Saturday, September 14, 2019 1:00 am
Air Guard vets grateful for spirited start to day
It is with great joy that three Air Guard retirees extend supercharged “danke schoens” to the youthful blonde woman who purchased breakfast for us at Azar's Restaurant in Waynedale on Sept. 5. What a delightful way to start the day; please feel free to join us if you pass our way again.
RUSS AUGSBURGER, DAN SORG and RICH POLK
Much to be gleaned from ILEARN results
I see a lot of value in the ILEARN results posted in The Journal Gazette Sept. 5.
I saw two schools in which 0% of students in a grade passed either the English or math test, and other schools with up to 85% passing both. Better scores tend to be in wealthier areas; you can judge whether wealth causes higher scores or the other way around. But the useful information I see is comparing grades within a school.
Occasionally, I see one grade getting much higher passing scores than the other grades within a school. That could mean a superior teacher who should be observed to see his or her methods.
Every superintendent and the teachers' union seem to be complaining about how the A-F grading of schools hurts their educational efforts, often with the reflexive blaming of charters and vouchers as well, though they take the same tests and have failure consequences as well.
May I suggest that, instead of the state, each district, and perhaps each principal, be given the authority to decide how to change the wages of teachers whose students do or don't improve, then report whether their reward system improved teacher performance. That way, they can't complain (about that anyway), and we can judge what reward system works best for teachers, as well as what teaching method works best for students.
Identical standardized tests are useful. Taxpayers deserve a comparison of scores among schools and school districts. Schools deserve to get a complete list of all skills and knowledge to be tested for before they plan their curriculum. And right now, I really want to see what the questions and answers on the ILEARN test were.
Uttering the last word on presidential Sharpie use
After criticizing President Donald Trump on a number of occasions where his chaotic, bewildered and at times incoherent attempts at presidential leadership were on public display, I would like to advance some praise.
For in a brief moment at an Oval Office meeting with his acting chief of the Department of Homeland Security on Sept. 4, Trump, in a brilliant fashion, gave display to the truth and meaning of two time-worn phrases: “the pen is mighty than the sword” and “in the stroke of a pen, the course of history can be changed.”
Ignoring the experienced opinions advice, and efforts of NOAA, European hurricane experts and other weather experts, Trump – with a stroke of a Sharpie – dictated and detailed the path Hurricane Dorian would treacherously follow as it approached the East Coast of the United States.
Alabama, it appears, was in great peril to suffer from potentially historic destruction.
In the wake of this “brilliant” analysis and weather expertise, the utterances of this “greatest” president leading the greatest administration in our nation's history leave me without further words to express. I guess in deference to Mr. Trump, I shall now lay down my pen.
Kevin Paul Krajewski