Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Carnival Of Education: Week 50

Welcome to this week's edition of The Carnival Of Education. All entries were submitted by the writers except those labeled "Editor's Choice," and are grouped into several categories. As always, one can find a wide selection of posts from a variety of educational and political viewpoints.

If you have a site and are interested in guest hosting an edition of The Carnival Of Education, please let us know via the email address given below.

Please consider helping spread the word about the midway. Links are appreciated, trackbacks are adored. As always, your comments and constructive criticism are always most welcome.

Next Week's Carnival midway will be hosted by us here at The Education Wonks. Please send contributions to: owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net. We should receive them no later than 9:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, January 24th. Please include the title of your post, and its URL, if possible. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway of the 51st edition of the Carnival should open next Wednesday morning.

Last week's Carnival, guest hosted by Jenny D, 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:

There are some very serious concerns that need to be addressed New York City's public schools. Is it really in the kids best interest to give them a high-stakes test in January and not reveal the results for over five months? Ms. Frizzle
gives us the skinny on this sorry situation and calls for some accountability.

Broadcast on the ABC television network last Friday, John Stossel's "
Stupid in America: How We Cheat Our Kids" has generated quite a buzz in the blogosphere. Education Matters has a recap of the program. Friends of Dave believes that every parent should see the show and lets those interested know how to obtain their own copy. Below the Beltway has some thoughts about School Choice, teachers unions, and Presidential commissions.

Here's more on Stossel: At Get on the Bus, reporter Scott Elliott of the Dayton Daily News
points out that Stossel's "fix-all" solution isn't The Answer. Consider taking a look at the comments...

Spunkyhomeschooler also saw the show, took notes, and reports on how the show overlooked
one very important aspect of the current American Education Scene. Don't miss the lively dialogues going on among the commenters.

Stossel made much of the idea that Belgian public schools did a better job than American public schools. Well, Alpha Shrugged actually attended a Belgian school and
has some news for Mr. Stossel. [Ed's note: Alpha's dog has its own blog; consider taking a look.]

At Jenny D's place, the commenters are having quite a discussion over
a recent post. But when the topics include school choice, NCLB, education funding, and decentralizing overly large educracies, how can one possibly resist the temptation to join in the dialogues? Give in to the temptation...

Alaska teacher Jack Fontenella offers an excellent roundup
of articles and commentary about that state's proposed system of awarding cash bonuses to teachers based solely upon test scores. Is this a version of merit pay in disguise?

Doing away with retirement pensions has become all the rage in the business world. The Ruminating Dude
lets us know that what many of us have taken for granted may not be there for our children. As the father of a 14-year-old girl (the TeenWonk) this has my closest attention.

Diane Weir
lets us know that 25 states have already formally signed-on to a nationwide FBI-coordinated data base that can be used for more thorough background checks for aspiring teachers. Is your state participating?

Accountability is on the mind of Reform k-12 as they
take a hard look at the fact that many school systems aren't meeting students' academic needs. They also proposes a thought-provoking remedy. Agree or disagree, you will have an opinion after reading! Over at News, the Universe, and Everything, Quincy has done just that!

The "65% Solution" has generated quite a bit of discussion in the EduSphere. Thespis Journal
has a reality check for a certain politician that has been throwing about this "Solution" as a cure-all for what ails public education.

Which of the following is the primary constituent of public education: parents, students, teachers, administrators, or elected officials? Over at Going to the Mat , fellow Floridian Matt
discusses the issue.

Has the time come for the adoption of National Standards? Scholar's Notebook sounds a cautionary note and
reminds us that in doing so the states would hand over enormous power to the Central Government in Washington.

We're always being told about how well Singapore's students do on tests. But The Essential Blog asks an interesting question:
What Are They Good For?

Should parents who choose to homeschool their children be permitted to participate in school-sponsored extra-curricular activities such as sports? Don Surber
presents the case as to why they shouldn't.

Editor's Choice: When public schools aren't doing well, should students be able to attend private/religious schools at taxpayer expense? Joanne Jacobs, has the latest news from Milwaukee where some students are doing just that.

Teaching And Learning In The Classroom:

Marcia Adair works over on the British side of the Atlantic. Here she shows us
a real-life example of what teaching ought to be. Read it. Prepare to smile. Or tear-up...

"Senioritis" is a well-documented ailment that strikes all sorts of soon-to-graduate students. But when it comes to choosing a school's valedictorians, (Yes, it's plural!) Mamacita shows us how ugly
the politics of praise can be.

The Reflective Teacher is considering how to best deal with
a very challenging child and is looking for some ideas from readers. Here's a peek:
I have a student who continuously tries to get out of work in class–asks to get a drink, asks to go to the bathroom, asks to make phone calls, gets up out of his seat and walks around, tries to leave the classroom, tells me the work is at home, tells me he’ll finish it in another class.

When he’s not trying to get out of work he sits and stares at the ceiling, puts his work in his notebook and closes it, places his notebook elsewhere in the room, “forgets” to bring a pen or pencil, talks to other students, picks fights with other students, picks fights with me, bring up arguments that have no place in the classroom, and tries to start discussions about racial inequities and favoritism between students and teachers.
Great teaching is hard work. But what do many great teachers do when they are told that their work is not good enough? They quit the classroom, that's what. Ms. Cornelius of A Shrewdness of Apes laments the loss of yet another master teacher from a public school classroom.

What happens when students don't pay attention in class? Substitute teacher Mr. Lawrence tells us how they can often disappear from the system and
not even know they're gone! Once again, we understand The Importance of Being...

Post-Secondary Education:

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to teach in college? Or how classes are designed to meet students' academic needs? Casting Out Nines gives us
an inside peek on the process that is used to develop a mathematics course.

Testing And Technology:

Tim at Assorted Stuff is sounding the alarm about the shenanigans
that are being pulled by one Maryland county in order to keep students from having to take a test that might leave some educators red-faced over the results.

We're always hearing about how teachers and administrators must be held "accountable" for students' test scores. But Mr. E has developed a whole new concept: Let's hold test makers accountable for
the quality of their tests. We like the idea.

More students are preferring to take online courses nowadays. But did you know that the virtual classroom can also be useful for busy teachers who are in need of extra coursework? What It's Like on the Inside
has the lowdown on this new trend.

What constitutes a good online course? They've taken some over at An Educational Voyage and
gives us some pointers that may help save time and money.

The Secret Lives Of Teachers:

Polski 3 went into the teachers lounge at his school on Tuesday morning and made
the gruesome discovery that some unwelcome visitors lay scattered about the floor.

Across the country, the battle over "politically incorrect" school mascots continues to heat up. California classroom teacher Darren over at Right on the Left Coast gives us the latest dispatches from the front. See part I
here and part II over there.

Survival Guide For Students And Parents:

Is your child's school as safe as you think it is? How many times have we heard the expression "That kind of thing doesn't happen here." And then it does. If you have any doubts whatsoever, try to have a candid discussion with his or her teacher. Classroom teacher Jessica notes that it's
no longer surprising to hear of students bringing firearms to their school...

As kids, how many times were we told to use a dictionary in order to check our spelling? Over at The Common Room, the Headmistress Zookeeper
shows both parents and students the high cost of not being able to spell or use a dictionary.

Vernice Jones continues to teach some powerful real-life lessons from her series of first-hand interviews of people from all walks of life. Her
latest interview shows us the importance of planting those little seeds that will bring us parents rich rewards.

More and more students are now running blogs without there parents' or teachers' knowledge. Submitted for your consideration is our cautionary note about some of the dangers that could be involved when parents are kept out of the loop.

Inside The EduBlogs:

Editor's Choice: Alexander Russo of This Week In Education is announcing the birth of a brand-new blog of his that focuses on education-related issues in the Chicago area. Say hello to,
District 299, which is described as "An Unhealthy Obsession With Education In Chicago."

Editor's Choice: Check out the nifty (and original) format that they're using at the third edition of The Carnival of Homeschooling over at Why Homeschool.

And finally: As always, this journey around the EduSphere has been both enjoyable and informative. Thanks to all the contributors whose submissions make the midway's continuing success possible and all the readers who make it rewarding.

This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival roundup. See The Education Wonks' latest posts here, and the complete Carnival archives over there.