Friday, December 01, 2006

Are Public Schools Outperforming Private Schools?

A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle reported findings indicating that the significant extra expense involved in sending children to private schools could, in fact, be a waste of money.

Apparently, test scores are showing that public school students may actually be getting a better education than those attending private schools, (especially conservative Christian schools).

While this seems to fly in the face of “common sense,” the numbers are what they are, and they don’t seem to support the notion that (generally speaking) private schools are better than public schools; indeed, they seem to support the opposite conclusion.

Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the article:

“(07-15) 04:00 PDT Washington - The federal Education Department reported Friday that, in reading and math, children attending public schools generally do as well as or better than comparable children in private schools. The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private-school children did better.

The report, which compared fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores from nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 530 private schools in 2003, also found that conservative Christian schools lagged significantly behind public schools when it came to eighth-grade math.”

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

SSAT Dates: 2006-2007

The 2006-2007 SSAT test dates are as follows:

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10/14/06, 11/11/06, 12/9/06, 1/6/07, 2/3/07, 3/3/07, 4/21/07, and 6/9/07.

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For registration and late registration deadlines for each currently scheduled administration of the SSAT, go to:

http://www.ssat.org/

and click on “TEST CALENDAR” near the center-top of the page.

Complete details about the SSAT are found elsewhere on the same site.

The fall dates will soon be upon us. Don’t wait till the last minute to register! Make your plans and mark your calendar asap.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

FREE - Federal Educational Resources

Some government Web sites are better than others ... here’s a pretty good one:

http://www.ed.gov/free/index.html.

This large, well organized government site contains a wide variety of educational resources for students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

The section on science (in the sidebar on the left side of the home page) is particularly interesting and filled with annotated links to a variety of science sites. Other sections (Social Studies, Language Arts, etc.) also look promising.

Check it out!

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Plaintiff In Landmark 1948 Church/State Separation Case Dies At 93

Vashti McCollum, the woman who in 1948 sued to stop religious instruction on public school grounds, died on August 26, 2006, at the age of 93.

All Supreme Court decisions defending the separation of church and state descend from this one, and all people who value religious freedom should be familiar with the story of this woman who lost her job and received threats of physical violence during the three year court battle.

Any who doubt which side was right in the case need only look to the hypocritical, irreligious, criminal behavior of those that fought against Vashti. At Halloween, her house was pelted with rotten vegetables. She was threatened with bodily harm during the three year course of the case. But this was not enough. Her sanctimonious opponents even lynched the McCollum family cat.
“... by their fruits, ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7:20.

Surely one of the main challenges we each must face in this life is to recognize and reverse such hypocrisy, whether found in ourselves or others, and to protect the most basic of all human rights and responsibilities: the imperative to follow the call of one's own conscience.

Surely one of the main challenges we each must face in this life is to recognize and reverse such hypocrisy, whether found in ourselves or others, and to protect the most basic of all human rights and responsibilities: the imperative to follow the call of one's own conscience.

Read the full article at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/26/obituaries/26mccullum.html.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

ACT Dates: 2006-2007

The 2006-2007 ACT test dates are as follows:

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9/16/06, 10/28/06, 12/9/06, 2/10/07, 4/14/07, and 6/9/07.

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For registration and late registration deadlines for each currently scheduled administration of the ACT, go to:

http://www.actstudent.org/regist/currentdates.html.

Complete details about the ACT can be found at:

http://www.act.org/.

The fall dates will soon be upon us. Don’t wait till the last minute to register! Make your plans and mark your calendar asap.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

So Much For The “Honor System”

The following is excerpted from an April 17, 2006 Associated Press article:

"States are helping public schools escape potential penalties by skirting the No Child Left Behind law's requirement that students of all races must show annual academic progress.

With the federal government's permission, schools aren't counting the test scores of nearly 2 million students when they report progress by racial groups, an Associated Press computer analysis found.

Minorities — who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing — make up the vast majority of students whose scores are being excluded, AP found. And the numbers have been rising."

It seems that, in the realm of modern-day American education, cheating isn't confined only to the classroom.

In their zeal to meet federal targets, state governments in collusion with the feds are apparently trashing the honor code in the way scorekeeping is being conducted with regard to the requirements of the national "No Child Left Behind" law.

Read the whole story here:

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sudoku Fever



From a March 19, 2006 article appearing in the Lincoln Journal Star:

“It seems like everyone with Sudoku fever has the same story: They stumble upon it accidentally in some book or newspaper, play it once or twice to test their skill and ride the slippery slope into Sudoku addiction.

Take Jason Brewer, for example. Flipping through the pages of a newspaper last year, he stumbled upon his first Sudoku puzzle.

Looking at the blank grid peppered with numbers here and there, he wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

But he was intrigued.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Get more info on Sudoku by visiting these sites:

http://www.sudoku.com/

http://www.soduko.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudoku

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 01, 2006

SAT And PSAT Dates: 2006-2007

Heads up!

The 2006-2007 SAT test dates are as follows::

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10/14/06, 11/4/06, 12/2/06, 1/27/07, 3/10/07, 5/5/07, and 6/2/07.

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The Fall 2006 administration of the PSAT takes place on 10/18/06 or 10/21/06 (registration deadlines vary from school to school).

For registration and late registration deadlines, and to register online, click the link to the College Board site, below.

Why not sign up or jot a note in your calendar, now, while you’re thinking about it?

Visit the College Board’s Web site for complete information, and to register for either test:

http://www.collegeboard.com/splash

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Educator's Blogs

Here's a site devoted to publicizing blogs written by educators.

Featured are a great number of blogs and podcasts from teachers in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools.

Check it out here:

http://educational.blogs.com/

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This Sentence Is False. True Or false?

Seems like a simple question.

Uh, no. Not really.

Like a dog chasing it’s tail, brushing the bristles of the brush you’re brushing with, seeing your eyes with your own eyes (impossible, unaided), or drawing a circle around all circles on a page (try it!), the first sentence in the title of this post is strange, to say the least.

I’ll repeat the sentence in question, for convenience, immediately below this one.

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This sentence is false.

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What makes this so weird is that the sentence in question is “self-reference.” Like a brush brushing itself, eyeballs seeing themselves, or circles circling themselves, the sentence in question “sentences” (i.e. refers to) itself. (“Self reference” is the subject of a wonderful book titled: Godel, Escher, Back: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter. I highly recommend it.)

Is the bold-faced sentence two paragraphs above this one true, or false? That’s the question.

The answer will probably surprise you.

(Click here to go to Part 2.)

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mathematical Mind Reading

The old "Sum and Difference" game is a simple trick that even very young children can play to amaze and frustrate playmates or (better yet) adults (even teachers) whose algebra skills have atrophied.

It's a great way to introduce the idea of "unknown" numbers to beginning algebra students.

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Instructions:

Pick any two numbers. Add them (first number plus second number), and report the total. Then subtract them IN THE SAME ORDER (i.e. first number minus second number), and report the total.

You can determine the two numbers using simple algebra:

1st number = x (perhaps: 7).

2nd number = y (perhaps: 12).

Let: a = x + y, and let: b = x – y. The player will report to you the values of "a" and "b," the sum and difference of the two numbers (in our example, these numbers are 19 and -5). Add these results in your head (in this case, the sum is 14), and what you have will always be twice one of these numbers [since a + b = (x + y) + (x – y) = 2x.] Divide by two (14 ÷ 2 = 7), and you now have one of the numbers. Since you already know the sum of the two numbers, subtract to find the second one (19 – 7 = 12).

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An entertaining variation is the "Birth Date Trick, below.”

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Instructions:

Add your birth date plus birth month (example: for June 17, 1990, the birth date would be 17, the birth month would be 6, and the total would be 23), and report this number. Then, subtract these same two numbers IN THE SAME ORDER (i.e. birth date minus birth month). Again, be careful – this second result could be negative (in our example, the difference would be 6 – 17 = -11). Since this is really just another “sum and difference” exercise like the one above, all you have to do is add these two results and divide by two to get the birth month, then subtract the birth month from the total to get the birth date!

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Regarding Artificial Posting Dates And Times

In the spirit of full disclosure:

Posts on this blog showing a posting time of exactly 12:00 PM were originally published on a different date and/or at a different time.

In order to place the various posts I've composed into the optimal sequence, I've found it necessary to change the actual dates and times on which they were first uploaded (this post, for example, was originally submitted approximately 7:31 PM on 9/11/2006). There's simply no other way to order posts in Blogger.

To make clear the fact that the posting date and time shown for a particular post is artificial and not the post's original date and time of publication, I have deliberately set the time of each such post to 12:00 PM. I'll be careful not to spontaneously publish any other posts at that particular time of day, to avoid confusion.

I may decide to discontinue this practice at some point, at which you'll once again start to see varied posting dates/times. In that case, any posting dates/times not equal to 12:00 PM will be actual and accurate.

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Copyright © 2006-present: Christopher R. Borland. All rights reserved.