Flint water poisoning update: Snyder issues public apology as head of DEQ resigns 


In my view, for a glimpse into the future for the City of Flint … readers might search wikipedia.org for either “Times Beach, Missouri” or “Love Canal” — sadly those may the most cost-effective, perhps wisest and even most likely scenarios for Flint. One would hope that would also put an end to EFMs and maybe even the GOP in Michigan. Although I may be wildly optimistic in that regard. Here’s the latest from a Detroit Free Press report today on this man-made disaster causing the poisoning of the water supply of homes and businesses all over city the effects of which on humans and animals FOREVER. So apologies and resignations do nothing to make up for their decisions.


LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder apologized to the City of Flint Tuesday for the Flint drinking water crisis that has left children poisoned by lead and announced he has accepted to resignation of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant.

Snyder said in a news release there will be other personnel changes at DEQ and the moves he announced Wednesday are among the “initial steps” he has taken to assure the safety of Flint residents, with more action to come.

“I want the Flint community to know how very sorry I am that this has happened,” Snyder said. “And I want all Michigan citizens to know that we will learn from this experience, because Flint is not the only city that has an aging infrastructure.”

The governor, who had previously stood by his DEQ director amid the controversy, said…

Source: Snyder apologizes, Wyant resigns in Flint water crisis

From NPR…Faced With Fear, A Muslim Woman Makes A Stand — By Setting One Up 

Mona Haydar is a Muslim — and she wants to talk about it.

So much so, in fact, that she set up a stand outside a library in Cambridge, Mass., with a big sign reading “Ask a Muslim.” Along with a free cup of coffee and a doughnut, Haydar offered passersby an opportunity for conversation.

She says the idea occurred to her husband, Sebastian, and her over dinner one evening. As they were eating, she says, Sebastian remarked: “What if we did something kind of crazy?”

“He had seen this segment on This American Life, where a young Iraqi man had done ‘Ask an Iraqi,’ ” Haydar tells NPR’s Carrie Kahn. “And so [Sebastian] was like, ‘Why haven’t we thought of this before? Why don’t we get out and talk to people?’

“So, we did it,” Haydar says.

After the day was done, she posted a summary to Facebook

Source: Faced With Fear, A Muslim Woman Makes A Stand — By Setting One Up : NPR

Texans Will Make A Big Decision On January 1st. Do They Want A Burrito Or A Gun?

Even Miss Kitty had Sam The Bartender collect firearms and put them under the bar at The Long Branch Saloon in the long-running Tv show “Gunsmoke “… could it be that one day big-box stores, retails shops, restaurants, bars, schools and other public buildings may have to have a “gun check” room as well?


Texans Will Make A Big Decision On January 1st. Do They Want A Burrito Or A Gun?

by mikethegunguy

Ever since the Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd Amendment gave Americans the Constitutional right to keep a loaded, unlocked handgun in their homes to use for self-defense, the pro-gun nation has been trying to push the notion of armed, self-defense beyond the home and into the street.  This strategy has taken two paths; on the one hand promoting concealed-carry licensing, on the other, bringing weapons into gun-free zones.  There’s nothing but anecdotal evidence supporting the idea that a gun can protect its owner from crime, but there’s plenty of serious research which shows the opposite to be true.

open               The latest effort to widen the scope of armed defense is about to be unveiled in Texas…

Read the rest of the post here: Texans Will Make A Big Decision On January 1st. Do They Want A Burrito Or A Gun?

Reposting CURMUDGUCATION: The Soft Bigotry of Baloney

A grumpy old teacher trying to keep up the good classroom fight in the new age of reformy stuff.

The Soft Bigotry of Baloney

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 08:20 AM PST

You may not know Michael Gerson’s name, but odds are you know one of his most famous pieces of writing– “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

Well, Gerson was in the New York Times yesterday expressing his displeasure with the new version of ESEA. At the same time, he was serving up the hard baloney of reformster ideals.

Gerson opens by recapping some of the results of ESSA in a voice that– well, maybe he’s sincere, but it feels as if he’s being sarcastic as what he sees as self-evidently wrong points of view, a style of writing that I am somewhat familiar with (game recognizes game).

The whole thing [NCLB] was a mess from the start. Failing schools didn’t like to be labeled failures, because it made administrators feel as though they were, like, you know, failing or something. Many teachers didn’t like the relentless emphasis on testing, which ate into their time for the unmeasurable joys of learning.  

His summary, as he winds up for the main pitch:

The Every Student Succeeds Act is a win-win-win for everyone who counts. Most Republicans are pleased that the federal role in enforcing educational standards has been effectively abolished. Many teachers are pleased to see lower stakes on standardized tests. States and localities are pleased that they can declare all their schools successful, or at least make accountability a fuzzy, gentle, toothless friend. 

And now he launches his point–

Follow this link for the rest of the blog post:

CURMUDGUCATION: The Soft Bigotry of Baloney

VAMboozled! Repost…Why Standardized Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers (and Teacher Education Programs) 


Why Standardized Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers (and Teacher Education Programs)

Posted: 28 Dec 2015 08:59 AM PST

David C. Berliner, Regents’ Professor Emeritus here at Arizona State University (ASU), who also just happens to be my former albeit forever mentor, recently took up research on the use of test scores to evaluate teachers, for example, using value-added models (VAMs).

While David is world-renowned for his research in educational psychology, and more specific to this case, his expertise on effective teaching behaviors and how to capture and observe them, he has also now ventured into the VAM-related debates.

Accordingly, he recently presented his newest and soon-to-be-forthcoming published research on using standardized tests to evaluate teachers, something he aptly termed in the title of his presentation “A Policy Fiasco.”

He delivered his speech to an audience in Melbourne, Australia, and you can click here for the full video-taped presentation; however, given the whole presentation takes about one hour to watch, although I must say watching the full hour is well worth it, I highlight below what are his highlights and key points.

These should certainly be of interest to you all as followers of this blog, and hopefully others.

Of main interest are his 14 reasons, “big and small’ for [his] judgment that assessing teacher competence using standardized achievement tests is nearly worthless.”

Here are his fourteen reasons… at the link below.

Source: Why Standardized Tests Should Not Be Used to Evaluate Teachers (and Teacher Education Programs) | VAMboozled!

Eugene Robinson Column: GOP Will Be Changed Forever – repost from Truthdig

History will remember 2015 as the year when The Republican Party As We Knew It was destroyed by Donald Trump. An entity called the GOP will survive – but can never be the same.

Am I overstating Trump’s impact, given that not a single vote has been cast? Hardly. I’m not sure it’s possible to exaggerate how the Trump phenomenon has torn the party apart, revealing a chasm between establishment and base that is far too wide to bridge with stale Reagan-era rhetoric. Can you picture the Trump legions meekly falling in line behind Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio? I can’t either.

Trump didn’t blow up the party on his own. He had help from a field of presidential contenders that was touted as deep and talented but proved shallow and wanting. Bush raised shock-and-awe money but turns out to lack his father’s and brother’s skill at performing on the national stage; he seems to want to be crowned, not elected. Rubio is like the teacher’s pet who speaks eloquently in class but doesn’t do his homework. Chris Christie was slow off the mark, perhaps having been stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge.

Who else would be acceptable to the GOP establishment?

Read more here: Eugene Robinson: The GOP Will Be Changed Forever – Truthdig