Sunday, December 28, 2008

Donations and Free Classroom supplies.

I added links to Adopt-A-Classroom, DonorsChoose and iLoveSchools to's Education Resource Table. Just go there, click and you will be taken to your chosen website.

When I think about what they offer, I wonder if there isn't strings attached. Seems like we rarely get something for nothing from strangers without them wanting something in return.

I've heard it said, "There isn't any such thing as a free lunch". So be very careful. I'm not advising you to use any of these websites.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Benedict XVI warned the world ....

The Pope has addressed the economic gloom in his Christmas message.

Benedict XVI warned that the world was headed toward ruin if selfishness prevails over solidarity during tough times for both rich and poor nations.

'If people look only to their own interests, our world will certainly fall apart.' Read the remainder at this link.

I agree with the Pope. George would not, he would only rationalize his lack of compassion and cause us to accept it. The Pope does not have to justify what he did. No rationalization is needed.
The world is fortunate to have a man like Benedict XVI.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Times They Are a Changin by Dylan

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin
'Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.

It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order isRapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Economic Darwanism: the loss of compassion

Hi Stephen,

Eventually those folks would find employment in more productive segments of the economy. There's no denying there will be some pain felt, but better to get it out of the way early, rather than having society subsidize a non-productive group of companies for who knows how many years. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW and others aren't looking for a handout. Your company and my company aren't getting one, and as taxpayers we'd ultimately be footing the bill (the Ontario government here in Canada announced they'll spend up to $3.4 billion, conditional on the US doing the same).

If money is to be spent, I'd rather see it go for skills upgrading and retraining of the unemployed, so that they can fill the new types of jobs that are being created. That's an investment in "human capital"that will mean higher wages (and higher taxes for the government over their lifetime), because employees can better compete internationally and are more productive. Instead, politics is leading to a misallocation of precious resources.

The economy as a whole can't simply magically do better by throwing taxpayer money at the problem. The fundamentals that determine how well an economy performs are 1) the skills and education of its labour force and 2) the productiveness of its infrastructure (machinery,etc.). If they're going to give money to those automakers, they better have firm commitments on #1 and #2 (e.g. improving technology in cars,making them more fuel efficient, raising CAFE standards, etc.). But,frankly, they've been so mismanaged that it might just be better to let them face bankruptcy so that more productive companies (Japanese,Koreans, Germans, etc.) buy up their assets and redeploy them more effectively. In the past 10 years, people have been buying bigger houses (i.e. consumption goods), whereas others have been investing in productive capital goods (machinery, technology, factories, etc.).It's no surprise that the latter are now doing well (e.g. China),whereas the US has massive deficits that are paid for by foreign bondholders.

Happy holidays,


Sometimes people are rejected not because of what they did, but because of what they might do or fail to do.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Solar minimum is ending,

On's homepage is a link to It is important and interesting to know what our Sun is doing. You can know by visiting SpaceWeather every time you visit I do it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's too late now to study for the exam.

That is what I heard a teacher say she told all of her students before and exam. I never said that to my students. I expected them to study for my exams.

When I was a student, I always studied for my exams. Beginning a few days before the exam I would review my notes. They contained what the teacher had stressed was important. Some times the teacher said that you should know this because it's going to be on the exam. If that was said, then I would make a note of it and know before the exam what I was expected to know. I also high-lighted what was important in my text books. Before the exam I reviewed all high-lighted text. Consequently, I was on the Dean's list and Presidents list many times because I studied. I was also in class even if I was sick.

It is never too late to study for an exam.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Disney accused by Catholic cleric of corrupting children's minds

Disney accused by Catholic cleric of corrupting children's minds. Yes! Yes! Yes!

A leading Catholic cleric has launched a fierce attack on Disney, claiming it has corrupted children and encouraged greed.

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent

I witnessed several time when visitors from Michigan would be here. My effort to persuade them to go to MOSI [Museum of Science and Industry] was always superseded by Disney World. The person that made the decision to go to Disney World at the time was the director of Math for the Traverse City school system. Her husband was a member of the school board.

Art Appreciation and Social Class Assignment

Thesis: The appreciation of art or the lock of it is another indication of an individual’s social class.

Sociologist assign individuals to a social group based upon the individual’s characteristics: age, sex, race, education level obtained, University alma mater, profession, and income attainment method. Art appreciation could also be used to assign an individual to a social class.

Both George Inness and George Innes Jr. lived near me in the the winter. I appreciate and respect what they have created and would like to follow in their footsteps. Leepa also lives here and has one of his painting displayed at the Lime-N-Coconut here in Tarpon Springs. I think the painting looks like someone had given a monkey paint and a brush to splash on a board. Then Leepa sign it. It says alot about Leepa and also about the people that appreciate what he did.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

SOHO - Solar and Heliopheric Observatory

1. When are there many sun spots?
2. When are there few or no sun spots?
3. What is solar minimum?
4, What is solar maximum?
5. What effect does the Sun have on our weather?
6. Why is the Sun called a variable star?

These questions and their answers are important to all of us because they give us insight into the effect our star has on us. We are now frequently told about global warming and they want us to think that the primary cause is human activity. I'm not one to cause you to think that our human activities do not have a global effect. I'm sure that they do. However the effect of the Sun has a greater effect.

The lack of sunspots over many months or years indicate that we are in solar minimum. You cannot count sunspots without expensive technology, but you do have SOLO and you can get to SOLO quickly from From there, you can safely see the Sun and count sunspots. I suggest that you and your students do it frequently and answer the about questions. These questions lead to other valuable insights.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I just saw it again.

I just saw a 10-12 year-old boy walk by my house with his parents following. "No problem" you would say until you know what I know about this situation. The boy is normal in his behavior and build. The problem is that the boy lives in Chicago and should be going to school in Chicago. Which he would be if his father valued being in Florida more than his son's education.

The father looks like someone in his 50's. However, he has the demeanor of a city street thug. He reminds me of a school bully. Making is stranger is the fact that he was the service manager in a Cadillac dealership. He may not be now considering his age and state of the auto industry unless he earned lots of time off from his job to travel to Florida.

The bottom line is this. The boy is not being educated and my school system doesn't care because the boy is considered to be a citizen of Illinois.

I'm not going any further then writing about this situation one time. To do any more would risk being told that it's none of my business.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

George Kirikos wrote this.

I agree, there are lots of terrible role models out there. I prefer the role model of Warren Buffett, who is very humble and not flashy.Paul Newman was wonderful too. I used to have a bunch of clients in the banking industry (as that's what my first company and my own academic training were focused), and indeed they didn't deserve any bailout -- they had only their own greed to blame for their downfall, and the taxpayers shouldn't pay for any part of their foibles.

Take care,


Monday, November 03, 2008

Your pants are falling down!

What to you say to your student who's pants are falling down? I saw a high school girl wear pants several sizes too large wear bright under wear under them. When she responds to your admonition to pull up your pant, will likely respond quickly by pulling up her pants. You know what gravity does moments later.

The most significant thing about this event was not that the student's pants were too large and likely to fall unexpectedly. It was that it was a girl copying boys behavior. Another part of this is that this was the second inadvertent observation of the same girl. Yesterday she and a friend were playing in the street. A pick-up passed. At that moment the girl yelled, "I want a baby." Add these two events together and what do you get?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Nazis: A Warning from History

RE: The Nazis: A Warning from History, DVD, on 2 disks.

I learned from watching The Nazis: A Warning from History that Hitler mandated that Jews be prohibited from having a public school education. The purpose was to disenfranchise Jews from German society destined to become the under-class and then exterminated.

Here in America students exercise their free will and dropout of school. The rate is higher in different parts of America, exceeding 50% of the students that begin their public education path dropout before graduating. Yes, this set of citizens has inadvertently chosen to be disenfranchised and a member of the under-class, consequences for the individual and American society abound.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Yes, this is a somber time.


Yes, this is a somber time. Just in the past two weeks, I have been
told by my advertising agency contact that most of their clients have cut
back between 20%-75% of their spending on advertising. I guess companies
figure the consumer won't buy any products or services now, so why waste
money on advertising to an unwilling audience. Google is likely seeing the
same kind of cutbacks. With this will come more layoffs, more unemployed,
less consumer confidence, lower home prices and fewer people who can afford
anything? I saw a story on the news last night about dozens of workers in
Ohio who actually have a job, go to work each day, but then spend the night
in the street/camping as they can't afford housing!

I hope I'm wrong, but I believe no matter who gets elected President next
week; it will take many years to get the economy back to health!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Give a special Christmas gift to a teenager.

The book should have a hardcover and be one that the teenager should read. Somewhere in the back 2/3 of the book tape a check for at least $20. Give the Christmas present and then wait for the check to clear. In the mean time, ask questions about their reading experience. Say nothing about the check to anyone.

When Christmas comes around next year and the check still hasn’t cleared, ask them if you can see the book. Tell them about the check if they can’t find the book. Christmas can be fun for you too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mike wrote this too.

It has come to pass. America marches forward.

Many years ago. I think it was 1965 in the Spring. A google search would tell me because it was the year of the civil rights march in Selma, Alabama. I was a freshman in college that year; that is how I personally remember the year. My American Literature professor was gone for a week to march in the voter registration drive in Selma, Alabama that has become a monumental time
in the coming of age of this great nation.

When he returned, he told us of the Right Wing resistance encountered by the Freedom Crusaders by the All American cretins they encountered. One story sticks in my mind. He said he needed to use a restroom as they marched through the area. He went into a bar where he was refused service (he was White, but Rednecks didn't like him helping to "rile up the N-gg-r") He needed to use the bathroom, so he lied and said he was with the FBI. The bartender let him use the bathroom. As he walked past, he heard a Redneck Southern American with a drawl say "Shit!!! Now they even have Jews in the FBI"

The American backwards thinking was that if you gave "N-gg-r" the right to vote, (as the Rednecks throwing rocks at the marchers yelled) "...we'll have N-gg-r mayors,
N-gg-r judges, N-gg-r Governors, etc." Well, now you backwards people can REALLY shove it up your asses.

We are about to have our first N-gg-r President. Somehow, I see the Freedom Marchers
that have left us smiling up there in Heaven.

by Mike Mirra

Mike, math teacher, voted early.

I am proud to say that this morning I exercised my
right as an American to cast my vote to move America
forward, to end the War Crime in Iraq, to resume the
War on Terror, to eliminate tax breaks for the wealthy,
to help insure that there is no extra drilling for oil
& destruction of what is left of Earth's natural treasures.
I voted to put science back into the schools. I voted to
have someone putting open minded judges with some
brains on the Supreme Court. I voted to help everyone
get adequate health care. I voted to help stamp out
the Godless nature of Conservatism with it's small
minded fanaticism against blacks, Arabs, Hispanics, gays,
people that think, etc.
I voted to bring America out of the dark ages.
I voted to move America into the 21st Century.
I voted to pass the torch to a new generation of
I cast my vote this morning, proudly, for Barack Hussain Obama.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The financial crisis is not the student's fault.

The source of the financial crisis is adult decisions. They are adults who where educated by the American education system. A system that was evolving in the 70’s into a system that created the current adults that made the decisions that caused this massive problem. We thought we were creating a better education citizenry that would thrive during the 21 century. We didn’t.

What we created is a generation of religious effected adults who place a high priority on recreation. For many, religion is their highest priority. CNN reported: Maybe We Should Blame God for the Subprime Mess.,8599,1847053,00.html?cnn=yes

Then there is the set of adults that give organized religion a low priority, but still believe in God. You can see them setting in the stands on Saturday and Sunday. There millions of Joe six-packs can be seen with their friends. If not there, then they are home or in a bar with friends watching and drinking beer. It is the value system and decisions of these people that have caused this financial mess. And, it is professional eduators that failed to have a positive effect on their student’s value system that could have prevent the decisions that caused this crisis. Now that it has happened, the solution is the responsibility of the American education system to correct it.

I did my part. I brought it to your attention. I think very few educators will read this, fewer will discuss it with fellow members of the Eduation profession, and still fewer will do anything effective to correct this.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

SOHO - Solar and Heliopheric Observatory

A link to SOHO from was added because of the importance that the Sun is to our existence. We would not be here without the Sun. Most of us are in denial mode regarding the Sun’s importance and its impact on us. That doesn’t work. Ignorance is not a solution however understanding based on scientific research is what we need.

To mention just one factor, each of us has a reflex that prevents us from looking directly at the Sun. Even a baby will look away or shut its eyes rather than look directly at the Sun and for good reason. Looking directly at the Sun for only a short time will damage the retina.

I’m not going into the importance of the Sun and its impact on us any further. It’s enough for me to reference its importance and to put a link to SOHO on You do the rest.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Pornography on the Internet

Hi Stephen,

The way I understand it is this:

Porno sites want to get traffic and be found on search engines. In an attempt to increase their traffic they build links to respectable sites such as When search engines index their sites, they find legitimate links and this helps them to get better rankings and therefore more traffic and revenue. Unfortunately search engines like Google still haven't implemented any time of full block on porn (although they do have some parental control preferences); I guess that would be a question of censorship. Even with parental filters, my kids occasionally end up finding inappropriate images. I remember a few years ago my daughter was doing a project and movies at school and she was looking for a picture of "Babe" (the family movie about a pig) - well you can imagine the type of images that came up under the term "babe".

You may be right about pornography though; in most European countries, regular TV has porno channels and they have a completely different view than most North Americans.


----- Original Message -----
From: Stephen Lyons
To: The Educators Network
Sent: Friday, September 05, 2008 9:31 AM
Subject: Re:'s Weekly Statistics For Previous Week

Hi Lorenzo,

I did a Google search using keywords: anti-pornography. The only large institution taking a position against it is the Mormon church. That surprised me. Perhaps my first look at this has given me the wrong impression. I'm thinking that there isn't much social pressure against pornographers. I always thought there was until now.

Many years ago gambling was illegal in Florida. People were even being arrested for social gambling in their homes. Then gambling was legalized. Florida now has a lottery and a small percentage of the revenue is used to support education.

Do I understand this correctly? The porn referrers are directing visitors to This doesn't seem like something they would do. It is more logical to me that they would be using to expose their sites to students, parents and educators. What do you think they are doing that causes them to be listed as a referrer?

----- Original Message -----
From: The Educators Network
To: Stephen Lyons
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2008 3:14 PM
Subject: Re:'s Weekly Statistics For Previous Week
Hi Stephen,

Thanks for sending over the updates yesterday and today; I have spoken to a few of my contacts and their opinions are not overly positive. My one friend who works for a Broadband ISP company says that it is very difficult to track where the traffic is coming from if it is outside of Canada or the USA. Most of these sites are actually hosted in Asia and Africa, so that they are immune from the law. Even if you could track the location, they usually change servers every few months and relocate as well. Another contact involved in police work says that the FBI or Interpol would have to be involved, but they only do so at the request of local police and usually only if it involves Child Pornography. Finally, a lawyer friend of mine said that he knows of no lawyer that would take on this type of work, or would only do so once the police arrested someone and they could file a civil or business lawsuit.

I'll keep looking for options; a few years ago this happened to, and it took about 18 months for it to stop. Since then, there have been no further attacks, so it could be they randomly pick sites that are legitimate to obtain traffic and profit for their illegal businesses.

Let me know if you have further suggestions.

----- Original Message -----
From: Stephen Lyons
To: Lorenzo Salvalaggio
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2008 9:45 AM
Subject:'s Weekly Statistics For Previous Week
Hi Lorenzo,

The visitor count is continuing to increase.

The negative referrals are going to persist for a long time. I made two contacts here for legal service. One was with a legal referral service. There hasn't been a positive response yet. If I cannot find assistance here and you fail to find someone, then I'll present this situation to the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations). However, if I do that, all punitive damages that we might receive will be forfeited.

I'm thinking that the nefarious referrals are having a negative effect on the visitor count and consequently advertising revenue. I'm also wonder what the nefarious referrer's motives might be.

We don't know if this is just annoying students, adults or organizations with an agenda: possible a combination representing many motives.

If we handle this correctly, this could be a financial windfall.

Keep me advised of your progress.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Nefarious Referrals to

It has been brought to my attention that there are links that appear to be to from websites and email that contain a virus or pornography. You should not click on these links. If you want to go to, then go directly there using http// or use any other trusted path.

Here are a few that I trust: Google, SavingTeachersMoney, TheEducatorsNetwork, AOL, MSN, Yahoo.

It is very important to have virus protection software. I use Norton and I keep it current.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A New School Year

Recently I was riding my bicycle near my home; coming toward me on a bicycle was a middle school boy. He was about 150 feet from me when this event happened. In a flash he kicked over a garbage can. I admonished him when he was next to me. Only about 2 seconds had pasted between the kick and my reaction. His response was, “What’s the problem?”

Boys like him are in your school, possible even in you classroom. Similar events will happen in your school and the only way you will be able to prove to a parent that it did happen is with a camera.

Such nefarious events that take only a fraction of a second will only be seen if you are looking and you cannot prove it happened without an image of the event. Such events have many factors. Here are some of them.

1. If you student is aware that you saw the event and you don’t respond then they may think that you are weak, you don’t care or they can get away with a similar event later regardless of your presence.
2. If you fail to respond, a similar event may follow.
3. If you do respond, then your must anticipate an escalation.
4. If the student’s behavior has been practiced by him for many years. He knows how to respond and can potentially be a major problem for you.

If the student is from your classroom, then be prepared to ask that the student be removed from your classroom. If you don’t, then potentially there will be further problems. A student should not be allowed to destroy your school year and possibly even your career.

Ask yourself this question. Why is this male behavior?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Children have lost touch with the natural world.

Children have lost touch with the natural world and are unable to identify common animals and plants, according to a survey.

Half of youngsters aged nine to 11 were unable to identify a daddy-long-legs, oak tree, blue tit or bluebell, in the poll by BBC Wildlife Magazine. The study also found that playing in the countryside was children's least popular way of spending their spare time, and that they would rather see friends or play on their computer than go for a walk or play outdoors.
The survey asked 700 children to identify pictured flora and fauna. Just over half could name bluebells, 54 per cent knew what blue tits were and 45 per cent could identify an oak. Less than two-thirds (62 per cent) identified frogs and 12 per cent knew what a primrose was.

Monday, July 21, 2008

2006 survey of U.S. National Science Teachers Association members

You people still have not complete the 2006 survey; consequently, I can not publish the results at

So much time has past that I think you will never complete the survey.

I'm wondering why you have neglected to complete the survey.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Adolescent Whimsy and Their Conjectures

During adolescent most children go though a stage that I call whimsy. It went unnoticed by me until I first witnessed it when playing with my grandchildren. I wonder what percentage of grade school and middle school teachers fail to realize that their students go though the same whimsical stage of life.

I recently watched a 6th grade math teacher ask a student, “What is your conjecture?” The student quickly answered the question. [I had a major problem with the word: conjecture. She could have asked, “What is your guess?”] The only conjecture that has any creditability in mathematics is one made by a Ph.D. mathematician. Not one made by a 6th grade math student who is likely in their whimsical state of life. I recall Charles M. making a helicopter in my shed and painting it with my spray cans. He was 11 at the time. He had it built, painted and doing a test flight within an hour. We should be teaching at their level and realize that their life likely can be described with one word: whimsy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Watch Florida - Florida School Policy Onstage

Florida is No. 1 in the nation in vouches. It's No. 2 in charter school enrollment. It's No. 4 in the percentage of high school students passing college-level exams.

Numbers like these have made Florida the nation's most watched laboratory for education policy.

Now former Gov. Jeb Bush is holding up Florida as not just a lab, but a model.

Bush said, "Florida's education reforms have caught the attention of policymakers across the country because our students are making progress." Source: Times staff writer

Will this have an effect you? I think so. Will you care?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Education standards are determined by education professionals.

It should not come as a surprise that education standards are determined by education professionals. However, not just any education professionals, they are those that are positioned so that they can get their standards accepted by the state board of education. That would exclude all new teachers that don't yet know how the system works.

You can learn more about what is happening in Florida by visiting the Florida Department of Education's website.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

How am I suppose to know if I'll be in the 4th grade next year?

That question caused me to wonder about being in the next grade when school started in the fall. Two things always happened. School started in the fall and I would always be in the next grade with friends. Those were stress free years of my life.

On the front page of the Pasco Times is a news story: 910 Kids Might Repeat Grade 3. "Kathryn Rushe never looked forward to this time of year, when she has to tell parents that their third-graders might have to repeat the grade because of poor scores on the FCAT reading exam." Times have changed! I thank God that my Mom never got one of those letters.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

2006 survey of U.S. National Science Teachers Association members

I have data from the 2005 survey of U.S. National Science Teachers Association members posted on's home page. I attempted to update this data with the results of the 2006 survey but could not find it. This is 2008, it seems to me that it should be completed by now; a reasonable person would think so. I discovered there are still many teachers that have not responded to the survey. I'm at the point where I think that some percentage of the teachers will never respond. If the percentage is too high [I don't know what that percentage is], then the survey data becomes invalid.

An unwillingness to respond says something about science teachers and I don't think it is positive.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Florida's FCAT Scores Still Bad On Retake

Source: St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer.

FCAT scores and other information about the test can be found at the following site.

FCAT scores for high school seniors who have to retake the test because they failed it in the past are never that good, and this year is no exception.

Statewide, 16 percent of them passed the reading portion of the test (up from 15 percent) while 32 percent passed the math portion (up from 26 percent) according to scores released Thursday by the Department of Education.

Twelfth-graders must pass both the reading and math portions of the 10th-grade FCAT to graduate. They also must earn enough course credits and a passing grade point average to earn the standard diploma. Many that fail the FCAT also fail to meet other graduation requirements. Students that fail the FCAT but meet other graduation requirements get a certificate of completion rather than a standard diploma.

I wonder if there is a correlation between testing and Florida's high dropout rate.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Maria's Response

It was a very astute vision of the future at least for that particular piece of property. I am hoping that with the change in leadership that is coming that things will start to turn around. But remember, it isn’t just the bad judgment of the political leaders we have to fight…it’s also the drug cartels that are infusing the community with their poison and encouraging a lot of the crime that goes on, hence the purpose for the chain link fences. It wasn’t until the drug dealers were everywhere that my high school finally had to put a chain link fence around it to stop the dealers from coming on the school grounds. And this was in the 60’s.

Not every school has the restrictions that you are viewing from that piece of property near you. A couple of weeks ago I walked right into the Curlew Elementary School and into the office to leave my envelope for the principal to read. No one stopped me and the receptionist was very friendly and helpful. About 3 weeks ago I walked into the Pinellas School Board building, and again no one stopped me or asked for my I.D. They directed me to the Personnel Office and the receptionist was also helpful. When was the last time you actually walked into a school and experienced the teaching that is going on? Maybe when we went to watch the program that was put on by Amber’s singing group. Su Maria

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Evolution of Public Schools in America

I was born in 1942 and entered the rural public school system in Edenville Michigan. It was at the beginning of the end of the one room school house era. The K-8 school consisted of 4 one room schools moved to one location in Edenville, attached and then referred to afterwards as the Edenville School. It has now since been removed from the property. A private residence is now there.

Local adults served on the school board, local adults maintained the school, and the parents of the students were actively involved in school life. There were Christmas parties. A local wood worker taught a shop class. Lonnie drove the school bus. Anna Mae and her friends prepared lunch for us. Carlos Page, the Methodist minister taught 7th and 8th grade. The Edenville School didn't have a telephone, radio, or a television. We had long recesses. There I became a very good softball player even though there were not enough students for two teams, the ball was soft [Yes! There was only one ball and one bat.]. It was a non-threatening environment free from intimidation. I look back fondly on those years. There were 7 students in my 8th grade class. Almost all of us went to college and graduated. One became a doctor, another an engineer, computer programmer, teachers and parents.

Control of what was taught, how it was taught and school administration was at a local level. The school board was staffed by parents. The teachers, cooks, bus driver and janitor lived locally. We saw each other in church and we knew each other's first and last names.

All students from Edenville School were bused to Midland, Michigan beginning at the 9th grade. That marked the end of parental involvement in my education. Control was now by strangers who lived 20 miles away and who some feared. My brother is 4 years older then me. By the time he was ready for Junior High the Edenville School had closed. That marked the end for meaningful parental involvement in local education.

The new Meridian School system replaced all schools north of Midland. The people that took control of education for Hope, Edenville and Sandford townships then controlled the Meridian School systems. These people were strangers from somewhere else but for a few exceptions. At that point parents had not been totally disenfranchised, yet. That would happen later.

The completion of Paul R. Smith Middle School prompted me to write this post. The school is located a short distance from my home. It’s on approximately 10 acres that is enclosed by a chain link fence. The entrances are gated and closed most of the time. Large stop signs order us to stop. A sign at each gate advises all who are about to enter, “Security Notice – Security cameras may be used to record events at this facility.” Another sign screams, “NO Trespassing.”

The future has been locked in concrete, steel and asphalt for the next 50-75 years. The school is staffed by professionals. Good people, but with more interest in the will of the administrators who administrate county and state laws than the will of the parents who have gradually become primarily procreators who house, feed and care for their students.

The only people welcome on the property are authorized school employees, law enforcement and students when permitted. The rest of us have become potential trespassers.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bush pushes Congress on student loan bill

President Bush said Saturday [April 26, 2008] that the credit crunch is threatening the availability of student loans. He said his administration is doing what it can to help with emergency loans but prodded Congress for authority to do more.

"A slowdown in the economy shouldn't mean a downturn in educational opportunities," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

Go to the following link for more information.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vouchers are back, coming to ballot

The debate over school vouchers is about to make a roaring comeback in Florida.

On Friday [April 25, 2008], a powerful citizen commission voted to put a measure on the Novermber ballot that would provide legal protection for vouchers and could pave the way for the return of the Opportunity Scholarships championed by former Gov. Bush.

I suggest that you monitor what is happening in your state and take corrective action.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Controlling Florida classrooms from the state Legislature

While you are focused on educating students, others at the state level, are focused on your classroom. Their intent is not about helping you, it's rather about controlling what you are teaching and how you teach.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

End of Course Testing

State level End of Course Test will become a reality in Florida. Florida now has FCAT. Passing that test is a high school graduation requirement. Soon there will be a state level End of Course Test [ECT]. Passing that test will determine if the student passes a course. The reasoning used to justify ECT is the same as was used to justify the FCAT.

The young male Republican promoting this legislation appeared to be in his 20’s. He is supported by a Republican male that appeared to be in his 50’s. Do you want more testing? There will be more testing if we passively accept a law that mandate state required end of course tests.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mags are making us dumber

April 15, 2008 -- JOAN Collins says we're turning into a world of idiots - and she thinks the celebrity magazines are partly to blame. "Our civilization has become extremely dumbed down, with shorter attention spans. All they want are sound bites," the 75-year-old diva, who famously played super-bitchy Alexis Carrington on "Dynasty," tells BlackBook's Steve Garbarino. "The tabloid magazines are the same every week. People has the same cover as InTouch, OK!, US Weekly and Star magazine. They're exactly the same! It must be 100 to 120 people you read about all the time." But why? "They are appealing to a young audience, or a rather dumb audience," Collins theorizes. She adds that the magazines "go after those girls who exhibit more outrageous behavior. And, believe me, those girls love it. They call in items themselves - that they were at Nobu, some nightclub in SoHo. I can't think of anything more horrible than that. Publicity can be a drug."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Anti-bully bill SB790 sailed through Senate hearing

I have witnessed the behavior of bullies. I have been the victim of bullies. And, I abhor their unacceptable behavior. However, I don’t think that Florida SB 790 is appropriate because I do not want students stigmatized. That is the worse consequence of SB790.

It’s now, here in Florida, too late to modify student behavior that is within the scope of SB790 without the student becoming a criminal. Students get on the bus in the morning. Some, before they get home, become caught up in Florida’s criminal justice system. SB790 increases the probability that this will happen