Quick Hits

Welcome to another edition of “Quick Hits,” a post that deals with a variety of issues that just don’t have enough “meat” in them to make separate post. This week, our “Rule 5” lady is none other than Annette Funicello, whose long career in movies, records and tv went from being on the “Micky Mouse Club” to starring in beach movies with Frankie Avalon.

We have to admit that the old “beach movies” are a guilty pleasure of ours. They have no real plot other than to put Fankie and Annette on the screen together at the beach where they can frolic and sing.

Those movies were made in a different time and for a different audience than today. In many ways, that is a shame, but time marches on.

We have to wonder what the “gang” of those frolicking crazy kids would do now that the County of Los Angeles has outlawed throwing a ball or frisbee on the beach.

The Board of Supervisors this week agreed to raise fines to up to $1,000 for anyone who throws a football or a Frisbee on any beach in Los Angeles County.

In passing the 37-page ordinance on Tuesday, officials sought to outline responsibilities for law enforcement and other public agencies while also providing clarification on beach-goer activities that could potentially disrupt or even injure the public.

The updated rules now prohibit “any person to cast, toss, throw, kick or roll” any object other than a beach ball or volleyball “upon or over any beach” between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Well, at least you can take the kids to the beach and dig in the sand and make sandcastles..



the ordinance also prohibits digging any hole deeper than 18 inches into the sand except where permission is granted for film and TV production services only.

TV Station KHOU managed to get a high school diploma for a basset hound. In doing a story on “diploma mills” in the state of Texas, the station decided to sign “Molly,” a basset hound owned by one of their photographers, up for diploma certification course. After some help (the station admits they cheated on the test by helping Molly with the answers) Molly passed the diploma certification test. For $600 Molly was then sent a high school diploma.

The story illustrates a problem in Texas of diploma mills generating diplomas just to make money. The problem is a serious one and needs to be addressed.

However with the EEOC’s ruling on high school diplomas may not be used to exclude a certain class of applicants for a job, it may be that Molly did not even need the diploma. We expect her to start as a desk anchor for the station in the near future.

From our “American Education Failure Department” comes the story out of New Mexico, where schools are being graded on such a curve that 70% is now considered an “A.”

The Department of Education looked at different areas of each school including including academic growth, attendance rates and graduation rates and gave out a certain number of points with a maximum number of points being 100. The plan was to look at the scores and assign a letter grade of “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” to each school.

The Department of Education changed the system from the one used in the “No Child Left Behind Act” because too many schools were failing under that grading system.

“Last year we had 87 percent of our schools failing according to “No Child Left Behind,” [Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera] said. “I don’t believe 87 percent of our schools are failing.”

So what the Secretary of Education believes is more important than the actual grades. Even students see how shallow and ridiculous that is:

“That’s not fair,” said Jaclyn Jacobsen, a student at Sandia High School in Albuquerque. “Because if we get like a 59 or below, we get ‘Fs.’ ”

This year, the letter grade results are much better because the schools were graded on a curve. The school system arbitrarily said the top 10% of the grades schools obtained would receive an “A.” The grades for the rest of the schools would be based on that starting point for the curve.

How warped is the new system of grading on a curve?

Under the new system, 73 of New Mexico’s 831 schools received “As,” but just four of those schools scored a 90 or above. Of the 260 schools that received “Cs,” only 19 of them actually would have received a passing grade when measured under the traditional scale.

This appears to be another case of the fox guarding the educational hen house. The New Mexico Department of Education didn’t like the results when using one system, so they changed the criteria. When the new criteria showed the same thing as the old criteria, they changed the grades.


Educational success!

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