Effects of Domestic Abuse on Women

“Women who are victimized in a domestic abuse relationship can have multiple problems that are a direct result of such abuse. These problems can affect all aspects of functioning and can be short-lived or chronic. The following is a list of possible effects of domestic abuse upon women. While this is not a comprehensive list, it suggests the wide-ranging effects of domestic abuse upon the victim/survivor.”

Read more of this post … https://thecatalystsforchange.com/2017/03/02/2690/#more-2690

The Catalysts for Change

By The Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre

“Women who are victimized in a domestic abuse relationship can have multiple problems that are a direct result of such abuse. These problems can affect all aspects of functioning and can be short-lived or chronic. The following is a list of possible effects of domestic abuse upon women. While this is not a comprehensive list, it suggests the wide-ranging effects of domestic abuse upon the victim/survivor.”

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Senators Express Concerns about Trump Nominee’s Commitment to Protect Women’s Health Care 

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The Official U.S. Senate website of Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan

Source: News | Press | U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan

Ahead of today’s confirmation vote in the Finance Committee, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-WA) and 18 others sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Nominee Seema Verma expressing concern about her commitment to protecting women’s health care given her recent comments concerning maternity care during her confirmation hearing.

“During your confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, you were asked if women should get access to prenatal care and maternity coverage, as afforded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or whether insurance companies should get to choose whether to cover this for women,” the Senators said. “Your response indicated that coverage of prenatal and maternity care should be optional – in direct contrast to the law and the care that women and families receive today.”

“Not only was your response inadequate, it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of an individual’s ability to make health care decisions when no options are made available to them, as was the case before the ACA,” the Senators went on to say.  “If no plan offers maternity coverage, and if coverage is extraordinarily costly or requires long waiting periods, what kind of choice does that present to women?”

 

U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Bob Casey (D-PA) also signed the letter.

 

The full text of the letter is available below.

 

March 1, 2017

 

Mrs. Seema Verma

CMS Administrator Nominee

ATTN: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Legislation

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20201

 

Dear Mrs. Verma:

 

We write to express our deep concern about your commitment to protect quality, affordable health care for women and to address disparities in health care quality and access. In addition to other concerns, your recent comments concerning maternity care during your confirmation hearing raise real questions about whether you would enforce current legal protections for women’s health. During your confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, you were asked if women should get access to prenatal care and maternity coverage, as afforded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or whether insurance companies should get to choose whether to cover this for women. Your response indicated that coverage of prenatal and maternity care should be optional – in direct contrast to the law and the care that women and families receive today.

 

Not only was your response inadequate, it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of an individual’s ability to make health care decisions when no options are made available to them, as was the case before the ACA. If no plan offers maternity coverage, and if coverage is extraordinarily costly or requires long waiting periods, what kind of choice does that present to women?

 

If confirmed as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), you would be responsible for overseeing programs that serve over 100 million Americans, including women and families, who access health care services through Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and the Marketplace. When further pressed at your confirmation hearing whether women should pay more for health insurance, you mentioned that you “think that women have to make the decisions that work best for them and their family.” We agree. However, we know that women and their families are better able to make such decisions when they have access to maternity care coverage, which is why we fought hard to make that care accessible for millions of women and families through the ACA.

 

If confirmed as Administrator, it would be your job to enforce and implement the law. For this reason, we think it’s important you do some research and increase your awareness about how life was for women seeking health care before the ACA became the law. Prior to the ACA, women who purchased their own insurance were unlikely to find coverage that included maternity care. According to the National Women’s Law Center, in 2013, just 12% of individual market plans offered maternity benefits. If maternity coverage was offered, it was often as an expensive rider with a waiting period, limiting the options of women to afford pregnancy care and plan families.

 

Even with maternity coverage excluded, before the ACA, 92% of plans charged women more than their male counterparts for coverage, a practice known as “gender rating.” Insurers often treated pregnancy as a pre-existing condition, allowing them to raise premiums for, or deny coverage to, expectant parents. According to a 2013 report by Truven, the average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care was about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section.

 

Today, maternity care is a federally mandated essential health benefit that must be included in all individual and small group plans, as prescribed under statute. Insurers can no longer charge women higher premiums simply because of their gender, and every plan, inside and outside of the exchanges, must offer maternity care. These are huge strides towards ensuring that women and their families, and not their insurers, are able to make important decisions about their reproductive health and family planning.

 

Going back to the time when insurers were in control, and maternity care was an optional benefit, will lead to worse health outcomes for women. We urge you to commit to enforcing current law requiring maternity care to be covered by all insurance plans for all women, and commit to protecting the benefit if confirmed. Our hope is that you will stand with us in ensuring that women have full access to maternity care.

CURMUDGUCATION: FutureEd Launches New Website, Old Voice

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

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: FutureEd Launches New Website, Old Voice

FutureEd Launches New Website, Old Voice

There’s a new education reform website on the scene, another “new voice” representing a new thinky tank, slick and pretty and well-endowed and charter-friendly and made out of smooshed-together words. Welcome FutureEd

Much of the pitch is familiar. FutureEd is “grounded on the belief that every student should be effectively prepared for postsecondary learning and that performance-driven education systems have the potential to greatly improve student achievement.” And like all such undertakings, the site is intent on letting us know that they are totally independent and fair and balanced and in no way going to pursue a particular agenda.

A new voice? Sounds mighty familiar to me.

We won’t follow a script. Sometimes we’ll tak about what everyone else is talking about, and other times we’ll address a topic that we feel deserves more attention. Our goal is to give policymakers, practitioners and other change agents research and analysis that helps them navigate a complicated, fast-changing educational landscape. In every case, our work will reflect what research says is best for students, rather than the pursuit of ideological agendas or adult self-interests.

Annnnd of course the use of terms like “change agents” and the nod to the pursuit of adult self-interests mean that FutureEd does, in fact, have a reformy ideological agenda to pursue. But as we’ve seen before (e.g. Education Post and the74), Rule #1 of pitching your ideological agenda is declaring that you have no ideological agenda. “This is not PR! I’m just laying some unvarnished objective Truth on you!” I have nothing against Believing Stuff– everyone has to believe something. But when you try to package your point of view as Higher Objective Truth, my BS detector starts to beep. Thinky tanks tend to lean one way or another; just own your tilt.

The director is Thomas Toch, an education policy expert at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and contributor to US News, Education Post, and Education Next. He’s worked for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Brookings. Editorial Director is Phyllis W. Jordan, a former editor at the LA Times and Washington Post. The advisory board includes folks from Georgetown. NYU, Tulane, Stanford, Harvard GSE and RAND. It seems unlikely that this group is infected with the rampant liberalism rampant on Certain Campuses.

If this all feel a little reformy, take a gander at the list of Senior Fellows, which includes Norman Atkins (Relay GSE), Steve Cantrell (formerly Gates Foundation), Marshall S. Smith (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching), and Joanne Weiss (formerly New Schools Ventures Fund and Race to the Top apologist).

And then there’s the list of funders, which includes the Bezos Family Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. 

So if you think this thinky tank does not have a love of charter schools and other reformy features built into its dna, I would ove to sell you a bridge. 

But hey– maybe despite all this, FutureEd is not here to beat the charter drum. Let’s take a look at some of the articles in its first week’s worth of thinkiness. 

Proficiency vs. Growth: Toward a Better Measure

Reformy data wonk Morgan Polkoff makes a wonky case for tweaking the balance betweenperformance (and turning it into a performance index with many score categories) and weighing growth more heavily. This, of course, steps right over the critical question– if your raw data is coming from a narrow junk test, does it really matter how you massage the numbers? Test-centric accountability is bunk, but we’re not going to have that conversation– just discuss how to rearrange the data deck chairs on the testing Titanic.

In Defense of Common Core and Its Tests

Scott Marion is the president of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, a company in the business of doing standards-and-testing consulting for states, and he actually wants to characterize opposition to CCSS and its Big Standardized Test as “letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Who knows– maybe FutureEd wants to set a jaunty Slate-style contrarian attitude, but calling Common Core and the BS Tests “the good” requires a deeply committed level of denial. But he promises it will take a series of three posts to lay out his detailed denial.

He thinks the Core have made states more rigorous, and paints it as a necessary outgrowth of NCLB because states set different standards and couldn’t be compared. “Once we had a set of common standards, we needed common tests and cut scores,” he observes, taking a swift blind leap over a chasm of unexamined assumptions. Were the standards a good idea, and were these particular standards any good? And why do we need common tests and cut scores– to what purpose? 

Critics (like Betsy DeVos) are “simply wrong” when they claim that CCSS “impinges on local control of public education.” The states adopted the standards voluntarily! Also– “in practice, local control is an illusion,” on the theory, apparently, that there aren’t that many different textbooks, and teachers mostly just teach out of the book as their curriculum. 

But the Core unleashed textbook creativity (really– you mean, like slapping “common core ready” on the same old crap?) and unleashed the “collective creativity of educators” to produce great edu-works like EngageNY. Oh– and the Common Core was “painstakingly developed with input from educators and researchers.” 

So Marion is unleashing a bunch of three-year-old half-warmed baloney that has all been debunked repeatedly. I am trying to imagine exactly which audience he can imagine is buying any of this.

Vouchers in Indiana: What the Trump Administration Can Learn

A thinky tank worth its salt must produce Papers and Reports, and FutureEd has them, including this report on the voucher program of Indiana, showing how the whole thing is pretty much a money-wasting bust. Mostly, as other researchers have shown, the vouchers of Indiana have been a windfall for private religious schools and have had almost no effect on moving students out of pubic schools and into private ones. 

Grading the Graders: A Report on Teacher Evaluation Reform in Public Education

Here’s another Report, providing an evaluation masquerading as a summation of what’s happening in teacher evaluation. This really deserves its own full response, but so you can get a sense of how FutureEd thinks (Toch wrote this report), let me just hit the high-ish points.

Teacher evaluation is going great. Instead of just test numbers, we now throw in some other numbers. And by “going great,” we mean that bad teachers are being chased out and focus is on classrooms (where the testing is, anyway) and districts are making “smarter” (aka lowered job security) employment decisions. Toch acknowledges some “challenges” like VAM being junk and 70% of teachers not teaching tested subjects, but these are characterized as “challenges” and not “reasons that a reasonable person would throw the whole thing out.” Also, those darn teachers’ unions often resist them, even though they can save lots of money. 

Short form: this report packages all the same thing we’ve been hearing for years, but Toch is far more gifted at writing it up in a way that sounds like he’s taking a reasonable middle-way approach. But I don’t think he is– he just talks a better game than many of his predecssors. His conclusions are still the same, and his assumptions are still unquestioned.

Diane Ravitch’s Problematic Polemics

The site also features “annotations,” a thing that Education Post used to do where we print somebody else’s piece and then intersperse responses. As a regular mocker of other people’s work, I recognize this as a rather lazy approach. 

But I guess Toch wants to make a point straight out of the gate by taking on Diane Ravitch. Sure, why not. People all over the ed conversation take their shots at Ravitch and sometimes they have a point and sometimes they don’t. Me, I don’t expect any two humans to agree 100% of the time or be right 100% of the time, and disagreement is good and healthy for everyone. So if you’re expecting me to climb up on my high dudgeon because anyone dares to disagree with Ravitch, you’ll have to wait for another century.

However, what Toch offers as counter argument tells us plenty about what we’re dealing with here.

Toch incorrectly characterizes Ravitch’s opposition to “privatization” as an opposition to profit, which in turn allows him to offer the defense that only a few states allow for-profit charters. This is an old word game and extra-disingenuous when it comes a few paragraphs after he characterizes the movement this way:

Reformers have pointed to a lack of incentives to improve in traditional government-run public school systems as a core problem, and they have sought in a variety of ways to create more competitive, performance-driven systems. 

The “incentive” that they feel is lacking is, of course, the chance to put public tax dollars in private pockets. It may not be strictly defined as “profit,” but it doesn’t change the idea that these modern reformsters believe that education should be a field in which private businesses compete to collect public moneys. That’s privatization, and that’s what lots of folks oppose.

Toch is also going to trot out the old “charter schools are also public schools– funded by and accountable to taxpayers.” This is only half true. Modern charters are funded with public money, and in some cases have gone to court to avoid having to account to anyone how that money is spent. Nor are they run by an elected board of community members. Charter schools are not accountable to the taxpayers.

When Ravitch points out that no high-performing nation has privatized its schools, Toch replies that the US has not done so (and he suggests that Ravitch implies it has, which she clearly has not). He refers to public schools as government schools. He asserts that opening charters is good for students. He suggests that Ravitch is allied with the teachers unions. He acknowledges that a DeVos/Trump administration may well make accountability even looser. He declares that charters totally don’t skim or cream or make themselves marketable only to the right students and certainly don’t have things like a got-to-go list. He suggests that since Ravitch disapproves of high turnover in schools that work young teachers 50, 60, 70 hours a week, she must prefer “disengaged teachers working to the clock under collective bargaining contracts.”

In short, given a chance to “debate” a leading reform critic on matters of substance and detail, Toch instead chooses to misrepresent her point of view and take shots at the straw men he creates. I am not for a moment suggesting it’s not possible to disagree with Ravitch; I’ve read many folks on many sides of the ed issues do it. But that’s not what Toch did. Maybe he’s trying to make a point, or maybe he’s just trying to create some clickbait by taking a shot at one of the more recognizable names in the field. Maybe he’s just trying to punch “up” for the attention. When you’re the new gunslinger in town, it’s good publicity to go after one of the Big Guns to make a name for yourself.

Bottom line?

Also, there’s an infographic that shows that Betsy DeVos is a Republican who gave money to some candidates. Just in case you needed a visual to grok that. 

It feels like we’ve been here before. Pro-Common Core, pro-testing, gently anti-union, trying to steer a course between the most obvious excesses of hard right ed reform without actually disavowing the many, many education policies with which they actually agree. This is a worthy destination for Walton money and an appropriate employer for some reform-loving academics.

This is definitely not a new voice, or maybe it’s just a new-ish voice singing from the same old hymnal. Others have tried to stir up some clicks and attention by being cantankerous, but speaking as someone whose brand is cantankerosity, at the end of the day, if you have nothing of substance to say, the crowd gets bored and moves on. FutureEd will be a fine addition to the same old constellation of well-funded reform-pushing advocacy groups, but other than a fresh logo, it seems unlikely to bring anything new to the education debates. Easily duplicated, easily ignored.

House Dems call for the resignation of the head of Betsy DeVos’s anti-public educ. group over gender violence remarks | Eclectablog

‘House Dems call for the resignation of the head of Betsy DeVos’s anti-public educ. group over gender violence remarks’, at Eclectablog

You may view the latest post at
http://www.eclectablog.com/2017/03/house-dems-call-for-the-resignation-of-the-head-of-betsy-devoss-anti-public-educ-group-over-gender-violence-remarks.html

Source: House Dems call for the resignation of the head of Betsy DeVos’s anti-public educ. group over gender violence remarks | Eclectablog

Voucher-like proposal could take $71 million of public school funding from all Tennessee districts | Chalkbeat

A $71 million-a-year proposal to allow public dollars to go toward private education services could reshape schools across the state, offering low-income and affluent parents alike unprecedented school choice.

Rep. Roger Kane introduced a bill on Tuesday that would allow any parent to use up to $7,000 of public school funding toward private schools, tutoring or other educational services.

Called an Empowerment Scholarship Account, the proposal would be similar to a program that went into effect this year for special education students, but far more sweeping.

All of Tennessee’s 1 million public school students would be eligible to participate, though the program would be capped at 9,600.

READ MORE HERE: Voucher-like proposal could take $71 million of public school funding from all Tennessee districts | Chalkbeat

Watergate: The Scandal That Brought Down Richard Nixon

“Watergate” is a general term used to describe a complex web of political scandals between 1972 and 1974. The word specifically refers to the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C.

Thumbs Up From the 37th President Richard NixonTHE BURGLARY
Watergate has entered the political lexicon as a term synonymous with corruption and scandal, yet the Watergate Hotel is one of Washington’s plushest hotels. Even today, it is home to former Senator Bob Dole and was once the place where Monica Lewinsky laid low. It was here that the Watergate Burglars broke into the Democratic Party’s National Committee offices on June 17, 1972. If it had not been for the alert actions of Frank Wills, a security guard, the scandal may never have erupted. MORE

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
The story of Watergate has an intriguing historical and political background, arising out of political events of the 1960s such as Vietnam, and the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1970. But the chronology of the scandal really begins during 1972, when the burglars were arrested. By 1973, Nixon had been re-elected, but the storm clouds were building. By early 1974, the nation was consumed by Watergate. MORE

RICHARD MILHOUS NIXON
Richard Milhous Nixon is one of the most fascinating political figures of the 20th Century. His long political career began in 1947 when he was elected to the House of Representatives. By 1952, Nixon had been chosen as Dwight Eisenhower’s vice-presidential running mate, but not before he was embroiled in a scandal that led to the infamous Checkers Speech.

Nixon served as Vice-President for eight years, then lost the 1960 election to John F. Kennedy. He recovered from political defeat to be chosen again as the Republican Party’s candidate at the 1968 election. Following a year of turmoil, including two political assassinations, Nixon became the nation’s 37th President on January 20, 1969. Later that year, he delivered his ‘Silent Majority’ speech on the Vietnam War, articulating his belief that the bulk of the American people supported his policies and programs. He was vindicated by winning a landslide re-election. He was sworn in for a second term in Janury 1973. MORE

NIXON REACTS TO WATERGATE
Nixon made three major speeches on the Watergate scandal during 1973 and 1974. The first was on April 30, 1973, in which he announced the departure of Dean, Haldeman and Ehrlichman. A more defiant speech was delivered on August 15, 1973. Perhaps the politically most difficult speech was the one on April 29, 1974, in which Nixon released partial transcripts of the White House tapes. MORE

THE INVESTIGATIONS
Initial investigations of Watergate were heavily influenced by the media, particularly the work of two reporters from the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, along with their mysterious informant, Deep Throat.

Political investigations began in February 1973 when the Senate established a Committee to investigate the Watergate scandal. The public hearings of the Committee were sensational, including the evidence of John Dean, Nixon’s former White House Counsel. The Committee also uncovered the existence of the secret White House tape recordings, sparking a major political and legal battle between the Congress and the President.

In 1974, the House of Representatives authorised the Judiciary Committee to consider impeachment proceedings against Nixon. The work of this Committee was again the spotlight a quarter of a century later when Bill Clinton was impeached. MORE

THE FINAL DAYS
Nixon’s last days in office came in late July and early August, 1974. The House Judiciary Committee voted to accept three of four proposed Articles of Impeachment, with some Republicans voting with Democrats to recommend impeachment of the President.

The final blow came with the decision by the Supreme Court to order Nixon to release more White House tapes. One of these became known as the ‘smoking gun’ tape when it revealed that Nixon had participated in the Watergate cover-up as far back as June 23, 1972. Around the country, there were calls for Nixon to resign.

At 9pm on the evening of August 8, 1974, Nixon delivered a nationally televised resignation speech. The next morning, he made his final remarks to the White House staff before sending his resignation letter to the Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger. MORE

GERALD FORD – THE MAN WHO PARDONED NIXON
Gerald Ford became the 38th President of the United States when Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974. He was the first Vice-President and the first President to ascend to both positions without being elected. Regarded on all sides of politics as a decent man, Ford will be remembered for his controversial pardon of Richard Nixon. MORE

THE AFTERMATH OF WATERGATE
Watergate had profound consequences in the United States. There was a long list of convictions and other casualties. For example, the aftermath of Watergate ushered in changes in campaign finance reform and a more aggressive attitude by the media. By the time the 25th anniversary of Watergate occurred in 1997, a vast library of books and films existed. Watergate’s influence was felt in the Clinton Impeachment of 1998-99.

Nixon died in 1994 and was eulogised by the political establishment, although he was still a figure of controversy.

The investigations into Watergate that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon are a case study in the operation of the American Constitution and political values. MORE

Source: Watergate: The Scandal That Brought Down Richard Nixon

One More Time on Equity in School Funding

Superintendent's Notes

You know from many of my previous postings on this site as well as my personal blog (Rebel 6 Ramblings) that our state legislature and governor continue to perpetuate a very inequitable system of providing classroom funding for Michigan’s public schools. We know, especially here at Godfrey-Lee where a very dedicated teaching staff provides effective educational services for a large percentage of students struggling with the English language (EL) or dealing with the impacts of poverty in their lives, that our state funding does not provide adequate access to equitable programs and supports to ensure every student has a chance for high-level academic success. Our legislature knows it as well but turns a blind eye in favor of providing tax cuts for businesses or avoiding personal tax increases in a state where we just learned achievement growth is lowest in the nation and all around us we see our infrastructure…

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Are Charter Schools Overrated? Experts Debate the Question – Charters & Choice – Education Week

Two charter supporters and two critics discussed the merits of charter schools during a live-streamed debate that will be turned into a national radio show and podcast.

Four experts faced off in a live debate Wednesday night on a range of issues that swirl around charter schools—whether for-profit schools work, what’s best for student achievement, and if charters lead to innovation.

But the discussion came down to a simple question: Are charter schools overrated? And the audience’s answer was “yes.”

The debate was put on by Intelligence Squared U.S., a nonprofit organization that hosts debates on controversial topics that have ranged from “Give Trump a Chance” to “Policing is Racially Biased.”

Online viewers, as well as the live audience, were asked to vote before and after the two-hour event in New York City.

The debaters “for the motion”—those in favor of charter reforms—were Gary Miron, a Western Michigan University education professor who has led charter school studies for the U.S. Department of Education and others, and Julian Vasquez Heilig, a California State University, Sacramento educational leadership professor and a founding member of the Network for Public Education. Vasquez Heilig spearheaded the NAACP’s call for a moratorium on new charter schools last year.

The debaters “against the motion”—those who support charters—were Jeanne Allen, the chief executive officer of the Center for Education Reform who served in the U.S. Department of Education under President Ronald Reagan; and Gerard Robinson, a former Florida education commissioner who was an education adviser to Trump.

READ MORE HERE: Are Charter Schools Overrated? Experts Debate the Question – Charters & Choice – Education Week

W. Burke Royster – Recognized for Keeping Students on Track

In South Carolina’s Greenville County Schools, Superintendent W. Burke Royster enlists a wide array of partners to help keep students—especially those in poor communities—engaged in school and on track to graduate. He is recognized as a 2017 Leader To Learn From.

Source: W. Burke Royster – Recognized for Keeping Students on Track