Friday, October 1, 2010

One more from Dave Barry

Q. What precautions will be taken to insure that there is no terrorist bomb aboard my aircraft?
A. The airline agent will ask you a series of security questions shrewdly designed to outwit terrorism, such as: "Did any terrorist unknown to you give you a bomb to carry on board this plane?" Also, if you have a laptop computer, they may ask you to turn it on, thus proving that it is not a terrorist bomb.

Q. But couldn't a terrorist easily put a bomb in a computer in such a way that the computer could still be turned on?
A. Shut up.

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1 comment:


    (As for rigorous high school classes mitigating the effects of socioeconomic status, I take that as an accurate observation of correlation. Students of low socioeconomic status who are intelligent, motivated and willing to work hard will enroll in AP classes and will also do fine in college. I know from my own experience that there are plenty of such students. But this is no way rules out the selection effect.)

    The bureaucrats with whom I had had the displeasure of discussing the big new AP push definitely did not see things my way. To them AP was a magic wand. It made no difference how the students eventually performed in the class or whether they had any realistic chance of passing the test. Nor did their previous academic record matter. We were to actively push students into AP classes and we were not to impose any prerequisites.

    I wish I could say that as a teacher I was immune to what others thought of me, but it really did make a brutally difficult job worse to be continually subject to the judgment that if only we teachers were working harder and using all those “research-based” methodologies our students would be thriving academically.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but the factors that are being selected for when students enroll in (or continue in) KIPP and all those other programs are primarily family factors. If there is going to be change, that´s where it has to come from.

    I see education as caught in a perfect storm between the left and the right. The right would just as soon destroy public education and use the money to send their kids to religious schools. But the left is so unwilling to face the fact that academic failure is rooted in families and communities that it turns itself inside out trying to prove how schools are the source of the trouble.

    It´s deadly I think to send the message to parents and students that it is all the fault of the schools. The students I worked with understood fully that the institutions “owned” the problem of their academic success. It didn´t matter what they did; they would be given endless additional chances because the teachers cared so much more about their performance than they (in many cases) did. There is a quote somewhere from the late Albert Shanker to the effect that students are not likely to be motivated by the prospect that if they do poorly, their teachers will be punished.

    As for me, I´ve decided an appropriate epitaph would be “Nothing she ever did was scalable.”

    Elizabeth Bernstein,