Education & Tech

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Education + Tech

Education & Tech, was created to build hope that education based on social technologies, can transform the new century, and enable abundance not only spiritually but economically. Milton L. Ramirez, Ed.D. - @tonnet is the founder & editor. He is an instructor with UoPeople, is a blogger, writes on education, and hails this blog from Union, NJ. For further questions, tips or concerns please e-mail him to:miltonramirez [at] educationandtech [dot] com

Teacher + Scholar

If you are a regular to Blog Education & Tech, you shall remember that I am blogging and I'd written articles about education and technology almost every day since 2003. In the gazillion of notes, Education & Tech provides you with education news, tech advice, classroom management ideas, and social media tools for educators, administrators, parents and k-12 students.

Welcome you all! Why not like our site for more updates?

Education Today 03/31/2009

100+ free websites to find out about anything and everything

Suitable for students as well as workplace learners and lifelong learners - as well as teachers, educators and trainers. Good stuff!

Angela Maiers Tests the Waters of Digital Publishing

Digital publishing will bring us one very significant step closer to the reality of David Weinberger’s notion of filtering on the way out rather than on the way in.

"Knowing the Public Mind."

This is the same issue faced by all instructors who are trying to teach, but the web is a more complex instructional environment in the sense that at a minimum there are more voices and in particular unlike the enclosed classroom in which the teacher's voice is often respected, teachers on the web have more difficulty in establishing credibility, web credibility is often quite different that classroom credibility.

Why Great Teachers Are Story Tellers

When we think of a good teacher, we tend to focus on personality and on the way the teacher presents himself or herself. But that’s only half of good teaching.But then how do we make sure they think about meaning? That is where the second property of being a good teacher comes in-organizing the ideas in a lesson plan in a coherent way so that students will understand and remember.

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Teacher: Why Do You Teach?

The “Holy Grail” of teaching is making such a difference in a child’s life that you positively impact their life trajectory.

Photo Credit: Wonderlane

The Asymmetry of Using Twitter

David Weinberger (@dweinberger) has liberated contents in his JOHO, the Blog. Taking advantage of his Creative Commons license to reproduce one of his posts, we want to share with our readers the idea of why Twitter has such a success and how it handles the social asymetry approach:

From 4.5 things Twitter teaches us:

    1. Twitter in its native form assumes we’re ok with not keeping up with the abundance. Tweets are going to scroll by when you’re not looking, and you’re never going to see them. Twitter assumes you will let them go, the way most of us cannot leave unread the messages in our inbox.
    2. Social asymmetry addresses the scaling problem. At Twitter, the people you follow are not necessarily the people who are following you. That’s exactly not how mailing lists and weekly status meetings work, and Twitter’s approach impedes the back-and-forth development of ideas. But, maybe that’s not what Twitter is primarily about. And the asymmetry means that some people can have lots of followers but still participate as listeners.
    2.5. (Maybe in an age of abundance, the back and forth development of ideas isn’t the only process. Sure, having a small group kick around an idea often works. But maybe in some instances it also works for an idea to be lobbed like a beach ball from one group to another, each putting their own spin on it.)
    3. Twitter is an app that scales as as platform. That is, it comes with a set of features that makes it usable and popular. But it’s open enough to enable users and third parties to add capabilities that make it useful for what it wasn’t designed for. For example, a convention has arisen among users that “RT” will stand for “re-tweet” when you want to publish someone else’s tweet to one’s own followers.
    4. We’ll complicate simple things as much as we have to. We’ll invent “hashtags” (tags that begin with #, embedded within a tweet) to let people find tweets on a particular topic, getting past the “it already scrolled past” issue. We’ll invent layers upon layers of aggregators of tweets. We’ll just bang away on it as hard as we have to in order to accrete significance. We truly are meaning monkeys.

Photo credit to: Matt Hamm

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Blogging Is Not About ‘Intellectual Property’ But About Professional Sharing

Nina’s Arena-Teaching & Learning in the Australian primary classroom

"...Why does anyone bother with that and who’d be interested in what I do all day. I’m growing accustomed to this! I didn’t respond, but I should have said ‘I am’. I am interested in what my colleagues are doing. I am interested in teaching and learning outside my arena. Someone then said, Nina has an educational blog. Silence!

However, my colleagues are visiting my blog ‘on the quiet’. They’ve been speaking to me and asking questions. They want to know, for example, ‘what books I’m using’, how to get ‘interactive writing going’ and so on. I’m hearing my writing vocalised. That’s what this is about. I haven’t publicized what I’m doing at my school, but my readership among my own staff is growing. I can feel a shift in attitude. This is not about ‘intellectual property’, it’s about professional sharing."

Read more here at the original post written by Nina Davis

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Education Blogs Classified by Making Teachers Nerdy

One of the reasons why I keep blogging and writing at no cost, for free and to the benefit of everyone, is the information and the discovery of new minds and blogs on Education. The reference was posted by Free Technology for Teachers

Making Teachers Neardy is a blog you should be reading and subscribed. Mrs. Smoke, the editor, has built a catalog of educational blogs by categories: Technology Integration, Administration, Librarians, Art, Business Education, Industrial Technology, Elementary General, all known grades and even more.

She writes, "If you own a blog or know of another one that would fall under this list, please consider adding it to the comments. The better the list, the better we all will benefit."

Get to know others educators and bloggers. See the list here.

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"Level of Effort" vs "Quality of Work" When Grading Tests @School

Students often confuse the level of effort with the quality of work. There is a mentality in students that ‘if I work hard, I deserve a high grade.'

The New York Times ran a report about a study where the lead author is Ellen Greenberger, called Self-Entitled College Students: Contributions of Personality, Parenting, and Motivational Factors.

The article focus on how students' opinion, differ with that of their teachers when grading tests. University of Maryland's Professor, Marshall Grossman stresses:

    “I tell my classes that if they just do what they are supposed to do and meet the standard requirements, that they will earn a C,” he said. “That is the default grade. They see the default grade as an A.”

    A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that a third of students surveyed said that they expected B’s just for attending lectures, and 40 percent said they deserved a B for completing the required reading.

Hat tip to Dr. Delaney Kirk

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Cost Estimates of Dropping Out of High School in America

There is no generally accepted definition of a dropout that I know. Some use school enrollment figures; others rely on US Census population surveys. Some include GED recipients; others do not. Some keep records of transfer students; many do not.

Today, thanks to Stephen Downes it came to our knowledge the participation of Wesley Fryer in the Oklahoma State Superintendent’s Dropout Summit and it gave me a great opportunity to speak about what is happening with the long discussed drop out trend.

The IES has statistics for 2004-2005 years. Which means we have not collected data for the 2008 yet.

Having so dispersed the numbers and information about what are tendencies of drop out in American high schools, it seems every state has been working in this field but there is not a place where we can find appropriate number as what is the actual cost of a drop out, as for example Canadians have right now.

Investment in human capital creates a multitude of positive personal and social externalities which fosters economic development and growth specially now in this economic downturn we are living.

Dropping out of high school imposes very high costs on the individual who drops out of school mainly through poor labor market outcomes but also from restricted access to higher education and training and a weaker voice in the political and electoral system.

As a result of their higher levels of joblessness and lower annual incomes, dropouts will pay less in payroll and income taxes (state and federal) and receive considerably more cash and in-kind transfer assistance (food stamps, Medicaid health insurance, rental subsidies) from the state and federal government than their better educated peers, at least that is what is been said by the State of
Massachusetts (pdf doc)

Margaret Spellings while addressing to a Hearing before the Committee on Education and the Workforce, House of Representatives said, dropouts “cost our nation more than $260 billion dollars… That is in lost wages, lost taxes, and lost productivity over their lifetimes. In federal dollars, that will buy you ten years of research at the National Institutes of Health.”

Well, those $ 260 billion are not actual because they correspond with the 2006. Data from Canadians, on the other hand is real and for them high school dropouts cost Canada's social assistance programs and criminal justice system more than $1.3 billion annually!

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Web And Google Are Making Us Smarter So We Re-discover New Ways to Learn

It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users “power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense. -The Atlantic

That was a quotation from Nicholas Carr’s assertion that Google is making us all stupid. Ph.D. Trent Batson has a substantial refutation and he, indeed, asserts that Google is making us smarter. We liked the analysis about the impact of the changes of reading and the new hybrid orality:

    ...We are reading as we speak when we are in a group. We "listen" to one statement, then another and another in quick succession: Our reading on the Web is like listening to a bunch of people talking. It's hybrid orality. We find ourselves once again the naturally gregarious humans we always were. We find ourselves creating knowledge continually and rapidly as our social contacts on the Web expand. We have re-discovered new ways to enjoy learning in a social setting.

I read both books and web and certainly there are differences but by no means, web content can possibly make us dumb. Not at all. Point to Trent Batson!

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Education Today 03/23/2009

Ning: Games in schools

This project has been collating and analysing the pedagogical uses of electronic games everywhere from Estonia to England. It’ll be the first place to see the results of the pan-European project or to find out about games initiatives

Ambitious school technology plans run up against budget deficits

Ninth-grade science students usually learn Newton's second law of motion by copying and memorizing it. But in Oak-Land Junior High in Lake Elmo, freshmen learn it using other instrumentals and laptop computers. It makes a huge difference.

10 Rules From The Incompetent Educational Leader's Handbook

# 4. "Treat problems as a sign of failure." Huh..

How to help people better use the net - go to them, let them copy, open up

The reaction to this might be 'teach the kids and teach the parents'. But we're now in an era where it's not so much about signposting where to go on the web, but teaching society how to navigate the net without even a map, says clinical psychologist Tanya Byron

Digital Natives: Fact Or Fiction?

People are questionning the concept, including some of the people who helped spread the word in the first place. But there must have been something in the idea to have captured people's attention and imagination so effectively.

The rest of my favorite links are here.

Why Did Obama Make False Claims on Education?


In his first major education speech last week, President Obama misinformed the public with major claims that simply weren't true. The cumulative effect of these untruths was to paint a picture of public education that is much gloomier than it really is. Before turning to and other sources to set the record straight, a larger question needs asking: Why did Obama make these false claims? Logically, the possible answers seem to be either: a) Obama himself was misinformed by his advisors and/or speech-writers, and was unaware that he was misrepresenting the truth; or b) the president knew about the distortions, but found it expedient to spread them anyway. (If I'm missing other possibilities, fill me in.)

Both answers are disturbing. If Obama innocently passed his talking points along from Arne Duncan's team at the DoE, then we have cause to worry that our Secretary of Education lacks either knowledge or intellectual integrity, and neither explanation is encouraging. If Obama did know about the distortions, then we have to ask what his motives were for spreading them.

Read the whole story: Clay Burell

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Why the "Liberal" Obama Is at Core Little Different From the "Conservative" He Replaced

The plan that will be announced on Monday is awful, another giveaway to investors. Be prepared to live in tent cities that well can be named "Barackvilles".

After the scandal about AIG bonuses, people feels uncomfortable about the deafness tone by the government. Officials say they will pursue everything under law to recover those bonuses, but it is still in process and many of those who received the electronic transfers are not living in American soil.

NYC Educator has some examples as of what people like Rush Limbaugh, wants his President that certainly he does not succeed (stressed section is ours):

    On education, president Merit Pay wants to set up a bonus compensation system quite similar to Wall Street's in order to "reform" education. How'd that work on Wall Street, Bam?

    On health care, after saying he wouldn't tax people who already have health care benefits to pay for people who don't, the administration has reversed course and said they are open to exactly that if that's what they need to do to get health care passed. How's that for taking care of the working and middle classes?
    I know it's only 60 days in. I never expected Merit Pay to clean things up in 60 days. But the tone coming from him and his people, the education, health care, bailout, Federal Reserve and war policies his administration is pursuing, the arrogance with which Merit Pay dismisses the criticism as "Simon Cowellesque," makes me think President Merit Pay just doesn't get it. I know people on the right like to tar him as a 'socialist' and people on the left want to see him as one of their own. But after watching him during the campaign and now seeing how he has run the first 60 days, all I see is a guy who wants to triangulate between both sides on every issue, and while he may think he is being pragmatic and post-partisan, it sure seems like he is setting himself, his administration and the country up for failure.

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Curriculum: Playing to Be the Education Board for Once

Analyze, plan, design and execute a proposal is a goal administrators need to master. If the subject is curriculum, then they need not only master but socialize the necessities of future society.

I've found interesting a thread that is taking on Reditt and you should also contribute. From your own situation, perspective and necessities, what do you think it would be the Best Curriculum for your school?

Here two comments are worth to read, follow and continue:

Blackstar900 wants to focus on economics, so we can avoid what's happening just now in our society:

My priority would be to get more civics, logic, economics and home economics into the curriculum. Because what people really need to know from their compulsory education is what to expect from their government and what it expects from them, how to made a good argument and see through a bad one, how to avoid going into massive debt, and how to manage whatever space they have to live in with whatever means are available to them.
After that, I'd through in a more comprehensive comparative religion program (to facilitate understanding others), restructure how we teach history (so that kids actually get a sense of why it's useful to learn it), and try to make sense of how and why we teach arts and literature to kids we're forcing to attend.

And Hyperfat is tough on his appreciations and asks for practical subjects and less attention to the standardized tests:

I would recognise there are always going to be 50% above and 50% below the medium, up until the 10th grade I would let the kids attempt to be in the top 50%, after that, they would go to any number of special trade schools for two years learning a useful skill that was at their level of skills and send them off to join the workforce with the option of apprenticeships in their field to further their career.
The other 50% (also given the option to go to a vocational school and be done in 2 years vs 4) would go from 10th grade to similar to what we have now, only more accelerated, with the desired outcome of going to a college to further their studies in a specific field.
I would say [expletive] all to most standardized tests because they dumb down the system, and let each child advance at his or her own level.
Oh yeah, focus on logical skills, like practical math, science, communications, politics, economics etc. With less emphasis on [expletive] they will never need to know in real life (ps. did you know schools don't teach kids how do balance their bank accounts? WTF). I would offer more electives as well.
Anyone who did not want to go in this system could be home schooled and get govt. funding as long as they followed certain rules and didn't teach with any kind of religious text.

My question is, why administrators aren't paying attention to what people and society really needs. The problems are not on a drawer written on a paper or laying on top of a desk. Reality is, administrators have the responsibility to run efficiently the Education Boards but problems are in the street, where human beings as those we quoted have a lot to say about education.

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Studies Showing How Thoughts And Memories Are Represented

I had to be offline for quite some days but thanks God, we are back and fresh to keep up with our readers, subscribers and fellow educators who happen to read Education & Teach.

Donald Clark, in his post Mind Reading and Learning takes issue with brain study and refers to what level the investigations on this filed are now. We really like his vision of the future of such investigations when he writes:

    Last year the University of California in Berkeley unveiled their realtime scanner in Nature,. This was put through its paces. People were asked to look at thousands of different images of people, animals, maps and so on. these were analysed, stored and the data used by a computer to correctly predict what someone was looking at JUST FROM THE SCAN. Mindblowing!

    As brain scans start to uncover how memories are encoded, stored and recalled, we can look forward to significant advances in improving learning. Many of these improvements, such as sleep, chunking, visualisation and spaced practice could be implemented from what we already know in standard memory theory. What’s exciting about scan research is the possibility of really locating and identifying the physical and chemical pathways. This in turn could lead to massive increases in learning efficacy, increasing plasticity, faster recovery from injury and limiting the effects of dementia and other diseases.

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10 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children With Homework

In a country where many of the parents have to work over the 40 hours, is hard to imagine what they are doing when kids come back from school, and nobody more than a relative or a nanny is there to offer help. Homework is valuable and the involvement by parents can either have a positive or a negative impact in the process of learning.

Pediatrician Vicent Ianelli, has an article about how parents may help with homework in a positive manner. These are the 10 Steps of How to Deal With Homework for Kids attending Elementary school:

1. Help children with time management: Establish a set time each day for doing homework. Don't allow your child to leave his assignments until just before bedtime. Try to use weekend morning or afternoon for working on big projects.

2. Be positive about homework: Speak to your child how important school is. The attitude you transmit about homework will be what your kid acquires.

3. While child does homework, you too have to do it: Goal is show your child that the skills they are learning are related to things you do as an adult. So, if your child is writing, you write too.

4. If help is asked, provide guidance, no answers: Let your child do his walk. Too much help teaches your kid that when the going gets rough, someone will do the homework for him/her.

5. If teacher asks for involvement, do it: Show the teacher you are interested in your family education. It also shows to your child that school and home are a team.

6. Stay away when the homework is meant to be done by your child alone: Homework is set to develop independent, lifelong learning skills. Those positive effects will be prevented if too much parent involvement is detected.

7. Establish differences between hard and easy homework: Once he learns how to differentiate hard from easy. Make him do the hard work first. So, he can be most alert when facing challenging activities. Easy material will seem to go fast when fatigue begins to set in.

8. Watch for signs of failure or fatigue: There are situations when your child fatigues quickly and becomes an act of cruelty for some. Let her take short breaks is you see she is not keeping her mind on the assignment.

9. Reward progress in homework: Working hard and successfully completing an assignment should be rewarded. Celebrate such success with pizza, a walk, any trip, etc. Reinforce positive effort.

10. Stay informed. Keep in touch with your child's teacher. Nowadays is easily to drop an e-mail and ask about your child. Some school now allow parents to check your child progress online such as PowerSchool. Make sure you know the purpose of homework and the class rules and contracts.

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Why Education Cannot Depend Upon Technology

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of the best online schools. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com

The use of technology in education has certainly helped bridge the gap in learning for many students in recent years. However, many argue that the widespread use of technology is going to make or break education in the future. While this may be true to one degree or another, education cannot depend upon technology for several reasons, a few of which will be explained below.

Funding Problems

Securing funding in education is becoming increasingly more difficult. As millions of people lose their homes, valuable property taxes that contribute to the educational systems around the country are being lost in the process. Funding for high technology is simply not going to be an option for many districts in the foreseeable future.

Additionally, if a school district is able to secure funds, technology continues to evolve at a staggering pace. Machines in many classrooms are nearly obsolete, and the rapid development of technology makes it cost-prohibitive to replace aging machines on a regular basis.

A Matter of Dependence

Becoming dependent upon machines is something that many students will find out soon enough. While it is certainly necessary to use technology in education, dependence should be avoided. Mathematical skills, writing, and reading should be encouraged outside of the technological realm. Students need to be able to rely on themselves and not technology to complete simple and complex arithmetic, as well as writing.

Reading is another aspect of education that needs work, as evidenced by standardized test scores around the country. Hands-on texts provide students with opportunities for note-taking, highlighting, and other study methods encouraged when consumable materials are used in the teaching cycle.

Balance is Needed

Using technology in the teaching cycle certainly helps engage students, but moderation is key. Just as our daily lives have become increasingly more dependent upon technology, we still have to learn valuable reasoning and decision-making skills. Critical thinking skills should be taught alongside technological applications.

Technology is also a fantastic way to provide enrichment and can be used in projects as well. The key to using technology successful in education is balancing out opportunities for learning with and without it. There is no need to become fully dependent upon either traditional or technological teaching models.

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Obama 5 Main Points to Reform Education, But Without Enough Details

President Obama made his first big speech on Education today. (see transcript) The Big question is how is this reform going to happen, because he failed to give explicit detail as how he pretends to really change education in the United States.

Among other things, he said that in up to 150 school districts, good teachers will be paid more if their students do better, but he didn’t explain how his administration will identify good teachers or measure student achievement. He also encouraged schools to extend the length of their day and year but did not specify how to pay for the change in times of recession. And he challenged governors to adopt higher standards in their states, but he left open the question of whether those standards should be the same from state to state.

Fordham’s latest study, The Accountability Illusion, is precisely illustrates the mess caused by the 50 different sets of standards. It can be let open, we need to avoid the actual state of our schools in what Amy Fagan identifies as a "rather idiosyncratic, random and opaque" system.

No all agree on what is positive signal or a negative and "lofty rethoric" of President Obama. We think it's a good start but it needs to be implemented. Only then, we will be able to see results and judge based on those, and not only on words.

For more buzz on Obama's mayor intervention about how education is so valuable in economic crisis like this we live in, please read round ups presented by Joanne Jacobs (Obama backs merit pay, charter schools) and Alexander Russo's OBAMA: Big(?) Speech On Education Today

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Are Charter Schools Admitting Students Randomly?

First of all, let me tell you how I did get to this topic. BackType made some updates to its service and one of them are the "alerts". We've set up our alerts on education and this is how we got to a great example where people who comment are really a ton worth.

Actually, the post was a relate of a personal experience lived by Steve Sailer. He just happen to discover that Charter Schools are faking the lottery selection of their students. The anonymous who left a comment on this post, should be read and all bloggers are encouraged to write short posts to be rewarded with such a meaty commentaries. Read by yourself: This is what Mr. Sailer wrote, "You often read articles about charter schools whose students do wonderfully on standardized tests even though admission is by random lottery." And this the reply [Bolded is ours]:

I'm not surprised by this in the least, and it traces back to the fundamental reality of how teaching talent is allocated in public education. The simple rule is that good schools have good teachers because they have good students. Good schools are not made by good teachers; good teachers are attracted to schools where there are talented students to begin with. Schools with academically talented and motivated students will attract and retain teachers who are both skilled in the classroom and knowledgeable about their subjects; that such schools are often located in communities with greater incomes and thus provide higher salaries is simply a bonus. (Although, the salaries don't need to be high--only high enough.)The exceptions to this rule are the small but significant minority of 'martyr teachers' who deliberately seek out tough assignments to 'make a difference', and those who grew up in a community and feel strong ties. There exist a number of teachers who strongly desire to teach in the very school system that produced them.

But for good teachers who don't fit into those exceptional categories -people who have natural talent in the classroom (not necessarily the techniques taught in ed school, either, I should add) plus a strong background in the content, teaching in a school with little or no naturally good students is going to be a frustrating experience.

Schools where the majority of class time is spent enforcing discipline are not going to attract or retain strong teachers.

Schools with class after class of students who are not only indifferent to the subject matter at hand but also personal and intellectual betterment in general are not going to attract or retain strong teachers. The added frustration of sitting in endless meetings discussing strategies on how to change this seemingly immutable situation doesn't help either.

So what are your options if you are passionate about your subject and teaching, but you want more than being a glorified babysitter for willfully ignorant hooligans?
Basically it's wait for an opening at a better school, wait for an opening to teach AP courses (and as many of them as you can), or go to a private school. (Or quit!) Subpar schools have good teachers from three groups: martyrs (most school reform initiatives are predicated upon virtually all teachers behaving this way,incidentally), community-ties teachers, and good teachers waiting for positions elsewhere. Everyone else is usually incompetent and/or just collecting a paycheck. No 'regular' good teacher is willingly making a career there.

Chronically low-performing schools can throw money at the problem, although that really only makes them competitive amongst the martyr group; their gain of a few good martyr teachers is another district's loss. And the lowest performing schools will have few community-ties sorts as well, for the simple fact that the community is too dysfunctional to have ties to -anyone with sense left as soon as he or she could. And as far as attracting the other sort of good teacher- forget it. No low performing school district can offer salaries high enough to attract significant numbers of good teachers, and they'd lose in a bidding war with more affluent districts anyway. An extra $10,000 and the possibility of getting assaulted by a student? No thanks.

But it's not necessarily about money -Catholic schools usually do better and usually pay far less in salaries and benefits than public schools. All teachers, to some extent, possess that martyr instinct; the best of them usually could make a lot more money doing something else. But Catholic schools do have something else -discipline and parents who desire their children to learn. No government entity forces a child to attend a private school -someone else cares enough to send him there and see that he learns. Most people do not realize this distinction, but the reality of America is not that we have compulsory education; it's that we have compulsory attendance. No one can make you learn, no matter what edu-theorists say.

The bottom line is that policy makers don't get it because they can't get it. And even if they do get it, they can't say it. Good teachers are attracted to well-run schools that pay decently, enforce discipline, and where most of the students (or at least their parents) expect academics to be taken seriously.

My wish is that you too, can get a comment that length and same as important. I've learned a lesson this past weekend. Who will that anonymous?

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"Mr. Cal" Is an Exceptional Math Teacher!

I guess you all remember the great inspirational video about Jorge Escalante. Los Angeles Times' article just remind me of those great math teachers that you can find rarely nowadays.

Sam Calavitta presides over what may be the noisiest, most spirited math class in the nation and in the video you watched testimony of Stephen Yoo attending Fairmont Preparatory Academy, he says Mr. Calavitta also known as "Mr. Cal" is recognized as a teacher who can change students, not only in school but out of school, Stephen gives credit to the former engineer who has won a national honor for his energetic commitment in the classroom. "I had never been used to putting everything I had into math, because it was relatively easy. But this year I've learned about effort, and I really appreciate that."

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On the Creativity and Asserted Selection of Your Son's School

Schools where the majority of class time is spent enforcing discipline are not going to attract or retain strong teachers.

Teachers talk about creativity in theirs school as it's something that can be learned. Creativity is about holding onto it and providing it a space to flourish, instead of squelching it with forms of education which numb our minds at best and kill our spirits at worst.

Living in a free-market version of welfare. The question of creativity can be easily extrapolated to the actual distribution of free software: (1) To get tax payer subsidies for your feeble programming efforts, you just write crap software (numb minds) and, (2) Sell it to taxpayer funded schools (spirit at worst). (3) Profit! (Creativity).

My point here is that there are so many things wrong with creativity and education that pointing a finger at one single part of a whole system and giving it more credit for the current state of everything seems to distract from what's really a more complicated set of causes.

This on purpose a quote of Peter Hitchens whereby he says, for some parents school choice is a joke, because their kids didn't do into the school they wanted.

Bring back support for Elementary Schools we should say to address the situation onto American schools, means you're giving the rich a free secondary education at the expense of the poor. States using money from the Stimulus Plan should try to solve this by opening more Pre-Kinder, Kinder and Elementary and bring down the point of them as diminished. This doesn't even get into the dirty tricks schools themselves use to make absolutely sure they get good table results.

Has anyone considered what the effect of giving less money to worse schools and more money to better schools might have had? It seems like a brilliant exercise in evidence-less policy making rather than evidence-based. Reminds me of a video No Future Left Behind.

On another note; anyone that looks at what teachers write on their message-boards would find a good reason to consider home-schooling, a bit popular now. I wouldn't let a lot of them teach prisoners, never mind children. Maybe it's not the system as much as it is the people; teaching is now a job, not a vocation. Who's to blame?

Back in the 2006 when this blog was written solely for Spanish community, we cited a note one of our students wrote on his notebook: school = prison; religion = ignorance.

With this kind of management of creativity, distribution of enrollment, and a school selection done on the basis of daddy's wallet and not based of the child's ability, who needs community college attendance for free! It really beats me.

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The Belief That School Choice Disproportionately Benefit Catholics Is Only a Myth

Parents and community altogether are working to keep their Catholic schools from closing. Archdioceses are finding their way out and in the process, are merging schools with less enrollment. These schools have experienced a 30% to 50% decline drop in enrollment and they struggle to survive. But, is such a decline a consequence of how parents chose their son's schools? Crux of the Matter, help us understand better, what's happening with the right of choice that parents have not only in the U.S. but Canada, as well:

Allowing parents to send their children to a school of their choice does NOT destroy a publicly funded school system. That is a myth put forward by all those in the public system who fear change and the possible reduction in power and influence.

In fact, all parent choice does is recognize the obvious -that a one size fits all approach to meeting the needs of individual students simply doesn’t work very well. Yet, isn’t that what education is supposed to be about- the students as opposed to the educators and policy makers?

As former Florida governor Jeb Bush writes -and he has the know-how and experience to talk about it -what the government of Florida found when it implemented a voucher system was that competition actually forced educators in the public system to improve.

Are you interested in the discussion? Do not miss the comments at the original article.

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Education Today 03/06/2009

  • Are American students learning? -The Brown Center Report
  • Too many students already are “misplaced” in math courses they can’t handle, the report concludes: Until they’ve learned to deal with fractions, decimals or percentages, they can’t do algebra.

  • A Learning Reformation
  • Let’s face it, especially in light of how our institutions have screwed up the world, we all have to be learning together.

  • The Stimulus and After School Programs: What's Ahead?
  • After school programs are known to provide academic, emotional and social support for at-risk students [and not so risky ones], and provide a lifeline for working parents.

  • How to friend your students in Facebook . Step-by-step
  • Create a friend list containing all your students and give them access to only those parts of your profile that you want them to see.

  • Book: Wikified Schools
  • Wikified Schools answers the “what,” “so what,” and “now what” of implementing wiki use throughout all levels of a school or a district.

    The rest of my favorite links are here.

    How the iPhone Makes Students a Unique Breed of Perpetual State of Mobility

    We've discovered this blog called Gearfire, that is a student productivity and organization blog, dedicated to bringing you tips for academic success. Today's post is really impressive:

    As I’ve always said, says David Pierce, one of the things that makes students a unique breed is the perpetual state of mobility we’re in. Whether we’re going to class, parties or the library, our time spent in one place is often limited.

    That’s why the mobility of our productivity is so important- we have to be able to bring our lives with us as much as possible. For many people, that used to mean owning and carrying a laptop.

    Now, it increasingly means owning an iPhone. With the wonder that is the Application Store, you can now do more than ever on the go, right from your iPhone or iPod Touch. As students, we need the added flexibility and anywhere-productivity that the iPhone allows (that’s the line to sell to your parents…)

    Read more about the seven applications for every student’s iPhone or iPod Touch.

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    Great Quoting of the 2009 NAIS Annual Conference

    We haven't had that opportunity yet but thanks to attendants like Liz Davis, we are able to enjoy the gems and Gr8T Quotes from #NAIS09

    BTW, are you participating into the #gr8t hashtag? If you don't know what is this about, read Davis Truss invitation or check the wiki created to this effect.

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    Herdict Is Documenting Internet Filtering And Censorship

    The idea behind Herdict (still in Beta) is to document internet filtering and censorship in different countries by letting people report when a URL is inaccessible in their country.

    The Verdict of the Herd is so important to the implementation of all web technologies in schools. Using Herdict behind school firewalls we will explore and consistently report what sites are blocked. The project of the Berkman Center, is focused on worldwide censorship but we also can use it here in the States. Nobody knows what sites are being blocked across the country, how much political speech is being blocked, and how national security is working.

    The team behind Herdict is meant to collect reports of URLs that are blocked and investigate to confirm. The hope is to provide a much more accurate and up-to-date picture of internet censorship than the current efforts, which involve testing websites once a year.

    Tom Hoffman from Tuttle SVC has been testing Herdict and this is what he found, so far: "It looks like some legitimate 404-File Not Found's, that is, where the site is not blocked but someone is looking for a file that isn't there, are being counted as blocked sites. Also, since getting on their list of sites to check will make a lot of people see your url, try it, etc., there is an incentive to spam your site onto the check list."

    Shep the Sheep also introduces Herdict at dot SUB in different languages. Please spread word about the cute white sheep!

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    Write or Not to Write. It's Better to Read

    It is weekend and we fairly catch up with our subscriptions. I had the opportunity to read Miranda Marquit interviewed and I really like this excerpt, I think all bloggers should be paying attention: "I find that more people want to visit my blog if I visit theirs, and contribute in some meaningful way" she says. I am not sure Mr. Byrne is doing it but he has a successful blog and according to his post, today he posted that his blog receive almost 2000 views per day and that Free Technology for Teachers hits 3000 subscribers!

    A good example to follow and share. Feel welcomed to read Mr. Byrne seven most popular blog items of every week, usually featured on Saturdays.

    Philissa Cramer and Elizabeth Green are behind GothamSchools and Elizabeth was busy on last Friday, looking for helpful information about how fair student funding mastermind will work for Obama

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    Barack Obama's on Education. nSOTU Feb. 24, 2009

    In case you missed the intervention of President Obama and how his stimulus plan will affect Education, what follows is the excerpt from his address about the third topic he will push to get American economy going:

      ....The third challenge we must address is the urgent need to expand the promise of education in America.

      In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity – it is a pre-requisite.

      Right now, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require more than a high school diploma. And yet, just over half of our citizens have that level of education. We have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation. And half of the students who begin college never finish.

      This is a prescription for economic decline, because we know the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow. That is why it will be the goal of this administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education – from the day they are born to the day they begin a career.

      Already, we have made an historic investment in education through the economic recovery plan. We have dramatically expanded early childhood education and will continue to improve its quality, because we know that the most formative learning comes in those first years of life. We have made college affordable for nearly seven million more students. And we have provided the resources necessary to prevent painful cuts and teacher layoffs that would set back our children’s progress.

      But we know that our schools don’t just need more resources. They need more reform. That is why this budget creates new incentives for teacher performance; pathways for advancement, and rewards for success. We’ll invest in innovative programs that are already helping schools meet high standards and close achievement gaps. And we will expand our commitment to charter schools.

      It is our responsibility as lawmakers and educators to make this system work. But it is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in it. And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma. And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American. That is why we will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

      I know that the price of tuition is higher than ever, which is why if you are willing to volunteer in your neighborhood or give back to your community or serve your country, we will make sure that you can afford a higher education. And to encourage a renewed spirit of national service for this and future generations, I ask this Congress to send me the bipartisan legislation that bears the name of Senator Orrin Hatch as well as an American who has never stopped asking what he can do for his country – Senator Edward Kennedy.

      These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children. But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework after dinner, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child. I speak to you not just as a President, but as a father when I say that responsibility for our children's education must begin at home.

    For full text of the address visit Politico.

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