Posts Tagged ‘schools’

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”.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


Martin Luther King Jr. Versus The Snow Day

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

On the one hand, it is important to recognize the life and accomplishments of the great Martin Luther King, Jr.  On the other hand, educating our children is just about the most important task we have as a society.  So what do we do when a school district needs to make up for snow days and the only option available seems to be the reverend doctor’s holiday?


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:


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.


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?