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Sunday links.

April 22, 2012

John Dillon explains the meaning of schadenfreude. “Glad it’s you and not me, pal.” If you are a retired Illinois teacher and think that Quinn’s pension plan keeps you and yours safe, think again.

The New York Times finally discovers the dirty deeds of ALEC.

Why the US is destroying it’s education system. “A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind,” says Chris Hedges.

Perfect.

The Center for Media and Democracy: Former ALEC supporters now run for cover.

The wonderful Daniel Pinkwater. “Who knew my book would be used for the world’s dumbest test question?

“It was kind of weird,” Octavio Solis, 13, an eighth grader at Intermediate School 136 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, said Friday morning, bursting out laughing at the memory of the passage. “I didn’t really understand it, why they ate the pineapple.”

A sidewalk sampling of students in the Delta program, a gifted program at Middle School 54 on the Upper West Side, reached a consensus that the owl was the wisest. (Correct.) Most thought the animals ate the pineapple because they were annoyed that it had tricked them (Also correct.), and said that there was no evidence that the animals were hungry.

(By that point the pineapple had “lost all human traits,” said Geoffrey Cowling, 13, so eating it did not seem so bad.)

But Kate Scheuer, another Delta student, said the jokiness of the story made her nervous. “I thought I was getting it wrong,” she said. “I was second-guessing myself because it’s so ridiculous.” New York Times story on Pineapplegate.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. ReTiredbutMisstheKids permalink
    April 22, 2012 11:48 am

    The original NYDailyNews story about “Pineapplegate” (Thursday, 4/19/12, by Ben Chapman & Rachel Monahan-www.nydailynews.com/new-york/talking-pineapple-question-state-exam-stumps-article) MUST be read by all!! And THEN read all 107 comments (seems this ? got into the Florida State tests, too). And THEN read Todd Farley’s 2009 (only $16.95 paperback, < at Amazon,surely–published by PoliPoint {I think}) book–Making the Grades:My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry. THESE tests (& the more than faulty scoring of essay/long-form ???) are determining schools' futures–whether or not schools will be closed, teachers' jobs–ALL BASED ON TEST SCORES WHEREBY THE TESTS & many scorers are SO BEYOND INCOMPETENT & WRONG!

  2. ReTiredbutMisstheKids permalink
    April 23, 2012 4:33 pm

    I read the entire Chris Hedges link: everyone should read it. While it scared me out of my wits, the truth is out. “You’re only paranoid if people are out to get you.” (Have I messed that up? If so, someone please reply w/a correction!) You see, education in the U.S. is becoming non-education. As this occurs, students will truly become drones, unable to analyze what they read (if they even become literate), & unable to critically think. When that happens, an ignorant society will no longer have the mental capacity (nor the stamina) to question authority, to stand up against the status quo. Then, the corporations & big business who have been buying politicians & votes & making ridiculous laws will have had their way. As someone who was a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) who worked w/Haitian refugees, I had been privvy to Haitian society. In a nutshell, why is there such poverty? Simple:the oligarchy (a small percentage of people with the greatest amount of wealth {& who gained it by stealing, including the Duvaliers–”President(s) for Life”})have historically kept the majority of citizens ignorant by denying the people the right to an education. Most Haitians speak–& read, as they do–in their native patois, Creole. However, those schooled speak & read French: all newpapers were (are still-?) printed in French; newscasts & announcements to the public–French-spoken. Therefore, even if people were literate in Creole, it was not for them to understand, to analyze &, therefore
    rendered them unable to question what injustices were forced upon them. Thus, to this day, the majority of the Haitian population has suffered at the hands of their 1%.

    Is there, in fact, a lesson to be learned? Hedges put into words our worst fears, but there is still time for us to DO something before it is too late.

    (Needless to say, we teachers & retirees can begin to DO something by getting ourselves to Springfield on Wednesday, May 2nd, & making our voices heard.)

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