…in a race to the bottom?
The New York Times reports on how states have set the bar at significantly different levels in order to assess adequate yearly progress under NCLB. The paper highlights South Carolina as having set a high hurdle and Colorado and Texas, er, not.
Three-quarters of children across the country would fail South Carolina’s tough fifth-grade test, one study shows, while seven out of eight would ace the third-grade tests in Colorado and Texas.
…Colorado’s reading test was consistently the least demanding in most grades in which it was given, with a passing score that corresponded to a national ranking between the 9th and 18th percentile. South Carolina and Wyoming had passing scores in the 70th percentile and higher in most grades.
…”States with low standards will have relatively few schools that experience the consequential aspects of the law,” said Allan Olson, president of Northwest Evaluation Association in Lake Oswego, Ore., and co-author of the other study. “With standards as high as they are in some other states, it’s likely that most of the schools will be under sanction.”
States with high standards may be forced to degrade them in order to minimize the repercussions of having hundreds of “failing schools.” Educrats are calling for some revision in the law.
[South Carolina State Superintendent of Education] Tenenbaum said, “We don’t want to lower our standards,” and added, “We think everyone ought to have as high a standard as we do.” But, she said, “There ought to be some national clearinghouse so we can have a comparative measure.”
This is probably the biggest problem with NCLB. The penalties are set by the federal government, but the states set the passing requirements. There is just no way that this arrangement can work long term.
Of course, if the federal government would just get out of the education business, none of this would matter.
Dallas runs a pre-school/daycare program which charges only $55 per week. The school district cannot afford to run the program, which operates at a big deficit. They polled parents to see if they’d be willing to either pay more in tuition or raise the student to teacher ratio from 6:1 to 12:1.
The first survey drew 167 responses. Overwhelmingly, they were greatly satisfied with the program. But when asked whether they would agree to pay tuition of $155.22 per week, 81.9 percent of respondents “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed.”
…The district came back with another survey that asked whether parents were willing to pay $115 per week. Of 143 surveys submitted, 82.5 percent said they were unwilling.
The district also asked whether there was support to increase the number of students per teacher from 6-to-1 to 12-to-1. Nearly two-thirds said no.
What a shock! These parents have been paying below market rates and now they’re unwilling to fork over more dough. BTW, the school enrolls mostly teachers’ kids (Sorry I don’t have a link. That’s from another story I read months ago).
The school district ought to get out of the daycare business completely and leave it to the private sector.
UPDATE: Here’s the missing link.
Almost half of the students – 75 of 171 youngsters – are close relatives of DISD teachers and staff members. Two grandchildren of state Sen. Royce West, a prominent Oak Cliff political leader, attend Brashear. Mr. West’s law firm represents DISD on a range of legal matters.
The next post down includes a link from Wikipedia. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this free internet encyclopedia before, but I use it often. The articles tend to be much more in-depth than you’ll find in most CD-ROM based references. Defintely one to “bookmark” (but don’t tell John Ashcroft).
Chris O’Donnell discovered that the FBI now believes reading an almanac makes you a terrorist suspect. Especially if you, God forbid, annotate it somehow. Geez! Growing up, the almanac was some of my favorite reading material. No wonder I ended up a minarchist.
I’m going out to buy the “2004 World Amanac and Book of Facts” today. I’m going to highlight the heck out of it, bookmark all the interesting pages, and keep it on the front seat of my car.
Take that John Ashcroft!
A homeschooling family from Upstate SC lost their father and 17-year-old daughter in a car accident the other day. The whole family are strong Christians; I’m sure prayers would be appreciated.
And since we’re on a roll, the Christian Science Monitor has a lengthy piece on cyber-bullying. Kids are now getting harassing messages via email, IM, and even text messaging on their cellphones. Schools are trying to get involved but face all sorts of First Amendment barriers, as much of the harassment occurs off campus.
The Wilmington News-Journal reports today on in the local g-schools. For the first time, Delaware is tracking bullying as a reportable offense, just like assault. It’s good that the educrats are taking this seriously, but does anyone really think that kids are going to rat out a bully? That’s a recipe to get beat up. So, the only cases that will get reported are those that a teacher happens to see. How long do you think it will be before they stop “seeing” anything but the most egregious cases?
In this writer’s not-so-humble opinion, child socialization and education are in many ways incompatible, especially for juveniles. These should therefore be separate experiences, wherein the child is individually educated according to his/her abilities. Socialization should be carefully supervised, with the parents and other concerned adults deciding which children will be interacting with each other and under what circumstances — not a government-run institution staffed by the likes of NEA members.
Kids are overdosing on over-the-counter cough medicine containing dextromethorphan. Wanna guess where they’re learning this trick?
Authorities say DXM overdoses typically occur in clusters, as word of the drug spreads in a community’s middle schools and high schools.
No fair- you peeked.
The Washington Post has an Op/Ed that goes over the top in demonstrating how badly educrats need to control your kids. The “problem” that Richard Arum wants to solve is school discipline- or, more precisely, the courts’ interference with the “experts'” opinions about just how human g-school students are.
Specifically, given the effects of expansion of student rights in recent decades, courts should consider strictly limiting due process protections solely to cases involving major penalties or students’ First Amendment rights. In all other cases, courts should cease interfering with teachers’ and administrators’ discretion in ordinary day-to-day school discipline and youth socialization.
Er, no. The courts haven’t expanded kids’ rights. They merely recognized that they don’t lose all of their human rights when they get sent to jail (I mean, enroll in school).
Here’s a bookend for the Boston Globe article. The article refers to the kids as homeschoolers but I’m not sure they are. CA law is confusing but it sounds like these kids are in public school ISPs.
Home-schooled students are also tested and held accountable for the same academic standards as other students, Kalisek said.
Along with district mandates, the federal No Child Left Behind law requires schools to test 95 percent of students in different groups, including special-education students, which includes home-schooled kids.
Under NCLB, homeschoolers are exempt from the testing requirements. So, they’re really not legally homeschooling. Also, what’s with lumping “homeschoolers” with SpecEd? Like I said- very confusing.
The Boston Globe has a positive piece on the growth of homeschooling in the Boston area. I love the lede:
Once stereotyped as a fringe movement for libertarians, religious extremists, or New Age nonconformists, home schooling is progressively elbowing its way into the mainstream.
Oh well- two out of three ain’t bad.
You never know when a couple of goblins will decide they want what is yours. And the police (in this particular case) were useless.
Oh yeah, this home invasion took place less than 10 minutes from my home. One of the goblins lives here in New Castle. Of course, now that she is incarcerated, she will likely live 1/2 mile from my home in the women’s prison.
Instapundit has a pointer to an interesting article about a controversial ad campaign promoting breastfeeding. The ads take the offensive against the formula companies, listing all of the negative consequences of not nursing. After all, breastfeeding is the way Nature (or Nature’s God) designed it.
[T]he ads feature catchy slogans meant to become memorable such as “Breastfeed: It’s too important not to,” and “Babies are born to be breastfed.” Some of the ads also use humor to make their points, including TV spots showing a pregnant woman participating in roller derby and riding a mechanical bull. These absurdist images are used to make the point that, just as no woman would take those sorts of risks while pregnant, mothers of infants should avoid the quantifiable risks to their babies’ health that come with not breastfeeding.
“As I understood it, this was to be the first national advertising campaign that focused on the risks of not breastfeeding as opposed to the benefits of choosing to breastfeed,” explains Dr. Audrey Naylor, a San Diego pediatrician and Executive Director of Wellstart International, as well as a member of the AAP’s Breastfeeding Professional Section, and a past consultant to the World Health Organization on infant nutrition issues. “This would definitely mark a significant change in the way this issue would be presented to the general public. It’s a change to promote breastfeeding as a public health issue rather than simply as a personal parenting choice.”
I think there is a lesson here for homeschoolers. For far too long we have been defensive about our educational choices. If someone mentions the “S”-word, we point out that our kids are in lots of activities. If someone mentions testing, we cite the Rudner study. Yada, yada, yada.
We need to follow the example of the lactation consultants. Homeschooling is natural. G-schools are the unnatural product of a bunch of early 20th century socialists. And the educrats are in the same position as the formula manufacturers- pushers of an inferior product.
Admittedly, our task may be even more difficult than the pro-nursing folks’. After all, nursing is free and homeschooling is anything but. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Let’s put the educrats on the defensive for a change.
In an article that beats to death the fact that failing schools use “technology” less than more successful ones, the most salient fact is buried in the tenth ‘graf:
Despite a clear correlation between technology use and school success, educators say it cannot be assumed there is a causal relationship between the two.
“I suspect … that we may find the same factors are related to lack of technology and poor performance, but the lack of technology is not necessarily the cause of the poor performance,” said Raymond Yeagley, superintendent of the Rochester, N.H., school system.
“Perhaps schools with the least financial resources, in addition to having less technology, are also unable to attract the best teachers because they don’t pay as well as their more affluent counterparts, are located in poorer communities or sections of communities where behavior problems and other issues are known to abound, and have less prestige,” he added.
It’s easy to find a correlation between academic performance and technology use, poverty, teacher qualifications, or a host of other factors, Yeagley said–but it’s much harder to determine which factors are causing what outcomes.
Holy cow! An educrat who understands the correlation/causation problem. Whodathunkit?
See y’all tomorrow.
Our daughter Katelyn was in the First State Ballet Theatre’s annual production of The Nutcracker. FSBT does a terrific job with this ballet; the principals and the costumes are all Russian “imports.” This was Katelyn’s second year dancing with the company. She hopes to be Maria in next year’s ballet. It’ll take a lot of work as she isn’t on pointe yet but she’s very talented. She should have a reasonable chance.
A: When high-performing schools refuse to allow transfers in.
According to Bill McGrady, who supervises school-choice programs for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, fewer than 50 students in the state transferred last year as a result of No Child Left Behind. Figures for this year are not yet available, but are not expected to be dramatically higher.
In neighboring Virginia, 432 students out of a student population of 1.2 million used the federal school-choice provision this year, up from 226 last year, according to state officials.
…If schools in Roanoke Rapids are reluctant to make room for students from Weldon, schools in Weldon are equally unhappy about the prospect of giving up students to Roanoke Rapids. The school system stands to lose about $5,000 in federal and state money for every student who transfers out of the school district, making it even more difficult to meet the goals of No Child Left Behind.
“We believe in our kids and want to keep them here,” said Kathi Gibson, Weldon’s third school superintendent in four years.
It’s all about the money, as usual.
Here’s one of those heartwarming tales for a cold (and rainy) Chrismas Eve. No excerpt; you’ll have to read the whole thing.
From the usually astute Conta Costa Times:
The requirements of NCLB didn’t cause anything. If the schools had all passed, would the educrats have been satisfied to give the credit to the federal law?
A conservative group has compiled its list of top 10 education lunacies. I’ve blogged most of them throughout the year in one form or another but number seven on the list is new to me.
[T]he president of the University of Arizona, who sent a formal letter to the class of 2003 informing the students that they would have to discontinue the tradition of throwing tortillas at their commencement, because the president thought it was disrespectful to many of the school’s Hispanic and Native American community members.
But members of the Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs organization said they knew the tradition was celebratory and not meant to offend.
Tortillas? Do the students fling them like Frisbees? Any UofA grads out there?
UPDATE: Evidently they do.
The Bergen (New Jersey) Record has a piece up which does a decent job explaining the concept of unschooling. Tim Haas is briefly quoted.
And speaking of Mr. Haas, he is going to be interviewed Tuesday 8:40 a.m. on this same topic. The interview will be streamed live here.
The Associated Press cannot tell the difference between homeschooling and a public cyber school.
Christmas Eve is the deadline for the Texas Education Agency to decide if a Waco charter school can start a virtual school that would use computer technology to teach home school students.
The article ran in at least a dozen papers today. I hope homeschoolers throughout the country write Letters to the Editor to correct the misperception.
The teacher who encouraged his science students to drink milk until they vomited (as part of an experiment) is being allowed to return to the classroom for the rest of the school year. He won’t be re-hired. Good! This guy is as clueless as they come.
“I’m surprised at the concerns that are supposedly addressed in the letter,” Ferguson said. “I don’t believe I erred in any way, because I didn’t break any policies.”
Whatever happened to common sense?
A Detroit-area science class was given the assignment to make the least energy-efficient machines they could imagine.
Samantha Tazzia of West Bloomfield and Elaine Pulk, who is from Ohio but lives on campus, called their invention “Piano Pizazz.” “We were told to waste the most energy you could to make it the most inefficient,” Samantha, 15, said.
As they explained their lessons on the study of motion and the differences between potential (stored) energy and kinetic (moving) energy, the girls walked through their project’s energy transfers.
First, they dropped a marble through a black funnel. It rolled down a wooden ramp and hit three miniature books from Samantha’s childhood days. The books hit a toy helicopter propeller, which sent a marble shooting down a tunnel, flying through the air and then landing to play a note on a keyboard.
That sounds like a good homeschool project for a cold winter day.
Diane Ravitch is not impressed with NYC’s student discipline manual:
Anyone who wants to understand why discipline in the schools has spun out of control should read this 53-page exercise in pedagogical gobbledygook.
* Take a look at the “values auction,” where high school students are supposed to “bid” on which of 20 values matter most to them (such as good manners or punctuality or honesty or safety).
* Examine the student activities, such as listening to an advertising jingle and figuring out why it sells the product.
* Review the pedagogical strategies such as “think-pair-share,” or “carousel brainstorming,” which may be useful teaching techniques but have nothing to do with the moral basis of student discipline.
The Department of Education’s discipline code and instructional guide imply that dangerous and violent behavior can be deterred by talking and should be treated with understanding. It is a sweet philosophy, but in the meantime students and teachers need safe classrooms and orderly hallways. The department just doesn’t get it.
Somewhere there is a happy medium on the tolerance scale. I’m not betting that the educrats will find it.
The University of Phoenix now is hosting free software on its site that can be used to translate english to spanish free of cost. Even DeVry University is offering the same, in order to contribute to online education.
Kid’s annual school photos are being digitally manipulated (at up to $60 a pop) in order to remove “imperfections.”
The New York Times has an interesting piece on cellphones that can be used to track your location anywhere on the globe. The article does not showcase people’s best sides:
Jerold Surdahl, 40, an administrator in a building management office in Centerville, Ohio, said he started using the uLocate service to communicate with colleagues. Now, he is intrigued by the possibility of stashing a location-tracking phone in the trunk of his wife’s car.
“I’m not expecting or hoping or wanting to find something, but I would just like to explore the possibilities,” Mr. Surdahl said. “I’d tell her about it later.”
No, that’s not blasphemy. It’s what Christmas is all about. Don’t tell that to Central Michigan University, though. In the spirit of the season, their affirmative action office warned students from displaying images of Santa Claus and reindeer so as not to offend others. Of course, they didn’t even mention the One for whom the holiday is named.
Julius Blumfeld, writing on Brian’s EdBlog, has a great post about wasting time:
One of the lessons of home education is that full time formal education for children is largely a waste of time. If things are taught at the right age for the child, the entire primary school curriculum can probably be mastered in about six months (albeit spread over a number of years). So why not cut the school day from seven hours to two and let children decide which classes they want to attend and at what age?
There are of course many reasons why this is unlikely to happen any time soon. But perhaps the main reason is this. Although dressed up as places of learning, the primary function of schools, especially government schools, is child minding – keeping children off the streets while their parents do other things. Far from efficient teaching and shorter school hours being a desirable goal, it is probably the last thing most parents want.
Yep. We have 50 million prisoners here in the US. Of course, we call them “students.” Read the whole thing.
HSLDA is defending a homeschooler in IL who isn’t a member. An educrat barged into her new home and harassed her and the kids, demanding to see her curriculum.
Read the first four paragraphs of this St. Pete Times op/ed.
The trouble with liberal Democrats is they don’t know a thing about how to handle tax dollars responsibly.
No, ma’am. A Democrat politician gets some fool idea in his head for a new government program, and rushes right out to throw the public’s money at it.
Even if that money gets wasted, or stolen, it doesn’t matter. They don’t like audits, or accounting, or any of that stuff. If their buddies get rich, that’s just fine.
Yep, liberal Democrats can’t be trusted with our money.
And, now, the rest of the story:
Except … except for one little thing.
That is exactly how the supposedly “conservative” Republicans who control the Florida Legislature have behaved when it comes to school vouchers.
In their zeal to transfer the public’s money into private schools, our lawmakers have deliberately refused to account for how it is being spent.
In addition to the article blogged below, The Hook has a companion piece on a famous (in Charlottesville, VA) homeschool grad, Waldo Jaquith. He’s apparently pretty accomplished at the age of 25. Best of all, he’s a blogger. But of course.
…On a day when I can’t blog, a good homeschooling article comes out and I get scooped. Kimberly Swygert did a good job so I’m not going to repeat what she covered. Instead, I’d like to applaud the reporter for this little gem:
Not just for the Christian right anymore
Until recently, educating at home was thought to be the domain of the religious right, and for good reason. Mike Farris, the unsuccessful 1993 fundamentalist Republican candidate for Lt. Governor positioned himself front and center of the cause. But Farris, chairman and co-founder of the 70,000 member national Home School Legal Defense Association and president of Patrick Henry College– an institution offering the “godly leadership that America so desperately needs”– may not represent the majority of home-schoolers.
…In Virginia, the divergence in the home-school movement is illustrated by the existence of two distinct legislative watchdog groups.
“Committed to helping parents fulfill their God-given right and responsibility to educate their own children” is the motto of the Home Education Association of Virginia which gives its membership a discount to join Farris’ group. Meanwhile, the Virginia Home Education Association is a big-tent organization, steadfast in its dedication to religious and political neutrality.
Not exactly a fan of HSLDA and Farris, eh? This really is a terrific point and one we need to stress (repeatedly, if necessary) when dealing with state and federal legislators. Homeschoolers are a diverse lot. No group- neither HSLDA nor NHELD- is capable of speaking for all. VHEA has the right idea: Remain vigilant but neutral.
Insane schedule today. Blogging will be late (obviously). Check back tonight.
I’ve no doubt that the bullying and teasing are real, but this ND TV news program builds the story up so much that I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Alas, I’m still waiting.
LUNCHTIME FOR THE STUDENTS, A TIME TO UN-WIND WITH FRIENDS, AND GOSSIP ABOUT THE DAYS EVENTS. BUT NOT EVERYONE APPROACHES IT THAT WAY. FOR SOME STUDENTS, LUNCHTIME CAN BE MOSTLY ABOUT LONELINESS AND ALIENATION. ITS ONE OF THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF RELATIONAL AGGRESSION, A NEW FORM OF BULLYING THAT INVOLVES MOSTLY GIRLS. RESEARCH ON THE SUBJECT BEGAN JUST TEN YEARS, AND THE TOPIC IS SO NEW THAT MOST SCHOOLS HAVE NO IDEA IT EXISTS.
“It’s the look, the eye roll, the sigh. Just the little things that other people may not catch but is screaming to girls.”
RELATIONAL AGGRESSION IS STILL BULLYING…ALTHOUGH IT’S NOT PHYSICAL, BUT EMOTIONAL. IT STARTS WITH TEASING AND JOKING. EVENTUALLY THE VICTIM MAY LOSE FRIENDS BECAUSE OTHERS DON’T WANT TO BE A TARGET. REQUESTING HER IDENTITY BE HIDDEN, A PARENT SPOKE TO US ABOUT DAUGHTER’S ONGOING STRUGGLE.
“I would pick her up from school and she would be in the car, nobody likes me. And she didn’t want to do stuff. She wanted to do everything when she started junior high, and now she doesn’t want to do anything there.”
IT HAS BECOME SO BAD THAT SHE IS NOW IN COUNSELING AND HER PARENTS HAVE CONSIDERED MOVING HER TO ANOTHER SCHOOL OR POSSIBLY HOME SCHOOLING HER. BUT THE PROBLEMS SHE FACES ARE MOST LIKELY JUST BEGINNING.
“We don’t look at this as a short term maybe a academic school year problem. It can go on for years and years, the emotional scars.
An educrat in Pittsburgh is in favor of allowing homeschoolers to participate in g-school extracurriculars:
The chance to play gives home-schoolers social experiences they cannot get at home, Cardone said.
“You have to deal with issues like social acceptance, peer pressure, things that other students more readily see than the home-schoolers do,” he said.
And homeschooling parents are begging to get in? Sheesh!
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has a two-fer on homeschoolers there. Both articles are quite positive. The photographer for the first (on an acting class for homeschoolers) did an especially good job. Worth a click.
An Iowa school district has been placed on “watch” status because of a low graduation rate. The Superintendent blamed the shortcoming on homeschoolers.
A student who moves away is not counted against the district, but students who leave to attend homeschool do affect the graduation rate, and Fairfield does have a larger number of students who opt for a home-school program than other districts do, pointed out Triplett.
The home-school issue has not been addressed by the Iowa Department of Education, said Triplett.
Gifted students who are allowed to skip a grade (or more) do at least as well as those who move along with their age-mates. Of course, this won’t be news to homeschoolers
A Minneapolis-area school district entered into a controversial $1.7M contract to buy 1000 iBooks for distribution to students. The plan was so unpopular that it cost two School Board members their seats. Who cares, though, what the people think? They wrote the contract in a way that they can’t easily back out.
Superintendent Kathleen Macy said it would cost more than $500,000 to back out of the deal. Thole said he had attorneys look at the contract, and the district possibly could get out of it for less. However, that wouldn’t be prudent, he said.
“We’re going to go ahead with this and hope it works,” Thole said.
Your tax dollars at work.
One of the contestants on Donald Trump’s new (un)reality show, The Apprentice, is a homeschool grad.
Jessie Conners, 21, was born in Minnesota and she endured hardship in her early years. Growing up traveling—from the city of Minneapolis—to a 265 acre farm in Wisconsin with no running water or electricity—to an orphanage in Monterrey, Mexico. She now owns her own hobby farm and is a successful business owner. With her home school education, at the age of 17 Jessie started a chiropractic marketing and management company. She currently runs chiropractic clinics and is a realtor in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Houston Chronicle has an article about a virtual charter. Typically, the reporter confuses this with homeschooling.
Eagle Academies, which has a spotty record running 14 charter schools, wants to take its curriculum of individualized learning to home-schooled students. The Lewisville-based nonprofit is seeking state approval to operate a statewide virtual school that could reach as many as 3,000 students at a potential cost of $15 million.
No, no, a thousand times no. All is not lost, however; one member of the TX State Board of Education “gets” it.
Terri Leo, a member of the State Board of Education, said she’s not convinced that computerized learning is a valid education model. “The home-schoolers I know would not choose to do the virtual charter school. They wouldn’t want to put their kid in front of a computer all day long,” said Leo, R-Spring.
Give that woman a cigar.