Posts filed under ‘Education’
How’s that “education reform” working for ya America?
(Image via Wikimedia Commons)
July 16, 2014 at 9:04 AM
I predict Republicans will start hating on the U.K. now, like they did during the French Fries/American Fries crisis:
Many people who value science education are hoping the US takes note of the UK’s good example, but that seems unlikely considering that the UK appears to have taken note of the US’s bad example. Lawmakers in the UK probably realized that if they didn’t make it absolutely clear that creationism wasn’t allowed today, then tomorrow they’d be discussing the need for language banning the teaching of Loch Ness Monsterism.
If the U.S. banned the teaching of creationism,or more realistically, increased funding for teaching — I know it’s a bad word — SCIENCE, we might get off the Loch Ness Monster thing.
June 19, 2014 at 7:23 PM
I think this is one of, if not the, most important and urgent issues of our time:
The health of a democracy is dependent on an educated citizenry. Political illiteracy is the manure for the flourishing of political appeals based on sheer ignorance.
So let me introduce you to House Majority Speaker Eric Cantor’s Republican Party vanquisher David Brat (R-VI). First thing you need to know about this far right-wing political upstart is he’s a university professor, which means it’s highly probable he’s not an idiot. He also identifies with the Tea Party strain of conservatism, which, paradoxically, means it’s likely he is, indeed, an idiot. And by idiot, I mean wholly ignorant of U.S. history and constitutionality.
In fact, in his victory speech delivered last week to his supporters, Brat demonstrated that he sits among the majority of Americans when it comes to political and cultural illiteracy.
“I wish to restore America to its Judeo-Christian roots,” declared Brat. “God acted through people on my behalf.”
Ignoring the self-delusion of the latter part of the above text, Brat now joins no less than 200 million Americans, according to a number of polls, who believe the U.S. Constitution and our laws are based on Judeo-Christian values. On any given Sunday you will hear Christian-right politicians claim absurdly that U.S. laws are based on the Bible. Spoiler alert: they’re dead wrong. The Constitution’s secular provisions came into being thanks to the Founding Fathers, who shared a deep suspicion of both organized religion and the supernatural. The Constitution was framed with a conscious omission of any mention of God and a prohibition of all religious tests for public office. Moreover, the First Amendment’s declaration that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” embodied the founders’ view that religion has no place in the political domain.
That not a single major media outlet bothered to correct Brat’s ignorance represents America’s continual decline in American civic and cultural literacy.
The nation’s collective ignorance as it pertains to cultural and civic literacy paves the way for extremist politicians to convince the public of the validity of extreme positions.
June 18, 2014 at 10:36 AM
(Image via Wikipedia)
Hey parents, the corporatocracy is tracking your kid — big time — beginning in kindergarten:
The NSA has nothing on the ed tech startup known as Knewton.
The data analytics firm has peered into the brains of more than 4 million students across the country. By monitoring every mouse click, every keystroke, every split-second hesitation as children work through digital textbooks, Knewton is able to find out not just what individual kids know, but how they think. It can tell who has trouble focusing on science before lunch — and who will struggle with fractions next Thursday.
Even as Congress moves to rein in the National Security Agency, private-sector data mining has galloped forward — perhaps nowhere faster than in education. Both Republicans and Democrats have embraced the practice. And the Obama administration has encouraged it, even relaxing federal privacy law to allow school districts to share student data more widely.
June 2, 2014 at 5:26 PM
This is what happens to the tax system when it’s permissible for corporate lobbyists to throw megabucks at people who are supposed to represent, ah, We the People. Hardscrabble teachers’ (and other) unions crawl on their hands and knees in an attempt to be heard but they aren’t. They don’t have the
(Image via Wikipedia)
This is so wrong:
May 10, 2014 at 7:11 PM
Why is this a surprise? Taxpayer dollars should fund public schools, not so-called “charter schools.” Anyone can set up a “charter school” and suck up our tax dollars to fund it, or their a lavish lifestyle.
Public money for public schools. Period. If someone wants to open a “charter school,” fine. Come up with the money on your own.
Release: “A new report released today reveals that fraudulent charter operators in 15 states are responsible for losing, misusing or wasting over $100 million in taxpayer money.”
Summary: “Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud And Abuse,” authored by the Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education, echoes a warning from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General. The report draws upon news reports, criminal complaints and more to detail how, in just 15 of the 42 states that have charter schools, charter operators have used school funds illegally to buy personal luxuries for themselves, support their other businesses, and more. The report also includes recommendations for policymakers on how they can address the problem of rampant fraud, waste and abuse in the charter school industry. Both organizations recommend pausing charter expansion until these problems are addressed.
May 6, 2014 at 6:34 PM
Here are some of the questions “illegal immigrants” have to answer before they’re given U.S. citizenship.
Would you pass?
April 26, 2014 at 9:11 PM
Gawd, this is embarrassing:
Where’s Ukraine? Each dot depicts the location where a U.S. survey respondent situated Ukraine; the dots are colored based on how far removed they are from the actual country, with the most accurate responses in red and the least accurate ones in blue. (Data: Survey Sampling International; Figure: Thomas Zeitzoff/The Monkey Cage)
April 13, 2014 at 11:22 AM
On February 10, 2014 a group of students from the UCLA School of Law gathered together to raise awareness of the disturbing emotional toll placed upon students of color due to their alarmingly low representation within the student body.
This video appears to be stuck on autoplay, which drives me insane. Please leave a comment or email me (see “About,” above) if it autoplays for you too and I’ll put up a link instead of posting the video itself.
February 12, 2014 at 7:16 PM
An NBC graphic used in a report about how American students “lag behind” their European and Asian peers in math, science and reading:
In science, Americans are in “21th” place?
December 4, 2013 at 12:16 PM
Some people object to having their tax dollars have anything even remotely to do with abortion (which is legal in the United States, by the way). I object to having my tax dollars fund hate and discrimination:
(Image via MGCS.org)
A private Christian school that will be receiving taxpayer-funded school vouchers has just instituted a policy banning LGBT students or students with LGBT parents or siblings. Wilmington, North Carolina’s Myrtle Grove Christian School just published a Biblical morality policy that bans anyone even suspected of “participating in, supporting, or affirming sexual immorality, homosexual activity, or bisexual activity.”
The two-page letter uses the children’s game, Duck, Duck, Goose, to illustrate their “simple but profound truth: If we move too far away from the center, we can no longer hold hands.”
The question is, at what point are a family’s moral affirmations or lifestyles far enough away from the biblical center that we cannot hold hands in partnership?
Ultimately, Myrtle Grove Christian School concludes:
The school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or discontinue enrollment of a student if the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home or the activities of a student are counter to or are in opposition to the Biblical lifestyle the school teaches.
November 22, 2013 at 5:05 PM
What happens when we stop teaching U.S. history in elementary school:
(Image via Atheistican on Twitter)
November 13, 2013 at 5:01 PM
Last night Barack Obama told us to watch the videos of people dying in Syria after being gassed by President Assad and he said if the United States doesn’t lead in the area of humanitarianism — as it supposedly always has — who will.
What a bunch of crap.
Show me another country who’s launched significant
humanitarian military actions roughly every 40 months over the last 40 years starting in 1964 with the invasion of Vietnam, veterans of which we’re still caring for and victims of which are still suffering from birth defects from our use of the chemical weapon, Agent Orange.
I’m listening to a “liberal” radio talk show and the people who are calling in are astonished to learn that the United States isn’t the beacon on the big high hill they’ve been led to believe. I mean, they’re as bad as this guy.
Beyond what we did in Vietnam, below is the reality. Oh, and how about we start wars every couple centuries instead of every 40 months for god’s sake:
(Babies deformed by Agent Orange via Wikipedia)
- 1965-1973: Cambodia. We dropped more bombs on the tiny country than had been used in all of World War II.
- 1965: Dominican Republic. President Johnson sent 22,000 troops to prevent communists from taking over.
- 1983: Grenada. In the comically named Operation Urgent Fury, we invaded the tiny island nation to stop the commies.
- 1986: Libya. After two Americans are among those killed in a terrorist bombing of a disco in Germany, President Reagan ordered the bombing of facilities controlled by Muammar Gaddafi.
- 1989: Panama. In Operation Just Cause, we invaded the country and deposed its leader, Manuel Noriega.
- 1991: Kuwait/Iraq. Operation Desert Storm.
- 1992-1995: Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Didn’t end well.
- 1994: Haiti. President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
- 1995: Bosnia. US and NATO forces intervene in the civil war with a large bombing campaign.
- 1999: Kosovo. We bomb the Serbians to help the Kosovars.
- 2001: Afghanistan. Still going!
- 2003: Iraq.
- 2011: Libya.
- 2013: Syria
September 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM
From an article in the Guardian titled: The American Dream Should Really be Called the American Debt. With College Loan Debt Hitting us Where it Hurts, the American Dream has Become the American Farce for Generations Y and Z:
In the past nine years, the average student loan balance has exponentially grown from $10,649 to $20,326.
(Image via ThinkProgress.org)
So, student loan debt has doubled in nine years.
Think about that for a minute.
Are we headed in the wrong direction or what?
August 27, 2013 at 7:09 PM
Remember Hurricane Katrina, the hurricane that hit the Gulf coast in 2005? And remember Barack Obama, the guy who didn’t take office until January, 2009?
(Image via Wikipedia)
Fast forward to today and the results of a question asked in a Louisiana poll by Public Policy Polling, August 16 – 19, 2013:
Who do you think was more responsible for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush or Barack Obama?
George W. Bush: 28%
Barack Obama: 29%
Not Sure: 44%
Holly cow. What the hell are they smokin’ down there?
August 21, 2013 at 10:27 AM
From “whatever” on YouTube (published July 5, 2013):
July 6, 2013 at 1:49 PM
News like this is precisely why I created an “Outrage Overload” category:
(Image via Avert.org)
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is defending his city’s decision to close 23 schools and lay off thousands of workers in the face of a $304 million deficit—all while Pennsylvania is investing in a $400 million state prison in suburban Philly.
Geezus. We’ve gone insane.
June 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM
(Image via ThePoliticalCarnival.net)
This happened today under Constitutional lawyer, community organizer Barack Obama’s watch:
The US government is collecting the phone records of millions of US customers of Verizon under a top secret court order.
Read the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order here.
And there’s this: NSA collecting phone records of millions of Americans daily.
I’m a kid of the 60s and 70s and this would have been shocking and totally unacceptable back then. The government wouldn’t have dared do it.
There was a time when — even the president — needed a warrant to get phone records. It’s appalling that We the People have let our government run so amuck.
Can’t wait for congressional Democrats to stand up for us on this. (Yeah. Right. I’m cracking myself up.)
June 5, 2013 at 8:12 PM
UPDATED @6:31 EDT below.
People marching this afternoon against the proposed closure of 61 public schools in Chicago.
(Image via PhillipCantor on Twitter)
Remember back in the day when schools had to hold bake sales while the military got everything it needed? Fast forward to today and heck, forget bake sales. They’re just freakin’ closing the schools now.
What kind of values and priorities are those?
And now, of course, the police, representing the establishment — the folks who want to close the schools — are arresting people (in front of Chicago City Hall) who are trying to protect our kids:
(Image via ProgressIllinois on Twitter)
What a country.
March 27, 2013 at 4:47 PM
It’s just amazing what Republicans think is important:
During their first three weeks in power, Senate Republicans [in Washington state] have introduced bills to require parental notification for abortions, allow ranchers to kill wolves and let people ride motorcycles without a helmet.
Also on the list: plans to revamp [read, cut] workers’ compensation benefits, repeal the state’s family leave act [that, among other things, gives new parents five weeks off after the birth of a child] and assign A-F grades to public schools. There’s also talk of dumping the state employee pension system in favor of a less-expensive, 401(k)-type plan.
So, they want supposedly want to protect unborn fetuses but for people who are already born they want to increase traffic deaths and health care costs by letting people ride motorcycles without a helmet; kill wolves; cut workers’ compensation benefits; make it so folks don’t have a guaranteed leave plan so they can take time off when they or a family member needs help due to a medical problem; deprive new parents of bonding time with a new baby and make it harder for people to make ends meet in retirement.
What a vicious, hateful crowd.
February 4, 2013 at 4:50 PM
(Image via flickriver.com)
So proud of my state, out here in a wild, wild west which is looking saner than some other parts of the country. It’s a state that lived through the Columbine slaughter and the Aurora theater massacre and we’ve said no to arming teachers.
Eileen McCarron, a retired math teacher and the president of Colorado Ceasefire, a group that argues for greater gun control said,
“We Coloradans do not wish to turn our school into prisons or our teachers into prison guards.”
January 29, 2013 at 4:21 PM
This is a terrible idea. The last thing we need is more and deeper ignorance:
D.C. Schools May Nix High School Government Class as a Requirement
Public high school students in the nation’s capital may soon be able to graduate without taking a single U.S. government course.
The D.C. State Board of Education proposed changes to the graduation requirements in December that would require students to take more physical education, art and music courses instead.
January 24, 2013 at 2:57 PM
Remember this? (Look at how cavalier and arrogant that cop looks.)
(Photo by Louise Macabitas via MarkMaynard.com)
Twenty-one students and alumni filed a federal lawsuit on February 22, 2012 against UC Davis over the University’s treatment of protesters during a Nov. 18, 2011 demonstration in which campus police were caught on video dousing seated protesters with pepper spray.
Bravo! What the campus cops did was outrageous.
The lawsuit charged that UC Davis administration officials set in motion a series of events that they should have known would result in constitutional violations against the demonstrators, and that they and the campus police department failed to properly train and supervise officers.
A settlement was announced on September 26, 2012. The University agreed to pay $1million, including $730,000 to the named plaintiffs and others who were arrested or pepper-sprayed on November 18. Additionally, the case has been expanded to a class action lawsuit, and a portion of the total award will be set aside to compensate individuals other than the named plaintiffs who were pepper-sprayed or wrongfully arrested on November 18, 2011.
On January 9, 2013 a federal judge approved the settlement.
God I hope the University doesn’t appeal, though they might just to set a “precedent.” $1 million isn’t all that punitive. They should shut up, walk away, and be happy they weren’t ordered to pay more.
January 11, 2013 at 6:25 PM
If you want a good laugh, mosey on over to Freakonomics and their post titled: “Homicide Victims Rarely Talk to Police” and Other Horrible Headlines. Some of the headlines they’ve compiled make your jaw drop.
Two of my faves:
(Image via Freakonomics.com)
December 8, 2012 at 2:20 PM
This is an astonishing fact, per the New York Fed: The New York Fed reported yesterday that student debt loads have now hit $956 billion, up $42 billion from last quarter.
And check out this graph showing the disparity between income
growth decline over college tuition increases:
(Image via BusinessInsider.com)
, including a larger version of this graph.
What a mess.
December 1, 2012 at 8:39 AM
Food for thought tonight (warning to those who are science and fact adverse):
(Image via CascadeClimbers.com)
From a stretch of rocky shoreline on this tiny island [Tatoosh Island, Washington], one can, on any given morning, watch otters floating on their backs, elephant seals hauling out of the water and a bald eagle flying past murres huddled along a cliff face. The startled birds perform a synchronized dive into the sea, their ovoid black-and-white bodies resembling miniature penguins.
But for over four decades, with the blessing of Makah leaders, Tatoosh has been the object of intense biological scrutiny, and scientists say they are seeing disturbing declines across species — changes that could prove a bellwether for oceanic change globally.
Cathy Pfister and Timothy Wootton, both biology professors at the University of Chicago, have been trekking to the island since the 1980s, often accompanying their former graduate adviser, Robert T. Paine, a nominally retired zoology professor from the University of Washington. At 79, Dr. Paine still returns to Tatoosh several times a year to continue the ecological research he began in the 1960s.
Among the declines the researchers are noticing: historically hardy populations of gulls and murres are only half what they were 10 years ago, and only a few chicks hatched this spring. Mussel shells are notably thinner, and recently the mussels seem to be detaching from rocks more easily and with greater frequency.
Goose barnacles are also suffering, and so are the hard, splotchy, wine-colored coralline algae, which appear like graffiti along rocky shorelines.
While not entirely understood, the declines are not entirely mysterious. Biologists suspect that the shifts are related to huge declines in the water’s pH, a shift attributed to the absorption of excess carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in ever-greater amounts by the burning of fossil fuels for energy.
“You can predict change,” Dr. Paine said, “and most of the changes are going to be in a direction we don’t want.”
October 6, 2012 at 7:56 PM
Can’t wait to hear the details. This is all we know right now:
(Image via Chicagoist.com)
Chicago Teachers Union delegates voted on Tuesday to suspend their strike, several delegates said as they departed a meeting of union leaders.
Some 800 delegates representing the union rank-and-file ended the strike after more than two hours of debate on a new three-year contract with the school district. The compromise deal gave Emanuel part of the reforms he wanted, and teachers got some guarantees on employment.
September 18, 2012 at 5:32 PM
Here’s President Obama in roughly 2008 talking about how he’d “walk on that picket line” with union workers if they were denied their right to collectively bargain, which is exactly what’s happening in Chicago:
“If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America.”
This is a big deal with the Democratic base, which D.C. Democrats tend to ignore, at their own peril this year, IMHO. See Rahm, Rahm, Rahm.
And there’s this:
How cool is that? Paul Ryan loves Obama’s former Chief of Staff.
Obama, do you want to fu*k your base in this close election?
In 2010 Rahm called Obama’s base “fucking retards” which is yet another one of the reasons you will find this post filed under Obama – Don’t Count on My Vote.
September 10, 2012 at 8:48 PM