In two of the hottest Senate races, outside money edge goes to challengers | OpenSecrets Blog


It’s an open secret in the political world that most congressional contests are not contests at all; incumbents tend to raise more money than challengers, and better-funded campaigns almost always win. In some of the most expensive Senate races this cycle, however, challengers are attracting more money from outside spending groups than incumbents, and it may be making a difference.

… read more read more: In two of the hottest Senate races, outside money edge goes to challengers | OpenSecrets Blog

Total cost of 2016 election could reach $6.6 billion, CRP predicts | OpenSecrets Blog

Is 2016 the Year of the Billionaire when it comes to financing the election?

There are plenty in the mix. And they’ve helped fuel what is turning out to be the most expensive election ever. The Center for Responsive Politics projects that candidates, parties and outside groups could spend nearly $6.6 billion by the time it’s all over, $86.5 million more than the last presidential cycle when adjusted for inflation. The cost could be much higher — this is a conservative estimate.
read more: Total cost of 2016 election could reach $6.6 billion, CRP predicts | OpenSecrets Blog

Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks Justice for At-Risk Children of Flint

A class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday seeks justice for the children of Flint, Michigan, who are suffering the effects of months of drinking lead-contaminated tap water while also not receiving adequate special education services in the city’s public schools, the suit alleges.

Source: Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks Justice for At-Risk Children of Flint | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Published on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 by Common Dreams

Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks Justice for At-Risk Children of Flint

‘There must be responsibility to do everything humanly possible to mitigate the damage done to the residents of Flint—especially its children.’

“Now more than ever, families have the right to expect that the public education system will address their children’s special education needs,” one attorney said. (Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)

A class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday seeks justice for the children of Flint, Michigan, who are suffering the effects of months of drinking lead-contaminated tap water while also not receiving adequate special education services in the city’s public schools, the suit alleges.

“The extensive lead poisoning in Flint has combined with the lack of essential special education resources in the Flint schools to create a tragic crisis,” Gregory Little, a partner at White & Case and a board member of the Education Law Center, told the Detroit News. “By insisting on a positive learning environment for all students, this lawsuit will help all children and families in Flint.”

The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan and the Education Law Center, alleges that the state is violating disability laws by not providing adequate special education services for children in Flint, even as exposure to lead has meant more children in Flint require such services.

Almost 30,000 Flint schoolchildren, from birth to age 19, were exposed to lead in the tap water at home and at school after officials switched the city’s water supply to the corrosive Flint River in April 2014, the suit argues.

“Providing an adequate education to the children of Flint was already an uphill challenge before this crisis hit,” notes the ACLU’s Curt Guyette. “The school district is laboring under the burden of a $10 million deficit. Teachers are doing their best, but some classes have as many as 40 students in them. In a city rife with poverty, children were already being forced to overcome too much.”

“The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan, argues that the public school system in Flint is not meeting its legal obligation to screen lead-exposed children for disabilities or provide services and interventions that could make a difference in their ability to learn and thrive,” reports the Washington Post. “It also alleges that the Michigan Education Department has failed to provide Flint schools […] with the resources and funding they need to provide those services.”

“The lawsuit seeks class-action status, injunctive relief and immediate remedies on behalf of thousands of Flint families[…] It does not seek monetary damages,” according to the Detroit News, which goes on to detail one mother’s experience with the Flint public school system:

Nakiya Wakes, mother of a plaintiff in the lawsuit, a 7-year old boy who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said there is no plan and no program to educate her child.

“All they do is send him home, with no services and no support,” Wakes said.

During the 2015-16 school year, while attending a charter school in Flint, Wakes’ son was suspended from school more than 50 times.

“I know my son can learn,” Wakes said. “But he can’t learn when he’s not in school, with no resources for him to make up the school work he’s missed.”

Jessica Levin, staff attorney at the Education Law Center, told the Detroit News: “The government’s own actions in exposing the community to elevated lead levels has put every child at risk. Now more than ever, families have the right to expect that the public education system will address their children’s special education needs.”

CURMUDGUCATION: The Best-Laid Plans of Grown-Ups

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: The Best-Laid Plans of Grown-Ups

The Best-Laid Plans of Grown-Ups

Posted by Peter Greene: 22 Oct 2016 .

It’s a lovely playground, one of many, many lovely playgrounds available in Seattle. Here’s a look at just some of the cool playground stuff available there.

And here is how my oldest grandson spent a good chunk of his time.
It’s a well-flogged truism that children will throw away the toy and play with the box, that they will reject the finest plastic construction that the toy industry can muster in order to play with ordinary household objects. I suppose that somebody could have forced my grandson to drop the stick and play “properly” but why, unless they were intent on imposing adult will and plans on a child. “I planned on you playing on that jungle gym over there. Now put down that stick and go have fun, dammit, or else.”
The bottom line is that children have instincts and interests and involvement of their own. Adults can go nuts trying to direct that, and they can twist children’s brains up by hammering them withy messages about what they are “supposed” to do.
It is certainly true that there is room for adult direction and guidance. My grandson played with some of the equipment and played with his father, who did not try to tell my grandson what to do, but joined wholeheartedly in helping my grandson tap into his transcendent joy over swinging.
But if you go to the playground armed with an adult agenda that allows no room for the voice of the children, you are on the wrong path. The damage is evident by the time students land in my eleventh grade classroom and have trouble writing well because they are more concerned about what they are supposed to write– what they are supposed to do to meet the requirements of the grown-ups’ agenda– instead of tying to get in touch withy what they actually think.
It is easy as parents or teachers to get caught up in the desire to see the tiny humans make the safest, wisest, best decisions. But that process has to include their own voice, their own aims, their own intentions and inclinations. That’s not just how you honor their existent as thinking, feeling, sentient, individual human beings– it’s how you create future entrepreneurs, leaders, creators, makers, employees, employers, and people who are not inclined to elect raging tyrants out of desire to have “strong” leaders who will tell them just what they are supposed to do.
Yes, the world needs a certain amount of order and sense, and I am not advocating unleashing wild anarchic chaos on the universe (not today, anyway). But attempting to impose adult best-laid plans on every minute of children’s lives is both evil and foolish. Evil, because every human’s voice is a precious thing no matter how young. Foolish because– well, I will give my grandson the last word with his ideas about how to use carrot slices.

Texas: Here Comes the Voucher Fight Again

Diane Ravitch's blog

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, former talk show host, really wants vouchers for the millions of students in Texas. Fortunately, he has been defeated year after year by a coalition of rural Tepublicans and urban Democrats.

The battle is on again this year. Patrick and his fellow ideological zealots are headed for a showdown on the issue. There is no evidence that vouchers “work,” and much evidence that they don’t. In a state like Texas, the voucher proposal is strongly opposed by a brave group called Pastors for Texas Children. (Make a donation if you can to help them.)

Supporters of vouchers insist that the schools that receive public funds should be exempt from state tests or any other accountability measures, which might limit their “freedom.”

“A bipartisan group of state representatives hammered private school choice proponents at a heated legislative hearing on Monday, signaling an enduring uphill battle in…

View original post 119 more words

Do Guns Make College Campuses Safer? Not At All.

Do Guns Make College Campuses Safer? Not At All.
by mikethegunguy
The Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins University has just issued an important report on guns and college campuses which is summarized in a Washington Post op-ed or you can download the entire report here. Basically, the report argues that, Gun-nut Nation’s claims to the contrary, allowing guns on college campuses does not enhance security or safety, but will result in more, not less gun violence in academic environments.
Read the full blog post here: http://mikethegunguy.com/2016/10/23/do-guns-make-college-campuses-safer-not-at-all/

Mike The Gun Guy™

The Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins University has just issued an important report on guns and college campuses which is summarized in a Washington Post op-ed or you can download the entire report here. Basically, the report argues that, Gun-nut Nation’s claims to the contrary, allowing guns on college campuses does not enhance security or safety, but will result in more, not less gun violence in academic environments.

      The Texas Tower The Texas Tower

The Hopkins report follows shortly after the University of Texas ended its ban on campus-carry, which makes it the eighth state to allow people with concealed-carry permits to bring their guns with them to school.  But there are also 24 states which grant colleges and universities a local option to allow guns within their campus domains, which leaves only 18 states whose college campuses are still gun-verein.  Some of the states where…

View original post 524 more words

Don’t Know Much About History | from the BustED Pencils blog

“Is anyone else thinking that we should get over our obsession with job readiness and coding and start teaching civics, history and critical thinking again?”

YES.

Thanks for speaking it again Mrs. Rumphius.

Read here and share for this beautiful paragraph:

“In the most elite private schools and liberal arts colleges students do more than… Read more »

Source: Don’t Know Much About History | BustED Pencils

The US Department of Education’s Digital Promise to advance the ed-tech field and online learning in public schools

The US Department of Education’s Digital Promise to advance the ed-tech field and online learning in public schools
by seattleducation2010
Editor’s note: Cheri Kiesecker was a panelists for the Webinar: Stop the Ed Tech Juggernaut hosted by Parents Across America. Click here for links to the video recording and slides from the program. -Carolyn Leith The USDoE’s Digital Promise to advance the ed-tech field, CBE, and online education In 2011 the US Department of Education (USDoE) launched the nonprofit Digital […]

Read more of this post – https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/the-us-department-of-educations-digital-promise-to-advance-the-ed-tech-field-and-online-lerning-in-public-schools/#like-23066

Seattle Education

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-3-20-48-pm

Editor’s note: Cheri Kiesecker was a panelists for the Webinar: Stop the Ed Tech Juggernaut hosted by Parents Across America. Click here for links to the video recording and slides from the program.

-Carolyn Leith

The USDoE’s Digital Promise to advance the ed-tech field, CBE, and online education

In 2011 the US Department of Education (USDoE)  launched the nonprofit Digital Promise,  and Digital Promise helped create The League of Innovative Schools. (Click to see the map of Innovative Schools in your area).  Digital Promise and the League of Innovative Schools are involved with Relay Graduate School, Bloomboard, the use of standardized student hand gestures, real-time data from student white boards, data badges (micro-credentials) and Competencies. Click to see details.  According to former US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan’s speech, the nonprofit marriage of Federal Government and Edtech, Digital Promise was created ” to advance the education technology field”.

“This is not a task for government alone…

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Writer’s Weekend Edition – Donning the Writer’s Costume

Writer’s Weekend Edition – Donning the Writer’s Costume
by Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie)
With Halloween just around the corner, I wanted to share a column that I wrote about the allure of slipping into costumes, not only for the Samhain holiday, but for the everyday roles that we play in our lives. Writing this piece made me think about what attributes, attitudes, and accessories go into my “writer’s costume,” and – more to the point – what role do those external trappings play in my perception of myself as a writer. That’s, perhaps, a conversation for another day; but for now, I hope you enjoy this little musing about the role of costumes in our daily rounds.
https://nhwn.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/writers-weekend-edition-donning-the-writers-costume/

Live to Write - Write to Live

With Halloween just around the corner, I wanted to share a column that I wrote about the allure of slipping into costumes, not only for the Samhain holiday, but for the everyday roles that we play in our lives. Writing this piece made me think about what attributes, attitudes, and accessories go into my “writer’s costume,” and – more to the point – what role do those external trappings play in my perception of myself as a writer. That’s, perhaps, a conversation for another day; but for now, I hope you enjoy this little musing about the role of costumes in our daily rounds.

··• )o( •··

Me and my daughter: Halloween 2012 - Was this really FOUR years ago?!? Me and my daughter: Halloween 2012 – Was this really FOUR years ago?!?

With Halloween just a few days away, it’s time to put the finishing touches on the kids’ trick-or-treat costumes. There are tiaras that need glitter,  swords that need another coat…

View original post 711 more words

Keeping retirement weird. 403(b)s and the teacher pension rip off. And the NEA.

Fred Klonsky writes: My state teacher pension alone would never be enough to pay for the retirement travel that Anne and I have been looking forward to, and are enjoying at this very moment.

Tomorrow we will celebrate our 4oth wedding anniversary in the small French village of St. Emilion, in the region of Aquataine.

But in addition to the public pension I earned over 30 years of teaching, we have other savings, including the money I pulled out of my paycheck and placed into a defined contribution annuity called a 403(b).

This article in the New York Times is a must read for teachers who invest, or who invested, in one of these annuities. The Times includes among those who rip off teachers with these less regulated retirement investment plans, NEA Member Benefits.

First, a personal story about the role of the NEA.
Read Fred’s full blog post here: https://preaprez.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/keeping-retirement-weird-403bs-and-the-teacher-pension-rip-off-and-the-nea/

Fred Klonsky

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-5-44-51-pm

My state teacher pension alone would never be enough to pay for the retirement travel that Anne and I have been looking forward to, and are enjoying at this very moment.

Tomorrow we will celebrate our 4oth wedding anniversary in the small French village of St. Emilion, in the region of Aquataine.

But in addition to the public pension I earned over 30 years of teaching, we have other savings, including the money I pulled out of my paycheck and placed into a defined contribution annuity called a 403(b).

This article in the New York Times is a must read for teachers who invest, or who invested, in one of these annuities. The Times includes among those who rip off teachers with these less regulated retirement investment plans, NEA Member Benefits.

First, a personal story about the role of the NEA.

When I first became president of my NEA local…

View original post 730 more words