Alternative Class for Disrupters?

by Robert Pondiscio
November 30th, 2009

Schools won’t improve, a Florida teacher argues,  unless there are alternative classes or activities ”for those who don’t care to learn or can’t, or won’t, let anyone else learn.” Until these needs are addressed,” writes Junie Rabin in the Sun Sentinel “do not expect changes in drop-out rates or second-class education. Forget your headlines promulgating new accountability standards, forget “no child left behind,” forget bonuses and self-serving plaques on the wall.”

Rubin cites a familiar litany of issues–indifferent students who are not academically prepared, but have been passed along, for example–but the worst, she says are the disrupters “who turn the best lessons into a fiasco. Equally impossible is transferring them out. Evaluate my performance, how I inspire my students, with the addition of the new parolee whose judge decreed he either goes back to school or back to jail,” she writes. 

One wonders what Ms. Rubin would make of this New York Times editorial.

Talking Dirty

by Robert Pondiscio
November 30th, 2009

Put away the Purell and send your kids outside to play in the dirt.  New research suggests bacteria on the surface of the skin helps fight inflammation when you get cuts and bruises.   Why is it important?  The UC San Diego research is being hailed by some as evidence for the “hygiene hypothesis” — the idea that exposure to bugs and germs makes you healthier by strengthening your immune system. 

An elementary school would be an ideal setting to test the idea.