2009/02/18

Book Meme

The Headmistress posted the following list, which seems to me to contain fiction--school-assigned fiction--disproportionately. Why so much Dickens and so little Melville? Why Arthur Conan Doyle and not Saki or O. Henry? Among moderns, why Margaret Atwood and Alice Walker and not Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and/or Chinua Achebe? Why on Earth would anyone choose to include Frank Herbert's Dune over Karl Capek's RUR or The War with the Newts? Why Gabriel Garcia Marquez and not Jorge Luis Borges? How 'bout a list of non-fiction classics?

Anyway...
Bold those you have read. Italicize those you intend to read.
My responses, with comments.
Mostly, I'm doing this so my siblings can humiliate me through their vastly greater acquaintance with this canon.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (Sorry. I do not like magic).
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 1984 - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (In high school. Magazine publishers paid Dickens by the word, and it shows).
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (A 9-11 Truther before his time).
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (One day).
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot (I suppose. My wise older sister recommends George Eliot, but then, she likes Dickens, too).
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (A Hindu street vendor in Singapore saw my copy of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment and recommended Tolstoy's War and Peace: "Leo Tolstoy is a very pious man.")
25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (I recommend)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (What's the bid deal with Steinbeck?)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (You'd have to pay me).
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (I preferred The Inheritors).
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (Pompous trash).
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (In high school. I liked it at the time. Not anymore).
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley ( I recommend).
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov (One day, maybe)
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (Infantile fantasy).
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (I recommend).
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (Fluff).
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

2009/02/02

Teacher Standards Board

They're at it again. The Hawaii Legislature started hearing bills. The fun never stops in the Education committees. Senator Norman Sakamoto serves as Senate Education committee chair.

Please DO NOT support SB 142 Senate Bill 142, Section I constructs a false history of the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board. It asserts:
1 In 2001, the legislature transferred
2 responsibility for licensing teachers from the department of
3 education to the Hawaii teacher standards board. The transfer
4 was based on recommendations from the Hawaii Policy Group of the
5 National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, a national
6 organization with twenty-three partner states, including Hawaii.
First misrepresentation: Participation in NCTAF by individuals or organizations within the State of Hawaii does not make Hawaii a member or partner of NCTAF, any more than churches are members or partners of State governments.
By authorizing the board to assume responsibility for teacher
8 licensing, the legislature sought to strengthen the teaching
9 profession by making the board self-governing and accountable
10 for teachers who obtain and maintain licenses in Hawaii.
Second misrepresentation: In the initial legislation, the Teacher Standards Board was a non-cost bill which proposed a temporary Board, which was to develop licensing criteria for new-hire teachers and then to go out of business. The initial legislation did not empower the Board to revoke licenses of teachers already in service or to charge teachers already in service for the privilege of being less secure in their jobs. 3000 teachers signed a petition against this expansion of the Board's powers.

The initial legislation mandated a nine-member Board, with four members from the HSTA, three from the HGEA, one from the College of Education (the UHPA is an NEA subsidiary) and one member from the Board of Education. Counting the UHPA member, the NEA has a majority on the Board. Counting the HGEA, public-sector unions dominate the Board eight-to-one. This places the public-sector unions in a very convenient conflict of interest situation: any teacher whom the HGEA and HSTA find inconvenient can be terminated through revocation of her license, with no consequent obligation by the union to defend her. It is as though the Legislature has given to a board of lawyers the power to determine which clients lawyers on retainer must defend. Basically, the Teacher Standards Board empowwers the HSTA to renege on its contractural obligation to defend teachers.

The Board's performance standards for teachers required that teachers develop coherent sequences of lessons, that they adapt lessons to individual learning styles, and that they take advantage of spontaneous opportunities for instruction. These are all good ideas, but they are inconsistent, and so cannot qualify as "standards". The Board required that teachers align instruction to the DOE's curriculum content and student performance standards. The "standards" to which this requirement referred were those of the Final Report of the Hawaii State Commission on Content and Performance Standards (the "Blue Book") which the DOE abandoned after three years as complicated, contradictory, and vague. My point here is that the members of the Teacher Standards Board would not know a standard if you dropped one on their toes.

The Teacher Standards Board requires that teachers have degrees from an accredited teacher preparation program. No statistical, empirical evidence supports such a restriction.

The Teacher Standards Board has supported salary enhancements for teachers with National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification. No statistical, empirical evidence supports such a policy.

The Value-Added Achievement Gains of NBPTS-Certified Teachers in Tennessee:
A Brief Report
J. E. Stone, Ed.D.
College of Education
East Tennessee State University
Conclusion:
The findings of this study present a serious challenge to NBPTS's claims regarding its teacher quality standards and certification process. At the very least, they suggest that public expenditures on NBPTS certification and teacher bonuses should be suspended until it can be clearly and independently established that NBPTS certification delivers what it promises.

Abolish the Teacher Standards Board.