Spike Who?

In an earlier post I couldn’t figure out why a cable network would take the name Spike TV, which is what TNN wants to do. That story got even weirder when Spike Lee sued the network for stealing his name and, even worse, some judge agreed with him last week. There is no way that anyone would draw a straight line between Spike Lee and "the first network for men", except possibly people at a Knicks game. To add to the entertainment value of this story, Spike’s lawyer is Johnnie Cochran.

It’s Time to Change The Core

Somewhere in the back of my head is a poster that said something like: "It will be a good day when high school bands have all the money they need and the Air Force needs to have a bake sale to buy a B-52." That quote popped back to the front of the head this week when I ran across a commercial for Save the Music. This is a six year old charity, largely supported by the cable channel VH1, to raise money to support school music programs.

The fact that an organization like Save the Music needs to exist is just plain sad. With all the pressure for high school students to take more and more "solid" classes, the time left for choir, band, orchestra and drama in the schedule, has dwindled down to nothing. In elementary schools, these subjects get minimized or tossed out so schools can do more testing drills.

That is flat out wrong! The performing arts should be one of the core subjects every student takes throughout their twelve years in the system – just as important as math and science. There has to be a balance in the curriculum our students receive. After all, what good is a high school graduate who knows lots of facts but has no soul?

Bye, Bye IE

Several legitimate tech news sources (as opposed to the thousands of make-it-up-as-we-go-along rumor sites) are reporting that the big monopoly is discontinuing development of it’s Internet Explorer for the Mac. This comes a few days after AOL surrendered to MS for chump change and MS said that they were dropping development of IE as a stand alone program (it becomes part of the next infliction of Windows). Looks like Bill continues to win the court case he "lost".

This news bothers me but not for the reasons I would have had a couple of years ago. Today there more choices in browsers, they do a better job of adhering to web standards and designers have a greater understanding of those standards. That, however, doesn’t overcome the fact that the vast majority of people using the web will have no idea what they’re missing as they wait several years for an upgraded browser. For a better analysis of this issue than I could ever write, read today’s entry from Jeffrey Zeldman.

Who Gives a Rat’s Ass? Friday

Newly added to the list…

The Democratic Presidential Candidates – None of these guys will win unless Bush screws up the economy enough to make people forget about the war and a charismatic unknown comes out of left field. Whoa! Rush of deja vu!!

Hillery Clinton’s Book – I’m going to wait for my next 600+ page work of fiction until Harry arrives next week.

The NBA and NHL Championship Games – It’s the middle of June. Aren’t these supposed to be winter games?

The Laci Peterson Investigation – This is NOT a reality series. Shut up until you have some actual news (are you listening Fox News?).

A School With Too Much Money

That’s the only reason I can think of for a school to refuse $43,000 worth of new computers. Of course the stated reason is that "we only buy PCs" and this grant is for 30 Macs with 6 laser printers. The IT people in the system, who of course have gone through indoctrination at MS, claim that supporting PCs is cheaper despite lots of evidence to the contrary.

This is just another example of school systems (including the short sighted one I work for) turning the decision for instructional tools over to the tech support folks who never go near the classroom. We in education preach all the time about using different approaches for different purposes but it seems that concept doesn’t apply when the big monopoly is involved.

One last thing – Apple is still the only major computer company to have an actual division dedicated to supporting K12 education. Take a look at the Apple Learning Interchange sometime and show me teachers resources of that quality on Dell’s, HP’s or Microsoft’s sites. You won’t because these companies see schools as just another business, evidenced by the fact that their "education" sections are either part of their "business solutions" or "government solutions" unit.