Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Education Carnival

The Education Carnival is over at Dr. Homeslice.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And the Lord said, "Let there be snow".......and there was.

Woke up to 1/2 inch of snow on my car, in Ukiah (600 ft in the California coastal mountains).

Check this out:



Monday, February 26, 2007

To Rev. Jeremiah Crane

In November of 2005, I posted this:

Legalize would decrease drug associated violence.
Les Crane was the biggest proponent of legalization in Mendocino County. He ran a "Hemp Church" in Ukiah and a similar place in Laytonville (about an hour north of Ukiah).
As reported in the Ukiah Daily Journal, Les has proved that legalization has done nothing but continue to destroy the social fabric of Mendocino County.
Les Crane was murdered in his home by robbers that stole cash and marijuana.

Today, I received a comment on the post:

I'm not sure if you're comments were meant as pompous or just stupid. I'm Les's son and if you think 'Legalization' has taken place here you are a fool. Obviously no legalization has taken place there is no patient that is safe. Whether it is a police-thug or a tweaker-thug patients and activists in this movement are at risk of being robbed or killed by either. And at the end some mail-in degree 'scientist'(or whatever) can flap his jaw however he he wants. But know that my dad fought for your freedoms too no matter how worthless you and your opinion are. Feel free to e-mail me back at the very LEAST your ignorant pratter will amuse me.

P.S. I am not sorry if this appears twice this is just how much you disgust me.

Rev. Jeremiah Crane
My response is this:

Mr. Crane,
My condolences regarding your father, who regardless of our political differences, did use the money to help out kids in Laytonville. In the end, my disagreements are political, not personal.

However, I've been reading your comments for a long while now, I don't think we are even close to being in the same book, much less a similar page. Marijuana is, for all intents and purposes, legal. It is almost never prosecuted, it is culturally accepted, and their are county and city laws that allow it to be dispensed. And let's make sure we use facts. Medical Marijuana 'patients' consist of people who are looking to get high, not people that medically need the drug. Most people that receive the Medi-card are people that politically reject the ruling of the United States in regards to its legality, and want to get high. As a teacher for 6 years at the high school, I can vouch for the number of students that have waived cards in the air with big grins, and the fairly clear evidence that none of them had terminal HIV or cancer. Let us also remember that the "police thug" mentality in Ukiah, simply doesn't exist, and that most crimes that occur against marijuana 'patients' are from people trying to get marijuana. Since the town passed Measure G, crime has gone up significantly, with the vast majority being drug related, or gang related (gang turf wars are drug related). We won't even mention the impact that the drug has at the schools, which is negative to say the least.

Sorry, although I'm very into the protection of freedom, I don't see the promotion of a drug culture as enhancing the U.S. Constitution.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

All those teachers that feel like the Black Lady....raise your hands.

Credit Unaccountable Talk for making me laugh, and for making the connection to teaching.

Nobody in New York Knows the Difference between At-Home and Outside Conversations

Yuppie kid: Mommy shaves her hoo-hoo!
Yuppie dad: Okay, honey. Look, do you want your book?
Yuppie kid: I came in the bathroom this morning and asked Mommy what she was doing and she said shaving her hoo-hoo. Mommy shaves her hoo-hoo!
Yuppie dad: Dylan, remember when we discussed at-home conversations and outside conversations?
Yuppie kid: Yes.
Yuppie dad: Well, this is an at-home conversation.
Yuppie kid: Okay, daddy. [Sings to herself quietly] Mommmyyy shaves her hoo-hooo...
Black lady: See, home conversating, outside conversating -- that's bullshit. My kid says shit like that, I smack him. He won't say shit like that again.
Yuppie dad: Okay, thank you, but I think our method works just fine.
Yuppie kid: Lady, do you shave your hoo-hoo?
Black lady: Oh, yeah, that shit is workin' just fine. She's all kinds of polite.
Yuppie dad: Okay, Dylan, this is our stop.

--R train

Overheard by: SandmanEsq

via Overheard in New York, Feb 22, 2007
Good Night.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Economics of Investing

Wanna know why teaching Economics is really cool? Because you don't have to teach to some idiot STAR test, and you get to actually teach stuff they really need to know.
For instance, if you haven't noticed, the current presidential administration is very high on fixing Social Security by making the general public do more investing in their own retirement. The idea is a good one, and a bad one. It's good because it is the solution to fixing Social Security. You need to have people much more involved in planning their own future to make them actually look forward to retirement. Plus, it will ease the burden on the number one cost in the federal budget. The bad part about more privatization of Social Security is that you are going to introduce this to a general public that can hardly balance their own check book, and that is in massive debt. So, you would figure that the California Economics Standards would have a large section on Investing, since we (as in, California) are the 6th largest economy on the planet.
Wait a minute, there are no Investing standards.
That's right, zero.
So whatever push the government is making towards private investment, it can't be that serious because Economics teachers don't have to even mention it.
But of course, Economics teachers are cool because we say, "Screw that". I do a whole unit on Investing, from budgeting to stocks to bonds to retirement accounts, and the students totally love it. Most Economics' teachers are very familiar with creating a Stock Market Project, the hook-line-and sinker that nabs Seniors during the second semester and keeps them glued to Wall Street. I take simulation and make it go to another level.

-First, I show them a small clip from Mad Money's Lightening Round, which makes their head spin in five directions at once, but gets them totally enthralled with the concept of stocks.
-Then we discuss the methods of reading and researching stocks. This is great for those Macroeconomic concepts that are totally boring to regularly teach. Get them looking at Economic Indicators, traditional stock signs (PE, EPS, Trends, IPO's, Splits), and balance sheets. It will amaze you how much a kid will learn about a company.
-I assign the project. They invest $10,000 at the Virtual Stock Exchange, which is set to my own guidelines ($10 trades, no margin buys, allowed to sell short, allowed to by Mutual Funds), and they compete against other students. The top five investors gain extra credit. The project is due in late May and consists of your standard report material, graphs, and a stock transaction log.
-Every day, after the Newshour summary, we watch the Nightly Business Reports's "Stocks in the News", a three minute summary of the most active stocks and stocks that warrant media attention. Students are hooked.
-Throughout the entire Economics course, we look at the subject matter primarily through the eyes of entrepreneurship, and investing. This means that the news becomes even more important because the students have a monetary interest in it. Students will fly into the classroom asking to go into the computer lab because they read in the newspaper that two companies might merge, and they need to get in on the action!
-Finally, I incorporate a variety of other mediums for students to learn about the markets. Last month, I found Wallstrip, a web show that is dedicated to showing the new generation of investors that the Stock Market is actually really cool. Think of it as the Nightly Business Report version of the Daily Show, ran by Howard Lindzon, an investment advisor and hedge fund manager. Oh yeah, it is also hosted by the uber-hot Lindsay Campbell, who can be used as a great promotional tool for going to college.

Mix it together and you have what Economics should be, some prep for the future for these kids.

An "A" for effort, an "F" for reality

Credit Joanne Jacobs (blogroll right) for first nailing me to the story.
Surprise, your kids aren't prepared for college and the high school diploma is worth less and less. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, high school Seniors are graduating at a higher rate, but their reading and math skills are failing to catch up. In fact, only 35% of graduating Seniors are considered "proficient" readers, something that is sort of necessary if you have any chance in college.
What does this mean?

The report itself cited grade inflation and changes in grading standards as possible explanations for the apparent contradiction of increasing grade point averages and declining reading scores.
Grade inflation and lower standards? You don't say. I'll tell you that here in Ukiah, the rate of kids that actually graduate from a 4 year university is about 7-8% of a single Senior class. I'll also tell you that I don't quite understand how all the Seniors manage to graduate......actually, I'll tell that I do understand how they graduate, and teachers are pretty pressured to pass kids that don't deserve a diploma. However, guess what, it isn't the administrators that pressure you. In fact, I've never been pressured to pass a kid by an administrator. I've been told many times, "You are the teacher of record. If you have been fair and consistent, you know best." Nope, the people that pressure teachers to grade inflate are the same idiots that want accountability for student learning, the ever-so-knowledgeable American public. Yes, that is you I'm talking about.
See, while you people are constantly raving about kids not knowing how to read, you refuse to read to your kids. Then, when we ask that kids bring books to school to read, you look the other way because school should be teaching your kid how to read, not making them read. And of course, when we discipline your kid, you throw a tantrum about the raving Neo-fascists that teachers think they are (you get that here in Mendocino County) because kids shouldn't be disciplined for not following the rules, especially those about reading. And God forbid your kid fails, because even though the students should be held more accountable for their own education, that rule does not apply to your 'graduating Senior'.
I don't inflate grades. In fact, I'm in a department that pretty much loathes the idea of grade inflation. Double in-fact, I tell my Intro students that when they finish Government and Economics, they will have earned a walk in that graduation line while listening to "Pomp and Circumstance". Of course, that also means that others will find a different way out, and simply get around the idea of accountability for their own grades. I lose students to IEP's, 504's, Directed Study, Independent Study, Charter Schools, the GED, you name it, parents will find an excuse to make sure their kid will graduate, all the while demanding that teachers do more to get students to learn.
When society gets serious about education, then education will get better. We can only do so much. But for the love of God, to all teachers out there, make the diploma worth something. Don't inflate grades.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What the NBA has become

Jason Whitlock's article on AOL Sports gave the perfect reason why the NBA is now officially the worst professional athletic disaster this side of Balco. As a guy that loves basketball, and thinks that basketball in high school can be used to teach young men an enormous amount about life, I'm very disgusted that the professional level of the sport has become nothing but a bad MTV "Thug life" type video. Take the NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas.

An event planned to showcase what is right about professional basketball
has been turned into a 72-hour display of why commissioner David Stern can't
sleep at night and spends his days thinking of rules to mask what the NBA has
come to represent.

The All-Star Weekend was your basic pimped out gangster party, full of shit-talking prima donnas athletes, stoned crap rappers, and every hoody hanger-on that needs to throw down with anyone who has larger balls. Police were totally overwhelmed, and often times they were challenged by little idiots that happened to have a bigger paycheck.

And these are the morons that kids look up to.

Spike Lee would be pretty pissed right now if he knew that the word "nigger" is right back into the popular vernacular of "street cred" athletics. That's right, all the idiot videos and basketball hoopla has brought back the word that is only used by people too damn stupid to know right from wrong. Yes, that also means blacks calling each other the N-word as well. I've confronted a couple kids about the word and the excuse is always "well blacks call each other 'nigger' all the time". No, idiots call each other 'nigger'. Blacks hate the word as much as you should. However, I heard it more than once on the basketball floor this year, pronounced "nigga", as if the word has a less slanderous meaning. The idea is to develop some sort of idiot "street credibility (street cred)", which is absolutely hilarious when you think about the fact that we are in Ukiah. The concept of being "hard", which is basically meaning that you have to be an urban gangster and speak like an idiot, has always been popular, except that the kids out in the 'Burbs and rural areas don't really have a clue about what life in the city is really like. Or have the understanding that if you called someone "nigga" at my old basketball hangouts (McKinley Park and Roosevelt Park in Sacramento), guys would chase you down and hurt you, bad.

This year I really tried to do more teaching during basketball than coaching, if that makes any sense. I really wanted kids to get out of the idea that basketball players are idiots looking for street cred, and get into the idea that basketball players are classy guys that are having pride in a job well done.

And let's be frank, classy teams are usually the better teams. Those guys that walked into the gym with the sag and drag, and the tilted hats, those were the guys that you knew you had a mental advantage on. Sure, they might have more athleticism and more talent, but the mental edge and discipline were lacking. The teams you had to worry about were the teams that walked in dressed to the nines. They walked with confidence, not a swagger, and looked like they had been there before. Then they stepped out on the court and carved you up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Those were the teams you were concerned about.

Of course, we can't forget that the parents are the ultimate role models here. I truly can't tell a parent what to do with their kids, except to parent them. Hell, my father didn't care that I listened to "Gangster Rap" when I was 14. Nope, he knew I was slamming to NWA and 2 Live Crew in my Walkman while we were taking family trips to the Bay Area. But he also explained to me "right" from "wrong", and was very clear with the idea that I would be held responsible for my own actions. Responsible for your own actions. Might be something the NBA should consider.

Imus Puts Liberals In Their Place

I'm not a big fan of the result in Iraq. I've made it known many times that I think that Donald Rumsfeld should be thrown in front of a Senate Committee on charges, and then jailed for gross incompetence. I hate that guy with a passion. "You fight with the military you have." Jackass.
However, this constant Bush bashing about the war in Iraq is just so damn tedious that it gives me a near migrain. How about going after Congress? They had the same information the President had (see Senate Intelligence Committee and John Kerry), they voted for the war, and they continue to vote for funding.
Finally, Don Imus decided to go off on the right people in government...everyone.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Carnival of Education

I'm much more rested now, so I can start linking the great Education Carnival again. This week, the midway takes place at History is Elementary, which is the phrase I've been trying to use forever with those damn Science teachers, but they act like they have a patent on the " elementary" quotes.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Live..........from Chico, California!

Well, it's back to the old stomping grounds to deal with some family business. That means that the three hours drive to Chico is in order.

Actually, I'm already here, and I've been here for about 3 days.

For those that haven't been to Chico, you are required, by law, to engage in various tasks when coming into this town that is forever expanding. No, I don't mean that you need to become a drunken frat brat and fall into the lap of some sorority slut that's been around more times than a clothes dryer. I mean you need to experience my Top Ten choices of things to do while in Chico!

10. Eat pizza at Celestinos. For $15 you can get a huge pizza with serious toppings and all the belly warmth that only a slice of a good pie can provide. This is the best pizza around!

9. Walk around the University, and up through Bidwell Park. Chico is excellent because you can walk everywhere. The university is beautiful for a walk, and a short jaunt east brings you to the one of the best places for a morning walk on the planet. Did I mention that it is the 3rd largest urban park in the country? Want an easy walk? Stay in the lower park. Want a bigger challenge? Head to the upper park past Hooker Oak.

8. Drink a Bloody Mary at Nash's. If you were stupid enough to drink Saturday night away with the floozy, take her to a "guilt breakfast" at Nash's, that way you can dump her easy, and enjoy the greatest Bloody Mary on the planet. Get there early though. I was there today and it is full of frat and sort geeks.

7. Play Disc Golf up on 32. About a mile past Humbolt Road on Highway 32 is the Bidwell Park Disc Golf Course, which actually has a short AND a long course. The short course is perfect for the 45 minute game, while the long course makes you loose your disc into the canyon if you are not careful. The view are spectacular!

6. Taste at Sierra Nevada. I remember when Sierra Neveda was a microbrew. Now, the master brewery is a huge hangout in Chico. Call ahead for reservations, then get the beer taster to get a good overview of SN's great lagers. Be warned, it is always busy!

5. Farmer's Market and Thursday Night Downtown. Haven't done this in awhile, and it only works in the summertime, but it is still a really good time.

4. Hit the used book stores. There are a few smaller used book all around town, but the two best are downtown (owned by a group of jackass students, but the selection is excellent) and Rerunz, the home of "recycled entertainment". Rerunz is owned by a really nice guy that has an excellent collection of books, videos, dvds, cds and games. Plus, he actually knows a whole lot about books. He's on East 20th in the Target shopping center.

3. Go to Burger Hut. Um, Chico.........Burger Hut.........hello?

2. Brooklyn Bridge Bagel Works. For years, many have strayed into Brooklyn for a hangover cure. You can simply go in and enjoy excellent bagels (lox, onions, cucumbers, yummmmmm) with a little Spiderman hanging off the Brooklyn Bridge.

1. Walk the streets. Ok, so I did my best to get you away from the party atmosphere that is Chico, and I'm still telling you to avoid it. There is a difference between the frat crap down on 5th and Ivy, and a good old fashioned "good time". Walk the streets long enough and you will find friendly people inviting you for a brew or a dog or simply good conversation. While living in Chico, my friends and I made it a Friday tradition to bring out the hibatchi and a cooler of brew for a streetside BBQ. Not once did we have a problem (the occasional drunk homeless guy made things interesting), and people always stopped by to chill and enjoy the mellow atmosphere.

I'm back to Ukiah tomorrow, and I'll be prepping for the week ahead already.

In the hour of our discontent

No, I haven't been posting.

Monday: An issue came about that I simply can't talk about because it involves people that are a lot higher up than me. Let's just say that I was really angry.

Tuesday: The question of the day was "Are you going to go to the school board meeting?". The union was trying to rally up support for a teacher voice at the meeting, where some were going to complain about various district-teacher issues. The meeting was at 6:30, and I had an open gym to run from 3:30-5:30. Plus, I had a pretty good idea what was about to happen at the meeting. That didn't stop certain members of the staff to look at me with disdain when I told them that I wasn't going. "You don't care about your pay?" I was asked. Sure I do, but the kids like Open Gym, and thinking like an economist, I already have a plan regarding the districts response to better pay.

Wednesday: Happy Valentine's Day. The classes are interrupted constantly by people bringing in flowers, and students complaining that I won't let them ditch class to go sell candy or whatever. I'm grumpy, so I start each class with "Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Now, what's the over/under number regarding how many of you will still have your boyfriend/girlfriend by night's end? Wager anyone?" My class gets my humor, so I get a laugh, except out of those that are so blindly in love that they get irritated and snarl at me. The Ukiah Daily Journal wrote a piece on the school board meeting. I have to agree with many of my colleagues that the issue isn't as much pay, as it is that I feel demoralized by the conditions. It ways heavily lately, and I can't figure out why. Worse news, what I feared would be announced at the meeting, was. The board is looking at cutting Frosh Football, ditching elementary school band stuff, not funding sports transportation, and getting 6-11 positions at the high school. Oh yeah, and maybe closing an elementary school also. Today I also dealt with my Monday issue, and felt the least appreciated and most enraged I had ever felt at work.

Thursday: I'm trying to shake the doldrums, except that the school board cut options are the talk of the school. Some of my friends are very worried about the cuts, and I'm trying my best to talk to the right people to get good teachers to stay on campus. The day ends on another down note. Another teacher/friend was let go, a good one that wanted what was best for the kids, but had problems with the "bureaucracy".

Friday: I couldn't sleep last night and got to school at 5:50 in the morning after waking up around 4. Classes go fine except for one, and the problem is that a couple of students continue to try and nap in my class. I put so much time and energy into the class, that I have now lost patience and I'm starting to simply kick people out for sleeping. I mean, they are sleeping during a simulation! Friday, the day before a weeks vacation, ends with three teachers getting around and discussing how we feel that the mountain ahead of us is too big to climb, and the powers that be are actually pushing us down hill.

Not the best motivation for writing.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A tragic day for Mendocino County

Shed a tear for all the kiddies that get their 215 cards on the cheap, because the price is about to rise.

The Ukiah Daily Journal reports that all those parents that should be arrested for child abuse (those that willingly cultivate for "medical purposes") will now have to pay double for the only piece of paper that they will not roll up and smoke.

Of course, in other news, the community still likes to blame the problems of the town on the high school.

This whole county needs an intervention.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Miller's Time (see blogroll right) is playing tag, and I am now "It." He's a Sac Town brotha, so I'm playing along.

Here are the rules:
Each player of this game starts with the 6 weird things
about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird
things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6
people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that
says you are tagged in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

ONE- I listen to Imus in the Morning every day. I Tivo and VHS record every episode so I can listen to the ones I miss.

TWO - I used to own about $15,000 in comic books, until the 2005/2006 flood wiped most of them out. I still have most of my X-Men comics, and I'm less than a hundred from completing the whole series.

THREE - I have a crushed cornea in my left eye. The only way to repair it is with a corneal transplant, but I'm doing ok with the glasses so the transplant is a last resort.

FOUR - If not a teacher, my second choice for a career was as an air-traffic controller. If it is late at night and I'm typing up college papers, I'll tune into Live ATC (see links right) and listen to San Francisco, Phoenix, Las Vegas or Seattle. Those guys still amaze me.

FIVE - When my parents divorced, my favorite place to hang out was at the airport. Of course, I was only in elementary, but my grandmother never said no (she was an English teacher at Hayward High School), and would drive me over to SFO to watch the jumbo jets take off and land. Back then you could walk out to the gates with no fuss, and the north terminal had a perfect view of the planes landing.

SIX - I obsess over chips and salsa with margaritas. I'm seriously addicted to them. I'm to the point where I'm getting really, really picky about not only the margarita (Cuervo sucks, all of it), and the salsa (El Mexicano in Willits has the best), but now I'm getting picky with the chips too! I'm constantly on the lookout of the prefect dipper!

I tag the six people who take the challenge to get weird with me. I would mention direct names, but the last group I tagged started calling my classroom posing as Margaret Spellings.


Ball Game Over

Well, my 6th basketball season at Ukiah High School is finished.
I can't say too much about it, since the usual detractors often view this blog and are probably printing off every offensive thing I say to give to my boss with the insistence that I'm Public Enemy #1, and worship both Satan and Al Gore.

For a small recap for the Ukiah J.V. Boys:
20-6 overall
10-4 in league
Out of the six losses, we were only totally out of one. The other five we were actually up for most of the game.
Everyone was in the scorebook in four games, including the last game, last night.
The kids were excellent to coach. I've had more fun this year than any other year.
The parents were very supportive, and open to good communication.
I've had zero parent complaints. For those of you that are counting, that would be zip, nada, none. Nothing to the boss, nothing to the AP, nothing to the AD, nothing to the Varsity coach.

Of course, I have plenty to work on. If you remember, I made a post about the 4 technicals that I had this year. I haven't had one since, making a greater effort to sit the sidelines instead of roving like crazy.

My zone was really good at the beginning of the year, and faded away in league. I'm guess that it was because our pre-season teams were bigger, and thus the zone was more effective, while our league teams were smaller, and could shoot better. Still, I need to get it working better.

I was told that I was recommended for retention at the JV level for next year. I'm definitely up for it.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mommy, when I go to college, I want to warp the Constitution!

Darren over at Right on the Left Coast (see link right) introduced me to this post regarding San Francisco State's wonderfully selective interpretation of the 1st Amendment. I'm not quick to poke at things being "liberal" or "conservative", instead I like to point to things being straight out stupid.

This would be one of those cases.

Apparently the school says it is ok to burn the American flag (btw, I support the 1st Amendment protection of flag burning), but it is inciting violence to burn flags of Hezbollah and Hamas. Well of course it is! Why would any institution of higher learning want to promote equal time to the discussion of relevant issues? That wouldn't be as academic as playing partisan agenda games!

Off to college, kiddies!

Let me get this straight

A gold digging, fat slob of a woman died a couple of nights ago. Her name was Anna Nicole Smith. She was famous for doing a number of drugs, marrying 85 year old men, posing for Playboy, and being an overall sloppy hoe.

And this is news?

I mean, sure it is tragic whenever someone dies, but we are talking about this woman like she was the next great thing on the scene. Seriously, she was quite disgusting. Thankfully, I found Tim Goodman and the Bastard Machine to help me sooth my worries that I'm alone in the world with this train of thought.

God almighty people, move on.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A retired school employee gave me this

1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked
and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from
a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered
with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors
or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the
risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts
or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was
always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one
bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank
soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because


We would leave home in the morning and play all day,
as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of
scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After
running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no
video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no
surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet
chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth
and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the
worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,
made up games with sticks and tennis balls and
although we were told it would happen, we did not put
out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and
knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled
for them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the
team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They
actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best
risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

Wow, I actually did so much of that, from playing with friends to being cut from the baseball team to drinking out of the garden hose. We really did have a good life, didn't we.

A technicality, but you get to pass anyway

Teacher fills out progress reports in November.

Teacher misses marking a student who is failing and doesn't mark the "Is Failing" or the "In Danger of Failing Code" on the scantron.

Semester rolls around and student gets "F".

Like, serious "F".

Like, 30% "F".

But teacher didn't mark the progress report, so teacher can't fail her, even though the student's grade have been online 24hrs a day, since the beginning of the year.

Teacher gives an Incomplete.

Parent demands make-up work to get to a passing grade.

Teacher gives first set of make-up work, requiring the student to do extra work relating government and economic theory, thus showing me competency.

Parent rejects first set and states that, "Yes, my kid probably deserves an "F", but you made the mistake so you deal with it." Parent wants easier work.

Teacher gives second set of make-up work, the "packet approach" in which the student will learn nothing.

Student will pass my class with a 30%.

Parent wants teacher to communicate better in the future because the kid won't talk about grades.

Progress reports? Weekly Progress Sheets? E-mail? Website? Online Grades? Get a clue? Be a parent????

Yeah, thank God we place such a high value on high school diplomas.

See kids, it does pay to proofread your work.

Anyone know a way to actually hold the kid accountable, or should I just start marking everyone "In Danger of Failing"?

Jonathan Alter has it half right. Ben Bernanke is totally right.

Jonathan Alter is a senior editor and columnist for Newsweek and I've been listening to him on Imus for the past few years. He's pretty "whatever" on his interviews, and in his columns. If he's current then I'll listen, but the fast forward button is used if I'm a couple of days behind.

Alter has an interesting article in this week's Newsweek.
To summarize, Alter says that No Child Left Behind is not that bad, but what it is trying to accomplish is not happening because the mandate is going after the schools, not the teachers. He acknowledges that teachers need to be paid more, but at the same time the money comes with the insistence that teachers are held to a higher level of accountability.
It's time to move from identifying failing schools to identifying failing teachers. That sounds obvious, but until now it hasn't happened in American education.
I totally agree. I mentioned in earlier posts that I think that the worst 10% of teachers should be fired immediately, ala The Jack Welch Method. Now the issue is, how do we figure out which teachers should be terminated? Once again, what do we do about teachers that are getting hammered by parents, or dealing with special populations, or are simply new? The answer is the manager of the school, the principal.
The idea is to make each principal the CEO of the school instead of an agent of the bureaucracy.
Exactly, except that the CEO of a company is held responsible by shareholders that see the CEO as assisting in an investment for profit. An inefficient CEO is fired. However, a school principal (with the direction of the Super) is held accountable by school boards that are voted in by parents...........parents that don't necessarily see Education as a serious investment. Schools that are properly managed could benefit, but a school that has management that is incompetent would be in serious trouble.

Speaking of investments in Education, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made a very important comment regarding the widening of the income gap and the issues behind the impact of globalization. As stated in the New York Times, Bernanke stated that bolstering education and training funding would be necessary for the country to maintain a strong economic future. Here is the problem with Education in this country, which I've said over and over again. Society does not see Education as an investment. They see it as politics. They see it as a right. They see it as babysitting. However, in the end, Education is the only way that this country remains the economic superpower in the world. Ask around. More and more economists are looking at China becoming the primary economic influence within the next 20 years. If that is the case, we need to begin to pump out some serious labor right now.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Guess where I was Saturday night


College basketball is so much better than the NBA. Seriously, I can hardly sit through one quarter of a pro game anymore. College is simply a much better brand of basketball. The gyms are better. The band is better. The students are a better crowd.

I highly recommend everyone attend at least one rivalry game in their lifetime. I've been lucky to have attended quite a few.