Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Carnival Of Education: Week 103

Welcome to the 103rd edition of The Carnival Of Education! We are delighted that the Midway has returned home after a sustained road trip.

This week's collection of exhibits from around the EduSphere represents a very wide variety of political and educational viewpoints. Unless clearly labeled otherwise, all entries were submitted by the writers themselves.

If you have a website and are interested in hosting an edition of The Carnival Of Education, please let us know via this email address: edwonk [at] educationwonks [dot] org.

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about last week's midway over at Dr. Homeslice. As always, links to this midway are much appreciated while trackbacks are adored. Visit the Carnival's archives here and see our latest EduPosts there.

Next Week's Carnival midway will be hosted by Carol over at The Median Sib. Writers are invited to send contributions to: carol [at] the mediansib [dot] com , or use this handy submission form. Carol should receive them no later than 6:00 PM (Eastern) 3:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, January 30th. Please include the title of your post, and its URL, if possible. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway should open next Wednesday morning.

Let the free exchange of thoughts and ideas begin!


The touchy subject of merit pay for teachers is
the subject of a post by The Colossus of Rhodey which examines several different aspects of this hot EduTopic.

Now that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have declared their intentions, Alexander Russo's This Week in Education takes a look at what their respective candidacies mean for education. Read about Obama
here and Clinton there.

When it comes to EduPolicy, Ken DeRosa of D-Ed Reckoning often has strong opinions that are thought-provoking. In
this week's contribution, De-Rosa takes a look at the design of educational programs and curricula. Here's a sample:
For example, most educational programs and curricula are poorly designed. Teacher designed curricula are some of the worst offenders in this regard because teachers are novices when it comes to curricular design. They will unwittingly reveal this when they say things like the frequent canard that "not all programs work with all kids." That's unwitting code for "I don't know a thing about instructional design."
As a parent, practicing educator, or interested citizen, have you ever considered how much instructional time a child loses (while in school) during the course of an entire year? Thespis Journal has, and the result may very well come as a surprise to most.

While we're on the subject of lost instructional time, take a look at the types of
unnecessary disruptions that occur to classroom teachers on an all-too-often basis. (And folks who've never taught wonder why those who do feel so frustrated?)

One of the strengths of the public charter school is the relatively free-hand that it gets when it comes to the administration of disciplinary consequences to those students who disrupt the education process. Edspresso
shows us why the type of student discipline found in many charter schools may not be feasible in more traditional public school settings.

Sex Education is nearly-always a controversial topic among educators and the public alike. Bajillion
has a look at a sex-ed curriculum in Washington State as well as a variety of hot-button issues including abstinence-only policies, double standards, and stereotyping. Judge this one for yourself!

Teaching And Learning:

Who is the best school teacher in the country? That's a tough question to answer for a variety of reasons. One name that has been put forward is that of Los Angeles teacher Rafe Esquith, who has been receiving quite a bit of attention in the MSM. Joanne Jacobs
takes a balanced look at Mr. Esquith, as well as the type of driven-to-succeed work ethic that he exemplifies.

New York City-based teacher Nani of Se Hace Camino Al Andar recently attended a workshop on teaching students about the Holocaust and and came away with
some ideas for engaging students while teaching this sad chapter of the Human Experience.

Former special education teacher Karen of The Thomas Institute links to, and comments upon, a recent well-publicized piece by Charles Murray on the "state of education." Here's a sample from the
first installment of her three-part series:
And one of the most surprising and disturbing things that I learned was that it is not the job of the special ed. department to help children like Girl with 88 IQ. Did you just say, "What?" or maybe, "She doesn't know what she's talking about!" Well, it was explained to me that the job of the special ed. department is to help children with learning disabilities. (Evidently, low intelligence by itself is not a learning disability.
When it comes to teaching young children, don't forget the fun that can be had with poetry, and especially Lewis Carroll's immortal "Jabberwocky." (Disc. We're BIG Carroll fans; see the quote at the top of this page.)

From The Classroom:

NYC Educator teaches in the New York City Public School System. Educator is telling us all about the Petty Tyrant EduCrat who allowed a hurt child to bleed
until the necessary hall pass was obtained. Only then was the kid put into an ambulance and rushed to the hospital...

Down in Texas, they've been having more than their share of "wintry" weather lately. Check-out this teacher's
eyewitness account of the chaos that was to be found in the Dallas public school system. The cause? An administration that seemed incapable of making any sort of decision.

Some students in the high school where teacher Dana Huff works went on a trip through the heart of the Deep South. As is so often the case, the students produced a video of their journey. In what may come as a surprise to many, the students
shared the video with their teacher!

Teaching in the Twenty-First Century has
the pros-and-cons about having students split into small groups and attempt to invent their own board games. In this bonus post (that we've selected) Teaching also wonders if it would be a good idea to require those college students who are studying teacher-education to do a little substitute teaching themselves.

Inside This Teaching Life:

Would you believe that Jane of Scheiss Weekly is teaching a class that has students with real-life names such as Ginger, Mary Ann, Skip, and two Howells?
Believe it! (And can you just guess what the students call her?)

Next week's Carnival of Education host Carol of The Median Sib attended a workshop that was called "Quality Teaching in a Culture of Coaching" but really should have been named "
The Thing From Hell's Kitchen. "

As teachers, it seems as though we're always being tasked with completing paperwork that seems to be designed for the sole purpose of making someone else's job easier. Over at 3σ → Left, IB a Math Teacher just received such a form from a "Licensed Psychologist" that featured some 200 questions. Instead of suffering in silence, Math Teacher says what soooo many of us would like to say
in those same circumstances.

What constitutes a "good" teacher? While the definition may very from person-to-person and teacher-to-teacher, we think that most would agree that Joan over at Daddy's Roses has
hit the nail on the head. In a bonus post (that we included) related to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Daddy's Roses has asked the question that is on the mind of so many educators who actually do work with kids on a daily basis.

HUNBlog has some worthy resolutions for the New Semester, but it's those closing comments
that apply to us all!

A reader submits a post which illustrates just one of the innumerable ways teachers often
get punished for doing the right thing.

School Governance:

Education in Texas shows us the
potential for disaster when a school doesn't trust its own employees with the vital information that is needed to safeguard students' safety.

a brief comparison of New York City's public school system and that of Chicago.


Trivium Pursuit
proposes an idea that may have applications not only for those who homeschool but to just about everyone: Having the kids keep an illustrated journal and then sharing it each week with the family.

Life Without School ponders a question that many parents who consider homeschooling their children end-up asking themselves:
Do Homeschooled Kids "Miss Out"?

Of Interest To Parents:

This contribution by Melissa Wiley of The Lilting House gives us
an inside view of an I.E.P. meeting with school personnel. (Recommended reading for anyone who has a child with special needs or is interested in learning more about the processes and procedures that are involved in this most important of parent-teacher conferences.)

Scott Elliott of The Dayton Daily News' EduBlog Get on the Bus
introduces us to an organization called Safe Routes To School. This California-based group advocates letting children walk to school for the purpose of, among other things, "promoting livable communities."

Here's a post whose title says it all:
Making Time for Your Child's Teacher.

Higher Education:

When it comes to discerning between diploma mills and legitimate online education providers, Who Learns has
some good advice for those who are thinking about taking advantage of this new method of instruction.

Dr. Madeline Daniels sounds
the clarion call for fundamentally changing the ways in which our colleges and universities approach teaching and learning.

Restructuring higher education is also the subject of a contribution by The Psychology of Education,
who assert that colleges are not adequately preparing students for the challenges of the new century.

Here's whimsical short video that
well-illustrates the college application process. (The musical accompaniment is priceless!)

Here's a list of the
ten toughest colleges for high school graduates to get into.


And now it's time to play.....
The Math Game! (Brought to you by the folks over at Let's Play Math. The entire site is a resource for teachers!)

Until I read
this post, I had no idea that Google was planning to "scan-in millions of books and allow readers to enjoy them at their leisure while sitting in their pajamas." (Sounds to us like this will be good for both Google and The Pajamas...)

Internationally Speaking:

In Wales,
they've decided that they will have to learn to live without The Test.

If California math teacher Darren of Right on the Left Coast ever gets tired of teaching in The People's Republic of California, I guess he could always
run away to Hong Kong. (Don't miss checking out those "appearance expectations." Just follow the sign link at the bottom of the post.)

submitted for your consideration is our entry, in which we expose the Taliban's plan to "reconquer and restructure" Afghanistan's school system. This terrorist organization's aim is to impose their own peculiar brand of "education" on the children of that long-suffering nation.

Inside the Blogs:

Over at AFT's NCLBlog,
they've been doing some reflection on the nature of EduBlogging, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

In a post that's certain the provoke thought, Charles Jine asserts that liberal education (in the classic sense) has died and
gives his prescription for its resurrection.

See what happens when a student spends time
playing games on his calculator instead of paying attention in math class.

And finally: This, like most of our journeys around the EduSphere, has been both enjoyable and informative. Our continued thanks to all the contributors whose submissions make the midway's continuing success possible, the folks who donate their time to help spread the word, and the readers who continue to make it A Free Exchange of Thoughts and Ideas
This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival roundup. See our latest EduPosts here, and the complete Carnival archives (soon to be updated) over there.