Wait–Voting Again, Already?

It’s Time–that is, it’s time for Time,
If I could make that clear
For me to plead for votes, in rhyme,
For Person Of The Year.

Yep, Time Magazine is getting ready to name their Person of the Year. There are the usual politicians (failed and successful), the usual power brokers (failed and successful), the usual celebrities, the obligatory quirky mentions (Higgs-Boson Particle and Mars Rover) and (this being an Olympic year) the occasional Olympic athlete.

And there is Malala Yousafzai.

You can vote people up or vote them down. I was surprised and pleased to see her name at the top of the list after I voted, but there are many days to go.

I can’t pharyngulate a poll, but I can certainly try to Sepiate one.

(And yes, you can vote for more than one, so the Rover can be runner-up…)

Radio Silence

Ok, just received four shiny new batches of tests to grade, so I’m kicking myself off the interwebs for a bit. You’ll have to content yourselves with browsing through the archives for unread gems. I think both of them are in there, somewhere. And leave me wonderful comments for when I come back. Or not. Mostly, this post is here to remind me to get off the blog and back to the tests. So if you see me on twitter, or in the comments here, there, or anywhere, yell at me.

A cuttlefish found itself blue
It had far too much grading to do
You may find this quite weird,
But it just… disappeared…

You Know, Deviants–Like Rapists, Murderers… Gays…

Franciscan University
Says homosexuality
Is much like rape and robbery—
That is, they say it’s wrong.
It’s different from the norm, you see;
Disordered, yes, intrinsically
(Though clinical psychology
Now sings a different song)

In Social Work, class three-fourteen
What “deviance” is meant to mean,
(So says the statement from the dean)
Is “different from the norm”.
Franciscan’s academic scene
Is filtered through a Catholic screen—
What makes it through is squeaky clean,
Selected to conform

And those who live a different way—
The thief, or rapist; whore, or gay
The people who’ve been led astray
In this course, they’re addressed.
And those who cluck with loud dismay
Whose first response is just to pray
Whose numbers shrink each passing day
Will they be on the test? [Read more…]

But We Thought That Was The Whole Point…

“Introduction To Congress”, the syllabus said;
It was filled with the Harvard elite—
The goal was to learn about civics; instead,
Half the students just learned how to cheat.

Academic dishonesty at Harvard.

Harvard College’s disciplinary board is investigating nearly half of the 279 students who enrolled in Government 1310: “Introduction to Congress” last spring for allegedly plagiarizing answers or inappropriately collaborating on the class’ final take-home exam.

Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris said the magnitude of the case was “unprecedented in anyone’s living memory.”

That’s right; Harvard is supposed to be known for grade inflation, not for cheating.

(Reading the article, it looks like there is sufficient blame to cast on both student and professor.)

A Brand-New Semester!

The summer is over
The autumn is near
The first day of classes
Is finally here
I’ve looked at the rosters
I’ve crunched up some stats
I’ve gotten up early
Surprising the cats
Inhaling my coffee
I’m ready once more
A brand new semester….

I’d love to ignore?
New students to bore?
A job I adore?

You fill in the blank. I have to go walk the dog and bike to class.

Barometer Students

Do you have them? They don’t show up every semester, so consider yourself fortunate if you get one, and powerball-level lucky to get two or more in a class. These are the students whose faces are an honest reflection of how well you have explained something. If you are less than clear, an eyebrow might go up, or a head might tilt just a bit. Another student might be nodding in agreement, but frankly, always nods in agreement, even if you are presenting the old, wrong, out-of-date view you are about to demolish.

But the barometer student is skeptical. Listens. Processes. Understands. And (most helpful to you) it’s written on her or his face.

Just spoke with one of three such students this semester (lucky me!), who I would have sworn was lukewarm about this class. I could not have been more wrong (I blame cultural differences; this student was from overseas). Once again, I am a happy Cuttlefish. And a sad Cuttlefish, because this particular barometer (indeed, two out of three of this semester’s barometers) is graduating, and the odds are we will never meet again.

I suppose by this time in my career I should be accustomed to never seeing people again after becoming invested in their lives. Maybe I am, and the sadness is not strange, but simply an appropriate reaction to the situation. “Accustomed” does not mean “immune”.

Lenoir City Update

Krystal will not be pushing the issue, it seems.

She has no hard feelings toward the school, and recognizes their position in trying to control what is published.

I note one big difference between Krystal and Jessica Ahlquist (of Cranston, RI): Krystal takes this stand with the support, but not the agreement, of her parents. This, of course, puts both Krystal and her parents into a different situation than the Ahlquists; I cannot fault them if Krystal chooses not to pursue legal remedies.

But time will tell on that–she does have the support of civil libertarian organizations if she chooses to take that path, and Lenoir City would be smart to revisit their policies and actions in advance of such a choice. Krystal has pointed out a problem, and if they are smart, the school board will address it before Krystal or another student decides to take it to court.

Lenoir City HS Refuses To Publish Atheist Student Editorial

“We would let you print your letter
But we think it would be better
If it didn’t point out places where our policies are wrong;
We’re not happy with your saying
School board meetings start with praying
And there’s indirect coercion—can’t we all just get along?”

First amendment violation
Seems a hobby in this nation
When the Christians in majority think they can set the rules
They so often act unfairly
And it’s pointed out so rarely
But it seems as clear as Krystal, there’s a problem in the schools.

With authorities denying
Publication, they are trying
To prevent a conflagration, and disruption, so they say;
Though their motives may be noble
There’s this “internet” that’s global
And the schools are going to learn that it’s a brave new world today.

Rant follows: [Read more…]