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Learning it All February 21, 2010

Posted by bobv451 in education, gummint, writing.

Mike up in Santa Fe passed along this and, being a sucker for test taking (really) I ran through it and got 28. I missed the number of states, which I thought was a trick question since 57 wasn’t listed and, just as Austrians speak Austrian, I thought Americans spoke American. Oh well. Interesting how low the general scores seem to run on this.

This ties in with a long article in the morning paper about a South Valley hs that is chronic underachiever in everything. Interestingly, they have on avg 80% fewer Blacks, 90% fewer Native Americans and close to 95% fewer Asians than the district average. Immense Title 1 money has been piped into the school in the past 30 years and have run through 14 principals in that time. Maybe they need a new sports stadium.

You’ve heard the definition of insanity. The only solution the school super can come up with is more money to follow the same policies that have failed for decades. It would seem that no “innovative” plan lasts longer than 2 years before they retreat to the same failed system. It was and is anathema to consider tracking. For whatever reason, cohorts have to be advanced in relation to age rather than skill accomplishment. Modest proposal. Try tracking. Nationwide there are 50% more teachers now than 20 years ago yet (again nationwide) achievement scores have not changed.

This sorta ties in with the author getogether out at Moriarty yesterday,. This is a poor farming & ranching community where, I was told, 100% of the students qualify for free lunches. Interesting to see the MHS trophy case (I gave a talk there a few years back). No athletic trophies to speak up. Just lists of students who have gone to Harvard, Stanford and other top schools on academic scholarships. The autographing had a disappointing turnout (if there were a half dozen people in 3 hrs I’d be surprised–there were 30 or so authors) so the hs achievement roster might be dropping. Or maybe the kids were home studying? Doubt that, somehow. I hope the kids still have the idea they have to get out of their sad condition through education.

A radio station is gearing up there and they’re trying to figure what (free) programming they can air. This might be a fertile ground for podcasters.

But I did enjoy myself. Hitched a ride with Joan Saberhagen (my car into shop tomorrow) and had lunch with Ken and Rita Hodgson at El Comedor de Anaya (excellent restaurant and where Bruce King used to hold court). Ken gave me several of his books, including an ARC of one dealing with a rancher who kills an eagle. Looks fascinating and utterly different from the run-of-the-mill western rancher story. Should An Eagle Fall is due out in May.

Sorry about no post yesterday but I was on the road a lot, not getting sleep and still trying to figure out the rules to curling.



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