July 23

“Play is the highest form of research.”  ―    Albert Einstein
   Think there’s any connection between prison and standardized tests?  The exams have been singled out for all sorts of dastardly consequences but this has got to be a far-fetched charge.  Right?  Well, guess again!  An interesting study has discovered that students who fail high-stakes exit exams have a 12% more likely chance of being incarcerated.  Still don’t believe it?  Check out this story from The Real News Network.  You can read the transcript and/or watch the video (12:53 minutes) here:  http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10458
   The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Friday passed, on a 221-207 vote, the GOP version of the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  You can catch up on the details of what is called “The Student Success Act” from the CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA’S FUTUREhttp://blog.ourfuture.org/20130719/despite-house-action-debate-over-no-child-left-behind-goes-nowhere?utm_source=feedly    EDUCATION WEEK previewed some of the specifics of the bill prior to the final vote:  http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2013/07/house_lawmakers_set_to_debate_.html     An editorial in Sunday’s L.A. Times  took the opportunity of the passage of the bill in the House to opine on it and the role of the federal government in education:   http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-nclb-bill-20130721,0,3644768.story
  Is there a movement afoot to replace LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy?  A surprise letter from a board member requesting a “succession plan” caught many people off-guard.  This item was posted on the L.A. Times web site after 10:30 Friday night:  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-deasy-succession-plan-20130719,0,2600845.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lanowblog+%28L.A.+Now%29    Thanks to Randy Traweek for forwarding two items related to this story.  The first is the actual letter from board member Bennett Kayser:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/154846719/Letter-from-LAUSD-board-member-Bennett-Kayser-to-LAUSD-Superintendent-John-Deasy-regarding-the-district-s-succession-plan    The second is an article from the L.A. Daily News about the story:  http://www.dailynews.com/education/ci_23697561/lausd-superintendent-john-deasy-ordered-submit-succession-plan
   Following the ALOED book club discussion last week on Brain Rules, the current (July 29) edition of Time magazine has a feature story on how learning a second language can spur brain development and possibly stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s.  It uses a growing language immersion program in Utah to demonstrate the latest science regarding the brain:  http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,2147707,00.html
   4 students from Markham Middle School (LAUSD)  defeated teams from 8 other states in a national engineering competition.  Their winning entry?  A prosthetic arm.  You can read all about it and what the victory means for the individual students in this item from Sunday’s L.A. Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-science-winners-20130721,0,6120200.story
   Should IQ scores be the only measure of “giftedness?”  This adjunct assistant professor of psychology at New York University thinks an array of characteristics need to be added to the mix.  He describes the limitations of a single IQ result and offers alternatives in this op-ed in the same paper:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-0721-kaufman-gifted-psychology-iq-20130721,0,7120055.story
   Valerie Strauss features a blog from Oxy’s own Peter Dreier that reviews the new documentary film “Go Public: A Day in the Life of an American School District.”  Dreier had a more detailed article about the film and the role of the “billionaire boys club” [Ed. note: That’s Diane Ravitch’s term) published last week that was included in the “Ed News.”  Strauss titles her piece “Finally, A Film that Celebrates Public Education:”  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/07/21/finally-a-film-that-celebrates-public-education/   The film will be screening this Friday at the All Saints Church in Pasadena.  ALOED members Larry Lawrence and Dave Alpert will be attending.   For information and to pre-order tickets:  http://gopublicproject.org/2013/06/screening-july-26-in-pasadena/
   Are children more content these days and satisfied with their lot in life?  Yesterday’s L.A. Times highlights a survey from Nickelodeon of kids aged 8-14 that found that 85% of them responded that they liked being children these days.  It includes several other reports on attitudes among both parents and children.   [Ed. note: Check out the author of this piece.  No, we are not related]:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-growing-up-20130722,0,5306201,full.story
   “What Keeps Good Teachers Teaching?” is the title of this blog from Valerie Strauss.  She reprints an article from an associate professor of Bard College’s M.A. in Teaching program who has some perceptive answers to that question:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/07/23/what-keeps-good-teachers-teaching/
   And finally, a pilot program using MOOCs (massive open online courses) at San Jose State did not end well when a large number of students were unable to pass the classes.  The “Ed News” highlighted this story last week.  An editorial in today’s L.A. Times reviews the program, what went wrong and urges a go-slow approach:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-udacity-online-education-20130723,0,3407868.story
Dave Alpert (’71) Chief Commissar
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