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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Carnival Purple

It's Carnival time, folks! This week is the 108th edition, very graciously hosted by Dr. Homeslice. Just the name alone cracks me up. Head on over and check out the entries.

On an unrelated note, I've seen a lot of colored brains floating around blogs that I frequent. So of course, I had to get my own colored brain. It sounds kind of odd to say that I have a purple brain -- actually, it sounds more than a little perverted. Which is probably why I would never say that out loud to someone that I hadn't known for at least five years.

Your Brain is Purple
Of all the brain types, yours is the most idealistic. You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.
You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

He chose... Poorly.

There was an article in the Dallas Morning News yesterday about several of the local school districts using an online test produced by Gallup Corp. to screen potential teaching applicants at their schools. Using what is called the TeacherInsight test, employers are turning away many candidates because of their scores.

The article states:
“Unlike state-required certification exams, TeacherInsight measures values and behavior -- not subject knowledge. Gallup says the questions gauge natural talent based on 30 years of researching top-performing teachers."

According to Gallup officials, even though some of the questions might seem a bit subjective, top-quality teachers select the same answers, thus proving their worth.

They didn't list any of the actual test questions in the article, but I think I can imagine what the questions might look like.

#1 You have given an assessment. What do you do for your Talented and Gifted student, to ensure that he does not get bored when he is done?
A) Provide him with a choice of stimulating books to read when he is finished.
B) Ask him to write his own creative story on the back of the test.
C) Give him a 3-star crossword puzzle to work.
D) Buy him fireworks and chewing tobacco.

#2 You are participating in a fire drill exercise when you notice that one of your students is missing. What do you do?
A) Call the administrator and advise him or her of the situation.
B) Ask another teacher to watch your class while you go to look for the child.
C) Tell your other kids that you will give a reward to whoever runs back into the building and finds the missing child.
D) Use this as a teaching opportunity to explain that 95% out of 100 is still pretty high.

#3 You are having a phone conference with an irate parent, and some hurtful things have been said. How do you end the call?
A) “Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to seeing little Billy tomorrow morning.”
B) “I'm sorry that emotions are running so high, but I think we made some progress here today."
C) “I don't want to argue anymore, I'll have my principal gave you a call."
D) “Smell ya later, Beee-yotch!”

So perhaps it's true, perhaps a large portion of candidates CAN be screened out based on the answers they select on an online test. All I can say is, if you take something like this, be sure to choose your answers carefully…

Monday, February 26, 2007

Just one more sign of the Apocalypse

For the past couple of weeks, our science topic has been rocks. You know, igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic -- The Big Three. So since we began, the kids have inundated Mrs. Math and I with samples from the playground, their homes, random gravel quarries, etc. Flat rocks, fat rocks, colored rocks, shiny rocks, wood chips, shells, chunks of concrete, and then some.

It's nice of the kids to share their samples with us. My back shelf will soon be full of rocks and rock-like items. Usually around the time we study leaves at the beginning of the year, my back shelf is filled with leaves. Funny how this phenomenon never happens when we study money...

Along with our study of rocks, we have talked a bit about volcanoes. Magma and lava are, after all, liquid rock. So today, at around 8:05 (nearly 2 hours before we do science), one of my little girls, A, motioned me over and says, "I was just going to tell you…” (This is how she begins every statement) “My friend told me that when the world ends, there's going to be lava everywhere, and most people are going to be dead, and the lava is going to kill them."

Of course my smart-alecy mouth can't help but respond with, "Really? Lava is going to kill people who are already dead?"

She didn't seem taken aback and instead replied, "No, there's still going to be SOME people who are alive, and the lava is going to kill THEM."

Well then. Good to know.

If I had only been a little quicker on my feet, I could have followed up with, "And then after the killer lava cools down and solidifies, WHAT type of rock will it be?”

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Happy Flash Wednesday

As many of you probably know, today is Ash Wednesday. What some of you might NOT know is that I have a special affinity for The Flash, and that was even my nickname for a little while (a little while which has yet to end). And since today is also my birthday, I worked a little linguistic magic and combined the two into Flash Wednesday.
And look, everyone got me just what I wanted -- a witty rejoinder!! Go ahead, make my day!

Also, the 107th Carnival of Education is up and running over at History Is Elementary. Be sure to put on your crash helmet and elbow pads before heading over, then charge right through that bad boy!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Can we pencil you in for a snack break?

The Reading TAKS was today, and I think that we all learned a very valuable lesson. Never trust an engineer to make a schedule.

I was tasked with the seemingly simple job as 3rd-grade chairperson to come up with a bathroom and snack schedule for the fourth and fifth grade teachers who would be monitoring the third graders during the test today. Here was my schedule:

TAKS Test 8:00 – 3:00

OK, it wasn't QUITE that vanilla, but it really wasn't very helpful either. I put the bathroom breaks on there, both morning and afternoon, but I forgot to put the snacks on there. And what time lunch was. And the second afternoon bathroom break. All in all, it was a pretty miserable excuse for a schedule.

That was what I turned in yesterday. After seeing one of the other grade’s schedules, I realized how lame mine was, and so I went home and made up a new one last night. Of course, after realizing how lame mine was, our test coordinator also went home last night and made a new one. So when I got to school this morning, there was a bit of a clash over which schedule would be accepted, and to make a long story short, I basically came across as a total Type-A Jackass.

Thankfully, my principal and test coordinator did not take offense (at least not outwardly so), and they substituted in my new, less-lame plan.

After that, it was seven hours of complete, unadulterated, stand-on-your-feet boredom. The eight 5th graders in the class that I was in were perfectly behaved, so there were no problems. MY class, on the other hand...

Ms. Five reported that one of my kids, A, had fallen asleep twice, while another one, A, had finished his test and then announced loudly to the entire class, "I'M FINISHED!” And that one of my little girls, A, had basically just played with her hair and nails all day long. (In the interest of extreme anonymity, I'm just going to call all of my kids A from now on.)

But hey! It's over! At least for another couple of months. Then we get to do the whole shebang over again, with math!

And maybe next time, they'll know better than to trust me with a schedule. On a side note, I really shouldn't be trusted with weapons-grade plutonium, either, after the whole "Incident of ‘04” and all. But that's a whole ‘nother story.

Monday, February 19, 2007

What were they THINKING??

Well, apparently I have been tagged by Mrs. T (no relation) as a Thinking Blogger. NOT to be confused with a Sinking Booger or a Stinking Logger, the honor of being named a thinking blogger is quite nice. And by writing this post, I am proving that I am worthy of at least half of this honor.

Now, the trick is to pass it on to five more blogs. But here's the deal. I don't read a ton of blogs every day, and many of the ones that I do read have already been nominated somewhere or other. However, I'm not going to let that concern me. If we are really naming blogs that make us think, then it stands to reason that some blogs would be nominated more than once and things would start to loop back on themselves at more than one point.

Therefore, here are my nominations for Thinking Blogger, regardless of whether or not they have been named previously:

Education in Texas: I have enjoyed reading Mike in Texas' thoughts, musings, and observations ever since I started blogging myself. Maybe it's that we share a similar sense of humor, or maybe it's that we agree on many issues facing the education system in Texas. But he definitely makes me think.

A Shrewdness Of Apes: Mrs. C consistently blends humor, pop culture, and journalism in regards to education specifically and life in general. I especially enjoy her Movie Madness Mondays, but I also look forward to reading her viewpoints on other issues.

Redkudu: Another Texas teacher (am I biased??) who makes me think. I like her ideas for lessons and she tells good stories. Plus her name sounds like a killer sports franchise.

Get Lost, Mr. Chips: I just enjoy reading his stuff. He's a substitute teacher, but he so clearly has vastly more experience in the classroom than I do. Plus I like his wit.

3 Standard Deviations To the Left: A fellow math teacher, even if we do teach the subject on different levels, and I enjoy reading the true-life letters from students, teachers, and misguided colleagues.

OK, there you go, ya little wing nuts! Don't tell anyone I never made you think!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Holy integral!!

I got an e-mail from my brother the other day that had several graphic files related to funny answers given on mathematics tests. My favorite was this one, posted below. Obviously not the correct answer to the question, but genius nonetheless.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Okay, so it's a ripoff of the Seinfeld-created Festivus. But since a main ingredient to Festivus was the Airing of Grievances, I figured it was a good fit.

WARNING: If you have come to Learn Me Good expecting the usual moronic wit, sophomoric humor, or lame jokes, be prepared. Today's post is a more serious musing on the current standardized testing system in place.

With the 2007 TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) going down on Tuesday, I thought I'd get a few things off my chest. To paraphrase Poppa Costanza – I gotta lotta problems with this test!!

Okay, let's go ahead and get the little things out of the way, and then we'll move to the big picture. Thanks to a few idiot teachers who decided to cheat in years past, us honest teachers now face the repercussions. In a move akin to the cartoon elephant shrieking and jumping up on to a high chair when it sees a mouse, the state of Texas has profoundly overreacted.

On Tuesday, I will not be allowed to administer the TAKS to my own students. Neither will any TAKS- grade teachers. I guess they're afraid that one of us will reenact the scene from Spies Like Us, complete with faking a heart attack as we point to the correct answers. I'll be in a 5th grade classroom, with kids I barely know and where the heart attack gag doesn't have a chance of working.

In the meantime, my students will be taking their test with a virtual stranger. Sure, they know Ms. Five, and they've taken a few practice tests with her in the room, but what ever happened to the benefits (or even necessities!) of a familiar presence? Whether you subscribe to the "nurturing presence theory" (the kids know their teacher is there and they feel comfortable) or the "menacing presence theory" (the kids know their teacher is there and so they had BETTER try their hardest), there's a lot of validity there. And "presence" can hardly be considered cheating.

Or, maybe it can. For anyone who thinks that not only should the kids not be helped in any way, but that they should actually be hindered as well...

Which is probably why we have to cover up just about everything in our classroom on test days. Not just visual aids; EVERYTHING with text on it. I can understand not wanting the kids to be able to look at a poster with an example of a Venn Diagram or a sequencing chart. But what possible unfair advantage is a kid going to get from a cursive alphabet chart or a motivational poster that says, "Make Good Choices!"? And yes, I even have to cover up my solar system poster. Nobody wants the kids pulling any answers out of Uranus.

I also have a problem with the whole school ranking system. Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable, and Unacceptable are the grades bestowed upon campuses based on their overall TAKS scores. But the guidelines and requirements for hitting these marks are rigid and uncompromising. With all of the talk and training on Differentiation at the student level, where is it on the campus level? All kids do not learn at the same rate, and all students cannot perform at the same level. We have to modify our teaching to reach all abilities. But then why is that not taken into account during standardized testing? Why isn't there a sliding scale for school rankings based on demographics and location?

On the 3rd grade math TAKS, a monitor is allowed to read a word or phrase to the student if the student asks them to. This is brilliant because it makes the test about the student's math ability, NOT their reading ability. However, beyond the 3rd grade, this is not the case. Take 5th grade science, for instance. The kids are given absolutely no reading assistance on the science TAKS. This is ridiculous, as it effectively makes the test a reading assessment with a science bent. How many kids know exactly what photosynthesis is, but they don't know how to read the word "photosynthesis?" Or who could tell you with precision the difference between a mixture and a solution, but who can't recognize those words on paper? Except for on the reading tests, the kids should absolutely be allowed to ask for reading assistance. That's just common sense.

But let's move to the big picture now. In my ever so humble opinion, the TAKS is not an adequate measuring stick for a student's growth. It's more like the “height stick” used at Six Flags and other amusement parks. You know the one -- "You must be this tall to ride." The bored coaster-jockeys put it down next to a kid and give it a twirl. If the crossbar slides through the air, the kid doesn't get to ride. If it whacks the kid in the head, he gets to ride. It's a go-no go affair. The kid is either taller than the mark or shorter. As to the actual height of the kid? Who knows?

The TAKS is the test-equivalent of the height stick. It will tell you whether a kid has surpassed a set mark or not. It says absolutely nothing about improvement, or growth, or -- dare I say it -- gain.

But what if there was a system that actually gauged each student's achievement, instead of just indicating pass/fail? Why not have a test at the very beginning of the year and a test at the very end of the year? That way you could see true progress. Let's face it, there are some children who are never going to be able to pass TAKS. They just don't have the skills or the IQ. But that doesn't mean they're not learning anything. Here's an example. Consider a child who scores a 10 (out of 100) on my proposed beginning-of-year test and a 50 on the end-of-year test. In the current system, with just the end-of-year test, that child is just another blip in the "Failure" column. But if a beginning-of-year test had been given, it would be clear that the child had made a gain of 400 percent!! To me, that's much more impressive than the child whose score went from 80 to 85. But as things stand, the kid with the 85 gets praised and moves on, while the kid with a 50 gets retained.

One argument against a beginning-of-year test is that it's too expensive. I understand that these tests cost money, and the education budget is always being trimmed. But in the grand scheme of things, I'm not convinced that it really WOULD be more expensive than what we have now. For one thing, there wouldn't need to be three chances given on any test (right now, some tests are given three times for those who don't pass on the first or second try) because we'd be measuring growth, not just pass/fail. Also, I think it would ease special education's load quite a bit, as teachers would not be requesting resource testing for so many students, trying to get them exempted from a test they have no chance of passing. And on top of everything else, is anyone really going to respect an education system that says, "Yeah, we know what would be best, but we're not going to do it because it's too expensive?"

Anyway, I'm just a lowly peon in the Texas public school system. But here's my two cents, for what it's worth. Any comments are appreciated.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Risky Cycles

MAN, it is cold down here! You wouldn't expect to hear that coming out of the heart of Texas, but as I stood outside at my early morning duty post amid the falling snowflakes -- wait, you wouldn't expect to hear THAT coming out of the heart of Texas either...

But it's true, it was snowing this morning, and the temperature was in the mid-20s. I don't care where you're from, that's not a lot of fun to be out in for half an hour. I expected the kids to start greeting me with, "Good morning, Mister Popsicle!” And when I got back inside, looking like the Comingeth of the Iceman, the first thing my Assistant Principal said to me was, "You know, it's supposed to be in the teens tomorrow morning..." Time to break out the nuclear-powered longjohns.

In other news, I walked a bit of a fine line today with both of my classes. In the science book, there was a picture of a unicycle. So I took that as an opportunity to talk about prefixes. We were just talking about how quad- and quart- meant four, and the kids know that tri- means three. So I ask them what other word looked a lot like unicycle. They came up with bicycle pretty quickly. So I had them consider what a unicycle looks like and what a bicycle looks like, and I asked them to try to think about what uni- and bi- could possibly mean. They had no problem with that. But as an adult reading this, you can probably see the fine line I was talking about.

Much like the rookie gambler pushing all-in with a jack-10 off suit, I realized I was taking a bit of a risk, but I went ahead and asked the question anyway -- "What other words can we think of that start with uni- and bi-?”

Thankfully, and as I pretty much expected, both of my classes came up with the same words -- unicorn, and bilingual. One little girl did say that bi means when you go to the store and spend money on something, and a boy in the other class suggested “Bye-bye, Mister Teacher.”

But no one brought up the more sensitive word. I think you know which one I'm talking about.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Pimp My Name

You don't have to be a teacher nowadays to realize that many people in this great world of ours just can't handle the responsibility of naming a child. So many parents have taken to "tricking up" their baby's name -- choosing something that strikes their fancy, or that they think is "totally wicked awesome!"

Exhibit A – Kal-el Cage
Exhibit B – Apple Paltrow (Or is it Apple Martin? Or is that too close to Apple Martini?)
Exhibits C-E -- Any of Bruce Willis's kids.

But of course celebrities are not the only guilty party here. We get our fair share of kids at school named after luxury cars or royalty, or those with very inventive uses for the apostrophe.

So it occurred to me that with this increasing trend of parents naming their kids after things they like with no thought whatsoever as to the fact that it is indeed their child who will be forced to bear the burden of that name for the rest of his or her life, or at least until the age of 18 (deep breath) -- I think I have some idea of what names we can expect to start showing up in kindergarten classes in just a few years.

"Kal-el Cage" is just one example of a child named after a popular movie character. I expect we'll soon have classes that include at least one Legolas, Gimli, or Frodo. Of course, at MY school, it would be La’Frodo.

Free elements will no doubt make a strong entrance. Zirconium -- Zirc to his friends -- will be a popular boy's name, while Moly (short for Molybdenum) will be the hot new girl's name.

Expect Mazda and Isuzu to overtake Lexus and Porscha in the race for “kewl” monikers.

In about three years, here's the typical class roll call I expect to see:

da Vinci

I can't wait!!

Friday, February 09, 2007

U wan frize wit dat?

This is one reason I'm so glad I don't teach high school writing. A story out of Florida reports on students writing essays and allowing “IM-speak” to creep in. These are words and phrases… no wait, excuse me, they are letters and numbers designed to REPRESENT words and phrases, or taken from another point of view, they are short bursts of spazz-finger that present teens from learning proper spelling and grammar.
b4, wat, dat, u and so on.


I have no doubt that using these shortcuts makes one able to type more in a shorter period of time. I'm sure that likewise, sticking a funnel down my throat would allow me to consume more vodka in a shorter period of time -- that doesn't necessarily mean it's an improvement.

What's even more disturbing is that some teachers seem to be supporting this movement.

“Some educators, like David Warlick, 54, of Raleigh, North Carolina, see the
young burgeoning band of instant messengers as a phenomenon that should be
celebrated. Teachers should credit their students with inventing a new language
ideal for communicating in a high-tech world, said Warlick, who has authored
three books on technology in the classroom.”

If my students invent a new language, then I probably will celebrate. But I won't be partying over the fact that people are too lazy to type an “h” to properly spell the word “what.” If you want to try a new language, go with Klingon. Though I'm not sure too many people will celebrate your accomplishments then, either. Just ask Ed U Cater.

Again, I don't have to worry too much about this from my third-graders. When they write for me, the misspellings are rampant, but completely unintentional.

I'll take a “Good jod!” over a “Wat up wid u?” any day.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Crash and go up in smoke

You know, with all of the crazy driving I have seen out in front of the school this year, it's a wonder I haven't seen any fender benders. Until today. Of course, I never imagined that the accident would occur with an unoccupied car.

There was a car parked across the street the entire time from 7:15 until 7:45, so I have no idea who it belongs to. But this guy pulled up behind it, parked about 10 feet back, and his wife and daughter got out. I walked them across the street, and then I sort of forgot about him as other cars pulled up to the near side curb in front of me. I'm greeting a couple of kids getting out right in front of me, when I hear this bang. I look up, and see that this guy has somehow drifted forward the 10 feet or so and directly into the back end of the parked car. I have no earthly idea how that happened.

Thankfully, it was a very low speed collision, and there was no noticeable damage to the car. I told him that he should put his name and number on a piece of paper and slide it under the windshield wipers, which he did.

So there was my big excitement for the day. Of course, in other areas, things were a bit more mellow. Groovy. Like, totally far out, man. I heard from another teacher that there was an incident not too far from us where a fifth-grader was caught in possession of 20-some grams of marijuana. And one report was that he was even smoking it!

Hmmm... Maybe I should visit that classroom and bring back a sample, so I can demonstrate how a solid becomes a gas…

OK, it's halftime of the Duke-Carolina game, so I've got to wrap this up and get back to screaming at my television. I don't know how it will wind up, but it's been one heck of a game so far!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Over the weekend, I asked my kids to start thinking about ideas for a science project. A few weeks ago, we did a little project together in class -- Which will fly farther: a plain paper airplane or a paper airplane with a paper clip on the nose?

So I asked them to jot down a few ideas for potential problems to explore. I was looking for some open-ended questions and some feeling for what kinds of experiments they were interested in.

I got back a few viable responses, but as usual, the nonviable ones are a lot more fun to discuss here. So without any further ado, I present the results of what my class is truly interested in, apparently.

There were bound to be some questions that don't require an experiment to answer:
“What is longer, a ruler or a journal?”
“How many cups does it take to get 1 pint?”
(At least they're exploring, right?)

Then there are the ones that would actually be very interesting to see put into motion:
“How does a solid change when you hit something with it?”
(I can just imagine this kid walking around whacking everything in sight with a backpack, a notebook, or a football)

“How long can a human stay underwater?”
(How about, how long can a third grader stay quiet?)

From the "Let Me Know When You Find the Answer” files:
“How do you think liquid was invented?”
(Or maybe it was how do you think liquor was invented? -- the spelling was a bit hard to make out)

Here was one of my favorite responses:
“If I stop feeding my turtle for 10 days will it die?”
(My hypothesis -- the turtle will croak)

From there we go to the most bizarre response:
“Which one will last longer -- game or cake?”
(I don't even know what the intent of that question was)

And finally, here's one that didn't really meet the criteria for what I asked for, but it does show that the boy has learned something in science AND that he wants to impress me:
“If you grab a block with no string and it will be heavy and if you put a string around of a block it will not be heavy because you can pull it up and then go tell your teacher."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Nobody puts Wookiee in a corner...

Say it ain't so. Chewbacca apparently has gone over to the Dark Side.

According to this story, a street performer in California who was dressed as everyone's favorite cuddly Wookiee got a bit aggressive and head butted a tour guide in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. This, after being accused of “harassing and touching tourists." I can't think of anything worse than being groped by a six-foot tall bipedal hairy dog. I believe it was Kelly Ripa who said, "I don't know where that hand’s been!”

These performers hang around outside of the theater hoping for some loose change for a hard day's work. Let's not even stop to consider where Chewbacca would store his money. I'm more interested in what precipitated this aggressiveness. I can just picture some random guy walking past saying, "Hey buddy, you don't see ME out here crying cuz no one will give him a dollar!" And some other clever individual remarking, "That's because schmucks don't rip people's arms out of their sockets when they don't get their money." All accompanied by the hideous Wookiee mating song.

Based on the story, there did not seem to be any particular Star Wars theme going on with the street performers. It was a veritable hodgepodge of fictional characters. Giving new meaning to the term "Character Witnesses," bystanders included Superman, Buzz Lightyear, and Homer Simpson. Heck, why not bring in Brainy Smurf as an expert witness and Harvey Birdman as prosecutor?

This story is chock-full of amusing sound bites, but here is one of my favorite statements:

“Two years ago, Mr. Incredible, Elmo the Muppet and the dark-hooded character from the movie "Scream" were arrested for "aggressive begging," the L.A. Times reported.”

I gotta ask… who was the MORON who let that unholy triumvirate come together???

Blinded me with SCIENCE!!

I'm throwing out this plea to any and all science teachers who may be reading this blog. I would love to hear from you any fun (or even boring) hands-on activities that relate to the states of matter. We have been reading about solids, liquids, and gases and discussing, but I'd like to do something more concrete with them.

And I don't mean pushing them into the bathroom and saying, "You should be able to find all three states in this room!"

Anybody? My undying gratitude for anyone who shares in the next couple of days.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The events of the week

I just got back from a Super Bowl watching party, and I am very happy that the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears, 29-17. Way to go Manning!! Other meaningful moments during the NFL telecast:
A dearth of funny commercials.
Don Shula competing against Jay-Z in what appeared to be a holographic Madden:2035.
Prince performing a shadow puppet show, and using his uniquely shaped guitar to
represent a certain elongated and severely deformed body part.

Also this week, The Best of Blogs Awards began. Be sure to get out there and vote!

The release date for Harry Potter 7 (Hogwarts Boogaloo) was announced. Mark your calendars for July 21, 2007.

And finally, Punxatawney Phil stuck his head out of his cave and saw his shadow. Or maybe he didn't see it, I'm not really sure. Either way, I know we don't have six more weeks of TAKS preparation as one optimist suggested.
I wonder if Phil has his own blog...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A modest proposal

An article in the paper yesterday talked about a proposed bill that would punish parents who don't show up for parent-teacher conference night.

Wayne Smith, a congressman from the Houston-area, wants to submit legislation that will charge parents with a Class C misdemeanor and a $500 fine if they miss a scheduled meeting with their child's teacher. The article says:

“The bill, which is expected to be considered in the House Public Education
Committee… specifies that the parent has to receive written notice by certified
mail, listing at least three proposed dates for the parent-teacher
conference. A parent who ignores the notice or schedules a meeting but
fails to attend would face charges -- unless there was a valid reason for not
showing up.”

Valid reasons could include emergency quadruple-bypass, transfer to Iraq, or "Twilight Zone-athon Day on the sci-fi channel.”

I ask you -- how freakin’ great is this proposal? And my next question -- how freakin’ high are the odds that anything like this will EVER be passed??? I mean, come on, in a society where someone can spill hot coffee in their own lap and then sue the restaurant for millions of dollars; in a society where people are perfectly happy to ignore the Surgeon General's warning while they slowly poison themselves, but then blame the tobacco industry for killing them; in a society where Terrell Owens is viewed as anything other than a complete nitwit… Does anyone outside of a mental institution actually believe for a second that this same society would allow anyone to impose and enforce responsibility on them??

But you know, on the off chance that this pipe dream is actually realized, and the bill is posted through, I would like to suggest a rider. Choose some percentage of the imposed parental fine, and give it to the teacher who was stood up. If I had even half of a percent of $500 for every time I've had a parent no-show, I'd be rich! And I've only been teaching for four years!

And hey, if this thing should pass, let's not stop there. How about fines for parents who consistently bring their kids to school late? Misdemeanors for parents who register phone numbers that don't work? Jail time for parents who let their kids play video games without doing their homework?