Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Caving In To Cars 2

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Given my fierce opposition to anything violent in my kids’ entertainment and my critique of Pixar’s apparent move away from child-appropriate films (not to mention commenter Tim’s disappointed commentary on their latest film), you would not be out of line to assume that there is no way I would take my kids to see Cars 2.  And so you would likely be rather surprised to hear that my kids did indeed go with their Nana to see Cars 2 yesterday.  What, you might ask, was I thinking?  Why would I allow such a violation of my principles?

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An End To Homework

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

One of the biggest parenting challenges, at least in our house, is homework.  Perhaps not so much in terms of having the kids learn and understand the material — although that can be a challenge too — but just getting kids to sit down, focus on their work, and get it done.  For us, this involves a lot of whining, wailing, and general gnashing of teeth.  And the kids don’t enjoy it either.  To make matters worse, my oldest will be entering 4th grade next year and the amount of homework sent home is reportedly kicked up a notch.  If we lived in Los Angeles, however, it wouldn’t be a problem anymore.

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Too Much Information

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

There is a lot of information that can help a teacher figure out how best to help a student learn.  Seemingly irrelevant data such as who the child lives with, what language (or languages) are spoken at home, and if the child has any medical issues are all clues a teacher can use tailor lessons to a child’s specific situation.  There’s one bit of information, however, that I simply can’t imagine anyone at a child’s school needing to know — but that didn’t stop one school district from asking for it.

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Sending Kids Off To School In Style

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

It may seem odd to be talking about putting kids on the bus to school when the school year is winding down or even, for many school districts, over and done with, but for one high school sophomore in American Fork, Utah, the morning send-off may be the best part about being through with school.  It seems his dad loves him so much, he was willing to go to some pretty extreme lengths to show that love — including by putting on a wedding dress.

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Of Bicycles and Inspiration

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

There have been many great speeches in our history. From Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream, the power of words to move and to motivate us should never be underestimated. That inspiration, too, can come from the most unexpected places. While we expect wisdom from political leaders and activists and occasionally find someone on television with something important to say and the ability to express it, sometimes powerful insight and motivation comes from the most unexpected places — like a little boy who just learned to ride his bike.

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Dancing Is For Boys

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

My oldest son is turning into quite the hoofer.  He’s no Gene Kelly, yet, but at only nine years old, I wouldn’t expect him to be.  If he keeps at it, however — and he certainly seems to have the motivation to do so — by the time he graduates from high school he very well could be up there with the likes of Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, The Nicholas Brothers, Sandman Sims, and so on.  He’s always tapping his toes and practicing his dances.

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Disrupting Graduation

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

It’s a time for Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance.  It’s a time for formal dances and the robes of academia.  For many, it signifies the end of childhood and the start of their adult life.  Graduation from high school is no minor event and should be treated with the reverence it deserves.  In Duncan, South Carolina, school officials and law enforcement are serious about making sure that’s the case.

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Fishes and Lizards and Snakes, Oh My!

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Kids like critters.  Even the ones that say they don’t like them or who are scared of them are generally fascinated by them, if they can view them from an appropriate distance.  So, of course, they make for great lessons — lessons the students won’t soon forget.  After a day with non-human guests in the classroom, kids will rush home to breathlessly tell their parents that a lizard’s tail can grow back or that snakes lay eggs like a chicken.  So why would anyone get upset about a lesson featuring geckos and clownfish?

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Texas To Redefine Science In Schools

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

It’s a good idea to regularly review what schools are teaching in their science classes and update the curriculum as new discoveries are made and old theories evolve.  That’s going to happen in Texas but the problem is that they’re not so worried about science down there.  Or, rather, they are worried about science and are doing their best to eliminate it from the public school curriculum.  Creationists on the State Board of Education have been appointing other creationists to the review panels and selecting materials that attempt to make the idea of an intelligent creator (i.e., God) sound all science-y.  Aside from the idiocy and blatant illegality of that, the problem for the rest of us is that, in large part, Texas determines the content of science books for the rest of the nation.

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Don’t Say Gay in Tennessee

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

I gather it’s not easy being gay in Tennessee. If you listen to country music, most of it seems to be about the value and nobility of small town life — hard labor, cheap beer, and church on Sunday. There’s not much room in there for difference, let alone anything not considered manly. It seems the rest of the state isn’t much different from Nashville’s music. The state senate has recently approved a bill that would prevent teachers from discussing anything related to homosexuality before the ninth grade.

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