Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Big Education Idea

As I watch my DVRed version of the 3rd and final presidential debate, I'm coming up with a fantastic idea regarding encouraging success in students and rewarding great teachers. As I think back to my school days, or at least to the days on which I chose to attend, I recall a great deal of apathy from my teachers toward their jobs. I don't think that many of them were there for success. I think that most of them were just there.

McCain and Obama both talked about rewarding good teachers but they didn't really specify how, which makes me believe that neither of them have really been able to outline that detail. Almost every business of which I'm aware revolves around a bottom line of numbers. Guidelines, plans, and mission statements are all fine and dandy, but everything leads to the objective and measurable bottom line. So what is the bottom line for teachers? How can one quantify a "good job" done by a teacher? To me, the end result of a good teacher is the acquired knowledge and understanding of his or her students. Knowledge and understanding is fairly easy to quantify through use of standardized testing.

So here's the solution: Base salaries and raises for math teachers off of the standardized testing scores of their students, and English teachers in turn, and science teachers in turn, etc.

This is a plan that I'm sure most teachers will despise. It's often hard for individuals to accept accountability where it has previously been absent. But I guarantee that a plan that structures teachers' pay based on performance will throw us to the front of the pack on education and will ensure the success of our students.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Toy: Mio C230 GPS

Here's my new toy. I just purchased the Mio C230 GPS for about 100 bucks from CompUSA. If you, my limited but privileged readership, have not yet figured out, I'm a GPS whore. I have been using a combination of an iBlue 747 GPS data logger linked via bluetooth with an HTC TyTn running BeeLineGPS as a display. I hope all that techno name dropping excited someone other than myself.

My iBlue/HTC setup has actually worked VERY well for a lot of applications such as geocaching, hiking via checkpoints, and pairing data with jpegs for geotagging photos. It is, however, lacking in the application that most "normal" people use GPS for: road navigation.

I've only taken this bad boy out for a cursery road test, but it looks pretty impressive to me so far. It has a 3D map display function that updates smoothly, voice prompts, and an SD expansion slot. It also runs on Windows CE which means I can hack it to my heart's content. I just can't leave well enough alone.
Fort Smith, Arkansas
...just narcissistic enough to own a blog.