Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dictionary exercises « Failing Schools

Dictionary exercises « Failing Schools

Dictionary exercises

MAY 24, 2011
by mariasallee

I remember a particularly boring homework assignment once given by my 4th grade teacher, in which we had to find definitions of certain listed words from the dictionary and write them down verbatim. All of them. Sometimes words have various meanings and they mean different things in different contexts so I was impatient with the rote nature of the assignment and with the cramping of my hand as I copied the definitions. Most of the words were ones already in my vocabulary, so I found that the exercise confused rather than enhanced my understanding of them because it somehow muddled my mostly-accurate sense of context for each of them, contexts I had gained through natural use of language and by reading lots and lots of books. (I wonder what the reaction was of the kids who didn’t care much for language…)

Later in my public school education, I read Orwell’s 1984 with its Ministry of Truth, Newspeak and other notions of societal control. I’m thinking Orwell couldn’t really have predicted the things that are happening in contemporary society, but all the same he nailed part of the issue

Board of Education officially cancels community elections over school-reform plans | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times

Board of Education officially cancels community elections over school-reform plans | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times

Board of Education officially cancels community elections over school-reform plans

In a largely symbolic but intensely debated move, the Board of Education narrowly voted Tuesday to end elections that allowed parents, high school students, school employees and community members to choose among different reform plans for schools.

These elections were part of the controversial “public school choice” process, by which groups inside and outside the Los Angeles Unified School District have bid for control of dozens of low-achieving schools and newly built campuses. The school-control process was about to enter its third year.

The nonbinding elections were meant to provide input for top district officials. The school board makes the final choice on which bidder takes control of a school.

These advisory elections “didn’t work,” said board member Tamar Galatzan, who represents the west San Fernando Valley. Galatzan listed a string of reported election abuses, including intimidation tactics and incentives such as gifts, parties or course credit.

The results were a measure only of which “campaign team did a better job organizing,” Galatzan said.

Galatzan’s district had been the scene of intense politicking this year over a new high school. Granada Hills Charter High School and a team of district teachers and administrators were bidding for the

Draft of a Letter to the New York State Board of Regents 2011 | The Jose Vilson

Draft of a Letter to the New York State Board of Regents 2011 | The Jose Vilson

Draft of a Letter to the New York State Board of Regents 2011

To Whom This May Concern:

Anytime I get the opportunity to score the New York State Mathematics Exam, whether as scoring leader, table leader, or part of the scoring team, I try to ingest the super-technical rubrics and guidelines in order to be the best scorer possible. Every time we sit through the trainings, whichever end I sit on, the sea of groans often shakes the walls of the gymnasium with disgust. Disgust turns to disappointment when the sample papers look very much like the actual papers we start grading. None of this is in self-interest as we don’t grade our own schools, and never do we get to think of the ramifications of the students who miss a certain grade level by a few points.

With that said, if these exams are how we’re going to judge our students’ academic worth or our teachers’

Big Education Ape: 5-24-11 PM Recess 4 ALL Edition

Big Education Ape: Ed News Now

Big Education Ape: Ed News Now

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