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Class Size Matters

One-size-fits-all school reform is all the rage.

For example, in 2002 Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment setting limits on public school class size for “core” subjects such as English and Math:

18 students pre-kindergarten through Grade 3
22 students grades 4-8
25 students grades 9-12.

Setting limits on class size is a step in the right direction, but passing sweeping laws that apply to  broad age groups and all “core” subjects indicates that the people passing the laws don’t understand how subjects are most effectively taught.  And cash-strapped school districts are becoming adept at getting round the laws.

Read more here.


Beware Talking Books

As the holidays approach, television ads for “educational” toys proliferate.

The product that disturbs me most is a line of electronic reading devices that enable children to “read a book by themselves.”

These books “talk.” They deliver the text word by word.

What a HORRIBLE idea.

Too many children and adults already read as if they had no notion [...]

The Violation of Peter Rabbit

In the process of comparing editions of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, I came across an edition called The Classic Tale of Peter Rabbit. I was horrified by what I found.

According to the title page, The Classic Tale of Peter Rabbit was published in 1992 by HTS Books, an imprint of Forest House.

Mass Killings, Mental Health, and Television

It fills me with wonder when I turn from mainstream breast-beating about mass shootings and anti-social young people to the world of television where killing and anti-social behavior are admired.

This summer I started watching Under the Dome, but had to quit when the sadistic behavior escalated.

I used to enjoy the CSI programs, but, again, I [...]

Just a Spelling Error

A  12-year-old contestant on Jeopardy cried foul when his Final Jeopardy answer was rejected because he’d misspelled it. The desired answer was the Emancipation Proclamation. The boy spelled the first word as “emanciptation.”

The boy would not have won in any case, but he felt he’d been done wrong by being faulted for a misspelled word:

I [...]