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It’s time to register

If your child will be 5 on or before Aug. 31, it's almost time to register for kindergarten.

Spokane Public Schools will begin registration on March 2. 

Central Valley School District kindergarten registration begin on March 5.

Families can register at their neighborhood elementary schools in the appropriate district.

What you'll need: a birth certificate or other verification of age, proof of residency and the student’s immunization records.

Bill to help get kids outside gets hearing in Olympia

OUTDOOR EDUCATION — A Senate committee will hold a hearing today, Feb. 11, at 1:30 p.m. on “No Child Left Inside,” a bipartisan bill (SB 5843) that provides $1.3 million for programs to get kids to away from their screens and back outdoors. 

A media release from the bill’s introduction by Sens. Ranker (D-Orcas Island) and Parlette (R-Wenatchee) note's that Washington’s NCLI has inspired federal legislation of the same name. 

Scheduled to testify at today's hearing are:

  • Oak Rankin of Darrington, whose community was devastated by the Oso landslide in 2014. This bill would enable funding for programs such as the Darrington Youth Outdoor STEM Pilot Project  which helps students learn about local natural resources.
  • Joshua Brandon, a veteran and program manager for Project Cohort, a program designed to support veterans’ mental health, in part through outdoor activities. The legislation’s grant program encourages funding for programs that tap veterans for program implementation or administration.
  • Courtney Aber who heads up YMCA’s BOLD & GOLD programs (Boys Outdoor Leadership Development & Girls Outdoor Leadership Development)
  • Martin LeBlanc of IslandWood, the Bainbridge Island-based outdoor education organization
  • Marc Berejka from REI

Education headline roundup

Education offers a variety of interesting stories. The following are a few headlines from around the country.

Orlando Sentinel: Weird Testing Rules: No Flushing Toilets, Please - http://bit.ly/1wsjV8s

Hechinger Report: New York school beats the odds by “going rogue” on Common Core - http://bit.ly/14hlgax

Atlantic Monthly: Science, in the words of Alan Alda - http://theatln.tc/1ywGDlu

New York Times: Ban on Cellphones in New York City Schools to Be Lifted - http://nyti.ms/1wVh6f9

Everett Herald: Survey finds favor among voters for Inslee tax plans - http://bit.ly/1AsVtu2

Birding, fly fishing programs presented this week

 OUTGROUPS – Inland Northwest outdoors groups have drummed up some good stuff for their monthly free programs. Among this week’s offerings are:

• Trans-America touring and local bicycling programs will be discussed by three speakers, 6:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 10, at Riverview Retirement Center, 2117 E. North Crescent Ave., for Spokane Bicycle Club.

• Climate change impacts on Palouse Praire ecosystems, by Sanford Eigenbrode, professor in the University of Idaho's Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences program, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11, at Lutheran Church of the Master, 4800 N. Ramsey Road in Coeur d’Alene, for Coeur d’Alene Audubon.

• Fly Auction, anglers donate hand-tied fly patterns for auction to benefit local fishing education and fisheries conservation programs, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12, at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, for Spokane Fly Fishers.

• "Exploring South America — The Bird Continent", by Lucila Castro and Peter Morrison of the Pacific Biodiversity Institute, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Riverview Retirement Center, for Spokane Audubon.

University Of Idaho hold symposium on energy in the West


​The inaugural Idaho Symposium on Energy in the West, a new collaborative event series presented by the University of Idaho College of Law, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at Idaho National Laboratories and the Energy Policy Institute at Boise State University, will be held Nov. 13-14, 2014, at the Sun Valley Inn and Conference Center in Sun Valley, Idaho. The topic of the series’ first meeting will be “Transmission and Transport of Energy in the Western U.S. and Canada: A Law and Policy Roadmap to 2050.” Meeting topics will include the future of transmission and transport in the oil and gas, wind, solar and electricity markets; regional energy planning; effects of proposed EPA power plant regulations; distributed generation and models of state utility regulation.



Confirmed speakers include some of the nation’s leading energy law scholars. In addition, an emerging scholars’ panel will provide a forum for younger voices, and a panel on careers in energy law will engage law school students.

Outdoor groups revive monthly programs

OUTTEACH  – After a summer hiatus, Inland Northwest outdoors groups are reviving monthly free programs. Among this week’s offerings are:

  • Bicycling Trans-Washington, 6:30 p.m., Monday, at Riverview Retirement Center, 2117 E. North Crescent Ave., for Spokane Bicycle Club.
  • Audubon Adventures, birding and nature activities for kids grades 3-5, by Eula Hickam, 7 p.m., Tuesday, (Sept. 9) at Lutheran Church of the Master, 4800 N. Ramsey Road in Coeur d’Alene, for Coeur d’Alene Audubon.
  • Fishing Local Lakes, by Jeff Voigt, 7 p.m., Wednesday, at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, for Spokane Fly Fishers.
  • Washington Loons, by Ginger Gumm, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, at Riverview Retirement Center, for Spokane Audubon.

See map and directions to Riverview Retirement Center auditorium, which is  used by several groups for free monthly programs.

Court asked not to sanction Lege over school funding

OLYMPIA – The Supreme Court should not go down a “slippery slope” and punish the Legislature because it didn’t come up with a complete plan earlier this year to improve public schools, the state attorney general’s office said.

Although the public education is the state’s “paramount” duty, it is not the only duty, and the Legislature still has to pay for programs for public health, safety and welfare, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and a group of senior assistants said this week in their last written argument before all sides in the case appear before the state’s highest court next Wednesday. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Travel: Explore Ann Arbor

    If I told you I’d gone to the city to see a few shows, listen to some impressive live music, catch a cutting-edge film festival, spend time in world-class museums, and chow down on an astonishingly diverse and multicultural dining scene including Cuban, Ethiopian, Mexican, Italian, Asian and Turkish food, you’d probably assume I was talking about a big city. Somewhere like Chicago or Seattle or New York.

 

    When when I tell you I did all that in Ann Arbor, Michigan, you should pay attention. 

 

    Ann Arbor, with a population of around 116,000 and home to sports and academic powerhouse, University of Michigan, rivals big urban destinations in terms of food, entertainment, and culture.

 

    I spent a few days looking, tasting, and exploring. Here’s a roundup of my favorites:

 

Feed Your Mind

    

    Ann Arbor boasts a number of superior museums. The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) offers an impressive collection of fine art and artifacts. Two of my favorite pieces were the Samurai armor in the Asian collection and John Stanley’s “Mt. Hood from the Dalles”, a beautiful landscape painted in 1871 with an iconic view of Mt. Hood from the Columbia River. 

    Another fascinating stop is the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. This state-of-the-art facility, housed in an exquisite Victorian-era Romanesque building complete with turret and Tiffany window, is centered around the late-19th Century and early-20th Century collection of it’s namesake, Francis Kelsey. Some highlights of the more than 100,000 artifacts include Roman glassware, Egyptian masks, and an elaborate sarcophagus. The coffin’s owner, the missing Mummy Djehutymose, has his own popular Twitter feed and Facebook page.

    The nearby Gerald Ford Library Museum and archives is also worth a visit. Primarily a holding place for more than 25 million pages of historical documents pertaining to Ford’s political career and the Cold War era, the center offers an intriguing view of the man, including the story of Ford’s birth and childhood.

 

 

 

Taste the World

    My first meal in Ann Arbor, a Cuban burger and batida ( a frozen concoction of mango, pinaeapple, scoop of ice cream and a splash of dark rum) and a basket of what may be the best fries I’ve ever tasted, at Frita Batidas, set the tone for the rest of the week. Everything was delicious and often unexpected. Some of my other favorites were the Ethiopian Injera (soft bread) and Gomen (collard greens cooked with spices, onions and jalapeno peppers) at Blue Nile and lamb-stuffed grape leaves and cold vegetable salads at Ayse’s Turkish Cafe. Of course, no visit to Ann Arbor counts unless you stop by world-famous Zingerman’s Deli. For beer lovers, there are a growing number of microbreweries in the area and you won’t regret a day spent tasting local brews.

 

Always Entertaining

     Football may draw the crowds in the fall, but Ann Arbor hosts large events throughout the year. Seasonal favorites include the winter Folk Festival, a springtime FestiFools puppetry and public art festival, and a three-week summer festival with art, music, food, and film.  

 

Treasure Hunting

    The number of antiques, collectibles and vintage shops within walking distance of Main Street was a nice surprise. Treasure Mart, in the Kerrytown area near the farmer’s market and Zingerman’s Deli, is a rambling historic building full of all kinds of interesting things. Some of the rooms are decorated and arranged like an antiques mall, others are crammed with goodies strewn on tabletops or piled in corners just waiting to be discovered. 

    Located in the Nickles Arcade, a 1918 covered passage lined with unique shops that make the place feel like a bit of Paris in the mid-west, The Arcadian antiques is a jewel box. Crystal and china line the shelves and the store stocks fine antique furniture, but the highlight is a collection of beautiful estate jewelry.  I watched a couple shop for wedding rings, trying to choose from trays of lovely old diamonds and gemstones.

    I did a lot of window shopping but I didn’t come home empty-handed. At Antelope Antiques and Coins, a funky store on the lower level of a downtown building. I plucked an autographed photo of Woody Herman ($10) out of a box of old photos and postcards, and did a little happy dance when I found a Waterford goblet in my (somewhat obscure) "Kylemore" pattern, for only $15.

 

    Like most travelers, I have a fantasy “I could live here” list in my head made up of places I’ve been and couldn’t forget. After this first visit, Ann Arbor moved to the top of the list. A robust arts scene, a vibrant main street, an energetic farm-to-table movement and a cosmopolitan foodie-friendly ethos, paired with a dedication to preserving the past, makes Ann Arbor, Michigan hard to resist. 

 

Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the U.S. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

 

Send your kids to “wildlife” camp near Coeur d’Alene

NATURE — WREN, a Coeur d'Alene-based environmental education and conservation nonprofit organization, is accepting applications for its July 11-12 wildlife camp for youths ages 11-13.

The campers will meet in Coeur d'Alene before heading to wildlife education field trips in the lower Coeur d'Alene River chain lakes one day and Farragut State Park on the other.

Instructors are professional wildlife biologists and educators.  Fun, hands-on activities include field trips, live raptors, a butterfly survey and outdoor games. 

A living history presentation about the animals Lewis & Clark discovered and other features are new for this year’s camp.  Students will also explore wildlife tracking and bird identification.  They will learn how scientists study wild animals and their habitats.  

Pre-registration is required.  Cost: $75. 

Info:Jenny Taylor, (208) 755-4216. 

Idaho school spending cuts through recession were deepest in the nation

Idaho led the nation for cuts in per-student public school spending through the recession, according to an analysis by ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight blog, spending 12.3 percent less per student in the 2011-12 school year than in 2008-09. That’s using inflation-adjusted figures. New Mexico came in second with an 11.9 percent cut, and just four other states, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and California, had cuts of more than 10 percent. Thirteen states actually increased per-student spending during that time period, led by North Dakota with a 7.7 percent increase and New Hampshire with 6 percent. Washington showed a decrease of 5.7 percent; Utah had a cut of 8.9 percent; Oregon was down 9.7 percent; and Montana saw a 2.7 percent cut.

Ben Casselman, chief economics writer for FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site, analyzed the figures and found that overall, the states that already spent less per student, like Idaho and Utah, made the biggest cuts. You can see his full post here.

NEWTECH Skill Center gets EnviroStars certification

Good news from the Spokane River Forum: The first school in Spokane County to do so, NEWTECH Skill Center has earned an environmental certification typically given to businesses.

EnviroStars certifies businesses whose practices and policies reduce and properly manage hazardous waste and conserve resources. Because NEWTECH functions like 13 different businesses under one roof, the Department of Health approached NEWTECH with the idea of having the programs which deal with hazardous waste go through the certification process.

The auto technology, collision repair, veterinary science and dental careers programs all earned the EnviroStars certification. Custodian Tim Petty helped oversee the certification process.

Friday Quote: “Shop class deserves a more prominent role in schools”

​Last week I wrote for TreeHugger about how bringing back an updated version of Home Economics class in schools could benefit all children by teaching them important life skills. Similarly, I think that shop class for both boys and girls should have a more prominent role in the education system, since there are many advantages to knowing how to work with one’s hands. I’m not the only one who thinks this way. According to an article in the Boston Globe, “Some educators resist giving woodshop the chop,” some American schools are regretting their decision to get rid of woodshops in the 1990s in order to make room for new technology-based learning.

Shop class is wonderful for students who don’t learn well in traditional academic settings. It allows students to be active and to produce tangible, functional results. Doug Stowe, a woodworker and teacher from Arkansas, has a blog called “Wisdom the Hands,” dedicated to the concept that hands are essential to learning. “Does working with your hands make you smarter? Woodworking teachers have observed that effect for years.” Stowe points out on his blog that “students need to find ways to cope under difficult circumstances,” and shop class offers a unique setting for them to de-stress by working with their hands.

Idaho K-12 Cuts Among US Steepest

During the recession, Idaho’s public school budget cuts were among the deepest in the nation. And while Idaho’s 2013-14 public school budget included a $28.6 million increase, the added money merely kept pace with inflation and enrollment growth. These are two findings from a national study, released this month by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit think tank. The center’s reports put Idaho’s K-12 cuts into national perspective; Idaho is among at least 34 states that are spending less per pupil than they did in 2008-09. And the report comes just as Idaho education stakeholders are making a concerted push to reverse K-12 budget cuts — with initial support from Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna/Kevin Richert, The EDge, IdahoED News. More here.

Thoughts?

UI’s Fire Ecology and Management Receives National Academic Certification

The University of Idaho is blazing the trail for fire ecology programs across the nation. The program received national academic certification by the Association for Fire Ecology.

UI’s program is one of the first fire degree programs to receive the national certification and will serve as a model for other higher education programs. The program has grown quickly and now enrolls about 100 undergraduate students from around the country.

“The wildland fire ecology and management program educates tomorrow’s students and professionals in wildland fire. The faculty also has a strong emphasis on peer-reviewed research on the physical, ecological and social aspects of wildland fire. I am proud that our program is a national leader in fire education and research,” said Kurt Pregitzer, dean of the UI College of Natural Resources.

For more than 35 years, the College of Natural Resources has been a leader in wildland fire education and research. The wildland fire program offers more courses focused on fire than any other natural resources school in the country.

Otter: Education is state’s #1 economic priority

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has sent a guest opinion out to Idaho newspapers declaring that education is the state's top economic priority. “We have a variety of incentive programs designed to foster business opportunities in Idaho, but the most important thing we’re able to provide is our people,” the governor writes. “Idahoans are creative, resourceful and hard working – exactly what growing businesses need. But we also need to provide graduates who are prepared. Education is the key to higher-paying jobs. Full story.

Thoughts?

Hope Chests and Silver Spoons: How girls’ graduation gifts have changed

This past weekend in Spokane, thousands of high school seniors graduated and most received gifts from friends and family.

My daughter graduated this weekend, as well. And, just as it was with her siblings, our gift was a computer to take to school with her. It's a pretty common gift these days, a tool for study and work. Exactly what the contemporary student needs to succeed. But that wasn't always the case.

In the not-too-distant past, girls didn't get that kind of gift. Instead, they were given items that would prepare them for becoming wives and mothers. College was fine, but the real work came after they were awarded their 'Mrs.' degree. Later, in the 1960s and 70s, luggage became a popular graduation gift, suitable for a traveling coed, single working girl and (fingers crossed!) eventual honeymooner. Remember Mary Tyler Moore's matched set of white luggage?

I write a column about antiques and collectibles for Nostalgia Magazine each month. In the latest column I wrote about the tradition of Lane Furniture Company gifting high school senior girls with a miniature cedar chest to be used as a jewelry box. The hope was that soon they would be buying, or be given, a full-size 'hope chest' to fill with things they would need as wives and homemakers. Silver companies gave girls a miniature sterling spoon or knife, often fashioned into a pin, when they picked out a silver pattern.

Today the idea of a hope chest filled with household items, linens and lingere seems laughable. But it wasn't that long ago that young women were expected to marry young and set up housekeeping right away.

 

Tuesday Video: Students speak out on environmental concerns

This video comes from SxSW Eco last fall and it demonstrates the power of getting kids to understand and care about the environment.  During the conference, a group of well-informed students from the The Khabele School in Austin attended to learn about environmental issues and hear keynote speaker Philippe Cousteau. Here's what they said:




  

Inslee: Extend temporary taxes, close loopholes to spend more on schools

Gov. Jay Inslee explains his budget as students from Seattle's Cleveland High School look on.

OLYMPIA — The state should make temporary tax increases on beer and some business services permanent, cancel a variety of other tax breaks and spend an extra $1.2 billion on public schools, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday.

Standing in front of a group of Seattle high school students involved in a program to boost science and math skills, the governor released his first budget proposal. It’s a plan for expanded programs from pre-kindergarten to high school, designed to satisfy a state Supreme Court order to adequately fund public schools.

“We must do hard things. It’s the right thing to choose education over these tax breaks,” he said at a press conference to announce his spending plan for the 2013-15 budget cycle.

The proposal met quick resistance from Senate Republicans, who will likely release the first full budget in the Legislature next week. It will not propose tax increases or ending the tax exemptions Inslee proposed, Sen. Mark Schoesler of Ritzville, the Senate Republican leader, said. . .

 To continue reading about the budget propsal, and reaction, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

SpokeFest grant opportunity gets kids on bikes

Effective this Friday, SpokeFest Association is accepting applications for its Bicycle Education and Safety Grant Fund, a very successful and inspiring program. Grants will be awarded to schools and 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that have a project which the organization can complete in a defined period of time. All projects must promote bicycle safety and education.

SR photo by Dan Pelle. That's Micah Reed, 10, and other Broadway Elementary School students testing out their bikes during the Central Valley School District’s Elementary Bicycle Safety Program at Broadway, Aug. 30 2012. The school’s PE teacher, Katie Ferris, secured a grant for $6,100 from SpokeFest to purchase the bikes.

The've supported some great programs with their grant funds since 2010. A few examples:  

2010 – SpokeFest purchased 30 bikes and provided teacher training for the 4th through 6th grade physical education program for the East Valley School District.

2011-SpokeFest provided a grant to the East Kiwanis bicycle helmet giveaway (free) to all children in the area.

2012 –SpokeFest purchased 30 bikes and helmets for the Central Valley School District’s 4th and 5th grade bicycle education program to benefit 13 elementary schools. 

Otter on education

Gov. Otter signaled his intent to avoid a clash over quick action on education reform, recommending that a task force he is creating return with recommendations for action in 2014.


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/27/2393930/idaho-gov-otter-asks-for-a-year.html#storylink=twt#storylink=cpy

Following the Nov. 6 defeat of the three Otter-backed Students Come First laws, both Otter and other GOP leaders had suggest they might seek to act as soon as the 2013 session. Otter said he'd seen polling that indicated Idahoans agreed with that approach.

But leaders of the repeal came out firmly against immediate action, saying that all stakeholders needed to be consulted before any new changes are proposed.

Otter adopted a similar approach in an article sent to Idaho newspapers Thursday, in which he outlined how he hopes members of the task force are selected and quoted the president of the Idaho teachers' union, among others. Idaho Statesman  Read more.

Is it just me, or is government the only entity that considers creating a task force taking action? Does this bode well for the future education in Idaho?

 


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/27/2393930/idaho-gov-otter-asks-for-a-year.html#storylink=twt#storylink=cpy

 


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/12/27/2393930/idaho-gov-otter-asks-for-a-year.html#storylink=twt#storylink=cpy

Ex-Dem Exec Pushes Luna Laws

The latest campaign commercial in the fight over whether to repeal Idaho's controversial school reform laws is running statewide, including in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene market. John Foster, a lobbyist and political consultant who's behind the new “Parents for Education Reform” PAC that's running the ad, declined to identify its financial backers. “We'll file our disclosure reports at the appropriate time, but we're happy to receive enough support to get this ad off the ground, and hopefully do more,” Foster said. “This PAC is just one piece of a larger effort to spread the message of education reform in Idaho, and we'll be announcing more about that in the coming days. It's an effort that is not wholly about this campaign or this election season, it's bigger than that and will go beyond and past November”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Thoughts?

Urban Forestry gets additional grant for work at Palisades Park and Camp Sekani/Beacon Hill


On the heels of a $50,000 grant for a forest health project at High Drive Park
, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has granted an additional $70,000 to the City of Spokane Urban Forestry program for similar work at Palisades Park and Camp Sekani/Beacon Hill.

“The money will be used for contract work on thinning and pruning the forest. This will reduce the risk of intense, uncontrollable fires that would threaten adjacent homes and neighborhoods as well as the trees themselves,” said Guy Gifford, a forester with DNR.

“The thinning and pruning will also improve the forest health as the remaining trees will have more space, light, and moisture so they will be less susceptible to damage from pine bark beetles” he added.

A simply lovely statement

I love this guest columnist’s thoughts from today’s New York Times.  Education in America is at a crisis point. Some places get it right, while others simply warehouse kids until they reach 18-years-old.

And some people – like this writer - survive the system, and then flourish.

From Ta-Nehisi Coates’ column: “I can tell you everything that was wrong with my education — how cold pedagogy reduced the poetry of Macbeth to a wan hunt for hamartia, how the beautiful French language broke under rote vocabulary. But more than that, I can tell you what happens when education is decoupled from curiosity…”

The clock is ticking; we need to figure out how to inspire our children to learn about the world in which they live, not simply learn how to survive a broken system.

(S-R archives photo)

Friday Quote: “You are Brilliant and the Earth is Hiring.”

This is a much longer quote than usual but it’s well worth it. Below is the text of a commencement speech by Blessed Unrest author Paul Hawken at the University of Portland from May 3rd  in 2009. It’s incredibly moving and a clarion call for committed readers—- young and old. It's one of my all-time favorites and I think it's important to share as graduation approaches for many schools.  

Enjoy.



  

When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” No pressure there.
  

 

Let’s begin with the startling part. Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation… but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.

Join Spokane’s “Volunteers in Pruning”

Calling all tree fans: The Volunteers In Pruning - also knowns as VIP - program will train local tree fans on the ins and outs of pruning this Friday. You can learn about pruning objectives, tree biology, proper pruning cuts, and several types of pruning. The course will focus on training young trees for form and structure. This will include classroom learning followed by an outdoor hands-on training.

After completing this training, you will be able to work with the group on pruning projects identified by local foresters. This program is sponsored by Community Canopy and presented by Spokane Urban Forestry and the Spokane Conservation District.

Registration information after the jump.

Feedback on today’s column

"Your column today about the ignorance of young people was good and, of course, humorous," wrote retired teacher Jeff Brown. "But it also is a particular hot button of mine. We live in interesting times — runaway technology is proof positive that Eric Toffler was right with his concept of 'Future Shock.'

"That said, I have a standing offer/bet with detractors of modern education. Whenever someone complains that students are ignorant of — they seem to prefer history and/or geography — a particular piece of knowledge, you can be sure that piece of knowledge is something said detractor already possesses."

His bet? Take that critic of modern education. Then match him or her up against a randomly selected 16-year-old. "Find some piece of knowledge that NEITHER possesses. See which one of them finds the answer first. I'll bet on the 16 year old.

"A philosophical question for you: In this day and age, which is more important — having specific knowledge, or knowing how/where to find the knowledge?

"With information and data multiplying in quantum leaps, maybe it's not import for the 16-year-old to know where Samoa is located on a map if he has the ability to FIND OUT where it is.

"End of rant and GET OFF MY LAWN."      

Other states joining Idaho to defy No Child Left Behind requirements

It turns out that Idaho's not alone in vowing to ignore the latest requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act in an act of defiance against the federal government that demonstrates their growing frustration over an education program they say sets unrealistic benchmarks for schools, the Associated Press reports. Joining Idaho are Montana and South Dakota, while Kentucky is seeking a waiver from the law and other states are considering the issue. Click below to read a full report from AP reporters Jessie Bonner and Christine Armario.

Garfield Elementary works on water conservation


This is cool:  Spokane’s Water Stewardship program is working with the Garfield Elementary School and its APPLE program students to upgrade the faucets at Garfield Elementary School with automatic faucets that turn off when they aren’t needed.

How did they pay for this feature? The APPLE program students sold compact fluorescent light bulbs to raise money to help purchase 30 low flow automatic faucets for the school’s bathrooms. The City’s Water Stewardship program will contribute the rest of the money needed to pay for the faucets. Garfield Elementary maintenance staff will install the faucets over summer break.

Kid gives inspirational speech after learning to ride a bike

There are many reasons why I ride a bike - it keeps me healthy, it saves me money, it's good for the planet, and, most importantly, it's fun. Fun like being a kid again. I remember the thrill of learning to ride a bike when my mom pushed me forward and I finally rode by myself after numerous failed attempts, pedaling as fast as my little legs could carry my Huffy.

That memory makes this video even more special. So here's something for all the kids out there who are having a hard time learning to ride a bike. This young courageous rider explains "Believe in yourself… keep practicing and you'll keep getting better and better!" That applies to life in general but the dramatic closing music fits the trials of learning to riding a bike. I think it's from Braveheart.

Watch this amazing video after the jump.