A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Articles tagged with: education reform

A SWAT for needing extra time to do what we used to do in 6
Thursday, 30 Jun, 2011 – 18:44 | Comments Off
A SWAT for needing extra time to do what we used to do in 6

There’s an impressive list of organizations backing the TIME Act – a bill pending before Congress that would provide grant money to schools that extend their schedules by at least 300 hours a year. There’s …

What I will never tell the guys about state testing
Tuesday, 12 Apr, 2011 – 11:14 | Comments Off
What I will never tell the guys about state testing

The guys go to a school that ends at second grade, though the weight of the entire student body has been thrown behind this week’s state testing.
The kindergarteners made posters supporting the second graders – …

A SWAT for cramming for kindergarten
Thursday, 17 Feb, 2011 – 17:01 | Comments Off
A SWAT for cramming for kindergarten

You know what they say about kindergarten being the new first grade?
Well, forget it. It turns out that advanced kindergarten is life in the slow lane. The real competitors in the “get your kids ahead …

If you want a race to the top, make sure kids start at the same place
Monday, 7 Feb, 2011 – 19:51 | One Comment
If you want a race to the top, make sure kids start at the same place

How can we promise to leave no child behind when we’re abandoning so many of them at the start?
And how can we hope to have a race to the top when some kids are a …

Grading parents doesn’t make the grade
Thursday, 20 Jan, 2011 – 17:10 | Comments Off
Grading parents doesn’t make the grade

Note to Florida Rep. Kelli Stargel: I’ve already passed kindergarten. Second grade, too! Therefore, it really doesn’t matter what my kids’ teachers think about my performance. I’ve earned a diploma and a degree. It’s the …

It doesn’t take a miracle. It only takes a book
Wednesday, 5 Jan, 2011 – 18:00 | 3 Comments
It doesn’t take a miracle. It only takes a book

Mommy, am I Student A or Student B, Big Guy asked.
Huh?
Am I Student A or Student B, out of the ones in my school folder.
I was stunned that he’d read his school folder, especially given …

No wonder we’re confused about education reform
Monday, 1 Nov, 2010 – 22:02 | Comments Off
No wonder we’re confused about education reform

Today’s news reminded me of the joke we used to rib the mathematically inclined with during my college days: Yesterday I didn’t know what an engineer was. Today I are one.
In this corner, we have …

Class-size reduction does work. Phonics too!
Wednesday, 27 Oct, 2010 – 22:33 | Comments Off
Class-size reduction does work. Phonics too!

The guys’ school had a problem at the beginning of the year, and we’re lucky that the district had the money to solve it.
Boots’ kindergarten class the first week of school had 27 kids. So …

An evaluation by numbers isn’t really an evaluation
Monday, 20 Sep, 2010 – 22:21 | Comments Off
An evaluation by numbers isn’t really an evaluation

Evaluation: An interview between a manager and an employee, which allows the manager to judge how well the employee is doing the job.
Now that we have the dictionary definition out of the way, let’s move …

If you think school isn’t hard enough, go to kindergarten
Friday, 3 Sep, 2010 – 12:30 | Comments Off
If you think school isn’t hard enough, go to kindergarten

I’m confused. Genuinely perplexed, as opposed to the fake puzzlement I sometimes try to pull on the guys. As in, “I just don’t understand why you thought it was a good idea to cut gaping …

Leave them kids alone
Tuesday, 31 Aug, 2010 – 15:03 | 3 Comments
Leave them kids alone

Just as sure as someone’s going to be selling a box of crayons for a quarter every August, you can mark the annual bashing of American students on your calendar in the vicinity of Labor …

What can we do to create 21st Century schools? Just look to Central California
Friday, 2 Apr, 2010 – 18:29 | One Comment
What can we do to create 21st Century schools? Just look to Central California

Forget all the discussion about where we’re going to live when Dad gets out of the Army. As far as I’m concerned, it’s settled. We are moving to Madera County.
Yes, that Madera County, the one …

Milennials aren’t harder to teach. We just don’t try hard enough
Monday, 8 Mar, 2010 – 18:57 | Comments Off
Milennials aren’t harder to teach. We just don’t try hard enough

It was, admittedly, a new take on the old “these kids and their short attention spans and self-absorbed natures are ruining the world” spiel.
Instead, a British education union leader blamed a culture of “instant gratification,” …

Fire all the teachers? Yes, that will work
Tuesday, 2 Mar, 2010 – 19:36 | Comments Off
Fire all the teachers? Yes, that will work

It’s unfortunate that the AFL-CIO did its job today and jumped into fray in a Rhode Island district that’s firing the entire staff at the low-performing Central Falls High School.
Unfortunate because that gives more ammo …

Nickels and dimes add up to $400m we don’t need to spend on schools
Tuesday, 2 Feb, 2010 – 19:54 | Comments Off
Nickels and dimes add up to $400m we don’t need to spend on schools

Every time a kid in California misses more than three days of school, the district spits out a form letter notifying parents that the student’s a truant.
Because the state requires districts to send that letter …

Where are all those bad teachers? We’re not finding them
Friday, 18 Dec, 2009 – 11:42 | One Comment
Where are all those bad teachers? We’re not finding them

We got a call yesterday morning, just hours before the start of winter break, from Big Guy’s teacher. She’d wanted to know if he’d been sick the past two days – he had – and …

Making reading a race
Thursday, 3 Dec, 2009 – 12:51 | 2 Comments
Making reading a race

There are two things I like about the new voluntary reading program at Big Guy’s school, which involves his teacher sending home two books that the kids read until they can complete the text without …

Five things you can try with your kids while they’re boycotting the president’s speech
Monday, 7 Sep, 2009 – 21:46 | 2 Comments
Five things you can try with your kids while they’re boycotting the president’s speech

Keeping your kids home so they won’t be polluted by the outrageous ideas and radical agenda President Barack Obama is going to present in his back-to-school speech to children across the nation?
It’s good to stand …

Creating education road kill in the ‘Race to the Top’
Tuesday, 28 Jul, 2009 – 0:50 | Comments Off
Creating education road kill in the ‘Race to the Top’

Aw, you knew it was coming.
You just knew that Arne Duncan, the reigning monarch of merit pay and cheerleader in chief for charter schools, was going to find some state somewhere to some how make …

Develop a national test before deciding what to teach is backward
Monday, 22 Jun, 2009 – 20:01 | 2 Comments
Develop a national test before deciding what to teach is backward

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s plan to start developing a national test before anyone’s even come up with national standards is far worse that putting the cart before the horse.
It’s more like hitching up Secretariat …

Charter schools not an automatic cure, research shows
Tuesday, 16 Jun, 2009 – 20:00 | Comments Off
Charter schools not an automatic cure, research shows

Here’s one that should shock U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan out of his school-boy crush on charter schools or, at the least, make him pause before he forces the nation to go steady with the …

A SWAT for waiting a decade on digital textbooks
Friday, 12 Jun, 2009 – 6:20 | Comments Off
A SWAT for waiting a decade on digital textbooks

It seems there are two development paces for digital textbooks in California:
There’s doomed-to-fail-fast for public schools that wants to kick off by this fall, and there’s pokey procrastination for colleges that wants to wait until …

Time for another trip on the year-round merry-go-round
Sunday, 7 Jun, 2009 – 23:00 | 2 Comments
Time for another trip on the year-round merry-go-round

It sounds like a sweet set-up in Alexandria, Va.
Magic potions in a Harry Potter class. Math You Can Eat that uses brownies to teach fractions. Calligraphy, karate and film-making.
It’s all because of the district’s experiment …

Digital text books a great idea, but by this fall?
Tuesday, 2 Jun, 2009 – 20:30 | 4 Comments
Digital text books a great idea, but by this fall?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s push to put free digital textbooks in Californias high schools by this fall is so enticing on so many levels, the biggest of which is in the fewer number of trees that …

Another charter school “success” story
Sunday, 31 May, 2009 – 20:49 | Comments Off
Another charter school “success” story

American Indian Public charter school in Oakland has a history of students with high poverty rates who achieve some of the highest standardized test scores in the California.
It also has a history that includes shaving  …

Pay teachers like the rest of are? We already do
Wednesday, 20 May, 2009 – 0:48 | Comments Off
Pay teachers like the rest of are? We already do

Think we could solve all our problems in education by going to a merit-pay system that would make teachers earn their checks just like the rest of us?
Turns out that teachers already do earn their …

The case against rigid standards
Thursday, 14 May, 2009 – 21:38 | Comments Off

Standards are good – they’re a framework for building a solid education.
Problem is, though, they’re only a framework, just as the human skeleton is the framework for the body. And just like the human body, the …

Intel chairman’s right about one thing: We need to talk about education
Wednesday, 13 May, 2009 – 0:37 | Comments Off
Intel chairman’s right about one thing: We need to talk about education

Give Intel Chairman Craig Barrett credit for two things: He’s no Johnny Come Lately to the issue of education reform, and he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is sometimes.
Make that three things: …