Tuesday, May 31, 2011

College Remediation Study

Oh yeah, I'm going there.
"Over one third of college students need to take remedial courses — and sometimes courses so basic that they can’t begin their intended majors without them."

The article could also have been headlined "New Report Shows that Colleges are accepting under-qualified students for monetary reasons despite overwhelming evidence that they aren't ready" or possibly "College Admissions Departments admit to a total lack of Ability to Read an SAT score report."

My weakest students score 60% in all of their math classes, score below 400 on each of the sections of the SAT and do not get a recommendation from me. Somehow, amazingly, they're all accepted to some college. "Glory, sing the Angels!"

"High school teachers and administrators are either unaware of what is expected in college, or unable to align their curricula with college prep because the material on standardized tests does not match material colleges are looking for students to know. Colleges also use a variety of placement tests, which adds to the confusion over what students need to know."
On the contrary, we know exactly what it will take and we'll tell them until they're sick of hearing it. Most of us grade appropriately and will give a failing student the failing grade he is demanding -- which is more than I can say for colleges. Every course I've taken recently has been graded on attendance or other wishy-washy bullshit.

If the colleges would simply refuse to enroll unready students, it might actually give us a little bit more help in motivating the rest of the kids to learn more. As it is, college is a guarantee and in some states, a free one.

Bottom line: I will care about college remedials when these weakest students get REJECTED by colleges. If the Admissions department had done the smallest due diligence, none of this would be a surprise.

Until then, shove your hypocrisy where it belongs.

Have a Nice Day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wrong on so many levels

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
List of Fail
  • Archamendes
  • Carried a box of sand.
  • "I believe there is merit ..."
  • "Take your students outside to write in the mud."
  • This guy is teaching college students.
  • Who believes in himself and has his writings for sale.
  • Archamendes? Seriously? Google broken? Oh, yeah, I remember, you think that education should be "Just in Time instead of Just in Case."  How's that working out for you?
He scratched in sand because it was available, easy to use and cheap. Papyrus was harder to get and vastly too expensive to scribble on. Don't even consider parchment.  I love the intro ... "It is believed ..."  Sorry genius, it is known. Basically, the man did a lot of thinking in his head, aided by scratching in a sandtable or on the ground (the guy would have loved paper).  There is no "merit in his method" because the sand isn't what made him who he is and the sand won't make your college students any better than they are, though it will probably make them worse.

and his name is Archimedes.


"Burn The Textbooks, Shred The Worksheets, Teach Math." Yeah right.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Licensing and Voucher Schools

These two sentences jumped out at me.
The violations, which mostly involved instructors teaching the wrong subject or grade level, touched as many as 57,000 students in some 300 public school districts and charter schools across Minnesota, records show. Some years, records show, more than half the classes at some charter schools were taught by unlicensed or improperly licensed teachers.
Those who can, cheat.

This must be a Joke: Disney applies for "Seal Team Six" trademark

The trademark applications came on May 3rd, two days after the operation that killed Bin Laden… and two days after “Seal Team 6″  was included in thousands of news articles and TV programs focusing on the operation. Disney’s™ trademark applications for “Seal Team 6″ cover clothing, footwear, headwear, toys, games and “entertainment and education services,” among other things. Of course, for all we know Disney has been working on an animated feature about a team of anthropomorphic seals in search of adventure, but given the timing of the application that seems… unlikely.
I am deeply irritated.  I have no problem with capitalism. I have no problem with war-based toys, games, entertainment, though "education services" seems a stretch.

164 85310970 SEAL TEAM 6 TARR LIVE
165 85310966 SEAL TEAM 6 TARR LIVE
166 85310957 SEAL TEAM 6 TARR LIVE

I have a huge problem with this. Looking at the rest of the list, I notice that Disney is hardly alone. Applications for TEAM 6, TEAM VI, and other variations (a lot seem to be from "Jack Tracy"). Patent trolls, all of them.

It's almost enough to convince me that the USPTO should make some drastic changes. Can you imagine if Disney™ somehow received this trademark - I can't imagine they could, but who knows? What gives anyone the right, the chutzpah, the cajones, to think they could trademark the informal unit designation of any branch of this country's military. You could argue that the unit badge is prior art and all that, but doesn't this hit your gut in that place where all deeply disgusting, vile, abhorrent things hit you?

And why? Why would the Happiest Place on Earth™ want to be associated, in any way, with a group of hard men who are the sharp end of America's Sword? Disney™ can't stand it when a bunch of gays want to march down Main Street™ but bloody death is all peachy-keen?

"This takedown and these splattered brains that once belonged to the world's most notorious killers, are brought to you by Seal Team VI™ and the Happy People at Disney™. Visit Our Magic Kingdom™ today."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

72 Virginians ...

From Ricochet:

After getting nailed by a crack team of Seals, Osama made his way to the pearly gates. There, he is greeted by George Washington. "How dare you attack the nation I helped conceive!" yells Mr. Washington, slapping Osama in the face.

Patrick Henry comes up from behind. "You wanted to end the Americans' liberty, so they gave you death!" Henry punches Osama on the nose.

James Madison comes up next, and says "This is why I allowed the Federal government to provide for the common defense!" He drops a large weight on Osama's knee.

Osama is subject to similar beatings from John Randolph of Roanoke, James Monroe, and 65 other people who have the same love for liberty and America.

As he writhes on the ground, Thomas Jefferson picks him up to hurl him back toward the gate where he is to be judged.

As Osama awaits his journey to his final very hot destination, he screams "This is not what I was promised!"

An angel replies "I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you, idiot. What did you think I said?"

Monday, May 2, 2011

Actively disengaged at Charter Schools

Dangerously Irrelevant, of the blog-group Big Think:
"I love this video. How much of this occurs in your school on a day-to-day basis? What would your kids say?"

I know what my kids would say. "Pretty funny. Cool music (but dated). I could never get away with that unless I was having one of those days and the teacher took pity on me but he'd try to talk me into doing some work to distract me."

What is my reaction? It seems that every classroom depicted was filled with students in uniforms of some kind, or at minimum a strict dress code, which means that they are all charter and private schools. Maybe that's the real problem?

Let's face reality here. The camera is in the classroom. The students are acting. There is nothing "real" about this. Several of the clips are from anime cartoons and others are line drawings! How is this supposed to make the point that education isn't working and that we have to change to the more tech-driven, 21st Century Skills model that Dr. Macleod is always pushing for?

The music selection is likewise flawed. Using Floyd's tune in a video on disengagement is akin to using Goya's "Saturn Devouring His Son" as the basis for a diatribe against Spanish cruelty against the natives of Central America in the 1500s. The song has absolutely nothing to do with student boredom or disengagement, but the creator (and possibly Macleod) are too young to know that.

Clever? Nope.
Critical thinking? Nope.
Makes a good point? Nope.
Sound basis for changing education? Nope.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Selection Bias at KIPP again

It's getting rather repetitive. Lots of people have said it, Jim Horn, for one. It seems as though the journalists aren't listening, or at least are swallowing the bait hook, line and sinker when it comes to the press releases from that grandfather of charter schools, KIPP.

Education News put out this blurb committing that journalistic sin: copy without critical thinking.
As of Fall 2010, 33 percent of students who completed 8th grade at a KIPP middle school ten or more years ago have graduated from a four-year-college. This rate is above the national average (30.6%) and four times the rate for students from low-income families.
It's never been about the money and it certainly isn't about the KIPP program. Socio-economic status is an indicator of educational success not because money is the key factor but because selection is.

What kids are likely to apply to KIPP, suffer through the selection process, stay in KIPP throughout the 8th grade, have the ability to maintain focus under pressure, put up with the incredible stresses and challenges demanded of them, and attend the mandatory summer and Saturday classes? These same traits are a damn good indicator of college success, too.

KIPP isn't the key to their success - it's merely the spotlight that shines on them, taking all the credit for their success while ruthlessly weeding out any child who isn't up to the standard, in much the same way that the average height would increase if you shot all the short people.

Education through academic eugenics.