Entries Tagged as 'education'

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

NJ moving to remove superintendent salary cap restrictions

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Last month, the New Jersey State Senate moved to eliminate a state-imposed cap on superintendent salaries, according to the NJ School Board Association (NJSBA). Reversing legislation from a few years ago, this effort will be good for NJ children.

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educationThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that graduation clichés will cease

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 2015: The Emperor’s Imperial Sociologists have determined that societies around the world are stuck in the anthropological and evolutionary mud. The human race is simply not making much progress. Sure, we have all sorts of things figured out, like, whether or not Bruce Jenner is a hero for becoming Caitlyn Jenner. Sure, we have become digital crusaders against “shaming” anyone who has any particular habit or characteristic, regardless of effect or defect, but…we’re just not really moving forward. The cause of this has been determined: clichés on graduation cards, in graduation speeches and at graduation parties.

For decades upon decades, graduates have been told the exact same things: “Follow your dreams/passions;” “Do a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life;” “Get out there and change the world…” These things may be true and their utterers and writers might be fine and successful people, but if we are going to get anywhere, we need to stop anaesthetizing our graduates with pickled aphorisms, howsoever well-intentioned or wise.  (I am the Emperor. I can mix any metaphors I want.) We need to shake things up, as it were.  (I can also use clichés, if I want.) This hackneyed prattling is so much corn in the intellectual digestive system: straight through and down and out into the old toilet pipes.  And it will stop with the class of 2016. The solution is simple: card writers, relatives, and commencement speakers will, henceforth, speak not of what to do, but of what to consider. This should, in ten years’ time, send the world forward in the evolutionary process by a full century.

The Punishment: Violators of this newest commandment will be forced to eat nothing but corn for an entire week.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingeducation

Top ten prom themes for 2015

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10. My-My-My Bruce Jenner-ation

9. Journey to the Center of My Pants

8. A Midsummer Night’s Bris

7. 21 DryHump Street

6. Raise the Roofie!

5. Give ’Em Enough Grope

4. The Future Is Ours! (One-Percenters only)

3. Abstinence Makes the Fond Grow Harder

2. 100 Seniors Standing Around a Ballroom Texting

1. Fifty Shades of Bunting
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

The relevance of school?

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As I wrote recently, I’m fascinated by what influences people to be who/what they are. Perhaps in the same vein, I’m also curious about how what we learn transfers to other situations. There is a robust body of research studying learning transfer; it’s elusive to pin down how what we learn in one situation can be applied to another.

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educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Can NJ’s worst-dressed school board member competently decide on a dress code?

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I’m a member of two school boards: I was elected to Riverton’s BoE and am an appointed member of Palmyra’s BoE. (Riverton is a sending district for Palmyra High School.) One of my favorite logical fallacies is ad hominem. Could these different bits of information cohere? We’ll see. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

The mysteries of college costs

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If you’re of/in a certain stage/mindset/class, you’re thinking about where your kids are going to go to college. More likely, you’re lying awake at night wondering how you’re going to pay for it, perhaps tinged with a nagging feeling that maybe you shouldn’t bother. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Video games and boys’ literacy

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So, to me, these two dudes – and I wanna stress that they are dudes — in my house seem to be at the video games a lot. I thought this would never happen to me.  I thought I would steer them to loftier pursuits. But there they, at FIFA and Minecraft. I have this awful feeling their brains are leaking intellect because of video games. I particularly worry about the brightness of their literacy lights. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

From the mouths of babes?: Colorado students refuse to be tested

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Part 10 (of 874) in an occasional series about how standardized tests are destroying education.

The Denver Post reported recently that thousands of high school students in Colorado refused to take standardized state tests. Activism? Test fatigue? Obstinancy? Whatever the case, I like that we’re hearing the student voice, which is often absent in the many conversations about testing. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

How much do you write a day?

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You probably are out there writing like a maniac every day of your life. A good friend of mine, on the Website 11trees, recently posted a smart blog entry describing how much he wrote in one day, what he viewed as just an average day for a “knowledge worker.” In this one-day writing diary, he calculates that he comes in at 2,500 words, a number he uses to make this point: “We write more words every day than many college or high school students write in an entire term.[Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

School ratings: Your experience will be a 7.2

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Part 9 (of 874) in an occasional series about how standardized tests are destroying education.

Perhaps it’s surprising considering the U.S.’s supposed death spiral in mathematics, but we like numbers. We like the idea of pinning exactitude on things, on, you know, the right answer. And numbers lend themselves to lists and rankings. We like lists and rankings, particularly school rankings. From magazine stories about colleges to Websites about grammar schools, school lists abound. But what those lists and numbers don’t tell you at all is what kind of experience your individual kid will have at a school. Along the way, they may be committing serious, mean-spirited damage to lots of communities where real kids are trying to learn. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingeducation

Top ten least useful college majors

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10. The Wit and Wisdom of Rick Perry

9. Betamax Repair

8. Guesstimating

7. Pig Latin

6. Freakonomics

5. Dressage

4. (Double Major) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

3. Competitive Eating

2. Hemorrhoid Transplantation

1. Creative Reading
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

What just might really happen at college for your kid

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We’re coming out of that fast-paced, manic season of high competition, painful watching-and-waiting, brightly-colored sweatshirts, and intense travel. No, I’m not marking the end of youth sports spring seasons — I’m talking about college admission season (well, really, this is just the end of high admissions season. Like youth sports, college admissions is a year-round and even life-round activity nowadays). Most students know now where they’re going to college. Parents have written placeholder checks. Car adornments have been purchased. Parties are planned. It’s exciting. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingeducation

Top ten least popular prom themes

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10. One Night on a Carnival Cruise!

9. Donald Sterling’s Plantation Hoedown

8. Journey to the Center of My Pants

7. Moon Over Abu Ghraib

6. You’d Be Lucky To Get Minimum Wage

5. Genital Herpes-palooza!

4. 21 DryHump Street

3. Crepe Paper, Bunting, and the Smell of Gym Socks!

2. A Midsummer Night’s Bris

1. The Future Is Ours! (One Percenters only)
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Camden teacher reflects on getting fired

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On May 12, at the Camden City Board of Education meeting, school board members announced that 272 Camden City School District employees will lose their jobs at the end of this school year. Of that number, 206 are teachers. District administrators made the cuts, according to this Philadelphia Inquirer article, as “as part of a plan to bridge a $75 million revenue gap heading into the 2014-15 school year.” Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the fired teachers. Not surprisingly, she voiced frustration with the process and outcome, but she also provided some surprising views about the charter school environment in Camden and its role in the firing decisions. She asked to remain anonymous, as she is of course now seeking a new job, maybe even at one of these charters. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingeducation

Top ten signs you’re not going to graduate from high school this year

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10. On your British Literature final, you put Pride and Prejudice was written by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling

9. The only times you’ve ever raised your hand in class involved needing to pee

8. Your son is in the same grade you are

7. On your Civics final, you kept spelling it “Cervix”

6. Every night of the week, you party harder than Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

5. After years of instruction, you still talk into the wrong end of the telephone

4. In your high school yearbook, you were voted ‘Most Likely to Be Unable to Distinguish between His Ass and a Hole in the Ground’

3. You were spotted out on the football field, sticking a suppository into a hole in the ground

2. On a true/false test, you answered every question “C”

1. On your American Literature final, you put An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge was written by Chris Christie
 

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Just a story of a student at Bartram High

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If you’re from the Philly area, you’ve likely heard about Bartram High in the news: fights, violence, staff being attacked. That’s likely all you know of Bartram. So read this Inquirer piece by Kristen Graham about Gionna Hawkins, a 14-year-old Bartram student described as doing her best not just to make it through but thrive.

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educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

The new SAT: No more mandatory writing

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Part 8 (of 874) in an occasional series about how standardized tests are destroying education.

The redesigned SAT, debuting in 2015, will feature new approaches to language skills, and the writing test will be optional. We’ll return to the old 1600-point scale that we all knew so well. With the College Board admitting/recognizing that the writing test, which was introduced in 2005, is flawed, some are wondering if this presents an opportunity to reassess all mechanized writing tests, to now see them all for the education-draining entities that they are. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

A new, redesigned SAT is on the way

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Part 7 (of 874) in an occasional series about how standardized tests are destroying education.

The SAT is going through a redesign. For those of you who mentally autofilled the start of the previous statement with “The SAT is going … away,” I’m sorry to disappoint you. It’s not going away. It’s going through changes that will do/attempt to do a variety of things. But the SAT will still be around. There’s been an active dialogue, as you might expect, about this redesign.

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educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

“Psst – this will help you with the Common Core”

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A couple weeks ago I was in Boston at the conference of the National Council of Teachers of English. I was there to talk about MOOCs and to serve in my new role as a member of the NCTE editorial board. Among these thousands of mostly high school and grammar school English teachers, I found lots of great conversations. The Common Core hung, like smoke, over much of them. [Read more →]

educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

The Homework Club

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I’m surprised by how many kids, sometimes little kids, have told me some version of this: “My school is great. They give us lots of homework. It’s really challenging.” I’ve been amazed by how darn enthusiastic they appear that their teachers assign them a large volume of homework. [Read more →]

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