So much news, so little time. Breaking it down:
- File this under ethics: A PBS news team is in a spat with an Academy Award-winning filmmaker over rights to footage shot by PBS and, Learning Matters’ John Merrow argues, essentially stolen by Davis Guggenheim, he of “An Inconvenient Truth.” Guggenheim’s documentary on shool reform – which includes the footage from PBS’s work on a similar piece – has been picked up by Paramount Vantage and word on the street is that its a great picture for those of us interested in schools. But do we want to support something that appears to include ill-gotten footage from PBS? Merrow gives all the background at the link above. He’s been warned not to criticize Guggenheim, but PBS lawyers have apparently said phooey to that. That may be Guggenheim’s inconvenient truth.
- File this under education: National standards for math and English have been drafted and could be coming soon to a school near you. Disturbing for a teacher-in-training is the thought that Big Brains have decided that teaching second graders to add and subtract triple-digit numbers will improve education. Or that moving fractions from the end of fourth grade (or the beginning of fifth) to third grade will do likewise. We need comprehensive, universal standards, yes. But we need them written by people who have a clue about the cognitive development of the very young (K-third). As researcher/educator Cathy Seeley points out, “It’s not that (students) are learning (a subject) well but too late. It’s that they’re not learning it well.” If you want to know why students might not be learning things well, check out this ganga read about building better teachers and make sure to watch this video.
- File this under religion: We’ve got ourselves a home-grown alleged terrorist in Colleen R. LaRose, who has been nicknamed (by whom, I’m not sure) “Jihad Jane.” This goes to prove what a columnist said a number of months ago: If we racially profile, terrorists will decide to find someone outside that profile to conduct their dirty work in the name of their religion (or interpretation of that religion). Exhibit A is the blonde, blue-eyed, middle-aged woman who is a convert to Islam. (Note: Adult converts to any religion tend to be very pious in their first monthsU-to-two years after conversion, so this just isn’t an Islam thing. Although, yes, I admit, you don’t see Methodists hunting down artists in Sweden.)
- File this under crazy: Israel announced it had approved building 1,600 new apartments in East Jerusalem. Israel officials chose to do this when U.S. VP Joe Biden was over there trying to jump-start peace agreements which are being held up in part because of Israel’s continued settlement building. One of the officials apologized for the “poor timing” of the announcement. Poor timing – ya think? What he needs to apologize for is continuing to build settlements in violation of international law then blaming Palestinians for getting angry and violent. If you had someone encroaching on your land after they promised (fingers crossed behind back) that they would stop – and you had no political power or rights to stop them – wouldn’t you get a tad upset?
- Finally – if you want to know what’s happening as it is happening tomorrow at the tuition-setting ABOR meeting at UA, follow me or the Desert Lamp on Twitter, since I think one or both of us will be tweeting the meeting.