Dec 06

Measuring Outcomes

This entry comes from some notes I was writing during my grad class on Ethics in Administration with Professor Sobol. We were talking a piece of writing from lefty-academic Michael Apple about why a national curriculum is a bad idea.

There is so much focus on assessment and measuring outcomes right now in education, and that’s a big problem. Education is a process, not an outcome, and therefore we are really looking at the wrong thing with the entire standards

Dec 04

The White House Press Corps

Will Richardson has this article about how the press corps allowed themselves to become the public relationship department for the White House. Here’s a quote from Rick McArthur, the publisher of Harper’s, who states:

The remarkable thing about it is the press – the White House press corps anyway, has now turned into…has turned to full time press agency for the President of the United States. The proper thing to do in this case is to refuse the secrecy agreement and say we’re not going to be participants in a photo opportunity, which is merely done to help your re-election campaign, and if that aborts the trip, well, it aborts the trip.

Required reading on a day when Beacon showed Wag the Dog and had someone from FAIR lead a discussion on it afterwards.

Someone remind the press about that silly little idea about "The Fourth Estate" and all… please?

Dec 02

Welcoming Ashley to the World of Blogging

I wanted to extend a warm welcome to the world of blogging to Ashley Brichter, Beacon sophmore, captain of the girls Ultimate team and all-around nifty person!

So this got me to thinking (and since I’m putting off grading logs…), so far, I think much of what is cool about Beacon-blogging is how it’s building community. I love what Kate is doing in her New Media classes, and what Mary is doing in Social Justice, and despite myself, I think the kids are doing cool stuff in my New Media class… but I also admit that I love reading Zana’s and Jeremy’s and Jessie’s and Kate’s personal blogs. And here’s what I’d love to explore… or get comments on… does it make a difference when kids blog on a school site as opposed to just getting LiveJournal or another blog? For my money, I think it does. I think that writing for a school community does change the writing — probably for good and bad, honestly — but I like that, as a school, we now have a tool to encourage writing and community for kids. It’s one more thing that I hope makes Beacon more of a community that kids want to take part in. And I do think that it won’t take long for the blogging to make its way from the personal blogs into the classrooms more and more. I know Alison Tolpin wants a blog… and I need to follow Will R.’s example and set up the newspaper with a niftier layout that they want to use.

Comments? Thoughts?

Dec 02

Ms. Lacey Gets Famous

Yes folks, Beacon’s co-founder and former director, Ruth Lacey has been profiled in today’s New York Times. I think it’s a really well-done piece, and for anyone who knows Ruth, you can really hear her voice in her quotes, which is rather cool.

I admit that reading it made me sad that Ruth isn’t here anymore. She is one of the folks who really take primary responsibility for making Beacon such a wonderful place, and we miss her presence. And I do hope that someone at Tweed reads that piece and thinks about how a brilliant career public-school educator is now able to focus on education, rather than deal with all of the insanity of public education.

Public education lost a brilliant educator when Ruth went to Columbia. It’s an amazing opportunity for her, but it’s also a great opportunity for those of us in pubilc education to think about what it takes to keep us here.

Nov 30

Some Catch-Up Links

O.k. — I admit, I’m due for a long piece of writing here, but for the time being, I’ve got to get some homework logs graded, write up a summary piece for a grad school class, and figure out how I’m going to teach the next text for both English classes, so I’m just going to post some interesting links I’ve found in catching up with blogging:

(Oh… and in the wonderful world of bloggers everywhere… my father just found my blog and found a way to introduce it into conversation last night. Very funny, Dad.)

From Kerry’s Blog, a fun Geek Quiz (and yes, I tested out at 194 — Mega-Geek.) And a really powerful piece of anti-war flash animation. (And yes, I’m considering teaching flash in New Media so people can make cool pieces of propaganda of all stripes.)

From Joe Luft, a link to a collection of articles about School Vouchers from Boston Review. Good reading.

From Brad Delong: a link to the New Yorker article about the mess that is our government. I’ve got the New Yorker at home, and this article is a must read.

From Lawrence Lessig’s blog, we have the Creative Commons Moving Image Contest, and Connor, Jeremy, Loren… if you are out there, I STRONGLY suggest you apply. And if you win, Beacon will happily take the G5 off of your hands. ":-)"

From Will Richardson comes a cool post in his journalism class where students sound off about blogging. If I felt like I had done a better job in using the blogs in my New Media class, I think I could spark some really cool meta-discussions about it… but we’ll see. I’m still not happy with how I’ve set that up as sort of a "when you aren’t working on your movie, blog…" kind of activity.

O.k. — back to work…

Nov 29

Blogs as Building School Communities

So the one and only Jeremy Spry posts about why he likes blogging. He writes as part of his entry:

Not only does my blog allow me to vent about the stuff going on in my life but it also makes me laugh out loud. Only at Beacon would my English teacher, My advisor, and my friends post on a blog. I mean an online journal is something very personal (and geeky) and at Beacon to have the this sort of openness that can go from joking to serious and back again while not fearing anything from inside or outside Beacon.

And it just reenforces my beliefs about how blogs and forums and such can really build the bricks-and-mortar communities that schools have. I still love that alumni write on our forums… and keep blogs… and visit…

Anyway… just thought it’d be cool to post some testimony from one of the kids.

Nov 24

A Poem I Just Read

I was reading Zana’s Weblog, and she shows a picture of her interview with Taylor Mali, the teacher-turned-slam-poet. So, intrigued by her worship of Taylor Mali, I hop over to his site, where I find out that his manifest is to create 1,000 new teachers by 2006. Rock on, Mr. Mali.

He has several really amazing pieces of work up on his site, but in honor of Jessie and Zana and Yael and all the Beacon students who have felt the need and found the voice to speak in a declarative voice, I wanted to post this one. I hope you enjoy it. And thanks, Zana.