...dedicated to...hmmm, we're still figuring that one out...
Another Slow Monday
Just a quick posting of a few interesting items today.
Odds 'n' Ends
New York Times' columnist Thomas Friedman had a great line in his Saturday column, Did You Hear the One About the Bankers? He suggests four reforms for the banking industry, noting he found the last one on the blogosphere:
Indianapolis Star reporter Robert King took a break this week from his new series on an Indianapolis middle school to ask Is Indianapolis ready for its Super Bowl close-up? It's way off the subject of education, but like most King articles, is engaging.
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NAEP Scores "Flat"
Slight progress in math and mixed results in reading are reported from the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress. Education Week's Erik W. Robelen writes in New NAEP, Same Results: Math Up, Reading Mostly Flat that the "test data show that 4th and 8th graders have inched up in mathematics, but the results are more mixed in reading, with 4th grade scores flat compared with two years ago." Jim Horn has an interesting take on the "nation's report card" norming in The Nation's Report Card on Corporate Ed Reform Comes Home on the Schools Matter blog.
On the Blogs
Stephen Wesson, who blogs on Teaching with the Library of Congress, has a request of his readers. The Library has seen a sudden and unusual uptick in hits on their To Kill a Mockingbird: A Historical Perspective lesson plan. He asks in To Kill a Mockingbird: A Mysterious Flurry of Interest:
Ben Wildeboer's Lightbulb Challenge: LED vs. Halogen on his /Re:thinking/ blog is an interesting read with a good suggestion for a student activity at the end. His Pipe Insulation Roller Coasters: Rolling Friction activity may be useful for Physics teachers.
One Sunflower tells of an interesting activity for the younger set in a-graph-a-day.
Sara Wu relates that the Chicago Public Schools "will be offering antibiotic-free chicken drumsticks in school lunches. We’re talking 1.2 million pounds of antibiotic-free chicken entering school cafeterias." She tells the story in Drumstick, anyone? CPS getting antibiotic-free chicken!
Sherman Dorn has a bit of fun with some big and not so big names in education "reform" in ESEA political scorecard: Halloween version.
Diane Ravitch looks at what may happen to a successful urban school system on the Bridging Differences blog in Will San Diego's Public Schools Survive?
I noticed that Educators' News still hasn't made Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…, but like the new look and organization of his excellent resource.
Odds 'n' Ends
Tropical Storm, Snow Days, Power Outages Extend School Year
Winnie Hu and Nate Schweber have a really good article on The New York Times this week, The Joys, and Frustrations, of Snow Days in November. They tell of the effects on schools, school calendars, and parents Tropical Storm Irene and the recent snowstorm along the east coast caused.
Here in Indiana, our voucher program is quickly becoming the model for conservative, anti-public school politicians across the nation. The Indy Star's Scott Elliott reports in Vouchers start out strong in Indiana that the state has issued "more vouchers than any state has ever provided in its first year." Over $16 million have been diverted from public to private schools, "almost entirely religious-affiliated," in a program Governor Daniels and State Superintendent Tony Bennett steadfastly maintain does not support religious schools.
Another state biggie is a lawsuit brought by a Franklin Township mother who cannot afford to pay the nearly $50 per month per child school bus fee a private vendor charges after the district discontinued bus service. Despite having over $17 million in its rainy day fund, the district privatized bus services in an attempt to circumvent the state constitution and cut the estimated $2 million per year cost of transporting students. The AP's Charles Wilson relates in Indiana district that ended bus routes faces lawsuit that the disabled parent "wanted the district to place her two sons, ages 10 and 13, on a special needs bus because they both have serious medical conditions." When the district refused, the parent proceeded with the lawsuit which may attain class action status "so that everybody gets the buses back."
Moving outside Indiana but still on the dropping bus service issue, the AP's Donna Gordon Blankinship reports in In Washington, school buses in path of budget ax that Washington Governor Chris Gregoire "floated the idea" of dropping state funding for school bus service "in advance of a special legislative session later this month." Blankinship notes that "all states don't help pay to bus students to school — although transporting disabled kids is required by federal law — but most do." She also notes that the state's education chief, Randy Dorn, has some constitutional concerns about the possibility of ending funding for school busses in the state:
Anticipating that today might be a "slow news Friday," I took some time yesterday to look back over some of the commentary I've offered here on Educators' News this year. What got me started was a small link to my posting about the SLANT strategy that appeared on Berni Wall's Rliberni's Blog – Radical language site as part of the 25th EFL/ESL/ELL Blog Carnival. Looking at some of the "best" postings there, I decided to run my own little carnival of reruns here today!
Another New Mac Web Browser
Just over a week ago, I wrote about the TenFourFox and Classilla ports of the Firefox web browser that allow its use on older Macs. This week I read in Martin Bryant's Mac web browser Raven is flying, with 100,000 in-app installs in 3 weeks about another web browser for Macs, Raven. The new browser allows customers to add web apps into a side bar for convenience. Still in beta, Raven may push browser development in some new directions.
Giant Asteroid 2005 YU55 Comes Closer to Earth Than Moon Next Week by Tariq Malik relates:
CNN's Asteroid to pass closer to Earth than the moon adds that the near pass "will also provide a rare opportunity for amateur astronomers to directly observe an asteroid with optical telescopes." although NASA suggests that folks with less than a 6" reflector telescope won't be able to see much. The Jet Propulsion Lab's Solar System Dynamics website is providing the asteroid's coordinates for any given time for folks hoping to track and watch it. They also are the source of the animation below.
CNN also relates that "the asteroid will approach Earth from a sunward direction and it will be a daylight object until the time of its closest approach on November 8. The best time to see the asteroid will be after the hours of 4 pm EST (21:00 UTC)."
Odds 'n' Ends
It's turned out to be not as slow a news day as I had anticipated. I pulled John Sutter's When the iPhone's Siri takes the day off on CNN out of the listing above, as it really isn't education related, but it is funny.
Sutter writes that Apple's voice assistant on the the new iPhone 4S "took an extended coffee break on Thursday...apparently because of a server outage." When a blogger asked after the five hour outage, "Siri, where have you been all day," the device listed a "bunch of day spas," saying, "I found 12 places matching 'All Day' ... 11 of them are not far from you."
Have a great weekend!
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©2011 Steven L. Wood