November 22nd, 2013

atheist teacher

Inglewood schools

Just skimming through the nglewood Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team report on Inglewood Unified, and it makes for dismal reading. The state came in a while back and took over, when the district had a $55 million shortfall.

"Stated reasons for fiscal insolvency included: Overstating [attendance], understating California State Teachers’ Retirement System payments, understating certificated salary expenses, continued deficit spending, and declining enrollment."

And the board is just as dysfunctional as I thought: "There is evidence of conflict between board members as well as in-fighting, nepotism, and mismanagement by district leaders."

But let's just forget the fiscal mismanagement and leadership problems. Let's talk results.

"On the California Alternate Performance Assessment, ... [students scoring] proficient and above ... in math and in English language arts (ELA)." --- 1.3%

California Modified Assessment
Proficient and above in math --- 2.4%
Proficient and above in ELA --- 2.5%

"When Two More Legs Makes a Big Difference"

Strangely fascinating article about entomologists who are arachnophobes.

60% of all entomologists dislike the way spiders move.

"Respondents were asked to rate their feelings toward a variety of animals."

The only thing that rated lower than the spider was the tick. We also learn that entomologists prefer slugs over rats, earthworms over mice, and dogs over cats.

But perhaps best are the case studies, focusing on the more arachnophobic entomologists.

The FSQ score of 87 is within the range of clinical arachnophobia, but the respondent’s research involves maggot dissection and she awarded maggots the highest “like” score of 1. This respondent is fully aware of the paradox of this spider-hating, maggot-friendly situation, but concluded an e-mail with “maggots don’t sneak up on you and jump in your hair.”
As an adult entomologist, she avoids looking at spider pictures unless it is necessary, and she has tried not to walk past a spider poster in her entomology class. To this day, family members, none of whom are arachnophobic, continue the tormenting by mimicking the movements of a tarantula with their hands: she finds the mechanics of the slow, cautious, malevolent-looking mygalomorphine gait “unsettling,” more so than quick movement.
The second [incident] took place in [the eastern U.S.], when I was about 40, and involved a Cheiracanthium running around on the inside windshield of a van I was driving at night. This was a common occurrence with this vehicle, due to its worn door seals and the prevalence of yellow sac spiders in that neighborhood, but almost always the intruder would stay on the glass long enough for me to pull over and crush it with a wadded up paper towel (from a roll I kept by the driver’s seat specifically for that purpose). This time it disappeared, and, in a few seconds of utter, shocking horror for me, began running over my face and into one of my nostrils. Somehow maintaining control of the vehicle, I snorted out with all my force, and dislodged it. After finding a place to park and collect my wits, I searched the van in vain for almost an hour, before giving up and getting back on the road. That was not a good day.