The Lydster: Academic Achievement

kidsheaderThe Daughter just graduated from sixth grade. It was really nice having her attend at a building that was literally a stone’s throw or two from our house for a half dozen years.

This fall, she will be taking the bus, as she moves on to middle school, what they used to call junior high when I was of age.

In June, there were a lot of awards given. She was recognized by the school board for being first in First in Math in the state of New York, the only person in the Empire State to be in the Top 100 in the country. She gave the board two terse sentences of explanation.

Her school gave out a set of achievement recognition. There were LOTS of these – I’m guessing a couple reams of paper worth – and I could see from a distance that she was disappointed that she got only three awards, two for honor role, and one for music, while some of her classmates were collecting quantities in double digits. She thought she might get one for citizenship, as the only active student in the PTA, e.g. She didn’t even get the award for math, which we both had expected.

Finally, there was graduation. There were awards from the state comptroller, the attorney general and other luminaries. A couple kids, including her best school friend, received The President’s Award for Educational Excellence, which “recognizes a student’s academic success in the classroom.”
presidential-award-for-educational-achievement
Then The Daughter and another student received The President’s Award for Educational Achievement, which “recognizes students who show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment to or intellectual development in their academic subjects.”

It goes on to say in the description on the website: “This Achievement award should not be compared to the President’s Award for Educational Excellence or be seen as a second tier award; it recognizes a very different type of academic achievement. It is meant to encourage and reward students who work hard and give their best effort in school, often in the face of special obstacles to learning.”

I do not know what “special obstacles” the award is referring to, but no matter. The Daughter is thrilled by the award, “signed” by President Obama, which totally eliminated the disappointment of four days earlier.

I should note she got a paper certificate, rather than the pin.

From Where the Lion Roars: The Hunt for an American Education in Binghamton

Dr. Kitonyi’s grandmother took him to a school run by missionaries at the age of 9 and it was then that he began to view education as key to his future.

kitonyiA library friend of mine asked if I were familiar with a book called From Where the Lion Roars: the hunt for an American education in Binghamton by Peter N. Kitonyi. It is in the Local History room of the Albany Public Library. From the book information, Kitonyi attended Binghamton North High School, the “other” public high school besides Central in my hometown, back in the 1960s.

I was not familiar with the surname or the book. But I posted the information on a couple Binghamton-based Facebook pages, and while no one remembered him, one person found an article in the Ithaca Journal, Continue reading “From Where the Lion Roars: The Hunt for an American Education in Binghamton”

The Lydster, Part 134: Opting out

Neither my wife or I want to have our daughter become a tool to our own sense of activism, ESPECIALLY when it affects her directly.

opt-out5There has been a great deal of controversy in the state of New York about the school tests tied to something called Common Core. It is more complicated than I wish to get into here, but I wrote about it a bit in my Times Union blog.

There was a statewide movement to get students in grades 3 to 8 to opt out of the test, which was somewhat successful in many districts, including in my area.

The movement has been around a couple years, but I had not paid a great deal of attention. Continue reading “The Lydster, Part 134: Opting out”

October Rambling: Enough with Dystopia; the Conservati​ve-to-Engl​ish Lexicon

from KUBE 93 Seattle Facebook page
from KUBE 93 Seattle Facebook page

My favorite website these days is The Weekly Sift. Sam Harris and the Orientalization of Islam and 7 Liberal Lessons of Ebola.

Sexual Assault in the Bakken Shale “Man Camps”.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Civil Forfeiture. “Oliver references a September report from The Washington Post, which states that, since 9/11, police have seized $2.5 billion in 61,998 cash seizures from people ‘who were not charged with a crime.’ ‘Under civil forfeiture laws, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent.'” Continue reading “October Rambling: Enough with Dystopia; the Conservati​ve-to-Engl​ish Lexicon”

Correcting v. convincing

I jumped all over the presentation, calling it sham science, and pointing out the many ways in which it was confusing or obscuring the truth. Expecting to be met with nodding approval, I instead faced several annoyed looks and the strong feeling that I was being wished out of the room.

Arthur@AmeriNZ noted his seventh Twitterversary this spring, which he Tweeted then posted it to Facebook and Google+. How terribly meta.

Then Facebook went and spoiled it all when someone said something stupid.

It was no one I knew—a friend of a friend—but it was such utter delusional nonsense that my jaw literally (yes, literally) dropped (remaining literally attached to my head, fortunately). It doesn’t matter who said what to whom about what; suffice it to say, the person’’s comment was factually wrong, silly, and… delusional.

It was an outrage! Errors needed to be corrected, truth and facts needed to be asserted! So, I did — nothing.

Time was, I would have jumped in to fight for truth and facts, but not today. Continue reading “Correcting v. convincing”