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October 22, 2014 03:51 PM

Like it or not, the Common Core and the associated Smarter Balanced testing are on their way. As the Statesman Journal wrote last week, the Smarter Balanced test will cost Oregon about $4.5 million more than the old Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. 

As the story says:

Students are expected to master more critical thinking and problem solving skills under the new standards. They have to demonstrate that they understand concepts rather than just memorizing math equations, write opinion pieces at a younger age and more.

Changing student learning goals meant that states, including Oregon, needed a new test that would measure whether students were grasping these new standards.

"We believed very strongly that we wanted an assessment that had more student construction and writing and that those elements would require human scoring and would mean an assessment that was more expensive," said Crystal Greene, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Education.

In Portland, the school board has decided not to submit "acheivement compacts" connected to Smarter Balanced tests, meaning that Portland schools won't use the test scores to measure student achievement level. 

Here in Eugene School District 4J, the district has set up a series of information nights for parents who have questions about the Common Core. Tonight is the fourth and last session. 

According to 4J's website: 

Things are changing in your student’s classroom, in homework, and in assessments of his or her learning. Oregon and more than 40 other states across the country have developed and adopted shared academic expectations, called the Common Core State Standards. They are clear, consistent guidelines for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level in math and English language arts in order to be ready to graduate with an Oregon diploma, ready for college, careers and life. It’s all to help students develop the knowledge and higher-level thinking skills they need for their future success.

Tonight's session is 7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the cafeteria of Sheldon High School, 2455 Willakenzie Rd. 4J's website says that the sessions will start with an informative talk and then parents will break into groups. 

October 22, 2014 11:26 AM

Just for fun — If you are a fan of Criminal Minds, check out the BuzzFeed tribute to Matthew Gray Gubler, one of the most fasincating characters on TV today.


October 22, 2014 11:14 AM

Look for our elections and endorsements issue tomorrow (Thursday) with a surprise cover, a little flashback to 2005 for those who have been following us over the years. Meanwhile, we see the League of Women Voters has a new website covering the elections statewide.

October 20, 2014 07:44 PM

I missed their sets unfortunately but caught a couple of portraits of Bas and Tope.

October 20, 2014 10:42 PM

The finale of Eugene's 2014 Fashion Week event series, highlighted local boutique styles at the Ninkasi Admin building.

October 20, 2014 04:35 PM

Last week the Lane County Blood Bank sent EW an email that says, "Halloween is a great time to talk about blood and we’d like to bring some attention and educate your readers on the need for blood in our community."

Err, umm, yes, I suppose Halloween is a good time to talk about blood, now that you mention it. And nothing says Halloween like the Lane County Bloodmobile, right? 

You do have to give the Bloodbank points for a holiday-themed news peg. Plus the agency forever earned my affection when it began the "Pints for a Pint" donate blood and get a beer thing

The American Lung Association trumped the Bloodbank's vampire, zombie, blood, donate thing by sending me a bag of candy. Yup. Before I opened the enclosed card, I fell for it — assumed it was a bag o' kids treats. I was right about to throw the bag on a coworker's desk when out of the depths of my Monday mind I remembered that no one just sends a reporter candy. They want something. I opened the card. 

The American Lung Association didn't just send me some Starbursts, Rolos and Dum Dums. It also sent me some watermelon flavored nicotine liquid, rolling papers and a Swisher Sweet. 

Ironically the coworker whose desk I was cavalierly going to throw the bag of treats on has been trying to quit smoking for two weeks. I'm not sure the  grape flavored cigar wrapper would have amused him.

So there you are, if you want to get the word out, send an email about blood or send a goodie bag of candy and nicotine. Now go donate blood and don't let kids get hold of nicotine products that look like kids treats.

And I'm going to put the watermelon flavord nicotine vapor bottle on my shelf next to the organic personal lubricant (Good Clean Love) and the condoms (Center for Biological Diversity). 



October 20, 2014 07:24 PM

Full audio from the show can be downloaded at Seen & Heard.

October 15, 2014 01:56 PM

It’s been 13 years since Afroman released “Because I got High,” an ode about life in the slow (and forgetful) lane that could be heard defiantly wafting from many a college dorm room.

Today, via Weedmaps TV, Afroman has released a strategically timed reboot, or rather "Positive Remix," of the ditty, which now focuses on the plants’ benefits from improving glaucoma to easing anxiety to raising money for schools. Towards the end, you’ll see hashtags for all the states who will be voting on some form of marijuana legalization come November, including Oregon, with #YesOn91 and #LegalizeOR. Measure 91 is the statewide ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana use for people 21 and over, which would be regulated by the OLCC. For more information on  91, ballotpedia.com has a clear summary of what the measure entails.

In the meantime, enjoy this relaxing video.

October 15, 2014 11:07 AM

To introduce Columbia University’s Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology Barry Bergdoll — who gives his talk “The Museum as Architectural Activist: The Art of Advocacy” Oct. 22 at the UO — I will use his own words:

“I don’t want to just show off the next handsome building. Architecture can be socially transformative. But I’m not interested in exhibiting something just because its intentions are good. Quality and aesthetics are still the final judgment.”

"We should look at what worked before cities were rewritten by cars and highways. We can learn how to build more ecologically."

"It’s a tough time for architects and designers. We’re in the hangover of the housing boom. But I have an optimistic view. The economy is pushing people. Instead of designing pretty objects, we’re discussing design. There’s a new social commitment. Increasingly, architects are thinking about the relationship of their profession to the big problems of the world."

This is an excerpt of an interview Bergdoll did with Elle Décor in 2013, when he was also chief curator of architecture and design at New York’s MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). In his positions at Columbia and MoMA, Bergdoll has earned a reputation for being a forward-thinking architecture scholar and activist, even though his bread and butter is 18th-century and 19th-century French and German architecture (see his book: European Architecture 1750-1890). At the MoMA, he curated exhibits that addressed modern problems, like in Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, which had teams of architects, urban planners and engineers reimagine a sustainable future for American suburbia. With Rising Currents, Bergdoll gathered up-and-coming architects to solve the problem of rising sea levels in New York City; some of the solutions included wetland buffer zones and transforming canals into oyster hatcheries.

Rumors have it that he also put pressure on MoMA to preserve its purchased neighbor, the American Folk Art Museum, instead of demolishing the iconic building. If there is a question-answer session, this would be prime time to ask Bergdoll about the demolishing of our own city hall — what will we lose and what will we gain?

Bergdoll gives his talk 5:30 pm Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the UO, Lawrence Hall, Room 115; FREE.


October 15, 2014 01:32 PM

Former Eugenean Josh Schlossberg has written an extensive article for Earth Island Journal on the impact of the biomass industry on our forests. Find it at http://wkly.ws/1tw