Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Truth, Justice, the American Way, and Summer Vacation

Welcome to the 74th edition of the Carnival of Education. Thanks to The Education Wonks for the opportunity to host, and for working so hard to keep it going.


Ms. Cornelius has an extraordinary post containing some of the very best general advice for prospective teachers I've ever seen. I wish Ms. Cornelius had been my education teacher in college. I'd have far fewer things to attribute to trial-and-error. Go on, read this one.

Black students in Ohio are graduating at a lower rate than their white counterparts. Scott Elliot of Get on the Bus points out that in Dayton, that trend is reversed, and it's the white kids being left behind.

The truth is, boys are having far more trouble with school than girls. Or maybe they aren't. This Week in Education documents the perplexingly even-handed research. Not only that, but they reveal why The Donald fears teachers.

April May reveals the hideous truth about camping.

If you interview Laura Huertero for a teaching postion, don't ask what her worst quality is. She can't decide between procrastination, disorganization, and masochism. Consider hiring her for her unflinching honesty.


There's a very interesting story about charter schools and unions this week. Nicole Byrne Lau, by most accounts an exemplary teacher, was fired after it was discovered she'd been distributing a chart revealing public teacher salaries.

The school's CEO, Eddie Calderon-Melendez, had a sudden attack of loquaciousness, telling the NY Daily News she was a child-hating racist. Three Standard Deviations suggests Calderon-Melendez should be fired himself.

I first read about this on the NYCSA blog The Chalkboard, written (excellently!) by Joe Williams. Joe asks whether she's Norma Rae or David Duke. We at NYC Educator concluded Norma Rae was a lot closer to the reality. School of Blog wonders whether this incident implies mandatory unions are necessary in charters. Eduwonk says charter workers should have the option of unionization but doesn't feel this situation reflects all charters.

The AFT's blog, Let's Get it Right, discusses the difficulties of unionizing charters. In my humble opinion, the best and most complete account, better than the one in the NY Times, was written by Leo Casey in Edwize, and points to a Disney-style ending--Ms. Lau quickly landed a job as an English teacher in Brooklyn Tech, one of NYC's very best schools, with a big raise and a union contract.

The American Way

Where else but here would you find a Shroud of Turin-Mobile? And why, asks Mamacita, are teachers who know little or nothing about sports supposed to supervise them?

High school student Schuyler Hall says every man, woman, and child in America owes a $27,905 share of the US National Debt.

What new delights does RJ Reynolds have for our youngsters? Watermelon-flavored cigarettes, according to NYC's own reality-based educator.

Mike in Texas points out yet another disadvantage of working a non-union job at Wal-Mart. And he includes, for my money, one of the coolest graphics ever. Check it out.

The Education Wonks present the latest in a continuing series of Wonkitorials, and this week's topic is Secretary Spellings' Spanish Fly-in. EdWonk is quickly becoming the edusphere's leading expert on Spellings' exploits and adventures.

Summer Vacation

Jules at Mildly Melancholy eagerly awaits her summer-long weekend.

Miss Malarkey is saying adios to the Sunday night blues.

Nani from Se hace camino al andar is at the Cape, anticipating a summer of further travel.

It's all Greek to JD2718.

Sadly, not everyone is doing a happy dance this summer. Chaz has a very biting and real description of what it entails to teach summer school here in fun city.

La Maestra, however, also finds some things to like about teaching summer school.

Is there a summer absence dividend? Well, Mr. Lawrence left town, and won an award.

Mrs. T. (no relation to Rocky's nemesis) from Chucheria is headed for Disney World. Before she leaves, she has some very funny comments about the DaVinci Code film.

Puzzling Dilemmas

Do teachers need tattoos? If so what kind? One of my favorite new reads, Happychyck Wonders, examines the various ramifications of this issue.

Graycie, at Today's Homework, is growing weary of teaching Of Mice and Men. Can you suggest some new literary possibilities to motivate her kids? Maybe AphrikaNYC can help get her started.

New York City kids are encouraged (if not coerced) to pay hundreds of dollars in senior dues. After they pay, is it fair to keep their money, but turn them away from graduation ceremonies for missing one credit?

The LA Times' School Me wonders, with the help of educational reformer Milton Friedman, whether public schools are worth the effort. Don't be upset. Apparently, the devil made them do it.

Homeland Stupidity wants to know why "highly qualifed" doesn't measure classroom effectiveness instead of certification requirements.

Puzzling Dilemmas, Part 2

Assorted Stuff asks whether we're promoting literacy at the expense of creativity.

Math teacher Darren wonders whether bias, faulty math skills or possibly both are to blame for a questionable report on education spending.

Dr, Homeslice poses this very tough question--how do you explain a layoff? He then gives a very thoughtful answer.

How do you use that goshdarn Noah Webster spelling book anyway?

Why doesn't No Child Left Behind take parental involvement into account? While we're on the subject, Homeschool Blogger offer a handbook for precisely that.

How can you succeed in middle school without really trying? Kitchen Table Math offers a two part response here and here.

Capitalism and High Finance

Anonymous Educator has found a site where teachers can buy and sell lesson plans. How's that for a way to supplement that pittance they laughingly call your salary? For more on this story, see Joanne Jacobs. And if that ain't enough, check out The Education Wonks.

Eduwonk, considering Warren Buffet's remarkable gift to Bill Gates' foundation, contemplates whether it's time to revisit the tax-code regulation that requires foundations to donate five percent of their endowments every year.

Andrew Pass stresses the importance of funding pre-schools.

Teacher Barry says Ann Arbor public schools are on an austerity budget, and administration is to blame for failing to make any changes to the budget proposal before resubmitting to the same voters who rejected it the first time.

The Roanoke Times' brand-new blog Campus Watch reports that the Radford University department of music is requiring its new students to bring Apple iPods with them. Is that deductable for Mom and Dad?

Sex Education

Teacher Lady, of the snarky and provocative Sex Ed, in Higher Ed., is flabbergasted that her college students not only fail to turn off their cell phones, but see fit to bring their young children to her Human Sexuality class. While I'd like to take that class, my kid will just have to learn on the street like the rest of us.

Over at Why Homeschool, they're questioning the value of sex education.

The Village People meet Goeffrey Chaucer at Kibbles n' Whine. Why under sex education? You'll hafta read The Canterbury Tales for that.

Big Apple's Loyal Opposition

The Delegate's Chair, one of very few chairs that can type, finds little to love about NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

The United Teachers Party questions the effectiveness of the labor coalition organized by UFT President Randi Weingarten.

The ICE-UFT Blog wonders why teachers gave the sun, the moon and the stars, while union employees get the same raise simply for keeping the office open one extra hour a week.

Remarkable Discoveries

Chemjerk says teacher quality is crucial for quality education, more crucial than course content in Now for Something Completely Obvious.

Strausser is back from Education Space Academy, which amazed him. He amazed me too, by convincing me that professional development can be interesting.

Over at Discourse about Discourse they say changing a language arts department may be tougher than it seems.

Mister Teacher at Learn Me Good suggests cheaters never win, but they just might get paid.

At Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred, they're contemplating the power of prayer.

Spunky Home School tells of a valedictorian in NJ who used his speech to describe his education as hollow and wasteful.

Dave, of Friends of Dave, points to--you won't believe it--a school district fudging the figures to make itself look better. If that doesn't shock you, check it out anyway for the great Mark Twain quote, and Dave's dogged insistence you hum Dueling Banjos as you read..

Where Have All the Teachers Gone?

Soreheads like Tom at I Who Can't (and me) worry a lot about the number of teachers we lose. Here's one, however, who's coming back.

Teacher Sol says we're not the only country losing teachers.

GuusejeM has some great thoughts on what makes a good teacher and why we need more of them.

I told Chance at Sapient Sutler he'd ace his teaching competency exam and waddya know? He did. Welcome to a new, smart teacher, and congratulations.

Me-Ander, all the way from Israel, says things are so tough the government's resorted to importing English teachers (I wonder if they borrowed that idea from New York City).

The Fine Art of Assigning Blame

Ms. Dennis at Your Mama's Mad Tedious, writes I'm Insubordinate Part 1, the saga of how, rather than make necessary improvements, Principal Puffschmuck has chosen to spend much of his energy assigning blame. Ms. Dennis, unfortunately, is on the receiving end. I can't wait to see what happens in Part 2.

Among my very favorite serious blogs on public education is Schools Matter. See their take on lack of accountability in charter schools right here.

Right Wing Nation has had it with teachers whining and pointing fingers, and further says the NEA should be disbanded, just like PATCO was back in the eighties. The Right-Wing Prof. is feeling poorly but writing with as much fire as ever, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

The Rain, from one of my favorite new blogs, I Thought a Think, questions the wisdom of placing quotes from Mein Kampf under your high school yearbook photos. Can such gaffes be attributed to the innocence of youth?

Next week's carnival will be hosted by the LA Times' School Me blog. Please send your contributions to janine.kahnATlatimesDOTcom by 7 PM California time, next Tuesday July 11th.

This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival roundup.
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