Archive for July, 2010

In Brazil, president leads effort to end corporal punishment. Can’t imagine a US president doing the same.

I found this Associated Press story on a campaign by Brazil’s president to end corporal punishment in his country fascinating. I cannot imagine a U.S. president ever getting into this controversial issue.

And if a president did, he would be crucified for interfering in what many Americans contend are private family matters for which the government should have no say. But increasingly, other governments are extending their child protection reach.

India is also considering stiff criminal penalties against corporal punishment, whether in school or at home, in the wake of the suicide of a 12-year-old following a caning at his private, prestigious school. The new law could impose one year imprisonment or a fine for the first offense.

And this is what is happening in Brazil:

By TALES AZZONI

SAO PAULO — In Brazil, a swat to your child’s bottom could soon get you slapped with a warning.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sent a bill to Congress on Wednesday proposing that Brazil …

Continue reading In Brazil, president leads effort to end corporal punishment. Can’t imagine a US president doing the same. »

Have parents given up on the arts in public schools? Is it a factor in state superintendent’s race?

Have parents become so jaded over school budget cuts that they are resigned to fewer and fewer arts programs?

Have parents become so jaded over school budget cuts that they are resigned to fewer and fewer arts programs?

I received the e-mail below on state school superintendent candidate Beth Farokhi’s arts platform. I found it interesting because there has been very little discussion of arts education in this election season.

I think most parents assume unhappily that there just isn’t money for the arts any longer. With the exception of the outcry in Fulton over the loss of elementary school orchestra and band, I have not seen much protest of arts program cuts elsewhere. When systems are talking about slicing weeks from the class calendar, I assume parents aren’t going to take to the streets over whether there is chorus or drama.

In the few superintendent candidate debates, the arts never came up in a substantive way. I do think arts programs are important, especially in low-income areas where parents can’t afford to send their children to private music lessons or drama camp.

But …

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You asked. DOE responded that CRCT does measure higher-order thinking

Last week, I sent some questions to DOE from posters, including this one: Does the CRCT measure higher-order thinking?

DOE says “yes.” Here is the detailed response:

Each of Georgia’s test programs contains a range of test items in terms of both difficulty (rigor) and complexity. To gauge the complexity  or cognitive demand of the test items, Georgia uses a model called “Depth of Knowledge” (DOK), which was developed by Norman Webb at the University  of Wisconsin.

DOK consists of four levels of complexity ranging from recall (level 1), skill/concept (level 2), strategic thinking (level 3) to extended thinking (level 4).  Each item that appears on a Georgia test has been assigned a DOK rating by a committee of Georgia teachers during item review.  One of the strengths of Webb’s model is that in addition to rating the items, the curriculum standards themselves are also rated using the DOK rubric.

Utilizing DOK helps to ensure alignment of a test (e.g., CRCT) to a curriculum …

Continue reading You asked. DOE responded that CRCT does measure higher-order thinking »

Which candidate gains the most from Brad Bryant’s elimination from the school superintendent race?

Which candidate for state school superintendent benefits from the inability of Brad Bryant’s campaign to obtain the needed signatures to allow him to run as an independent?

I have heard all sorts of theories, that the Republican candidates John Barge and Richard Woods benefit as Bryant, a Republican handpicked by the governor, would have drawn votes from them. As the interim superintendent for the next six months, Bryant would have had many opportunities to be seen with Perdue, who remains, according to all opinion polls, a governor with a higher than 50 percent approval rating among voters.

Then, I have heard that Democratic front runner Joe Martin benefits as he and Bryant both appealed to the folks in the know about education as they have been very active statewide and have longtime relationships with the key “stakeholders” in Georgia education.

Others say that Bryant, under an independent label, would have deflected votes from Libertarian Kira Willis.

I have not heard …

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End of Course Test results are in for DeKalb. AJC adds scale scores and 2009 data to its CRCT bank. Dig into the data.

Thanks Lynn for alerting me that the EOCT scores for DeKalb can be found here.

Lynn added this commentary to her note: “Math I and II are pretty darn scary.”

As another poster already said, geometry is downright petrifying. While the state passage rate was 40 percent, DeKalb’s rate was only 18. (The DeKalb data has state passage rates with it.)

Also, AJC data king Matt Dempsey sent me this note in response to requests from Get Schooled posters: “Scale scores are in there now. I’m adding the 2009 scores and the differences to the 2010 data now.” (Ed, this is for you.)

You can see Matt’s good work here.

I am still on vacation and can’t dive into the data tonight. But if you have time, dig in and let us know what the EOCTs look like in DeKalb. And you can check side-by-side comparisons on your school’s CRCT scores.

I will post links to other systems’ EOCT scores as I find them. I am not finding the scores on the DOE site tonight. I will check with Matt Cardoza as to when they …

Continue reading End of Course Test results are in for DeKalb. AJC adds scale scores and 2009 data to its CRCT bank. Dig into the data. »

Still looking for parents or teachers with concerns over Georgia High School Graduation Test

I wanted to repeat my request to folks with strong feelings on the Georgia High School Graduation Test. My colleague Nancy Badertscher is writing about a proposal before the state Board of Education to grant waivers to students who fail the test provided there is other evidence that the students have mastered the skills. An SAT score might do it. Other test results are also being contemplated.

If you are a parent whose child has been impacted by the Georgia High School Graduation Test or a teacher with concerns over the graduation tests  or with views on this new proposal, please call Nancy at 770-263-3641. She would love to talk to you for her story. You can also e-mail her at NBadertscher@ajc.com.

Continue reading Still looking for parents or teachers with concerns over Georgia High School Graduation Test »

Waiting for an iced coffee and getting chills at sight of baby carrier alone on a table

I am in the north Georgia mountains this week on vacation and was in a McDonald’s earlier today getting an iced coffee when a teenage couple came in with their apple-cheeked baby.

This couple caught my attention because of what they did; they walked in with their baby in a carrier and placed the carrier on top of a table next to the exit door.

And then both of them left the baby and joined the line, probably 20 feet away from the table.

I had ordered and was waiting for my coffee drink, but I immediately moved closer to the baby, worried that the little gal/fellow would rock off the table or that someone would simply loop an arm through the carrier handle and make off with the child.

Had they turned around, the young parents could have seen their baby, but the pair never even looked back as they chatted to a teen behind the counter they apparently knew.

Most of us on this blog would have done this differently. One parent would line up for the food, while the other stayed at …

Continue reading Waiting for an iced coffee and getting chills at sight of baby carrier alone on a table »

Georgia Lottery posts record year. Perhaps, that explains those bonuses.

Despite an ailing economy, Georgians keep buying lottery tickets, which is great for HOPE and pre-k, but not so good for family budgets.

Despite an ailing economy, Georgians keep buying lottery tickets, which is great for HOPE and pre-k, but not so good for family budgets.

Several of you keep asking why we are paying bonuses to Georgia Lottery officials at the same time we are seeing the demand for HOPE Scholarships and pre-k soar, causing legislators to consider cuts to the popular programs subsidized through the lottery.

Here is why:

From today’s AJC:

The Georgia Lottery took in more than $3.6 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, generating an increased profit for a record 12th straight year.

The lottery transferred $883,878,000 in profit to the state for education, more than $11.7 million more than last fiscal year. The addition of Powerball, the Atlanta Falcons-themed instant game and other games contributed to the lottery’s continued growth.

Lottery officials said Georgia is the only traditional U.S. lottery to show 12 straight years of growth in profits.

Overall, the Georgia Lottery has returned …

Continue reading Georgia Lottery posts record year. Perhaps, that explains those bonuses. »

AJC is looking to talk to parents and teachers about the shrinking summers

Many Georgia students – in Cobb, Pickens, DeKalb, Decatur and other systems — are back in school by early August, traditionally a time for the beach, the pool and family vacations. Is summer slipping away? Some parents, in groups such as Georgians Need Summers, think so. But others are happy to see kids back in school. What are your thoughts? Contact Bo Emerson at 404-526-5759, or at bemerson@ajc.com.

Bo Emerson

Staff Writer

Continue reading AJC is looking to talk to parents and teachers about the shrinking summers »

Adults use Facebook to find and celebrate former teachers

Former students are using the social media network to track down and thank their teachers from decades ago.

Former students are using the social media network to track down and thank their teachers from decades ago.

Make time today to read this wonderful New York Times story on people reconnecting and celebrating their former  teachers via Facebook.

Considered a platform for kids to connect and maintain social ties, Facebook is also turning out to be a way their parents can find their favorite high school music teacher or their beloved middle school English teacher.

The story also talks to retired teachers who discovered their former students had created tribute pages that include such comments as, “You inspired each of us to learn and go beyond what we thought we could achieve,” lighthearted claims on old debts “You owe us a pool party — you promised us one if the Dow ever reached 3,000” and recollections of specific events “You got me out of detention one time.”

An interesting passage in the story:

The tributes underscore what researchers have identified as a major force in …

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