St. Lawrence University President Daniel Sullivan didn’t mince words this week when he very publicly blasted U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.
At the New York university’s commencement Sunday, Sullivan called a report by a higher education commission Spellings commissioned “a national embarrassment” that will dumb down education with a one-size-fits all system “far removed from intentional, serious, dedicated and demanding study.”
Spellings spoke recently at an Education Writers Association conference in Los Angeles that I attended.
Here’s what she said then about testing, college style.
“I think we would all agree .. with the principle that students who have completed a baccalaureate degree would have the basic ability to write, to think and to solve problems. Those are knowable values in modern psychometrics. Am I going to prescribe a one size fits all? No I am not. But I do want to invest with folks who are willing to pioneer on those fronts.”
What do you think? Should higher education be measured in the same way as K-12 systems, with a No Child Left Behind model of testing?
Graphic courtesy of Sealed Air Corp.
If only this had been around when I was in school.
I still look forward to playing with the really big bubble wrap that televisions and other large things come in. And twisting the small bubble wrap to see how many will pop is, in my opinion, every bit the equivalent to the burly powerlifters who rip New York City phone books with their hands.
But I digress….
Sealed Air Corporation, the creator of Bubble Wrap cushioning, is seeking entries for its second Bubble Wrap Competition for Young Inventors.
The competition encourages students in grades five through eight across the United States to demonstrate their creativity and ingenuity by devising an invention that incorporates the use of Bubble Wrap. The winner of the competition will receive a $10,000 savings bond, while the second and third place winners will receive $5,000 and $3,000 savings bonds, respectively.
The deadline for all entries is Nov. 1.
Last year’s competition generated almost 800 entries from 38 states.
Inventions must incorporate Bubble Wrap, and entries must include a visual and written description that explains the name of the invention, its purpose, how it works and how it was formulated.
Three finalists will be selected and win a three-day trip to New York City, where the grand- prize winner will be announced on Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, which will be celebrated on Jan. 28.
Last year, 15-year-old Grayson Rosenberger, of Nashville, Tenn., was the grand-prize winner for his invention, which used Bubble Wrap to create a low-cost cosmetic covering for prosthetic limbs.
For more information, visit www.BubbleWrapCompetition.com.
Monster.com surveyed 2,000 graduating high school seniors to find out about their career plans.
A few findings:
* 83 percent view the availability of their intended major as the most important factor in choosing their future university, with the availability of financial aid packages a close second. Interestingly, the presence of fraternities and sororities was cited as the least important factor in attracting incoming freshmen.
* Three-fourths of students continuing on to college plan to work while they pursue their studies and nearly half plan to volunteer. Although only 44 percent plan to complete an internship during college, Monster notes that relevant work experience and personal characteristics are important factors in hiring recent college graduates.
* The top anticipated majors for incoming college freshmen are healthcare, education and social services, engineering and science/bio-pharmaceutical.
* 80 percent of student’s surveyed plan to use scholarships, 48 percent will rely on their parents and 46 percent will use their own income as the primary means for footing the bill. Additionally, nearly 75 percent of students responding plan to rely upon federal financial aid assistance, while 34 percent will take advantage of private student loans.
The New York Times is reporting a little-known service that some universities are offering alums and supporters — after they die, they’ll maintain their ashes on campus in perpetuity.
One official from Centre College, in Danville, Ky, said that many people are highly mobile and don’t settle anywhere for long, but they forged life-long collegiate allegiances. The remains of seven Centre loyalists fill niches in a memorial wall designed for small urns.
I don’t know about you, but while I love my alma maters, I don’t know if that’s where I’ll want to spend eternity. What if the football team’s record heads south? What if my kids go to college at a rival institution so they never visit my grave? What if drunken frat boys … well, let’s not go there.
On the other hand, Theta Pond is very lovely this time of year.
What do you think? Would you consider a campus as your final resting place?
The Oklahoma Association of School Administrators has named 19 superintendents and one assistant superintendent from across the state as 2007 District Administrators of the Year.
Nineteen school superintendents and one assistant superintendent from across the state have been named 2007 District Administrators of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators (OASA), Dr. Randall Raburn, Executive Director of OASA, has announced.
The superintendents will be honored at the OASA awards banquet on June 6 during the annual conference hosted by the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration. The conference will run through June 8 at the Meridian Conference Center in Oklahoma City.
To be selected a district winner, administrators must meet criteria that include expectations of students and staff; leadership; contributions to school districts and the education profession; and an “active and respected” role in the community, according to an OASA press release.
The recipients are:
-District #1- Jim Wiggins, superintendent, Yarbrough
-District #2- Bill Denton, superintendent, Woodward
-District #3- Jason Sternberger, superintendent, Medford
-District #4- Joe Surber, Assistant superintendent, Ponca City
-District #5-Mary Jane Bias, superintendent, Bixby
-District #6-Mike McClaren, superintendent, Claremore
-District #7-Gloria Griffin, superintendent, Millwood
-District #8-Bob Hightower, superintendent, Meeker
-District #9-J.E. “Woody” Pryor, superintendent, Maud
-District #10-Billy Green, superintendent, Dewar
-District #11-Paul Hurst, superintendent, Tahlequah
-District #12-Mike Maddox, superintendent, Canute
-District #13-Bob Drury, superintendent, Altus
-District #14-Donny Darrow, superintendent, Carnegie
-District #15-George Coffman, superintendent, Marlow
-District #16-David Powell, superintendent, Wayne
-District #17-Ron Hutchings, superintendent, Tishomingo
-District #18-Dean Wood, superintendent, Haywood
-District #19-Carolyn Davis, superintendent, Broken Bow
-District #20-John Hunter, superintendent, Moore-Norman Technology Center
The 20 administrators are now eligible for state administrator of the year. The selection of the state winner will be announced in August. The Oklahoma Association of School Administrators is under the umbrella of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration. CCOSA is an incorporated, non-profit organization serving more than 2,300 superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals and central office administrators.
My job can seem like a zoo sometimes, but what if your workplace was the zoo?
The Oklahoma City Zoo is hosting a one-hour informational session at 11 a.m. Saturday for teens and adults interested in a career in zoological sciences. It’s free — though you must still pay zoo admission. The deadline for registration has passed, but you could try calling the zoo’s education department at 425-0218 to see if there are any last minute openings.
I’ve always thought being a zookeeper would be the greatest fun — though I’m sure it has its drudgery and can be dangerous at times.
But so are other workplaces. If you are going to work FOR a bear, why not work WITH a bear?
Testing company ACT reports U.S. high school course “lack the rigor needed” to adequately prepare students for college classes.
In a press release, Iowa-based ACT describes its research report, “Rigor at Risk,” which suggests even students who take college-preparatory coursework often are ill-equipped to handle college classes. The report also suggests many students lose their “academic momentum” during their junior and senior years of high school.
“We’ve been urging college-bound students to take the core curriculum in high school for many years,” Cynthia B. Schmeiser, president and chief operating officer of ACT’s education division, said in the release. “But now it is clear that just taking the right number of courses is no longer enough to ensure that students will be ready for college when they graduate. Students must take a number of additional higher-level courses in high school to have a reasonable chance of succeeding in college courses, and even that does not guarantee success.”
View the full report here.
ACT recommends that schools improve the quality and rigor of their core courses.
“It’s neither realistic nor justifiable to expect all students to take more courses just to learn the skills they need to be ready for success after high school,” Schmeiser said. “We have to ensure that the essential core courses provide all students with this knowledge.”
The core curriculum ACT recommends is based on the “A Nation at Risk” report of 1983. The ACT-recommended curriculum consists of:
-Four years of English
-Three years each of math (Algebra I and higher), science and social studies.
ACT score results have shown that students who take this core curriculum are much more likely than those who don’t to be prepared for college, according to the release.
However, among ACT-tested 2006 high school graduates nationally who took the core curriculum, only around one-fourth met all four of the ACT benchmarks in English, math, reading and science, according to the release. The benchmarks represent a likelihood students will earn a “C” or higher in first-year college courses such as English composition, algebra, biology, and social science courses. Twenty percent of the tested students met no benchmarks at all.
“During the high school years, the rate of failure is exceeding the rate of success in terms of preparing students for college,” Schmeiser said.
The report provides factors that contribute to insufficient college preparation in high schools. They include:
-State diploma requirements: More than half of states do not require students to take specific core courses in math or science in order to graduate.
-State learning standards: The majority of states’ learning standards are not aligned with college expectations.
-High school readiness: Many students enter ninth grade without having learned the skills they need to perform well in high school.
-High school course grades: High grades in high school courses do not translate to college readiness for around half or more of ACT-tested students taking Algebra II and physics.
-Teacher quality: The quality of teachers and their qualifications to teach assigned courses have a huge impact on student learning.
However, ACT research shows high school courses can be rigorous, and rigorous content can be effectively taught and learned.
The report recommends five steps schools can take to improve the rigor of their courses. They are:
-Specify the number and kinds of courses that students need to take to graduate from high school ready for college and work.
-Align high school course outcomes with state standards that are driven by the requirements of postsecondary education and work.
-Hire qualified teachers and provide training or professional development support to help them improve the quality of the courses they teach.
-Expand access for all students to high-quality, vertically aligned core courses. Measure results at the course level.
If the results of this research stand up under scrutiny, they paint a dire picture for postsecondary education and begin to explain why so many students drop out. Any thoughts?
Can you put a price on happiness? On the frosting-smudged smile of a little girl’s face as she dons her cardboard party hat, blows into a funny paper whistle and joins in very loud group serenade of Happy Birthday?
It’s $52.76, and that’s just the decorations.
I went to the party supply store today to prepare for my toddler’s soon-to-be 4th birthday parties, one at her preschool and another for family.
All I needed were plates, party games and some trinkets for goody bags.
Even with choosing the lesser-priced products, I was still shocked at the check-out. I even put back some overpriced lollipops.
Yes, I could have — should have — gone to the dollar store.
But I’ve realized that while they are only decorations, they are a pretty important part of a pretty important tradition.
Will my kid want a birthday party in 10 years? Maybe not. Does she care if the plates are plain ol’ white paper or that very special Princess Pink. Probably not.
But I’ll remember every detail of that special day. As she will tell you, four-years-old is quite the occasion.
Thursday’s meeting of the John Marshall: Steps for Success committee has been canceled.
The meeting was to have dealt with creating a safe learning environment at the N Portland Avenue school.
“The subcommittees are continuing to fully research the scheduled topic,” committee Chair Kirk Humphreys said in a press release. “By canceling this meeting and rescheduling the discussion, we will ensure that we can have a substantive meeting that wisely utilizes the time investment of John Marshall community members and the volunteer members of the committee.”
The meeting will move to 5 p.m. on June 14.
All changes to agendas and future meeting dates are posted on the Web site, www.johnmarshallsuccess.com.
For many college students, summer break isn’t much of a break. It’s the time to earn money.
Whether you’re working part-time at a pizza joint, or full-time as an intern in your career field, it’s important to make a good impression.
Hundreds of Heads books has some tips in their paperback guide “How to Survive your First Job, or Any Job.”
* Be on time, be friendly and work hard.
* Always behave appropriately and professionally.
* Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
* Spot the best people at the company and model your work on theirs.
* Be respectful and willing to learn from everyone.
Do you have any more tips? Tell me about them.