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It's Not The Bell, It's The Bimodal That We Should Eliminate

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Mike Mattos, a leader in professional learning communities, reminds educators that they must work to eliminate the "expectation that student achievement should plot across a bell-shaped curve". Of course, with the primary objective of "learning for all", a bell curve definitely points out that we are unsuccessful. The problem, however, is more serious than a bell curve. As Professor Massimo Boninsegni of Alberta pointed out years ago , a bimodal distribution is much more insidious. A bimodal distribution The above distribution can be seen in introductory science courses in college. A class with such a distribution can be divided into two groups. Oftentimes, the class is composed of two types of students: students who have taken advanced science courses in high school and students who have not. When such a distribution appears, it is apparent that some students are not seeing new material, while others are seeing topics for the first time. As someone who teaches an i

Weak Gun Laws Correlate with Higher Children Gun-related Death Rate

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With another mass shooting in an elementary school, again and again, thoughts and prayers are sent. Again and again, however, we hear the same excuses that only obfuscate our discussions. Mental health is a favorite red herring although studies are clear on this issue: Mental health does not correlate with the number of mass shootings. Every country in the world has its share of problems with mental health but only the United States is exceptional when it comes to the killing of children in their schools with assault rifles. Some argue that more guns in the hands of good people make a society safer. With 400 million guns and a population of about 330 million, there is more than enough firepower for everyone. And it is utterly wishful thinking to suggest that everyone in the United States is good. These tragic incidents require not just our thoughts and prayers, but more importantly, well-informed changes in our policies. Research shows that there is one factor that correlates well with

Be Careful with Educational Experts and Give Sara a Chance

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Rene Luis Tadle Repost from Facebook This came out of my memory feed today. I remember how the Aquino government together with the so-called education experts and well-experienced education managers cajoled, rammed, and made false promises to convince students, teachers, and parents to accept the wisdom of additional two years of basic education despite the objections from various sectors. Thus, in 2015, together with other groups and individuals, CoTeSCUP questioned the constitutionality of the K-12 Law in the Supreme Court. SC declared that the law was constitutional and thus dismissed our petition, noting that it is within the police power of the state to enact educational laws including the K-12 Law. However, it noted as well that “It is not for the Court to look into the wisdom or propriety of legislative determination.” (CoTeSCUP et. al, vs. DOLE et al. G.R. No. 216930). Since then, studies have shown that K-12 Law failed to live up to its promise (Orbeta et al., 2019 Manansan, 2

Why Basic Education Matters

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Filipinos recently elected the son of Marcos to be their next president. They also voted for the daughter of the current president to be their next vice president. Some may think that how people vote is influenced by their education. Unfortunately, in politics, beliefs are more important. What basic education can do is so little compared to what frustration and disenchantment can. Filipinos have been experimenting with liberal politics for more than three decades. There seems to be not much difference for most Filipinos who have lived in both periods, before and after the EDSA "people power" in 1986. Education cannot miraculously change how people vote, but how people deal with politics shows the current state of education. Unfortunately, even the opposition to authoritarianism demonstrates the current predicament of Philippine education. The results of the elections have been made public quickly this time. At past 8 in the evening, nearly half of the votes have been transmit

To Sow Discord and Divisions

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Our society is still facing enormous challenges. The COVID pandemic continues. Black lives still have to matter. Greenhouse gases are still rising and so are global temperatures. To address these issues successfully, concerted efforts are necessary. We must try our best to control the spread of the coronavirus. We ought to look deeply into the structural, institutional and systemic racism. For our society to avert climate change, we must act together. Yet, Virginia's new governor Glenn Youngkin chooses to sow discord and divisions. Above copied from Commonwealth of Virginia  The following are among the executive actions the new governor has taken: End the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education. Empower Virginia parents in their children’s education and upbringing by allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school. Withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). It is just day one and the governor h

"G" Does Not Stand for Good, It Stands For Bad Grammar

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 It was a test in chemistry back when I was a first-year student in college. The instructor showed to the class the first page of my exam with a huge red letter "G" mark on it. The "G" does not stand for Good, it stands for bad grammar. Then it was followed by an exam from another student. This time, it was marked "VG", which stood for verbal garbage. At least, the content of my answer was correct. As we greet the year 2022, it seems that we are in the same place, we are missing the point. A letter from the Arlington Education Association has gone viral on social media not because of its message. Apparently, in just five paragraphs, there are numerous errors in grammar. The letter, however, brings to our attention, a very important point. Schools are about to reopen in a couple of days, and we are currently in the midst of a huge surge in coronavirus cases, and after two years through this pandemic, we still do not have the necessary testing capacity. The

If We Do Not Speak, Who Will?

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With a megaphone, one can have his voice heard more easily. Loud voices can bias our perception. Loudness should not be confused with truth. Often, loudness is simply an expression of passion, but not necessarily correctness. In a world where loudness is sometimes equated to the voice of the majority, it is especially important that we participate and support those who hold steadfast to values that benefit all our children. Parents do have a say with regard to the education of their children, but this right belongs to all parents, not just the loud ones. As calls for banning books that reach out to marginalized members of our community have become louder in our county, it is time that we stand for freedom of expression, diversity, and inclusiveness. Please join us in supporting our school board in this crucial stand. Above copied from  https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/hip-hip-hooray-for-our-school-board-today Dear Friends, I just signed the campaign: Hip Hip Hooray for our School Boar