Monday, February 23, 2009

2009-03-1 Education Roundup

Former Granberry PTA treasurer will do more time. Julie Buchanan has only done 2 years out of a 15 year sentence for " theft, money laundering and forgery" involving some $150,000 according to this Tennessean article. Part of that money was raised to benefit a child who has since passed on. Buchanan's actions harmed more than that child. She made fundraising and PTA activities across the state more difficult as systems overreacted to a simple lack of accountability over these finances. I'm glad Buchanan's doing well in prison. School volunteers and their students are still suffering as a result of her actions.

CitizenNetMom thinks spending 'stimulus' money on personnel might be acceptable this time around. "Thus, it seems to me that the most appropriate use would be to use those funds to continue programs like extended contracts, where teachers are paid a small stipend to do extra things like before- or after-school tutoring (of particular benefit to special ed or economically disadvantaged students)."

Will Frist SCORE? Not if he keeps moving the same pieces around the same game board. It's going to take some real backbone, some willingness to offend the status quo and its keepers and some dollars to get the message out to the public in order to obtain their backing. Without that backing the progressives will win the day and we'll be a full step behind where we are now.

This from the SCORE website

"SCORE will achieve this goal by (1) developing a strategic plan for K-12 education reform in Tennessee via a statewide Steering Committee of key stakeholders (2) launching a number of Project Teams to initiate both statewide and local education projects and (3) running a grassroots campaign to promote the state's new standards, identify education activists across the state, and create conversations among local community leaders about how each community can improve its local schools."
Sounds like the same old same old to me.

Martin Kennedy has other thoughts:
"Don't even begin to tell me about programs that have "worked" elsewhere in terms of graduation rates or test scores until you make clear that a fundamental goal of reform is to expand parental choice. Those who believe in the power of programs miss the point. It is the power of a system that is important. On the one hand you have a thriving market system that serves affluent consumers and on the other a public monopoly system that enjoys a captive market, those who can't afford the market system."
Sarah Moore opines about our coddling of students. Here's a snip:
"Students should not get an “A” just because they really, really tried. You might study for hours every day for your organic chemistry and never understand some of the tougher concepts. So, you earn a “C” in the course. Sounds fair to me. A graduate school or employer who looks at your transcript and sees an “A” should be able to assume that you actually understand the content, not that you just read the book."
Along that same train of thinking:
The Rev. Enoch Fuzz sees big problems when students earning A’s and B’s in their Metro high school classes cannot earn high scores on the nationally standardized ACT test.

“These are children who study, and get good grades, and aren’t disciplinary problems,” Fuzz said Monday. “Someone should offer a type of relief, or apology, to some of these families.” City Paper 2/17/09
I don't think I'll ever forget a call I got from a woman whose child had received excellent grades in MNPS schools and suddenly crashed into reality at MTSU. She felt betrayed and cheated. She and her child had been lead to believe things were fine when they were far from it.

Adult literacy spurs confusion. Yes. I'm confused about how these adults lived under the compulsory attendance laws and yet still didn't master this basic skill. I'm not happy at having to pay twice for these people to obtain these skills. I think it's a shame that our public education system failed them in this essential skill. Regarding the other classes--I do have a problem with taxpayers providing yoga, basket weaving, swimming and cake decorating classes for the highly discounted rate of $20 or so. Click here for the latest class list and fee schedule. The fees should accurately reflect the cost of facilities and advertising and support. Then we can talk about finding scholarships to make them affordable.

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