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Fair and Balanced Discussion from Southern Oregon

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Kerry/Edwards Education Presser 

I just got back from MC'ing the Kerry/Edwards Press Conference addressing No Child Left Behind and the Bush Administration's shortcomings in Education Policy. There should be TV cover on 5 and 10, as well as some print coverage.

Besides myself, three others spoke - an elementary educator, a district superintendent, and an SOU student, each addessing parts of the overall flawed picture, from early childhood programs through to affordable and available univeristy offerings.

It's a crucial issue at a crucial time.

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Monday, August 16, 2004

Blogs in the local news 

The Mail Tribune, in Sunday's Lifestyles section, covered Blogging, including RoguePundit, CrazyEngineer, and moi. Apparently, we are the active three in Southern Oregon. Both Gordie and I are political in our lean, while Lawrence at CrazyEngineer isn't.

Dunno if it is going to generate much traffic, but here's hoping :)

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Friday, August 13, 2004

Schools "left behind" - August 12, 2004 

Today we had a visit from the next President of the United States, and on the same day, the local paper noted how well our current President's national education policy seems to be working out for Southern Oregon.

Read the fine print on this one, folks... it boils down, generally, to "Schools do well in LOTS of areas, but stumble in one and the federal standards will get you..."

I think I will be adding some more when I have a decent night's sleep to ruminate on this. Look for an UPDATE tomorrow or Saturday...

UPDATE (Sunday, PM)
The thing that strikes me most about these findings is that aside from slapping bad publicity on a school, they really do nothing. I am not even convinced they are providing completely useful data. Look just at the Phoenix High and Talent Middle School deficiencies:
In the Phoenix-Talent School District, middle and high schools didn’t meet their AYP targets.

Talent Middle School’s mark reflects poor scores in reading and math for Hispanic students who speak English as a second language, curriculum director Tim Mobley said. The school has added a half-time teacher and a full-time aide to work with those students this year, he said.

Kids still learning English continued to falter in math and reading in the district’s high school, but Phoenix High also had trouble testing the required 95 percent of its students. Only 93 percent took the tests, Mobley said.

"Participation is a matter of logistics," he said. "It’s a no-brainer to fix that first."

A reading program started last year at the high school should boost scores in the long run and an increased focus on math already has boosted scores, he said.


I may be off the mark on some of this, but instructional gaps in second language learners are a reflection of a lot more than the single year snapshot of the school currently enrolled in, yet schools are judged based upon just such a single year snapshot.

On the High School testing percentage, P/T misses by 2 percent, which with their student population is somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 kids. They are allowed to have about 35 absent during the testing window, but more than that is a problem. If the tests are multi-day affairs like the CIM, the chances of losing 35 kids for SOME of the test days is pretty high. I'd like it if the article explained some of the 'internals' on what exactly is not being complied with... what is 'acceptable' math and reading performance for non-native English speakers? What is the testing mechanism? Which grades are tested? How many OTHER tests are part of the year that the kids may or may not understand the relevency of?

Someone in Education Administration want to fill in some gaps for us? use the comments!!

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