Dangerously Dumb Parent Involvement

1 10 2006

A-mock or merely amok, this parent makes all us parents look dangerously dumb to the public.

Knowing school as we do, we just gotta ask: THAT’s the part she has trouble with??

Michelangelo's David in Florence

The Dallas news channel running the story also has an online poll up, with more than 37,200 votes when I voted just now. Current results are 97% who say they would not be offended if their child saw nude art on a museum trip. Unscientific but not necessarily untrue — that’s higher than the percent of adults who believe in history or science, who acknowledge

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Vocational Ed — Remember That?

1 10 2006

Sometimes we talk about it this way —

High school vocational classes may be poised for comeback


10:25 a.m. September 30, 2006

SAN DIEGO – Oscar Sandoval wanted to learn how to fix cars, but his high school’s auto shop long ago became a student health clinic.He couldn’t transfer schools so he eventually resigned himself to tinkering at home.

“Just because I don’t live in that area doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to take it,” complained Sandoval, now a senior at large and urban Hoover High School.

Vocational education classes, once commonplace, began to languish as standardized tests started to determine success and failure and college became a singular goal. Now called career technical education courses, they are beginning to enjoy a renaissance, at least in interest if not yet in enrollment.

Legislators from North Carolina to Florida are reviving programs gutted years ago. In California, the movement is also gaining momentum, thanks in part to support from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a 2006 state budget that includes $100 million for program expansion.

At other times, this is how we read about vocational ed —

High-tech campus offers art, tech gear industry pros envy

By Sherry Saavedra

CARMEL VALLEY – When Canyon Crest Academy opened, students were so eager to attend that they endured classes in trailers.

Two years later, with the completion of the $103 million construction project, the cutting-edge, high-tech campus is providing students with art and technology equipment that industry professionals drool over.The abundance of performing-arts practice rooms made possible the creation of a unique rock-band class.

An electronic-music composition studio enables students to compose, record, practice, manipulate and create music for instruments they’ve never handled. Just about anything that can be done digitally with music is possible.

A proscenium theater, the signature piece on campus, was finished over the summer and features a fly loft where sets can be pulled down from the rafters. There’s also video feed in the dressing rooms so those waiting backstage don’t have to peek through the curtains. Elaborate lighting in the catwalks above the house can generate dazzling visual effects. And while most high school theaters have no orchestra pit, this one can accommodate an 80-piece ensemble.

“We have better facilities here than I’ve seen anywhere,” Assistant Principal Brian Köhn said.

May all these students grow and prosper . . . and may the adults get on the ball and get them what they need!

Control — Part 2 — Unfortunately

1 10 2006

What the hell is wrong with these people?

Try to think of any other group of people where this sort of treatment would be acceptable.

NYT school principal with his paddle

As I am typing this, the Sunday morning pundits are comparing Bush 41’s finger poke at a reporter to Clinton’s recent one.

Might be too physical, you see.

But go ahead and beat a kid? No problem.

Well-Versed Gourmet Education: Unlocking the Learner Within

1 10 2006

This NYT arts reviewer thinks his topic is the learning of poetry. I think it’s the poetry of learning.

Real thinkers and learners share “an absolute love of eating” knowledge and understanding, savoring power of story at every meal.
Real education isn’t “a symbol for a type of experience” any more than poetry is, and neither has much to do with standardized test score statistics. Now if educators would only demystify the kids without deadening THEM . . .

Fry’s goal is to demystify the art without deadening it; to make it seem as open to the interested amateur as “carpentry and bridge and wine and knitting and brass-rubbing and line-dancing and the hundreds of other
activities that enrich and enliven the daily toil of getting and spending.”

This attitude may annoy certain segments of the American poetry world, to which one can only say: Good.

The book also works because it gives us a strong perspective without sounding pinched or dogmatic. . . In the end, what comes through most vividly in “The Ode Less Travelled,” and what makes it work so well for the amateur, is Fry’s belief that poetry, like cooking, “begins with love, an absolute love of eating and of the grain and particularity of food.”

Here, he’s unconsciously echoing John Dewey, who argued that Read the rest of this entry »