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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ball FourBall Four by Jim Bouton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

really, really enjoying this book so far

And I continued to enjoy it to the very end. I love Jim Bouton's wry humor, great intelligence, and savy baseball knowledge. It's a little hard to grasp the controversy that this book caused on its publication, since "tell-all" books that have followed this sports book gem have "told-more", but Bouton was a pioneer in sport honesty, in some ways he still is ahead of commercialized sports reporting, and as all pioneers have, he paid a price for being the first in a new land.

For example, he only recently has been invited back to Yankee Stadium for revealing, among other things, that Mickey Mantel drank alcohol, Roger Maris flipped off fans, and Hank Bauer was a very insecure manager.

I loved this work. I hope I can find a way to use exerpts in my teaching. This work holds up well to style analysis.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

High Stakes Testing Hath Begun

We have begun our Spring round of End of Instruction  tests at Oklahoma Centennial Mid High School. On Monday, we started administering the US History test to students who have yet to pass it. Today it was Algebra II retests. Tomorrow it will be Algebra I retests. Something else the next day till the next week when the middle school tests begin and then the high school tests the first time takers and so on and so on through the month.

Then the next month there will be tests for those who failed to show up for the first round.

Students will be out of their regular classes and in the testing labs and testing classrooms from here on out.

All because we have been scared witless by the notion that some other country is getting ahead of us in the education game. First it was the Soviets, then the Japanese, now the Indians or the Chinese. Who knows next time it may be the Australians or South Sea Islanders.

I am as much in favor of accountability as anyone, but, Lord, there has to be a better way other than halting school for 6-8 weeks just to do testing.

Monday, April 02, 2012

House Panel Reverses Itself on Teacher Stipends.

The Oklahaoma House panel that voted against requiring teacher stipends decided to reverse its decision. We will see if the rest of the legislature follows suit.