Archive for the Schools Category

Advanced Placement Goals

Posted in Schools with tags , on May 6, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Dansk: Eksamenslæsning English: Student prepar...

The Associated Press today reported that there is a strong correlation between increasing numbers of students taking Advanced Placement classes and a decrease in the percentage of those students actually passing the AP exams.

Question: What is the correlation of students passing AP exams between schools which reward administrators for quality rather than quantity?

In business management it is a truism that you get from your employees what you reward.

Reward teachers like Jaime Escalante for getting his low-income Los Angeles students to pass AP calculus exams.

Don’t reward school administrators for merely filling seats in AP classes while offering students little hope of success.

Reward excellence, not attendance.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


Five-hour 8th grade final exam – 1895 in Salina, Kansas, USA

Posted in Opinion, Schools with tags , , on March 5, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of ‘lie’, ‘play’, and ‘run.’
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 – 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 65 minutes)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus .
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas .
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, and syllabication.
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, sub vocal, diphthong, cognate letters, and lingual.
4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u.’
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e.’ Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi-, dis-, mis-, pre-, semi-, post-, non-, inter-, mono-, and sup-.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication

Geography (Time, one hour)

1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. H ow do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco .
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of: Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Successful education is no secret

Posted in Opinion, Schools with tags , , , on March 5, 2012 by

If it’s no secret “How the World’s Most Improved School Systems Keep Getting Better” – why is it that little Johnny still can’t read; or write, or cipher?

Since the untimely death of Socrates in 399 BC, how far has Western educational theory really advanced, if at all?

How many studies, books, articles, theses, dissertations, lectures and curriculum have been produced claiming knowledge of the secret of universal public education?

It is no secret to any classroom instructor which students are not “getting it”.

But is seems that only the most gifted teachers and the most responsive schools are able to match up each individual learning need with the proper individual learning modality, as well as identify and deal with extra-curricular learning impediments.  

Classrooms are not populated by widgets, taught rote by machines.

In an egalitarian society such as ours, we can only claim to treat everyone the same, when we treat everyone differently.

If we can’t do that with the entrenched educational system we have now, start over.

Start with Johnny.

Does he:

  • prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding?
  • prefer using sound and music?
  • prefer using words, both in speech and writing?
  • prefer using body, hands and sense of touch?
  • prefer using logic, reasoning and systems?
  • prefer to learn in groups or with other people?
  • prefer to work alone and use self-study?

Is he:

  • free of learning disorders?
  • free of mental defect?
  • hungry?
  • injured or ill?
  • fearful?
  • have low self-esteem?
  • lacking language or other basic skills?
  • lacking a supportive home environment?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Money makes the world go ’round

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Schools with tags , , on February 17, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

 “If all the rich and all of the church people should send their children to the public schools they would feel bound to concentrate their money on improving these schools until they met the highest ideals. Susan B. Anthony

Interesting headline in today’s Tampa Bay Times, questioning the high rents charged by a for-profit company to its own related non-profit charter school operators.

Is it merely coincidental that legislation is also being pushed through Tallahassee that would allow parents to “trigger” replacement of failing public schools for yet more charter schools?

It is unconscionable that Florida politicians are seemingly facilitating the further deterioration of our public schools by cuts in that funding while promoting charter schools.

They are worshiping at the temple of Mammon.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Stimulus Failure?

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Schools with tags , , , on February 12, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Especially now during the primary election season we hear much about the so-called failure of the federal stimulus programs.

Where did that money go locally and was it well-spent?

Take for example the stimulus money that the Hillsborough County School District received in 2009.

The District lists $35,415,708 for Title I Stimulus and another $44,017,000 for Idea Part B Stimulus.

For the entire state of Florida the Total Estimated Stimulus Funds was FOUR BILLION DOLLARS. This represents the total amount of money the state is expected to receive in stimulus funding including Title I, IDEA, SFSF and other programs. Funds became available in FY 2009 and must be spent by the end of FY 2011. From U.S. Department of Education Budget Tables.

If this money was wasted, where is the accountability?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Midterm exams

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Schools with tags , on February 5, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Tampa Bay Times writes today about “Midterm exams stir debate“.

People, people, people.

It isn’t about exams, it is about Johnny.

Can Johnny read for comprehension?

Can he write complete sentences within coherent paragraphs?

Can he perform mathematical calculations appropriate to his grade level?

We annually spend billions on education while Johnnie sits for 13 years (PK-12) in successive classrooms; and we can’t adequately answer these fundamental questions on how well Johnnie is prepared to move on to the next level or on to being a productive citizen.

Give ourselves an “F”.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Suffer the children

Posted in Schools with tags , , on December 19, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

Kevin McDonald is right that our school children are not widgets.

How can you reward teachers based on changes in the average performance of students? There is no “average” student.

Do we give enough resources to help our teachers who have students who are not average, and need more than average help?

Do we empower our teachers to be the students’ advocate?

How easy is it for our teachers to focus community support for an individual child who is suffering from chronic hunger at home; homelessness; illness; abuse; neglect; language barriers; transportation issues; lack of adequate clothing or school supplies; mental or sociological issues?

What about the student who is slow or gifted, needing mentoring?

If we as a society are going to place responsibility upon teachers for our children’s success in life, shouldn’t we give our teachers ready access to all the resources our community can provide?

Our present education and social services fail as top-down solutions to a bottom-up problem.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen