I’m Ba-ack!

This post is an explanation of my absence, and a preview to anticipated changes over the next several months.  Read on…

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything.  A few days ago, when I tried to enter a new post, I discovered it had disappeared.  All I could think about was years’ worth of data down the tubes.  Quite a bit of activity involving this site occurred during the past several months, it turns out, which collectively resulted in the site “going away” temporarily.  No, I didn’t miss any payments; and no, I didn’t accidentally wreck it myself. Here’s what happened.

Recently, this site was to be updated by someone, a professional site developer and marketing person who also happens to be a relative. Instead of being updated, the site was basically destroyed.  My suspicion is that the updater was less familiar with the site configuration than she believed herself to be.  Unfortunately, she did not want to admit this and made the classic “young person’s” mistake of not backing up the site before “updating” it.  I was afraid I would need to start all over again.  However, between WordPress and GoDaddy (where I host this site), enough backup information was available from the last successful post on this site that everything was restored.  (Hooray for WordPress and GoDaddy!!)  From now on, all changes will be done by me, regardless of my limited computing skills. Both companies offer plenty of resources and certified web site developers that, if I get frustrated, professional help is available.

Another reason for no activity here: a month or two ago, a serious illness knocked the wind out of my sails, leaving me unable to work much on the computer at all, much less at almost anything else.  Although I still have more “off” days than “on” ones, I’ve made the decision to concentrate on my blogs and the distribution of information related to education, and stop worrying about consulting.  There will be some changes to the way the site looks as well as the way the site operates.  However, the information will be as up to date as possible, and I hope to reach not only education professionals, but also parents and other professionals who work with children.  Features I hope to add include webinars and recorded videos targeted at learning problems and behavioral issues.  There will be guest blogging professionals, both in text and visual media.  Links to related reading and other materials and resources will be increased for your convenience.  These changes will take place gradually, so don’t expect everything at once.  As I said, I’m no longer a professional computing person, and it will take some time to get everything up to speed.  But updating this site will be as much a learning experience for me as a way to share what I know, especially about special education and behavioral issues.

So please bear with me as this site gradually develops into something more useful to all of us.  Thanks for your patience with me and support for the posts to date.  Without your readership, this blog would have folded long ago.

Watch for the changes!

Mostly, watch for my next posts that might be important to you and your students or offspring.


High School Graduation Rates Rose in 2010

Great news was announced earlier this week: high school graduates rates rose to the highest point in almost 40 years.  Even more encouraging is that graduation rates among Hispanics jumped “almost 10 points since 2006,” according to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  The information comes from a new report from NCES (the National Center of Education Statistics) on 2009-2010 graduation and dropout rates entered into the Common Core of Data.

Related information can be found on my other blog site, Eleanore’s Ramblings, in which two interesting reports from Jennifer Karan, executive director of the SAT program, are also addressed. These reports address college and career readiness and college readiness among incoming freshmen.


R&D Connections 18 — Dropping Out of High School

From ETS, or Educational Testing Service–the folks that bring us test products like the SAT, the GREs, LSAT, MCAT, and others–is a report on high school dropouts, it’s prevalence, risk factors, and remediation strategies. If ETS knows how to keep students in school longer, it would certainly help schools who are struggling with retention rates. Who better than ETS to write a report on dropping out? They have decades of information in their databases that they use to design their tests. It is not surprising that they are able to mine their data for information that can help schools.

This report came on the tail of an interview transcript with Bill Gates from the Chronicle of Higher Education for his views on dropping out of college. The article points out that

 he argues for radical reform of college teaching, advocating a move toward a “flipped” classroom, where students watch videos from superstar professors as homework and use class time for group projects and other interactive activities. As he put it, “having a lot of kids sit in the lecture class will be viewed at some point as an antiquated thing.”

To this interveiwer question,

Q. The Gates Foundation has given tens of millions of dollars to traditional universities and to some new upstart players in higher education. But with that amount it would be possible to build a new campus of your own—have you considered starting your own university?

Bill Gates responds, in part,

Even these top universities often only have a 60-percent completion rate. And the average university will have something like a 30-percent completion rate. So you have an immense amount of wasted resource, and students who end up with a big loan and sort of a negative experience in terms of their own self-confidence. And so that failing student is a disaster for everyone.

The Bill Gates interview can be found here. The URL is http://chronicle.com/article/A-Conversation-With-Bill-Gates/132591/. The site has the full interview in video, too, for those who would prefer to listen to Bill Gates instead of read the transcript.

You should be able to access the ETC research and development report on high school retention and dropout below. If not, let me know and I’ll post the .pdf file. You can contact me here. Remember to let me know that you are asking for the report.

R&D Connections 18 — Dropping Out of High School.

The URL is http://www.ets.org/research/policy_research_reports/rdc-18