Thursday, April 5, 2012

So I may not be a jazz critic, but I think I recognize good teaching!

Can I get an "AMEN!" for this?

How about a "HALLELUIAH!" for this? Is it finally time to eliminate class schedules?

In this edition of "reinventing the wheel instead of inventing the hover board"...Are we rushing to electronic textbooks too quickly?

A theory I believe is worth pondering... "Everything you know about curriculum may be wrong."

Does my love for "Smooth Jazz" mean I can't recognize good teaching?

Jazz critic or not... I know what I like!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's April!!!

Well folks, it seems I took the entire month of March off from Ranting, Reflecting and Reasoning.

Actually I got sidetracked by following the story of Pascale Mauclair.  (In addition to my other plethora of excuses such as teaching 6 preps per day, being sick for four days, plus having to prepare for a conference presentation.)

If you don't know Ms. Mauclair's story, she was declared New York City's "WORST" teacher based on a teacher evaluation system that utilizes the so-called "Value Added Measures".  Her photo accompanied a front page story on The New York Post.

The REAL story of Ms. Mauclair was revealed a few days later. Included in the REAL story were a number of notable facts.

"Mauclair is an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, and over the last five years she has had small, self-contained classes of recently arrived immigrants who do not speak English. Her students arrive at different times of the school year, depending upon that date of their family’s migration; consequently, it is not unusual for her students to take the 6th grade exams when they have only been in her class for a matter of a few months.

If a journalist with integrity had examined the TDR data, a number of red flags which suggested something was seriously amiss with the scores for Mauclair  would have presented themselves."
"Value Added Measures" are being pushed by so-called education "reformers" as the gold standard of teacher evaluation.  Almost every state that has followed the "reform" playbook has "Value Added Measures" as main component of teacher evaluation.   However, the elephant in the room being ignored is the fact that "Value Added Measures" as a teacher evaluation instrument are highly unreliable.

For some reason, politicians and "reformers" are ignoring the facts of "Value Added Measures" as described here by the journalist Julie Mack and cognitive scientist Dan Willingham.

Last week, teachers at my school had the opportunity to meet with the local state representative. Among the many questions regarding "reforms" that the representative had voted for were inquiries about the new statewide teacher evaluation requirements.

His response?  "If you're a good teacher, then you shouldn't have anything to worry about".

Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to inform him of Pascale Mauclair's story.... A good teacher who should not have had anything to worry about.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Magic Erasers?

No Bush Left Behind...

For some reason I've always been bothered by the phrase "a perfect storm".

This Week's "No, It's Not From TheOnion".... School Switches Erasers to Improve Test Scores.

Bill Gates discovers his educational Frankenstein Monster is being misused.

Alex, I'll take "99% of them absolutely do not" for $500...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Looking for an "AMEN!".

Question of the Month: Why don’t the top private schools adopt corporate-driven education "reforms"?

Can I get an AMEN! to this? "The standardized test and evaluation movement has opened a new predatory market allowing all sorts of snake oil salespeople into our schools and districts.

Consultants consuming 35% of federal grants aimed for "school improvement". Who would have thunk that?

Hey kid... your homemade sammich lunch is not nutritious, so eat this processed chicken nuggets/soylent green school lunch instead.

You are so smart…why did you become a teacher?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Should They Know It In 20 Years?

If the honest answer is, “No!” then we’re just playing a game.

A case study in teacher burn-out.

When the "Best and the Brightest" Don't Have the Answers- President Obama's Flawed Approach to School Reform.

A fifth grader who shaves?

Late to class? That will be a $5 fine. Oh yes we can do that, we're a charter school.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

More Evidence for Politicans to Ignore.

Cleveland students hold their own with voucher students on state tests.

Los Angeles Unified (public schools) bests so-called "reform" groups in most cases,

Public Schools Outperform Private Schools in Math Instruction.

Teach For America Research Fails the Test.

Voucher schools in in Milwaukee not outperforming the Milwaukee Public Schools.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

We Have Misdiagnosed the Problem and Ignored Common Sense.

This is what they call "School Choice" in New Orleans?

Evaluate Teachers and Doctors the Same Way?

How Education Fails Technology (And What to Do About It)

We Have Misdiagnosed the Problem and Ignored Common Sense.

 Someone who is not ignoring common sense Part 1.

 Someone who is not ignoring common sense Part 2.

There's nuttin' like a Mackinac Center headline that includes the words "teacher" and "monster".

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Google.... It knows you.

The Google... It knows you.

Diane Ravitch: " Does President Obama understand Race to the Top?"  Me: "Nope, doesn't have a clue."

Today's "No, It's Not The Onion" is brought to you by Alabama.... "It's a Biblical principle. If you double a teacher's pay scale,you'll attract people who aren't called to teach."

I'll take "The Answer is Definitely Yes" for $500 Alex....

Today's T.M.I. alert... Guess where 75% of people use their cell phone?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How To Kill A Mockingbird?

8 theories on why college costs are so high...

Until we figure out how to best use technology in the classroom, are the bells and whistles instead often a distraction?

Educational Technology Experts Skeptical About Apple's iBooks

"Public" Charter School suspends male cancer survivor over the length of his hair (Bonus: he is growing his hair long to donate to "Locks of Love".)

Monday, January 30, 2012

For-profit Cyber Schools... Does the Bad Outweigh the Good?

Failing education standards but passing Wall Street Standards...gotta love those "price points".

Should we really trust the convicted "Junk Bond King" to be involved with a cyber school?

What? There are people that are skeptical about for-profit cyber schools?

What? Even elected state board of education members are skeptical about cyber schools?

Are online students Googling their way to to graduation?

MUST READ.... "How Online Learning Companies Bought America's Schools".

Only 27% of for-profit companies operating virtual "cyber" schools met the adequate yearly progress standards of the federal No Child Left Behind law?

Perhaps for-profit cyber schools are needed because the technology is too costly and complex for public schools and regular classroom teachers to provide a rich, online learning experience??? WRONG!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Getting married on a cold day in you-know-where???

A few points to ponder....

I think Upton Sinclair would be proud of the writers of this article. (Hint: It's about Apple's suppliers)

The big flaws in President Obama’s education argument.

From "Teaching Underground".... "They" don't listen because they don't understand. 

Today's MUST READ - "Voice of Authority"

Getting married on a cold day in you-know-where!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Where is the outrage? (January 25 edition)

 Charter school in Florida (Joe Biden's school) hires principal with no teaching experience...

How to drive out a great teacher from the classroom, volume 12, issue 71.

Lessons from're doing wrong...Yes Indiana, we're looking at you.

In today's episode of Testing Gone Wild, ‘Digital DNA’ May Soon Be Required To Take SAT And ACT Exams

Apple's mind-bogglingly greedy and evil license agreement for its new textbook publishing software.

An excellent article by an Arizona teacher: "What I'd like in a Superintendent." 

Picture of the Day... "Meeting Fatigue".

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Biscuit and a Cup of Tea?

If only American workers could learn to live in company dormitories and work for a biscuit plus a cup of tea...

 Apple makes great stuff, but it's also their proprietary control issues that disturb me.

“We are being told, ‘You need to do more with less,’” ... “That sounds like a great philosophy. But it presupposes you weren’t doing the most that you could with what you had in the first place.”
If you've never heard of Daniel Pink's work, you owe it to yourself to invest 10 minutes viewing this video.

Picture of the day:
Are the executives at textbook publishing giants McGraw Hill and Pearson seeing dollar signs?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Resistance is Futile!

Not to be outdone by Alabama, now Tennessee's governor has his own plans for an epic failboat.

Old and busted: Book Banning.... New Hotness? Nope, same old and busted.

The new potty policy at New York's Coney Island's Public School #90.

A sure sign of the Apocalypse... A governor proposes LESS standardized testing.

What surely must have come from but didn't....
"Education Secretary Arne Duncan and former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee are starring at the National Data Summit ..."

Picture of the Day: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Yes, I would like fries with that...

Alabama's governor wants the state legislature to draw up plans for an Epic Failboat.

 Yoda might say "Failing the future, education is"...

 Physics professors seek to lose the least effective way of teaching as a teaching tool.

Yet another Pultizer-class blog post from "Teacher in a Strange Land".

"Gotta Have" Car Accessory of the Month!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The "Lee Majors" Comparison

A video syllabus?

Jay Matthews says Matt Damon's Mom is wrong. I say Jay Matthews is wrong.

And for Jay Matthews... An Inconvenient Truth... About "Teach For America."

Good teachers comment: We don't need any stinkin' paddles to control our classrooms!
The "Lee Majors" comparison... are teachers "The Fall Guy" when they should be "The Six Million Dollar Man/Woman"?

Picture of the day... gas prices are rising again...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

More cowbell can get you arrested?

The Five Stages of "Teach For America". But at least congress says they're "highly qualified".

 Bi-partisan elitism...

Memo to Bruce Dickinson... Do you still need more cowbell?

Today's Video Goodness... Every Presentation Ever: Communication FAIL

"Part of the problem is the test and the questions that they ask. Because some of the questions are so obscure, that unless you know that they like to ask questions about that topic, you're not going to study it."

This above quote is about A:) a high school biology test.  B:) a college geography test or C:) a board certification exam for doctors of radiology.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Don't Stop Believin'....

The top nine education myths by a much missed debunker...

Finally!!! The one size fits all, cookie-cutter Michigan "Merit" Curriculum is under scrutiny!

Hey Kids! Guess what's for sale on

Been having "Teacher In A Strange Land" withdrawal symptons lately? Your fix is here today!

Don't Stop Believin'... Journey singer finally realizes South Detroit is actually Windsor, Canada.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Is the Mayan Calendar Accurate?

New Hampshire legislature overrides governor's veto... parents can now object to quadratic equation lesson plans.

Really smart guy debunks popular myth that poverty isn't a key factor in education. (With video goodness)

Today's episode of "Whatever Happened to Common Sense in Schools" is brought to you by Gwinnett County, Georgia.

Curriculum not included? or Curriculum not included!!!

And our first contestant for mother of the year....

Picture of the day... Is the Mayan Calendar really that accurate?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Don't Mess With Matt Damon

Don't Mess With Matt Damon

I love it when people start to see things my way...

Yet another reason people should be outraged at the effects of "No Child Left Behind".

These three low cost reform ideas probably make too much sense to ever get enacted.

Man scams pay phone users out of $4 million. In other news, people are still using pay phones.

Picture of the week: 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Is Real World Math Yummy?

Presidential candidate promises to "modernize" education by offering no modern ideas.

Real world math is "Yummy"!!!

Responsibility or Obedience??? You shall obey and be responsible by reading this "must read"!!!

Picture of the day:
Will people call child protective services if they ever see one of these?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My "Best of" 2011

Ok... I realized in the last two weeks of December I blogged as many times as I had during the entire year of 2011.

However, I do think I had a few notable education advocacy efforts that I could declare as my "best of".

April - I was honored to provide a guest post for Nancy Flanagan's Education Week "Teacher In A Strange Land" blog...

May - I provided testimony to the Michigan Board of Education regarding the need to increase support for Career and Technical Education.

Also in May - The Ann Arbor News published my open letter to the governor regarding the misuse of the School Aid Fund.

July - published my game show idea, "Teaching for the Stars".

October - I created a rebuttal to Fran Tarkenton's Wall Street Journal op-ed of "What if the NFL Played by Teachers Rules?".

And the year ended with my YouTube channel surpassing 40,000 unsolicited views with my "Drawing 3D Roofs With AutoCAD Architecture" being my most popular tutorial having been watched over 14,000 times.