No National Standards!

June 13, 2009

The governors and CSSO’s of 46 states have joined Arne Duncan and formed a compact to develop national standards for the K-12 schools.  All of this was done in secret and announced recently at a national conference.  There are many reasons to be concerned about this development.  A new website has been created to help provide information on the project and to disseminate resources for those who share our belief,  No National Standards.

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HIGHER-LEVEL THINKING SKILLS: AN OUTLINE OF SOME OF THE COMPONENTS

March 16, 2009

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Our purpose in writing this article is to set the stage for a series of activities that you can use personally or with your students to practice the strategies of the skilled thinker.  There are many ways to conceptualize the organization of these skills.  We have chosen to group them into the categories of gathering, assessing or considering, and applying.

Gathering skills can be thought of as discrete skills that are used to recall or collect bits of data that are thought to be useful in the pursuit of the solution to some sort of problematic situation.  As the data begins to accumulate, the skilled thinker considers and assesses what has been gathered and begins to sketch out potential solutions.  Often, additional gathering steps are required to fill in gaps.  Application skills blend all of the pieces into a strategic attack on the problem at hand. Read the rest of this entry »

Carbon Sequestration in the Mid-Columbia

February 19, 2009

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Pete McGrail, PNNL scientist, sent us a copy of his Powerpoint for a Pasco-Kennewick Rotary presentation and some references to other links on the Internet. The following article is based on these resources.

One of the great energy sources of the US is coal. We have vast supplies of the stuff, but there is a problem. When you burn coal to produce heat, generate electricity, or drive machinery, huge amounts of carbon dioxide are produced. Whether one believes that global warming is man made or not, there can be no doubt that dumping megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere cannot be a good thing. A solution is needed if we are to take advantage of our coal reserves in the future.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tri-Cities STEM School, Delta High

January 26, 2009

Delta High School, a school with emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math, is big news in Washington State’s Tri-Cities area. To be jointly operated by the three school districts in the region and with support from Battelle and Washington State University, Delta High plans to open with 100 freshmen in September, 2009. I support the development of the school, but not for the reasons cited by the vast majority of its proponents.

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Terry Bergeson Has Left the Building

January 25, 2009

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BREAKING NEWS!

ALERT, JANUARY 21, 2009! Terry Bergeson has left the building. It has been a long, hard road, but Randy Dorn is now in charge. Here is a link: CLICK HERE , to where he describes how he plans to complete his campaign promise and begin the effort to replace the WASL with more reasonable assessments that provide useful information to teachers without punishing children because of their ethnicity or income of their parents. Now is the time to press for dropping the WASL graduation requirements for the class of 2009.

Back to the Real Basics

January 25, 2009

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Marion Brady has allowed us to post a recent article we feel is of great importance. He asks us to examine problems we are facing with our current curriculum and to consider our purposes in the face of a changing world. If you want to stretch your brain a bit, read “Back to the Real Basics” .

UPDATE: The most recent post is a paper describing a learning assessment program developed to replace the WASL in Washington State. It can be found by clicking on the link here.

A Song by Tom Chapin

January 25, 2009

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Here is a song by Tom Chapin that fits my beliefs pretty well.

Learning Essentials Assessment Program

December 13, 2008

10-Points in the Development of a Quality Assessment Program

I  support the use of content standards as one component of an accountability system for the students and schools of the State of Washington. I further believe that state required accountability tests, based on these standards, must be practical and useful to parents and educators. These tests are not appropriate, however, as gatekeepers for graduation or promotion from grade-to-grade.

To ensure that assessment programs are valid, reliable and produce practical information that may be used in the development of high quality academic, career, vocational and alternate programs, it is necessary to work with parents, educators, the State Board of Education and interested stakeholders, to implement a new LEARNING ESSENTIALS ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (LEAP) for the State of Washington.

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Write to your newspaper

October 25, 2008

This would be a great time to write a letter to the Editor of your local paper to register
your concerns about the WASL as a graduation requirement. For letter writing tips CLICK HERE.

Back to the Real Basics by Marion Brady

November 25, 2007

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“Standards!” “Accountability!” “Raise the bar!” “Rigor!” “No excuses!”

The slogans and catchwords of would-be school reformers are exploited by politicians, broadcast by radio talk-show hosts, plastered on car bumpers, underlined by newspaper editorialists, elaborated in the popular press, and taken seriously by much of the general public.

They’re also favorite themes of those leaders of business and industry who, in the1980s, began to elbow professional educators aside and work through Congress to take over education reform. There’s little or nothing wrong with American education, these leaders are certain, which can’t be made right by tightening institutional screws. Read the rest of this entry »