edcamp calendar (September 2013 and later)

September 25, 2013

edcamp offers exactly the sort of revolutionary information in a revolutionary format that raises opposition from education administrators and raises eyebrows among faux education reformers like the CSCOPE critics in Texas, or Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick, or the Broad Foundation.

Logo for edcamp Fort Worth; most edcamp logos feature some version of that wavy apple.

Logo for edcamp Fort Worth; most edcamp logos feature some version of that wavy apple.

It’s teachers talking to teachers about what works in education, usually with a technology bent.

One of the organizers of edcamp in Dallas, Matt Gomez, sent me the link to a wiki page that features a calendar of upcoming edcamp events.

Upcoming events:

September 28, 2013 edcamp Citrus (Crystal River, FL)
September 28, 2013 edcamp Des Moines
September 28, 2013 edcamp West Texas (Abilene, TX)
September 30, 2013 edcamp Cville (Charlottesville, VA)
October 5, 2013 edcamp Arkansas
October 5, 2013 edcamp Del Norte (Crescent City, CA)
October 5, 2013 edcamp PGH (Pittsburgh, PA)
October 5, 2013 edcamp Netherlands (Netherlands)
October 12, 2013 edcamp Dallas
October 12, 2013 edcamp Minneapolis-St.Paul (Minnesota)
October 19, 2013 edcamp Green Bay (Denmark, WI)
October 19, 2013 edcamp Honolulu (Honolulu, HI)
October 19, 2013 edcamp Northern Michigan (Traverse City, MI)
October 19, 2013 edcamp Seacoast (NH)
October 20, 2013 JEdcamp Brooklyn (NY)
october 26, 2013 edcamp Chicago
October 26, 2013 edcamp Mumbai (India)
October 26, 2013 edcamp Online
October 26, 2013 edcampOU (Rochester, Michigan)
October 26, 2013 edcamp RI (Providence, RI)
October 26, 2013 edcamp Online (anywhere!)
October 27, 2013 jedcamp SFBay (San Francisco, CA)
October 30, 2013 edcamp Skolforum (Stockholm, Sweden)
November 2, 2013 HigherEdcamp Philly (PA)
November 2, 2013 edcamp Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids, MI)
November 2, 2013 edcamp Harrisburg (Harrisburg, PA)
November 2, 2013 edcamp Lesley (Cambridge/Boston, MA)
November 2, 2013 edcamp Fond du Lac (Fond du Lac, WI)
November 2, 2013 edcamp Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
November 2, 2013 edcamp Edmonton (Edmonton, AB)
November 9, 2013 edcamp KC (Kansas City, MO)
November 9, 2013 edcamp Austin (Austin, TX)
November 9, 2013 edcamp Baltimore (Baltimore, MD)
November 16, 2013 edcamp Hagerstown (Hagerstown, MD)
November 16, 2013 edcamp Vermont
November 23, 2013 edcamp NJ (North Brunswick, NJ)
November 23, 2013 edcamp Ottawa (Ottawa, ON, Canada)
January 11, 2014 edcamp Imagine the Possibilities (Plymouth, MA)
February 1, 2014 edcamp Madison AL
February 1, 2014 edcamp Magnet (Minnesota)
February 1, 2014 edcamp Savannah, GA
February 1, 2014 edcamp Magnet– MN
March 8, 2014 edcamp Iowa
March 22, 2014 edcamp Grafton, MA
March 22, 2014 edcamp Rochester (NY)
April 12, 2013 edcamp Eau Claire (WI)
April 26, 2014 edcamp Houston, TX

When you attend, drop back here and let us know what you think.


Seats still open for “In Their Own Voices” teacher workshop on racism, at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

October 16, 2012

E-mail from the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, with a training opportunity for teachers:

In Their Own Voices workshop

October 20-21, 2012

Arkansas Dept. of Education professional development workshop at Little Rock Central High School NHS

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site invites Arkansas educators and community advocates to participate in a two day workshop focusing on challenging racism prevalent in and out of the classroom and the community. This program, an approved ADE professional development workshop, will bring participants together for an open reflection and dialogue on the effects of racism and the diversity of our own self-understanding. The overarching goal for our In Their Own Voices workshop is to afford our participants an opportunity to identify their own biases and feel comfortable in their space to approach such issues as race, bullying, tolerance and other-isms in the classroom and the community. To apply, please click attachment below and send to Agnolia Gay at agnolia.gay@gmail.com

Registration for workshop

Move quickly! (That’s this weekend.)  If anyone from Dallas is headed up, please let me know.

Little Rock Central High School

Little Rock Central High School, National Historical Site Visitors Center –  (Photo credit: bigskyred)

2010 Texas Democratic Platform: Effective Teachers for Every Student

June 28, 2010

This post is sixth in a series on the education planks of the 2010 Texas Democratic Party Platform.

This is an unofficial version published in advance of the final version from the Texas Democrats, but I expect very few changes.


The most important factor in student success is having qualified teachers in our classrooms. Texas has a serious teacher shortage. Teacher pay and benefits are not competitive with private sector pay for occupations requiring comparable knowledge and skills. To recruit and retain our best to teach, Texas Democrats advocate the following:

  • raise teacher and support staff pay to levels exceeding the national average;
  • extend quality state funded health insurance to all education employees;
  • respect and safeguard the rights and benefits of education employees;
  • guarantee that every class has a teacher certified to teach that subject;
  • recruit and train teachers who reflect the state’s diversity;
  • provide a mentor (a master teacher) for every novice teacher;
  • base teacher pay and evaluations on multiple measures that give a full, rounded picture of student and teacher accomplishment, and oppose Republican plans to use narrow test results instead;
  • provide retired teachers a cost-of-living increase to restore their pensions’ purchasing power, which has eroded more than 20 percent under Rick Perry and the Republicans since the last increase in 2001;
  • repeal the federal government pension offset and windfall elimination provisions that unfairly reduce Social Security benefits for educational retirees and other public employees; and
  • provide tuition credits and financial assistance for college students who become certified public school teachers and teach for a specified period of time in public schools.

Fighting cargo cult science

March 13, 2009

Creationism is not taught at any major university, as science.  It’s difficult to find creationism taught in any curriculum, including theology schools, because it’s not a part of the theology of most Christian sects.  And yet, creationism continues to pose hurdles to good science education in almost every state (especially Texas).

The hard work of spreading creationism is long entrenched, and continuing, though largely out of the view of most observers of cultural and scientific trends.

For example, consider this blog by a guy who teaches creationism at Bryan College.  It’s been discovered by supporters of science education — but what can anybody do about it?  P. Z. Myers at Pharyngula noted the non-scientific contents of the stuff being taught.  That’s not really enough.

We need to more aggressively promote good science teaching in public schools.

Here’s one thing we might do, as I noted in the comments at Pharyngula.  We need to create institutions to aggressively promote good, powerful science teaching.  Here is what I wrote there, essentially.

Notice that this is Bryan College that Todd Wood preaches at, the college set up to honor William Jennings Bryan, the creationist prosecutor from the Scopes trial. This is part of the evidence that scientists and other lovers of science and good education slept too long on some of these issues (“While Science Slept” might be a good essay somewhere).

Remember Scopes lost his case, and was fined; the overturning on appeal was due to a technical error in the fine, not due to other obviously major flaws in the law (which was signed and promoted by Gov. Austin Peay, who also has a college named after him).  The law against teaching human evolution remained effective in Tennessee until after 1967, and the Supreme Court’s decision in Epperson v. Arkansas — which finally persuaded the Tennessee legislature to repeal the act.

Some people thought H. L. Mencken’s mocking judgment on the Scopes trial was final. Not creationists. While the rest of the world went on, fundamentalists developed a powerful, out-of-the-major-media network to spread and promote their ideas. Part of this network was the establishment of Bryan College, and to some degree, I think Austin Peay State University (though, as a state university with serious intentions on educating people, APSU is in the evolution camp in curricula).

Why is there no Clarence Darrow College? Why is there no John T. Scopes Institute for Teachers (say, at the University of Chicago, where Scopes went back for his advanced degree)?

Unless we get out there and fight in the trenches of education and religion and culture, evolution will continue to face silly opposition. Feynman warned us of the dangers of cargo cult science. (Honestly, though, Wood’s stuff looks like cargo cult cargo cultism, it’s so far removed from real science — doesn’t it?)

In the end it’s odd that a progressive-on-most-issues guy like Bryan would be memorialized by naming a college after him to preserve his most profound errors. It’s effective propaganda. I’d be willing to wager Bryan would have come around to evolution with the evidence stacked as it is now. His error was emotional and theological, I think. Education can prevent and correct such error.  Bryan College doesn’t do that in evolution — something else needs to be done to fight what Bryan College does.

The John T. Scopes Institute for Teachers could run in the summer months, it should have a thousand teachers of science from primary and secondary education in every session, and it should emphasize the best methods for teaching the best science we have. We really need such an agency — or agencies — now. Our children lose interest in science between fourth grade and graduation, their achievement in science plunges in comparison to other nations.

Our economy suffers as a result.

Creationists have Bryan College to help them spread their versions of cargo cult science, with that mission specifically in mind. We can fight fire with fire, but we have to fight ignorance with education. And, my friends in science education, we are behind.

Bill of Rights Institute teacher training in Austin, Texas, February 6 & 7

January 27, 2009

For you Austinites, or someone close enough to make this training:

Bill of Rights Institute logo

The Bill of Rights Institute at the
Texas Law-Related Education Conference
February 6-7, 2009

Event Website

Date: February 6-7

Hilton Austin Airport 9515 Hotel Drive Austin, TX 78719

The Bill of Rights Institute is pleased and honored to be exhibiting and presenting at the 2009 Texas Law-Related Education conference on Friday and Saturday, February 6 & 7. We hope while you are attending the conference, you will stop by our booth in the exhibits area and see our wide range of materials and programs that can enrich as well as bring new excitement to your lessons. Also, on Friday at 10:00 AM, we will be presenting a session at the conference on Lincoln’s Leadership: Secession and Emancipation (with free lesson plans distributed at the end of the session!).

Have a terrific time at the conference and we hope to see you at our booth or our session!

Bill of Rights Institute
200 North Glebe RD
Suite 200
Arlington, Virginia 22203

Indians and energy: Public symposium on history, economics, politics and culture in the Four Corners

February 13, 2008

Norman Rockwell's painting, Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon Dam
by Norman Rockwell (1894-1978)
Oil on canvas, 51″ x 77″
Glen Canyon Dam, Colorado River Storage Project, northern Arizona. Image courtesy of the Bureau of Reclamation.

Southern Methodist University’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies will host a high-powered symposium in April, “Indians and Energy: Exploitation and Opportunity in the American Southwest.”

The symposium is set for Saturday, April 12, 2008, at McCord Auditorium in SMU’s Dallas Hall, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Teachers and community college professors may earn up to 7 hours CEU credits. Registration is available on-line. The $20.00 fee includes a luncheon; conference-only registration is an amazingly inexpensive $5.00.

Conference organizers are looking at a second wave of energy resource development in the Four Corners region, especially, following on earlier development of uranium ore extraction, and coal-fired power generation.

The symposium and the resulting book of essays will provide an historical context for energy development on Native American lands and put forth ideas that may guide future public policy formation. Collectively, the presentations will make the case that the American Southwest is particularly well-suited for exploring how people have transformed the region’s resources into fuel supplies for human consumption. Not only do Native Americans possess a large percentage of the region’s total acreage, but on their lands reside much of the nation’s oil, coal, and uranium resources. Regional weather patterns have also enabled native people to take advantage of solar and wind power as effective sources of energy. Although presentations will document histories of resource extraction and energy development as episodes of exploitation, paternalism, and dependency, others will show how energy development in particular has enabled many Indians to break from these patterns and facilitated their social, economic, and political empowerment.

My second job out of high school, and through much of my undergraduate days, took me to Farmington, New Mexico, and far around the area for the Air Pollution Laboratory at the University of Utah’s Engineering Experiment Station, to measure air quality and effects of air pollution resulting from the Four Corners Power Plant, as the San Juan Generating Station was under construction.

I’m planning to attend the symposium.

Especially after last Saturday’s sessions for history teachers at SMU (the Stanton Sharp Symposium), I highly recommend these programs for their ability to charge up high school teachers to better classroom work. This is history, and economics, at its best, looking to improve public policy and help people.

Planned presentations are listed below the fold, copying the information from the website for the symposium.

Read the rest of this entry »

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