Tag Archives: Education

Romney on How To Fix Edumication

First, dismantle public school funding. That was pandering to the charter school people he was sitting with. Second, more “no child left behind” type policies. Third, increase classroom size. Because classroom size doesn’t matter. Fourth, cancel teacher improvement programs.

From the Washington Post:

During the roundtable session, Romney said there was no correlation between classroom size and student performance, citing a report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company. That sparked a debate with some educators and other leaders around the table.
“I can’t think of any teacher in the whole time I’ve been teaching, for 10 years, 13 years, who would say that more students [in the classroom] would benefit,” said Steven Morris, a music teacher at the school. “And I can’t think of a parent that would say I would like my teacher to be in a room with a lot of kids and only one teacher.”

Yes, some studies showed that but as far as I can tell, they were comparing class sizes that were too big with class sizes that were way too big. Turns out there is not much difference between totally broken and way totally broken.

Teaching After The Test: An argument for a national school schedule

First, a word about Nazis and Free Speech, and other matters: Catch up on the latest news about Repression of Nazis, and join the conversation about Free Speech and how sometimes it is better to shut up, over at the X Blog.

Today I am preparing a presentation and discussion for a course in AP Biology. Amanda and her colleague have been teaching AP Bio all year, and the test was just given, so there is nothing to live for any more as it were. I asked Amanda yesterday why the students even show up now that the test is over, and she looked at me funny and said “well, they’re required to.” … Oh right, high school.

Continue reading Teaching After The Test: An argument for a national school schedule

Religious Message Delivered to Iowa Public School Students

In the form of song.

High school students in Dunkerton, Iowa were expecting an assembly about bullying and making good choices. What they got instead was the Christian rap/hard rock band called Junkyard Prophet delivering an anti-gay and anti-abortion rant.

After the band played, they broke the students up into gender-based groups and then lectured them.

“They told my daughter, the girls, that they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren’t virgins,” said Jennifer Littlefield, whose 16-year-old daughter, Alivia called her in tears after the event. Reportedly, one of the band members led the girls in a chant pledging purity and encouraged them to be submissive to their husbands after marriage.

Here’s part of the presentation:

And another:

Let me tell you two things about this: 1) It is an outrage; and 2) This kind of thing happens in high schools across the country on a regular basis; it is not that frequent, but it happens.

Hat Tip: Gwenn Smith Olson

Vote for Something Good for Kids to Do

Budget Travel is running one of those ill-fated Internet Polls to help make a list of the top 15 places to go for kids before they are 15. Sort of like bucket list but instead of dying you turn 15. One small problem is that the Creation Museum of Kentucky has been intruding in the top ten, even top five, of this list. You need to go there and vote for something else! Like, all the attractions that you happen to like that are lower than the Creation Museum at the moment.

Click here to help save the Youth of North America from certain doom!

Ten States Will Get No Child Left Behind Waivers

My State is better than your state! (Or Province or District.)

The No Child Left Behind Law, for better or worse, is a Federal program to make states to a better job in education. It is a fairly specific plan. But many states came up with their own plans which are different, yet in some cases, still considered effective. A state can apply for a waiver of the NCLB regulations if they have come up with an alternative that is as good or better.

The Federal government is reported to be prepared to grant waivers to ten states and they are, alphabetically: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee. New Mexico also applied for a waiver but will not receive one, but may manage to do so with a few changes that are currently in negotiation. A majority of other states, DC, and Puerto Rico plan to seek waivers as well.

Republicans seem ready to fight this granting of waivers to states, which is interesting (but unsurprising) because Republicans are all about States Rights. I assume that the Republican resistance to this has to do with their dislike of anything Obama does, and I attribute this to a combination of Partisan politics and racism.

It will be interesting to see how the Republican governors of Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee, react to their compatriot’s lack of support for their state’s waivers.

For the NEA’s take on this, click here.

The State of State Science Standards

The vast majority of American public school students are not proficient in the level of science learning expected for their age group. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute has issued “The State of Science Standards 2012” as part of an effort to assess the causes of this dismal state of affairs. Here’s a map summarizing their results:

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State Science Standards Grades, 2012

Notice that some of the battleground states for the “Evolution-Creationism Controversy” have reasonable ratings. Notice also the vast regions of D and F states. In fact, in order to convey the meaning of it all, I’ve created a new version of the map that signifies all states with D and F rankings with one color, and all states with C or better grades with a different color (The “Pass/Fail” version of the test!):

Continue reading The State of State Science Standards

Are you annoyed by those pesky Indians and Black folk?

All that whinging and hand wringing about slavery, taking the land from the Indians, and all that stuff is very annoying, especially when the assertion is made that our founding fathers had anything do to with all that. Even though they did. But still, it is very annoying to have the names of those who saw fit to found this nation besmirched by the so called “facts” of “history.”

And that is why the Tennessee Tea Party wants to make it illegal in the Mottoless State of Tennessee to teach the truth. Here’s the wording they propose:

“No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Continue reading Are you annoyed by those pesky Indians and Black folk?

$4 Million Raised for Kentucky Ark Park

Unfortunately, the fundraising goal for this creationist project was $24.5 million. The groundbreaking of the park has been delayed numerous times.

LEO Weekly tried to find out from the state Tourism Cabinet what was going on, and their representative claimed that they’d heard nothing from Ken Ham’s organization. But, they lied. Emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act indicate that there has been communication, and that the situation for the Ark Park is not good: Continue reading $4 Million Raised for Kentucky Ark Park

Forbes’ Gene Marks Needs To Check His Priv

Gene Marks, you wrote an essay for Forbes that has gotten a lot of people rather upset. People are upset because you display insensitive unchecked privilege and, essentially, you blame an entire class of people as the victims of what is mostly not their fault but rather, your fault and the fault of the modal Forbes reader, as well as society more broadly, history, culture, economics, racism and all sort of other things that are largely beyond the control of the Poor Black Kids of the Inner City of whom you write.

I think you meant well, but you did not do well. There are many ways in which you display a marked lack of a clue about your topic. How so? Let’s start at the beginning of your essay: Continue reading Forbes’ Gene Marks Needs To Check His Priv

The problem with our system of science education is …

Teachers teach facts instead of concepts. Teachers teach from the textbooks and barely understand what is in the book anyway. There is not enough hands-on learning. All teachers really do anyway is to show videos most of the time. What should really happen is that a teacher should learn how to do science, intensively, with one project and that way, really understand how to teach it.

And so on and so forth.

If you find yourself agreeing with everything I just said, then I have one more thing to add: Get a brain, moran!

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OK, maybe I’m being a little hard on you, but you were asking for it.
Continue reading The problem with our system of science education is …