I did get an encouraging phone call. While I am waiting to hear back from the interview I had last week, I got a call from another company that does similar work about a job. I interviewed for a job with this company last spring, but I did not get the job. They have another opening now, and they would like to interview me again. It would be really nice to have two job offers to choose between.
Yesterday we braved the mall and some other stores to do some shopping and to return some gifts. I had to return one of the three copies of the Clue DVD that I received to Best Buy. I now have a credit there of a little over $10. At Target, I returned one of the two copies of Ed Wood that I received. I have a credit of a little over $20 there. I was going to buy the first season of Home Movies on DVD, but they were out. I'll probably check Target in Cedar Rapids when I'm there on Wednesday. The lines for returns were not bad at all. I was expecting them to be a lot worse.
I did buy a few things while we were out. I got a pair of Dockers at JCPenney. I got a couple for Christmas, but I needed one more. I'm getting rid of most of my older pairs of pants since during this summer I went from a size 40 down to a size 36. The 40s are way too big! If I loosen my belt, they drop to the floor. I'll be taking those to Goodwill some time this week. I also bought a few calendars on sale.
Speaking of weight loss, Christmas was not good to me. Last Sunday when I weighed myself, I weighed 210 pounds. Yesterday morning when I weighed in, I weighed 217 pounds. I really should not be going to a buffet with Homercles on Wednesday, but oh it's so good. Besides, it's not like we go there all the time. After Wednesday, I'll have to resume watching what I eat. I'd really like to drop another 10 pounds.
The "greatest generation" was usually taught in one-room schoolhouses, and generally by a high school graduate or even an eighth-grade graduate. How did they accomplish so much with so little? The teachers used to put the students first instead of crying where they rank in salaries around the country. And nowadays it would appear that home-schoolers are outshining the public school students.
Mr. Moses asks how members of the "greatest generation" could accomplish so much when being taught by teachers who were merely high school graduates. I admit that I was not educated at that time, so I have no firsthand experience of what went on in schools then, but at that time, not as much education was necessary to get by in the world. Students in these one-room schoolhouses were not taking classes as advanced as many that students today have the option of taking. Were high school students better educated back in the 1920s than they are today? According to the National Association of School Boards, since 1920, literacy rates, graduation rates, and college attendance rates have all increased greatly.
Next, Mr. Moses implies that today's teachers are complaining about where their pay ranks nationally instead of putting students' education first. Now most teachers who I know personally do but their students first. Many of these teachers are spending some of their own money to make sure they have the supplies that they need to teach. They also work longer hours than required by their contract to ensure that students have every opportunity. One of my coworkers is regularly at school before 7:00 although we don't have to be there until 7:30, she, as well as many others, is there routinely past 3:00, when out contract time is over. Just because public school teachers perform a service that is intended to help people doesn't mean that they have to sit silently when their salaries start to decline in comparison to teachers in other states. Teachers deserve to make a decent living too.
Finally, Mr. Moses ends the paragraph quoted above by stating that home-schoolers appear to be "outshining public school students." I don't know if home schooled students are doing that much better than public school students as a whole. Certainly there is a large part of the home-schooled population that does do better than a great number of their public-schooled counterparts. News reports often show home-schooled students winning spelling bees, geography bees, and other academic competitions. Some of these students spend a significant amount of their time preparing for these competitions. Also, I'd be willing to bet that most of my students could do a lot better if I had the opportunity to work with them in groups of four or fewer instead of teaching 20 to 30 of them at a time.
I was going to just let this letter go without comment, but I am just tired of people unfairly criticizing public school teachers. Now I know that the author of the letter most likely won't see this, I could write a letter to the paper instead, but I'd have to edit it down some as I'm sure it's too long. Besides, my main point in writing this was just to blow off some steam from frequently reading letters in which my profession is criticized.
Now to the fun news. As I have already stated, my new computer arrived today! While at work, I checked online and was disappointed that FedEx had stopped by around 2:00, before I got home from work. So, I planned on going to their location in town to pick up my new computer after 5:00, when the note they left indicated it would be back. Just as I was about to leave, the FedEx truck pulled up in the driveway and off came my computer! UPS attempted to deliver the new printer today, but I'll worry about getting that tomorrow. Anyway, I'd write more now, but I need to get back to installing software and transferring my documents to my new computer.
Tomorrow is also the day that my new computer is supposed to arrive. According to the tracking information online, the three boxes containing the CPU, the monitor, and the speakers, should all arrive by 4:30 tomorrow. As I'll be at work with my phone interview until around 3:30, I'll probably end up having to pick it up at FedEx. The printer, which I don't really need, but it was free so I took it anyway, was shipped today. I'll figure out something to do with it. I'll either give it to my parents, whose ink jet printer isn't working well, or I'll give it to a friend of mine who could use a printer.
Your Dominant Intelligence is Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
You are great at finding patterns and relationships between things.
Always curious about how things work, you love to set up experiments.
You need for the world to make sense - and are good at making sense of it.
You have a head for numbers and math ... and you can solve almost any logic puzzle.
You would make a great scientist, engineer, computer programmer, researcher, accountant, or mathematician.
Anyway, it worked fine the next day, but yesterday morning when I went to start up the computer, it told me that there was a registry/configuration error and that I would need to run SCANREG to correct it. Well, safe mode of Windows Me wouldn't start up, and when I put in the emergency recovery CD, it didn't run. It started running the CD, but the restore program did not run. I think I may try a few more things before I give up entirely, although I would really like to get a new computer. The only thing is that I really don't want any extra debt showing up on my credit report, since I may be looking at buying a new house in the next few months.
Distance: 6.81 mi
Average Speed: 12.9 mi/h
Maximum Speed: 21.5 mi/h
Totals for 2004
Distance: 829.78 mi
When I worked at Hardee's I occasionally had nightmares about work. Usually it was about a continuous onslaught of customers. They just kept coming and wouldn't stop! Even after closing the restaurant, they just kept coming in! Since I've began teaching, I've had scary dreams about students who just wouldn't leave at the end of the school day. I wanted to go home, but they just wouldn't leave! Anyway, this dream, which included the manager I worked with in Cedar Rapids until 1994 when she moved to Hawaii and a few of my current students who were, in the dream, fellow employees, simply involved me taking orders at the drive-thru and dealing with a couple of complaining customers. I wonder if this dream has any deep meaning to it. Oh by the way, the Hardee's I was working at in the dream had the old menu, not the new Thickburgers.
Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees only work four months a year.
The answer to the question is in the comments for this entry.
My girlfriend and I went shopping this morning. First however, we stopped by my doctor's office. I had a physical Wednesday after school just to make sure I am fine. He wanted to check my cholesterol level, so I had to fast for 12 hours before returning to have my blood drawn. I bought a few Christmas presents this morning as well as some items for myself. I'll probably finish up my Christmas shopping online.
This afternoon my girlfriend went to a movie with my mom and my sister. While she was out, I put up the Christmas lights outside. I didn't put up too many lights, although more than last year. Hopefully I don't end up burning down the house.
Now I have something else to complain about. The Fareway grocery stores where I live have decided that they will no longer accept empty beverage containers at their stores. Instead, they think I should take them to my "conveniently" located can recycling center over six miles away. Apparently, the state bottle law requires stores to take back containers that they sell unless they contract with a conveniently located recycling center to do it for them. I'd like to see their definition of convenient as going six miles in the opposite direction of where I'd like to go is hardly convenient. And what are people who don't drive to do? I think that I'll be letting my local Fareway store know that they'll no longer be getting my business. I just hope now that Hy-Vee doesn't follow suit. Perhaps if the state would increase the handling fee that the grocery stores receive, this wouldn't be a problem.
Now, today is one of the days that makes making a decision about my job after this school year somewhat easier. I checked today and I noticed that the test development jobs that I have previously been contacted about are still open. At this rate, I am guessing that they may still be open in February which is when I plan on applying for them if I decided to go that route. The two companies that the jobs are with seem to act rather slowly in their hiring decisions.
I keep trying to think through the pros and cons of the career decision that I am trying to make. I have spoken with a former coworker of mine who left teaching at the end of the 2002-2003 school year. She had taught for three years and now works as a real estate agent. She has told me that she doesn't really miss teaching too much. She misses the kids, but that's it. There are a lot of other aspects of the job that she doesn't miss.
Anyway, I'll write more about that later. One of the cats just knocked down the Christmas tree. I'm going to see if I can figure out something so it doesn't fall down again. Hopefully nothing on it broke.
Yesterday my girlfriend and I put my Christmas tree up in the basement. It was tough finding places to plug in all of the Star Trek and Star Wars Hallmark ornaments that have lights and sound because they won't connect to some of the newer light strings I have. Tonight, we're putting her tree up upstairs.
Before I sign off for now, one of my students showed me this T-shirt. I thought it was funny and am considering getting one for myself.
I booked airline tickets for my girlfriend and I to go to Las Vegas during my spring break in March. We are going to arrive there in the morning on Monday, March 14, and leave that Friday afternoon. We also have reservations to stay at Binions Horseshoe Hotel and Casino on Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas. This will be the first time I have actually stayed at a casino while visiting Las Vegas. The last time I went, I stayed at a Days Inn, and prior to that, I stayed at a friend's apartment. I feel that we got a fairly reasonable price for our vacation. Oh I can't wait until March! Now I have to save up some money so I have some to spend while we are there.
Teal is your Lightsaber's color.
The color Teal signifies trustworthiness, devotion
and healing. It is also the indication of a
spiritual guide and natural teacher.
What Colored Lightsaber Would You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla
I would like to find a different job however. Not necessarily a non-teaching job, but a job with someone besides my current employer. The school district that I work for kind of treats its employees like crap. A few years ago, while negotiating the contract with the local education association, they removed all of the language they could from the contract without bargaining. I believe that this action got taken all the way to the state Supreme Court which ruled that they could remove some of language that was beneficial to teachers from the contract without bargaining. Some of what was there was put in, in exchange for other changes that were more beneficial to the school district, and which required bargaining. So we have been screwed over on some of those issues. As Iowa law prohibits public employees from going on strike, we don't really have much recourse. About all we could possibly do would be to work exactly to the contract, only working our contract-required hours, doing the absolute minimum that our contract requires. Of course the school district knows that we won't do that. Most people who go into teaching do it because they care about kids and we are not likely to lessen the quality of education we provide to our students just to make a point. Hopefully either the school board will see that they should start treating us better, or if that doesn't work, I hope I can find a better job.
On another topic, I've been looking for affordable trips for my girlfriend and I to go to Las Vegas during spring break in March. Going on vacations is tough in my chosen occupation. The only times I can go during the school year, except for an extended weekend, are during winter and spring vacations, and that's when the rates seem to be higher. I'm not complaining though. I still get nearly three months off during the summer. Maybe we'll have to plan our vacation for then.
The main reason for our visit was to see my sister play in a concert. She plays the violin with the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, America's only GLBT orchestra. It is an orchestra made up predominantly of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals, although my sister does not fit into any of those categories, not that there's anything wrong with that (to quote Seinfeld). The person welcoming us to the concert, their first of the season, was pleased at the turnout especially considering Cher was performing across town with the Village People opening for her. The concert was really good. It made me wish I had a group with which I could play my cello, although my dad would have to get around to finishing repairing it first.
Earlier in the day we went to the Science Museum of Minnesota in Minneapolis. They had an exhibit on Chinasaurs, dinosaurs from China. They really didn't look all that different from the other dinosaurs they had in their museum.
Another interesting exhibit was a collection of Questionable Medical Devices. One of the devices was an x-ray type of machine that was used in shoe stores to fit children's shoes. Also on display was the prostate gland warmer from 1925 shown below. According to its 1918 patent application, the 100-degree heat would stimulate the "abdominal brain!." You wouldn't catch be trying that out.
Prior to the concert, several relatives came over to my sister's place for dinner. My grandmother who lives in the Twin Cities came, as well as an aunt and uncle, two cousins and the husband of one of them, and my sister's boyfriend. It was nice seeing all of these people again, as well as meeting my sister's boyfriend.
On Sunday, we went shopping at the IKEA store by the Mall of America. There were a lot of interesting things available at IKEA, but we didn't get anything. Maybe we will on some future visit. We didn't make it to the mall because my sister had some things she needed to do later in the afternoon and we were running out of time. Before returning to Iowa, my parents, my girlfriend, and I visited my grandmother at her apartment.
Going out of town to some place more interesting than where I live always makes me wish I lived there instead of here. The Minneapolis/Saint Paul area may actually be a possible place for me to move to in the future. Before you decided to comment that I am always talking about moving and that I never seem happy about where I live, I am thinking about next spring when my girlfriend graduates with her master's degree. She hopes to find a job in an area related to her degree, youth and human services. It may be easier for her to find a job in a larger city than in a smaller one, and as the demand for math teachers is relatively high, I shouldn't have too difficult a job finding a math teaching position in a larger city either. The main negatives of moving to the Twin Cities as I see it is that housing would be a lot more expensive and it gets really cold!
I am seriously considering backing up everything on the machine and then reformatting the hard drive so I can get a clean start. Of course, then I'll have to reinstall everything. On the other hand, if I bought a new machine I'd have to reinstall everything anyway. I suppose I should go with the less expensive option first, although Best Buy does have two years interest free financing on computers this week.
Have a good weekend everyone. After I get off work today, my girlfriend, my parents, and I are going to the Twin Cities for the weekend to visit my sister. She has a concert this weekend that we are going to attend. We'll probably also visit my other relatives who live there while we are there.
It's also nice meeting the parents of the students who do really well in class. One problem with meeting with those parents though is that I don't always have much to say. Their child is well-behaved, completes his or her work, does well on tests and quizzes, and seems to understand the material being taught. When they ask for suggestions on what they can do to improve, it can be very difficult to come up with something, since that are already doing so well.
Well, we'll see how things go. On the bright side, I don't have to be to work until 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. Of course, I do have to stay until 8:30. But afterwards, some of us teachers are having a conference of our own at a local drinking establishment.
I don't have any children of my own, so perhaps I am a bit out of line here, but I believe that if more parents were to set well defined boundaries for their children, the children would be able to become more responsible for their learning in school.
Anyway, whatever your opinion, I'm sure that you'll agree with me about the parents described here as not being very responsible.
The first story is about a father who let his nine-year-old son drive a car in an occupied parking lot. The kid ran the car into a Jeep in the parking lot. The father felt that everyone was blowing the incident out of proportion.
"They're making a big deal out of nothing," said the father, Robert Samuel Sr., 46, of 2813 Burnet Ave. No one was hurt and the damage to both cars was minor,
While the damage was minor, it could have been much worse. If Mr. Samuel wants to let his nine-year-old drive a car, maybe he should make sure it is somewhere where no one else is put at risk.
This first article really doesn't even compare to the second one. This story involves a 29-year-old woman who allegedly had sexual relations with an eight-year-old boy, a friend of her daughter. I didn't believe this story when I first heard about it yesterday, but when I read this follow up article, I was outraged. The "adult" in the situation had the gall to blame the eight-year-old for the incident.
The divorced Birch Drive resident has told investigators the boy a playmate of her own 7-year-old daughter was the aggressor in their relationship. Imre said he ordered her to dump an adult boyfriend and told her not to take birth control pills.
If this statement is even true, why didn't she tell the boy "no!?" I mean really,the boy was eight years old. I seriously doubt he could have forced himself on her. Besides, why would he make any comments about her not taking her birth control pills? That just doesn't make sense. She was supposed to be the adult there. The child should not have been the one to make a decision like that.
I do feel a bit guilty though. During the assembly, some of the speakers kept using the phrase "freedom isn't free." In itself, it is a good sentiment. However, it is also the title of a song from Team America: World Police, and hearing it kept making me think of the song distracting me from the assembly. In fact, I had it running through my head for the remainder of the day.
After the party, we went to a movie with some friends of my girlfriend. After purchasing our tickets I heard someone call me over to them using my last name. That could only mean one thing, one of my students was in the theater. I looked over at a group of college-aged women and one of them said "hello" to me. It was a student I had four years ago when I taught at a small high school south of Iowa City. She looked familiar, but I didn't remember her name. She did tell me, and that did help me to remember her a bit more. It's usually nice to be recognized by former students. I also ran into a student from last year when we were at McDonald's. That made me think about the number of students who I have taught over the years that I have been teaching. I estimate that I have taught around 750 students in the seven or so years that I have been teaching. Anyway, we went to see The Incredibles and it was great! It was a really fun movie and I wouldn't mind seeing it again, although I'll probably wait for it to come out on DVD. Oh, and before the movie was the trailer for the new Star Wars movie.
In other election news, I just heard that South Carolina has changed its constitution to allow bars to serve alcohol from containers other than mini-bottles. This is going to cause some problems for bartenders who have never served drinks from a full-sized bottle, but it will provide a lot less glass that needs to be dealt with.
Now away from the election. Last night my girlfriend and I went to Cedar Rapids for a wedding reception for a friend of hers. They aren't actually getting married until next weekend, but it's going to be a very small, private ceremony. The reception was at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. There were some excellent hors d'oeuvres being served, plus an open bar, but since I had to drive back to Waterloo, I only had two drinks in the hour or so that we were there. I did however, eat way too many crab cakes. I had a bit of an upset tummy on the drive home.
Ok, it was an accident, and lead bullets with no explosives were used. Also, Rod Page did apologize for the "terrorist" comment, but I found this story interesting.
Related to the election, yesterday a student in one of my classes asked me who I voted for. I didn't answer him, but another student indicated that I had voted for Kerry. This had come up previously. I admitted that I had. He asked me how I felt about the outcome of the election and I indicated that I was not surprised. I had been kind of expecting Bush to win. This student then asked me why I voted for Kerry then if I didn't think he would win. I explained to this student that I based who I voted for on who I thought would be the better president, not on who I thought would win. This isn't an election for the homecoming queen or student government; this is the real thing with real consequences.
Now I am still disappointed that I have a President who thinks that my colleagues and I in public education aren't doing our jobs, otherwise he wouldn't have promoted legislation that takes choices away from the states and instead gives them to the federal government. But I suppose I can live with that since I am thinking about changing careers anyway.
At least now we will have a president for whom more people voted for than his opponent, although a margin of 51% to 48% is hardly a mandate.
It was nice that George Bush decided not to give a victory speech yet, instead giving John Kerry time to "reflect on the results of this election." What the fuck does that mean? It sounds like Kerry was a bad boy who was sent to his room to think about what he did. Oh well, I guess this is just another example of George Bush's "compassionate conservatism."
After the movie, we had dinner at Chili's. I do enjoy their food, but unfortunately we don't have a Chili's where I live, so I only get to go there when I'm out of town. We are really lacking some good chain restaurants in Waterloo. Sure we have several dining choices, but I'd really like to be able to go to Chili's, Outback, Bennigan's, or even T.G.I. Friday's without having to drive an hour or more. Of course this could all be remedied by moving! Well, we'll see about that next spring. I may still apply for a job in test development next spring, or maybe I'll even look for a teaching job elsewhere. Some of it depends on where my girlfriend decides to look for a job when she finished her masters degree in the spring.
November 3, with any luck, we will know who will be occupying the Oval Office on January 20, 2005, and we will all have to get over our differences and learn to get along once again. It won't do any good to keep attacking the winner of this election, whoever that may be, he will be the President, and most likely will be for at least the next four years. I definitely have a preference about who I would like to win, but roughly half of the population will eventually have to accept the fact that their choice for president did not win. The best thing that could happen on Tuesday would be for one of the two candidates, and I don't care who, to win in a landslide. That would show that Americans are united in their choice for a leader. Now I know that won't happen, but it would be nice.
The divisiveness of this election has even worked its way into the school at which I work. We were reminded in a staff bulletin this week that we as school district employees are not to be endorsing or denigrating any political candidate or ballot measure during school hours or while representing the school district. It surprised me that we would have to be reminded of this. I find it hard to believe that a teacher would be doing such a thing during class. Now if it is related to the curriculum, I can see a teacher discussing, and having students discuss, the merits and negatives about both candidates, but otherwise I can't see this happening. A student of mine however, told me Thursday that a teacher of his has been criticizing John Kerry in class. I'm not saying that there aren't any grounds for criticizing him, but it really has no place in a science class. This same teacher has been wearing a Bush/Cheney lanyard for the past few weeks to hold his name badge. Another teacher had a Bush/Cheney campaign sign up in his classroom for a couple weeks until someone took it down overnight. I haven't seen any teachers promoting John Kerry in such ways. I did have a Kerry/Edwards button on my jacket, but when I got to my classroom, that would go straight into the closet.
I haven't made any secret about who I am supporting for president, but I don't make it a part of classroom discussion. Many of my students have asked. And if they ask during class, I don't answer. But never have I attacked George Bush as a candidate for president. I have a rather conservative student who frequently jokes with me about the whole election issue. He will sometimes hold up his planner with the Bush stickers on it just to see if he can get a reaction out of me. He doesn't get much except for my grinning and shaking my head back and forth. Last year, when I had him for a different class, he was flashing some Bush sign at me in class so I had him turn to a certain page of his textbook which happened to have a photo of Bill Clinton. This is all in fun.
We can joke about each others' preferences for president without it ruining our working relationship. This student is one of my better students. He's almost always on task and always gets his work done. This reminds me of a question that I was once asked during an interview for a teaching job. I was asked if I had ever had any students that I didn't like (now I'm not saying that I don't like this student, I do). Of course I've hate students I didn't like. It's human nature to not like everyone! If I had said "no," then they would have known I was lying, so of course I answered "yes." These students are usually the ones who are constantly misbehaving and causing problems in class. The follow-up question was about how I deal with these students. Naturally I treat them professionally, the same, within reason, as everyone else. If they need help, I'll help them. If they do well on their homework, tests, and quizzes, they'll get a good grade. I even try to figure out why they behave the way they do to try to reach out to them and get them to behave better. But I never let my personal feelings about someone affect how I treat them as a student.
Well, I've rambled on enough for now, so I suppose I will end here. I just can't wait until this election is over!
In thinking about the vandalism of these pieces of art, I am also reminded about the senseless theft of computer parts at the school I teach at. In one of the computer labs, some mouse balls have been taken, as well as keys from keyboards! What the hell is someone going to do with those? Also, a student had stolen the stapler from my desk and rolls of tape from my tape dispenser. It's bad enough taking the tape, but he (and I am pretty sure who took those although I have no evidence) also took the part the roll of tape is fit on to. Now the dispensers are practically useless. I don't know if replacement parts are sold for tape dispensers, so I'll probably have to end up getting a new one altogether. At least the tax credit for teacher supplies (up to $250) has been reinstated for this tax year.
This partially confirms what I have felt about myself, if I give this test any credence, that I am somewhat liberal on non-fiscal issues. I thought, however, that I'd be a bit more conservative when it came to fiscal issues. I am slightly less liberal than on non-fiscal issues, but I guess I'm still a liberal.
The one place that I keep thinking about moving to, which would be very different to where I live right now, is Las Vegas! I've written about this a couple of months ago, but I almost took a teaching job there for last school year, but I decided, for reasons that I'd rather not go into right now, that it would be best to stay around here. I have a few problems with moving there however. One is that I would be a long distance from my friends and family. I can deal with being far away from my family. I don't need to see them that often, but I would really miss hanging out with my friends, although I don't get to do that much now anyway. Also, I would probably end up teaching at an inner-city high school for the first few years I would be there. I don't know how successful I would be doing that. I would be worried that I would not be successful, although I probably would be if I worked hard enough at it. One last problem, which wouldn't be impossible to overcome, is that it would just be a real pain moving such a long distance.
If you've been reading my blog in the past couple of months, you may know that I have been contemplating leaving teaching to work in the exciting world of test development. However, I have been feeling a lot more positive about teaching lately and think that it is something that I would like to continue doing for a while. If I do continue to teach, I would rather not spend the rest of my career teaching where I am now. I wouldn't mind sticking around a few more years, but I can't see staying here until I retire. One reason to make a change sooner, rather than later, is that after this school year I will be at the maximum years of experience that the school district in Las Vegas would accept for placing me on their salary schedule. I don't know. I probably won't move. I am just not that much of a risk taker. Although, signing up for on a dating website and going out on a date with someone I met online was a bit of a risk that has turned out alright. I guess this is something that I will have to seriously think about.
On another topic, I just finished watching today's episode of Jeopardy! (I tape it so I can see it when I get home from work) and for the first time in quite a while, Final Jeopardy was interesting in that either of the two challengers could have beaten Ken Jennings. Neither one did however, and he will return tomorrow having won a total of $2,065,301.
Anyway, I tried to post this last night, but Blogger didn't seem to be working. I found this test on Matt's blog (thanks for linking to me, by the way) which is intended to determine who I should support for president. Here are my results:
1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%) Click here for info
2. Cobb, David - Green Party (87%) Click here for info
3. Nader, Ralph - Independent (87%) Click here for info
4. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (82%) Click here for info
5. Brown, Walt - Socialist Party (75%) Click here for info
6. Badnarik, Michael - Libertarian (32%) Click here for info
7. Bush, President George W. - Republican (12%) Click here for info
8. Peroutka, Michael - Constitution Party (10%) Click here for info
I was a little surprised that the Green Party candidate and Ralph Nader came up first on my list, but my choice for president came up right behind. Maybe I should have listened to Homercles and voted for Nader. :-)
Oh Homercles, I wouldn't mind seeing it again, so if you want to see it next weekend when we get together for dinner, that would be cool.
On a completely unrelated note, at least 18 people have stumbled on my blog in search for the Hardee's mechanical bull commercial. Also, someone found my blog looking for Panera seafood bisque.
Their second problem is with people who show up at the wrong precinct to vote, although in the correct county. They want them to be able to vote using a provisional ballot. I don't see how this can work. Not all ballots in the same county, even in the same city, are not necessarily the same. Sure, for national offices they are the same, but for state and local offices, there may be some difference. The boundaries for state representative districts don't follow county lines. If I were to vote across town, I would be in the wrong representative district, and I therefore would be voting for someone who I didn't have a right to vote for. The voter registration card indicates where one is to vote. How about instead of giving a prospective voter a provisional ballot, the poll workers could give the voter instructions on how to get to his or her correct precinct. Apparently some people are just too dumb to figure out how to vote. Remember Florida in 2000?
I also got to open my presents from my parents last night. Among the gifts I received was the Star Destroyer Hallmark ornament and Jon Stewart's book America (The Book). I have been told that I need to read it quickly since my mom wants to borrow it when I finish and she has told my sister that she can borrow it too. It's nice of her to lend out my stuff like that.
Anyway, as I stated earlier, I went to see John Kerry last night. After seeing him speak in person, I am even more confident in my vote for him. I really, truly think that he will be better for the United States than George Bush. I'd like to write more on this right now, but I have to get to work.
To Homercles: We should figure out when we are going to dinner. Does next Saturday, October 30, work for you?
A Lakewood Republican stealing campaign signs late one night got nabbed when he ran across a low- hanging driveway chain, fell face first onto a pilfered sign and the concrete and knocked himself unconscious.
If you plan on stealing election signs, you better watch out! They can fight back. And in other news, from the Indianapolis Star:
A Marion County judge on Monday sentenced an Indianapolis woman to 18 months in prison for helping her 5-year-old son smoke crack cocaine.
Andrea Wilkey, 40, held the lighter on Aug. 6 while her son inhaled from a homemade pipe, police say. Her son tested positive for cocaine the next day.
Oh my god! How could someone be so irresponsible! I don't get it! At the end of the article is a statement that she hopes to someday regain custody of her son, who is now in foster care. Heaven help the child if that ever happens. I think I now have a better understanding of the expression "Are you smoking crack?" that people may ask others when they do something stupid. Being on crack cocaine apparently severely impedes one's ability to make any judgments.
Incidentally, someone found my blog while doing a search for "hardee's commercial mechanical bull." My blog entry from Thursday came up second on the list when I checked it out. From checking out the other listings, some people are apparently outraged by this commercial.
Q: Who is the woman who plays on the Hardee's commercial riding the mechanical bull?
A: The actress in that commercial --- which, if Courier office opinion is any guide, women tend to hate and men tend to love --- is Cameron Richardson, according to a staff member at the Hardee's PR department.
In case you haven't seen the commercial, it features a rather attractive woman riding a mechanical bull while holding a Hardee's Western Bacon Thickburger. I have to say that I would definitely agree with the paper's office opinion poll. The commercial, while it has a burger in it, does not focus too much on it, but this seems to fit in with Hardee's latest advertising campaign which tends to target men. It must be working. I had one of these burgers last week, and I probably will have one again. I just can't eat them too often as each one has 876 calories. Add a small order of french fries (which was "medium" when I worked there years ago) to that and the meal has a whopping 1270 calories! That's over half of the calories that I allow myself to eat in a single day.
Back in April, Sinclair Broadcast Group ordered its ABC affiliates not to air the episode of Nightline during which Ted Koppel read the names of American soldiers killed while serving in Iraq. They claimed that this was a political statement disguised as news. I really don't see how this film that they are now planning to air is a newsworthy event, as their vice president Mark Hyman claims, and not just a political statement disguised as news.
Another compliment I received today was from the teacher in charge of the ELL (English Language Learners) program at school. She told me that two people, one student and one associate who translates, told her that I do an excellent job explaining what I teach. She was told that of the math teachers that these two have worked with, each of them feel that I am the best at doing this at my school. Part of this is probably because I actually have a degree in the subject in which I teach. We have math teachers at my school who have degrees in other areas instead, but having completed a program in mathematics gives one a deeper understanding of the subject. With that understanding, it's a lot easier to explain why things are the way they are and to show how they are connected to other topics in math. After receiving this compliment, it makes it harder to decide if I am going to continue teaching when the year ends.
UPDATE (8:25 am, 10/9/04): factcheck.com is no longer forwarding to georgesoros.com.
A U.S. Senate candidate who said recently that homosexuals should not be teaching in South Carolina's public schools has added another group to his list of poor role models for children -- pregnant women with live-in boyfriends.
So it's not okay for pregnant women with live-in boyfriends to teach in South Carolina public schools but it's perfectly fine for their live-in boyfriends to teach there? So it's just immoral for these non-married women to be pregnant, but it's fine if they are not? I suppose the distinction is made because a pregnant woman stands out more than people from the other groups I mentioned. Jim DeMint, the senatorial candidate who made this comment, has a problem with the moral decisions of pregnant women with live-in boyfriends. I guess they are not good role models, but how is a student going to distinguish these pregnant teachers from pregnant teachers who are married? I doubt that most pregnant teachers would make it a point to inform their students that they are unmarried and live with their boyfriends.
As to openly gay teachers, I don't understand why that is a problem either. I doubt that these teachers, while open about their sexuality, are going to discuss this aspect of their lives with their students either. I steer clear of that subject, and I'm not a homosexual. Why would they discuss it? I had one high school teacher who I know to be a homosexual. I didn't know she was at the time, but I don't think it was a secret to anyone. It just wasn't something that was a topic for conversation in class. It certainly didn't hurt my moral development any, oh wait, maybe it did as my girlfriend, who is not pregnant, is going to move in with me next week.
We, as teachers, are being held accountable for our students' progress, and we should be, to some extent. But, as Homercles asserts, if we are to be held accountable for how well our students do on these tests, they should actually be based on what the state expects us to teach. The problem with that however is that the state does not tell us what specifically is to be taught. Iowa doe not have any specific standards of this type. All under the label of "local control," each school district is left to write its own standards. This seems quite inefficient to me. If we had standards of what specific topics were to be taught, then the state could have a test created to assess these standards, which are after all, what we should be teaching!
Last year, I was part of a group of math teachers in my school district to develop the curriculum for pre-algebra in the school district. One of the tasks we had to undertake was to read through each level of math ITED test, and some of the ITBS levels, and determining which of our school district's standards each item assessed. Some of them didn't assess any of our standards. Quite frankly, the information these items covered don't seem too important. However, since we have to have all students perform at the 40th percentile or better on these tests, we had to add some additional topics to our classes leading up to the tests. Some of these topics make absolutely no sense to be taught in the classes in which they are now taught.
Now on to the topic of having all students scoring at the 40th percentile or better, which is of course IMPOSSIBLE, as a student scoring at the 40th percentile scores better than 40% of the students taking the test. As Homercles points out, 100% of the students taking the test can't do better than 40% of them. I believe however that what actually has to be done is to have all students score at the level which was the 40th percentile when the test was normed in a certain year -- I don't remember which year -- within a certain time period. Now this would be possible, until the test it normed again, but it seems like a goal that is not very realistic.
Another thing that my school district does with this test, which is something for which it was not intended, is to use it as a graduation requirement. Students have to score at a certain level on the math and reading portions of the test in order to graduate. I was told by one of my colleagues last year that we have not had anyone not graduate because of not scoring well enough on these tests, so I guess we must be doing something right. ;-)