Reflection: Online Resources Why Not Wikipedia?: Using Databases for Research - Section 2: What are Databases and Why Should Students Use them Instead of Wikipedia?


I originally titled this reflection "Politicians Who Suck the Joy Out of Teaching and Seek to Rewrite History." I was advised by my BL coach that my point does seem to get a wee politicized--I might suggest toning it down. To that I say, "I intend to get political, and I stand behind my comments." Here's my original reflection: 

Tom Luna is not a teacher. He has never taught. He has no degree in education. His degree is from an online program. Luna is a politician in the mold of Michelle Rhee and others whose brand of politics I loathe. Luna pushed Draconian education reform through the Idaho legislature and teachers in Idaho, with the help of the NEA, fought to overturn the legislation. As a consequence, Luna will not be running for another term as the state superintendent of public instruction. 

I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to use Melissa McGrath's rewrite of Luna's biography on Wikipedia as an example that is relevant to students. Doing so provided important information about the single individual who is responsible for wasting taxpayer money paying for every junior in the state to take the SAT, although all state universities require the ACT. 

Tom Luna is a politician who believes parents should have the primary responsibility for evaluating teachers in our state, although most lack specific expertise about education. Luna believes in VAM's, which have consistently been shown to have no correlation to student learning and are an ineffective and a false way of evaluating teachers. 

When I reflect on what makes teaching more challenging now than ever, it's people like Tom Luna who pop into my mind. His policies have resulted in a migration of teachers from the state, and his legacy is that we are dead last in per pupil expenditures. 

As language arts teachers, it's our job to help make students vigilant consumers of online information; by doing this we can help protect our profession from the Tom Lunas in our midst. 

The comments I make are my own and not those of BL or its associates. I speak from my professional experience. If I don't comment, I give tacit consent for "education reforms" that I believe are antithetical to excellent teaching and downright harmful to students. Let's get political. Let's do it now. Others do and they have no ethos on which to base their opinions. That's a point on which I'll stand and on which I'll encourage students to implement the CRAAP test. 

  Let's Get Political; Those with No Ethos Peddle Their Political Opinions about Our Profession
  Online Resources: Let's Get Political; Those with No Ethos Peddle Their Political Opinions about Our Profession
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Why Not Wikipedia?: Using Databases for Research

Unit 11: Making Discoveries: Research-Based Writing
Lesson 5 of 11

Objective: SWBAT research using databases.

Big Idea: "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" --Albert Einstein

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