Six is better than one, as that silly drug add says

2.0 student comment

Ummm… This pic makes a nice sound bite, but I do not agree. Yes, a 2.0 student can definitely know more than a 4.0 student. Bright, disobedient students can be experts at hiding knowledge and understanding.

However, I feel compelled to observe that there are damn few 4.0 students who are not ahead of most of their peers academically. Low grades may not reflect true understanding. But a consistent accumulation of high grades over time does reflect understanding. Even if a few teachers in the mix don’t have high standards, or reward quantity over quality, “A” after “A” after “A” across the years can be used as a reliable measure of academic excellence.

When we stop trying to measure and define academic excellence, we will have truly fallen down the rabbit hole. Grades don’t determine intelligence? Of course, they don’t. Grades are merely a measuring tool. But grades remain one of our best tools for determining understanding, despite their flaws.

I’d also like to observe that obedience in a classroom may serve the common good, even if that particular behavioral trait has inexplicably fallen out of fashion.

Arrested? As we slowly lose what’s left of our minds.

alexis

The actual story from that originated this post can be found at http://thefederalist.com/2016/05/19/this-man-saved-a-girl-from-being-stabbed-to-death-and-now-target-is-suing-him-for-it/ ( 19, 2016 By ). I would say the story raises more questions than it answers, a common feature of internet journalism. The current transgender bathroom issue only merited one real paragraph, but that paragraph seemed worth posting.

Target’s policy has raised questions nationwide about whether men who merely claim to be women should be allowed in the same bathroom as women. On Monday, a female security officer at a Giant supermarket in Washington, D.C., was arrested after telling a man to leave the women’s restroom in the store. In Toronto, a serial sexual predator pretended to be a transgender woman named Jessica in order to prey on women at a battered women’s shelter.

The last line says it all. While some tweets out there right now are making fun of politicians who are worried about men wanting to watch women in bathrooms, those tweets miss the point. If I were a serial sexual predator, I would be on this transgender opportunity in a heartbeat. In the meantime, we are arresting people who are trying to protect the public from as-yet-unquantified risks.

Eduhonesty: Repeating my thought from before: We have to stop trying to live in the world we want to see. We need to live in the world we actually inhabit. Adolescent girls tend to breeze thoughtlessly through the world, not watching for threats around them. I favor protecting those girls to the extent we can, simply because I don’t trust them to protect themselves. They don’t think about worse-case scenarios. Much of the time, they don’t notice their surroundings. They are too busy texting or sending selfies, or thinking about the school play.

Another repeat: Civil rights should not trump common sense.

Stories we never heard

070

My last post refers to a girl assaulted in a bathroom. Here’s the thought I did not include in that post; I am sure many similar stories exist but they never have hit the media radar. That radar is all about ratings. Where are the ratings? Right now, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are great for ratings. We know all about what they are doing. Chris Christie could be meditating in an ashram in Nepal for all most of know, however.

I am sure those assaults in bathrooms have been occurring. But unless someone was seriously injured or killed, such a story would not have qualified for air time. As mores change and the landscape shifts beneath us, similar stories may acquire traction. Suddenly bathroom safety has hit the fringes of the news. Whether these stories get bumped to the head of the line will depend on the ratings from similar stories.

Standing with my students on the issue of transgender bathroom rights

May 13, 2016
See http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-man-accused-of-choking-girl-8-in-south-loop-store-20160513-story.html for the full story. A man is accused of choking an 8-year-old girl until she passed out in the bathroom of a restaurant in Chicago’s South Loop. He then carried her into a bathroom stall and closed the door so she could not leave. Her mother rescued her.

Eduhonesty: All this girl did was go to the bathroom in a Jason’s Deli, one of my favorite healthier eating chains.We cannot open up the nation’s bathrooms to any and everyone. When all you have to do is throw on a scarf and some make-up to have a perfectly legitimate excuse to hang out in the girl’s bathroom, scary — even tragic — things will happen. I am talking about pervs, not transgendered individuals. I believe those transgendered individuals are no threat. But allowing men free access to girl’s bathrooms will be a real, ongoing threat.

We may not like to believe this, but America’s lawmakers and politicians desperately need to separate the world that they want from the world that they actually live in.

P.S. Go back a few posts for more thoughts on this issue.

A PARCC P.S.

covered walls

At a meeting to thank the many teachers who have helped with extracurricular activities throughout the year, the Principal uttered one line that deserved to be blogged:

“I really appreciate the many people who helped us get ready for PARCC for the last two and one-half months.”

How much time has been lost to the testing process? Who knows? How many teachers were preparing for a test rather than preparing lesson plans? The test itself sucked up the better part of a month, but the test is only the culmination of a process that involves a tremendous amount of preparatory work and training. I just thought I’d put that “two and one-half months” on the table.

PARCC, oh, PARCC

go around PARCC

At least they did not split PARCC into two separate testing sessions this year. But my current school has been shutting down the library for testing regularly since… let me look. Hmmm. I’m not sure. There’s a closure notice for April 11th but there may have been earlier notices. My email trash starts on the 11th. I’ll just say the library has been shutting regularly for weeks. The hallways have been on super-secret silent running at odd times during these weeks, as adults shush twelve to fourteen year-old kids who are moving between classes. Sometimes doors are sealed to keep in the silence and kids rove around in odd, multi-floor circuits to get to classes that can no longer be reached by the usual routes.

The whole silence thing got old by the third or fourth day and after that I was shush, shush, shushing kids who were no longer taking the whole testing extravaganza terribly seriously. Sigh. But I got a laugh this morning.

One of my students had been on the make-up list twice. Both times he had been supposed to go for testing at 8:30 but had apparently skipped. He turned up in my second period class a little after 9:00 A.M. on those days. Today, I got the notice that he was to report for make-up testing at 9:30, during the middle of my class. I sent him off, and he finally gave up and went and actually took the test. He was back about ten minutes later. A friend asked him about the test and he answered that the test had been easy. In his own words:

“I finished in three minutes. Every response was an “I don’t know” question.”

They should have let him skip. Hunting the kid down definitely did not help school scores. I have to admit I laughed when he described the test, and then I wrote down his exact words immediately. But a very fine school with a dedicated administration is about to be judged on my student’s test scores.

Eduhonesty:  Gallows humor fed my laughter this morning, but PARCC’s honestly about as funny as the average cholera epidemic.

IMG_0280