Friday, August 10, 2007

Four slides

Here's my entry to Dan's challenge of selling yourself in four slides. I'm in it for the participation points.

Thankfully, by now one other blogger has submitted without using full name. So I won't be the first one. The readers who would like to produce sarcastic commentary about such practices can go ahead and do so - over on their own blogs, please.

I made the slides in Keynote - my first attempt at using that tool, and that alone would justify the time spent on it. I found the end result to be a little pretentious, but figure at this point I'll learn more from critical comments than from spending more time on trying to fix it. In any case there's no time left for that - and I'll need to add photo credits a few hours later. Got to run.

Photo Credits ...and a word of appreciation for Creative Commons and for those who make their photos available for use by others.

Copyright question

Would using this picture, the purpose of which would be to invoke the campaign that this poster was a part of, amount to an infringement of copyright?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

No road that is right entirely

Much of the summer has been overshadowed by the shutting down of my school of last year, after some colleagues and I blew the whistle about all kinds of irregularities there. It had to be done, and almost certainly a great deal of harm to future students will be avoided because of it.

However, there is little or no sense of closure or relief now that it is - for me, at least - over. Many students are also hurt by the disruption to their schooling that this is causing, and some are resentful about it. For a 15 year old, the loss of classmates and friends weighs more heavily than that laws be followed and that standards-based instruction be available to all students.

Also, for quite a number, anger is fueled by fear, by the prospect of having academic deficits exposed now that a protective fabric of lies spun by the school has been torn open. On the one hand, all students are entitled to realistic, honest assessment of where they are, and withholding such information from them amounts to lack of respect, to patronization. On the other hand, providing such information without simultaneously offering tools, means, hope for improvement is cruel. You can not bring years of educational negligence down on children's heads and then expect them to enthusiastically tackle the gaps in their learning. Some will give up and go under, learning even less. Most of these students will not receive the kind of remediation and support they would need in order to reach levels that the school pretended they had already achieved.

Of course, such considerations about possible damages resulting from reporting the school were on our minds before we took these steps. It is distressing to be in a situation where no matter what you do - and including the scenario where you do nothing - harm will be done to many, and where the phrase "doing the right thing" does not seem to refer to any option in the real world. One could draw parallels to decisions about going to war under the realization that you'll be killing god-knows-how-many babies before ever achieving whatever "just" goal you're hoping to achieve. But, yeah, this is getting overly melodramatic, I see, I see. No-one was killed in the drama I'm preoccupied with. And with that it's about time - in fact, far overdue - to leave a nightmarish year behind and focus on issues that actually lend themselves to constructive efforts.