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.