The Human Impact of Charter Schools

Saturday, June 5, 2010 \PM\.\Sat\.

A WSJ article from last week puts a human face on the difference that charter schools can make for “at risk” students:

In middle school, Ivan Cantera ran with a Latino gang; Laura Corro was a spunky teen. At age 13, they shared their first kiss. Both made it a habit to skip class. In high school, they went their separate ways.

This fall, Ivan will enter the University of Oklahoma, armed with a prestigious scholarship. “I want to be the first Hispanic governor of Oklahoma,” declares the clean-cut 18-year-old, standing on the steps of Santa Fe South High School, the charter school in the heart of this city’s Hispanic enclave that he says put him on a new path.

Laura, who is 17, rose to senior class president at Capitol Hill High School, a large public school in the same neighborhood. But after scraping together enough credits to graduate, Laura isn’t sure where she’s headed. She never took college entrance exams.

The divergent paths taken by Laura and Ivan were shaped by many forces, but their schools played a striking role. Capitol Hill and Santa Fe South both serve the same poor, Hispanic population. Both comply with federal guidelines and meet state requirements for standardized exams and curriculum. Santa Fe South enrolls about 490 high school students, while Capitol Hill has nearly 900.

At Santa Fe South, the school day is 45 minutes longer; graduation requirements are more rigorous (four years of math, science and social studies compared with three at public schools); and there is a tough attendance policy.
[read the rest]

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Bye Bye Big XII, Hello Pac-16!

Saturday, June 5, 2010 \PM\.\Sat\.

The college football 2010 expansion scramble is on!

The Pac-10 is flexing their muscle for the first time in many years and I’m not talking about winning championships, I’m talking about dinero, mullah, the almighty dollar!

As I have mentioned previously, the Pac-10 will not expand unless it includes Texas or Colorado.  Not Utah or BYU.

Colorado brings in the Denver metropolitan T.V. market and Texas brings in… the entire state of Texas with a nationwide following that is only eclipsed by the University of Notre Shame Dame.

So what has happened since then?

To summarize all the rumors these past three days, the Pac-10 will take Texas, Colorado, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State.

But the Pac-10 needs to hear from those schools, specifically Texas, before the end of 2010 in order to be in a position to negotiate a new television contract for their college football programs.

Wow!

This is beyond what I expected but it certainly is intriguing and prudent.

It’s prudent because Texas wants Texas A&M in ANY scenario available.  The Big-10 didn’t bring Texas A&M to the table in prior rumors and that is why those rumors died down.

How did this all come about?

There were various variables that occurred simultaneously to bring us to this point.

Read the rest of this entry »


Juden Raus!

Saturday, June 5, 2010 \PM\.\Sat\.

Helen Thomas, the Deaness of the Washington Press Corps, delivered the above charming sentiments at a Jewish Heritage Celebration at the White House on May 27.  Thomas has been a left wing loon forever, and has always been hostile to Israel, but here she let the mask slip to reveal the bigot within.  She later made a perfunctory apology for saying what she obviously believes with all her heart.


C.S. Lewis on Anscombe, France, and Meritocracy

Saturday, June 5, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Perusing the local used bookstore last weekend, I came across a copy of the Third Volume of the Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis. On the whole (or, rather, through the first hundred pages or so), they make an enjoyable light read, at least for Lewis fans. He is always readable and often insightful. Moreover, the letters offer an interesting window into life in mid-twentieth century England. It’s rather striking that six years after the end of the Second World War, common items like envelopes and certain foods were still either rationed or unavailable (many of the letters are expressions of thanks to sympathetic American friends who have sent Lewis one package or another). Here, in no particular order, are a few passages I found either amusing or interesting:

Writing to a U.S. Friend About the Korean War

“Seriously, though, we all sympathize with you in the position into which you have been forced; it’s all very well to call it a UNO war, but so far as I can gather, it is a USA war. Have you noticed the French contribution? One gunboat!”

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose….

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In Memoriam: Tiananmen Square

Saturday, June 5, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Yesterday, June 4, was the twenty-first anniversary of the brutal suppression of the pro-Democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.  Over 3000 of the protestors were murdered by the Communist government of China.  Tyranny won that round, but I have absolutely no doubt that Democracy will ultimately prevail in the Middle Kingdom.  When it does, the heroes and heroines of Tiananmen Square will be remembered and their murderers forgotten.

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”

–Thucydides


Land of Hope and Glory

Saturday, June 5, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  I cannot leave our loyal readers with only the caterwauling of Nero/Ustinov as their musical treat for the weekend.  My oldest son recently graduated from high school and Pomp and Circumstance, as usual, was played.  In England they have the patriotic song Land of Hope and Glory set to the same tune.  Here it is sung by the legendary Vera Lynn, whose unforgettable voice  did so much to keep up the spirit of the British forces during WWII that she was acclaimed as the Sweetheart of the British Forces, a title which has recently passed to the Welsh songstress Katherine Jenkins for her tireless efforts to entertain the British troops serving in Afghanistan. Read the rest of this entry »


Worst Musical Moment in Film History

Saturday, June 5, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Of course the whole purpose of the above scene from Quo Vadis (1951) was to demonstrate what a deluded buffoon Nero was, but the singing, if one can call it that, by Ustinov still has top place in my musical hall of shame.

The Roman writer and bon vivant Petronius had served as Nero’s arbiter of taste.  When he learned that Nero had decided to take his life he committed suicide.  Before he did however, he sent Nero a letter attacking him.  The letter is lost to history, but the novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz gave voice to the probable sentiments contained in it in his novel Quo Vadis: Read the rest of this entry »