Category Archives: Early Education

Only One Parent Is Needed

That’s right. Only one parent needs to complain to entice an entire school district to remove dictionaries from schools. Nope, this isn’t a Fark.com news item (yet as far as I know). This is an entire school district removing a specific edition of dictionaries because the term “oral sex” is in them.

How ridiculous is this?

I know someone will probably mention that maybe elementary kids are too young for these dictionaries, but I remember looking up worse terms than this as a kid and not even understanding the definitions! Besides, the internet provides pictures, so I’m thinking the dictionary is safer.

Sometimes I just think people are looking for something to do.

Update: I just saw the article on Fark. 🙂

McAuliffe and Oemig Road Show

I went to one of the presentations by Senators McAuliffe and Oemig, and I came away thinking that what they say sounds nice and makes the public happy to hear, but they don’t have anything specific to say except that “the system is broken.” “Thanks, but what can you do to help me?” is what I kept thinking.

I got the sense that Oemig does not understand how levies hurt poorer districts much more than his (Kirkland) and that McAuliffe is scattered in her thoughts sticking mainly to agreed upon talking points. However, both appear to want to help, and I appreciate this. At least they are listening.

Oemig really wanted the teachers to define what a “master teacher” is, but of course no one could do it well. Reminds of the definition of obscenity: know it when I see it. Felt like people trying to define their love of one artist over another: lots of feeling words and appreciation without any quantifiable data.

And Oemig is definitely a data guy. He repeated his desire for good data for teachers without naming what it is. All I know is that I’m inundated with data but receive very little usable information from it most of the time. Plus, I have to fight for so long for access to data that it’s normally useless by the time I get it.

I think I echo Ryan’s thoughts when he said, “it’s very easy to see a path to what the WEA feared all along–the good that made people like the bill will evaporate away a section at a time, and what we’ll all have left is onerous new certification requirements and more bureaucracy.” Everything suggested was followed by “but we have to find the money to do it” with no definites detailing from where the increased revenue would come.

I spoke once for about five minutes near the end of the session about the following items, each very briefly:

  • the lack of trust in teachers and the collegiate certification process (thus so many extra requirements),
  • attacking symptoms instead of diseases (i.e. adding certification requirements when not satisfied with the collegiate certification process instead of fixing the problem at the collegiate level),
  • how schools are microcosms of the societies in which they reside,
  • solving social ills must be alongside solving educational ills (pay now for the play pen or later for the state pen), and
  • how time is critical for teachers (grading time, prep time, large class sizes require extra time, useless extras like state required culminating projects, etc.).

Anyone else seen the presentations?

Are You Inspired?

Every time I see the often-shared video below, I must admit that the young speaker is quite impressive. He makes many of my high schoolers pale in comparison.

However, I must admit something which may violate the seemingly sacrosanct discussion of this video: I’m not inspired by it.

I don’t think I’m the intended audience. The young man’s speech seems aimed at those who may be giving up, and I feel I am far from surrender or apathy.

Still, I think watching this video makes me feel good. I’m happy to know a young man can be such a force and inspire others. Yes, I’ve heard he didn’t write the speech. Yes, I understand he may have memorized it, and he may have been coached.

I don’t care. It’s a great speech.

Judge Enforced Attendance

An article in The Boston Globe details how one school district is “expanding a program that requires the parents of chronically truant public school students to appear before a probate judge.” Apparently, the program cut unexscused absences from 1072 (September through January) to 87 (February through June). The judge has the power to require any of the following of parents and students: Continue reading