Daylight Savings: Fall Back Before Bed

Before you go to bed tonight set your clock back one hour because daylight savings is over November 1st. Then enjoy your extra hour of sleep!


Dennis Kucinich: Is This The Best We Can Do? Updated

Update: More from The Health Care Blog:
So far, Congress' response to the health care crisis has been alarmingly disappointing in three ways. First, by willingly accepting enormous sums from health care special interests, our representatives have obligated themselves to their benefactors' interests rather than to those of the American people. More than 3,330 health care lobbyists - six for every member of Congress - contributed more than one-quarter of a billion dollars in the first and second quarters of 2009. A nearly equal amount has been contributed on this issue from non-health care organizations. This exchange of money prompted a Public Citizen lobbyist to comment, "A person can reach no other conclusion than this is a quid pro quo [this for that] activity."
More at the link.

Friday Cartoon Fun: War Is Unhealthy Edition

Berkeley Finally Jumps Into Charter Territory (Too Bad)

From the Berkeley High Jacket:
A new charter school has been proposed in the city by the organization Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action BOCA and the Berkeley Unified School District. The charter school, Revolutionary Education And Learning Academy (REALM), could potentially be opened in Fall 2010 if approved by the Berkeley Board of Education (BBE). REALM is planned to be an alternative to schools for students who are not necessarily suited to schools such as Berkeley High School and Berkeley Technology Academy.
h/t Lady With A Fan


Michelle Rhee: Union Buster

From Fred Klonsky:
Washington DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee was told by her finance guy that there wasn’t going to be enough money to hire new teachers. But she hired 900 new teachers last Spring anyway. And fired over 200 once the school year began. Why? It’s all part of Rhee’s grand plan to undermine seniority and tenure rights and bust the union.

That became clear today as Rhee was forced to testify before a city council hearing...

California: The Most Screwed Up State?

California is as screwed up a state as one could get. We have the ridiculous initiative process, the likes of which screwed up education (prop. 13) and gave us all kinds of trouble.

Now, in LA, parents can take over a school! Of course parents don't necessarily have any idea how screwed up this is; they think they simply have more power. And they do! Power to screw things up even more! From edweek:
Who should decide when it’s time to overhaul a chronically underperforming school?

Soon, in Los Angeles, parents can.

Under new rules released this week by the Los Angeles Unified School District, parents whose children attend some of the lowest-performing schools in the city will have the ability to force the district to launch new reform initiatives at troubled campuses. The rules—written by Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines and his team—are part of a series of regulations being crafted to govern the district’s new school choice policy, which will allow outside groups, such as charter school organizations, to operate schools where student achievement has not budged for several years.

By gathering a simple majority, or 51 percent, of parental signatures in a school community, parents can “trigger” the district to open up the targeted school for outside management. What’s more, the rules also grant that authority to certain prospective parents, such as those whose children attend schools that feed into the troubled campuses.
h/t Democurmudgeon

Thursday Cartoon Fun: Trick Or Treat Edition

The Public Option: Yeah, Right

From Rep. George Miller:
The key components of the Affordable health Care for America Act include:

Increasing choice and competition. The bill will protect and improve consumers’ choices.
  • If people like their current plans, they will be able to keep them.
  • For individuals who aren’t currently covered by their employer, , and some small businesses, the proposal will establish a new Health Insurance Exchange where consumers can comparison shop from a menu of affordable, quality health care options that will include private plans, health co-ops, and a new public health insurance option. The public health insurance option will play on a level playing field with private insurers, spurring additional competition.
  • This Exchange will create competition based on quality and price that leads to better coverage and care. Patients and doctors will have control over decisions about their health care, instead of insurance companies.
So only the currently uninsured, or if your employer decides to enter the "exchange", employees, will be able to enter the public option. This is not a public option. This will not reduce costs. Our congress has decided it is more important for insurance companies to be guaranteed huge profits than it is to insure that Americans can get health care even if that means some folks won't be able to earn millions of dollars a year in salaries and bonuses.

Health care should not be a for-profit enterprise.  Like fire suppression and crime suppression, illness suppression should be non-profit.

We should reject it. Completely. We need single payer. The corporate oligarchs will not help us. They need to be forced. Take Lieberman's chairmanship away, to start.


From The Mouth Of A Test Scorer...

From Schools Matter comes this from an experienced scorer:
We'd have to score enough student essays accurately during a training session to prove we could do the job in a standardized way, a process that allowed the testing company that hired us to claim just how capable, consistent, and qualified its employees were.

It was a nerve-racking experience to know our jobs hinged on those "qualifying" tests, but in the end we part-timers needn't have worried so much.

After two days of training, nearly half the 100 people applying for the job failed the tests and were fired. Our unemployment lasted only about 12 hours. The next morning nearly every one of us flunkies was hired right back, an employment rebirth that occurred just as soon as the testing company realized it was short on personnel.

I asked the HR representative about the 70 percent accuracy on the qualifying test we were required to get in order to keep the job. To which she informed me that they had decided 60 percent was good enough after all.
Go read the rest at the link.

Edubloggers Agree: Arne Duncan Is A Disaster

Doug Noon at Borderland isn't having any of the Duncan nonsense either.
I don’t get it; this seems altogether backward. I say, “Education is about more than great teaching.” It’s also about informed policy implementation, professional development (which was [Duncan's] original point), and an economic climate favorable to families and child welfare. The opportunity, inequality, and civic knowledge he is so concerned about is mere rhetoric, coming from him, and it’s being dished out in a decidedly undemocratic manner. If he or any in the reformistocracy had a sincere interest in civil rights they’d be fighting to right a host of social wrongs on multiple fronts rather than leaning exclusively on teachers. The business class, though, is in its ascendancy, and it’s looking for new colonial conquests.

Arne Duncan: 6-Percenter

From Mike Klonsky:
Quote of the day comes from a leading Ren10 school-closing supporter:

"The quality of the school a kid attends matters," said Robin Steans, director of Advance Illinois, a nonprofit education group. "Obviously the focus and drive to make sure these kids ended up in better placements fell short."
"Fell short"? Yes, but only by 94%.
Arne Duncan is not education's savior. Far from it, as Mike Klonsky points out above (and more at the link), as does his brother Fred.

I think common sense gets diluted the higher in management one rises. Shutting down neighborhood schools is a disaster for the neighborhood, as we see in Chicago. The charter movement, which aims to take over the public schools (I know charters are "public", but they aren't!) will simply produce the same effects that have been produced in Chicago. All the politicians are heading in this direction.

I fear for the future of public education now more than ever.


Baby Einstein: No Sh*t, Sherlock

Baby Einstein was a marketing scam, as many of us knew.
“My impression is that parents really believe these videos are good for their children, or at the very least, not really bad for them,” Ms. Rideout said. “To me, the most important thing is reminding parents that getting down on the floor to play with children is the most educational thing they can do.”
I can't stress enough [hence, my emphasis] how important early interaction with your child is. It is this lack of early interaction that early childhood education aims to supplement. The lack is the leading cause, IMHO, of the achievement gap, and it is manifested mostly in impoverished neighborhoods.

Alan Grayson, Economist

From HuffPo:
Robertson is a former Enron lobbyist and Clinton administration adviser who was hired by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke this summer to help with congressional relations.

Washington's K Street is where many lobbyists, trade associations and law firms have their offices.

Grayson took exception to Robertson's role, saying she has criticized congressional efforts to increase oversight.

"Here I am the only member of Congress who actually worked as an economist, and this lobbyist, this K Street whore, is trying to teach me about economics," he said.

Tuesday Cartoon Fun: Rather Very Edition


There Will Be A Public Option, But...

The way I understand this, the public option will only be for the currently uninsured. If this is the case, and I heard it discussed somewhere (Countdown w/ Anthony Weiner?), the public option is not an option for everyone. Instead it will be offered to those with no insurance. That means that those of us with employer-based health care will be stuck in it, with no opportunity to switch to the public option. Which also means there will be virtually NO competition. Competition was supposed to be the cost control. Now it looks like we will be forced to buy insurance, fined if we don't, and we get the same options we had before (all for-profit, money-grubbing firms like Aetna, Cigna and HealthNet) except that those companies now have some more of my taxpayer money, thanks to this stupid bill.

If I am right (comments, please), this is not health reform, and the public option is not public.

We need single payer, not this load of crap. A non-public public option is insulting.

I have a couple links in the sidebar where you can look up your senator and/or congressperson and write to them.


Sunday Cartoon Fun: Don't Be Foolish Edition

Logical Fallacies

This week found the Dunc at Teachers College, again bad-mouthing schools of education for not doing a better job at preparing the 21st Century classroom teacher. As Stephen Krashen suggested in a post at ARN this morning, perphaps we should begin to acknowledge it is the fault of business schools for the catastrophic collapse of the American economy. I think we may even draw a correlation between low life expectancy in poor neighborhoods with the quality of M.D. preparation in America. Damn those med schools!
h/t Jim Horn

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