tool? Joanne Jacobs has a
cautionary tale for all those folks out there that deliver speeches that aren't their own.

Once upon a time there was a Belgian high school teacher named Yves De Racker who regularly swore at his students in class. Next, a pupil recorded one of his rants. And then his rant was set to music. Finally, the tune was played over Belgian radio, becoming a "hit." University Diaries
tells us the story.

In yet
another well-written post, Ms. Frizzle discusses one of education's Eternal Questions: "How much of a teacher's lesson planning should be written down, and in what degree of detail?" As always, there is something for newer teachers, experienced teachers, and even those that don't teach but are interested in education.

Calling all blogging teachers! Calling all blogging teachers! (Or would that be calling all teachers who blog?) No matter which way you prefer, if you are a teacher who writes a blog, Jenny D would like you to drop in and leave a comment or two.

Have you ever wanted to serve on a school board? Over at A Constrained Vision, Katie is recounting
the unfortunate set of circumstances that befell one well-intentioned candidate as she tried to make a positive difference.

Finally, here at The Education Wonks,
we humbly submit for your consideration our take on the Department of Education's latest report, The Condition of Education: 2005.
Carnival Archives

The first edition can be seen here, the second here, the third, here, the fourth, here, and the fifth, here, the sixth, here, the seventh, here the eighth, here the ninth, here the tenth, here the eleventh here the twelfth here, the thirteenth, here the fourteenth, here the fifteenth, here, the sixteenth, here the seventeenth, here and the eighteenth, over there. To get to EdWonk's main page, (with a variety of education-related posts) please click here.