Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Carnival Of Education: Week 42

Welcome to this week's edition of The Carnival Of Education. We think that this roundup of entries represents a wide variety of educational viewpoints that are to be found within the EduSphere. All entries were submitted by the writers except those labeled, "Editor's Choice," and are grouped into several categories.

A successful carnival is a team effort. Please consider helping spread the word. And as always, your comments and constructive criticism are most welcome.

An invitation: Writers of education-related posts are invited to send contributions to next week's Carnival midway. Please send your submissions to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net. We should receive them no later than 9:00 PM (Pacific) next Tuesday, November 29th. Please include the title of your post, and its URL, if possible. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway of the 43rd edition of the carnival should open here next Wednesday.

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

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

Education Policy:

Mark Lerner, who is on the Board of Directors of The William E. Doar, Jr. Public Charter School for the Performing Arts in the nation's capital,
takes a hard look at the U.S. Department of Education, as well as the D.C. public school system's continuing lack of support for its own public charter schools. This in spite of the fact that many parents continue to remove their children from traditional academic programs...

The recent Supreme Court ruling (Shaffer v. Weast) affecting special education continues to be discussed in the EduSphere, with California teacher Coach Brown considering
the possible effects of the SCOTUS ruling upon school districts.

You say that you want to know the latest in education policy? But you don't know where to turn? If edupolicy is what you want, then should be one of your regular reads. In this week's entry, Eduwonk
give us the skinny on what direction the politically popular "65% Solution" is now taking and where it will likely end up.

Andrew Coulson, of Washington's Cato institute,
asserts that school choice would be the best way to end all the bickering over Intelligent Design and similar controversies.

Most can agree that our education system is in need of effective reform. At My Short Pencil, Jerry Moore
presents his case for computer-delivered teaching, some outsourced instruction, and the ending of teacher tenure as one remedy for what ails our system of public education.

Editor's Choice: Consider taking a look at Joanne Jacobs
highly informative primer about Charter School Realities.

At Education Matters
they are calling out New York's "Innovative" math program. Matters would like to know why, if this program is so good, are students having to "circumvent" the curriculum.

Teaching And Learning:

Montana is known as Big Sky Country. So when I received this entry from the Montana teachers who write a blog called TeacherLore, I had big expectations.
They didn't let me down. What they have done is posted a series of essays written by high school students from around the state. When you get to the post, be sure to follow the link (where it says the word "essays") over to the writing. Each writer has his or her own comment-enabled "mini-post."

In California, the state's 7th grade content-area standards direct that students should learn about Islam. Over at The Common Room, they consider the proposition that
one teacher went much too far.

As a classroom teacher, I've attended my share of less-than-informative conferences. At Tim Fredrick's place, he has
some excellent thoughts about what makes for an effective and worthwhile conference.

On the other hand, Ms. Cornelius of A Shrewdness of Apes attended one of those conferences that
all of us working teachers simply dread. Here is a sample:
Unfortunately, I am about to scream. Hours of meetings so we can role play and fishbowl about stuff we already knew. We have played cutesy "getting to know you" games and listen to truly abysmal poems read to us by one of the presenters. My heartstrings have been tugged into Gordian knots.

We have dodged an attempt to dump a heaping load of guilt on those of us who have a family and/or who do not spend at least $2000 of our own money on our classrooms (gee, last year I spent $1999-- just missed it!). I must admit I suppressed a giggle when one of the GOB district administrators talked interminably about how he is an "oppressor." Noooooo. Really?
There was quite a bit of buzz generated by Brent Staples' Times piece about the Japanese public school system and what we on this side of the Pacific can learn from a study of their methods and techniques. At Going to the Mat, they take a thorough look at the Times piece and have links to others who are also considering what lessons we can learn from the Japanese Experience.

Muse is a teacher in Israel. After experiencing difficulty with classes that have all ability-levels in one group,
she brings us an interesting idea. Larger class sizes for more advanced students and smaller classes for those in need of more attention. Food for thought or discussion.

The Secret Lives Of Teachers:

Mamacita tells it like it is. And this week, the author of Scheiss Weekly doesn't let us down with her entry about some of the things that students have to go through in their secret lives. Why is it that the kids must always
pay for the sins of the parents? And how about a bonus post in which Mamacita gives us a grammar lesson?

Second-year teacher Janet
has begun to notice some things in her school. Differential education and Gifted Classes for the ungifted, and students biting students are just three of several. And could a contributing factor to some of these oddities be that many students in the school seem to be related to each other?

One of my favorite books has always been George Orwell's Animal Farm. Homeschool teacher Spunky (who teaches six) asks, "
Is the National Education Association the new Animal Farm?" If so, who is Comrade Napoleon? (Heh. I know his identity, but I'm not uttering it here on the Midway.)

Breaking-up fights. Students calling each other obscene names. Playing tag in the middle of class. Disrespectful kids. The preceding wasn't from an old Night Gallery episode but substitute teacher Mr. Lawrence
giving us the lowdown on why 'subs don't want to work in certain schools. (Be sure to take a look at Mr. Lawrence's photo; it's a pic of one of my favorite all-time heroes.)

Inside The EduBlogs:

submitted for your consideration is our entry from The Education Wonks. We report the sad news of a fellow teacher who has been sentenced to 750 lashes and 40 months imprisonment for allegedly "questioning and ridiculing Islam, discussing the Bible and defending Jews."

Editor's Choice: Check out this blog called The Classroom. It's by Clayton Wilcox, Superintendent of Pinellas County (Florida) Public Schools. In these two posts, he uses the site to sample the community's attitudes toward school start times.
Part I has 786 comments, while there were some 267 who chimed-in on Part II. We hope that the Superintendent will begin posting daily!

Survival Guide For Students And Parents:

Dayton Daily News reporter Scott Elliott's Get on the Bus is alerting us to a case where a student attempted to poison his teacher's coffee. Thank goodness the teacher didn't take a sip. Scott asks
an interesting question: With the Columbine High School Massacre six years behind us, have we learned anything?

Much has been written on the subject of the best jobs for those with Bachelor's (or higher) Degrees, but have you ever wondered what the highest-paying jobs are that don't require degrees? Political Calculations has
that most intriguing list.

Sometimes we just never know what that child who we see sitting in our classroom or walking home from school is going through. Continuing her remarkable set of interviews with people from all walks of life, homeschooler Vernice Jones of Jones Blog brings us
the latest installment, this time from a single mom who is doing the best that she can.

Colorado educator Donna reminds us of
a key component of student success. The need for parents to be informed. And a good start would be for parents to have an understanding of what academic literacy is and why oral fluency in reading isn't enough for most students to succeed in school.

In response to a question that
we posed, Erin, over at her new site, The State That I Am, has written a letter of her own to the families of her students. (Keep at it, Erin! I do miss that picture of the Great Audrey Hepburn from your old place.)

Rhymes With Right brings us the statement of Harvard Law student and U.S. Army first-Lieutenant Kate Thornton Buzicky who asks that her fellow liberal-minded students be
a little more tolerant of those who serve in uniform. (Be sure to follow the link to the whole piece.)

Cross Blogging is reporting about
one mother's attempt to "scare her child straight" through unique means. I'm not sure about the long-term effects, but mom's method sure got a lot of attention!

Who would have thought that
Borgs would be interested in public education? Well... Borgs are parents too, and Gullyborg wants a judge who, over the objections of parents, authorized schools to give students surveys with sex-related material, to be held accountable for this erosion of parental rights.

Higher Education:

Any controversy surrounding freedom of expression demands my closest attention. Our stated objective of promoting "The Free Exchange Of Thoughts And Ideas," depends on maintaining that freedom. That's why
I was saddened to learn that a community college instructor in New Jersey is attempting to "persuade" students not to attend a talk by an Iraqi War veteran.

Editor's Choice: If you could be the Dean of a college or university, what would you do with all that power? Ms. Frizzle gives us her
well-reasoned ideas about some changes that many institutions of higher learning could definately use.

Testing And Technology:

J.D. Fisher, of MathandText, gives us
a step-by-step lesson in how to draw circle graphs using MS Word for the purpose of designing math problems for use in the classroom. Consider taking a look at this bonus post which uses Lego pieces to help students understand long division.

Quite a bit of attention been garnered by the $100 laptop computer that is being developed for kids who live in less-developed countries. But the forward-thinking Darren of Right on the Left Coast
asks a question that needs to be asked.

Science Creative Quarterly
has the latest in Scantron technologies for those of us who have access to those machines.... And some folks at the University of British Columbia are announcing "The Terry Project," where science meets the humanities.

As always, we've thoroughly enjoyed this trip around the EduSphere. Thanks to all who have contributed and continue to make this midway possible. I'm looking forward to next week's entries and the announcement of The Carnival's next guest host.
This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival roundup. See The Education Wonks' latest posts here, and the complete Carnival archives over there.