Politicians Are Poody Heads

and they're not the only ones…

Or Congress…


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Planned Parenthood


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We should cross-check each politician’s vote with their donor list…



Guide to Gun Safety


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Those Joyful, Illiterate Kindergarten Students in Finland


Well, but of course. Anyone who has studied child development at all knows that play is vital and necessary. It’s a huge part of how children learn, and, yes, develop.
It’s just too bad that the current “testing above all” environment (and, oh, yes, while we are at it, make sure that the corporations involved in testing and developing “programs” make money) has lost sight of this.
And isn’t it interesting that most of those who have been pushing for the test-and-train-for-the-tests aficianados, send their kids to private schools?
Can we not let children be children, with the age-appropriate guidance? Apparently not. :-(

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Thanks to the reader known as FLERP for finding this terrific article about kindergarten children in Finland.

What matters most: Play!

While our five-year-olds buckle down to show that they have mastered academic skills in math and reading, the children in kindergarten in Finland are playing.

When children play, Osei Ntiamoah continued, they’re developing their language, math, and social-interaction skills. A recent research summary “The Power of Play” supports her findings: “In the short and long term, play benefits cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development…When play is fun and child-directed, children are motivated to engage in opportunities to learn,” the researcher concluded.

Osei Ntiamoah’s colleagues all seemed to share her enthusiasm for play-based learning, as did the school’s director, Maarit Reinikka: “It’s not a natural way for a child to learn when the teacher says, ‘Take this pencil and sit still.’” The school’s kindergarten educators have their students engage in…

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There’s so much hot air in the Senate you’d think they couldn’t keep it on the ground…


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Pointed question…

"Pointed Question" (Mark Streeter/Savannah Morning News)

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Congressional “Hearing”


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Gun Violence


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Stephen Singer: How to Create Failure and Destroy Public Education

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Steven Singer, who teaches in Pennsylvania, explains the planned insanity behing standardized testing, rigged for failure. He likens the situation to a video game that he played with his friend as a child, where the questions and answers might suddenly and arbitrarily change.

In Pennsylania, the privatization movement started with deep budget cuts. Then comes a new standardized test. Too many students did well, so the tests were made more “rigorous.” Now, most students “fail.”

Did they get dumber? No. Did he become a worse teacher? He says no.

So what’s up? The students are set up to fail. The teachers and schools are set up to fail? Why? It clears the way for charters and vouchers.

One hopeful sign in Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Wolf wants to help public schools, not destroy them. Unlike his predecessor, Tom Corbett.

Singer writes:

“In my home state, the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment…

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Something else to think about…


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Still Not Enough Jobs


Wolfers and other economists who are upbeat about job growth tend to focus on the official unemployment rate, which remains low at 5.1 percent. But that rate does not count millions of people who are working part-time but want full-time work or have stopped looking for work entirely since the Great Recession. When accounting for those factors, the current unemployment rate is actually 10 percent.

The especially sluggish jobs gains in the past two to three months and the decline relative to 2014 may be due to the appreciation of the dollar, which has made U.S. exports more expensive. As a result, the manufacturing sector, which many believed was experiencing a “comeback,” lost 9,000 jobs in September.

But the biggest drag on the U.S. recovery has been years of fiscal austerity at all levels of government.

Since 2010, Republicans in Congress have demanded massive reductions in federal government spending, limiting its traditional role as a rejuvenator of consumer demand. Every dollar of government stimulus during a downturn generates significantly more in economic growth than its cost. Congress’ partisan dysfunction has also played a role, with episodes like the October 2013 government shutdown costing the economy $24 billion in lost gross domestic product.

When state and local governments ran out of money during the recession, the federal government largely left them to fend for themselves. They coped by eliminating 765,000 jobs between 2007 and 2011. Many states have since declined to restore public spending for political or ideological reasons, even as their revenues have risen.


But, hey, the 1% are doing well, so that’s all that matters!
Right? Right??? {{Sigh}} :-(


Oregon Shooting


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FYI: What Obama Said About Duncan


“The monetization of public education.”
That’s the money quote, and that is exactly what is happening.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

In the car yesterday, I heard a report that Arne Dyncan was stepping down. President Obama said: He did more than anyone else to bring American education into the 21at century, sometimes kicking and screaming.

I am paraphrasing but that is a very close approximation of what he said.

So this is what the 21st century will look like: boot camps for minorities; teachers with scripts; schools run for profit; school scams by corporations; education industry traded on Néw York stick exchange; high-yield online schools with high attrition rates; the monetization of public education.

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Just a thought…


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