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Journal: Education

Journal by fishthegeek

I'm a teacher. I want the young adults I teach to excel and I work very hard at trying to find new ways to do better. Do my kids do better? Well, yes from the time we meet in August until we last say goodbye in May it is absolutely a fact that they are better at what I teach than when I started.

Imagine you're a carpenter and you've been tasked with building a house. You're required to build a house that satisfies for quality X, and if you do not satisfy quality X you will be released from employment. There are also a few catches I should tell you about before you accept the challenge. First, you will not be permitted to select materials for quality you MUST build the house from materials provided to you and those materials are only materials that are acquired locally (although some are actually imported). The second thing you should know is that you'll have a small budget with which to purchase tools to use in the construction, $500 is a good amount although it could be a little higher. If you need more money to buy better tools you must use your own funds and you will not be reimbursed later. There are probably more things to know but I think we have a good starting point for our mental exercise.

You build the best house you can under these circumstances. You are also a miracle carpenter and you meet the requirements to continue building homes. Year 1 of teaching accomplished.

Year 2 begins and you're excited fresh still from your successes. You are given a brand NEW set of materials with which to build a brand NEW house in the same amount and roughly the same quality as last years issue. Your tool budget was cut 7%. The new house now must be built with a quality level of X+1 (where X was the quality of the first years house with the +1 representing improvements such as spaciousness or other qualities). The same rules apply in year 2. You have no ability to select materials for quality and no ability to increase the tool budget. You work exceedingly hard and you are able to build a larger home this year than last with the same materials. You are a carpentry genius. Good job.

Year 3 begins. Same rules, same new materials only now your house must satisfy the demands of Quality X+2.

Year 4 begins..... you get the idea.

It's not as if one teacher follows a student throughout their primary and secondary careers. I am not complaining as I am delighted to accept accountability and responsibility for the success of my students. My beef with our current whipping-post mentality is that I do not actually have the authority to make the student study at home and work hard. I do not have the authority to say to their parents "Look, Johnny is failing because he isn't even thinking about this class outside of this class." I am responsible for the student outcomes, I get that. I actually like it. I am an award winning teacher and have been interviewed locally for television and newspaper. What I don't get is how I can be held accountable for what Johnny has chosen to learn or not. Where is the accountability for parents and the students themselves?

On to the arguments against me.

Argument: "You should make class enjoyable and fun!"
Answer: Since when is work fun? Exactly what should I do? Hire clowns? Dance? Sing? My job is to impart a job skill at a technical school. I will promise you that I do not care in the slightest bit if little Johnny is properly entertained.

Argument: "Stop complaining and just do it. You are a highly paid "baby sitter" or whatever"
Answer: Highly paid? Ha, ha, ha. Teachers are only paid for those days they teach. We have to save a little of each paycheck and have that savings redistributed over the 12 month year so that our budgets can be stable at home. You're ignorant of the mandatory layoffs we get each year. Additionally I do just do it, and I'm happy to. I resent our current system of testing because I'm accountable for results WHEN I am not permitted any level of control of the process or student selection.

Argument: "It isn't the parents responsibility to teach their kids, that is what we have a school system for."
Answer: You are the biggest idiot I've ever spoken with. For the love of $Diety please do not reproduce. I can not even begin to comment on how stupid this train of thought is.

There are more arguments that I don't really feel like typing. I'm sure that were I to publish this on /. I would hear them all very quickly. Fortunately for my Karma I have no intention of publishing this. I'm just ranting.

For those that may be thinking about a career in education take note. The institution is rapidly degrading and will likely continue to. Education is a very poor choice right now for a career. So much so that I'm thinking about leaving it and going back to my chosen profession (network admin / engineer).

Linux Business

Journal: Ohio Linux Festival 2008

Journal by fishthegeek
Good times. Eric, Jordan and myself drove to Columbus Ohio this on Saturday (Oct 11) for the Ohio Linux Festival.

Last year was my first year and to be honest my expectations weren't very high for this year. In 2007 the atmosphere was decidedly "counter culture" and off the main stream. Not that this was a bad thing but a great many of the attendees were the "I'm 17 and I wear all black all the time" type and there were old men with neck beards. My hopes weren't high.

2008 proved that things (and times) are changing for the FLOSS crowd. I was amazed at the diversity of people. The crowds average age was considerably more adult (think mid twenties). There was a fantastic racial mix. Black, white, asian, and whatever were well represented. There were also women there that were (at least by appearances) NOT drugged and placed in the trunk of the car for transport. Don't get me wrong, I saw several cases where it was obvious that at least some of the female attendees were humoring someone but they were in the minorty. There were also a good chunk of parents there with their kids. It was nice to see.

The conference vendors were dominated by HP. The HP OSS Community Manager well represented his company and he did a great job. Novell also did fantastic at bringing Suse (OpenSuse) to the table. Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier (Novell Community Manager) was a top notch presenter. Say what you want about Novell, they really are trying to do their part. IBM, well they showed up. Gale (IBM) was late getting set up because some of their display wasn't delivered until noon. Gale didn't have much to work with but at least she was there and very personable. There were quite a few other companies there, and I talked with nearly all of them.

Most of the mainstream distros were represented with Ubuntu being both the most popular booth and the most widely used distro among the surveyed attendees. This does not shock anyone.

The sessions that I attended were more professional and educational than the previous year. Check out the OLF2008 program guide at their website for any details you might want.

Jono Bacon's closing keynote was well delivered and entertaining.
Media (Apple)

Journal: Wanted: iPod touch for breaking out of jail!

Journal by fishthegeek
I bought an iPod Touch about a month ago and my experience has been, well let's just say I haven't been healed of a debilitating disease while holding it.

I should have been patient and waited for the price of the N800 to come down, but I just couldn't. Anyway in an effort to make this short post even longer I decided to jail break the ipod touch today. The short of it? I love it. It still doesn't work with my beloved Gutsy install, and since I don't own a machine with windows I have to use it at work (which is okay with my employer). Want a buy recommendation? Get the N800 or if rumors are true wait for the N810. If you can't wait this thing is well worth the cash once its out of jail.
User Journal

Journal: I've made an enemy or two

Journal by fishthegeek
Wow. It's been a while since I posted. Apparently I've made a few people angry with me (not that I care). Every time I make a comment that gets modded up, there is this mysterious 20% of the mods that are overrated. Kind of makes me think that I must be doing something right. 20% of the people that I've met in my life have been idiots, and if my theory holds true on Slashdot the same percentage of people would be found here :-)
User Journal

Journal: The death of anthropogenic silliness

Journal by fishthegeek

Read it. Read the whole series if you can. There is a conspiracy regarding climate change but that conspiracy isn't coming from the right it's coming from the far left.

Anti capatilist, anti growth, and anti poor policies from the left are destroying lives. DDT is a major example of stupid environmental policy. Millions died before DDT of malaria. DDT cut those deaths down to thousands. By the time DDT was banned the science was already showing that it was harmless when used correctly but it was too late and now we are back with millions of deaths. Who dies? The poor. Yay for the left. They might as well accept that they are practicing eugenics instead of love.
User Journal

Journal: War on the War declared by environmental nutbags.

Journal by fishthegeek
Quotes from the Global Warming Caused By Humans nuts.

"Because there is considerable uncertainty in current understanding of how the climate system varies naturally and reacts to emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, current estimates of the magnitude of future warming should be regarded as tentative and subject to future adjustments (either upward or downward)." -- Climate Change Science - An Analysis Of Some Key Questions, p1 (Committee on the Science of Climate Change, National Research Council) ISBN 0-309-07574-2.

"In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible." -- Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

"At this point in the debate, it is intellectually dishonest and borders on fraudulent to continue to maintain that there is any reasonable basis to fear a coming climate apocalypse. Yet the scientific establishment continues to grind out tortured "studies" to prove black is white. Those involved in this charade are doing lasting damage to science and the reputations of scientists. Hell, you are no different than the worst lawyers - you will say whatever people want you to say so long as you are paid." -- Fred Palmer, president of the Greening Earth Society.

Global warming is NOT caused by humans. If you believe it is your are factually impaired.

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw