Saturday, December 29, 2007

Publications in 2007

Here's my wrap up of published articles for the year. I had a number of articles and reviews in Carolina Journal, including one front page feature and four exclusives which also went online. The online edition provoked the most immediate responses, including one that was republished by a local paper before CJ even hit the street, and another that jarred loose a return phone call from an organization accused of unethical conduct -- too late, of course.

A couple of stories seemed to have a positive impact as well. The story about misuse of Wake County school buses prompted an immediate change in their rental policies. My interview with officials at College Board may have alerted them to a problem in the Advanced Placement audit program.

While Carolina Journal is my major publisher, I also had articles published or referenced in Conservative Citizen, The Wilson Daily Times, the NCHE Greenhouse Report, and The Inner Banks Eagle; I was also an invited journalist to cover the 2nd N.C. Conservative Leadership Conference, blogging on my political journal Five Points.


Charter Uses Travel to Educate (Carolina Journal, Jan '07; Wilson Daily Times, 12/30/06) Sallie B. Howard School of the Arts and Education is a charter school in Wilson, serving a majority of African American students challenged both economically and academically. From its inception in 1997, Sallie B. Howard has placed educational travel as the centerpiece of its programs. ... While other schools may sponsor trips to Florida, New York City, or even a senior cruise for their high school students, Sallie B. Howard School just took 10 middle-school students and six chaperones 7,000 miles to China. ...

Federal Survey Doesn't Concern Homeschool Parent (Carolina Journal, Mar '07)
When Joyce and Ron Smith of Concord received a letter from the U.S. Department of Education asking them to respond to a survey about their children’s homeschooling, they contacted their state organization before they agreed to participate. “I’ve never been contacted for something like this before,” Joyce said. “I just wanted to be sure this wasn’t an attempt to increase regulations against home schoolers.”

Smithfield man scours Pacific for Buffalo Soldier legacy (Carolina Journal, Apr '07)
Joseph Avery's great grandfather still bore the scars of beatings received as a slave when in 1913, he purchased land along the dirt road from Smithfield to Raleigh. Avery moved his family 400 miles to live on part of the land his ancestor purchased with bales of cotton, and he now crosses the Pacific to help strangers reclaim part of their own heritage -- the legacy of American "Buffalo Soldiers" who stayed in the Phillippines after serving in the Spanish-American War.

Public Schools Could Start Earlier If State Senate Agrees (Carolina Journal, May '07)
Public schools might once again open as early as Aug. 8 if the N.C. Senate agrees to a bill passed by the House. It won’t happen without a fight, though, as grass-roots organizers plan to continue their efforts to preserve a traditional summer break for students.

The Message (Conservative Citizen, Summer '07)
There are the official topics, and [then] there are the issues, which show up more pervasively than the agenda suggests. At last year’s Conservative Leadership Conference, it was the need to do something about illegal immigration. From many of the featured speakers, this year’s theme would have been, "Get over it and get to work."

Program Teaches Studens the Work of Historians (Carolina Journal, Jun '07)

School teachers complain that "No Child Left Behind" places all the attention on math and reading scores, pushing other subjects to the side. However, a program outside the Department of Public Instruction, run largely with volunteers and private donations, is a exciting and effective promotion of the subject of history -- by teaching young students the tools and processes of academic historians. Tar Heel Junior Historians is a project of the N. C. Museum of History, and it has been growing for more than 54 years.

Wake School Buses Used For Lobbying Trip (Carolina Journal, Jul '07)

When a bill that would “restore flexibility to the school calendar” went before the House Education Committee in March, opponents of the measure were surprised to find more than 200 public school administrators from around the state in the committee room. Opponents were even more surprised to learn the school officials had been ferried from a convention in Durham County in a convoy of Wake County school buses.

Families Using Non-Public Schools Save Taxpayers Money (Carolina Journal, Aug '07)

N. C. parents who teach their children at home or use privately-funded schools are saving the state's taxpayers significant money each year -- as much as $1 billion annually, according to some estimates.

Colleges Assess Changes in SAT (Carolina Journal, Oct '07)
The SAT was changed in 2005 to add an essay section. While it is now a required part of the college entrance exam, North Carolina colleges and universities differ on the significance of the new scores.

Less May Be More (Carolina Journal, Nov '07)
A recent report by the John Locke Foundation's Dr. Terry Stoops found that simply adding instructional time does not guarantee better educational results. In fact, some international data suggests the opposite may be true in some places.

Historical Presentations Change At National Parks (Carolina Journal, Nov '07)
Heard something strange at your last visit to a National Park? It may be because the Park Service is highly dependent on volunteers and temporary rangers, and those rangers are expected to develop their own presentations from just a short list of bullet points. Chief rangers admit that sometimes very peculiar interpretations make it into the tour experience before supervisors discover it.

New AP Course Audit Adds Burdens (Carolina Journal, Dec '07)
In an attempt to control unauthorized use of the "Advanced Placement" name on transcripts, College Board now requires prior approval of the syllabus used by each individual AP teacher. Besides creating a paperwork burden, the new audit program is having trouble dealing with homeschoolers and private tutors, and the question is raised whether the approval process will lead to a national curriculum as college admissions officers place increasing emphasis on AP coursework.

Book Reviews

A Mormon in the White House? 10 Things Every American Needs To Know About Mitt Romney by Hugh Hewitt (Carolina Journal, May '07)
Hugh Hewitt makes a strong case that Mitt Romney has the experience and the skills needed to be an effective chief executive. However, Hewitt completely loses his cool over the fear that evangelicals might not embrace a prominent member of a religious movement they find antithetical to their own deepest beliefs, calling them un-American, un-Christian, and bigots.

Michael Beschloss, Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989 (Carolina Journal, Jul '07)
Many presidents have grappled with depression, self-doubt, abandonment, and isolation when dealing with the critical issues of their administration. Washington limited himself to two terms because he was sick of dealing with the infighting in his administration; Truman offered to run as Eisenhower's vice president rather than face his own re-election campaign. Beschloss shows that such feelings are common to high leadership, and the most successful presidents find their way through it, often with no one's knowledge.

Ronald Reagan (Donald Brinkley, ed.), The Reagan Diaries (Carolina Journal, Aug '07)
The very personal and highly readable memoir of a man with nothing to hide. The Reagan sitting alone at his desk jotting in his journal was the same one we saw on television. Inspiring, enlightening, entertaining; I was captured by the end papers, which duplicated Reagan's handwritten account of his attempted assassination experience.

Steve Gill, The Fred Factor: How Fred Thompson May Change The Face of the '08 Campaign (Carolina Journal, Dec '07)
A book being quickly overtaken by events, as election-year biographies will. The former senator may well be the most consistent conservative in the '08 election but if things don't heat up with Team Thompson soon he'll be back on Law and Order in a few months.

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