Advertisement

Posts tagged with Education

Recess: Studies confirm common sense

This article from CNN, describes some elementary schools that reduced or eliminated recess--and parents efforts to rectify the situation.

I recall when my youngest son was in sixth grade here in Lawrence. Recess was eliminated or drastically curtailed because of the time it would take from academics.

Now, having read the article below and reconsidered, I deeply regret not taking action. I'm older, crankier, and more confident that I don't (always) need studies to make decisions. It shouldn't have taken something like this to wake me up. I, and all the other parents in that class, were persuaded that it was for the best.

Let me say now, what I should have said then. THEY'RE SIXTH GRADERS, PEOPLE! Or second graders, or ...

If you have elementary age kids, how much time do they get outside at school? Is this an issue in Lawrence? In my, or actually my son's, case, it was ten years ago. Is it still going on?

Does this have anything to do with the U.S. being the most obese country in the world?

One final, and somewhat satirical question. Is there anything our educational system does right?

(Hey, I know there are a lot of good teachers out there doing their best under difficult conditions).

Reply

Abdicating Responsibility

http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2012/mar/should-teacher-larger-class-be-paid-more-teacher-s/

(I consider this to not be one of my usual rants, but an insightful analysis. Your opinions may vary)

Does anyone think that the suggestion in this poll has any merit whatsoever?

Using such a simple method for adjusting, or maybe even determining, teacher salaries is a symptom of the mentality that has come to dominate our dysfunctional culture. Although I suspect, or at least hope, that no one would consider making this the primary factor in determining a teacher's salary, it is just an extension of the common practice of trying to find measurable, and preferably "simple" metrics to free us from having to make difficult decisions.

We all know that decisions like this just aren't simple? Right? Just as in private industry, a supervisor or manager is usually responsibile for determining an employees performance and their worth to the business. This worth equates to the amount of money the company is willing to pay to retain them--at least in theory-- assuming competent management (not a safe assumption).

So why do we think that should be different in education? Because it might not always be fair? Because it could become political?

Guess what, that's life in the real world.

My contention is that our "leaders" most fervent desire is to find ways to avoid responsibility--to put everything they can on someone else. In essence, the goal seems to be to come up with a complex series of rules and policies so that the effort consists of evaluating the problem in the context of those rules and policies instead of looking at the actual facts and merits of the situation under consideration.

Why is it we have to make everything so hard...so complex?

We all know that there are many factors that affect how effective a teacher is, right?

Let's face it, some of our students come from backgrounds where they have tremendous disadvantages, and to expect a teacher to overcome those is criminally naive.

Let's not forget some of the some others. How many teachers have the support of their administration? How many times to they get the backing of their principal or district superintendent when their is a parent complaint? Some students just don't care, while others are motivated to learn on their own. It's a much larger and complex problem than I can do justice to here.

Is it just human nature to look for easy answers to difficult problems?

Has the time when we met challenges head on come to an end?

Are we unwilling to accept the possibility that it is possible for someone to make a decision with the best intentions, using all the information they have, and still have it turn out badly? I see enough decisions turn out badly (enough for hundreds of blog posts), that I'd be happy about a bad decisions, as long as it was acknowledged and the maker learned from it.

Heck, I have to admit I've made bad decisions. I know I leared from at least some of them. Maybe they should be the subject of another post.

Leaders are those people who make decisions and take responsibility. Maybe if we can find some, then everyone else won't really mind because it will just make it easier for the "shirkers" to avoid their responsibilities.

Reply

60 minutes Report on School that Pays Teachers $125K

I hope you didn't miss the segment about the school in NYC that is paying it's teachers $125K.

Actually, I did, but a co-worker mentioned it and I watched it online.

CBS 60 Minutes segment

I don't know if this system can really be extended across the country. The principal here is a little fanatical for my tastes, but this is definitely an informative experiment.

There are some great teachers out there. I would want them to teach my kids, or I wish that my kids had had more of them.

There are some terrible teachers out there. I've met them and my kids had some of them.

Please spend my tax dollars on the single budget line item that matters most. There are those to try to make this complicated--so complicated that it seems a vast and insurmountable problem. Make things simple. Solve simple problems. Use simple words.

Spend our money on teachers. Make it an honored profession that attracts the best of us. We can't do everything, but we can do some things.

Reply

Schools, budgets, closings, tuition, libraries

First, I saw the following article about the (seemingly) never-ending subject of closing schools in Lawrence.

Then I did a big of googling and found the following document on the USD 497 website.

http://www.usd497.org/AboutUs/SchoolBoard/Agenda/2010.11Archives/documents/20100809bhd/BudgetAAG.pdf

Let me direct your attention to the table at the top of page one, and the figures on the bottom line of that table.

Then, I found the following page on the Bishop Seabury website.

http://www.seaburyacademy.org/admissions/tuition-and-fees.cfm

Though I am sorely tempted, I will not draw any rash conclusions for those two bits of information. I know there is much more to the situation then those two figures. Even though the situation is much more complex than can be expressed in a simple comparison, it does not mean that such a comparison is unreasonable or invalid.

In every field we must measure ourselves--against our peers and against the competition.

So what has this got to do with the library? Well, since the discussion about closing schools has come up, I cannot help but draw conclusions about the priorities of our community.

From here on, I might be a tad inflammatory. The subject of the $18 million library project still continues to anger and embarrass me. Now, with the possibility of closing even more neighborhood elementary schools, I am angered and embarrassed all the more.

And one more inflammatory remark before I finish. If someone calls something new, modern, clever, or impressive--that is one thing. It may not always be describing something good, but at worst it is usually, an exaggeration.

If something is called a dinosaur, my experience is that it is is usually an obvious truth and correctly labeled..

Unfortunately, I am calling the new library a dinosaur, it is well out of date before it is even built. And it is a hideously expensive dinosaur. And what is even worse, is that it is being funded while we make our young children travel ever farther to get to school.

Reply

KU Mini-College experience

I spent this last week taking classes at KU for the first time in 20 years.

As the years go by it seems that I become ever harder to impress but when I run across something that exceeds my expectation, it deserves to have attention drawn to it.

There were too many offerings to describe. They subjects ranged from black holes and particle physics to the Amish and Hutterites.

Next year promises to have even more.

I plan on being there next year and I think you should consider clearing your schedule, too. Below are a couple of links from KU and the LJW, I won't repeat the information you can find online.

http://minicollege.ku.edu/

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/apr/25/ku-mini-college-attracts-nontraditional-students/

Reply

In Plain Sight 1/20/2010

Previous:IPS 1/13/2010
Next:IPS 1/27/2010

dancemomx2 returns to the winners circle this week. See the end of the post for the answer.

Sometimes you just like the colors and texture of the photos you take--and so it is this week.

Image #1:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/20/DSC_5821a.JPG

Image #2:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/21/DSC_5821b.JPG

3rd image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/22/sDSC_5821c.JPG


The image(s) above is(are) a part of a photo I took somewhere in the area. I'll add additional parts of the picture over the next few days. You are invited to try to guess the subject and location of the photo. I'll notify the first person who correctly identifies the subject or location of the entire photo. That subject or location won't be revealed until later, after the answer is obvious. I suggest that people indicate that their guess is "Final" as opposed to just speculation and limit themselves to one final answer per person.

You can check my twitter account to see when new images are posted, or just check back here. I normally post a new picture each Wednesday evening.

Suggestions for interesting, out of the way (or not so out of the way) subjects are welcome. Hey, this is harder than it looks....well, sometimes at least.

Are you actually reading the "fine print" I include with these posts?

Well, if you are, here's another idea. If you have something (an event or subject) that you'd like me to photograph, or write about, that you think would be of interest (or value) to others, contact me and I'll see what I can do.


danxmomx2 identified Constant Park (the southwest corner, actually). http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/23/sDSC_5821.JPG
Reply

In Plain Sight 1/13/2010

Previous: IPS 1/6/2010
Next:IPS 1/20/2010

hujiko's domination continues. See the bottom of post for the answer.

Hey, no one pointed out that I was a year off with the date in last week's post. What's up with that?

OK.

Well, last week I resisted the temptation to make the first image of a pile of snow.

After the quick identification of Fraser Hall, this week the urge is somewhat irresistible.

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/13/saDSC_5666a.JPG

And, apparently, I couldn't resist.

Image #2:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/14/saDSC_5666b.JPG


The image(s) above is(are) a part of a photo I took somewhere in the area. I'll add additional parts of the picture over the next few days. You are invited to try to guess the subject and location of the photo. I'll notify the first person who correctly identifies the subject or location of the entire photo. That subject or location won't be revealed until later, after the answer is obvious. I suggest that people indicate that their guess is "Final" as opposed to just speculation and limit themselves to one final answer per person.

You can check my twitter account to see when new images are posted, or just check back here. I normally post a new picture each Wednesday evening.

Suggestions for interesting, out of the way (or not so out of the way) subjects are welcome. Hey, this is harder than it looks....well, sometimes at least.

Are you actually reading the "fine print" I include with these posts?

Well, if you are, here's another idea. If you have something (an event or subject) that you'd like me to photograph, or write about, that you think would be of interest (or value) to others, contact me and I'll see what I can do.


http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/15/saDSC_5666.JPG
Yes, I know I've done the Chi Omega fountain before, but the sculpture by Matthew Farley, "Frozen Assets", is a new (and temporary) feature.

Reply

In Plain Sight 1/6/2010

Previous: IPS 12/31/2009
Next: IPS 1/13/2010

I wasn't clever enough to fool hujiko this week. See the end of this post for the answer.

Almost didn't get this posted tonight. Haven't been out as much with the recent bad (depending on your perspective, I guess) weather.

This week's first image should be a bit more challenging, even, than usual. Sometimes, the first image has been way too easy, so this week it's time to even things out.

Image #1:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/06/acDSC_5651a.JPG














OK, just kidding, here is something a bit more reasonable:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/06/sacDSC_5651b.JPG


The image(s) above is(are) a part of a photo I took somewhere in the area. I'll add additional parts of the picture over the next few days. You are invited to try to guess the subject and location of the photo. I'll notify the first person who correctly identifies the subject or location of the entire photo. That subject or location won't be revealed until later, after the answer is obvious. I suggest that people indicate that their guess is "Final" as opposed to just speculation and limit themselves to one final answer per person.

You can check my twitter account to see when new images are posted, or just check back here. I normally post a new picture each Wednesday evening.

Suggestions for interesting, out of the way (or not so out of the way) subjects are welcome. Hey, this is harder than it looks....well, sometimes at least.

Are you actually reading the "fine print" I include with these posts?

Well, if you are, here's another idea. If you have something (an event or subject) that you'd like me to photograph, or write about, that you think would be of interest (or value) to others, contact me and I'll see what I can do.



Fraser Hall on the Kansas University campus as seen from 14th St. Danforth Chapel in the foreground.
Reply

In Plain Sight 12/31/2009

Previous:IPS 12/23/2009
Next: IPS 1/6/2009

Irish finally broke the jinx and identified the location of this week's subject. See the end of this post for the location.

I thought that I didn't have a picture this week, then I remembered that I'd wondered around town on a cold and snowy Christmas Eve. It was colder, snowier, and windier than it looks like in this week's photo.

Image #1:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Dec/31/caDSC_5580a.JPG

2nd image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/01/caDSC_5580b.JPG

3rd image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/01/scaDSC_5580c.JPG

The 4th, and probably final, partial image:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/02/scaDSC_5580d.JPG

OK, here is the complete picture:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/02/scaDSC_5580.JPG

A second view of this week's subject:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2010/Jan/03/saDSC_5579.JPG


The image(s) above is(are) a part of a photo I took somewhere in the area. I'll add additional parts of the picture over the next few days. You are invited to try to guess the subject and location of the photo. I'll notify the first person who correctly identifies the subject or location of the entire photo. That subject or location won't be revealed until later, after the answer is obvious. I suggest that people indicate that their guess is "Final" as opposed to just speculation and limit themselves to one final answer per person.

You can check my twitter account to see when new images are posted, or just check back here. I normally post a new picture each Wednesday evening.

Suggestions for interesting, out of the way (or not so out of the way) subjects are welcome.

Are you actually reading the "fine print" I include with these posts?

Well, if you are, here's another idea. If you have something (an event or subject) that you'd like me to photograph, or write about, that you think would be of interest (or value) to others, contact me and I'll see what I can do.


The subject this week was the sculpture(?) in Buford Watson park. It is located near "Emergence". This page on the City of Lawrence website doesn't identify the sculpture, so I don't know exactly what it is.

Reply

In Plain Sight 12/23/2009

Previous: IPS 12/18/2009
Next:IPS 12/31/2009

hujiko has done it again, see below for the full picture. In case you haven't noticed you can click on this (and most of my other photos) for a larger version.

This week, as I start my 3rd year (boy does that sound strange), the questions is not so much the subject of the photo, but where it was taken. Since it's the Christmas season, I'll try and avoid my normal scroogish attitude and give you a hint.

The picture was taken at dusk! Am I a nice guy or what?

So here is picture #1. Merry Christmas.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Dec/23/DSC_5361a.JPG

Image #2:
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Dec/24/DSC_5361b.JPG

3rd image:

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Dec/25/DSC_5361c.JPG


The image(s) above is(are) a part of a photo I took somewhere in the area. I'll add additional parts of the picture over the next few days. You are invited to try to guess the subject and location of the photo. I'll notify the first person who correctly identifies the subject or location of the entire photo. That subject or location won't be revealed until later, after the answer is obvious. I suggest that people indicate that their guess is "Final" as opposed to just speculation and limit themselves to one final answer per person.

You can check my twitter account to see when new images are posted, or just check back here. I normally post a new picture each Wednesday evening.

Suggestions for interesting, out of the way (or not so out of the way) subjects are welcome.

Are you actually reading the "fine print" I include with these posts?

Well, if you are, here's another idea. If you have something (an event or subject) that you'd like me to photograph, or write about, that you think would be of interest (or value) to others, contact me and I'll see what I can do.

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Dec/26/saDSC_5361.JPG
Fall evening, looking north towards the Lawrence pool from near 7th street

Reply

Prev 1 2 ...13