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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Teacher's Sex-Ed answers rile parents.

Truth is stranger than...reality.

Thanks to @courosa for the Tweet.

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What Point Are They Really Making?

Here's the full article.

I was reading through some old posts from Sheryl's blog. She wrote about the story of a school gone crazy.

But I have taken a few minutes to reflect on this issue. First, let me say I wrote about this type of absurdity in January 2008.

Second, let me say I take more than a little pride in the fact that my sense of humor is warped, and I believe that sometimes one must go to extremes to make a point before others "get it."

Could it be that this school in the UK (Cann Hall Primary School in Clacton, Essex) is trying to show it's online readers how crazy their online policy is, and that they are having faces covered up to get parents/grandparents upset that they cannot see their "little babies?"

Sorry, I got a little carried away; hoping that schools would actually be intelligent enough to try such a tactic.

But in a twist...the comments on Sheryl's post and the original post indicate that "normal" people find this smiley face alteration to be outrageous, ludacris, ridiculous, silly, and, and, and -- what's the word -- STUPID.

So, whether Cann Hall wanted to demonstrate how education's approach to "protecting the chilllldren" from the online bogeyman is not practical, they are doing it none-the-less.

More needs to be made of this issue and story.

Update on my January 31 post -- No ballerinas were harmed even though potential predators had a nearly 3-month time frame in which to target them.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Click comic for larger view.

Sheryl asked a great question on Twitter this evening. I truly hope her conversation goes well tomorrow. Here was her question and purpose for asking Twitterers.

Speaking to 80 superintendents tomorrow that want to know-- what should a 21st C edc leader know and be able to do to lead effectively today.

What would you tell them? Resources? Related posts? What is important for today's superintendent to know? Want to show Twitter grp think

There are so many things that came to mind, but I had to - I just had to - bring something up. It is an opportunity to demonstrate how void NCLB is. Really. If all our kids need to really know is how to read and do math, then why isn't that enough for today's adults? We brainwash our kids into believing that reading and math are the end-all, be-all to a successful life. If we really believed this, then it would be good enough for us too, right? As a matter of fact, if we say we want better for our kids than we do for ourselves, the reading and math is MORE than we need.

It just isn't logical. Sheryl, give the Superintendents everything you've got. You can speak from your overflow of knowledge and practice, and give them more than they can handle. All the best.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008


//Click the strip for a bigger view
//Funny, my school's outsourced filterer, 8e6, now blocks BitStrips
//and I was thinking about pulling back for fear someone might see my stuff
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Monday, May 26, 2008

It's Just Natural

Our middle school had several youngsters from an area pre-school come to the library so some of our students could read to them.  Our students had written children books as a class project, and this was an opportunity for an audience.

Well, not that the books weren't fantastic, but the computer was naturally more comfortable for this young man.

The computers were off, but he new where the power buttons were, and tried to turn them on.  After a couple of tries, our student played along for a few minutes, then took him to another area of the library.

This reminded me of Clay Shirky's line, "If it ships without a mouse, it ships broken."  This boy is looking for the mouse.

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[You may have to click the picture to see the full size for easier reading.]

Again, educational "leaders" demonstrate that those who can't teach, administrate.

Read the NYTimes article here.
Read Chris Lehman's take, Reasonable Actions for Unreasonable Times.

I direct you to Chris's post because the one I wrote, I did not publish for fear of getting in trouble. I've just about had it with this NCLB and the way educational politicians are maintaining (and extending) the permanent underclass and stiffles learning.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Based on the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) results for Math and Social Studies.

Read the Article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Please read the entire article. From the article:

Cox was puzzled by the drastic drop in social studies, calling it "cause for concern." Last year, about 83 percent of the sixth-graders passed the social studies test, as did about 86 percent of the seventh-graders, according to state figures.

She wondered whether the new social studies standards were clear and
if some of the detailed test questions caught students off guard. Cox
will ask a group of teachers and curriculum specialists to determine
what may have happened.

"We have to do better with this," Cox said.

Changes could be made to the
test and to the material teachers teach, said Dana Tofig, spokesman for
the state education department.

Oops. The test was an inaccurate measurement of student competency?

The shame is that no one will take responsibility and become accountable for this. We'll say it is a starting point, and we'll learn from this "mistake" or "error." Yet who suffers for all this? The students who now have this faulty measure of their abilities on a permanent record. Testing is never the true measure of person's value, nor is it a good measure of their abilities.
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Sunday, May 18, 2008


21st Century Education Colloquialism we'll never adopt.

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Why Mobile Technology is Web 3.0 -- without it there may not be Web any.any in U.S. public schools.
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Sunday, May 11, 2008

When 55 out of 55 Ain't Good

Tip o' the hat - Scott & David

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

To Test Or Not To Test

Carl Chew - 6th grade Seattle Public School teacher refuses to give the state mandated WASL test.

He's a bad guy
He's a good guy

I've known about this for a few days, and wanted to do some reflecting.  Some say it is what is needed, others say he took the wrong approach.  I say, at least someone did something...anything...and was willing to make a statement heard 'round the country.

Chew has at least a few people talking about the issue of testing, and how it proves nothing of what a child knows.  I don't care if my mechanic passed the Jeopardy-like quiz game we play in schools under the misnomer of No Child Left Behind, but I do appreciate the fact that he knows what to do to my engine and tires to give me better mileage; especially since the ones who probably did guess correctly are now running the companies and countries that are screwing the world to the wall with petroleum price gouging.  </rant>

I think I respect Chew's actions.  He stated the reasons he refused to administer the test.  I can't say I disagree with him. Could I question his actions?  Sure.  I would rather see parents and students boycott testing week...simply refuse, en masse, to attend school on test days.  If the state wanted to reschedule, then boycott again.  That, my friends, would work in one year.  Politicians would "hear" that message.

But no one listens to teachers...no one.

Mr. Chew's action has probably done more to educate his students, and students in his district, than anything on the WASL.  So perhaps the WASL did have some educational benefits after all...it allowed someone to teach about standing up for personal beliefs, standing against national injustices, and being a leader in a cause (even if some disagree with his views).  Talking to politicians, as Mr. Jamieson suggests Chew should have done, doesn't work.  They don't listen; they legislate, and justify later.  Wait and see. 

With Gary Stager as my muse, I predict after the 2010 election changes will be made to NCLB (perhaps even the name).  Reading First doesn't work, duh.  NCLB doesn't work, and this in from the irony pages, NCLB leaves many children behind because they are not academically talented.  But in the future, I will listen to their music, entrust my car to them to get better mileage, and watch them win the Super Bowl.  Hmmm.  They all get paid more than me, and I did well on my tests.  Who are the real dummies in all this?

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Clay Shirky speech of "Cognitive Surplus"Clay Shirky, Will Richardson,

Thanks to Will and Arthus.  Take time to read Will's thoughts.

My quick thought from a powerful 20 seconds (beginning at 15:54). 

We are looking for the mouse.  Every place where a user, reader, listener, or a viewer has been locked out...who has been served up a passive, fixed, or canned experience - could we carve out a piece of cognitive surplus to make a better thing happen?  I'm betting the answer is yes.

Does anybody describe the educational experience for k-12 students any better than that?

I also appreciate the "doing something is better than doing nothing" because we can learn from the surplus of activity even if it fails.  How can teachers, and more importantly students, begin to get comfortable with this idea of learning?

By the way...don't you think he looks a little like Tom Hanks?

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