Why does being gone for five days seem like weeks? And why can’t everything back here just come to a halt while I’m gone (except for that road project – why the hell didn’t you finish while I was gone?)? I guess I’m back to being irrational again. Anyway, here are a few items I missed during the past week.
Patrick Welsh is an English teacher at a large high school in Northern Virginia and he occasionally shares his extremely well-written observations on education in the Washington Post. Last Sunday he looked at how "acting ghetto" – the behavior and attitudes of some groups of kids – is affecting learning for all students at his school. Read the whole thing since he does see a ray of hope in the end.
A new survey (we haven’t had one of them in a while) from the Educational Testing Service says that the percentage of parents who give US schools an A or a B is only 22%, down from 43% three years ago. Considering the drumbeat of negative talk from W and friends, I’m surprised it’s not lower. Meanwhile, the annual survey from Phi Delta Kappa consistently shows that the public gives high grades to their local schools while giving US education in general low marks like those in the ETS survey. You can’t have it both ways.
An outfit called the Academic Film Archive of North America is getting a windfall of classic "academic" films, some of them 50 years old, from the Saint Louis school system. But these are no ordinary movies! For most of us who attended school in the 60’s or 70’s, these are the films (some of them pretty good as I remember) that were part of the standard curriculum – from social studies to science ("Your Friend the Atom"?) to health – in many schools. Right now the Archive is organizing regular film festivals but it would be neat if they got the money to put some of them on the web.
Finally, on the TiVo were several episodes of Daily Show including one in which Lewis Black (the funniest stand up comic working today!) looks at the "Reaganomics" that developed in the wake of the passing of the former President. It seems some people are trying to make a buck off the event. Go figure! Take a look Lewis’ rant (Real Player required) and enjoy!