The Gun Industry Comes Up With A New Product For Your Health.

The Gun Industry Comes Up With A New Product For Your Health.
by mikethegunguy
Since I registered for Medicare, a week doesn’t go by when I don’t receive something in the mail offering a hearing aid at a reduced ‘special for seniors’ price. So when I found out about a new federal bill called the Hearing Protection Act, I got really excited because I figured that the Congress was going to make it easier and cheaper for me to start hearing again.
READ MORE HERE – https://mikethegunguy.com/2017/03/02/the-gun-industry-comes-up-with-a-new-product-for-your-health/

mikethegunguy

Since I registered for Medicare, a week doesn’t go by when I don’t receive something in the mail offering a hearing aid at a reduced ‘special for seniors’ price. So when I found out about a new federal bill called the Hearing Protection Act, I got really excited because I figured that the Congress was going to make it easier and cheaper for me to start hearing again.

silencer             But in fact this proposed law has nothing to do with helping me hear at all; the purpose of the bill is to make it easier to buy a silencer and thus make it harder for me to hear the sound of a gun being shot off, a noise which, by the way, is a good thing to hear because it tells me that someone may be using a gun in a dangerous and unsafe way.

It figures that the moment…

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CURMUDGUCATION

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

Source: CURMUDGUCATION

Can Choice Return To Its Roots?

Deborah Meier wrote in Education Week recently wit an interesting question.

Can school choice return to its progressive roots?” she asked. She goes back to the days in which she became involved in starting charter schools, to get out from under the heavy hand of regulation and red tape and start a school run by educators who would focus on the stuff that really matters, serving students who has been largely ignored by the system. In those early days, school choice could be seen as a progressive cause. And yet, with the growth in the charter movement came misgivings:

It was the proliferation of charters that made me pause and worry about how choice could work against the values I was presumably promoting. Small schools of choice soon became a way of resegregating where integration had begun to be practiced. It also pitted teachers and parents against each other as they were asked to share limited space. And, soon it began to seem as though it was also a way of dividing a community’s efforts at improving all their schools. Bus trips to Albany were conducted by competing groups with competing external sponsors—serving however the same community. And, of course, sometimes families were attending schools in districts where they didn’t live and in the process, some districts lost valuable parent leaders and activists who solved their personal interests without tackling the larger dilemmas facing their neighbors.

Meier’s question is on the surface pretty simple. Can the progressive impulse be put back in the forefront of the charter-choice question? She didn’t ask me, but I’m answering anyway.

My answer is “No.”

And the reason for my answer is also simple.

Money.

There are two main reasons that money will remain a barrier to progressive school choice paradise.

First, there’s been no attempt to actually fund such a system. Instead, every attempt at a charter-choice system has been founded on the premise that we can fund multiple school systems with the same money previously used to fund just one system. That premise is nuts. The result is a zero-sum Battle to the Death cage match between public and charter schools, resulting in some of the issues Meier notes above. Not enough resources, building space, quality teachers, expensive administrators and just plain funding to go around.

The only solution for this problem is a bunch of brave politicians who will stand up and say, “We think that having a choice-based multi-school system is so important that we are going to appropriate a bunch of new tax dollars to fund it.” That seems unlikely, particularly in those states where the legislators are unwilling to fully fund the system they already have.

But even if full funding somehow magically happened, that would not solve Problem Number 2. That because Problem Number 2 is also money.

A charter-choice system as currently conceived is about unleashing the free market, and the free market feeds on money. Many states are well along in the transformation of education from a public service sector to a free market profit-seeking sector, and the result is not pretty. A charter school founded and run by local folks and based on progressive values is already quaint, like a Mom and Pop corner grocery store. There’s money to be made in the charter biz, and a whole bunch of people who want to make it.

Free market fans will insist (many of them sincerely) that the drive to make money will lead to top notch quality schools for every child in the US. There is not a lick of evidence to support this view, and plenty of evidence that it is wrong. You can find plenty of arguments here from me, but for the moment, let me just toss out one question– can you name one business sector that has thrived by producing a top-quality product that gets to every single person in the country? In the meantime, the pursuit of money through charters has led to elbowing aside all obstacles, including the local community members and taxpayers whose school it supposed to be, and satisfying some of the less admirable desires if the marketplace, like a school free from Those People.

As long as education is a big beautiful football field with bags of money buried all through it available to anyone who liberates them, people will show up with shovels and backhoes and plastic forks and dig holes until nobody can really play the game the field was meant for in the first place.

Until charter choice systems are fully funded and carefully regulated, they will never return to their roots. But right now too many operators smell too much money for us to go back easily.

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This afternoon the set was struck and the stage swept clean. We’ve come to the end of this year’s spring musical. As always it was one of the highlights of my year, and as always, it reminded me of how inadequate so many of our educational models are.

There are weeks of rehearsal, learning music, learning choreography, working on blocking and lines and the underlying character work that goes with all of that. We have a cast of students in 7-12 grade in very many levels of skill and experience.

Used properly, a portal to a world of learning

That means that in the course of assembling the show, each student learns a different set of lessons that depend a great deal on what roles they receive and what skills they bring to the table, as well as their ambition and adventurousness of spirit.

So this educational experience is extremely personalized, and that means far more than I have twelve lessons to choose from and a computer picks the next one based on how the last one turned out. My lead actor may need to learn about comedic timing, while one of my chorus folks may need to learn about the importance of the chorus in a show. My leading actress may need to learn about how to flesh out a character when the writers haven’t given you much to work with. But the list of lessons will be different for every different role and every different cast member.

The lessons also vary with directors. This program is a co-op that allows my school to join in with a school just across town, and I split directing duties with an old friend who heads up the other school’s program. We’ve divided up duties many different ways over the years, and it works because we work well together. Every theater production is a collaboration of some sort, and that collaboration is always shaped by the approaches of the people involved. Some directors have a very specific vision for the actors to bring to life, while others like to leave spaces for the actors to fill in with their own choices. We tend toward the latter, but some actors are more comfortable with the former and all sorts of combinations can get good results (and the requirements of the script itself also make a difference). All of which means that if you showed up with a specific program for exactly how a director should put together a show, I would laugh at you. Here we are with a performance based task that literally comes with a script-– and yet only a fool would claim that the script is all you need to produce a great show.

Likewise, putting on a show is the very definition of a performance-based learning experience. Yet if we were to follow the PBL model currently favored, we would break the show down into a checklist. Does the actor know the lines? Check. Does the actor know the blocking? Check. Can the actor put on her costume? Check. And on and on and even if I have checked off every micro-credential on the list, that is not the same thing as actually performing the show. Nor do we build toward that performance capability by working down the list one separate performance task at a time, because they are all part of a greater whole.

And those tasks would be performed for an evaluator, an assessor of some sort, which is not the ultimate goal. Our show was performed in front of an audience, and because it was a comedy, the audience reaction was a critical part of performance (in fact, on our second night, I saw something I’ve never seen in school or community theater before– the show was stopped by audience laughter). Unlike competency-based education, which presumes that competencies can be approached as separate, discrete skills that can be measured through proxies, tasks that aren’t the real thing. There is no checklist that would have substituted for dress rehearsal, no assessment more valuable than audience reactions in performance.

And speaking of assessments– at no point in the eight-week process of preparing the show would a multiple-choice standardized test have been useful.At no point in the process did anyone think, “Hey, we need to do some assessments here to make sure that everyone is on track for a good performance.” It would have been a pointless, useless waste of time.

In fact, standardization of any type is useless in this process. I have no idea how many productions of The Addams Family have been put on in community and school theaters at this point, but I will bet you the farm, the rent money, and a full box of donuts that not one of those productions looks exactly like any other. It’s true that nobody who saw our production would have mistaken it for Hamlet or Oh Calcutta, but every production exists at the intersection of a specific cast, director, school, community, and stage (ours has no fly gallery, so that affects set design considerably). School theater in particular has to make adjustments for things as simple as language and as substantial as character gender (I can tell you, for instance, that interesting things happen to the subtext of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast when Belle’s crazy father Maurice is replaced by Belle’s crazy mother Marie). It is those specific variations that most often give the special flavor and quality to the local production; the deviations from the standard are a source of excellence, not treatment-demanding flaw.

I love working with students and theater (despite the giant chunks of my life that it demands) because it is an experience that, in an absolutely authentic manner, helps each student grow and learn and discover new greatness in herself. It is an absolutely real learning and growth experience, which is why I’m always struck by how completely it does not match any of the assumptions about real learning made by the forces of ed reform. This is what real learning and growth look like, and they don’t resemble the whole standard-driven test-centered punishment-fueled system that has been forced on us for the past fifteen years.

BustED Pencils Trending News: Howard Zinn Banned in Arkansas!

Here at BustEd Pencils we have a special place in our hearts for Howard Zinn.  Hell every show ends with our Moment of Zinn

—a quote from Howard that encourages “civil disobedience.”

However it seems that some dolt in Arkansas thinks that book banning should make a come back and authored a bill that would deny the use of Howard Zinn materials in public schools.

You know what Howard said,

Our problem is not civil disobedience.

Our problem is civil obedience!

Look at this nonsense.

  1. http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2017/03/02/bill-introduced-to-ban-howard-zinn-books-from-arkansas-public-schools
  2. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/03/03/arkansas-lawmaker-introduces-bill-ban-howard-zinn-classrooms
  3. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-04/lawmaker-trying-ban-howard-zinn-literature-public-schools

Source: BustED Pencils Trending News: Howard Zinn Banned in Arkansas!

Stanford Researcher Presents the Evidence Against Trump-DeVos Voucher Plans

It seems that President Donald Trump and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos are looking to tuition tax credits, a form of school vouchers, to fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to expand school choice. (This blog has covered Trump and DeVos’s interest in tuition tax credits here, here, and here.)

Martin Carnoy, a professor of education and economics at Stanford University, published a report on Tuesday for the Economic Policy Institute that questions the expansion of school tuition vouchers. The driving motivation for promoters of vouchers, writes Carnoy, is ideological and is not based on any evidence that vouchers improve educational outcomes overall: “The lack of evidence that vouchers significantly improve student achievement (test scores), coupled with the evidence of a modest, at best, impact on educational attainment (graduation rates), suggests that an ideological preference for education markets over equity and public accountability is what is driving the push to expand voucher programs.”

Carnoy explains that voucher programs have met neither of two promises of their proponents— READ MORE HERE – https://janresseger.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/12660/

janresseger

It seems that President Donald Trump and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos are looking to tuition tax credits, a form of school vouchers, to fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to expand school choice.  (This blog has covered Trump and DeVos’s interest in tuition tax credits here, here, and here.)

Martin Carnoy, a professor of education and economics at Stanford University, published a report on Tuesday for the Economic Policy Institute that questions the expansion of school tuition vouchers. The driving motivation for promoters of vouchers, writes Carnoy, is ideological and is not based on any evidence that vouchers improve educational outcomes overall: “The lack of evidence that vouchers significantly improve student achievement (test scores), coupled with the evidence of a modest, at best, impact on educational attainment (graduation rates), suggests that an ideological preference for education markets over equity and public accountability is what is driving the push…

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The Michigan Progressive Summit comes ROARING back! | Eclectablog

‘The Michigan Progressive Summit comes ROARING back!’, at Eclectablog

You may view the latest post at
http://www.eclectablog.com/2017/03/the-michigan-progressive-summit-comes-roaring-back.html

Source: The Michigan Progressive Summit comes ROARING back! | Eclectablog

How Michigan ‘games’ the welfare-to-work system | Bridge Magazine

Over the past 20 years, Michigan has spent roughly a half-billion dollars annually on what it characterizes as welfare. In return, Washington has rewarded the state with an even greater amount – $775 million a year in federal block grants – which, when joined together, are supposed to help the poor get off public assistance and join the workforce.

But a Bridge analysis reveals Michigan is increasingly diverting welfare-to-work funds to programs that provide neither cash assistance to the poorest families, nor the job-training skills they need to escape poverty.

Nationally, half of all the welfare money controlled by states goes to core programs intended to get those on welfare back to work – cash assistance, child care, and work-related initiatives. In Michigan, it’s less than 25 percent, one of the lowest rates in the country. Records show the state has used much of this money to plug shortfalls in the state budget, or to help families that hardly fit the definition of destitute.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE: How Michigan ‘games’ the welfare-to-work system | Bridge Magazine

Future Ready Schools: How Silicon Valley and the Defense Department Plan to Remake Public Education: A talk by Alison McDowell

Future Ready Schools: How Silicon Valley and the Defense Department Plan to Remake Public Education: A talk by Alison McDowell
by seattleducation2010
Future Ready Schools: How Silicon Valley and the Defense Department Plan to Remake Public Education March 25th, from 10:30 AM-Noon Lake City Branch of the Seattle Public Library 12501 28th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA 98125 This talk is free and open to the public. Since the passage of No Child Left Behind, schools across the […]

Read more of this post https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/future-ready-schools-how-silicon-valley-and-the-defense-department-plan-to-remake-public-education-a-talk-by-alison-mcdowell/

Seattle Education

big-data1

Future Ready Schools:

How Silicon Valley and the Defense Department Plan to Remake Public Education

March 25th, from 10:30 AM-Noon

Lake City Branch of the Seattle Public Library

12501 28th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA 98125

This talk is free and open to the public.

Since the passage of No Child Left Behind, schools across the country have been destabilized by ongoing austerity budgets and punitive data-driven policies. Meanwhile, an alternative infrastructure of digital education has been quietly developed and refined through public-private partnerships set up between the Defense Department’s Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, technology companies, and higher education interests.

The Obama administration made a big push for 21st Century School redesign where teachers would be turned into “guides on the side” with children spending more and more time on adaptive learning management systems. Now we face a future in which education policy is being handled at the state level, where…

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Friday Fun – What Kind of Writer Are You?

Friday Fun – What Kind of Writer Are You?
by nhwn
Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

Live to Write - Write to Live

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION:  What kind of writer did you set out to be? What was your vision for your writing life? Has your journey brought you to that destination, or at least put you on the path toward that goal; or has your writing adventure taken unexpected turns into new territory?

JME5670V2smCROPJamie Wallace: I grew up dreaming of being a novelist. I imagined myself nestled in a modest-but-cozy writing studio sipping endless chai lattes and steaming mugs of chamomile tea while collaborating with my muse. I pictured cats purring loudly from between sprawling piles of notes and research materials while I tapped out my latest middle grade fantasy or new adult magical surrealist tale. Of course…

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Trump Wants to Rebuild Our “Depleted Military?” Here’s the Math Showing Why That’s Insane |

Trump Wants to Rebuild Our „Depleted Military?“ Here’s the Math Showing Why That’s Insane

by John Laurits

The Trump administration has announced that they plan to increase defense spending — which, of course, is actually war spending — by another $54 billion. To give you an idea of how much that is, a stack of 54 billion dollar-bills would be about 5,901 km and, if stacked sideways, could reach from New York City […]

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