Free your mind and think.

21 05 2013


Testing, 1-2-3…

13 05 2013


You are very best?

10 05 2013


Qualities not measured by most tests…

8 01 2013



HuffPo: Teacher In Guangxi, China Promises To Wear Sexy French Maid Outfit If Students Raise Grades

15 11 2012

I tried the same strategy, and it was far less effective.

– dEV

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Teacher In Guangxi, China Promises To Wear Sexy French Maid Outfit If Students Raise Grades

Posted: 11/06/2012 5:47 pm EST Updated: 11/06/2012 5:48 pm EST

A currently unidentified teacher in China’s Guangxi province is making waves after photos of her surfaced online leading class in a sexy French maid outfit with black cat ears.

According to a Guangxi Television report, the image was the result of a promise the teacher made to her students in a creative means of student motivation: she would dress up as a sexy French maid if her students placed at the top — among other classes in the same grade — on the upcoming monthly exam. The students completed the task, so the teacher kept her promise.

The images were removed from Weibo, China’s Twitter, after it garnered 5,000 or so shares, but not before it received widespread praise and criticism.

Some commented that the educator should be named the “2012 National Model Teacher of the Year” or considered among “China’s Top 10 Most Remarkable People,” Guangxi TV reports. While the teacher’s staunch supporters vouched for her integrity for honoring a commitment and thinking creatively to motivate students, her critics called the move a distraction from the seriousness of the classroom, with one asking, “What if her original promise was to go nude? Would she keep that promise, too?”

The Guangxi teacher’s move doesn’t stray too far from that of Indiana computer teacher Tara Borgonah. The Hershey Elementary teacher had, in the past, dressed up like Hannah Montana to motivate her students, and most recently kept her promise to dye her hair purple if 95 percent of third, fourth and fifth graders passed their typing test. All of her 325 students passed, the Journal and Courier reports.

Borgonah didn’t seem to receive quite the criticism garnered by the Guangxi teacher. Hershey Principal Linda Fields called Borgonah and a fellow teacher “amazing.”

“They will do anything to motivate children,” Fields told the Journal and Courier. “Not many people would go that far.”

(Full Story)

CommonDreams: Why the United States Is Destroying Its Education System

14 09 2012

I don’t totally buy it myself, but it’s an interesting read!

– dEV

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Published on Monday, April 11, 2011 by

A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.

Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating.

Passing bubble tests celebrates and rewards a peculiar form of analytical intelligence. This kind of intelligence is prized by money managers and corporations. They don’t want employees to ask uncomfortable questions or examine existing structures and assumptions. They want them to serve the system. These tests produce men and women who are just literate and numerate enough to perform basic functions and service jobs. The tests elevate those with the financial means to prepare for them. They reward those who obey the rules, memorize the formulas and pay deference to authority. Rebels, artists, independent thinkers, eccentrics and iconoclasts—those who march to the beat of their own drum—are weeded out.

“Imagine,” said a public school teacher in New York City, who asked that I not use his name, “going to work each day knowing a great deal of what you are doing is fraudulent, knowing in no way are you preparing your students for life in an ever more brutal world, knowing that if you don’t continue along your scripted test prep course and indeed get better at it you will be out of a job. Up until very recently, the principal of a school was something like the conductor of an orchestra: a person who had deep experience and knowledge of the part and place of every member and every instrument. In the past 10 years we’ve had the emergence of both [Mayor] Mike Bloomberg’s Leadership Academyand Eli Broad’s Superintendents Academy, both created exclusively to produce instant principals and superintendents who model themselves after CEOs. How is this kind of thing even legal? How are such ‘academies’ accredited? What quality of leader needs a ‘leadership academy’? What kind of society would allow such people to run their children’s schools? The high-stakes tests may be worthless as pedagogy but they are a brilliant mechanism for undermining the school systems, instilling fear and creating a rationale for corporate takeover. There is something grotesque about the fact the education reform is being led not by educators but by financers and speculators and billionaires.”

Teachers, under assault from every direction, are fleeing the profession. Even before the “reform” blitzkrieg we were losing half of all teachers within five years after they started work—and these were people who spent years in school and many thousands of dollars to become teachers. How does the country expect to retain dignified, trained professionals under the hostility of current conditions? I suspect that the hedge fund managers behind our charter schools system—whose primary concern is certainly not with education—are delighted to replace real teachers with nonunionized, poorly trained instructors. To truly teach is to instill the values and knowledge which promote the common good and protect a society from the folly of historical amnesia. The utilitarian, corporate ideology embraced by the system of standardized tests and leadership academies has no time for the nuances and moral ambiguities inherent in a liberal arts education. Corporatism is about the cult of the self. It is about personal enrichment and profit as the sole aim of human existence. And those who do not conform are pushed aside.

“It is extremely dispiriting to realize that you are in effect lying to these kids by insinuating that this diet of corporate reading programs and standardized tests are preparing them for anything,” said this teacher, who feared he would suffer reprisals from school administrators if they knew he was speaking out. “It is even more dispiriting to know that your livelihood depends increasingly on maintaining this lie. You have to ask yourself why are hedge fund managers suddenly so interested in the education of the urban poor? The main purpose of the testing craze is not to grade the students but to grade the teacher.”

(Full Story)

NYDailyNews: Talking pineapple question on state exam stumps … everyone!

28 04 2012

Students, teachers, principals – no one has any idea what the deal is


Thursday, April 19, 2012, 11:18 PM

Students across the state are still scratching their heads over an absurd state test question about a talking pineapple.

The puzzler on the eighth-grade reading exam stumped even educators and has critics saying the tests, which are becoming more high stakes, are flawed.

“I think it’s weird that they put such a silly question on a state test. What were they thinking?” said Bruce Turley, 14, an eighth-grader at Lower Manhattan Community Middle School.

“I thought it was a little strange, but I just answered it as best as I could,” said his classmate Tyree Furman, 14. “You just have to give it your best answer. These are important tests.”

In the story, a take-off on Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare, a talking pineapple challenges a hare to a race. The other animals wager on the immobile pineapple winning — and ponder whether it’s tricking them.

When the pineapple fails to move and the rabbit wins, the animals dine on the pineapple.

Students were asked two perplexing questions: why did the animals eat the talking fruit, and which animal was wisest?

Teachers, principals and parents contacted by The News said they weren’t sure what the answers were.

“My reaction is horror that a question that’s so obviously confusing should be used on a test that is going to be used to determine our kid’s future and the future of our children’s schools,” said parent Leonie Haimson, of Class Size Matters, who first posted the question on her blog.

In response to revelations that the state exams had become predictable and easier to pass, the state last year awarded a new $32 million contract to testing company Pearson to overhaul the tests.

The new exams have higher stakes for principals and teachers statewide, whose evaluations will be based in part on student scores beginning as soon as this year.
Scarsdale Middle School Principal Michael McDermott said the question has been used before and “confused students in six or seven different states.”

And he had a quick answer to the question of who is the wisest: “Pearson for getting paid $32 million for recycling this crap.”

One of the questions even stumped 74 time Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings, who said of he “who is wisest” question,  “Honestly, I’m still not particularly sure what the intended answer is.”

The city confirmed the questions were on the exam, but declined to discuss any specifics, and Chancellor Dennis Walcott directed questions to the state.

State officials wouldn’t divulge the answer and said they couldn’t speculate on whether the questions will be scored or scratched because of the controversy. They also noted that under new state rules, the questions and answers won’t be released.

Pearson spokesman Jason Smith said the state Education Department prohibited the company from speaking to the press on “matters like this.”

(Full Story)