Saturday, August 29, 2015

Another one bites the dust?

Several years ago, when the bully who was principal was replaced, the replacement was a man we respected and we were thrilled that he was going to lead our school.

The district had a great deal of faith in his ability which is why they talked him into taking our school. But they didn't tell him they had applied for a school improvement grant and he would be reporting to a state person and would not really be in charge.

He became discouraged fairly quickly and was never the savior people had hoped for.And the district replaced him with a good ole boy crony who was a disaster.

Well, disaster has finally done enough damage that they showed him the door. Another principal, one the teachers and parents have hoped for years would come lead the school has finally agreed to and there is celebration that a savior has come.

He leaves a school that he has turned into a jewel to come fix the problems at our school. I wonder how the district will sabotage him.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Which is worse: murder or cell phones?

OK, sounds like an obvious question.

We were sitting around, complaining about kids and their cell phones, when someone made an interesting observation. If you murder someone while you are a teenager, you probably go on with your life with not much of an impact. But failure to pay attention to your education will hinder your adult life more.

Flawed test

I gave a pre-test this week. You know, one of those where they will look at the test and pretest and evaluate me on the growth of the students.

Except.

Some of the questions were beyond flawed.

Compare _____________to ______________ and state the relationship.

a)
b)
c)
d)

And, yes, the blanks were how they appeared on the test - non-questions with non-answers.

And somehow my students could answer these questions. Probability being what it is, they even got some of them right (according to the answer key because I sure couldn't tell).

But I am certain this will be a valid assessment of my ability.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Pros and Cons of Outlook Groups

A new year has started. One of the department chairs has decided to add outlook groups - four of them - in order to keep herself organized.

I am having a real problem with this.

I can't delete emails in these groups (excuse me, conversations). I cannot even see the groups at home if I have looked at all of the postings. And I cannot sort the postings into folders that make more sense to me.

I will find another way to organize myself but I wonder if anyone sees an upside to groups?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

77% myth

Thomas Sowell has written about the male/female wage gap several times. On 4/15/14 and again on 3/15/2015. And I know he has addressed this several other times. Other economists have written about it Here and here.

As a comment I ran across says. Women want the ability to choose when and how they work (staying home with babies, etc.) without any consequences.

The latest wrinkle is the female soccer players don't get paid what male soccer players do. Well, that is a market-driven decision. Some baseball players don't make what prime basketball players make, either.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Southern Problem

I was working on schoolwork for the fall and watching a marathon on the Civil War Untold Stories. And then an episode on "Death and the Civil War: American Experience" came on, talking about the sheer volume of dead in the battles and how death was suddenly different - instead of dying in the home with your family around you, you died thousands of miles from home with strangers, sometimes not identified on your grave.

OK, it sounds like a gruesome topic, but that wasn't the takeaway I had from this.

To paraphrase what one professor said: The South did not go into the war for the care of the dead. They went into the war to create a confederate states of America. Would things be different now if the North had treated the Southern dead with respect? We don't know.

He was talking about how the North created Arlington to honor the Union dead but would do nothing for the Confederate dead.

He quoted Frederick Douglass ". . . whatever else I may forget, I shall never forget the difference between those who fought for liberty and those who fought for slavery, between those who fought to save the Republic and those who fought to destroy it." Decoration Day, 1894



And they talked about how the Southern economy was annihilated in a way no place else in the US has ever had happen to it. (That's Atlanta in 1865)

We all know that holding on to anger festers. And this is somewhat oversimplified. I know that when my family moved into the South, people still talked about when "we lost the War" - and they were serious 100 years after Appomatox.

But I have been thinking about this a lot this week.

The idiot/evil/moron who gunned down people in the Church had nothing to do with the Confederate flag (actually Lee's Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia - And my great great great grandfather was there.). It had everything to do with mental illness.

But, in knee jerk reaction, everyone bans the sale of the flag. Well, I am offended by all the paraphernalia with Che Guevera's likeness and the rap music with the N word, B word, C word, etc. But I don't expect everyone to ban things so that I am not bothered.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summer fun!

An adult friend of my husband's - actually someone he knows casually or alittle better than that, called me a couple of weeks back saying he wanted me to tutor his 6th grade daughter in math. She wasn't wild about it but he and her mother felt she could benefit from some extra help.

Then I didn't hear from him and I thought I got my summer back.

Well, she came today. Very polite. I asked her point blank if she wanted to be here - she said no - it didn't sound like fun. So I talked about what I had been thinking.

She did well in math, it was just starting to get harder

I told her I would go over any questions she had about 6th grade math then preview 7th grade math and maybe go into some beginning algebra, give her notes (which will help her and allow me to set the foundation in my head for pre-algebra (which is on my schedule for next year).

Then I showed her why middle school math is so important.

Proportions to right triangle trig to trig with sines and cosines to law of sines.....

She loves long division - so long division of polynomials to synthetic division....

She had a couple of questions. There was a problem with <3 and a picture of a line cut by another line with 3 angles listed by number and one 73 degrees. I told her the <3 was supposed to be angle-symbol 3 and explained about supplementary angles and vertical angles.

The other said what shape would you have if you cut a cylinder vertically and horizontally. I explained, drew a picture - and she could see it!

This is going to be fun!

Even Sadie said it was going to be neat - as long as we could do some long division for fun!