Advanced Placement “Brand”

Yesterday’s Times featured an article addressing the AP brand and detailed the ways in which teachers who are offering these courses must submit a syllabus for approval.

One of Paul Vallas’ supposed accomplishments was the vast increase in the number of AP courses offered. I would like to see a story exploring both the eventual test scores as well as the College Board’s response to the syllabi.

I’m sure that the folks at the magnet schools are not experiencing difficulties and I would imagine there are some pretty impressive scores. But what of the comprehensive high schools where these courses have been offered for the first time ? What has their experience been like? Have students done well? Poorly?

One way to select various features in Arcmap

I wanted to figure out if it was new residents or old residents living in a particular part of the city in 1960.
1. Click on selection in tools

2. Highlight all the census tracts you want. Be careful because some tracts will appear to be highlighted when they are not.
3. In TOC, right click on layer.

4. Click on selection, then create layer from selected features.

5. You can export this layer from there as a separate .dbf. I’m not sure how the shapefile works, i.e., does it stay attached ?  (No, it doesn’t).

Quote from Marc Bloch

“I can conceive of no higher praise for a writer than to be able to speak in the same tone to savants and schoolboys alike, but so noble a simplicity is the privilege of the select few.”

Marc Bloch, The Historian’s Craft (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1954), 3.

Harry Potter and Reading

The NYT has a brief “let’s talk to some teachers, some students, and some experts” article about the impact of Harry Potter.

The ability to find an educational expert to back up every possible opinion is demoralizing. To wit:

Some reading experts say that urging kids to read fiction in general might be a misplaced goal. “If you look at what most people need to read for their occupation, it’s zero narrative,” said Michael L. Kamil, a professor of education at Stanford University. “I don’t want to deny that you should be reading stories and literature. But we’ve overemphasized it,” he said. Instead, children need to learn to read for information, Mr. Kamil said, something they can practice while reading on the Internet, for example.

This vision will be happily embraced by any and all who are ready to gut whole language and who want to emphasize reading as a skill rather than a love or a vocation. I know I’m a romantic but “reading for information” can’t be the starting point for teachers seeking to inspire their students or for kids learning to read.

Death by Bureaucracy

This article from Friday’s Times describes the plight of a teacher buried by paperwork.

Nothing new there.

What’s most impressive, though, is the way in which the high-level administrators respond, as if nothing could be more natural than five weeks of paperwork to prepare to teach.

End result: new teacher, with lots to offer, departs for another position.
Bureaucrat in nice suit: promoted.

Capstone Seminar for Student Teachers

What if this course was taught as a recapitulation of all the other courses necessary for certification?  In other words, it would begin with the issues raced in “Schools and Society,” proceed through the research highlighted in “Educational Psychology,” and then consider questions of special education, literacy, and the specific content area pedagogy?

Not bad as an organizational tool.  And it would ask students to reflect on coursework that was relevant but probably forgotten.

Hmmm.

John Street was right !?!

Not a big fan of Mayor Street, but his adamant refusal to allow police officers into Philadelphia public schools was the right call. The columnist, Bob Herbert, from the New York Times, has been steadily documenting the abuses perpetrated by New York City Police Officers on schoolchildren in NYC.

Today’s article — here