Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Grading on a Curve — for Schools

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

A young girl, studying in schoolGenerally speaking, in order to get an “A” grade, you have to demonstrate that not only did you learn the material but that you demonstrated an understanding far beyond what was expected for the course.  You could say that someone deserving of an “A” would know the material so well that they wouldn’t even make careless mistakes on a test — the material would be far too simple to provide any wrong answers.  In the case of a school, an “A” would mean that the school is turning out students who not only meet the standards but go well beyond them.  But what do you do if your schools aren’t performing so well and you still want to say they get an “A”?  Well, if you’re the Public Education Department in New Mexico, you redefine what it means to get an “A”.

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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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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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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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A Parent’s New Year’s Resolutions For 2011

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

At the start of the New Year, it’s traditional for people to make sweeping statements about how they plan to improve themselves or their situation in the coming year.  I could certainly do that — I definitely need to lose weight, I’d like to yell at the kids a little less, I really ought to work more on getting my book published — but that would only benefit me or, at most, my family.  So I thought I’d take a look at the big picture and come up with some resolutions that will help kids all over.

So with that in mind, here is A Parent’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2011:

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Anti-Vax’ers Lose In California

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Remember the bit I posted a while back about autism causing whooping cough?  Some parents, afraid that vaccines caused autism despite plentiful evidence to the contrary and even outright debunking of the original “study” that first made the claim, have been deciding not to get their children immunized, including opting out of the whooping cough vaccine.  Not surprisingly, that resulted in an increase in the incidence of the disease.  That won’t be happening in California any more, however, thanks to a new law going into effect.

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The Video A Mother Should Never Have To Make

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Imagine losing a child — a teenager who is an intelligent, beautiful person with a great future ahead of them.  Imagine losing that child not because of some accident of nature or incurable disease but because of something easily preventable.  Imagine losing your child because of the thoughtlessness of their peers and the indifference of their teachers.  Wendy Walsh doesn’t have to imagine it; she lives it every day.

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Teacher Tapes Student To Desk; Gets Off Scotch Free

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

One would like to think that we’ve evolved beyond the use of corporal punishment in our public schools but it appears that’s not entirely true.  Even if teachers aren’t rapping on knuckles with wooden rulers, some are still using pain and humiliation in order to maintain order and instill discipline.  Not surprisingly, some parents take offense at this.

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What Schools Must Have

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

As insane as it might seem, when times are tough, economically, it’s always education — the future of our society, our country, even our species — that seems to get cut first.  School nurses get laid off, along with librarians and counselors.  Art classes are pretty much gone, as are the band and orchestras of our youth.  There’s no money for after school activities and lunches are made off-site and trucked in like military MREs.  Now, however, a California court has ruled that there is one part of the school day that simply can’t be cut, regardless of how bad a fiscal crisis a school district is facing.

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Books in the Classroom: Text or Note?

Monday, November 15th, 2010

There’s nothing like curling up with a good book on a delightfully dreary fall day, watching the grey skies while keeping cozy warm by the fire.  On the other hand, I love getting on the computer and catching up on the latest news or finding the answer to some question one of my kids asked.  Luckily for me, I can choose either option — or, rather, I could if I had that kind of free time.  But what if one had to choose?  Many schools can’t afford both technology and textbooks, so which would teachers rather have?

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