Monday, November 12, 2007

Science Monday: It Sounds Like Another World

The Cassini-Huygens Saturn probe delivered some truly spectacular images of the Saturn heavens. But this is on a whole other level. This is what a traveler on board Huygens would have heard during while falling towards the largest moon in Saturn's orbit.

Creative writing prompt: Write in stream of consciousness as if you were actually falling alongside Huygens on descent to Titan.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Swan Song for 2007 ESEA in the House?

So long as we have a President named Bush we can scapegoat the h-e- double hockey sticks out of him. He deserves it for hundreds of poor policy decisions alone, not to mention the very serious lack of bi-partisan effort (if you've got a National Journal account you can read this, if you don't, don't sweat it, in a nutshell Bush has one of the worst records of Bi-partisan accord of any president ever).

This is all introduction for short notice on a day-old press release from House Education and Labor Committee Chair George Miller. Miller, in what would appear to be the House's official swan song for reauthorization of ESEA in 2007, has publicly blamed the President. Is this entirely fair? Probably not. Am I suprising myself by writing that? Probably.

There are a lot of education groups, partisans, think tanks, membership organizations, and members of congress, not to mention TEACHERS who think that the reauthorization bill that landed late August from Miller and McKeon just isn't good enough--that it's too much in the vernacular of the publicly unpopular No Child version of the 1965 legislation, originally a funding vehicle designed to ameliorate conditions in schools for poor and minority students. The Senate gave up on it's 2007 reuathorization last week.

Point is Miller took it on the right, the left, up the gut, and on the chin this Fall. He's lucky, and maybe we're all a little lucky, for once, to have someone worth blaming to blame it all on. We must reauthorize the most important federal piece of legislation for schools, students, teachers, and for the future of this great country on the back of fair and flexible methods for schools and the resources and quality education for all students. We have our work cut out for sure.

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Finally Grades Everyone Understands: NYC Schools Edition

Do unto your parents as you do unto your teachers. Parents in New York ponder the at once perspicuous and obscure grades their children's schools received. Under a new grading system each New York public school received a letter grade A-F. Grades are sent home for the public's viewing pleasure. The NYTimes describes the gamut of reactions from parents, everything from rallies in support of failing or underachieving schools--a chicken-soup approach--to feelings of doom from receiving an A--is there really no place left to go but down? Wanna bumble with the bee, huh.... "The Day After School Grades Come In, Parents Are Buzzing." Buzzzzz

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Catch All the Lesson Plans: Pokemon and Science

Can Pokemon get kids excited about learning science? You better believe it can. Sets of lesson plans from the NIA (National Institute of Aerospace) integrate Nintendo's wildly popular characters (over 165 million games sold) with relevant lessons for students in grades 3-8. Tite!

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