Archive for January, 2010

Schools Around the World: Haiti

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz/AP
Children play soccer in front of a collapsed school Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, in Leogane, Haiti, after the devastating earthquake two weeks ago.

Just two days after Haiti’s Jan. 12 earthquake, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued a statement calling for assistance in rebuilding education in Haiti.

“Education is at the core of Haiti’s recovery and is the key to Haiti’s development,” Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, said. “We are determined to mobilize support for temporary emergency educational facilities and for reconstruction. I also urge academia to show solidarity. Universities in the region and beyond should make every effort to take in Haitian students.”

According to a Council on Foreign Relations interview with Mark Schneider, former Peace Corps director during the Clinton administration and senior vice president of the International Crisis Group, the state of public education in Haiti was grim even before the earthquake. Forty percent of kids weren’t enrolled in school prior to the quake, and 80 percent of those that were enrolled were attending private schools that required tuition, “and those schools weren’t very good,” Schneider said.

On Thursday, Ray Rivera reported for The New York Times that “5,000 to 8,000 schools were affected by the earthquake,” displacing as many as 1.8 million children. Though education officials there said that schools not affected by the quake will reopen for the first time on Feb. 1, it remains unclear how many students and teachers will return.

John Henry Telemaque, assistant coordinator for education for President René Préval’s emergency disaster committee, said that up to 97 percent of Port-Au-Prince’s schools alone had been leveled in the earthquake.

“The schools were built without anti seismic systems,” Telemaque said. “In Haiti most of the schools were built with heavy cement block to withstand hurricanes.” (The heavy cement block style of construction is evident in these photos of Haitian schools on the Visual Geography Web site. The site is a project of two photographers and is “dedicated to those studying and teaching about the world.”)

Schneider emphasized that reconstructing Haiti, including its schools, will take decades. “Let’s take the Ministry of Education: What you need to do now is not just put back the same bricks. You need to build a new education policy in Haiti,” he said.

“You need to have a commitment to a public school education system that offers a decent education to the kids in Haiti,” Schneider elaborated. “So you need to have education experts from around the world come and partner with the new Ministry of Education in Haiti.”

Looking to help Haiti? San Francisco Chronicle has a Haiti donation list with information on how each organization is reaching out to Haiti.

Related Link Resources
UNESCO
Council on Foreign Relations
The New York Times
Visual Geography
San Francisco Chronicle

Quiztory: Week of Jan. 23

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Test your students’ knowledge of the notable events covered in findingDulcinea’s “On This Day” column this week with the Quiztory—a quiz on important events in history. A new Quiztory will run every Friday.

1. Who signed a confession in order to gain the release of the crew of the USS Pueblo, held hostage by North Korea?

2. Which Mormon businessman is credited with spreading the news of gold being discovered in California?

3. What did American Brig. Gen. James Dozier credit for making him appear “more human” when he was held as a hostage by the Red Brigades, an Italian Marxist-Leninist terrorist group?

4. Who warned that the command module of the Apollo 1 presented a fire hazard?

5. How long were NASA’s two rovers expected to function on Mars, and how long have they lasted?

What’s Coming Up?

Next week, “On This Day” will examine Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland, the first TV soap opera, Ayatollah Khomeini’s return from exile and the first official Groundhog Day. We’ll also take a look at Buddy Holly’s plane crash, the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “court-packing” bill.

Related Link Resources
On This Day column

Educators That Rock!: Miss Brave

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Miss Brave is an anonymous blogger and second-grade teacher in the New York City School District. A quick look at the “Labels” section on the right of her blog, miss brave teaches nyc, reveals that she’s had some pretty rough days: breakdowns (22), infinite wisdom of the DOE (14) and school politics (24). But tucked among these categories you’ll also find happy thoughts (32) and kid quotes (35). Every morning she manages to start fresh, because “every day is a new opportunity to recover.”

In an e-mail interview with findingEducation, Miss Brave explained a mantra that she adopted from one of her colleagues: “‘Close the door and teach.’ If I want to sing Sesame Street’s ‘The People in Your Neighborhood’ during social studies, or skip word work one day in order to read the class a book about volcanoes, I’ll close the door and teach.”

fE: What made you choose to become a teacher?

MB: My high school required its students to complete community service in order to graduate, and to complete my hours I volunteered as an assistant at my temple’s religious school. At the time, I had never been around small children before and was terrified of them! But over time, I came to enjoy myself and decided to get my teaching certificate in college.

(more…)

Related Link Resources
Gothamist
Improv Everywhere
Peace in the classroom
GothamSchools
Really Good Stuff
A to Z Teacher Stuff

The Answer Sheet: Week of Jan. 16

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Did you take the Quiztory last week? Now it’s time to check your answers:

1. What was the name of the children’s informant group that Indira Gandhi led at the age of 12? Monkey Brigade

2. In 1874, what group was formed by women that believed alcohol destroyed marriages and families? Women’s Christian Temperance Union

3. What was the deadliest earthquake in Japanese history? The 1923 Kanto earthquake

4. Soon after Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury, who claimed to have a list of 205 members of the State Department with communist ties? Sen. Joseph McCarthy

5. What were the names of the two ships used by Capt. James Cook as he voyaged through the Pacific Ocean? Resolution and Discovery

Related Link Resources
On This Day: Indira Gandhi Elected Prime Minister of India
On This Day: Prohibition Takes Effect in America
On This Day: World's Costliest Natural Disaster Hits Japan
On This Day: Alger Hiss Convicted of Perjury
On This Day: Captain Cook “Discovers” the Hawaiian Islands

Quiztory: Week of Jan. 16

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Test your students’ knowledge of the notable events covered in findingDulcinea’s “On This Day” column this week with the Quiztory—a quiz on important events in history. A new Quiztory will run every Friday.

1. What was the name of the children’s informant group that Indira Gandhi led at the age of 12?

2. In 1874, what group was formed by women that believed alcohol destroyed marriages and families?

3. What was the deadliest earthquake in Japanese history?

4. Soon after Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury, who claimed to have a list of 205 members of the State Department with communist ties?

5. What were the names of the two ships used by Capt. James Cook as he voyaged through the Pacific Ocean?

What’s Coming Up?

Next week, “On This Day” will examine North Korea’s seizure of the USS Pueblo, the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California and the second NASA rover to land on Mars. We’ll also take a look at Czech martyr Jan Palach, the crew of Apollo 1, the rescue of Gen. James Dozier from Italian terrorists and the first five inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Related Link Resources
On This Day column

WE WANT YOU!

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

If you are teacher, librarian or school administrator at a New York public, private or independent school, WE WANT YOU! We are conducting a survey of middle school and high school students’ online research habits, and we’d love for you to participate.

The online surveys are short, painless (we don’t ask sensitive questions), easy to understand and anonymous. They should take about 10 minutes to complete.

Please note: Students will not be asked to provide their names, e-mail addresses or any other identifying information.

Our analysis of survey data will be used to create a report that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of students’ online research habits and strategies for improvement.

The report will also include the recommendations of librarians, teachers and our staff of online research experts. We plan to share both our results and recommendations at several educator conferences this year. 

We will be giving $40 Amazon gift cards to participating teachers/librarians. If you’d like to participate, please let us know by e-mailing Shannon Firth at shannon.firth@dulcineamedia.com.

Schools Around the World: Liberia

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

George Osodi/AP
School children prepare for the day school in Voinjama town, Liberia, Monday, Feb. 18, 2008.

With a new administration in office, there has been a renewed focus on public education in the United States. Teachers and schools are under the microscope, and the news is full of stories on new education initiatives around the country.

But what’s going on in public education in the rest of the world? We start by taking a look at Liberia.

Samuel Doe led a military coup in the country in 1980, the start of a decade of authoritarian rule. In 1989, Charles Taylor organized a rebellion against Doe and his regime, resulting in civil war. After 14 years of war, Taylor resigned and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected president through democratic elections in 2005.

The education system in Liberia was destroyed during the country’s civil war. In a 2007 press release, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) explained that a 2003-2004 Liberian Ministry of Education (MOE/UNICEF) study found that 20 percent of schools in Liberia had been destroyed. Many education professionals left the country during the conflict, leaving behind teachers without formal training or qualifications. According to USAID, unqualified teachers have resulted in reduced enrollment.

But as Kevin S. Tydehson wrote for Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), the situation is more complex. Overcrowding in Liberia’s public schools is to blame, he says, along with poverty. “[M]any students are seen every day roaming the streets selling for their parents as bread winners,” he writes. According to Tydehson, both parents and teachers agreed that if food were provided at school, this would be an added incentive to encourage parents to enroll their children in school.

Though enrollment rates had increased in 2007 by 24 percent for girls and 18 percent for boys, USAID stressed that far more had to be done to improve quality. The organization is working with the Liberian Ministry of Education to support planning, teacher training and materials acquisition.

In addition, the Liberian Education Trust, based in Washington, D.C., works “to support the restoration of basic education in Liberia.” The organization is a charitable trust that aims to gather American support to rebuild Liberia’s schools and train Liberia’s teachers. Learn more at the organization’s Web site.

Related Link Resources
findingDulcinea: Happy Birthday, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, First Elected Female President in Africa
USAID
Journalists for Human Rights
Liberian Education Trust

Educators That Rock!: Robert H. Mayer

Monday, January 18th, 2010


Photo by Jan Muzyczka.

At the National Council for the Social Studies conference in November 2009, the Carter G. Woodson Book Awards honored Dr. Robert H. Mayer for his book, “When the Children Marched: The Birmingham Civil Rights Movement.” Mayer was recognized for “accurately and sensitively” portraying an issue related to ethnic minorities.

FindingEducation spoke to Mayer about locating primary documents, understanding “historical thinking” and examining the civil rights movement.

Images of the African-American children that were marched to jail, decades earlier, still resonate for Mayer. “They experienced the degradation of segregation as much as their parents. So to see in their faces the lack of fear—it just says a lot,” he explained.

A social studies teacher for 12 years and a professor at Moravian University since 1987, Mayer also authored “The Civil Rights Act of 1964,” and numerous essays on teaching.

fE: What sparked your interest in history?

RHM: I’ve always had some kind of interest in history. As a child, I always enjoyed reading about things in the past. I grew up in Cincinnati, OH, and I remember reading about William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. president, and being fascinated, because his statue was downtown by the library.

(more…)

Related Link Resources
Questia
Anne Hutchinson
Library of Congress
History Matters
The National Archives

The Answer Sheet: Week of Jan. 9

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Did you take the Quiztory last week? Now it’s time to check your answers:

1. Who was convicted on fraud and racketeering charges in 2006, after being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005? Illinois Gov. George Ryan

2. Which country lent $554 million to Egypt for construction of the Aswan High Dam? USSR

3. How many Grammy awards did Johnny Cash win in his lifetime? 11

4. In which James Bond movie did the wreckage of the Queen Elizabeth appear? The Man With the Golden Gun

5. Who was named the most outstanding player in the Jan. 12, 1969, game between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts? Joe Namath

Related Link Resources
On This Day: Gov. George Ryan Clears Illinois Death Row
On This Day: Egypt's Aswan Dam Completed
On This Day: Johnny Cash Plays at Folsom Prison
On This Day: The Queen Elizabeth Catches Fire in Hong Kong Harbor

Quiztory: Week of Jan. 9

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Test your students’ knowledge of the notable events covered in findingDulcinea’s “On This Day” column this week with the Quiztory—a quiz on important events in history. A new Quiztory will run every Friday.

1. Who was convicted on fraud and racketeering charges in 2006, after being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005?

2. Which country lent $554 million to Egypt for construction of the Aswan High Dam?

3. How many Grammy awards did Johnny Cash win in his lifetime?

4. In which James Bond movie did the wreckage of the Queen Elizabeth appear?

5. Who was named the most outstanding player in the Jan. 12, 1969, game between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts?

What’s Coming Up?

Next week, “On This Day” will examine the beginning of Prohibition in the U.S., the Kobe earthquake in Japan and Captain Cook’s “discovery” of the Hawaiian Islands. We’ll also take a look at Alger Hiss’ conviction, Indira Gandhi’s election, Ted Kaczynski’s conviction and McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc’s donation to the Salvation Army.

Related Link Resources
On This Day column