This post may require counseling

Fresh Loaf’s Gwynedd Stuart expresses some sympathy for Luis Rivera, the obviously contrite Gwinnett County math teacher forced to resign for crafting some rather ignorant word problems. Rivera’s 20-question homework assignment used slave beatings and picking cotton to link lessons about ex-slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass to math computation. One of the problems read: “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?” Reprehensible, no doubt, and the punishment, though severe, is not unreasonable. That doesn’t excuse the grandstanding by the perpetually indignant, especially when you consider there’s nothing to indicate the teacher, while clearly…

Garth Brooks in, George Washington out of Texas textbooks

The new Texas textbooks have debuted and, thanks to the America deification crowd, history will now be viewed through a Palin-esque prism. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or John Adams? They are nowhere to be found in the new high school TEKS. Students apparently learned everything they need to know about them in eighth grade. A Texas high school history teacher  points out that “both the positive and negative impacts of … country and western music” will be taught, along with the historical importance of Estée Lauder. If you think she is one of the 68 most important historical figures, you agree with…

The University of Texas Inc.

It may not be long before George W. Bush’s title as worst president from Texas is usurped. Rick Perry, often described as Bush on steroids, has spearheaded an effort to “re-engineer Texas’s leading public universities to become more like businesses, driven by efficiency and profitability.” The initiative stayed pretty much under the radar until last fall, when it became public that Perry’s alma mater, Texas A&M University, had compiled a spreadsheet ranking faculty members according to whether they were earning their keep or costing the school money. Well since everything must be run as a business, perhaps we should start ranking doctors…

Why I’m tough on teachers

My experience with public school teachers was decidedly mixed. I had some good ones. A few were inspirational. I had a tough-as-hell advanced math teacher (one of the mistakes of testing; I had zero aptitude for math, and less interest) who coaxed a B- out of me. Ms. Summers kicked ass. Regrettably, a sizable minority of my teachers sucked. One told me, in front of my mother, that she didn’t think I should become a writer. Wouldn’t say why, she just didn’t think I should pursue my dream. Seems she never forgave my critique of the new Baptist-only health club, the one…

Dumb-ass Americans

Three more cheers for the American education system (via Shit My Students Write): The rebel and onion armies showed grose negligence by having many of their battles right inside national parks, like Gettysburg. Although I am my own person, my relationship with my girlfriend of two and a half years has lead to a significant change in almost every aspect of my life such as my behaviors, believes, values, personality, and even my appearance.

Boehner (wisely) calls Obama’s bluff

The Ohio Republican, along with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), will introduce legislation on Wednesday to reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, the speaker’s office said Monday, making a school voucher initiative that Democrats, including Obama, have strongly opposed as a bargaining chip for beginning discussions on the administration’s desired education proposals. … Teachers unions have fought against the voucher program and Obama’s budget pulled funding for new scholarships after 2010. Supporters of the program, which currently funds scholarships for roughly 1,000 D.C. students, argue that it gives poor students access to better education. De-funding the program would return many of  those students…

Teachers unions can’t handle accountability

National and local teachers unions sharply criticized The Times on Sunday when the newspaper published a database of about 6,000 third- through fifth-grade city school teachers ranked by their effectiveness in raising student test scores. “It is the height of journalistic irresponsibility to make public these deeply flawed judgments about a teacher’s effectiveness,” said a statement issued by United Teachers Los Angeles. The rankings may indeed be “deeply flawed,” but the teachers unions have resisted performance-based reviews since their inception. They can’t be trusted, and the results speak for themselves. Fortunately, two budding political stars in New Jersey — Newark mayor Cory…

A nation of Adam Sandlers

Wanna know why our education system sucks? Guys like this are teachers: This Wednesday, July 14, 2010 photo shows teacher and author Ray Sabini, who goes by the pen name Raymond Bean, during an interview about his book for middle grade readers, “Sweet Farts, Rippin’ it Old-School,” in New York. The book chronicles a 9-year-old boy’s multimillion-dollar science fair invention of tablets that can change foul-smelling gas into the culprit’s scent of choice _ summer rose, cotton candy, grape _ even pickles. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Preschool prom

In metro Atlanta and a few cities across the nation, some early childhood programs are giving their students a chance to experience prom, senior week and senior class trips before they march across the stage to receive their “diplomas.” The pomp and circumstance is part of a growing trend to introduce 4- to 6-year-olds to what they can expect as high school seniors. It’s part dropout prevention, praise and picture-perfect memories for parents. So are they going to take the young’uns to Panama City? Seriously, who thinks this is a good idea?