Monday, December 31, 2007
Have a SAFE and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
While shopping for groceries today, one of my former students, Dan Wilguess stopped me and said hello. Dan is a D.D.S and and is involved in family and restorative dentistry. He has a practice located at 233 E. 10th St. in Edmond.
I got to introduce Dan to my wife. Dan is also married to one of my former students, Shannon, and they have two children. Both Dan and Shannon were great kids and now great adults who decided to stay in Oklahoma.
Running into two former students over a couple of days is unusual, unless I'm in Stillwater. Meeting up with them has made for an even greater Christmas holiday.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
While you think about your traditions, see if you can test your knowledge of the holiday by taking this quiz at http://living.aol.com/holidays/whose-idea-quiz.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOLS DO ABOUT THE SAME ACCORDING TO REVIEW OF TWO NEW REPORTS
EAST LANSING, Mich.– Two new reports appear to come to different conclusions about whether private schools are better than public ones at educating students. But a new review of both reports finds little actual difference between their findings—and little difference between public and private schools.
One of the two reports reviewed was released by The Center on Education Policy (CEP) and is entitled, “Are Private High Schools Better Academically than Public High Schools?” The other was released by the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation (Friedman) and is entitled, “Monopoly Versus Markets: The Empirical Evidence on Private Schools and School Choice.” The two reports are similar in that they each use an existing national database and compare public and private schools in terms of students’ learning outcomes as measured by standardized tests.
The two reports were reviewed for the Think Twice project by Jaekyung Lee, associate professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Using the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) database, the CEP report found no advantage for either public or private schools. The study examined schools serving disadvantaged students in urban settings.
Using the Educational Longitudinal Study (ELS) database, the Friedman report presents evidence that private schooling produces a benefit that Lee describes as “very small in absolute terms and its practical significance is questionable.” The Friedman report presents its findings in a way that makes this benefit appear more significant by applying the same gains found in the last two years of high school to all 12 years of schooling. Lee points out that without additional research, “these assumptions cannot be reasonably made.”
Lee notes that the specific findings of the two studies do not, as a practical matter, greatly differ. Setting aside some concerns he raised regarding each study, Lee explains the small practical significance of the benefits presented in the Friedman analysis. He further explains that even though the CEP analysis shows no overall private school benefits, it does show some that two types of private schools show some positive outcomes: non-religious private high school students obtained higher SAT scores than public school students, and Catholic schools run by holy orders such as the Jesuits had nominal positive academic effects.
Lee also presents his own, independent cross-examination of the two data sources and shows that the public-private high school gaps in math achievement gain scores were almost null (in the NELS) or too small to be practically significant (in the ELS). He concludes that much of the apparent differences between the reports can be accounted for by their use of different datasets, time periods, and target populations, among other things.
In the end, Lee says, while both reports may prompt discussion over the nature of school success and the values underlying school choice, both seem unlikely to adequately guide educational policymakers, practitioners or parents due to their inability to fully account for observed gaps (or the lack thereof) between public and private schools. The most that can be concluded from the two reports taken together is that “students generally learn in public high schools about as well as in private high schools, but … there are still many unanswered questions about potential differences in the finer details.”
Find the complete review by Jaekyung Lee as well as links to the CEP and Friedman reports at: http://www.greatlakescenter.org/.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
There are a number of schools that are closed. Some of them may be closed for a number of days. Even if they do open, some of the patrons may not have power at their own homes. While this is still in the early stages of reconstruction, one has to wonder what type of impact on student learning this will have on children.
What will happen to the testing that will take place later in the school year? Since we are so committed to testing our kids, they can fall behind when teachers lose a week of quality teaching and learning. Will the state decide to move the testing back so that teachers will have a chance to catch up? And what impact will no heat and power have on kids when they do get back? Will this adversely impact their learning ability and put them further behind?
These are examples of "challenges" in which teachers and kids have no control over. How do you measure the effect of this storm on children's learning and testing? How do you reward teachers
with a pay for test score/merit pay plans when events like this happen?
Does anyone have something to say besides soundbites to sell to Oklahoma parents and teachers?
Monday, December 10, 2007
There is a regularly scheduled school board meeting tonight in Jones. The board will have some tough decisions to make. I listened to the principal on TV this morning. It will be difficult for kids, teachers, and the community to get over this disaster and get back into the proper flow of school.
I can't imagine what it would be like to lose the school I taught at and all the teaching materials I collected over the years. The high school teachers will have a challenging road ahead and I will keep you informed of how you can help. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Because many of us will be spending time at home with kids, I hope that we can take the time to share time and a book or two with them. Today is a great opportunity to model reading for pleasure to your children. Find a favorite author and spend some time reading. And while I talk about it, I want you to know I'm also walking the walk. I've recently finished "Simple Genius" and "Stone Cold" by David Baldacci and "Catch 22" by Joseph Heller. I'm currently reading "The Legend of Baggar Vance" by Steven Pressfield.
All of us can find books we can enjoy for pleasure. Please pass on this great gift to your loved ones.