Using Data to Improve Education

There’s a push out there in America that calls for more data from schools. Why? Schools are now governed by a law from 2001 called No Child Left Behind. Schools are under pressure to prove their children are making adequate yearly progress. Data is compiled and reported and this adequate yearly progress (AYP) is determined. Administrators are using data from various programs to identify students who are weak in certain areas in order to better prepare them in those areas. They can also use data to determine which teachers are better in certain concepts and address those concepts with students who perform lower in these areas. School systems are hiring additional personnel to help compile this data for reports so administrators can see how students are improving in their classes. It can be an expensive endeavor for school systems.

There is an article with the Arizona Republic that explains this process pretty well.

Clustr Maps

Well I can’t figure out how to make my Clustr Map work, so until I do, here it is.


Overhaulin’

As you can see, I am in the process of giving my blog a major facelift. This is really easy, and hard, to do. This is new ground for me personally, because the code takes a little adjusting, and I’m not used to reading this kind of code. I know, I know. I’m behind the times.

Please bear with me as I get things finished up here.

Trees? In Antarctica?

Can you believe this? Global warming could actually cause trees to grow in Antarctica within a century.

Article on Yahoo

San Francisco

Ahh…one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., or at least it must be because I haven’t seen all of them.

I took my first trip to California a couple of weeks ago. I’ve heard all my life how pretty the city of San Francisco is and how cool it gets in the summer. Well, I’m hear to tell you that Mark Twain’s quote of “the coldest winter I ever had was a summer in San Francisco” is definitely true. Compared to the heat and humidity of the deep South I felt like I was going to freeze to death as I waited on a cable car to take me back across the city. I had on 2 shirts and a jacket, and I’m guessing with the wind chill it must have been close to 45 degrees or lower! In June!

I took lots and lots of pics. Many of them are over on flickr where you can view them. Before I left the city by the bay, I just had to get a picture of the world famous Golden Gate Bridge. We took a Fire Engine Tour that drove us over the bridge, as our hosts gave us some interesting facts about the city, the Bridge, and the city of Sausalito. It was money well spent, and you can read more about the tour here. If you’re ever visiting San Francisco, I highly recommend it!

Money Well Spent?

Some things in this world NEVER seem to amaze me.

WARNING: THIS IS A RANT! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ IT THEN GO AWAY!

It seems that every month or two I come across an article where someone has received a grant to do a “study” on something. The results are always so painfully obvious to me. Why do we need to spend millions of dollars on things that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out???

The following article is a great example:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060703/ap_on_sc/zoning_out

It seems that “zoning out while reading may impact learning.” ??? Hello??? How many times did I study for a test in college and not remember what I just read??? It wasn’t because I couldn’t read it. It was because I wasn’t interested in it or it was difficult to understand, and as a result, I “zoned out.” Did it impact my learning?? Well, yeah!!! I couldn’t answer that question on the test so obviously I “zoned out.” So, I didn’t LEARN anything from studying because I couldn’t concentrate on the subject either from lack of understanding or from boredom.

A whole lotta computers, software, classroom supplies, equipment, etc., could have been purchased with the money it took to do this study. How many more are out there that are just like it? I’m sure these folks mean well enough and feel that their findings are necessary, but I just get upset about stuff like this at times. It just seems like it’s too obvious to me. I’m all for research into the cure of diseases as well as educational research projects such as whether or not Accelerated Reader is working to improve reading in your school.

Oh well…I got that off my chest.