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Sunday, 29-Apr-2012 02:20 Email | Share | | Bookmark
New bill won't usher in quick changes to B.C. school calendars,

Parents shouldn't expect quick changes to schools as a result of government legislation introduced this week to eliminate the standard September-to-June school year, Education Minister George Abbott said Friday.
Abbott told the B.C. School Trustees' Association annual general meeting that the proposals in Bill 36 are minor but he said later that they could mark the start of a gradual move away from the normal two-month summer break toward a more balanced calendar, often called year-round schooling.
But it won't occur every-where and it won't happen overnight. "No one's going to wake up tomorrow and find that [their school has] moved to a year-round schedule," he said in an interview. "The earliest this could happen would be 2013-14, and it will only happen where there's been a full engagement with all education partners, including parents, and some consensus built around why it should [change]."
Boards of education already have the power to adjust the school calendar and a few have done so. But the existence of a provincial school calendar created a barrier because many parents believe it represented best practices.
That's not the case, Abbott said. "That standard school calendar is really more reflective of life 100 years ago in British Columbia than it is of life today. The old school calendar with a break of two months to two-and-one-half months for students reflected a time when British Columbia was agrarian, where kids were involved in the harvesting of crops. Today, that's really not a big part of life in British Columbia."
Educational research suggests a long summer break results in learning loss, especially for vulnerable students, he added.
Ann Whiteaker, president of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, said she welcomes the opportunity for schools to create new learning conditions that benefit students. But she echoed the minister's view that change won't happen quickly and won't be embraced by all communities.
Although Abbott said he was trying to remove barriers to year-round schooling in response to requests from around the province, some insist there are still roadblocks. Bill 36 appears to conflict with local collective agreements in a way that could give unions a veto, said Vancouver trustee Ken Denike, who is also a director of the B.C. Public School Employers' Association.
Vancouver is one district that has expressed interest in year-round calendars, with superintendent Steve Cardwell suggesting that balanced calendars could be the norm within five years. But Denike is not convinced, saying parental reaction so far has been tepid.
Susan Lambert, president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation, suggested teachers would be reluctant to give up their two-month summer holiday because it's an opportunity for rejuvenation. The union is urging boards not to move hastily toward a balanced calendar and has asked staff to review the literature to determine if there is evidence that it is beneficial for students.

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Tuesday, 24-Apr-2012 07:10 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Effort afoot to restore art in California schools

As it turns out, business leaders hiring the workforce of tomorrow don't want applicants who are really good at filling in bubbles on standardized tests.
Creativity is key, more than 1,500 executives said in a 2010 survey.
Yet California, like many states, long ago deemed creative arts a luxury, one that few schools could afford.
And so, with the backing of business, state officials have formed Create CA, a statewide initiative they hope will restore art in schools, so that paintbrushes and even pirouettes are once again as important as No. 2 pencils.
The idea is to bring together those who have labored independently for arts education. Participants want to pass legislation, increase funding and raise public awareness.
Those behind the effort - including artists, educators and executives - believe California now has enough supportive policymakers and the right mix of corporate backing and political will for the idea to succeed where similar efforts have floundered.
Gov. Jerry Brown wants it. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson wants it. Business leaders and politicians want it. Nonprofit groups focused on the arts want it and are lined up to help.
Parents have always wanted it, but have had to depend on parent groups like the PTA to pay for most of the arts programs still in schools.
"Right now - and this is an ugly truth - art is kind of going to those who can afford it," said Kris Murray, executive director of Northern California's Young Audiences, which funds artists in schools. "The current system is not good enough."
Prop. 13 dried up funds
It's not for lack of trying.
Parents and policymakers have been working to restore the arts to education since 1978, when voters approved the Proposition 13 property tax cap that dried up public funding for the arts in most California classrooms.
In 1997, state Superintendent Delaine Eastin called the lack of arts education "a silent crisis." She inspired what she hoped would become a renaissance, and soon there was a state task force on the arts, grade-level art standards, art as a college-entrance requirement, and some funding to back it up.
In 2001, Gov. Gray Davis put $10 million toward his Arts in Education program.
And the state PTA kicked off its Bring Back the Arts campaign.
Despite those efforts, by 2007, a year before the great recession hit, just 11 percent of schools complied with a state law requiring a full repertoire of arts education: music, visual arts, theater and dance.
Beyond bubble tests
Then things got even worse for the arts.
State lawmakers said in 2009 that a $109 million pool of money earmarked for art and music education no longer had to be used for those purposes, and schools could spend the cash on whatever they needed. Most didn't need art.
"If something isn't seen as critical, it has been cut," said Craig Chesla, adviser to Torlakson. "Art in far too many districts has been among those things."
While history doesn't offer much hope, Chesla and others behind Create CA, including the California Arts Council, believe this time things will be different.
To that end, the effort includes incorporating art into the state's scorecard used to evaluate schools, an idea already included in two bills pending in the state Legislature.
In other words, a school's grade would be based on more than bubble tests. Art would matter too.
"The things that survive are the things that we measure," Chesla said.
In addition, reforms could include requiring more art classes for a high school diploma; mandatory art training for new teachers; a tax increase to fund art education; and the creation of theater and dance teaching credentials (in addition to existing visual art and music).
The California Arts Council has begun a new advertising campaign to promote an arts-themed license plate to raise $40 million annually for public art and arts education. Some supporters also hope to place a tax measure for the arts on the statewide ballot.
Above and beyond PTPTN — Zain HD (loyarburok.com)
APRIL 23 — The issue of PTPTN has been so hot lately that I’ve been wondering if it has fried some of our perspective and thinking. A cursory glance at the discussion online is enough to make you ask whether most of us actually received an education, loan-funded or otherwise.
That said, it is good to see Malaysians participating in the discussion. It means we either care, or we’re angry, which means we care too. So that’s good. But I am not about to bring more hugs into the room. Instead I’d like to bring forth a different set of concerns that I think we must have in the back of our minds (at least), that to me brings out the real issue: whether tertiary education should be free or otherwise.
Firstly, education can enable so much, we all know that. But think in the context of the clichéd Einstein example. If he was not given certain opportunities (be it a pen and paper, or a university and some allowance, whatever) the world would not be applying and enjoying some of his theories today.
Now that was one example of a very intelligent person. And we know intelligence comes at various levels, with varying impact. The point is, because some (or perhaps most) people do not have the access to the assistance or guidance of education, what they could have potentially achieved then becomes our loss. By “our” I don’t just mean Malaysia and I don’t just mean our era. Think big picture, think Einstein.
So for a change, I’d like to ask people when discussing about education to look at it at the aspect of who and what stands to benefit, other than the person who got educated. If we want to benefit more, let’s find more ways for everyone, including less fortunate people, to have a chance to impact lives with their intelligence, big or small.
Next is the question on the philosophy of education. It’s an important one because it frames us to answer a lot of issues, beyond PTPTN and finances. So how do we see national education?
Is it an entity that works in itself? Or something that society needs to be part of, besides tax contributions and verbal critiques?
Maybe it’s something that is supposed to bring us closer to the visions of the country? Or is education just a factory that is meant as a supply to the demands of the economy?
Perhaps we need to tackle the question differently. Is education a leading or a supporting limb of a country? Does it partner with the other areas of a country, or is it prohibited territory by those outside it?
Suddenly it’s not that straightforward is it? Ask: is what we’re doing today, and how we see things, in line with our individual philosophy on education? If it doesn’t match, then that’s not an educated equation.
Finally, back to the issue of finances. Should all this be free or not? To extend the question further — is it within our interest to want to see as many people as possible receive an education? Is it within the government’s obligation to handhold its citizens up till tertiary education? If not, why not?
Generally speaking I say yes, because what is at stake is immense. Not in terms of risk, but potential. Managing the finances is not easy but not impossible, especially if it is that important. However, I’m not saying it’s that straightforward.
We used to only have companies, or charities and NGOs. Today, we have companies with Corporate Social Responsibility departments, those who commit a percentage of their profits to social causes, and those who run like a business, but their business is social cause.
The financial model and the objectives to consider are becoming quite diverse. I have no answers at hand but I refuse, with my educated mind, to think that the options are limited to only free, paid, scholarships and loan-based payments for education.
There has to be more than this.
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Monday, 16-Apr-2012 05:29 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Te-Boo! Jets' New Copy Booed at American Stadium

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Wade and the Warm defeat the New You are able to Knicks 93-85 Saturday mid-day at Madison Rectangle Lawn.



Thursday, 15-Mar-2012 07:43 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Minnesotans just mad about hockey

One group of fans and an individual deserve special credit for their performance in Vancouver so far.His 2009 will forever be remembered as the year he first got to lift the Stanley Cup -- becoming the youngest NHL captain to help his team to a championship.The heavily favoured Swedes, who entered the semifinal undefeated after winning the Regina &quot;Pool of Death,&quot; surrendered three unanswered goals to the Americans, who defeated Finland 6-2 in Saturday's quarter-final."I remember watching Salt Lake (in 2002) and really wanting to be a part of the Olympics," Crosby said when he was selected to Team Canada. Seeing all that come together is pretty special.&quot;allan.Tortorella said he spoke to team trainer Jim Ramsay on Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning and determined that Gaborik wouldn't be able to play against Nashville.. He is also charged with using a disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence, using a firearm in the commission of an offence, and theft under $5,000.Phaneuf, who has four more years remaining on a contract that has an annual cap hit <a href="http://www.nhlshopjerseys.com/">Hockey Jerseys</a> of US$6. &quot;I really like Olympic hockey,&quot; said 11-year-old Michael, who didn't like Belarus. They always seem to have more cohesiveness in their teams at the beginning of the tournaments.
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Tuesday, 28-Feb-2012 02:08 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Affiliate Marketing As a Home Based Business

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