No Child Left Behind - Accountability(cont'd)
One reads that teachers are ill-prepared these days to teach at schools
in this country. How can they prepare our students to take the tests required
Teacher Education Is Out of Step with Realities of Classrooms, According
to Research Study from Former Head of Teachers College
Majority of U.S. Teachers Prepared in Lower Quality Programs; Report
Issues Recommendations to Reform What It Calls the "Wild West"
of Teacher Education
WASHINGTON – September 18, 2006 – Despite growing evidence
of the importance of quality teaching, the vast majority of the
nation's teachers are prepared in programs that have low admission
and graduation standards and cling to an outdated vision of teacher
if we made the districts at the administrative level responsible for improving
how they deliver education and measured that?
Sort of like we do in business. Deliver a good product, keep
your customers happy and the company profits grow. The customers here
after all are the students. Aren't they?
about schools that in my opinion, have it right:
Valley School "is a place where people decide
for themselves how to spend their days. Here, students of all ages
determine what they will do, as well as when, how, and where they
will do it. This freedom is at the heart of the school; it belongs
to the students as their right, not to be violated.
The fundamental premises of the school are simple: that all people
are curious by nature; that the most efficient, long-lasting, and
profound learning takes place when started and pursued by the learner"...[read
Living School "is
a democratic, learner-centered educational environment that is community-based,
experientially centered, and focused on the creativity and intelligence
inherent in each student. We foster inquiry in each participant
by allowing the school itself to be a living experiment in learning....[read
As you are most likely a homeshooler, recognize that at some point homeschooling
will come into the limelight as well. As homeschoolers, we've made a political
statement. One that goes against NCLB and the Public School system in
America. It is important to remember to guard the right to homeschool
our kids and to do this by not giving up other personal rights and freedoms,
or by allowing them to be taken away either.
Other great articles about
testing and accountability and
gifted and academic
Some great reads:
An incredible read, free and
Underground History of American Education
by John Taylor Gatto
from the prologue:
aren’t compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it,
but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child
to strangers who process children for a livelihood, even
though one in every nine schoolchildren is terrified of physical
harm happening to them in school, terrified with good cause; about
thirty-three are murdered there every year. From 1992 through 1999,
262 children were murdered in school in the United States. Your
great-great-grandmother didn’t have to surrender her children.
Why are you so docile when you give up your child to a government
agent called a schoolteacher?
I want to open up concealed aspects of modern schooling such as
the deterioration it forces in the morality of parenting. You have
no say at all in choosing your teachers. You know nothing about
their backgrounds or families. And the state knows little more than
you do. This is as radical a piece of social engineering as the
human imagination can conceive. What does it mean?
One thing you do know is how unlikely it will be for any teacher
to understand the personality of your particular child or anything
significant about your family, culture, religion, plans, hopes,
dreams. In the confusion of school affairs even teachers so disposed
don’t have opportunity to know those things. How did this
Before you hire a company to build a house, you would, I expect,
insist on detailed plans showing what the finished structure was
going to look like. Building a child’s mind and character
is what public schools do, their justification for prematurely breaking
family and neighborhood learning. Where is documentary evidence
to prove this assumption that trained and certified professionals
the entire book online]
“Are you Kidding Me?”38%
of Your Students Passing is Good?
Size Fits Few: The Folly of Educational Standards
by Susan Ohanian
the book, the author makes numerous cases against the use of educational
standards. At the heart of these multifarious denouncements is the
recurring theme that standards are dehumanizing.
of Education: Who Makes the Grade?"
By Kavan Peterson, Stateline.org, January 26, 2006
the impact of dollars on student achievement is difficult because
most states do not account for how education money is spent at
the individual school level.
spend fewer dollars per student in Utah than in any other state,
but more fourth-graders there improved reading and math scores
over the past decade than in more than half of the states. Maine,
for example, spends nearly twice as much on a
comparable student population -- $9,300 a student
vs. $4,800 in Utah. But fewer Maine fourth-graders improved their
math scores -- and their reading scores actually declined in the
Utah, only 19 percent of fourth-graders scored proficient or better
on math in 1992, but nearly twice as many --
38 percent -- passed in 2005.
Fourth-grade Math Top 10: Leading the nation in fourth-grade math
improvement was North Carolina, where the portion of students
passing more than tripled from 13 percent scoring proficient
in 1992 to 40 percent passing in 2005. Following North
Carolina, the states with the biggest gains in percentage of students
passing the math tests were: Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, Idaho,
Arkansas, Wyoming, Florida, South Carolina and Indiana.
Math Bottom 10: Even the worst-performing states in fourth-grade
math nearly doubled the percentage of students who passed since
1992. Still, the District of Columbia and New Mexico came in last,
behind Alabama, Iowa, Maine, Hawaii, Missouri, West Virginia,
Mississippi, Kentucky and Georgia.
more than a decade, it's fair to be asking whether the standards-based
approach to education reform works. We're seeing pretty strong evidence
that it does," said Education Week Research Director Christopher
you kidding me? -OldSage
Are Your Politics Religion?
MoveOff, MoveOver, MoveWhere, Extreme What? A homeschool convention who's
purpose is to honor the Lord, Jesus Christ?
love this time of year, though it is the time of year when you are reminded
that us regular folk really aren't represented. You hear of the "extreme
Christian right" the "Liberal Left" and many "descriptions"
read about people getting all lathered up over comments made under the
right to freedom of speech in this country. I get lathered up on a regular
basis when I read the email I receive from one of the "homeschool
legal protection" groups I stay current with wants to fight the German
government from an American perspective on Religious rights, or that a
local a privately-held corporation is throwing a homeschool convention
who's purpose is: for the Convention is to honor the Lord, Jesus Christ
while facilitating an event that is well-attended and professionally-produced,
that serves the Cincinnati (and Tri-State) Homeschool community...yeah
guess God is really big business these days, especially Jesus.
always thought Christian meant acceptance, and if not that, tolerance
of other folks ways, whether they think like you or not. I personally
think Jesus would be very disappointed at how his words are being interpreted
and profited from these days.
you are and how you behave are two very different things. Extreme in any
situation, especially in religion, is scary to me. It's scary to me because
it appears to be very irrational and very, very controlling. Look at what
goes on in the Middle East with extremism. What is even scarier to me
is the apathy many seem to have towards the extremism that exists right
here in our own country.
1. absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
2. lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving
Unabridged (v 1.0.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House,
people seem to think that there is a freedom of a particular Religion
to run rampant in this country because that right is protected by the
US Constitution, when in fact it states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom
of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably
to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
me, this Amendment translates to Separation of Church and State which
means that all people are free to practice their religion without the
government having a say in it. Period.
me, it seems that there is a particular brand of extremism in our country.
I wanted to find out why it seemed people were so upset about a comparison
a well known talk show host made to extremist religious groups in in the
Middle East and the extremist religious groups in the United States. Once
you "turn on" to the extremism that exists in our country, you
can't help but to continue to recognize it, because it is just plain scary
in the places it has come to exist. Some of it in places that will eventually
rule your personal freedoms.
There was so much "out there" when I searched for facts for
this commentary. Most were too extreme for me to associate this newsletter
with, but I did find some interesting items that might just be food for
thought for "regular" folk:
Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
Camp - The Movie
From the website: A growing number of Evangelical Christians believe
there is a revival underway in America that requires Christian youth
to assume leadership roles in advocating the causes of their religious
Over the years, Evangelical Christians have become increasingly
active in politics. Although the born-again population constituted
38% of Americans, it represented 53% of the votes cast in the election.
George Bush, a born-again Christian, has benefited from Evangelical
support. In the last election over 40% of all votes for Bush came
from evangelical Christians. Christian fundamentalists now hold
a majority of seats in 36 percent of all Republican Party state
committees, or 18 of 50 states, along with large minorities in 81
percent of the rest of the states.
AMERICA: Vote by Vote
A new documentary directed by Dorothy Fadiman. From the website:
"Our goal is to make this film provocative, but not confrontational.
We want to engage viewers who may be uncomfortable looking at what
is actually happening to our election system. We do not want them
to become defensive when learning the facts. Our goal is to open
people's minds to the irregularities in the technology and open
their hearts to the devastating impact of disenfranchising voters."
Review: Orthodox Rabbi Daniel Lapin links arms with Christian conservatives
and argues that Christian values are better for American society.
He also explores the Jewish faith and answers the question: Why
are Jews so liberal? This hard-hitting book gives a new perspective
to American religious ideals. [read
with God : An Uncommon Dialogue (Book 1)
Review: Blasphemy! Heresy! Who does this man think he is, claiming
to speak directly to God?! Jesus did it, Muhammad did it, the Jewish
prophets did it, but none of their Gods had the sardonic wit or
raw verve of Prophet Walsch's God. Neale Donald Walsch isn't claiming
to be the Messiah of a new religion, just a frustrated man who sat
down one day with pen in his hand and some tough questions in his
heart. As he wrote his questions to God, he realized that God was
answering them... directly... through Walsch's pen. The result,
far from the apocalyptic predictions or cultic eccentricities you
might expect, turns out to be matter-fact, in-your-face wisdom on
how to get by in life while remaining true to yourself and your
the "Right" Way: Markets, Standards, God, and Inequality, Second
Review: Prolific author Michael W. Apple has recently been awarded
a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Educational Research
Association as well as a UCLA Medal for outstanding achievement
in education. Here he explains how and why right-wing groups have
become so powerful in recent years, warning that U.S. public education
is endangered by rightist thinking. Apple argues passionately against
vouchers, national curricula, standardized testing, and other misguided
notions of reform and contends that "authoritarian populist"
proposals will exacerbate inequality in and among our schools. He
urges readers to affirm a more democratic education system. [read
Letter To Kansas School Board
I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing
to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should
be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all
agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints
so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most
sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only
hear one theory of Intelligent Design.
Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent
Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief
that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster...[read
God On Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America
by William Martin
From Publishers Weekly
"From JFK's Catholicism to Billy Graham's flirtation and subsequent
disillusionment with politicians; from Jimmy Carter's born-again
candidacy to the rise of evangelical political action groups; from
Ronald Reagan's courtship of the Moral Majority to the current configuration
of the surprisingly diverse religious right, Martin deftly guides
the grand tour, putting the fiery social issues of our times?abortion,
homosexuality, public education, AIDS and gun control?in the context
of the conservative Christian agenda. Martin concludes with a masterful
essay on the subtle interpretation of Thomas
Jefferson and James Madison regarding separation of church and
state: Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall
be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place,
or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested,
or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on
account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall
be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in
matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish
enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."
of Denial: Bush at War, Part III
From the Book Description:
of Denial examines how the Bush administration avoided telling the
truth about Iraq to the public, to Congress, and often to themselves.
Two days after the May report, the Pentagon told Congress, in a
report required by law, that the "appeal and motivation for
continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."
In this detailed inside story of a war-torn White House, Bob Woodward
reveals how White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, with the indirect
support of other high officials, tried for 18 months to get Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld replaced. The president and Vice President
Cheney refused. At the beginning of Bush's second term, Stephen
Hadley, who replaced Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser,
gave the administration a "D minus" on implementing its
policies. A SECRET report to the new Secretary of State Rice from
her counselor stated that, nearly two years after the invasion,
Iraq was a "failed state."
of Denial reveals that at the urging of Vice President Cheney and
Rumsfeld, the most frequent outside visitor and Iraq adviser to
President Bush is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who,
haunted still by the loss in Vietnam, emerges as a hidden and potent
voice. Woodward reveals that the secretary of defense himself believes
that the system of coordination among departments and agencies is
broken, and in a SECRET May 1, 2006, memo, Rumsfeld stated, "the
current system of government makes competence next to impossible."
Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It
From the editorial review at amazon:
What Wallis sees as the true mission of Christianity--righting social
ills, working for peace--is in tune with the values of liberals
who so often run screaming from the idea of religion. Meanwhile,
in his estimation, religious vocabulary is co-opted by conservatives
who use it to polarize. Wallis proposes a new sort of politics,
the name of which serves as the title of the book, wherein these
disparities are reconciled and progressive causes are paired with
spiritual guidance for the betterment of society. Wallis is at his
most compelling when he puts this theory into action himself, letting
his own beliefs guide him through stinging criticisms of the war
in Iraq. In his view, George W. Bush's flaw lies in the assumption
that the United States was an unprecedented force of goodness in
a fight against enemies characterized as "evil." Indeed,
although both the right and left are criticized here, the idea is
that the liberals, if they would get religion, are the more redeemable
lot. Wallis's line between religion and public policy may be drawn
a little differently than most liberals might feel comfortable with,
and while he pays some lip service to other faiths most of his prescription
for America seems to come from the Bible. Still, for a party having
just lost a presidential election where "moral issues"
are said to have factored heavily, God's Politics is a sermon worth
listening to. --John Moe
Offensive Search Results: A High Five to Google
Search Words: "Rabbi" + Christian America
by Rabbi Daniel Lapin (I couldn't recall the name of the book),
I contacted Google through their online contact form:
I just wanted to tell you that I thought your:
pretty impressive, though off. I searched for
"Rabbi" + Christian America
looking for the book America's Real War by Rabbi Daniel Lapin for
an article I was writing. I found the book and many other sources
to review and noticed this off to the right replacing the usual
ad-stuff. I think this is good. A big high five to ya!
the best part to this story:
you for writing to Google. We'd like to assist you, but we only
respond to messages submitted through our online contact form. Please
visit http://www.google.com/support/ to submit your message, and
we'll get back to you soon. We apologize for any inconvenience,
and we look forward to hearing from you.
The Google Team
they didn't get my high-five after all.
you next Month -- OldSage