30 October 2014

Lawmaker Says 'Trickery' Slipped Common Core into Alaska School Districts

From the Alaska Dispatch News:

JUNEAU -- State Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, is on a mission to root out "Common Core," the new educational standards that have become a target of the tea party movement, from Alaska schools.

At a Wednesday hearing of the Joint Administrative Regulation Review Committee, chair Reinbold grilled Mike Hanley, commissioner of the Department of Education and Early Development.

Hanley said Alaska has adopted its own "Alaska Academic Standards," not the Common Core that many other states have adopted as part of a national education reform effort.

But Reinbold said those Alaska standards were so similar to the Common Core that they might as well be the same thing, and she spent much of the hearing trying to prove that, parsing previous Hanley statements on similarities and differences

"You were telling all the legislators that we weren't doing Common Core," she said. "We were being misled."

Local school districts around the state adopt the standards they want their students to strive for, and then select a curriculum to be taught that they think will help them get there.

But the Alaska Legislature last year adopted a prohibition on Hanley's department expending any money to implement Common Core. He told legislators at the time that the prohibition was meaningless because they weren't doing it anyway.

But Reinbold said she concluded the differences between the Alaska Academic Standards and Common Core were so slight that they were the same {snip}...
Some Alaska school districts, including Anchorage and Copper River, have adopted Common Core, while others have gone with the Alaska standards. Anchorage adopted the tougher standards before the state created its own.

Reinbold said the prohibition adopted by the Legislature barred that. She said "trickery" was used to keep on using Common Core despite the prohibition.

Many other districts are purchasing and using curriculum materials that are aligned to the national Common Core Standards, she said.

The argument, er, article continues, here.

When You Light a Stove with Gasoline

A tragic story from Homer, in a copyright story at KTUU Channel 2:

Homer man badly hurt after woodstove explosion, fire total home

An elderly Homer man was severely injured in an explosion and fire that destroyed his home Wednesday morning, Alaska State Troopers say.

In a Wednesday afternoon AST dispatch, troopers say responded alongside crews from the Anchor Point, Homer and Kachemak Emergency Service Area fire departments to the Diamond Ridge blaze at about 9:15 a.m.

“Investigation revealed the 88-year-old male owner of the residence attempted to start a fire in a wood stove using gasoline,” troopers wrote. “There was an explosion and the home was subsequently consumed by fire.”

Troopers say the man was taken to Central Peninsula Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The $160,000 residence was a total loss in the blaze.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the man, and we hope he recovers quickly.

Our Next Vacation

Younger Daughter has just booked her first vacation alone, and is three-quarters jazzed about it. The other quarter is a bit of apprehension, but she'll be fine.

That inspired us to book a vacation for ourselves, a month sooner than we'd planned. But when one of your favorite places in the world has a 20%-off sale, AND the airfare is discounted for that same period, then ... well, you know.

Seriously, the airfare and hotel combined is less this time than just for the hotel in previous trips.

It's hard to say no to a deal like that, so we didn't.  :)

29 October 2014

Alaskan Scenery

for those of you who've requested more, recently.

The place where the southern Chugach Mountains become the northern Kenai Mountains

Nicely forested hiking trail on a lower mountainside

A view from the trail, looking ... southeast, I think.

Ye olde walking trail, nicely groomed for those in sneakers (snicker!)

Another view from the trail

... and again

All from the Girdwood area, near the Alyeska Resort. Photos were taken at the end of May.

Wheelchair Doesn't Limit South High Riflery Coach

When Eric Hollen became the new riflery coach at South High, he called a friend who was uniquely qualified to give him advice -- UAF riflery coach Dan Jordan, who has coached the Nanooks to three NCAA national championships in the last nine seasons.

Jordan said he gave Hollen two tips. First, he offered technical advice, because Hollen’s expertise is pistol shooting, not rifle shooting. Second, he told him that not everyone who joins a high school riflery team wants to be an Olympian, so keep expectations mellow and make sure the kids are having fun.

Jordan never once mentioned the obvious, the thing an observer couldn’t miss if watching either man run a practice. Jordan, a silver medalist in rifle shooting at the 2008 Paralympics, never said a word about what it’s like to coach from a wheelchair.

Read the rest here.