Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Today's Historical Non Sequitur

Who would have thought that the most successful pirate in world history would have been a lady of means?

I just wish that I could have shared this with my seventh grade students....



The 134th midway of The Carnival of Education (hosted this week by Matthew K. Tabor) has opened the midway for your educational enjoyment.

And if you're in the mood for a little extra credit, see what the homies are up to over at The Carnival of Education.
See our latest entries.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Our Falling Reading Scores: What's To Be Done?

This is some troubling news:
Reading skills among U.S. students graduating from high school this year fell to the lowest since 1994 as measured by the most widely taken college-entrance exam.

Reading scores on the SAT declined 1 point to 502 after a 5- point drop last year, the test's operator, the College Board, reported today. The decline in 2006 had been the largest in three decades. Average math results fell 3 points to 515, and writing grades also declined 3 points, to 494.

The results for the test, taken by 1.5 million high school students, contradict findings from the rival ACT exam, which rose for the third time in five years. The declines also contrast with boasts by schools such as Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that applicants have higher grades and test scores than ever as they compete in record numbers for freshman- class positions. Harvard accepted just 9 percent this year.

``It sort of confirms the sense in which education in our country is really a tale of two cities,'' said Barmak Nassirian, a spokesman for the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers, based in Washington.

Admissions executives at selective schools report ``a generation of hyperqualified candidates, the likes of which they've never seen,'' Nassirian said. ``Then you get numbers like this, which presumably paint a broader picture, and seem to speak of a general decline.''

International Comparisons

The SAT is primarily a U.S. test. On a 2003 assessment of eighth-graders in 44 countries, the average U.S. math score was lower than those in 14 nations, with Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan leading the way.

In science, U.S. eighth-graders were outscored by peers in eight countries, with Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea at the top. In both subjects, the U.S. students' score was above the international average.

College Board officials, while downplaying the one-year declines as statistically insignificant, said at a press conference today the increasing diversity of the test-taking population is pushing scores down. The class of 2007 had the largest number of SAT-takers ever. Maine now requires all high school students, including those not going to college, to take the exam, leading to a 41 percent increase of test takers in that state.

``There were some changes in the overall population taking the SAT,'' said Lawrence Bunin, senior vice president at the College Board.

Ethnic, Demographic Groups

The College Board, a nonprofit group based in New York, described the trend in SAT reading scores as ``essentially flat'' and said the direction of math results is up, although there was a 5-point drop during the past two years. The average math grade was 14 points higher than 20 years ago.

One critic of educational testing said declines in the past two years show that changes made to the SAT in 2005 undermined its usefulness as a measure of student abilities over time.

"The College Board failed to keep its promise that the revised SAT would be comparable to the old test,'' said Bob Schaeffer, a spokesman for the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Schools Drop Tests

Almost 20 schools decided in the past year to drop the SAT and the ACT as a requirement for applications, the anti-testing group said. Officials at those schools have said they have doubts about the reliability of the standardized tests as predictors of students' college performance.

ACT Inc., based in Iowa City, Iowa, said the average score on each of the test's four sections rose for the class of 2007. That test was taken by 1.3 million students.

This year was only the second time the College Board reported results for the writing portion of the SAT. The section, started in March 2005, was intended to make the SAT more relevant to college-admission decisions.

The writing test was the only one of four sections in which the women's score, 500, was higher than the men's, 489. Men registered a higher average score in math, 533 compared with 499, while the gender gap in reading narrowed to 2 points, the smallest margin since 1973.

SAT reading scores rose for Mexican-Americans and other Spanish speakers, by 1 point, and for Asian-Americans, by 4 points. The most-affluent group, students in families making more than $100,000 a year, had an average reading score of 544. The poorest, those with less than $10,000 of annual family income, averaged 427.
How did the American public education system, once the envy of the world, get into such a sorry state?

And how can it be fixed?
See our latest entries.

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Washington Watch: Another Hypocrite Exposed

Apparently, Idaho's senator Larry Craig was attempting to do a little unauthorized "exit polling" in a public restroom recently:
Sen. Larry Craig said that he "overreacted and made a poor decision" in pleading guilty to disorderly conduct after his June arrest following an incident in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.

Tuesday, in his first public statement on the arrest, the Idaho Republican said he did nothing "inappropriate."

"Let me be clear: I am not gay and never have been," said Craig, who has aligned himself with conservative groups who oppose gay rights.

With his wife by his side, Craig said he is the victim of a "witch hunt" conducted by the Idaho Statesman newspaper.

"In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis, because of the stress of the Idaho Statesman's investigation and the rumors it has fueled around Idaho," he said. "Again, that overreaction was a mistake, and I apologize for my misjudgment."

He added: "I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and should have told my family and friends about it. I wasn't eager to share this failure, but I should have done so anyway."

A police officer who arrested him June 11 said Craig peered through a crack in a restroom stall door for two minutes and made gestures suggesting to the officer he wanted to engage in "lewd conduct."

Craig's blue eyes were clearly visible through the crack in the door, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport police Sgt. Dave Karsnia wrote in the report he filed.

"Craig would look down at his hands, 'fidget' with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again," Karsnia wrote in documents accompanying the arrest report.

Craig said the officer misinterpreted his actions.

After he was taken for questioning, the police report says, Craig pulled out of a Senate business card and asked the officer: "What do you think of that?"

Senate Republican leaders are calling for an ethics committee review. A GOP leadership aide said senators were especially concerned about the business card allegation.

The aide said the leadership discussed the matter by phone and decided to call for an investigation because they were concerned that Craig pleaded guilty and disputes the facts.

The GOP leadership consists of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Assistant Minority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, Conference Chairman Jon Kyl of Arizona, Policy Committee Chair Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, and Senatorial Committee Chair John Ensign of Nevada.

"This is a serious matter," the group said in a statement. "Due to the reported and disputed circumstances, and the legal resolution of this serious case, we will recommend that Senator Craig's incident be reported to the Senate Ethics Committee for its review.

"In the meantime, Leadership is examining other aspects of the case to determine if additional action is required," the statement said.

Craig, 62, pleaded guilty August 8 to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge in the incident, according to Minnesota criminal records.

The senator said he "chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of making it go away. I did not seek any counsel, either from an attorney, staff, friends, or family. That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it."

On Tuesday, Craig announced that he has retained an attorney.

The officer wrote that he was on a plainclothes detail in the restroom because of citizen complaints and arrests for sexual activity there.

Karsnia wrote that when the person occupying the stall beside him left, Craig entered it and blocked the door with his rolling suitcase.

"My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall," the officer said in his report.

The senator then tapped his right foot, "a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct," Karsnia wrote, and Craig ran his left hand several times underneath the partition dividing the stalls.

"The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot, which was within my stall area," the officer's report said.

When the police interviewed him later, the senator said that "he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom" and that was why his foot may have touched the officer's, the report said.

Craig also told police that he had reached down to the floor to pick up a piece of paper, the officer wrote.

"It should be noted that there was not a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper," Karsnia wrote.

"During the interview, Craig either disagreed with me or 'didn't recall' the events as they happened."

After Craig ran his hand underneath the partition wall three times, Karsnia held his police identification down by the floor so the senator could see it, the report said.

"With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, 'No!'

"I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet," Karsnia wrote.

The senator initially resisted the officer's request to go to the police operations center, he said, but finally did. There, he was read his Miranda rights, interviewed, photographed, fingerprinted and released, the report said.
As a traditional American conservative, I find the senator's alleged confessed actions to be particularly egregious.

It's bad enough when the opposition commits acts such as this (likely felon and impeached president Bill Clinton, for example) but when those who represent themselves as being strong supporters of traditional conservative values are exposed for being the hypocrites that they are, their lies and cover-ups only serve to provide Democrats with useful campaign fodder in their efforts to obtain further electoral victories and thereby obtain the legislative/judicial power that they crave in order to fundamentally re-orient the country in a leftward direction.

As a sitting United States Senator, Larry Craig should be held to a higher ethical standard than that of private citizens.

Craig should have known better.

And if the senator was innocent, then he certainly would not have copped a plea. I strongly believe that an innocent man (or woman) would never accept punishment for a crime that he or she did not do.

In my view, the man is guilty as confessed.

Senator Craig's actions are just the latest example of what is going-on in that cesspool of iniquity that is known as Babylon on the Potomac Washington, D.C.

So now, like all-too-many of the wealthy and powerful who have been caught engaging in deviant/criminal behavior, (such as pseudo-conservative, drug addict, and
hypocrite Rush Limbaugh) Craig has hired an attorney in order to beat the rap.

Craig should not be allowed a "do over" merely because the MSM finally exposed him. He should "man-up" (so to speak) and (unlike Limbaugh) accept the consequences.

When pseudo-conservatives such as Larry Craig, Rush Limbaugh, and the hooker-chasing Senator David Vitter preach one thing and get caught doing another, their behavior only serves to further undermine the Conservative Cause.

It's time for traditional conservatives to stop justifying hypocrisy and insist that those who represent Conservatism both "talk the talk" AND "walk the walk."
See our latest entries.

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Carnival Entries Are Due!

Entries for the 134th edition of The Carnival Of Education (hosted this week by Matthew K. Tabor) are due. Please email them to: mktabor [at] gmail [dot] com . (Or, easier yet, use this handy submission form.) Submissions should be received no later than 11:00 PM (Eastern) 8:00 PM (Pacific) today. Contributions should include your site's name, the title of the post, and the post's URL if possible.

Visit last week's midway, hosted by The Red Pencil, right here.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the exhibits should open Tomorrow.
See our latest EduPosts.

The Watcher's Council Has Spoken!

Each and every week, Watcher of Weasels sponsors a contest among posts from the Conservative side of the 'Sphere. The winning entries are determined by a jury of 12 writers (and The Watcher) known as "The Watchers Council."

The Council has met and cast their ballots for last week's submitted posts.

Council Member Entries: Right Wing Nut House received the most votes with Is the United States an Imperialist Power and Does It Matter?.

Non-Council Entries: Pajamas Media took first place honors with How The New Republic Got Suckered.

See our latest EduPosts.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Beaverton Bare Gets Busted!

Apparently, this guy didn't know when to quit:
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A group of campers tied a peeping Tom suspect to a tree, keeping him bound until police arrived.

Richard H. Berkey, 63, was charged with private indecency, a misdemeanor, by sheriff's deputies who were called to the Big Fan Campground near Bagby Hot Springs last weekend, according to Clackamas County Detective Jim Strovink.

Campers told deputies they recognized Berkey from a similar incident at the campground last year and wanted to make sure he didn't get away.

The 2006 incident was reported to police but did not result in charges.

"Last year, we took down his license plate number and turned it in to the sheriff, but there wasn't a lot they could do really," said Jason Dugan, one of the campers. "This year, that wasn't happening."

Dugan and another camper, Michelle Brandow, said several friends were playing chess, eating and relaxing last Saturday, when they heard rustling in an area the women used as an open latrine. Dugan went to investigate, saw a man running from the area and tackled him.

With help from two other campers, Dugan led Berkey to the group's campsite and tied him to a tree. Another camper left to call police.

Berkey told KGW-TV in Portland he was surprised by the response. "I just didn't think it was that big of a deal," he said. A phone call to Berkey's house in Beaverton was not immediately returned Friday.

Berkey is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 18.
And yes, I did check. There really IS a town in Oregon called "Beaverton." One may visit Beaverton's website right here.
See our latest entries.


Friday, August 24, 2007

DisJustice The Modern Way

The tedious soap opera latest legal difficulties of useless lay-about "actress" Lindsay Lohan is about the best evidence that supports the idea that in today's America, there is one standard of justice and "due process" for the Rich, Famous, Or Simply Beautiful and a very different one for the Rest of Us:
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Lindsay Lohan reached a plea deal Thursday on misdemeanor drunken driving and cocaine charges that calls for her to spend one day in jail, serve 10 days of community service and complete a drug treatment program.

She was also placed on 36 months probation, is required to complete an 18-month alcohol education program, pay hundreds of dollars in fines and must complete a three-day county coroner program in which she'll visit a morgue and talk to victims of drunken drivers.

"It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs," Lohan said in a statement released by publicist Leslie Sloane Zelnik.

She said she did things she was ashamed of. "I broke the law and today I took responsibility by pleading guilty to the charges in my case."

"She's getting what everyone else would get," Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers said after an hourlong hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge H. Chester Horn Jr.'s courtroom. Terms of the plea bargain were worked out in chambers.

If Lohan were to be convicted of another DUI, she would receive a mandatory 120-day jail sentence, Meyers said.

"No matter what I said when I was under the influence on the day I was arrested, I am not blaming anyone else for my conduct other than myself. I thank God I did not injure others. I easily could have," Lohan's statement went on.

Lohan was charged earlier in the day with seven misdemeanors stemming from two drunken-driving arrests in the last four months. More serious felony drug charges were not filed, prosecutors said, because tests showed there wasn't enough cocaine on her to warrant them.

Attorney Blair Berk entered pleas on Lohan's behalf: she pleaded guilty to two counts of being under the influence of cocaine; no contest to two counts of driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent and one count of reckless driving. Two counts of driving under the influence were dropped.

Lohan was arrested on May 26 in Beverly Hills and on July 24 in Santa Monica. In each incident, the amount of cocaine tested was below the .05 grams required for felony charges, according to the district attorney's office.

Each of Lohan's arrests were followed by trips to rehab.

Lohan's legal problems come on the heels of two other high-profile celebrity DUI cases that resulted in jail time. Paris Hilton served 23 days behind bars after she was found guilty of driving on a suspended license while on probation for an alcohol-related reckless-driving case. Nicole Richie was ordered to serve four days in jail stemming from a December DUI arrest.

Lohan crashed her Mercedes-Benz into a tree on Sunset Boulevard in May and fled the scene to seek medical treatment. Police tests revealed that a white powder found in Lohan's purse was .04 grams of cocaine.

Lohan checked into the posh Promises rehabilitation facility in Malibu after the incident. She left the facility July 13 after six weeks of treatment. She was photographed wearing an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet after her release.

Lohan was arrested again on July 24 following a 911 call by Michelle Peck, the mother of Lohan's former personal assistant. Peck told police she was being chased by an SUV. Police later said Lohan was the driver.

Lohan's blood-alcohol level was between 0.12 and 0.13 percent when police found her, officials said. Police also found a white powder in her pocket that was determined to be .02 grams of cocaine.

She was enrolled in a drug rehab center in Sundance, Utah, attorneys confirmed in court Thursday.

Lohan started 2007 in rehab at the Wonderland Center in Los Angeles.

Lohan's latest film, "I Know Who Killed Me," opened in July to lackluster response.

"I very much want to be healthy and gain control of my life and career and have asked for medical help in doing so. I am taking these steps to improve my life," Lohan said in her statement. "Luckily, I am not alone in my daily struggle and I know that people like me have succeeded. Maybe with time it will become easier. I hope so."
Lohan sorta reminds me of another hollywood type who also copped a plea and beat serious charges: that hypocritical loudmouthed Bushbot-masquerading-as-a-conservative Rush "I need my OxyContin" Limbaugh.

Sadly, it appears that our justice system's once lofty goal of "equal justice for all" has been replaced by the reality of: "Money Talks, Fairness Walks."
See our latest entries.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The 133rd midway of The Carnival of Education (hosted this week by The Red Pencil) has opened the midway for your educational enjoyment. (Be sure to scroll down and have a good look at those nifty pie-charts that have been put-together by the host.)

And if you're in the mood for a little extra credit, ease on over to the "magical" edition of this week's Carnival of Homeschooling.
See our latest EduPosts.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007



For those of you who must know, here are America's top party schools.

And now for extra credit, who can tell us (without peeking) what very famous American patriotic song's melody is based upon on an old English drinking tune called "To Anacreon in Heaven?"

Stumped? Go here.

Carnival Entries Are Due!

Entries for the 133rd edition of The Carnival Of Education (hosted this week by The Red Pencil) are due. Please email them to: theredpencil [at] gmail [dot] com . (Or, easier yet, use this handy submission form.) Submissions should be received no later than 11:00 PM (Eastern) 8:00 PM (Pacific) today. Contributions should include your site's name, the title of the post, and the post's URL if possible.

Visit last week's midway, hosted by Lennie over at Education Matters, right here.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the exhibits should open Tomorrow.
See our latest EduPosts.

The Watcher's Council Has Spoken!

Each and every week, Watcher of Weasels sponsors a contest among posts from the Conservative side of the 'Sphere. The winning entries are determined by a jury of 12 writers (and The Watcher) known as "The Watchers Council."

The Council has met and cast their ballots for last week's submitted posts.

Council Member Entries: Big Lizards garnered the most votes with The "Don't Make Waves!" Theory of Iraqi Politics.

Non-Council Entries: Small Wars Journal took first place honors with General James Mattis -- Attacking the al Qaeda "Narrative".

See our latest EduPosts.


Friday, August 17, 2007

The Spellings Report: Margaret Heads South!

One of our confidential sources inside the Bush Administration has intimated to us that Washington's Educrat-in-Chief Margaret Spellings was recently sighted down in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was heard to say this: (emphasis ours)
How do we close the achievement gap and prepare all children to succeed in the global economy? To me, the answer is clear—the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Building on the success of this landmark law will help ensure we keep our promise to have every child learning on grade level by 2014.
Secretary Spellings uttered that remark with all the confidence of someone who would never even think of going into the classroom herself.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that Spellings wouldn't encourage her own kids to serve as classroom teachers, either.

Spellings understands the true ramifications of the No Child Left Behind Act all-too-well.

Under the federally-imposed mandates of NCLB, a teacher can work extremely hard, get 99% of his or her kids to pass those federally-required standardized tests in 2014, and still be considered an underperforming teacher if even one of his or her students doesn't pass the test with scores high enough to satisfy Washington's EduCracy.

And who would want their own kids to stuck in (what has increasingly become) a
McJob where perfection is not only expected, but now required?

Especially when the
average salary (nationwide) for teachers is $47,602 and the average (last year's) so-called pay "increase" was a whopping 2.2%....

Interestingly, Secretary Spellings and the rest of the Washington EduCracy
just got a raise of 4.1%.

Nice work, if you can get it.

But, as they say, you can only get it if you know someone...
See our latest entries.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Long And The Sag Of It!

Here we go again:
MANSFIELD, La. — Effective Sept. 15, anyone in this northwest Louisiana town caught wearing sagging pants that expose his or her underwear will be subject to a fine up to $150 plus court costs, or face up to 15 days in jail.

Mansfield aldermen Monday voted unanimously and without discussion to enact the law. Mayor Curtis McCoy said he proposed it because he was concerned about the number of individuals who wear pants that expose their underwear. The citizens of Mansfield, he said, should not have to put up with it.

City attorney Richard Z. Johnson Jr. said he researched state statutes and borrowed from a similar law adopted in the south Louisiana town of Delcambre as a guideline in creating Mansfield's ordinance. Several municipalities and parish governments in Louisiana have enacted similar laws in recent months.
How fast will this one get tossed out by some judge?

About as fast as one can say A-C-L-U...
See our latest entries.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Let's Carnival!

The 132nd midway of The Carnival of Education (hosted this week by Education Matters) has opened the midway for your EduEnjoyment.

And don't forget to checkout what the homies are up to over at The Carnival of Homeschooling.
See our latest EduPosts.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Elephant In The EduReform Room

When it comes to successfully reforming our chronically under performing public education system, the factor that nobody in the MSM seems to want to talk about is the sad reality that many of our classroom teachers are under qualified for the jobs in which they are assigned.

Well... almost nobody.

In a recent op-ed piece that appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Camille Esch shows us that elephant "hits the nail on the head" about the situation here in California, and, by extension, the country as a whole
On Monday, the ACLU of Southern California and Public Advocates Inc. released an upbeat progress report on the results of the settlement of Williams vs. California, a class-action suit brought on behalf of the state's most-neglected students. In the lowest-performing schools, there are more textbooks, adequate facilities and teachers with proper credentials. However, the report, like the settlement, failed to address the bigger issue: achieving "teacher equity" across the state.

More so than textbooks or school facilities, research has shown that teachers have the greatest effect on student learning and, by extension, educational opportunity. Yet in addressing access to good teachers, the Williams settlement missed a rare opportunity to compel real action to equalize access to well-qualified and experienced teachers in California.

Filed in 2000, the Williams suit was about two things: the state's failure to provide all students with the basic resources needed to learn, and students' rights to an education provided on equal terms -- kids in poorer districts should have the same education as kids in well-to-do towns. It was settled in August 2004, and legislation that would allow the state to meet the settlement terms was passed into law the same month. It set aside money for monitoring schools, repairing them and providing textbooks. When it came to teachers, however, the settlement focused only on meeting basic standards.

In essence, the settlement legislation required counties to monitor whether teachers hold minimum credentials and authorizations for the subject area they teach, to do so more frequently in the lowest-performing schools, and to make public the number of misassigned teachers and teacher vacancies. This is good as far as it goes, but it ignores factors research has shown to be more important, such as teachers' years of experience or their demonstrated ability to raise achievement. Worse, it merely monitors the situation -- the settlement didn't require state money to be spent to bring more qualified teachers into low-performing schools.

That problem is apparent, even in Monday's report tracking improvements. The research looked at four regions, including Los Angeles County, and at statewide trends. It found that there are fewer -- but not few -- teachers who lack proper credentials or authorizations in low-performing schools.

More than half of those schools have teachers who are misassigned, meaning that they are teaching a subject area or students that they are not authorized to teach. In L.A. County, 70% of those schools have misassigned teachers. Across the state, nearly 29,000 teachers are misassigned, meaning more than 600,000 students (mostly in middle and high schools) are being taught by teachers who aren't trained in the subject area to which they are assigned.

An even bigger problem is English learners who don't have teachers certified to teach them. That situation exists in more than 20,000 classrooms with 20% or more of English learners. And there are certainly thousands more, because the Williams-initiated monitoring process doesn't require reporting on such qualifications in classrooms with less than 20% English learners.

The study was content to count the number of teachers meeting minimal standards. Finding an improvement in that number is not the same thing as analyzing whether Williams vs. California has led to greater equity in access to good-quality teachers. Despite the high-profile Williams lawsuit, a federal mandate to address teacher equity and years of research showing the unfair distribution of teachers, California has never made a serious attempt to develop a robust pipeline of highly qualified and experienced teachers who will serve in low-performing schools. Instead, the state has alternately denied the problem, tried to "define" it out of existence and continued to point to unproven programs and policies as evidence that it is doing something.

Although the Williams lawsuit could have spurred investment and innovation in addressing the problem of teacher equity, it mostly just required more reporting on it. Sadly, even if the implementation of the Williams legislation continues to progress, so too will inequalities for students.
Sadly, in all-too-many instances, our nations' kids are being taught by history teachers that don't know their history, science teachers who don't know science, math teachers who can't work math problems, and language arts teachers who are actually more comfortable speaking some language other than English when speaking with their colleagues.

It's a tragedy, really
See our latest entries.

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Top 'O The Food Chain To Ya!

It's disquieting to learn that even on dry land, we humans can sometimes be just one of the weaker links on the food chain.

Carnival Entries Are Due!

Entries for the 132nd edition of The Carnival Of Education (hosted this week by Lennie over at Education Matters) are due. Please email them to: lennie(at)educationmatters(dot)us . (Or, easier yet, use this handy submission form.) Submissions should be received no later than 10:00 PM (Eastern) 7:00 PM (Pacific) today. Contributions should include your site's name, the title of the post, and the post's URL if possible.

Visit last week's midway, hosted by Education in Texas, right here.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the exhibits should open Tomorrow.
See our latest EduPosts.

The Watcher's Council Has Spoken!

Each and every week, Watcher of Weasels sponsors a contest among posts from the Conservative side of the 'Sphere. The winning entries are determined by a jury of 12 writers (and The Watcher) known as "The Watchers Council."

The Council has met and cast their ballots for last week's submitted posts.

Council Member Entries: Right Wing Nut House finished in first place with My Excellent Adventure At Yearlykos.

Non-Council Entries: Michael Yon received the most Council Member votes with Bread and a Circus, Part II of II.

See our latest EduPosts.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007


The 131st midway of The Carnival of Education (hosted this week by Education in Texas) has opened the midway for your EduEnjoyment.

And don't forget to round-out your educational experience over at the 84th edition of The Carnival of Homeschooling.
See our latest EduPosts.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Is This How To Build A Better NCLB?

The federal No Child Left Behind Act is up for reauthorization, and among the interested parties the jockeying for position has begun:
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House education committee, says he hopes to steer a bill renewing the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) through the House this fall, and one of the key changes he plans to propose is incentives for states and schools to develop more rigorous standards that reflect the need for 21st-century skills.

August 6, 2007—Proponents of educational technology for years have been saying that schools need to focus more on teaching so-called "21st-century skills," such as problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Now, it appears that momentum is finally building on Capitol Hill to encourage just such reforms: The chairman of the House education committee says he hopes to push legislation renewing the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) through Congress this fall, and one of the key changes to the law he plans to propose is incentives for states to develop more rigorous standards that reflect the needs of 21st-century learners.

"In so many meetings I have had in my district and elsewhere, employers say that our high school graduates are not ready for the workplace. Colleges say that our high school graduates are not ready for the college classroom. This is unacceptable," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., in a July 30 speech outlining his vision for reforming the nation's education law.

"In my bill, we will ask employers and colleges to come together as stakeholders with the states to jointly develop more rigorous standards that meet the demands of both. Many states have already started this process. We seek to build on and complement the leadership of our nation's governors and provide them incentives to continue. This requires that assessments be fully aligned with these new state standards and include multiple measures of success.

"These measures can no longer reflect just basic skills and memorization," Miller continued. "Rather, they must reflect critical-thinking skills and the ability to apply knowledge to new and challenging contexts. These are the skills that today's students will need to meet the complex demands of the American economy and society in a globalized world.

"Schools must no longer prepare our students to be autonomous problem solvers. The workplace they enter tomorrow will increasingly require them to work in teams, collaborating across companies, communities, and continents. These skills cannot be developed solely by simple multiple-choice exams.

"For too long, we have settled for standards and assessments that do not measure up to the high goals we have for our kids or the skills they must achieve. But let none of us for a moment believe that our students will be able to participate in this interactive and participatory culture and workplace if they cannot read, write, and understand math. Therefore, the bill will say that if states take this step and commit to the students of their state that they will prepare them for the universities and jobs of the future, then we will provide them with incentives and assistance to do so."

Focusing more on 21st-century skills was just one of several ideas Miller has for revising NCLB. Others include more fairness and flexibility, including new ways to measure a school's success; merit pay for teachers and administrators; and more funding to implement the law's requirements.

Miller said NCLB has brought about several positive developments in its nearly six years of implementation--but "we didn't get it all right when we enacted the law," he acknowledged.

"Throughout our schools and communities, the American people have a very strong sense that the No Child Left Behind Act is not fair, that it is not flexible, and that it is not funded," he said. "And they are not wrong. The question is, what we are going to do next?"

Miller said it's his goal as chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to pass NCLB renewal legislation in September. He said the law, as currently written, places too much emphasis on the math and reading tests, although those are still important indicators. Other tests, and measures such as graduation rates, also should be used to judge how schools are doing, he said.

Teachers unions have called for that kind of change, but the Bush administration and some Republicans in Congress say it could weaken the law.

Miller also said the law should pay teachers extra for boosting student achievement and for working in high-need areas--an idea generally opposed by the national teachers unions.

Republicans were unavailable for comment on Miller's proposals before press time. However, Rep. Howard P. McKeon, R-Calif., the senior Republican member of the House education committee, issued the following statement on the reauthorization of NCLB:

"No Child Left Behind is the law of the land because it balances real accountability with state and local flexibility and expanded parental choice like no education law before it. Changes to the law that weaken any of these three pillars of NCLB--accountability, flexibility, and parental choice--will be met with strong opposition from House Republicans and are likely to be a fatal blow to the reauthorization process."

Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy, who chairs the Senate education committee, said he hopes the bill gets through his committee in September.
Senator Edward "Chappaquiddick" Kennedy's involvement notwithstanding in both the original NCLB Act and the "new and improved" version, I think it ironic that the original No Child Left Behind Act is about the only piece of domestic legislation that the Administration has pushed through that will leave a lasting mark on our society.

Nevertheless, as a traditional conservative, I'm opposed to federal mandates. Public education is a matter best best decided by state governments and locally elected (and therefore accountable to the people) school boards.
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Carnival Entries Are Due!

Entries for the 131st edition of The Carnival Of Education (hosted this week by Mike over at Education in Texas) are due. Please email them to: mikea3_98[at]yahoo[dot]com . (Or, easier yet, use this handy submission form.) Submissions should be received no later than 11:00 PM (Eastern) 8:00 PM (Pacific) today. Contributions should include your site's name, the title of the post, and the post's URL if possible.

Visit last week's midway, hosted by Dr. Homeslice, right here.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the exhibits should open Wednesday.
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The Watcher's Council Has Spoken!

Each and every week, Watcher of Weasels sponsors a contest among posts from the Conservative side of the 'Sphere. The winning entries are determined by a jury of 12 writers (and The Watcher) known as "The Watchers Council."

The Council has met and cast their ballots for last week's submitted posts.

Council Member Entries: The Colossus of Rhodey received the most votes with NEA Also Confused About SCOTUS Decision Regarding Race & Schooling.

Non-Council Entries: Michael J. Totten earned first place honors with Baghdad Raid Night.
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