Sunday, July 22, 2012

What was he thinking... ??

A teacher in Georgia tried to blend math and history and got himself in really hot water.

3rd grader teacher Luis Rivera at Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Gwinnett County wrote math questions asking for instance: "If 8 slaves pick 56 oranges..."!  Whoa!! What was he thinking???!!  WAS he thinking?? And, why did this kind of question turn-up on homework without anyone seeking it first??

I understand that every piece of homework cannot be reviewed by the principal or department chair before it is put in a kid's backpack, but whenever a teacher is trying something "new", might it be a good idea to at least run it past another teacher to see if it sounds right?

This is what I call another example of "ignorant racism". People can say things that sound acceptable to them about other people, and are shocked when the response is negative... or at least not what they were expecting. The best avenue to take is: think before you speak...or write,  about how the person recieving the message might take it.  Yes, that takes time and may not seem necessary, based upon how you were raised. But, in this multi-cultural world we all need to learn more about others before we bring them into our conversations.  The teacher has apologized and resigned his job in the school, but as many teachers ask of their students... what have WE learned from this?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Here we go again... the state legislature has created the Special Committee on Improving Educational Opportunities in High School.  The committee met for the first time on July 16.

It has an impressive list of members and invited speakers who know what they are talking about when it comes to what employers want vs. what high school students (and sometimes graduates) have to offer. All the "right" players are at the table... but, will this just be another game of "let's talk about it and get nothing accomplished"?

Committee chair State Senator Luther Olsen was on Wisconsin Public Radio talking about this first meeting and he had some interesting things to say.  For instance we are teaching "today's students... for tomorrow's world... in yesterday's schools". Yes, he is right. Now what?  He also said of the curriculum offered in Wisconsin's high schools "... if it doesn't interest them (the students) they are not interested in learning it."
Makes sense, right?

So, I called in to the radio station and asked if... among all the people on the committee and in the room for this first meeting of a really important topic... where there any high school students, or recent graduates or anyone under the age of 21? His answer: No.

It just seems to me that if you are talking about the current high school systems and the future of high school education, it might pay to talk to those sitting in the classroom.  If Senator Olsen is correct... if kids can't learn if they are not interested in what's being taught... maybe we should ask them.  Maybe the committee should hold it's next meeting at Milwaukee Area Technical College and invite any recent high school graduate, any student studying for a GED, any first or second year student at MATC to give their thoughts, too.

It couldn't hurt to ask...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

As you may or may not know, I LOVE hot weather. My theory is: I was born in the spring and my first awareness of weather came during the summer therefore, my whole metabolism prefers hot temperatures.  Sounds OK, right?

However, THIS summer with temperatures above 100 and humidity in the 60's is pushing even me to say... Mother Nature, turn down the dial! When it is too hot and muggy to play tennis, it is too hot.

I'm going to try hitting a few balls this afternoon (current temperature- 100 degrees) and see how it goes.... stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We are counting the days until my son begins college more than one-thousand miles away from home. Exciting for him... not so much for me.  Don't get me wrong. I am thrilled that he will be attending college in another large city, filled with wild nightlife, drugs, alcohol, beautiful co-eds, a massive football stadium, Major League Baseball team and occasional  classes. But, I'm wondering how much contact I will have with him during the year??

When I went away to college, I wrote my parents every week (for at least the first 2 weeks!). Should I demand he write me weekly, monthly, every semester, quarterly, at all?  Hmmm.

Better yet, we can text each other constantly! He does that now with friends here at home and new friends he has made via facebook.  He is already "talking" to people in other states who will be joining him on campus in only a few weeks!! He has already found a roommate!! Yes, that sounds like a plan. I will text him everyday and he can give me a detailed update on what he did that day!! Right! That will work!!

EVEN better yet... we can Skype once or twice a week.  That way I can see if he is gaining or losing weight, growing a beard, or had any body parts pierced or tattooed. He can see the same with me (except for the beard). That should not be too much of a hassle for him, right?!

OK, that's the plan... letters, texting and Skype.  Boy, this is gonna be fun!!!