Liam Julian

Eduwonkette provides a fine example of the??educational gobbledygook that we must??hack away in order to find some clarity. Here's a snippet:

This is why the "antiracist" educator must negotiate between two antiracist impulses in deciding her everyday behaviors toward students. She must choose between the antiracist impulse to treat all people as human beings rather than racial group members, and the antiracist impulse to recognize people's real experiences as racial group members in order to counteract racial inequality.

How true. In fact, as an "antinonsense" writer, I encounter a similar struggle everyday when I choose between the antinonsense impulse to point out and lambast such balderdash and the antinonsense impulse to let it alone and hope that it will die of its own accord.

Liam Julian

Didn't we come out in favor of burning crosses into students' flesh??in our recent report, Who Will Save America's Urban Catholic Schools???Or am??I confusing??cross-branding with another of our??recommendations,??like turning??excess school facilities over to charter networks with a proven track record?

Update: Yup, I was indeed confusing forcible cross-branding with giving excess facilities to good charter-school networks. We're in favor of the latter, not the former.

That's my take on the new Marcus Winters/Jay Greene/Julie Trivitt study on the impact of high-stakes testing on low-stakes subjects in Florida. According to its executive summary, the study examined whether labeling schools with an "F" motivated them to increase learning in science, even though it didn't "count" in the Sunshine State's accountability system:

-- The F-grade sanction produced after one year a gain in student science proficiency of about a 0.08 standard deviation. These gains are similar to those in reading and appear smaller than the gains in math that were due to the F sanction.

--There is some evidence to suggest that student science proficiency increased primarily because student learning in math and reading enabled that increase. That is, learning in math and reading appear to contribute to learning in science.

    That sounds reasonable enough to me, though Eduwonkette wants to see all the technical details to know whether the methodology stands up. (I'm not smart enough to figure that out; that's why we have Amber!)

    My beef is with the study's pre-release spin. The Greene Machine directly juxtaposes its paper with statements by our own Checker Finn (who wrote in National Review Online last year that he worried about "a narrowing curriculum that sacrifices history, art, and literature on the altar of reading and math skills") and trustee Diane Ravitch (who co-chairs Common Core, an organization concerned about subjects "neglected"...

    Liam Julian

    The folks at The Corner are having some debate about Louisiana's Science Education Act.

    (Don't miss tomorrow's Gadfly, which promises additional opining on this topic.)

    Photo by Flickr user jason_coleman.

    Liam Julian

    Yesterday, he who is the Democrat presumed nominated, Barack Obama, said this:

    You know, I don't understand when people are going around worrying about, "We need to have English-only." They want to pass a law, "We want English-only."

    Now, I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that. But understand this. Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English--they'll learn English--you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about, how can your child become bilingual? We should have every child speaking more than one language.

    You know, it's embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe, and all we can say [is], "Merci beaucoup." Right?

    I wonder if??his assertion that "they'll learn English" is necessarily true, especially if they refers to kids whose parents may speak no English at home and who are??enrolled in lousy schools (or bilingual education classes). The word??learn is certainly vague--when Obama says "they'll learn English," does he mean that students will be able to communicate verbally, or that they'll be able to write decently, or that they'll both speak and write English with panache? That??all non-immigrant students will "learn English" (with learn referring here to??the least-demanding of??degrees of learned-ness)??is??far from certain.

    Which brings us to this, from Obama: "you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish." When so many pupils in our schools can barely communicate...

    Liam Julian

    "Gambling addict gets 18 months for embezzling schools"

    It started with small stuff, like overhead projectors. But when she bet the library in a game of high-stakes hold???em, the clinic on red, and the playground on Federer, and lost them all, administrators suspected something was amiss.

    Liam Julian

    Here's a fine wrap-up, from Ed Week (subscription required, but why?),??of the NEA convention.??The article's??title, "NEA President-Elect Pledges to Stay the Course," tells you??most of what??you need to know.??With the NEA, after all, it's??"Solidarity Forever."

    Totally creepy.

    Liam Julian

    AP reports that he'll do it next week when he speaks at the NAACP convention.

    Update: More from Campaign K-12.

    Liam Julian

    Here's more on TJ, i.e, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in Fairfax County, Virginia.

    Bobby Jindal may be wrong in trying to get religion back into science classrooms but at least he's playing by the (text)book. MSNBC reported yesterday that a science teacher in Mount Vernon, Ohio, burned crosses into the arms of his students.

    Apparently, this purveyor of literal messages was trying to demonstrate a classroom device to students... by using it on them.