And for the High School Students: Pathways Technology

Pathways technology school will serve as model for 10 other schools across the state: Gov. Cuomo says in plan to bolster high-tech education – NY Daily News.

This evening I had a conversation with my professor about the dismal state of the cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania. These schools have been touted as an innovative solution to our country’ s education woes. But, like a lot of other “incubators of innovation” cyber charter schools have been long on promise and short on result.

So, it’s cool to come home and see not one, but two articles about some other approaches coming out of New York.

P-Tech offers high school students a path to an associates degree and a job with IBM upon graduation.

Creating jobs and getting students interested in technology and science.

It’s enough to melt even a hardened cynic like myself.

Storefront Science

Storefront Science, First of its Kind, Offers Science Camps for Children Ages 4-12; Learn Science While Having Fun in a Montessori-like Experience.

Storefront Science is a place where kids can not only see science in action, but touch it and explore it. They’re got robotics programs and biological exhibits.

Kids are natural scientists. I firmly believe this. They are curious about everything and want to see how things fit together and how they work. If only our school system didn’t drain all that curiosity and inquisitiveness out of them.

Building bridges, exploring electronic circuits, and examining their own cells under a microscope are just a few of the things kids learn to do at camps run at Storefront science.

Says 10-year old Jack, “I learned how to take my own DNA from inside my cheek; then I studied it and carried it around in a necklace for the rest of the day. I never knew science could be this much fun!”

That’s what science should be. Fun! On the surface, it doesn’t seem like that difficult of an idea: Engage their natural curiosity and let them play at building stuff. That’s not something that can be measured on a standardized test.

But it will probably produce more future scientists and engineers than teaching kids how to darken a circle on a scan sheet.

University of Phoenix faces probation

University of Phoenix faces probation

via University of Phoenix faces probation.

University of Phoenix faces probation

This is interesting. For profit universities like the University of Phoenix are sometimes controversial, especially in higher levels of academia. However, for many students, they are a viable option for learning while working full time. Phoenix is facing declining enrollment and may now be put on “probation” by it’s accrediting agency, which will put it at a further competitive disadvantage.

Does this bode ill for the for-profit college industry or not?

A warning to college profs from a high school teacher

A warning to college profs from a high school teacher.

Reposting the comment I posted on LinkedIn:

I think it’s obvious that No Child Left Behind has had the opposite of its intended effect. Like many of the other adjuncts here, I’ve seen students who were clearly unprepared for college. Ironically, I’ve found the older students, the ones who haven’t set foot inside a classroom in years, are better prepared in basic skills like note taking and time management than the ones fresh out of high school.

Last semester, I taught a course on professional issues relating to the environment. The assignment I gave was pretty simple: Look up a single employer and do an oral presentation about what they do and whom they hire. Pretty much all they had to do was point their browsers at the company’s website. Half the class begged me for more time!

So, what is the solution? I don’t see any alternative except scrapping NCLB It’s a terrible law that only teaches students how to darker circles on a scan sheet. After a decade, this program is deeply entrenched in Washington and repealing it will be extremely difficult in the current climate, but it must be done. Teachers on all levels, K-12 and college need to contact their representatives and tell them how counterproductive this law is.

10 Interesting Lessons from Creationist-Inspired School Books | Independent Lens Blog.

It is depressing to see this is what students in some schools are learning. Just a few examples:

  • Humans and dinosaurs coexisted
  • The KKK wasn’t all bad.
  • Dragons were real!
  • The Great Depression was exaggerated by socialists.

Left or right, conservative or liberal, education should not be a political football. Students should be taught the truth about science and history. No matter how much adults may wish otherwise, the facts are the facts. We are not doing children any favors by teaching them fantasies. Maybe adults find these fantasies comforting, but students need to prepare for reality. Whitewashing the history of hate groups or misrepresenting the field of biology is not the way to prepare them for the 21st century. There are, of course, different ways to interpret the past and students should be allowed to study each point of view, but not at the expense of the facts. Students cannot learn critical thinking skills by being fed a steady diet of misrepresentations and falsehoods.

Makes me want to weep.

From pbs.com:10 Interesting Lessons from Creationist-Inspired School Books | Independent Lens Blog