Friday, February 24, 2006

School Union Will Let Locals Join Federation - New York Times

School Union Will Let Locals Join Federation - New York Times

The nation's largest labor union, the National Education Association, has decided to let its local chapters join the A.F.L.-C.I.O., labor officials said yesterday. The decision by the association, which represents 2.7 million teachers and administrators and other school employees, will buoy the A.F.L.-C.I.O., which has been reeling because unions...

The A.F.L.-C.I.O. definitly needs stronger membership numbers. This is a step in the right direction.

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posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/24/2006 02:32:00 AM  
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Monday, February 13, 2006

The Misinderstood Tones of Emails- a Big Problem

Years ago people sat in solitude, with special paper and their favorite pen, and carefully crafted letters. Letter writing was a art. Perfecting you handwriting was an expected skill. No more. The art of letter writing has gone the way of the horse and carriage. In a hurry to send a message ands move on to other things, while multitasking, we tend to whip up an email it and not give it another thought. That is, until someone tells you that you were rude in your hastily sent email. Uh oh!

Cyberspace is swamped with email. I believe that most of it is written win no insults intended. However, I often wonder if my sense of humor is perceived the way I intended on the other side of the digital super-mailway.



Personally, I enjoy face to face conversations. I feel I get a better grip on where the person I am talking with is coming from (so to speak.) Facial expressions, body language, inflections in the voice, speech pace, pauses, etc. are all queues we use to interpret meaning in face to face oral communications. Pure voice communication (telephone, walkie talkie, etc., work with less- missing all the visual elements. However, when we move on to written communication, we are really stumbling in the dark. We have to guess what all of the physical and aural queues were. We tend to bring our own emotions into play, which can lead to some serious misunderstandings.

If we add to my above elements the problems of people from different cultures, with different primary languages, we really leave ourselves open for miscommunication.

eMail writer beware!

Read this article:
Wired News (http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70179-0.html):: "By Stephen Leahy | Also by this reporter
02:00 AM Feb, 13, 2006 EST

'Don't work too hard,' wrote a colleague in an e-mail today. Was she sincere or sarcastic? I think I know (sarcastic), but I'm probably wrong.

According to recent research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, I've only a 50-50 chance of ascertaining the tone of any e-mail message. The study also shows that people think they've correctly interpreted the tone of e-mails they receive 90 percent of the time.

'That's how flame wars get started,' says psychologist Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago, who conducted the research with Justin Kruger of New York University. 'People in our study were convinced they've accurately understood the tone of an e-mail message when in fact their odds are no better than chance,' says Epley."

~JRY
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posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/13/2006 07:46:00 PM  
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So You Think English is Easy?

I got this in an email and it makes a good point. My hat's off to those who have conquered English as a second language. My heart goes out to those struggling to learn it! Power to the dedicated teachers who "Teach English as a Second Language!"



"Can you read these right the first time?

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.


2) The farm was used to produce produce.


3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.


4) We must polishthe Polish? furniture.


5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.


6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.


7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .


8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.


9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.


10) I did not object to the object.


11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.


12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .


13) They were too close to the door to close it.


14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.


15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.


16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.


17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.


18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.


19) I had to subjectthe subject to a series of tests.


20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all That is why, when the stars are out, they are visib le, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"


~JRY
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posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/13/2006 06:09:00 PM  
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Dump Google on Valentine's Day?

Taking on the Big Kahunah:

"Google to be Dumped on Valentine's Day
The Sydney Morning Herald reports on another protest site named No Luv 4 Google where they ask you to "Break up with Google this Valentine's Day." As you know, Google recently began censoring Google China, which caused protests all over including at Stanford, Berkeley."
So who has a better replacement?

~JRY
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posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/13/2006 05:04:00 PM  
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Sunday, February 12, 2006

NYPD Rookies are N.Y.C.'s Poorest!

It is disgraceful that a city like New York so under values those who pledge to give their lives for the public. How does Bloomberg sleep at night?

New York Daily News - City News - Rookies are N.Y.'s poorest: "Rookies are N.Y.'s poorest

Cops try to get by on 25G

BY JONATHAN LEMIRE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

The 1,211 recruits sworn into the NYPD's latest academy class pledged to put their lives on the line to protect and serve the city.

But during the six months they are training, these brave men and women will earn less than city bus drivers, sanitation workers and gardeners - pocketing roughly $370.17 after taxes each week.

'These cops - these heroes in training - can barely make ends meet when they are in Police Academy,' said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. 'It is disgraceful.'

The $25,100 annual salary is down significantly from the $38,000 earned by NYPD recruits sworn in last July before a new contract between the police union and City Hall lowered the academy pay.

By comparison, the city Sanitation Department pays new hires about $26,000 a year and the starting salary for Parks Department gardeners is $30,630. New bus drivers earn about $35,000 a year.

Almost every penny of the NYPD recruits' $370.17 weekly take-home pay must be devoted toward academy expenses, union officials argued."

It is awe inspiring to me that these brave souls actually sign up!



posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/12/2006 01:45:00 PM  
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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Fired for Having Soliraire on the Screen! or Off with His Head- It's Good to be the King!

To wit:
New York mayor fires worker with solitaire on computer screen -- Newsday.com: "Office assistant Edward Greenwood IX was going over some papers at his desk as Bloomberg made the rounds with his photographer, greeting workers and posing for pictures. When the mayor reached him, Greenwood stood, they shook hands and the photographer snapped a photo.

But the eagle-eyed mayor _ a billionaire former businessman with a certain idea of how offices should be run _ noticed Greenwood's game of solitaire glowing on his screen. He said nothing about it to Greenwood but later told an aide to give him the ax.

The story was reported by the New York Post on Thursday, and Bloomberg defended his no-tolerance decision.

'The workplace is not an appropriate place for games,' Bloomberg said. 'It's a place where you've got to do the job that you're getting paid for.' "

It is so refreshing to see that Mayor Bloomberg does not act implusively. It is with pride that I see our great mayor using only the latest in sweat-shop employee management techniques. There's none of that wimpy employee counseling for Bloomie. Off with their heads I say! Fire at will! Pay no attention to an employees work record. Yes, we should go back to the sweat-shop methods of employee management. The boss
man gets the shop kiss-up to do the stupid firing for him. Gutsy? No. Gutsy would have been to speak personally to the employee and require more staff development. After all, you can't let the press know you are PMS-ish today... But power has its perks. Oh, the joys of running non-union shops. You can destroy anyone, for any little whim, and get someone else to do your dirty work for you. I personally hope his girlfriend never gets off task...Sweet! As Mel Brooks said: "It's good to be the king!"

My personal recommendations to increase employee productivity

Fire immediately anyone who is caught in any of the following states:
  • Using a stress ball.
  • Writing a not immediatley usable list.
  • Drinking water on company time.
  • Wasting time in the bathroom- confirmed by bathroom stall cams linked to supervisor computers.
My personal recommendations to avoid employee reduced productivity

Remove the following from all work places:
  • Bathrooms
  • Water Coolers
  • Writing instruments
  • Paper of any kind
  • Any computer program that is not directly realted to the task at hand. Programs can be served up on a need to use basis. (This further guarantees job security for the IT department- my favorite.)
The above suggestions should show immediate results. For help implementing the above the UFT leadership provides positive role models.


For those employers who are just so worried about not getting their monies worth out of their employees, put up or shut up- there is software that will put you in control over which web sites they can go to, and which (if any) games they can play! It's called, uh- PARENTAL CONTROLS. Any average network admin can get it up and running easily. Yes, employees should be able to monitor themselves, nut they are human. Humans occassionally make little mistakes. THis gut was not surfing for pornography, doing Internet shopping on company time. He took a short break when there was no work at the moment. Should he have pretended to look at some old work, to appear busy? Perhaps, but let's get real. If you need to get rid of an employee, document several infractions, then give due process. Keeping this man from getting unemployment is p[lain unnecessary Making power postures is just infantile and makes you look insecure. Stop ruining peoples lives over such foolishness.

Then again... "It's good to be the king!"

Any more suggestions are most welcome!

posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/11/2006 07:36:00 PM  
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

NCLB Show and Sing-A-Long

The NCLB Show and Sing-A-Long put online by the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) is a great conversation starter.


I like it. It addresses the issue in an non-confrontational way. Naturally it is not a replacement for serious dialogue. I for one, remember when students had the wonderful experiences of putting on school plays, explored their creativity in areas other than reading, math and test sophistication. Students do not have a well rounded education any more. Big money rules and kids lose. It's all about the money and who get it. Certainly not the children. NCLB is good in it's intentions, but falls short in too many areas. It needs solid revamping.

Good cartoon. Good work!

Check it out!


~JRY


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posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/09/2006 02:38:00 AM  
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The Education Wonks: The Carnival Of Education: Week 53 - Thoughts And Ideas Freely Exchanged

The Education Wonks: The Carnival Of Education: Week 53 - Thoughts And Ideas Freely Exchanged

It's up and ready for action. Oh, it's also great as usual. Check it out!

~JRY
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posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/09/2006 12:35:00 AM  
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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Paper or Tech- Which to use?

I just read an interstice article on how folks feel about pen and paper versus technology: Getting To Done: Long Live Paper! - Lifehacker. It made me think about my evolution from scratch pad to word processor and the memories came flooding back...

I had always been a pen and pad person. You know, the little spiral pad that fit so nicely just about anywhere. My first true nibble on the digital cookie was the Commodore Vic 20! We bought it for the games for our children, but I found that by using Basic, I could make math spelling quizzes for the children, and make documents for my class. After a while, these types of programs became very available in stores. There wasn't an ecommerce dragon yet for the likes of Buy.com and eBay. They weren't even a glimmer in anyone's eye yet.

Well, I just had to have the new Casio watch calendar, and then the one that kept real appointment reminder dates. I got cool, and dove head on to the Day Timer leather ring, fully tabbed, day at a time, junior book. That became too cumbersome so I downsized to the wallet (checkbook) size. This was my bible. Without it, I could not keep track of breakfast.

Then came the no turning back point, sychronizing software came on the scene to synchronize my Day Timer data with my computer. As if that wasn't enough, the Palm Pilot came front and center. It was given to me by one of my sons. A hand me down, but full of possibilities. After the novelty wore off, it was boring. It had a plain dull screen, limited games, and was hard to read for my already overtired computer eyes.

Then, da dum, tah dah (drum roll, trumpet call,) The clouds parted, sunlight beamed through the heavens, my heart raced... I got my first iPaq- full color with all the bells and whistles. Pant, pant...



A techno data junkie was born! My life has NEVER been the same. My iPaq is now my bible. It syncs with my computer, laptop and cell phone. I rely on getting reminders for appointments, birthdays, etc. I can give photo slide shows, have a program just for my shopping lists, give powerpoint presentations, edit spreadsheets and do email. As if that isn't enough, I actually make my own backgrounds/themes for it to go with holidays etc. Geek to the nth degree. Yep, and I guess I have a bit too much time on my hands too.

That said, I still find some use for pen and paper. Telephone messages go well with message pads. Jotting down a license plate is still faster in the car on the fly with pen and paper. Post it notes work great as bookmarks and leaving "buy milk" notes on the fridge. Truth be told, my handwriting leaves much to be desired. Arthritis has made using pens, pencils very difficult. I believe that my digital communications make a much better impression than by pen (Mont Blanc or not!). However, there are some devoted analog folks who still really love their paper and pens (my hubby is one of them.)

This brings me to the issue of whether or not to allow grammar school students to submit reports (for non-tech subjects) that are done on the computer. I have observed, through over 34 years of teaching, that handwriting instruction is almost non existent, past second grade in New York City. I've heard from other educators around the country that is becoming the norm all over. The focus is on literacy and not legibility. I believe that they go hand in hand. So many students can't add a columns on multi digit numbers because they can't read their own numerals. I've seen countless students unable to read back their own compositions because they couldn't read their own handwriting. Fine motor skills need to be developed. Penmanship is important! Homeschooling parents need to keep this in mind also.

School systems have become so busy, showing that they are providing such complete curriculums in EVERY area, that handwriting is just considered relatively expendable. I've never heard of a supervisor wanting to see a penmanship lesson for an observation. I have never even seen it mandated on lesson plans since the 80's.

I remember when schools provided workbooks specifically for penmanship. There is no such thing in the Big Apple. Perhaps a school here or there gets them, but overall, administrators just aren't concerned with penmanship.
The teachers I've spoken to, embed penmanship into their curriculum. Unfortunately, my observation is that it is not consistent enough, and not done by every teacher across the board. I also believe that there is something to having a book dedicated to it. Somehow it gives a sense of respect for the skill.

Too much time and effort is wasted in schools today running off sheets for elementary students.
One school I know, has reading and math programs that require tons of sheets to be handed out to the students. The teachers have to waste their precious few prep periods running off this nonsense and use their Teacher's Choice money to pay for the paper. This is an outrageous situation which is the result of a union that just doesn't care.) Yes, teachers do model for students, but having samples and letters to trace is, in my opinion, indispensable. So goes by the way side, one of history's most important communication tools.

Students with home access to computers are so busy instant messaging each other, that even invitations to parties are not handwritten any more. Remember the thrill of getting a card in the mail inviting you to a friends birthday party? The art and practice of letter writing, in today's fast paced techno society are long gone. Unfortunately, the teachers who have to mark essays, are left to their own devices to transcribe the chicken scratch that is half print-half cursive. If it isn't given a city wide test, then there is no need to "waste time or money" on it. Thus follows the warped logic of minimizing phys ed, music, art and drama.

Parents who homeschool their children need to find their own happy medium. The world of today requires most professions to have solid computer literacy. A non-computer literate student will be hard pressed to compete in college without solid computer experience under their belt. See an interesting article:
Study: 'Power Users' Drive Pedagogy Research suggests tech-savvy students are having an impact in the classroom- By Robert Brumfield, Assistant Editor, eSchool News.





What's your opinion on the paper vs tech issue?



~JRY
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posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/04/2006 01:02:00 AM  
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Friday, February 03, 2006

UFT - Members urged to review their files - Moot?

The ICEUFT Blog and The Delegate's Chair discussed how teachers were unable to remove files older than 3 years from their files because of the again, UFT leadership pushed giveback contract.


Ironically, the UFT web site has prominently posted this on their home page:
UFT - Members urged to review their files

Well, I believe tht is is always a good idea to review your file every year like clock work, what you know is better than what you don't know. However, it seems questionable as to whether or not you can do anything about what you find.

If you have insight on this please comment and give us the facts. Inquiring minds want to know!

~JRY


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posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/03/2006 11:18:00 AM  
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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Carnival of Education Week 52

The Carnival of Education -- Week 52 is on the midway now! Diane Weir did a wonderful job weaving it all togather. There are interesting reads from all contributors. Check it out!

~JRY
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posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/01/2006 01:55:00 PM  
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The 5th Carnival of Homeschooling

The 5th Carnival of Homeschooling is online. PalmTree Pundit edited this edition and did a real fine job of it! I really enjoy the Hawaiian theme woven through it. Delightful! This is a must read this week!

~JRY
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posted by An Educational Voyage @ 2/01/2006 11:16:00 AM  
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