Saturday Bonus Cartoon Fun: A Tale Of Two Edition

Saturday Cartoon Fun: Pile Of Rubble Edition


Who Is Accountable? All Of Us!

Angela Engel says:
Federal policy makers, the Colorado Department of Education and our legislature are not going to lead our schools into the Promised Land. School accountability takes all of us. It's called civic engagement and it looks like volunteering in our schools, joining the PTA, attending school board meetings, asking questions, and educating ourselves.
You should read the whole thing.

Is Education The Best Anti-Poverty Program?

From Larry Cuban:
“Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform — reform that raises student achievement; inspires students to excel in math and science; and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to the inner city. In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world- class education.”

Barack Obama, SOTU
I want to parse that last sentence:

“The best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education.” To promote a “world-class education” the President and his Secretary of Education seek to increase prekindergartens and charter schools, reward teachers whose students have done well on tests, turnaround thousands of failing urban schools, and insure that everyone goes to college. That “world-class” education will have to deal with about 40 million poor Americans in 2008. That is 13.2 percent of population–the highest rate since 1997.

Simply citing the numbers skips over the social and economic consequences of poverty in infant mortality, higher rates of diabetes, alcoholism, obesity, anxiety, depression, and, of course, earlier than normal deaths.

Given these figures and the inexorable collateral damages accompanying poverty, then one would think that:

*The best anti-poverty program would help mothers and fathers move from unemployment into worthwhile jobs with sufficient income to support their families.

*The best anti-poverty program would take those adults whose jobs have been lost through outsourcing to other countries or restructured out of existence and re-train them for other jobs.

*The best anti-poverty program would provide tax credits or direct support of child-care, health insurance for working parents, and ample financial aid packages for parents to send their sons and daughters to college.

In short, I would think that is preferable, even efficient, to help adults directly now rather than indirectly later through schooling their children, thereby waiting another generation to lessen poverty...
More at the link.

Friday Bonus Cartoon Fun: Show Me Your Papers Edition

Friday Cartoon Fun: Greedy Bastards Edition


I Had An Original Thought: Updated

Here is my thought: allow teachers to use carpool lanes in the morning.

That's all.

Update:  Oh, you want to know why?  Everyone knows that teachers are poorly paid, yet are national heroes (yes, there seems to be a disconnect there).

Since it is clear teacher-bashing will continue for some time, and salaries are not going to go up any time soon, giving teachers access to the carpool lane would be something that I guarantee every teacher would be thankful for, and it wouldn't really cost society much.

Every morning on my way to the classroom I worry about traffic because, like many teachers, we can't afford to live where we work so we travel many early morning hours to get to work.  And if we are late, 20 or so kids are left without supervision.  It is good for kids, principals, parents and teachers.  Is there a down side?  I can't think of one...

So, give us carpool lane access!!

Think Tanks Purposely Deceptive? Looks Like It

Are think tanks in existence to support decisions or to help make them? In many cases it appears they exist simply to corroborate the nonsense put into policy, not to inform policy-makers prior to policy decisions. Sort of bass-ackwards, no?

Much more at the link.
The book is based on the work of the Think Twice/Think Tank Review Project, a collaboration of the Education and Public Interest Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Education Policy Research Unit at Arizona State University. It is funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice and has published expert third party reviews of research reports published by those think tanks.

Think Tank Research Quality demonstrates the importance of those independent expert reviews. Taken together, the reviews reveal that think tank publications have clear patterns of misleading, flawed, and even deceptive research practices. Yet this think tank research often serves as the foundation for federal and state programs. As the nation moves forward with Race to the Top, as well as the current effort to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind law also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, this book provides a cautionary tale. Meeting a critical need, Think Tank Research Quality provides policy makers, the media and the public with valuable insight into the quality of the research used to support these and other reform initiatives.
h/t Schools Matter


Forrest Gump Hinton

John Thompson responds to Forrest Gump Hinton's incredibly "cynical, reductionistic" new blog post, Bakers make bread. Teachers transmit knowledge.  Even the title is condescending.  What a dick.  John first quotes a phrase from the piece, then corrects Forrest, and so on (just to be clear):
John Thompson's comment:

“our society has determined that there are collective benefits to standardizing the knowledge we impart to children”

No!!! Society has set Standards to be taught. Standards and standardization are two different critters.

“… expect teachers to transmit the chosen knowledge, and measure how well students mastered that knowledge. That’s what teaching is mostly about. Transmitting knowledge for teachers is equivalent to making bread for bakers. …”

That is about the most cynical, reductionistic form of know-nothingism that I’ve heard. Even if you believe that (and even if you have some knowledge of the realities of schools), I still can’t believe anyone would say something like that. “Reformers” commit that sort of sacrilege, ridicule values that we have devoted our lives to, and ask why we don’t sign on the dotted line.

Apollo 11 HD Launch Video

I have always wanted to see a launch close up so I could see how they use water to keep everything from burning during launch. This video shows exactly how that giant steam plume at launch is created. Awesome!

h/t XJ

Little Schools Of Horror: Updated

Claus von Zastrow explains why the spate of "school horror" films are damaging public education. Here is just a snippet:
The films generally offer simple solutions for the problems they present, and that lets viewers off the hook. Most examples of the genre point to charters and vouchers. Take, for example, The Cartel, which has just hit theaters. According to The Boston Globe, "'The Cartel' leads its audience to what Bowdon [the filmmaker] sees as a promised land of better American education, populated by vouchers and charter schools." Bowden is apparently blissfully untroubled by evidence.
Update: A film review by Stephen Whitty begins:
"The Cartel" Movie Review -- Reviewing documentaries used to be so much easier.
Back in the old days — say, pre-Michael-Moore — a critic went to a film, looked at the photography and editing, made a considered judgment and wrote it up. Now you almost have to re-report the thing yourself. Who didn’t the filmmakers interview? What’s the background of the three “experts” with whom they did speak? Who gave them funding? Which facts were left out?It’s exhausting and, practically speaking, nearly impossible...
...So let me state my own biases before I review “The Cartel,” a biased new film about New Jersey public education and some parents’ push for charter-school alternatives.

Years ago, my father attended Jersey City schools, then Rutgers, and got a good education. My two children are in suburban public schools now and get a great education. I know some schoolteachers who are doing terrific jobs.

On A Personal Note

I take medication to ward off a recurrence of cancer. There are side effects, from nausea and other things gastronomic to severe liver damage and heart stoppage. Most people, including me, tolerate the medication fairly well--we get nauseated, gassy, yucky, crampy (as in muscle cramps), rashy and swollen, but we rarely die because of it.

Today my stomach has been gurgling. To most of you a gurgling stomach is a sign of hunger or impending danger! For me it is more like the status quo. But today it has been frickin' unbelievable. Often The Frustrated Son will turn to me and say, "Dude! Was that your stomach?" It was, so I say yes. If he were next to me today he would be very concerned because it is loud and hasn't really stopped.

Now, don't get all worried about me; it happens occasionally and this is just an extreme case of the gurgles. But I can't even concentrate on anything because of all the damn noise!

If I were not insured, the one pill I take every day would cost me $100 each. Yeah, about $3K a month!

Stay healthy!!

All The Evidence Of God

This is a complete list of the scientific evidence of evolution being a hoax, and of God’s existence.

h/t Grindlebone

DOE Report On Charter School Embezzlement: Lots Of It

40 investigations, 18 indictments, 15 convictions, and 24 remaining in the pipeline. Charter schools are basically criminal enterprises!

Charter Lawsuits DOE

h/t Schools Matter

Monday Cartoon Fun: New Currency Edition

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