Showing posts from August, 2004

Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today's Schools

I've been reading about IDEA in the first chapter of my Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today's Schools textbook. IDEA is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and was passed by Congress in the early 1970s--I think 1974.

IDEA requires states and school districts to provide a free education to students with disabilities. The legislation has components that define who should be enrolled in special education, and what type of special education that students should receive.

I have been reading a lot of facts about the legislation so far. I'm looking forward to some discussion about it in my next class. It's tough for me to digest all of the facts by reading. I think the basic, general concept is that there is federal legislation that guarantees the free education of students with disabilites.

The textbook is written by researchers at the University of Kansas. At least three of the authors have a child with a disability. Sean Smith has a child, Nolan, tha…

Fly-Fishing at Roaring River

This past weekend, I went fly-fishing at Roaring River State Park in southwest Missouri. I camped with Jerod and his friend, Sarah. Ted and Alex camped Friday night, but did not fish. I caught one fish, but was pretty happy to have caught it on a fly-rod. It was a small rainbow trout. I caught it with my 5-wt. Cabella's fly-rod using a red San-Juan worm. I didn't have any other bites the whole weekend. I fished approximately 4 or 5 hours combined. That is not as much as I could have, or should have fished, especially if I want to get better. I bought some flies that were "recommended" at the lodge. These included the San-Juan worms, some cracklebacks and some pheasant tails. I decided that I need to learn more about the different types of flies so that I can identify them, and so that I can follow recommendations that I read about what is best to use. I began reading the Trout Fishing in North America book on the way home (as I stopped for a break). I re…

More Reflections On Billy Budd

I just finished re-reading the chapter of Billy Budd where Captain Vere and the three jurors of his selection discuss the capital case in which Billy is the accused. Actually, it is not really a discussion. It is more of a one-sided dialouge by Captain Vere. He understands his three subordinates misgivings about convicting Billy, and he admits to feeling them also. However, he explains to the jurors that, despite their "natural" feelings, their allegiance and duty is first and foremost to the king, and the rule of law. As comparison, he notes that in battle, a soldier does his duty, regardless of his feelings on the morality of the war. Captain Vere argues in favor of putting the responsibility toward "secular" law above personal moral convictions. This is painful to read. I can sense the pain of these simple and rightous people who know that Billy is innocent, but feel that they must sacrifice him to do their duty. In one sense, and perhaps at the base of…

Inclusive Schooling

Here are some links to information about inclusive schooling that I obtained by searhing Yahoo! with the term "inclusive schooling". I haven't read or reviwed any of these in detail yet:

1. A paper titled "The Promise of Inclusive Schooling" by the National Institute for Urban School Improvement.

2. A book titled "Removing the Margins" subtitled "The Challenges and Opportunities of Inclusive Schooling.

3. A paper by Julianne Moss titled "Inclusive Schooling Policy: An Educational Detective Story?"

4. Inclusive Information. What Does That Mean?


Here is a website describing the early history of the Luddite movement.

Learning Outside the Lines

I am reading the book Learning Outside the Lines for my special education class at Rockhurst.

Taking Lives

Sharon and I watched the movie "Taking Lives" last night. The movie starred Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke. Keifer Sutherland was also in the movie, though his part was minor.

U2's song "Bad" played during the opening and closing credits.

I would not label the movie as bad, but it certainly wasn't as good as "The Butterfly Effect", which we had seen earlier in the week. It seemed to be a standard murder mystery, serial killer, good guy/bad guy, et. al.

Both Sharon and I thought it was obvious that Ethan Hawke's character was the real bad guy, so there were not any surprises for us. The Montreal setting was interesting. The plot just didn't seem to have anything creative in it that set it apart from run-of-the-mill movies in this genre, of which "Seven" is the best.

Visually, the movie was dark. I don't particularly like watching these kind of films. I think that it is hard to see. Surely there can be a more effective way to c…

Special Education Personal Reflection

For my special education class, I have to write an essay on my personal reflections of special education. The paper is due next Wednesday. Herewith, I will do some brainstorming on special education as I understand and have experienced it:

Robby Membkin, Driver's Education with Robby, Scotty Groves, Montrose grade school, retardation, paralysis, creepy feeling, chilled feeling, wheelchairs, handicapped people in sports, the special olympics, autism, Membkin's parents, Rain Man, cystic-fibrosis, ADHD, Terry Bradshaw, Ritalin, Hyperactivity, Tony Webber, nerds, cruel kids, making fun of disabilities, compassion, empathy, Crisis Center, Sharing and Caring program, Ricky, speical-education textbooks, Moffit, work programs in high-school, shop class, detention, offensiveness, school-shootings, Robby & Stacy, Chad J., Paul Abbot, difficult kids, discipline, talents, everyone is special, Christianity, Jesus' message, "The last shall be first", transcendency, flaws, …

Teacher Salaries

Since I am commencing my pursuit of a M.Ed. degree this very day, I wanted to establish a post regarding my question about teaching salaries. Specifically, how much can I expect to be paid, given the qualifications that I possess, or will possess at the end of the program.

In my first class, Special Education, the professor said that if we were to teach Special Education it would be worth $10,000 more to us in salary. At this point, I don't think that I am interested in teaching special education, but this was interesting information to keep in mind.

My thin research so far has revealved that the average salary for a public school teacher in Missouri is somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 to $40 thousand. I'm not sure how accurate this is, and I haven't done enough research to understand how my experience and qualifications might fit into the equation. By the time I finish the program at Rockhurst, I will have two masters degrees. On the other hand, I will have very littl…

Inclusive Schooling

I established this post earlier in the week as a reminder to write something about inclusive schooling. This term is used in the Access to Academics for All Students textbook that I am reading for my special education class.

What is inclusive schooling? I can't specifically recall hearing the term used before. On the surface, it sounds like it means "schooling that does not leave anyone out." I guess this could be applied to the school "system" as policies that allow everyone the opportunity to learn.

The first chapter of the textbook argues in favor of inclusive schooling. It provides general ideas for educators to use to provide access to academics for all students.

Thinking back to my experience of high school, and grade school, I'm not sure if I experienced "inclusive" schooling. Certainly, I was in school with students that had disabilities. I remember there being "special" classes, and terms thrown around like "specia…

Vietnam Record of John Kerry

I saw on Yahoo! this afternoon that President Bush has denounced the attack ads being published by the anti-Kerry group "Swift Boaters for Justice". I am glad to see the denouncement, though they don't appear to be as specific as I had hoped. These ads that attack the Vietnam service record of John Kerry have aggravated me.

Certainly, I acknowledge that it is possible that John Kerry "could" have lied about his service record, and that he "could" have unjustly received medals of honor. I just don't think that it is probable, given that there hasn't been any serious contention to his honors (to my knowledge) until this year, 30 years after the Vietnam war.

In theory, it is possible that anything and everything we know is actually untrue. This thought is unsettling, and probably at the root of why I am upset by the ads. There is nothing quite so unsettling as something that forces you to question what you believe in. If enough money is spent on …

The Butterfly Effect

Sharon and I watched "The Butterfly Effect" Saturday night. We both enjoyed this thoughtful movie which comprised an interesting narrative with a twist of time-travel. The movie stars Ashton Kutcher, the young actor of Demi Moore notoriety, as the protagonist that has a paternally inherited memory affliction in which he blacks out during times of extreme discomfort, and is unable to recall any memory from these episodes. At the recommendation of his doctor, when he was a child, Kutcher's character relentlessly journals his experiences in hopes that it will help him to come to terms with his affliction. Although he had a somewhat troubled childhood beset with loss and tragedy, he eventually ends up in a college as a top student studying the psychological aspects of memory. After a girlfriend stumbles upon one of his childhood journals, Kutcher's character decides to explore long repressed memories. In an effort to put together the pieces of his fragmented memory, he v…

Character list of Billy Budd

I am almost done reading Herman Melville's short novel, "Billy Budd". The following is a character list from the novel, and my interpretation of each character:

Billy Budd: Billy is the protagonist of the story. In a Christian allegory interpretation of the book, Billy would represent Jesus. Billy has a nature of almost pure innocence. He is well liked by most people. He trusts people and actions at their face value, eventually leading to his demise. Some would call Billy Budd gullible, or perhaps naive. He simply does not have experience or understanding of true evil. It is an interesting question as to whether this type of innocence is an asset or a liability. In this world, and in particular in this story, it definitely seems like a liability. But, if one has a more transcendent view, Bill's innocence seems to always lead him to peace, and would lead him to salvation. By the end of the story, as Billy hangs, I found myself not feeling sorry for him, but feeling in…

Access To Academics for ALL Students

This is the name of one of the textbooks required for one of my M.Ed. classes at Rockhurst University in the Fall 2004 semester. I think that it is for a special education class. I have begun reading the book, in hopes of getting a "jump-start" on the reading requirements.

Some of the book's arguments are as follows:

Educators should attempt to understand the unique perspectives of each student. Cultural, racial, intellectual and other differences can result in different students seeing reality, and viewing school culture, from a different frame of reference.

It is important for educators to understand multiple theories of instruction and learning. This will allow educators to better adapt to students that may respond better to different methods.

Education Degree

This fall, I will begin my journey toward an education degree. Specifically, I am starting classes at Rockhurst University in the Master of Education program, with the intention of obtaining a secondary teaching certificate. I began the application process to this program in the Spring, and I was accepted for the Summer term, but I postponed the commencement of it because of my job change from Sprint to Cerner.

Last week, I registered for two classes for the Fall semester. One of the classes is special education. The other, more ambiguously titled, is something to the effect of 'Aspects of Teaching'--I think. I bought some of the books for these classes last week when I registered, though I still think that I need to buy a couple more that were not at the bookstore yet.

This afternoon, I began to read one of the books, titled "Access to Academics for ALL Students." The authors argue in the opening chapter that 'access to academics' consists of more than parti…

Random Thoughts of Madness

There are times, often, when I don't know what to write. This is not because of a lack of subjects, or because of a lack of interest in writing. In fact, I think it might be due to quite the opposite--too many subjects. My mind gets overloaded with the thousands of random thoughts that travel through it each day, hour, minute and second. It is hard to reach out and grab hold of one of these thoughts, and to turn it into something profound through the creative act of writing. It is hard even to concentrate on one thought, to analyze it or to be conscious of it, without another competing thought coming along to make a case for itself. I have found, in the past, that brainstorming, or the act of writing down thoughts as they come to me, has helped to alleviate the mental pressure of thought overload. Thus, today's electronic blogging brainstorm:

Master of Education at Rockhurst University
Master of Business Administration at Park University
Small Colleges
Large Colleges

2004 reading projects

To give myself a feeling of accomplishment, I will list the books that I have read thus far in 2004 from the "top 100" fiction list that I have, published by B&N:

1. The Aeneid, Virgil
2. All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
3. All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren
4. Animal Farm, George Orwell
5. As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
6. As You Like It, William Shakespeare
7. The Awakening, Kate Chopin
8. Beowulf, Anonymous
9. Billy Budd, Herman Melville (currently reading)

Only 91 1/2 more books to read to complete the entire list of 100...

Billy Budd, by Herman Melville

Billy Budd, by Herman Melville is my newest reading project. This past weekend, I finished reading "Hospitals: What They Are and How They Work", by I. Donald Snook, Jr. Billy Budd is a complicated read thus far. I found what appears to be, upon first glance, a good website on Billy Budd. The book is set at the end of the 18th century, on a British warship. I've never had a compelling interest in stories of the sea, but I'm not bored by them either.

Following is some vocabulary from "Billy Budd":

bronzed (adj.): tan e.g.-...a stroller along the docks of any considerable seaport would occasionally have his attention arrested by a group of bronzed mariners...

Aldebaran (n.): a red star of the first magnitude that is seen in the eye of Taurus and is the brightest star in the Hyades. e.g.--...moving along with them like Aldebaran among the lesser lights of his constellation.

unadulterated (adj.): pure intensely black that he must needs have been a nat…

Weekend Reivew

This past weekend:

I had a three day weekend, thanks to Cerner's management declaring an Associate Rewards Day, and giving the entire company the day off Friday. This is one of the most creative ways that I've seen any management reward employees, and I think it worked well motivating everyone.

Yesterday Sharon, Dominic, Lynae, Jerod and I ran in the Union Station breast cancer 5K. I think it was called "Relay for Life", but I may be getting the name mixed up with another 5K. The race was huge, as in the number of people running/walking. I think that there was over 15,000 people. Jerod and I ran the 5K, which was quite hilly in my opinion, and both of us ran about 5 minutes over our average 5K time. However, it was fun running through downtown KC, and it was interesting running with so many other people. Going uphill during the first mile on Oak street, it was cool to see the street packed with runners all the way up to 11th street, where the turn was made. I…

An article about why George W. Bush is dangerous

I was about to turn off the computer, when I ran across an interesting article posted by another blogger that I had saved in my favorites. The article is supposedly written by a conservative writer (I have personally never heard of him), and it is about why he will not be voting for George W. Bush in the upcoming election.

Lack of Sleep

It is Wednesday night. I am writing about my lack of sleep the past two nights. I got less than 7 hours of sleep both Monday and Tuesday night. This left me tired on Tuesday morning, and extremely tired this morning. I felt the need to take a nap over my lunch hour. Understanding that this is a waste of time during my day, I would like to get enough sleep at night to wake up refreshed and energized. However, I honestly can't remember the last time that I woke up energized. Even when I do get 8 hours of solid sleep, I often wake up sluggish, and never wake up "energized". Maybe this has something to do with medication that I am taking. I've spoken to my doctor about this before on numerous occasions, but I've never come away with a satisfactory remedy. Could my diet be the culprit? I'd be the first to admit that my diet is nowhere near what could be considered healthy. However, I have been getting an adequate amount of exercise. Monday night, I th…

Streaming Audio

I just clicked on one of the items in my IE Favorites folder titled "Radio Station Guide." This was a selection available in my favorites folder when the computer was given to me at work. I think that it was a default selection that IE ships with the browser.

Right now, I am listening to an NPR feed over the Internet!

Some of the stations on the "My Radio" page are listed as "Net Only", and others are listed with an actual location.

The streaming audio that I am listening to right now has a little bit of an echo, but I can understand plainly what is being said. If the Pirates ever start playing well, I wouldn't mind subscribing to MLB.COM radio again. I could actually listen to games at work on my computer.