Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I.G.N.I.T.E.: Another Anchorage Gifted Blog


Today I found another blog, this one ran by a gifted teacher in the Anchorage School District.

He only has a few posts, but I think it illustrates nicely what todays current gifted education consist off.

While some of their activities are interesting (launching a model rocket and seeing how much weight a balloon can lift), I suspect that the activities could of just as been easily accomplished by your average elementary school student.

Why do gifted programs bother to put selective criteria on admission and then dumb down the curriculum?

Can you imagine the outrage if we tried to put all high school students in the same math and english classes? Ability grouping is fine for older kids, but younger kids just have to suffer. Can't let the kids get to far ahead... right?

Last night I taught my 4th grader how to add, subtract, and multiply mixed fractions in approximately one hour, and he isn't even in the gifted program.

Imagine what they (elementary school gifted programs) could do if they spent their two hours a week providing accelerated math instruction, and perhaps some more challenging science and reading.

Anchoragegifted’s Weblog

Anchoragegifted’s Weblog

Last night I ran across the Anchorage School Districts Gifted Blog. It's a great idea for communication, but I hope to see it updated a bit more.

I posted a comment asking for more information, so hopefully I can spur some debate.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Good Idea Backfires

Two weeks ago, Aurora Elementary instituted a great program in which students were rewarded for eating healthy foods. Teachers and volunteers would go around during lunch, and give tickets to students eating a healthy food. Our kids loved it, they insisted on having healthy snacks for lunch, and came home everyday bragging about getting tickets.

Fastforward to this morning...

Our normal morning routines consists of waking the kids up around 7am, so that they can eat breakfast, get ready, make their own lunches, and then leave at 8:30 to catch the bus. Normally, I am around to oversee this since I get home from my grave shift at around 730am, right before my wife leaves for work.

This morning though, my wife and I decided to take our toddler to day care together at around 8am. The kids were already ready, all they had to do was make their lunch, and head out the door. They had a full half hour to complete this simple task.

We pulled up to the house at around 9am after stopping off for coffee, looking forward to coming inside and relaxing in an empty house. Imagine our surprise when we walked into the house, and our kids were still there.

Seems like they "couldn't find any healthy snacks" so just decided to miss the bus. This is two 10 year olds and an 8 year old.

After we chewed their little behinds and dropped them off at school, my wife and I laughed our asses off, at how dedicated to healthy snacks they were.

Funny enough they still prefer junk food on the weekends.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Warren High School Class of 88

Ok, this post is doing nothing more than creating a link for google search..., just ignore it. Unless of course you happened to graduate from Warren High School, Downey, California in 1988, then go on over.

Almost forgot, here is the link: Warren High School Class of 88

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Housing Bubble and the Military

It occurred to me that military people will be hit especially hard during this housing downturn.

Thanks to housing privatization, the supply of base housing is being greatly reduced, so more military people have been buying houses the last few years. Military people are conservative (poor) by nature, and we tend to use fixed rate VA loans, with very little down. Unfortunately, we are also subjected to mandatory military moves, so when we need to sell, we need to sell. Add to this that many bases are located in huge bubble areas (3 AF bases in Fl, Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, 2 AF bases in AZ, etc...).

I already know of a few people who are hurting because they can't sell their house. There is added stress because a foreclosure looks bad on the military member, and the hit can affect their security clearance.

I am predicting that this will become a major issue in the military in the next few years. For the record, the military will not buy your house, unless it is a result of a down market caused by a base closure. On military moves, we are on our own.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Schools stunned by voter rejection

Schools stunned by voter rejection:

Voters looked at their rising mortgage payments, the empty houses on their streets and a shaky economy. Then, in 17 of 22 districts, they shot down proposals to maintain funding for Valley schools, deciding they couldn't afford it.
Expect much more of this. The housing market is tanking, people are asking for lowered property tax appraisals, tax receipts are down, we are on the verge of a major recession... school funding is going to be a low priority for many people.

Of course, as house prices come down to reasonable levels, teachers will be able to finally afford to buy a decent house in a decent neighborhood.