More problematic still, to me, is the fact that dyslexic students
can get their degree under less stringent conditions than non-dyslexic
candidates, and, crucially, the fact that they had the extra leeway
does not appear on the certificate.
This has nothing to
do with the issues of whether dyslexia is a real condition (I think it
is) or what proportion of those claiming it really have it (I have no
sure knowledge, though in considering any question to do with the
integrity of the modern British examination I am a pessimist.) It also
has nothing to do with lack of sympathy for those who honestly struggle
with spelling, for any reason. I sympathise greatly with those who are
not cheating and not at all with those who are. The prime victims of
the false dyslexics, naturally, are the genuine dyslexics.
even assuming that the diagnosis of dyslexia was utterly certain and
utterly unfakeable, an exam is meant to measure how well the candidates
do certain set tasks under certain set constraints. It should not
measure how well they would have done them if the world had been
A month or so ago, I attended a meeting at work illustrated entirely by typed transparencies on an overhead projector. I could hardly believe it? This guy was really old-school.
Not a single "slide" whooshed in from stage left or cleverly "dissolved" into blocks before the next agonizingly built itself pixel by pixel from the center out. The lecturer didn't need artificial transitions. He knew his material and was either finishing up his current point or beginning the next one while he changed slides It was a rare thing of beauty.
Mr. Rivera, who up until now never seemed to be
particularly interested in the education issues of his community, where
test scores rise a lot slower than the temperature of the earth, seems
to have found a new cause.
“Al Gore has suggested that every science class in America watch
this film [um, you know the one, Ed.],” Mr. Rivera says. “My legislation will mandate the showing
to all students in grades 1 through 12 because the message of this
documentary must be seen by every member of the next generation. They
are the ones most likely to listen.”
I don't know if it proves Al Gore's theory or not, but after having read this I can tell you that my temperature's going up.
What a worthless subject for a degree. Better, I'd think, that the college drill them in spelling and teach them how to conduct an effective meeting without having to resort to a dreary Powerpoint presentation. The entire business world would applaud and some actual good might result.
The students at Liverpool High have used their school-issued laptops to
exchange answers on tests, download pornography and hack into local
businesses. When the school tightened its network security, a 10th
grader not only found a way around it but also posted step-by-step
instructions on the Web for others to follow (which they did).
Scores of the leased laptops break down each month, and every other
morning, when the entire school has study hall, the network inevitably
freezes because of the sheer number of students roaming the Internet
instead of getting help from teachers.
So the Liverpool Central
School District, just outside Syracuse, has decided to phase out
laptops starting this fall, joining a handful of other schools around
the country that adopted one-to-one computing programs and are now
abandoning them as educationally empty — and worse.
This can only come as a surprise to those who don't understand how human beings learn -- unfortunately that seems to include a lot of school administrators. A couple years ago, Niagara Falls opened a shiny, new high school and, to much press coverage and praise, issued each of its students shiny, new laptops. I've read nothing since about how the experiment worked out but I'd wager that it's been quietly dropped for the above reasons.
Computers are a tool -- and rather expensive ones at that. Yes, children need to be taught how to use them, but that's about as difficult as it was to teach my generation how to adjust the rabbit ears to better watch Leave It To Beaver. Judging the content of what the computer can reveal to us remains the challenge, just as it was important to an earlier generation to determine the value of the boob-tube's programming.
24/7 access to a TV wasn't required for the latter, nor is laptop-ownership required for the former.
The doubling of the cap gives charter school proponents several
years to add schools and add quality to what charter schools offer. As
Peter Murphy of the New York Charter Schools Association said, there is
enough administrative and statutory rigor, and enough safeguards, to
argue that a cap is unwarranted. But raising the cap to 200 allows room
for both expansion and further evaluation.
The transition aid,
along with huge overall increases in state education funding, should
soften the blow for school districts that lose much of the per-pupil
aid when children shift from public to charter schools. The $12 million
in transition aid is designed to ease the impact of future student
shifts, although it won’t help districts recover costs for students who
already have left.
School districts should be heartened by this
first-ever response to the funding impact problem by the Spitzer
administration, the Division of Budget and the State Legislature,
including work by Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo.
The loss of
per-pupil aid has put a squeeze on districts, an expense Buffalo School
District Chief Financial Officer Gary M. Crosby has calculated for the
city system. The difference between the drain and the $12 million in
aid comes to about $28 million, he said.
Well, of course, the loss of per-student aid to the charter schools has put a squeeze on districts -- that was the point. The primary benefit of charter schools (which, we must remember, are "public" schools) was to provide more personalized and more effective schooling to children who weren't being served adequately, but the second was to inject some competition into the public school system.
By eliminating the pain of losing the student subsidies, the Governor has removed the incentive for the older schools to improve. Now, I applaud Mr. Spitzer for his support of charter schools, but will his "transitional" aid now have to become become permanent aid? Will it now be built into each succeeding year's budget? If that happens, the teachers' unions' opposition to charter schools will dissolve. After all, they wouldn't mind charter schools any more than they do private schools as long as they weren't financially harmed by them.
Sooner or later, someone in New York State is going to have to stand up to the unions and tell them that we think we're spending quite enough money on our school's already, thank you, and now it's your turn to hold up your end. The loss of per-student aid had been working to bring around changes to the traditional schools. Governor Spitzer's compromise has seriously weakened that.
Some of us wondered if the earlier switch to Daylight Savings Time would go smoothly this year. And it did -- except for this school kid in Pennsylvania.
A fifteen-year old boy in America was incarcerated
for twelve days, wrongly accused of making a hoax bomb threat - because
his school had forgotten that the clocks had gone forward.
Cody Webb was arrested last month, after
Hempfield Area High School received a bomb threat on their student
hotline – which provides a range of information to students about the
school - at 3.17am on March 11th. They believed they'd found the
culprit when they traced the phone number they thought was responsible
Unfortunately, they forgot that the clocks had
switched to Daylight Saving Time that morning. Webb, who's never even
had a detention in his life, had actually made his call an hour
Despite the fact that the recording of the call
featured a voice that sounded nothing like Webb's, the police arrested
Webb and he spent 12 days in a juvenile detention facility before the
school eventually realised their mistake.
Webb gave an insight into the school's
impressive investigative techniques, saying that he was ushered in to
see the principal, Kathy Charlton. She asked him what his phone number
was, and , according to Webb, when he replied 'she started waving her
hands in the air and saying “we got him, we got him.”'
'They just started flipping out, saying I made
a bomb threat to the school,' he told local television station KDKA.
After he protested his innocence, Webb says that the principal said:
'Well, why should we believe you? You're a criminal. Criminals lie all
All charges against Webb have now been dropped.
I hope there are some pending against the principal. It's yet another illustration of how all the education in the world can't fix stupid.