Saturday, March 7, 2009

Eduction Outside of School

Finally, someone who understands! I cannot follow my students home and make them do their work, the parents need to make sure they are doing their part at home too.

She Said What?

An interesting point by Susan Neuman, a former education official in the Bush Administration, in a new book, Changing the Odds for Children At Risk. Research shows low-income children learn as fast in school as wealthier children. It's outside of school that poor children fall behind. Says Neuman, "Most teachers are highly capable of successfully educating" children who get a strong foundation at home. Now at the University of Michigan, she joined 62 other education leaders ast June to urge the nation to improve the lives of low-income children across the board rather than continuing to point the finger at schools.

Bailout Education?

"The Question in my mind is this: At a time when we're continuing the bailout of key industries, at what point do we have a bailout of public education?"
Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, Miami Herald, November 25, 2008

Who Likes Cafeteria Food?

An article titled "Hamburglars Watch Out" explains that "last year in Fairfax County Virginia, a school cafeteria lost 1.2million dollars in prepared food to student theft. The district installed a 60,000 video surveillance system to monitor lines at a half-dozen secondary schools, sending a clear message to would-be thieves: Leggo." My husbands school has a security system that doesn't work becasue the company went bankrupt. That's what happens when the district goes with the cheapest bid. Maybe when other schools look at their budget, they should invest in a relaible security system, before cutting classroom spending. It would seem that it would save districts more money in the long and short run.

Did you know? (NEA Today March/April 2009)
8.3 billion dollars is the amount of money that the US Dept of Agriculture spends to provide free and reduced-price lunch to students annually.
30,600,000 is the number of students who receive free and reduced-price lunch in the country annually.

All Work and No Play for Children

NCLB fueled trend toward shorter play times- or even eliminated recess at some test-obsessed schools- may lead to unruly classrooms and more obese children, according to research from New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Researchers looked at more than 10,000 children, ages 8-9 and found that those who had at least a 15-minute break behaved better than those who did not.

Many schools have responded t the demands of NCLB, which focuses on reading and math scores to the exclusion of much else, by increasing “seat time.” But researchers suggested that Americans look to Asia for a more effective practice. Most elementary schools there provide a 10-minute break after every 40-50 minutes of instructions.

An Interview with Richard Simmons about His Campaign for P.E. in Schools

"Kids Aren't Well-Rounded; They're Just...Rounded"

Posted: 06 Mar 2009 04:00 AM PST

First published March 27, 2008

Richard told me about his advocacy for the FIT Kids Act, which would amend No Child Left Behind to require states, districts and schools to include the amount and quality of P.E. among the "multiple measures" by which schools are judged.

He makes no secret of his impatience with the current presidential contest, characterizing it as a political circus that drowns out calls to address the real crisis in children's health and fitness.

His own ideas for reform:

  • Carve out real time in school for physical activity. The FIT Kids Act sets a goal of 150 minutes/week in elementary school and 225 minutes/week in high school.
  • Enlist Certified Aerobic instructors to help P.E. teachers offer excellent physical education.
  • Ensure that P.E. classes include warm up, cardio, strength training and stretching. Just hitting a ball or running around a field won't cut it anymore.
  • Get kids moving to the music they love.

Energy vampires: Fact versus fiction

Energy vampires: Fact versus fiction

It's well-known that most electronic devices in our homes are sucking up energy even while they are turned off. But for all the information out there, many questions remain. I got hundreds of reader questions after writing the post What's wasting energy in your home right now. Below are answers to the five most common inquiries:

Which electronic devices waste the most energy when they are turned off but still plugged in?

Set-top cable boxes and digital video recorders are some of the biggest energy hogs. Unfortunately, there's little consumers can do since television shows can't be taped if boxes are unplugged. It also typically takes a long time to reboot boxes.

However, some of the other major consumers of standby power are more easily dealt with: computers, multifunction printers, flat-screen TVs, DVDs, VCRs, CD players, power tools, and hand-held vacuums. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) measured standby power for a long list of products.

While it's true each individual product draws relatively little standby power, the LBNL says that when added together, standby power can amount to 10% of residential energy use.

Why do electronic devices use energy when they are switched off?

Electronics consume standby power for one of two reasons, says Chris Kielich of the Department of Energy. They either have an adapter that will continue to draw electricity, or they have devices (such as clocks and touchpads) that draw power. Anything with a remote control will also draw standby power, she says, since the device needs to be able to detect the remote when it's pushed.

Does everything suck energy when it's plugged in and turned off?

No. If your coffeemaker or toaster doesn't have a clock, then it's probably not using standby power, says Kielich. Chances are your hair dryer and lamps (although they may have a power adapter for the dimmer) are not drawing standby power either, she says. Devices with a switch that physically breaks the circuit don't consume standby power.

Will switching things on and off shorten their life?

Probably not, says Kielich. You'd have to turn devices on and off thousands of times to shorten their lives. The real downside, she says, to unplugging electronics is that clocks and remotes will not work, and you do have to reset everything.

Can you ruin batteries by unplugging battery chargers and causing batteries to completely discharge?

It could be a possibility, says Kielich. Her advice: Don't let batteries get completely drained. But you don't need to have things like hand-held power vacuums and drills plugged into the charger when it's 100% charged, or even 50% charged.

Power Strip FAQs

Plugging electronics into a power strip and turning it off when you're not using it is a widely prescribed solution for curbing vampire power. Here are answers to common questions:

  • Power strips draw energy when they are turned on, but not when they are switched off.
  • Any decent power strip should have surge protection, according to Kielich. Flicking your power strip on and off will not create a power surge capable of damaging electronic devices. In fact, it will protect devices from other surges.
  • Several readers were worried about the possibility of fires caused by plugging too many things in at once. If you plug in the allowed number of devices, then power strips are safe, says Kielich. Just don't plug your power strip into another power strip, or you run the risk of creating an overload.