No Child Left Behind Scores Are Out

The No Child Left Behind scores are out for the year.  Apparently there have been improvements in math and science.  Reading scores have either flatlined or gotten worse.  Here’s what President Bush said in response to the scores:

“Childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.”

Nope, that’s not a typo on my part. 

‘Nuff said.



Got Books? Don’t Want Them Anymore?

Do you have a ton of books?  Are you sick of them piling up in your office, bedroom, bathroom, attic, and anywhere else you can find to cram them?

Or maybe you want a book but can’t afford one.  And you don’t want to bother with the library and the due dates and the late fees. 

Well, maybe you want to try this website:


You go to the site, find what books are available in your area and find where they are hiding.  Then you go to that place and pick up the book.  Quicker than you can say, “Wherefore art thou Romeo,” you’ve got a free used book!

Or, you can print up a BookCrossing label, drop your book off somewhere and post it on the website.  Then you can check in to see if people have picked it up and where it ends up.

Last I checked, there are 708 books available in Ohio.  There is one book, a Murder She Wrote novel, in Toledo at an Arbys. 

And there is a German book that has traveled to 287 different people!

Sound like fun?  Then let the crossing begin.


Test the Nation

Last night, my wife and I watched a game show of a different color on CBC, the Canadian Broadcast Channel.  In Test the Nation: Watch Your Language, seven teams (Celebrities, Comedians, Fraternities/Sororities, Romance Novelists, Word Gamers, English Teachers and Ad Writers) competed in a test of their knowledge of the English language and related subjects.  At the same time, six Canadian schools also participated in the test.  And all over Canada (and some parts of America), viewers took the test.  My wife and I took the test together and got about 80% correct (we got in trouble when the test turned to Canadian related questions like “What is a person from Saskatchewan called?”). 

So, how do you think you would do?  Take the test:

Test the Nation: Watch Your Language 

Updates, The Smashing Pumpkins and More

Okay, so I have a few updates about previous posts that I need to make.  So here goes.

“Good News, Part Two”

As expected, Judge Hanson’s ruling didn’t last very long.  A stay on the ruling was issued less than 24 hours after Hanson made his decision.  In between the ruling and the stay, 27 same sex couples filed applications for marriage but only one made it to the courthouse.  Read all about it:

Iowa Gay Marriage Applications Halted

“Grand Rapids Literary Review Issue Two is Now Available”

I don’t know what is going on with the web site for The Grand Rapids Literary Review, except that the site is down.  I have emailed the editors in hopes of finding out.  If the site is down permanently and the journal no longer exists, then I don’t know what that means regarding the poems that were published there.  I still have the interview in my email, so at the least I will post that here.  The poems, if I am allowed, will likely have to be resubmitted elsewhere if the site is down.  I may be overreacting though and it may be resolved soon, in which case I will post another update.  My apologies to anyone who has been trying to find the poems and the interview.

“Bring Anthony Bourdain to Toledo”

The Toledo Blade has an article in today’s paper about a project in Columbus that is similar to the Live/ Work/ Create project that Toledo artists and Mayor Finkbeiner recently announced.  Check it out:

Short North in Columbus offers vision for Toledo

“Poetry Challenge”

There are a lot of great spontaneous poems in the comments section of Rane Arroyo’s “A Challenge And Be Eye Candy Too” posting.  If you haven’t read them yet, you are missing out.

“A Question for Young Americans”

The comments section of this posting has involved a discussion of the current U.S. economy that has mentioned many issues, including the housing market, interest rates, and the unemployment level.  The New York Times issued a report last Wednesday about the economy based on the results of the recent census.  Read the report, by Abby Goodnough:

Census Shows a Modest Rise in U.S. Income

“And So Ends Another Summer”

My classes are settled, the students are registered and I’ve compared the gender ratio of my students to the average reported in “And So Ends Another Summer.”  The national average says that 57 percent of students registered nationwide are female.  Approximately 62 percent of my students are female.  I’m above average!

“Election Fatigue”

Many of us might be fatigued, but Reuters apparently is not.  Today they announced:

Race for the White House kicks into high gear

Many debates, rallies and speeches to go.  And four more months before the first vote is cast.  Meanwhile, everyone is still asking if Fred Thompson is in the race or not.  It seems this week we will find out, according to The New York Times:

After Months of Flirting, Thompson Is Almost In

“Let’s do the Time Warp Again”

Read this interesting article, also from The New York Times (what can I say, I get free copies at school), regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling to ban using race to assign children to public schools.  Unfortunately, to read it you have to have TimesSelect (meaning you pay for the ability to read “older” articles) or you have to purchase the ability to read just this one article.  But here’s the link anyway:

A Successful Plan for Racial Balance Now Finds Its Future Uncertain

If you google the title and find the full text of the article for free, let me know so I can post it.

And because I’m upset no one can see my poems, here is something fun:

Smashing Pumpkins – Rocket” posted by jfu79

Finally, I’m adding three new editorials to the Supplemental Readings page (yes, from The New York Times) by Paul Krugman.  One is about Race and the G.O.P.  The other deals with the current administration’s failures, highlighting Hurricane Katrina.  The last has to do with the attacks on universal health care and that scary, scary word, “Socialism.”  The full text of these are archived on the blog Economist’s View .  And you can read them here:

Paul Krugman: Seeking Willie Horton

Paul Krugman: Katrina All The Time

Paul Krugman: A Socialist Plot


UPDATED 9/19/07: 7:59 PM

The New York Times has changed its policy regarding the TimesSelect articles.  They are now available for free on their website.  You may have to endure a short ad, but there is a “skip this ad” button for those of you who, like me, are impatient.

And So Ends Another Summer, part two

Beloit College has now released its Mindset List for the class of 2011.  You can read it here.

And So Ends Another Summer

Summer vacation is coming to an end and millions of young Americans are preparing for a new year at college.  They’re going to K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Target to buy furniture and the latest gadgets for their dorm rooms and soon about 85% of them will learn that those gadgets and furniture don’t fit into their tiny little dorm rooms.  Those who are going to live at home are debating with their parents about curfews and the number of hours they will be allowed to work while going to school while trying their best to avoid subjects like sex, drugs, and parties. 

Ah, I remember it well.  And now, as a college instructor, I find the beginning of the new school year even more exciting than I did as a student.  Soon, I will meet a whole new crop of students.  Some will want to learn, some won’t want to learn and some won’t know whether or not they want to learn (an interesting twist of Donald Rumsfeld’s “The known knowns” theory).  And each year I try to look at a few things. 

The first is the list of cultural and historical references my students don’t know about because they were born after they occured.  Beloit College puts out the list every year and it’s always a fun read.  The Mindset List, as it is called, has not yet been released for the class of 2011, but you can read it the Mindset List for the Class of 2010 by clicking here.  Once the new list is out, I will post it somewhere on the blog.

I also like to take a look at any interesting enrollment statistics that pop up at me in the newspaper or online.  What I’ve noticed this year (though it has been occuring a lot in recent years) is the overwhelming increase in female enrollmentThe Macon Telegraph, a newspaper out of Macon, Georgia, describes “a nationwide trend that has emerged over the past decade in which more women than men are enrolling in college.  Currently, 57 percent of students enrolled in colleges nationwide are women.”

What does this mean for women in America?  What does this mean for men in America?  Does it mean anything?  Only time may tell.  But I think it does show that young women continue to reap the rewards of the American Women’s Movement, which is a good thing.  How much they understand what they have gained thanks to centuries of hard, dangerous work by various feminists, activists, working women, stay-at-home moms and countless other women, both famous and anonymous, who championed opening the doors of opportunities remains debatable.  But that young American women have those opportunities is a victory of the Twentieth Century.