Friday, September 01, 2006

When Public School Teachers Can't Pass the Test

Andrew Wolf in the New York Sun brings up a problem with school reform. A significant percentage of minority teachers can not pass the teacher's exam required to receive certification in the state of New York. So what do the teachers do. Do they study to pass the test next time? No! they scream discrimination and demand the already easy test be made easier.

Mr Wolf says.
The test appears to me to be more appropriate as an exit exam required for high school graduation than as an entrance exam for new teachers. The claims of the plaintiffs that the test is "culturally and generationally bound" is absurd. This is a simple test of general knowledge and skills that represents the least that we should expect of someone to whom we entrust with the education of our children.

Inadequate teachers aren't the only was who want protection from their lack of knowledge.

Those who believe in the ideology behind this suit also have their sights set on another area of the city's educational scene, the specialized high schools.

A report issued by the Department of Education last week disclosed that the proportion of blacks and Hispanics attending the city's three most prestigious high schools, Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech, has been declining for a decade. Even the proportion of white students is slipping as Asians, representing just 15.3% of the total public school population, now represent a majority at all three schools.

Their solution rig the test so more African-American's can pass it. At the expense of the Asian and white students who have the knowledge to pass the test as is.

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Naguib Mahfouz, 94, Nobel Laureate in Literature, Dies

Like many Egyptian intellectuals, some of whose works have been denounced as disrespectful to Islam, Mr. Mahfouz in recent years had been put on a “death list” by Islamic fundamentalists who were said to be responsible for hundreds of terrorist killings in Egypt and abroad.

Death threats are of course the ultimate in censorship. Not only did Mr. Mahfouz not let the death threats stop him from writing books that Islamic fundamentalists considered blasphemous he supported Egypt's peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Critics compared his richly detailed Cairo with the London of Dickens, the Paris of Zola and the St. Petersburg of Dostoyevsky.

Lesson plan
Do the Write Thing Preparing Newspaper Articles That Honor Classic Authors

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Editorials from Hell's leading daily newspaper, The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork

after reading Edu-Cons 17, you should be afraid, very afraid...................................

SAT Reading & Math Scores Show Decline

The data does suggest that as a nation, critical reading and writing are lagging behind the progress we are making in math, Mr. Camara said.

Possible reasons for the low scores.
  • The length of the test. The test takes 3 hours and 45 minutes, when you factor in things like breaks the total time is 5 hours.
  • More people took the ACT instead of the SAT due to the disclosure that the SAT had mis-scored over 5,000 exams.
  • Fewer people took the SAT more then once.

The New York Times has lesson plans for this article.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Problem With Multiculturalism

One of my problems finding a satisfactory American History & American Literature Textbook stems from the public schools current flirtation with multiculturalism.

No one would argue that learning about other cultures is worthwhile. BUT they aren't just interested in teaching students about other cultures, they want to build these cultures up by tearing our culture down. In some instances they rewrite history to such an extent that students have no idea what actually happened or why it happened.

Elan Journo has this to say in Multiculturalism's War on Education
What these textbooks reveal is a concerted effort to portray the most backward, impoverished and murderous cultures as advanced, prosperous and life-enhancing. Multiculturalism's goal is not to teach about other cultures, but to promote--by means of distortions and half-truths--the notion that non-Western cultures are as good as, if not better than, Western culture. Far from "broadening" the curriculum, what multiculturalism seeks is to diminish the value of Western culture in the minds of students. But, given all the facts, the objective superiority of Western culture is apparent, so multiculturalists artificially elevate other cultures and depreciate the West.

Multiculturalism has lead to politically correct policies in today's public schools and universities that is stifling new ideas. Students are taught to conform to the "policy" without question, without thought. Students who don't conform are labeled intolerant.

Multiculturalism:The New Racism
Racism, not any meaningful sense of diversity, guides today's intellectuals. The educationally significant diversity that exists in "the real world" is intellectual diversity, i.e., the diversity of ideas. But such diversity--far from being sought after--is virtually forbidden on campus. The existence of "political correctness" blasts the academics' pretense at valuing real diversity. What they want is abject conformity.

Multiculturalism does a disservice to all. Thankfully homeschoolers are free to buy textbooks that tell the truth and nothing but the truth, they are free to have a multicultural free zone, and to forget the political correct agendas being promoted in public schools.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How Public Schools Shortchange Boys

Read Gerry Garibaldi's account of how today's feminized classrooms shortchange boys.

eBay Discriminates Against Homeschoolers

eBay prohibits textbooks for homeschool teachers. It lumps them with illegal drugs and bootleg recordings,prompting an avalanche of complaints from homeschool customers. Read the entire article here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Book Review

If you are looking for something for your teens try Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. Sean rated it a B+ and considering he is comparing it to Lord of the Rings that's pretty good.

Why Don't They Just Change The Channel?

According to the American Family Association
Not content with all the profanity already on TV, CBS has decided to air the profanity-laden unedited version of "9/11" on Sept. 10. It is time to tell CBS and the other networks that enough is enough! Send an email, asking the FCC to enforce the law. Your email will go not only to the FCC, but also to CBS. Contact your local CBS affiliate and ask them not to air "9/11." Click Here to find their contact information or use your local phone directory.

Sorry, but sometimes real life is messy. These people were trapped inside a burning building, they were dying and the AFA wants us to complain because profanity was used. Get Real!

I understand that some people don't want to hear profanity, I respect their decision, but they can simply turn the TV off or switch it to another channel. No one is holding a gun to their head making them watch. WHY can't they respect my decision to watch the show, and CBS's decision to air it.

And before someone gets the wrong idea. I prefer books and TV shows without profanity in them; but sometimes real life is messy, sometime strong language is called for...................censorship never is.

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The Slippery Slope of Censoring Books

All the books in the relationships section of Waldenbooks at the Singing River Mall in Gautier have been pulled from the shelves and are in storage.

This is due to the efforts of Lori Taylor , a homeschool Mom, who is determined to protect her teenage son from books on relationships. I wonder what other books she will decide to "protect" children from if she gets away with it? Will the art books mysteriously disappear from the shelves? what about the romance novels? Where will the censorship end?

Now her friend and fellow homeschooler Jan Frier has decided to get in on the act.

Jan Frier is an avid supporter of Vaughn's client, Lori Taylor, and hopes that Waldenbooks of Gautier will keep the books on Relationships off the shelves. "It's just porn," Frier said. "No question. Nothing but. And if that's what you want to read then fine, but it's doesn't need to be where children can see it. These books need to be placed higher, with something on them that keeps children from seeing the covers and opening them."

What gives these two women the right to label something "porn", when obviously the store manager, the mall manager, and the police didn't find it pornographic? Excuse me but Waldenbooks is in the business of selling books, part of selling anything is displaying the merchandise in order to attract a customers attention. As for putting something over the books to keep "people" from opening them and looking inside, I don't know many people who buy a book without flipping through it first to see if it's what they want. You can bet these two Mom's want the right to flip through any textbook they buy to use in schooling their kids. Parents should be the ones responsible for insuring that children don't view material they deem unsuitable.

The ironic thing is if the LAW tried to force Lori Taylor and Jan Friar to teach evolution to their kids they would scream bloody murder. But they see nothing wrong with using the LAW to prevent a bookstore from displaying a book they don't like.

Since there are all ready tons of misconceptions about homeschoolers, I wanted to assure the general public that we are not all Lori Taylor's & Jan Frier's.

Most homeschoolers are really busy people that don't have the time to make a nuisance of themselves at a local bookstore for 5 months, harass the manager and demand the city of Gautier investigate books.

We are normal people, our teenagers play video games, go to movies, and read popular literature, if we are offended by a book we don't buy it, if we are offended by a movie we don't go to see it, and IF we don't want our children to view something we tell them NO, we do not hire a lawyer and harass a bookstore into removing books from their shelves.

The Majority of us cherish the Right to Free Speech and would not dream of censoring what a store can sell and other people can buy.

Free speech - means the right to say what one believes, to any audience that is willing to hear it. It is not the right to say only that which is popular with the government,with any particular interest group, or with the majority of the public.

Lori Taylor has no right to impose her views on what is or isn't appropriate for a bookstore to sell on the store owner. She has no right to impose her views on patrons of the store, who should be free to choose whatever book they wish, without fear of being harassed by Ms. Taylor. She is free not to shop at the store, she is free not to buy the book (which apparently she did buy in order to send it to her lawyer) and she is free not to look at it. She is also free to tell any minor children living in her household that they are not allowed to patronize the store. She isn't free to police what other people and their kids can or can not do.

America by Jon Stewart was pulled from the Jackson-George Regional Library shelves because a patron complained about it, even though there was a huge demand from the tax paying public to read the book. One person was able to keep many library patrons from reading the book for free. I in fact was reduced to buying the book because this one person kept me from checking it out at the library. I am happy to report it was eventually returned to library shelves. Now one person is trying to brow beat a bookstore into only carrying books she approves of, where will it end?

As Jean~Luc Picard said

“With the first link, a chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably."–Jean-Luc Picard – Star Trek: The Next Generation “The Drumhead”

I am sure both Lori Taylor and Jan Frier are well intentioned, but you know what they say " the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Apparently they don't realize the dangers inherent in censorship.

Cross posted at the Homeschool Cafe

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Science is Dead?

According to Jon Swift science is dead? Read his tongue in cheek blog praising the death of science and history and advocating that only religion and gym be taught in our schools.