Until Tomorrow...Updated

Windows 7 beckons.  For those of you who don't know what that entails, let me just say that I will hopefully be back tomorrow, new OS up and running.  Hasta la Vista, baby!

Update:  It was as smooth as could be, except for a couple snide comments.  The reason I planned a day's absence was because I wanted to do a clean install--format the hard drive, reload everything, using a directory structure and new defaults and all that goes with knowing what you want.  So it took a while to get 90 gigs of music reloaded, and all the programs installed and tweaked.

But all in all, Windows 7 installed without a hitch, and looks quite nice.  It seems to boot faster than Vista, too!

I'll be back to regular posting presently.


Expletive Laced Brilliance

The new pedagogy includes printers hanging from a string and baseball bats and a well informed teacher:

Will Arne Duncan Read This?

Ken Libby over at Our Global Education has a find; the National Academy of Sciences has a report that pretty much flies in the face of the Obama/Duncan education reform trajectory.  A snippet:
Prominent testing expert Robert Linn concluded in his workshop paper: “As with any effort to isolate causal effects from observational data when random assignment is not feasible, there are reasons to question the ability of value-added methods to achieve the goal of determining the value added by a particular teacher, school, or educational program” (Linn, 2008, p. 3). Teachers are not assigned randomly to schools, and students are not assigned randomly to teachers. Without a way to account for important unobservable differences across students, VAM techniques fail to control fully for those differences and are therefore unable to provide objective comparisons between teachers who work with different populations. As a result, value-added scores that are attributed to a teacher or principal may be affected by other factors, such as student motivation and parental support.

Friday Cartoon Fun: Afghan Election Edition

Soupy Sales: R.I.P.

Soupy Sales, a comic with a gift for slapstick who attained cult-like popularity in the 1960s with a pie-throwing routine that became his signature, has died. He was 83.

Sales had numerous ailments and died Thursday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, said Kathy O'Connell, a longtime friend.


Two Minutes Of Franken On Medical Bankruptcies

Quote Of The Day: Jay McDonough

From Jay at swimming freestyle regarding our collective rot:
The obvious effects are a fucked up social psyche, full of rage, resentment and frustration with the powerful elite and the shame and desperation that comes with being unable to provide for your loved ones.  It's a recipe for the whole American experiment to rot from the inside out.

Gerald Bracey, R.I.P.

From Mike Klonsky:

RIP Gerald Bracey

News is starting to trickle in on the sad passing of Gerald Bracey. Here's a note we received this morning from Monty Neill at FairTest:

Jerry's death is a stunning loss for all of us who advocate not only for better assessment but for schools that truly meet the needs of all children and an education system that meets the needs of the people, not just the dominant forces in the economy and politics. My, and FairTest's, sadness and condolences go to Jerry's family. Like too many, he is gone too early, too young, still too vibrant and engagement in this world of the living. I cannot think of anything better to say than Mother Jones' famous call: "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living." We shall do both.



Alfie Kohn: "Alas, Jerry Bracey has just died. Spirited crusader for accuracy, integrity; denounced false claims, misuse of stats; made the right enemies." Alfie urges us to read Bracey’s blog posts (http://bit.ly/73rrG) and his books – e.g., http://bit.ly/4iAb2u & http://bit.ly/9jpHf.


Tuesday Bonus Cartoon Fun: We're Pissed Edition

Tuesday Cartoon Fun: That Balloon Edition

"America is its own special hell"

From Joe Bageant:
...Somewhere in the smoking wreckage lie the solutions. The solutions we aren't allowed to discuss: adoption of a Wall Street securities speculation tax; repeal of the Taft-Hartley anti-union laws; ending corporate personhood; cutting the bloated vampire bleeding the economy, the military budget; full single payer health care insurance, not some "public option" that is neither fish nor fowl; taxation instead of credits for carbon pollution; reversal of inflammatory U.S. policy in the Middle East (as in, get the hell out, begin kicking the oil addiction and quit backing the spoiled murderous brat that is Israel).

Meanwhile we may all feel free to row ourselves to hell in the same hand basket. Except of course the elites, the top five percent or so among us. But 95 percent is close enough to be called democratic, so what the hell. The trivialized media, having internalized the system's values, will continue to act as rowing captain calling out the strokes.  News gathering in America is its own special hell, and reduces its practitioners to banality and elite sycophancy. But Big Money calls the shots...

Sagan, Feynman, Tyson And Nye


Good Schools Have Good Art Programs

Arts Education and Graduation Rates

In a report to be released on Monday the nonprofit Center for Arts Education found that New York City high schools with the highest graduation rates also offered students the most access to arts education. The report, which analyzed data collected by the city’s Education Department from more than 200 schools over two years, reported that schools ranked in the top third by graduation rates offered students the most access to arts education and resources, while schools in the bottom third offered the least access and fewest resources. Among other findings, schools in the top third typically hired 40 percent more certified arts teachers and offered 40 percent more classrooms dedicated to coursework in the arts than bottom-ranked schools. They were also more likely to offer students a chance to participate in or attend arts activities and performances. The full report is at caenyc.org.

The Answer To Education Reform: Adjust Your Mindset!

Bill Gates has the answer to education reform ($$$$), and it's nothing short of incredible! All you need to do is adjust the teachers' mindsets! Easy!
The Gates Foundation will be funding teacher development in Pittsburgh, a $6.5 million investment in an attitude adjustment for rookies expecting miracles and smooth sailing in their first year. First year teachers certainly deserve support, but to suggest that changing the "mindset" is a major part of the educational solution for minority children stuck in America's urban ghettoes is not only fallacious, but it's bound to lead to the burnout and dissatisfaction revealed in a study released today (also funded by Gates). But this change in mindset is the kind of stuff gobbled up by edu-idiots like Tom Vander Ark (yet another former Gates official), so-called educators believing "no excuses" pedagogical approaches, positive psychology, and higher standards are all our children need to succeed; forget poverty, forget the violence permeating and celebrated in American culture (and tacitly supported by the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton, who appeared on WWE to push his EEP agenda, just days after the brutal killing of Derrion Albert), forget about the lack of funding in public education, forget about the testing industry's stranglehold on curricula; those are problems Washington is unwilling to address, even with a black man in office. Those young teachers don't need small class sizes, high-intensity teacher preparation programs (instead of 5 week crash courses in educational maltreatment), nor cooperative learning environments: it's merit-pay, a mindset adjustment, and plenty of test prep. From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:


Robert Reich: Obama, Speak For Us!

Bob Reich is worried that Obama is planning on paying hush money to the health insurance industry, and he should refuse to pay it. I agree, since it's my damned money!
But if Obama doesn't weigh in forcefully and say "no" to the hush money for Big Pharma, big insurance, and the AMA, America's middle class will get walloped. And if the walloping starts before 2012, Sarah Palin or some other right wing-nut populist will wallop Obama. And after she or he wallops Obama, America will get walloped even worse.

Sunday Cartoon Fun: Public Option Edition

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