We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, July 18. 2011
Culture of cheating breeding in schools across U.S.- Poor test scores risk teachers’ jobs
Teachers say they had no choice but to cheat. I do recall that feeling.
Now, Australia too: Gardener ordered to remove plants or face fines
At least in America we can plant what we want...
Hmmmmm. Never mind.
Sheesh. Relaxed, or, um, never mind.
Lightbulbs: How many lawmakers does it take to…:
The Global De Facto Gold Standard
U.S. Supreme Court again rejects most decisions by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Democratic Bastion Goldman Sachs Predicts Continuing Poor Economic Performance
1,471: Another day, another round of Obamacare waivers
Waivers should be available to everybody
I have not.
Tracked: Jul 18, 07:19
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70% marginal tax rates? Why even bother working?
Whenever I talk with my boss about raises or bonuses, I automatically divide by 2 in my head to calculate how much of it I'll actually see. Once I have to divide by 3 or 4, I will have lost all interest.
Maybe I can get an under-the-table cash job from one of my construction buddies.
I'm all for making teachers accountable, but I'm not sure test scores are the way to do it.
That said, there is NO EXCUSE for cheating. Even if it's going to 'hurt' you, you get hurt more by gaining something fraudulently, and you do the kids no valuable service.
I find the whole scandal disturbing. And I don't think it's the fault of those who set up or run the testing. It's the fault of the teachers, who regularly (like many others today in other lines of work) seek to 'rig' the system. (I think we saw a fine job of that by Casey Anthony's team - although that prosecution was just a mess)
If we're going to hold teachers accountable, it should be on the basis of the kids' abilities to utilize the skills they are being taught. Can they balance checkbooks? Can they use computer tools effectively? Are they familiar with key dates and facts from history? Can they sufficiently espouse certain truths from history (a mix of English and History in one test)?
Certainly there has to be SOME testing - I wouldn't discount its value. But there have to be other standards by which teachers are measured. Not being one, I'd have a hard time making suggestions, but they DO NEED a merit basis.
I don't quite agree, Rick.
Students are not products. Education cannot be bought, only offered. Most kids (especially boys) would rather be fishing.
I agree that you can't buy an education. But there are ways to determine effective education. I don't see buying it as the point of the discussion.
I was lucky enough to go to a small Catholic school. Teachers were accountable (although not as rigorously as through test measurements) to the principal and other teachers. We had quite a bit of turnover year after year. Good teachers, typically, stayed.
Sure, almost all kids hated school, even me. I got good grades with relatively little effort (my favorite story was popping off a 30 second editorial for a TV station which was "required", and I hadn't done when it was called for in class. The TV station chose mine.)
So, for some kids, getting "educated" is easier than others. My older son struggles. My younger one doesn't. But my older son makes things more difficult when his teachers aren't good - and he fights them (I did the same thing). A class where I typically got As rapidly became Cs due to a poor teacher.
She lasted 1 year.
Meanwhile, at a recent reunion, I was surprised to see several former classmates with successful businesses in auto mechanics, real estate, and home cleaning. All were considered "likely failures" by the "system". Yet they were capable enough to pick up the the skills they needed to become successful.
Several other "likely to succeed" types fell by the wayside. As "prepared" as they were, they were simply book smart, played to the test(s), and cozied up to teachers whenever necessary.
My point is that there are ways to tell whether any or all of them were getting the skills they needed through a combination of useful measurements, which may include testing.
One thing I've learned (in business and in education): listen to the employees. In this case, the students are the employees. Not so much to the point that you give them outdoor classes and fewer tests, or the obvious things that students ask for. But when a few students start griping about a problematic teacher, in all likelyhood, that teacher DOES have a problem.
And if they have too many NICE things to say - keep an eye on those teachers, too. They are probably making it too easy on the kids.
My father always said to me "go to college for an education, go to grad school for a job". High school is alot of prep work for the "real" education. I remind my older son that college isn't for everyone (I'd prefer if he took a year or two off after High School to figure out what he wants. He won't, because he wants to do what all his friends are doing. I may be wrong, but I don't think he's really prepared for what he's going to face.)
The quote from the article, '“It’s in nobody’s interest … to really do a searching, thorough investigation,” Mr. Cizek ' begs the question:
Why are public schools mandatory?
If boys would rather be fishing, then let them. There is much to learn when you actually try to accomplish something. It's a motivator to become educated. And educated doesn't necessarily mean book learnin'. Do we really need everyone to be able to write a 5-paragraph essay about Antigone?
My Libertarian roots say "yes, yes, yes". My common sense says "no".
I simply can't agree with this for one reason: Kids really don't know what they want.
Sure, if I could've gone hunting and fishing and whatnot during my school days, I'd have been happy. But woefully unprepared to face any meaningful future.
Kids do NEED education (though I'd argue it doesn't HAVE to be publicly provided, since we did fine without it for many years.
What they don't need is an education that is required past the point at which they can legally drive. If you're mature enough to drive a several thousand pound vehicle, then you should have a pretty good idea about how to manage your life (for better or worse).
At that stage, good parental oversight and advice will play a far greater role than anything else.
The problem with education today is that it teaches to a lowest common denominator, which holds back the very best students. The very best ONLY get ahead if they have innate drive OR their parents drive them (wholly unacceptable, as far as I'm concerned, most of those kids that I'm familiar with have social issues).
The ones in the middle get a lousy to mediocre education.
I'd also point out that I don't think we all need to write an essay on Antigone. But I see kids leaving high school who can't balance a checkbook or figure out simple home management.
I'm all for schools teaching certain life skills. I'd much rather have my boys learn Home Economics than take another gym class or have extra study hall.
In the agrarian days, you learned life skills by working the farm with your father. Or you learned the family business at the knee of your father. Those days are long since gone. We are are in a professional and specialized world now, and citizens need certain basic skill sets to survive and thrive in them.
I'm fond of pointing out to my wife that, in this world, we all have the same opportunities. What we don't have are the same abilities to take advantage of those opportunities, and those abilities often are derived from being born into the wrong family, or the wrong community.
I say wrong because if you're lucky enough to win the genetic lottery and be born a Trump, then your success, one way or anther, is relatively assured. If you're born a Joe Smith from Podunk, your ability to take advantage of the same opportunities as Trump are severely limited.
Education is often the great leveler in this kind of situation. If Joe Smith wishes to remain Joe Smith or lacks the knowledge or skill to move up....then he will remain Joe Smith. But if he has an opening to improve himself, and the ability to take advantage - we are all the richer from his gains.
LOL....just read the article on Gold.
I've taken heat from several people in different threads about my support for Ron Paul and his desire to move back to a Gold based currency.
Various people have assumed this is based on conspiracy. Anytime you ask to remove the Fed from a system, that conspiracy raises its ugly head. I remind them of Andrew Jackson, who broke the first central bank (with good reason).
Gold is the only legitimate currency, at any point in time. It's been silent for 30 years, because growth due to debt and fiat currency was deemed "better" than true growth, organic growth, with a base standard.
In all honesty, most of our "growth" over the last 30 years is illusory. Over time, as debt is paid off or destroyed, it will become real - it will have value that is not undermined by the debt it ran up. But for now, it is unreal, supported by false hope.
A Gold standard (as many nations are beginning to see) is the surest way to greater stability). What candidate(s) today are intelligent enough to see this?
Fiat currencies have their place in economic cycles. In the current one, it has run its course.
Not just yet - its a hedge/holder of wealth. With the announcement of the National down-grading, and the way the markets are tanking (some 1% so far) holding a tangible substance like gold, silver, platinum, copper bullion, or other valuable commodity (some say ammo included, but I digress...) is advisable.
Karl Denniger over at Market Ticker is following the pending avalanche, while our esteemed royalty see how hard they can rosin the fiddle amongst the flames. Also, saying he will exercise his VETO pen might be sending a shiver also...
Well, fiat currencies ran their course about 10 years ago - they've been hanging on by a thread via market manipulation. It's funny how the more the "experts" have studied past Depressions, they think they have "solved" the problem.
Bernanke is half-right. You could, theoretically, solve some of the problems by throwing money from a helicopter. The point, however, would be getting the money into the right hands. He THINKS he figured out how to do that, while taking massive toxic assets off the market (hoping that at some point, they'll be worth something and the Fed can hold on to them forever, thereby boosting bank reserves and hopefully increasing their lending potential to artificially RAISE the value of those worthless toxic assets. He has been foiled in this regard...but he thought it was worth a shot.)
In reality, what he SHOULD have done, in conjunction with the Treasury, is inject the money directly into the system via transfer payments. Rather than injecting the money into the system via bank borrowing, the Treasury could (in theory) reduce the debt substantially by direct monetization, and just pay for all benefits directly - this would put the money into the hands of those who need it most....rather than the banks who are sitting on it.
It's not really a solution, but it's better than what we have, particularly if they cut taxes for the middle class in the process.
If we hope to come out of this with some semblance of a healthy future, it will require a reset of the American Dream for the middle class, who have had everything taken from them and nothing given in return.
Re jane fonda; another whinny liberal crying that its unfair to criticize me for my actions. Actions have consequences that have to be lived with. She earned the lable traitor.
I agree - selective memory, even for such a septuagenarian, you'd think she'd have a better memory for such a youthful 'divergence', even at 35. I know the aged do have faulty memories, at time, but women (at least Mrs. Zeppelin ) have better memories and recollection abilities.
Sounds to me, she's hoping that time heals all wounds. Not this one.....
--with any honor at all, after her trip to hobnob with Ho was followed by Boat People and the Cambodian Holocaust, she --and Kerry --would have committed sepuku in the public square.
The bureaucratic crack-down on gardening is, apparently, not terribly uncommon based on the number of links that come up when one googles 'guerilla gardening'. Sad.
'...plant anything...' There is a weed that is grown in Californicate that the DEA does not like. Can we plant it here (KY)?
Read the first comment posted to that article by Adam and you may understand why the council demanded the "garden" be removed: it is on public property for which permission was never given by the council, it is unkempt (as is the woman's own front yard, according to the posted comment), and the overgrown plants in the "garden" block the public sidewalk and therefore constitute a hazard.