Thursday, October 07, 2010

Did they read the book?

Hopefully you have a teenager that should be reading.  I have wonderful books that contain valuable knowledge that I  reference. You likely know of a book with knowledge that would benefit a teenager you care about. But, if you gave them the book, how would you know if they read it?

Try this.  About two thirds into the book write these words. [Congratulations, you have read enough of this book to have earned the right to receive $50.  Email me or phone and we will have lunch.  At that time, I will give you the $50.  This offer expires on this date. (include an expiration date)  Sign.]

Now, give them the book and wait.  After the expiration date,  if you have not heard from them, you make contact.  I am sure you will know what to say.

Afterwards, let us know what happened by posting your experience on this Blog.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Prerequisite Knowledge

Prerequisite: something required beforehand.  In the case of knowledge, it is knowledge that is required to understand what is being taught.  One part of that would be vocabulary.  If you did not know the definition of prerequisite, then you would not know what I am writing about.  If you were in a classroom where I was talking about the importance of prerequisite knowledge and did now its meaning, you would not know what I was talking about there either.  Hopefully, you understand the importance of prerequisite knowledge.

I watch and listen to experienced professional educators teaching students. Sometimes they are middle school students and the teacher is presenting a lesson that a college student level.  Is there any wonder why their students have a bewildered look on their face?

Knowledge is incremental. Do I have to explain that too?  Figure it out.

I cringe when I see teachers overshooting their students. Is there any wonder why standardized test scores are declining?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This is Flounder.

Flounder and I go to the Home Depot. We go to a lot a places.  His favorite place to go  is to Key Vista nature park where he gets to run on the beach and met other dogs.

He is almost as smart as a 5th grader.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Recently Pasco county spent $4.3 million on Math text books.

I was issued text books beginning when I was in Jr. High and expected to study them, bring them to class, care for them (writing or drawing in them was not acceptable) and return them at the end of the school year in a condition that indicated only normal use.  If something was done to the text that condemned it, then it was destroyed and the student was billed for the cost of the text.  (If someone had written F**** you on a critical page, then the text was destroyed.) 

I witnessed the end of my nephew's 9th grade year when text books were suppose to be returned.  Every text that he had been issued was gone.  I over hear his mother, a math teacher in the same school giving a long explanation that resulted in not having to pay for the missing texts. 

I've been wondering how long the text had been missing.  Whatever that length of time; that was how long it had been since Josh had not been studying his text books and doing assigned home work.  He graduated that year and eventually graduated from High School.  He is now a professional mountain climber.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I Wonder ....

There seems to be nothing positive to write about.  Every education seed has something wrong with it. School will be starting soon.  I sure hope you have used your summer wisely. This school year appears to be more challenging than last. I would not want to be a student, teacher or an administrator. I'm really somewhat of a spectator to a tragedy.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Education Is The Purpose Of Testing.

That statement should be obviously wrong.  Florida school administrators and politicians have had an obsession with testing every since Florida's governor Jeb Bush buddied-up with a Florida college professor in the Department of Education.  Now the purpose of education has been lost.  Hopefully, it will be rediscovered.

Bay area school letter grades released.

School district's FCAT grade slips

Your pay, your career, your economic future is dependent on a test score: a test you did not write and a test you did not take.  Strangers wrote the test, administered the test and scored the test.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Pluses of Getting It Wrong

I had a college math professor who would pose a question on a topic we hadn't learned yet.  We would then spend the next half-hour trying to collectively come up with the solution as he shot down wrong answer after wrong answer.  If you are so intent on find the answer, when you finally get it, it sticks!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Very Troubling

More than two-thirds of Texas schoolchildren flunked the state's physical fitness test this year, a troubling trend that doctors worry could get worse with the Legislature loosening the requirements for high school gym class.  You can read the full story at this link.  Most Texas Students Failing

Friday, June 04, 2010

Baseline Test Score

The first thing you need to do is take a full-length diagnostic test in the most testlike conditions possible.


Constructionist learning is inspired by the constructivist theory that individual learners construct mental models to understand the world around them. However, constructionism holds that learning can happen most effectively when people are also active in making tangible objects in the real world. In this sense, constructionism is connected with experiential learning and builds on some of the ideas of Jean Piaget.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

After only 5 hours searching the internet ....

The most remarkable result of the experiment emerged when Small repeatd the tests six days later.  In the interim, the novices had agreed to spend an hour a day online, searching the Internet.  The new scans revealed that their brain activity had changed dramatically; it now resembled that of the veteran surfers. "Five hours on the Internet and the naive subjects had already rewired their brains."  source:  Wired, June, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Florida's 2013 Graduation Requirements

Under new graduation requirement signed into law last month, students by 2013 will be required to take tough science and math courses and pass end-of-course exams to earn their high school diplomas.  I wonder what impact Marcelo Gleiser's book, A Tear at teh Edge of Creation, will have on this since it is about to obsolete science text books and how science is taught. Who said science was static?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Teacher Beating a Student

Some people should not be school teachers.

Teacher Beating a Student

All teachers should read this book!

                                A Tear at the Edge of Creation by Marcelo Gleiser

"Cherish this book.  With powerful clarity Gleiser argues that there is a profound link in Western science between monotheism and scientific search for a Theory of Everything.  He argues persuaively that we must give up this dream. This my auger a profound transformation in our understanding of the world."  source: Stuart Kaufan, a fellow of the Royal Society.

This is also going to have a profound effect on what and how you teach your students science.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Many home-schoolers are really dropouts!

More than 22,620 Texas secondary students who stopped showing up for class in 2008 were excluded from the state's dropout statistics because administrators said they were being home-schooled, according to Texas Education Agency figures.

But that's where the scrutiny of this growing population seems to end, leaving some experts convinced that schools are disguising thousands of middle and high school dropouts in this hands-off category.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

You ain't seen nothing yet.

States have been struggling with huge budget gaps since 2008, but this year could be worse as federal stimulus funds wind down.

Until now, stimulus money spared governors and state lawmakers from making some of the most brutal budget cuts. But with this lifeline running out, officials are looking at making significant cutbacks to public services, particularly schools and health programs.   source:

It is true!

Obama, who often chides journalists and cable news outlets for obsessing with political horse race coverage rather than serious issues, told a class of graduating university students that education was the key to progress.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

School improvement and rating system

Hi Mike,

I found out that the purpose of grading student's has changed since we were students and teachers. The only people that can understand it are professional educators that are not distracted. I don't think it is possible for a K-12 student to understand it. If a student attempted to understand it, they would likely be told that 'it's none of their business'.

There is also a complicated method of grading schools. It's called the School improvement and rating system. I wonder who is behind that.


Within education, what is the purpose of grading?

The answer to this question has changed since I was a teacher.  Now, there are many answers to that question in Florida and what the answers are and who is controlling is very important.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The evolution of the car radio.

The evolution of the car radio.

Our car did not have a radio when I was in grade school . We road in silence. No one said much other than something like ‘Turn right at the at the next corner.’ I was kept busy playing an alphabet game involving seeing something that began with a letter of the alphabet: The next letter is 'C'. Find something that begins with the letter 'C'. There is a cow.

Our first car radio was AM. That arrived when I was in High School. There were few stations at the time and most of them broadcasted a weak signal and the programming was worse. The nearest one to me was in Midland, Michigan. That was about 20 miles from Hope. Another one was in Saginaw. That would have been about 50 miles away. The reception was mostly static. When the reception was clear it would only last a few minutes and then drift back into static.

I got my first car after I graduated from high school. It's radio was AM. I seldom turned the radio on because the quality of the signal was so poor that it was best to leave it off.

When I was in college in the 70's the car radios were still mostly AM and the reception still had not improved much. However, at the time home receives had made a giant leap in quality. I recall wondering why they did it for the home and not car. They would about 20 years later.

Now the car radios are top quality. My truck's radio is beyond criticism. What came next were people like Rush, Sean Hannity and other radio talk show talkers. Recently I was drive in heavy traffic on US 19 and thought about all of us listening to a talker that wants to effect our thinking.

There was a time when we drove in silence. If we talked. It was to the passengers. Now we listen to a talker with a political, religious or some other agenda. I think of people like Rush as being political provocateur.

What would George Orwell think about this?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This is a video that you must watch.

The fear of science is killing us.

Editor's note: Michael Specter is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of "Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet and Threatens our Lives." TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading," hosts talks on many subjects and makes them available through its Web site,

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Florida education is going though major changes.

Here is a link to a YouTube video that was made by a Pasco teacher.  My first impression of it is that there just isn't something right about this teacher and his message.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It does not seem possible ...

It does not seem possible that there would be an interest at the Federal level to make the teaching profession more insecure then it is now.  That appears to be the case.

Florida political leaders appear to have passed SB6 as an attempt to get their Federal share of the $4.35 billion Race to the Top fund.  That was not enough to get the money.  The money went to Delaware and Tennesee.  They will get another opportunity later this year.

I can not envision how undermining the teaching profession can improve education. I am already at the point where I avoid teaching and advise others to do the same thing.

I doubt if any school administrator will ever do anything that will change my mind regard the teaching profession.  But, I'm open to that possibility.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Study: Home matters more than school reform

Two University of Florida researchers say it's confirmed:  Where you live and what you do with your parents influence school performance.  "The core philosophy of school reform today is that effective schools and quality teaching can correct all learning problems ...and if they fail, it's the educators 'fault,' says Harry Naniels, the study's lead investigator.  But "the most important factor ... may be the children's life style and the early learning opportunities they receive at home."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Under Florida SB 6 (Passed Senate, pending in House)

Teachers would serve a five year probationary period and then get single-year contracts, with pay based on evaluations.  Half of their pay wuld be linked to student test results.

Bonuses now given to teachers with National Board certification would be eliminated in 2014.

All studnets must take geometry, two years of algebra, biology, chemistry or physics and an additional "rigorous" science course.

Phase out the FCAT in hight schools by 2014 and replace it with an end-of-course tests. Students who fail the tests can move to the next grade, but graduation depends on passing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Florida's Senate is still punishing teachers.

The Senate is poised to vote on SB 6, which envisions a future where any teacher hired after July 1 has no gaurantee of a job year-to-year. That would make it easier to get rid of a teacher without having to endure a laborious discipline proceeding.  It would also make the teachers even more insecure than they are now.

SB 6 will also do away with tenure.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Playing A Musical Instrument Makes You Smarter

Many studies have been conducted on the effects of music to the brain. Scientists say that children who are exposed to music, or those who play an instrument, do better in school than those who don’t. Recent research suggests exposure to music may benefit a child’s reading age, IQ and the development of certain parts of the brain. Adults can benefit from learning to play an instrument too because it helps the mind to be alert and remain active eventually helping to sharpen the memory.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fixing schools requires all to pitch in .... Bill Maxwell

I have heard since I got involved in education about fixing schools.  This now sounds like a mantra that insinuates that it is broke.  At this point in my life, it lacks sincerity.  It seems to me that it is more of an evolutionary process.  Fixed?  I doubt it.  Schools changing gradually over time and becoming something different?  Yes!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

U.S. science literacy has increased to 28%.

Miller concedes that some of the rapid increase in U.S. science literacy may reflect self-education by adults, aided by the Internet.

Over the past two decades, science literacy has nearly tripled in the U.S. to a meager 28%.  Source: Science news, March 13, 2010.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Rowdy protester target funding cuts at US campuses

BERKELEY, Calif. – Students carried out raucous rallies on college campuses nationwide Thursday in protests against deep education cuts that turned violent as demonstrators threw punches and ice chunks in Wisconsin and blocked university gates and smashed car windows in California.

Link To News Story

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Brawls disrupt middle school

"We have no control, " says a teacher at John Hopkins in St. Petersburg, FL, with 60 arrested since fall.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Bill Maxwell wrote:

"Becasue people are low income, it doesn't mean they don't care about their children and don't want them to get a good education. These parents care about their kids.  They want them to have the best education.  And, tax credit scholarship affords them the opportunity."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Proof of health insurance as a condition to being a college student

The state of Florida is now at the highest level of government discussing  health insurance as being a condition for being a Florida college student. Apparently, some states already require their students to maintain health insurance at their expense as a condition for being a student.  From what I heard, I am caused to think that it will soon be a Florida student requirement. How to administer it is now their focus of attention.

I would not have a college education if I had to pay the current cost of a college education. I am from a working class family that did not value education beyond high school.  Having it proved to be a social negative. 

So, now they are going to make it even more difficult for the working class to be educated.  If doing everything that the college teachers required wasn't already enough.

What is the pay-off for the working class student that does everything requires by the University.  In my case, it was rejection.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Brain Cells

Fresh neurons arise in the adult brain every day.  New research suggest that the cells ultimately help with learning complex tasks and the more they are challenged, the more they flourish.  Reported in Scientific American.

Source Tracy J. Shors, professor in the department of psychology and the Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers.

What will become of homo sapiens?

Contrary to popular belief, humans continue to evolve.  Our bodies and brains are not the same as our ancestors' were - or as our decendants'will be.   source:  Beter Ward of Scientific American

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Legal limit as to how far school can go.

The 3rd. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a finding that Justin Layshock's First Amendment rights were violated, "It would be an unseemly and dangerous preedent to allow the state in the guise of school authorities to reach into a child's home and control his/her actions" to the extent it can exert control in school.

"It makes pedagogic sense for the First Amendment to allow school officials some say over the tenor of speech in  school.  But by unleashing that power to anywhere a student is, school authorities would essentially get to control the speech of the general population under 18.  That is too much discretion for schools and not enough freedom for young people."  Source:  Robyn Blumner

Friday, February 19, 2010

School spied on students via laptops ....

This happened in Philadelphia and was reported by the Associated Press on February 19, 2010.

Lower Merion School District officials actived the student's webcam when the school laptops were in the privacy of the student's home and  used them to recorded private moments.  This is a scenario from George Orwell's 1984.  Orwell wrote 1984 to warn us about the possibility of this happening.

If you are a teacher or administrator. Do not do this.  If you are a parent. Do not allow a school computer into your home that has a webcam.  If you think the laptop is being used to monitor your home: get a lawyer.

You can get the details with a Google search.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Afraid of a new idea?

There's so much power in a new idea taking shape and changing the way people live and act.  Often the rest of us are in awe or we are even afraid of a new idea and sometimes our fears spur us to learn more about it.

Souce: John Houtz, Scientific American Mind

Friday, February 12, 2010

What should I conclude if ....

What should I conclude, if after 6 months elapes; I discover that only a small percentage of teachers participate in a form or blog and even fewer have their own blog or forum?  It is going to indicate something and I cannot imagine that it will be positive.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Welcome to The Educator's Forum.

Today I patched most of the broken links and added a link to my Twitter. It is now ready for you.

Forums and blogs are what you make of them.  If you ignore them or worse condemn them with your words, then you will not benefit nor will others.  If you read and publish,  we will all benefit providing what you publish is not malicious.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Educator's Forum

This morning I upload the first version of the Educator's Forum. The path that lead to this began in December after I upgraded to a new computer system, bought Expression Web 3 and learned how to use it.  You likely were told some time in the past about prerequisite knowledge. I cannot over stress the importance of that.  It became obvious to me that I could not have learned Expression Web without first knowing HTML.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Do we learn when we are sleeping?

The answer is YES!  I noticed when I was a student at Delta College that I would be very sleepy.  I would drink coffee and NoDoze to counteract the sleepiness  Delta did not provide any place to nap nor was there any encouragement to take a nap. Occasionally, I would see Chuck sleeping in the library.  I reasoned at the time that Chuck could not be learning if he was sleeping. 

I discovered when I was a computer programmer at Dow Chemical that I would know the answer to a problem after I took a nap.  Something was obviously happening that I was unaware of.  Now, there is scientific evidence supporting the Scientific hypothesis that during sleep our brain at a cellular level completes the learning process as well as solveing problems needed during our waking state. 

I'm now teaching myself  Expression Web 3.  I noticed that occasionally I would be overcome by drowsiness.  I know now it is just my brain tell me that I need to take nap so it can do what it needs to do. Now, I don't have a boss to tell me that I cannot take a nap. I don't need permission to nap.  There is no one that can punish me for napping.  Consequently, I nap when I am overcome with drowsiness. 
I am 67 and most of you think that what has happened is an impossibility.  (The number of people that read this can likely be counted on one hand.  I could be wrong.  Prove me wrong by sending a message to  )

The details can be found with a Google search from the Educator's Forum.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This is going to have a major effect on the Freedom of the Press

Hi Ronald,

I went to Books A Million to buy a book that would help me learn Expression Web and found nothing to buy. Expression appears to be too new for a writer to have had time to write and publish.

A few night ago I listened to Charlie Rose interview a leader in the publishing industry. He said that books will not be published like they were in the past. There will be on demand publishing for those willing and able to pay the price. The books of the future will mostly be published for the Kindle or something like that. Amazons- Kindle-Wireless-generation   There will not be paper back books. Their time is over. I was looking around in Books A Million wonder if that is going to happen and what will happen to all the books and the book stores.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Microsoft's Expression Web 3

I am continuing to learn how to use Expression Web 3.  I found these videos that are very helpful.  link to videos  I gave myself a month to learn Expression.  But, it might be another month before I'm productive. 

There is a lot to learn and if you are not already able to ready html, you are at a disadvantage.  If you are going to learn Expression Web, I suggest that you first learn basic html. Otherwise, the code that Expression Web creates will look like Greek.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

It just faded away.

I watched a football game from the Lime-n-Coconut on New Years and realized that it was as phony as professional wrestling.  This morning on WUSF I saw an ad promoting a special about a pandemic: The Anamomy of a Pandemic: It Just Faded Away.  Was it ever really here?  Could H1M1 be a manifestation of the minds of people like those that created professional wrestling and NFL football.?  Hummm ...  What have be become?