National Takeover of School Curriculum

National Takeover of School Curriculum  by Phyllis Schlafly   March 4, 2014.  Reprinted from Worldview

~~Many people said Ho-Hum when Barack Obama threatened to change any law with his pen or phone, and even used that power to personally alter Obamacare and the welfare law, and to “legislate” the Dream Act that Congress refused to pass. But Americans are rising up by the tens of thousands to stop Common Core, which is the current attempt to compel all U.S. children to be taught the same material and not be taught other things parents might think important.

Ever since Congress began pouring federal tax dollars into public schools, parents have been solicitous to have Congress write into law a prohibition against the federal government writing curriculum or lesson plans, or imposing a uniform national curriculum. Parents want those decisions made at the local level by local school boards which are, or should be, subject to the watchful eyes of local citizens and parents.

~~Parents are supported in this view by the U.S. Constitution which gives the federal government no power over education. Here is some of the repetitive language included in federal school appropriation laws.

Technology in the Classroom

by Ray Holt (c) 2013 ALL RIGHT RESERVED

“Any teacher that can be replaced by a computer deserves to be.”  (Thornburg)

“The teacher who constantly learns and grows becomes a professional educator.” (Wong & Wong, 2009, p. 298)

Technology in the form of computers has been in the classroom for over 30 years.  Ever since the Apple I was placed into every elementary computer in California, the commercialization of the classroom has not been the same.  Today there is more technology than a teacher could possibly use in a lifetime of teaching, and about every two years new technology is introduced hoping to make the classroom more efficient, productive, and appealing to the teacher and student, however, for most teachers is it an ever increasing source of frustration and confusion.  Students are eager to use technology and when technology is withheld for any reason they can become frustrated and unruly as they feel part of their normal life is being withheld in their learning process.  Using technology in a classroom is important for improved classroom behavior.

Students today grew up with technology.  They have no idea what life would be like without computers, video games, and cell phones.  Prensky (2001) first used the terms “digital natives” to describe students and the term “digital immigrants” to describe teachers.  Oblinger & Oblinger, (2006) called this generation of students the “Net Generation.”  Yet still, we expect students to come to class, sit still without talking and do “paper-based” homework.  Is it any wonder that today’s student can’t sit still?  Where is this technology? And how are we using it to enhance the learning experience of the student?  Are teachers capable of teaching with technology, or do we have to wait another generation for the “digital natives” to become the teacher base?  (Read More)

Timed Tests and the Development of Math Anxiety

by Jo Boaler. Article in Education Week.
Mathematics education is in crisis: A third of all schoolchildren end up in remedial math courses, and the level of interest in the subject is at an all-time low. This is a result, in part, of schools in the United States heading down a fast-moving track in which the purpose of math has been reduced to the ranking of children and their schools. Math has become a performance subject. Children of all ages are more likely to tell you that the reason for learning math is to show whether they “get it” instead of whether they appreciate the beauty of the subject or the way it piques their interest. The damage starts early in this country, with school districts requiring young children to take timed math tests from the age of 5. This is despite research that has shown that timed tests are the direct cause of the early onset of math anxiety.Timed math tests have been popular in the United States for years. Unfortunately, some of the wording in the Common Core State Standards may point to an increased use of timed tests. From the 2nd grade on, the common standards give math “fluency” as a goal. Many test writers, teachers, and administrators erroneously equate fluency with timed testing.It is critical that we take a moment to review the emerging evidence on the impact of timed testing and the ways in which it transforms children’s brains, leading to an inevitable path of math anxiety and low math achievement.The personal and educational consequences of math anxiety are great. Math anxiety affects about 50 percent of the U.S. population and more women than men. Researchers know that math anxiety starts early. They have documented it in students as young as 5, and that early anxiety snowballs, leading to math difficulties and avoidance that only get worse as children get older. Researchers also know that it is not related to overall intelligence.

Mount Olive Robotics Class Visits Robotics Manufacturer

Students from the Mount Olive, MS Robots Class toured the Tower Automotive company on Saturday, October 27, 2012.  Tower Automotive manufactures truck frames for Nisson.  The Tower Automotive manufacturing line consists of over 100 robotics arms from welding to inspection.  The Mount Olive students study robotics during the school year in a Saturday program designed to enhance their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills.  Students grades range from 4th – 12th and learn to build and program robotics as well as other engineering tasks such as solar cars, bridges, and rockets.

Garbage Pickers, Garbage People, Trash Dwellers, and Scavengers of Tijuana

By Ray Holt, Graduate Student, University of Mississippi,  October 2, 2012

Tijuana, Mexico is a border city of over 2 million people just south of San Diego, CA.  Tijuana is a favorite city of the garbage pickers that make their living sorting and picking through the city garbage dumps at the large landfills.

“Everything a person needs to survive can be found in a dump.  Poverty-stricken people across the world have known this for decades.” “The smell is bad, but the effect is worse. The gases from the cow poop seem to heat things up while consuming oxygen at the same time, making it uncomfortable and hard to breathe.” (Morlan, 2008) “Of course we’ll eat the good stuff,” explained Manuela Esquivel, 61.” “What we don’t eat we give to the pigs. Better to eat this than die hungry!” (McDonnell, July 24, 1988)

In the mid-1990’s I took my first trip to a Tijuana dump.  I was accompanied by my friends Dr. Kevin Lake, a Los Angeles lung doctor, and Carlos Montoya, President of La Roca Ministries ( ).  We also took a few international students with us.  Carlos led the trip as he was acquainted with the garbage dumps and some of the dump families.

For Most U.S. High Schoolers, STEM Knowledge Is Only Skin Deep

By   June 20, 2012

American teens are adept at conducting scientific experiments, but only if they don’t stray beyond the basics, according to assessment results released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Seventy-five percent of high school seniors successfully completed straightforward experiments as part of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science exam. When tasked with more complicated experiments, only 25 percent came to the correct conclusion.

[See photos of U.S. News‘s Best High Schools for STEM.]

Students have even more trouble explaining their results and drawing conclusions from the data they collected during the experiments. Only 11 percent of the 12th-grade students were able to do so, according to “The Nation’s Report Card: Science in Action,” which detailed results for students in grades 4, 8, and 12.