Saturday, June 26, 2010

The next best thing to being there… | Reflections on Teaching

The next best thing to being there… | Reflections on Teaching

The next best thing to being there…

Given how crazy this last school year has been, I opted to skip the ISTE conference (formerly NECC) this year. It’s just as well, because I have an ugly summer cold coming on. While I miss all the great folks, I’m happy to be sitting home in bed, BUT this doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the conference from afar. I’ve been following it on twitter,

Fantasia gives free concert in Newark park to support school choice bill | NJ.com

Fantasia gives free concert in Newark park to support school choice bill | NJ.com

Fantasia gives free concert in Newark park to support school choice bill

Published: Saturday, June 26, 2010, 5:08 PM Updated: Saturday, June 26, 2010, 5:08 PM
fantasia-newark-park.JPGFormer American Idol Fantasia sings as one of the spokespeople in Newark to rally for school choice.
NEWARK — After winning American Idol, starring on Broadway, and making a platinum album, soul singer Fantasia Barrino said one of her proudest accomplishments was getting her high school diploma.
"I take it with me everywhere I go," she said today before performing to a crowd of over a thousand at Newark’s Washington Park. "At the end of the day, I still need that education."
Fantasia joined a roster of hip-hop stars including Kurtis Blow, Terrence J and Erick Sermon at the free concert held in support of the Opportunity Scholarship Act, a bill currently before the state legislature that would create a scholarship fund for kids in failing schools.
The bill, introduced in March by State Sen. Ray Lesniak (R-Union) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union), would provide scholarships for students in failing schools allowing them to attend private, parochial or alternative public schools.The group Excellent Education for Everyone, or E3, put the concert together to garner support for the bill and explain to parents what it entailed.
"We tried to get a feel for what the parents wanted," said Dana Rone, a former Newark councilwoman and the event’s organizer. She said the group canvassed households throughout the state, explaining the bill and gauging public support. "All of our polls came in over 64 percent,

Sunday in the Post — what's holding up the FCAT scores?

Sunday in the Post — what's holding up the FCAT scores?

Sunday in the Post — what's holding up the FCAT scores?




For students and their parents, the wait for FCAT scores has been endless.
Results of this year's writing tests were due in April, but the state Department of Education has yet to release them.
The same goes for the reading, math and science scores that the state had expected to release by late May for fourth graders through high school juniors. So far, only third graders have received their math and reading results.
Even with the DOE finally planning to issue the scores early next week, people want to know: What went wrong?
The answer centers on Pearson Plc., a giant London-based media and education company that last year won a $254 million, multiyear

CA cities vote to pay more taxes to help schools - San Jose Mercury News

CA cities vote to pay more taxes to help schools - San Jose Mercury News

CA cities vote to pay more taxes to help schools

By TERENCE CHEA Associated Press Writer
Updated: 06/26/2010 09:16:25 AM PDT



ALAMEDA, Calif.—To help protect their schools from California's unrelenting budget crisis, some communities are voting to pay more property taxes to preserve teacher jobs, smaller class sizes and electives such as art and music.
So far this year, more than 20 districts have held elections for school parcel taxes, which are levied on individual parcels of property, and at least 16 have approved them. More districts are trying to place such measures on the ballot later this year.
But the tax measures, which require a two-thirds majority to pass, are mostly winning approval in smaller, wealthier districts, according to education experts, raising worries about growing inequality between schools in rich and poor communities.
"It's a story of widening disparity," said John Rogers, who heads the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access. "Across the state, the pain is felt everywhere, but because of the unequal distribution of wealth, some areas are able to respond."
Some California lawmakers and education advocates are pushing legislation that would lower the percentage of the vote needed to pass a school parcel tax to 55 percent.
The two-thirds threshold was just out of reach for Alameda, a San Francisco Bay area city that failed to pass a school parcel tax Tuesday even though nearly 66 percent of voters approved it.
Hundreds of volunteers staffed phone banks and knocked on doors to campaign for Measure E, which would have
given the city some of California's highest school taxes, with homeowners paying $659 annually. But it was fiercely

NYC Public School Parents: More on Anthony Rotunno and the culture of "empowerment" at DOE

NYC Public School Parents: More on Anthony Rotunno and the culture of "empowerment" at DOE

More on Anthony Rotunno and the culture of "empowerment" at DOE

See the comment below our previous posting, from a student at Pleasantville high school in Westchester; where Anthony Rotunno was recently hired to be principal.


As reported yesterday in the Daily News, Rotunno was the subject of a scathing new audit from the NY State Comptroller's office, accusing him of allowing his staff to raid thousands of dollars of funds from student bake sales and more when he was principal of JFK HS in the Bronx. More on this in today's Daily News:


Pleasantville School District officials said it wasn't until they saw the Daily News' front-page

At Some High Schools, Multiple Valedictorians - NYTimes.com

At Some High Schools, Multiple Valedictorians - NYTimes.com

How Many Graduates Can Be No. 1? Ask the 30 Valedictorians


Richard M. Hackett/The Longmont Times-Call
Ten students at Lyons High School in Colorado shared top ranking this year as co-valedictorians.



There will be no valedictory speech at Jericho High School’s graduation on Sunday. With seven seniors laying claim to the title by compiling A-plus averages, no one wanted to sit through a solid half-hour of inspirational quotations and sappy memories.

Related

Al Schell/Courier-Post
Darvin Yi, one of nine valedictorians at Cherry Hill High School East in southern New Jersey. The school picked one graduation speaker by lottery and printed speeches from the others.
Instead, the seven will perform a 10-minute skit titled “2010: A Jericho Odyssey,” about their collective experience at this high-achieving Long Island high school, finishing up with 30 seconds each to say a few words to their classmates and families.
“When did we start saying that we should limit the honors so only one person gets the glory?” asked Joe Prisinzano, the Jericho principal.
In top suburban schools across the country, the valedictorian, a beloved tradition, is rapidly losing its singular meaning as administrators dispense the title to every straight-A student rather than try to choose the best among them.
Principals say that recognizing multiple valedictorians reduces pressure and competition among students, and is a more equitable way to honor achievement, particularly when No. 1 and No. 5 may be separated by only the smallest fraction of a grade from

New Oil Spill Links | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

New Oil Spill Links | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

New Oil Spill Links

Here are the newest additions to The Best Sites To Learn About The Gulf Oil Spill:
Ranger Rick from the National Wildlife Federation answers questions about the spill.
Seeking Answers as Questions Mount is a nice New York Times piece that’s in a question/answer format. It’s probably only accessible to Intermediate ELL’s and above.

Palin decries 'Dumpster divers' at Calif. campus - U.S. news - msnbc.com

Palin decries 'Dumpster divers' at Calif. campus - U.S. news - msnbc.com

Palin decries 'Dumpster divers' at Calif. campus



TURLOCK, Calif. — Sarah Palin leveled criticism at California's attorney general and others raising questions about her visit to a cash-strapped university, telling supporters that students had better things to do than dive through Dumpsters to find out how much she earns speaking.
The former Alaska governor's headline address Friday night at the 50th anniversary celebration at California State University, Stanislaus has drawn criticism and scrutiny since it was first announced. It also attracted



Sarah Palin, Hamid Shirvani
Rich Pedroncelli / AP
Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is escorted into a fundraising dinner by California State University, Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani in Turlock, Calif., Friday, June 25, 2010. Palin's speech has generated intense scrutiny since the nonprofit foundation holding the event first announced her visit in March. University officials have refused to divulge the terms of her contract of her speaking fee.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

How to get Johnny to study - The Boston Globe

How to get Johnny to study - The Boston Globe

How to get Johnny to study

Surprising insights from the social sciences

By Kevin Lewis
June 27, 2010
Text size +
How do we motivate kids — especially kids in rough situations — to want education? Researchers at the University of Michigan studied middle school students in Detroit and found that, while almost 90 percent expected to go to college, only half wanted a career that actually required education. And this difference was critical. Students whose career goals did not require education (e.g., sports star, movie star) spent less time on homework and got lower grades. The good news is that the researchers found it was easy to make education more salient, and thereby motivate kids. When students were shown a graph depicting the link between education and earnings, they were much more likely to hand in an extra-credit homework assignment the next day than if they were shown a graph depicting the earnings of superstars.
Destin, M. & Oyserman, D., “Incentivizing Education: Seeing Schoolwork as an Investment, Not a Chore,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (forthcoming)
The spirit of capitalism
One of the classic works of sociology is “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” by Max Weber, who argues that the former facilitates the latter. Scholars have been trying to test this theory ever since, typically by analyzing economic patterns at the international level. An ideal scientific test of the theory, however, would require randomly indoctrinating one group of people with one


GLOBE EDUCATION NEWS

Focus groups will discuss Boston schools, but some object

The Boston public schools will hold 14 focus groups across the city today and tomorrow to gather advice on school closings, program expansions, and other pressing issues, with participation by invitation only. (By James Vaznis, Globe Staff)

Researchers say sense of touch guides impressions, decisions

Think someone is a tough customer? Maybe it is all in your head — or your fingertips. (By Elizabeth Cooney, Globe Correspondent)

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