K-W-H-L Chart

by Robert Pondiscio
January 27th, 2009

What We Know

Mike Petrilli is a news machine today.  ”Senate Democrats have stripped virtually all of the reform-friendly provisions out of the House stimulus bill,” he reports over at Flypaper.  He also posts a “rumor” that Linda Darling-Hammond is going to be named the next Deputy Secretary of Education……Yes, yes, we know.  Kids have too much homework.  On the other hand, what else is my daughter supposed to do while I write this blog? 

What We Want to Find Out

Was Taylor Swift a Core Knowledge student?  The musical wunderkind’s ubiquitous hit “Love Story” alludes both to Shakespeare and Nathaniel Hawthorne……Do we need American Youth Corps?  Everyone should have to complete two years of public service after high school, argues Dr. William A. Babcock, an ethics professor at Southern Illinois University……Who is the worst mother in the world? Is it the British mommy who wrote in the Daily Mail that she doesn’t love her child?  Or another who has pleaded guilty to child cruelty for allowing her 3-year-old to smoke in front of her. 

What We Have Learned 

A Florida lawmaker wants to require that Florida parents be informed of their school’s turnover rate, The Gradebook reports…..A middle school competition challenges students to design a city of the future, to inspire them to consider engineering as a profession.  D-Ed Reckoning is not impressed.  Creative yes, says Ken DeRosa, but what are they learning? 

How We Can Learn More

A study in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry purports to show that teachers who intervene in cases of bullying only “reinforce the status of victim and aggressor”……A Harvard study finds that it’s far more likely that children will be bullied by their peers than approached by an adult predator online.  But some parents and lawmakers are upset by what they see as a false sense of security in the report.

Who’s To Blame for Bad Schools? Look in the Mirror

by Robert Pondiscio
January 27th, 2009

Nevada’s public education system is a “disaster” says the state’s university chancellor, and Nevadans have no one to blame but themselves.  In a remarkable and scathing “State of the System” speech ostensibly to rail against proposed cuts to the state’s education budget, James Rogers calls Nevada’s parents to account.

The state of K-16 education in Nevada is where the public–that is you out there–has allowed it to sink.  Your only relationship with the education system is to ship your unprepared kids to school not with the expectation of success, but with the demand that an education system, inadequately funded, develop and/or repair children that you as a parent did not prepare for school or support while your children attended school.  If you want a competent and productive education system, tell your Governor and legislators to fund it. They do what they think you want them to do.  That’s why they’re called public servants.  It is the public–that means you– that has created this disaster of a public education system. 

It’s a blistering Jeremiad.  Nevadans once hoped to see their kids go to college, but today are satisfied if their children graduate from eighth grade, Rogers says.  And don’t blame educators for the state’s poor schools.  The founder and owner of Sunbelt Communications Company, which owns and operates 16 NBC and FOX affiliate television stations in five western states, Rogers says when he became Nevada’s chancellor five years ago he came to the job with a sense that education was “an overweight, lazy, unproductive massive intellect, with no direction and little desire to get there fast.” 

Well I have looked at the alleged inefficiencies, not only in higher education but in K through 12.  The majority of educators work very hard, are much smarter than their critics, and are far more organized and efficient than their critics.  If they have a shortcoming it is that they are for the most part not aggressive, mean-spirited people, but are instead caring, concerned individuals who want to teach, not fight….and the success of your children is more important than their own success.

Neither are school administrators to blame, according to Rogers.  “I have looked at the administration of the education system,” he notes. ”I find them no less productive than the administrators of the television stations I own or the banks of which I have served as a board member over the last 28 years.”

The state’s Republican party has fired back saying Rogers “owes every caring parent in the state a public apology.  For Chancellor Rogers to blame the failure of the government-run education system on parents is nothing short of outrageous.”

Rogers aired his speech on his Nevada TV stations.  You can watch it in two parts on YouTube, Part I here, Part II here.

Bad Day in the Blogosphere

by Robert Pondiscio
January 27th, 2009

And just like that — poof! — she’s gone.  Jennifer Jennings, better known by her nom de blog, Eduwonkette, has announced she’s hanging up her cape.  In saying “goodbye, at least for now,” she holds out hope that she’ll be back at some point.  Let’s hope so.  In 16 short months, Eduwonkette has (I can’t bear to say it the past tense yet) become an indispensable blog.