09.09.09

RNC picks “teabagger” to rebut President’s education speech

Posted in Economy, educational rant, humor, Hypocrisy at 12:26 pm by angela

THIS JUST IN:

The RNC has announced that its rebuttal tonight of President Obama’s national address to schoolchildren will be delivered by Hiram Walker Jones, a part-time worker at a 7/11 in Oklahoma. Michael Steele, National Chairman, characterizes the upcoming speech as a “strong statement for parental rights and American public opinion.”

Jones, who dropped out of middle school when he reached age 16 after being held back 3 times, “has been proudly working for corporate America,” said Mitch McConnell, who added that he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with working Americans who are not afraid to stand up for free market principles.

“Jones will speak out against education as a scam that elitist liberals use to cheat their way into positions of power and control over the media. He will also talk about reverse discrimination and reverse racism endemic in the current administration. He will speak about the rights of parents not to have their kids in school lectured to by an uppity black man,” said Rush Limbaugh, when asked for a comment.

“He will come out against socialist policies like universal health care, food stamps, and unemployment compensation, which are breaking the backs of the hardest-working Americans, the wealthy, and creating a nation dependent on government handouts,” said John Boehner, in a statement to the press. “We are proud that an uninsured American like Jones, who has not fallen for liberal lies about health care reform despite having a diabetic child who is unable to see a doctor and a mother who died from cancer last year after her health insurance company rescinded her policy for not telling them her feet hurt after working a double shift at the local truck stop, where she was a waitress, serving proud American truckers, who are the lifeblood of this country.”

Said Betsy McCaughey, “Jones will wisely come out against major changes to the health care system, changes that might result in health care services being provided to the tens of millions undeserving living in our midst.”

A spokesman for the National Heritage Foundation said that real Americans like Jones are showing us that polls do not represent what real Americans really think about the issues. “Real Americans understand that it is necessary to first balance the budget and cut taxes to the wealthy, even if it means increasing taxes to the working poor, eliminating all social services, and a return to debtor’s prisons.”

Jones became involved in the Tea Party movement when he heard about it in April while watching the Glenn Beck show and listening to Rush Limbaugh, as he does daily. He attended the April 15th rally, but was unable to attend a July4th rally, as he couldn’t afford to put gas in his car.

Jones is currently working his shift at the convenience store, and could not be reached for comment. A 7/11 spokesman said that under no circumstances are employees permitted personal calls while at work.

Jones is living with his wife and 3 children in his father’s basement.

01.07.09

Abstinence-only sex education: FAIL

Posted in Accountability, educational rant, Religion at 5:11 pm by angela

Guess what? Studies have finally outed “abstinence-only” sex education as the fraud it is. Abstinence-only sex education has no effect on the age at which teens have sex or how much sex they are having. We have poured millions of dollars into this scam, the sole purpose of which is to inject religion into public schools.

Abstinence-only sex education does have an unintended result: teaching kids that condoms and other forms of birth control don’t work has had the result that when kids who have taken part in these programs do have sex, they don’t bother to use any contraception. So pregnancy and STD rates among these students are much higher because of the program they have taken part in. Think Bristol Palin, spawn of Sarah, who believes that no sex education should be taught, and that parents can teach the kids at home. Good work there, Mom!

Another thing that has no effect on teen sex is the “chastity pledge” that young teens may take at a ceremony where they may get a ring symbolizing chastity. Most kids don’t remember they took the pledge, and even if they did, they don’t let it affect their sexual behavior.

Responses: That it’s still the right thing to do, the only right thing to do, even if it is wrong.

Abstinence-only FAIL: Story
Chastity pledge FAIL: Daily Mail

06.04.08

Education: 10 most useless college majors?

Posted in educational rant, irrational thought, Language at 2:35 pm by angela

Yeah, lists are popular. It’s fun to poke fun at stuff, especially if you have little or no understanding what it’s about.

But they’re often really off the mark, like right here. As many of the commenters have pointed out, some of these jobs really can lead to stable jobs and/or lucrative careers.

I think part of the problem is in viewing the bachelor’s degree as vocational training, which, in most cases, it is not. I don’t want to sound like one of those guidance counselors or college recruiters who is going to hide the fact that the classes you take do not prepare you to plunk down and do a particular job that first day, or claim that your degree will open magic doors for you, no matter what you major in. Some of the degrees profiled here that sound the most career-specific are for “careers” that actually have few or no openings, fair enough. But it’s hard to believe that anyone who decided on a degree in philosophy or art history had any expectation of finding a career in it.

Seriously, computer programmers studied programming because they liked it and were good at it. Abolishing dance majors will only mean that people who like dance and are good at it won’t study it. It definitely does not mean they will suddenly like programming and become good at writing computer applications.

The thing is, there are lots of jobs out there that have the requirement that you have a degree. They only require this because they can, and because there are so many people with degrees floating around aimlessly. But the degree requirement is to save them from having to screen you to see if you can read, write, and understand enough arithmetic not to make a complete fool of yourself on their dime in front of clients. Do you need a degree to do the job, to actually perfom its functions? No, but human resources people being way too much like the evil human resorces director Catbert, are basically lazy. Let you spend $100K so they won’t have to ask the real questions that determine whether you can do the job.

Philosophy? Not a major that attracts worker bees anyway. But Latin? A career for life teaching Latin in high school.
Post

03.30.07

Why boys don’t pay attention — breaking research

Posted in Bad girls, Biology, educational rant at 1:05 am by angela

“New research shows it takes one part of the brain to start concentrating and another to be distracted. This discovery could help scientists develop better treatments for attention deficit disorder.

“This ability to willfully focus your attention is physically separate in the brain from distracting things grabbing your attention,” said Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He led the study, published in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.”

Article

So what they are saying is that these students would pay attention if they perceived their lives were in danger. Perhaps if we threaten them with wild bears…?

The bottom part of his graphic had nothing to do with the article, but I guess they thought it was close enough to serve as an illustration. It’s interesting. You could explain away a lot of stereotypes of rednecks and such based on this information.

Do you suppose it’s something in the water?

03.18.07

Written Assignments

Posted in Bad boys, educational rant, Submissives at 11:26 am by angela

They used to give out written punishments in schools. Sometimes they were deliberately chosen for their edifying moral value, and other times for the purpose of boring the student into not repeating the bad behavior.

I recall only one written punishment during my school days. I guess the class must have been pretty rowdy. Several times the teacher assigned us all to write out the preface of the class text.

A while back I belonged to a couple of yahoo groups involving written punishments. Depending on the sub’s misbehavior, his Mistress would assign him a writing passage to copy for a certain number of lines. The subs would write out lines, then scan them and email them to their Mistress. She would correct them and pronounce them satisfactory or not.

The other group used a little application called Fond of Writing. A domme will set up an assignment within the program. She sends it to the sub, who types out the assignment acording to her specifications. When he is done, he gets a verifiable report to send back to his domme, proof not only that he did the assignment, but how long he took and how many errors he made.

There are lots of parameters to set, and maybe even lots of interrelated messages to write. There’s also an image to be inserted, and it has to be in the bitmap form and within certain size limits. I did this a few times. After a while it became clear that it took me half an hour to prepare an assignment that would take half an hour to complete.Of course the sub loved it, but it was getting harder and harder to make assignments within his narrow interests. After a while I just told him how much time it had been taking me. Subs don’t usually think that fun assignments take time for the writer. Eventually I had an interaction with one of the moderators, who was extraordinarily condescending. I quit the groups.

So I was pretty surprised recently when a couple of boys in a school I’m working in were made to write sincere letters of apology for their misbehavior. What an old-fashioned punishment!

It’s working.

02.01.07

Lost in Lake Wobegon

Posted in educational rant, irrational thought, Political rant at 1:49 pm by angela

Ok, so I’ve been glancing at this free weekly newspaper on the table for days, not sure if it’s worth the effort to read it. But I had the nagging feeling that I probably ought to read it to try and catch up on local news once in a blue moon, since there’s really no other way to find out what’s happening on a truly local scale since the local daily sold out and gave up reporting and/or printing news.

I’d been seeing that top headline “Below average” next to some other headline that was a little too close in alignment, so they kind of ran together. Underneath was a subtitle “Students struggling to meet state standards”. Well, no surprise there, eh? Considering how badly thought out the standards are, how poorly students are taught, and how little we expect them to be able to do – right up until test day – it’s amazing that more aren’t struggling.

But today, finally I picked the paper up and started to read the text of the article. It began, “More than half of…” Suddenly I had an attack of realization. The reporter was setting an arbitrary cutoff at “half”, as though all we need to do now is fix that, get those students up above average, and they’ll all be above average, just like Lake Wobegon, where all of the kids are above average.

in the classroomI could of course say, What does it mean when a reporter who’s supposed to be informing us has made an error showing basic innumeracy, innocence of the fact that the average is always smack in the middle, half above and half below. I’m not sure that’s fair, though, since newspapers nowadays hire most of their writing staff on the basis of whether they are willing to accept the low wages that are being offered.

But you know, I think there are people higher up that we can point the finger at. We’ve got ourselves a system that relies on testing instead of teaching. Students can spend weeks taking tests in a year, and because of the importance of the tests to the school, the schools have no choice but to spend class time teaching the students how to take tests, time that would be utterly wasted except for the fact that classroom time is generally wasted anyway.

Then they take the scores, add them up and compare the schools. It’s a grand and glorious plan, to judge schools on many different testing criteria, and then have them straighten out and fix the ones they didn’t measure up to. But the net result is that there are so many different different ways to fail that even the best schools fail in some way or another every year.

you got her angryHow can a school fail? Let’s look at a few ways. Only a certain percentage of special needs students can be exempt from the test, and the others are expected to pass it with the same scores as regular students, regardless of their circumstances. So if you have a school system with a cluster of retarded students, forget it. You’re screwed from the time they enter kindergarten until they leave the system, and if they can’t achieve with the top learners, it’s the school’s fault.

Students who are new to the US and speak little English are expected to take the tests and pass. If your school system is in an area that has a substantial immigrant population, again, you’re screwed.

If you’ve got everything planned out, but the wrong kid stays home the day of one of the tests and doesn’t make it up, you’re screwed.

If your students are below average, you’re screwed, because the No Child Left Behind Act is based on two premises: the first is that it is not only possible, it is desirable, it is necessary for all students to be above average.

We only have to look to the source to see where this came from – someone who is so far below average that he is living proof that it is not necessary to be above average.

The other premise functions to raise the ante, to raise the standards every year. It assumes that the only limiting factor for learning is the quality of schooling.

on the floorNow before my ranting gets completely out of control, let’s just look again at whose idea this program is. George W. Bush. Let’s step back and see how well he illustrates his own principles.

Did passing tests and achieving high get Dubya where he is now? Not a chance. If it wasn’t for Daddy’s money, he’d have had to go to a community college and been drafted into the service instead of getting that cushy Guard post back when being in the Guard was a refuge, rather than a hazard to life and limb. If George Bush had had to earn a living in his life, he’d be living in a trailer someplace, with Laura still working as a librarian to pay the bills.

How about raising the bar? Could a better quality of education and more caring and highly educated teachers have turned Dubya into a high achiever? I am laughing right now as I type this.

What it really is all about is maximizing the number of schools that fail each year in order to defund public education and send the money to religious and charter schools which are held to no standards at all, and which, it turns out, fail miserably at educating students.

The tide may turn, but as yet it has not, regardless of who we have voted out of office. We have too many people who are busily trying to keep up with the requirements, as though they were not a moving target, destined to disappear off into the distance.

Stop what you are doing. Breathe. Think.

01.18.07

Males, females, and our schools

Posted in Bad boys, Biology, educational rant at 8:14 pm by angela

The education system: What can be done for males?

Hello Goddess (writes Brian),

I’ve just come across your site and I am intrigued and impressed. Having listened to a recording of yours on Keen, I know this is a mix of fantasy and reality but I’m going to pose a few serious questions/comments in the hope that you respond in earnest.

I became interested in the plight of boys’ education while reading a several page spread in a weekend newspaper back in 2000. It dealt with the educational symposium held in Seattle that year. The focus was on boys’ inability to compete with the girls intellectually. One solution proffered was to have boys enter school a year later than girls, which would help to offset their disadvantage of being less mature than their female classmates.

While I am sure it would be advantageous not to start students who are not yet physically or emotionally ready for school, a study has shown that holding back students, even at the start of schooling, will make them more likely to drop out before completing high school. The effect was attributed to the students being older than their peers. One could only guess whether holding back most or all boys would have that same effect.

MORE…