Country Appears Headed In the Wrong Direction Polls say……

*The Conference Board said Tuesday that its confidence index climbed to 94.5, the strongest reading since October 2007 before the start of the Great Republican Depression….

*The National Retail Federation said this morning that it expects holiday retail sales to grow 4.1% to $617 billion. That would mark a substantial increase in the rate of growth over both the 3.1% growth seen in 2013 and the 2.9% ten year average.

*Gasoline is averaging $3.01 a gallon nationally—down 8.2 percent from an average $3.28 a year ago, according to AAA figures. Lowest levels in 5 years….(2009)

* Retail sales among private companies with less than $5 million (small businesses)  in annual revenue have seen 4.5 percent growth in annual sales through September of this year. That’s up 5.5 percent from the same period a year ago.

*Today, more Americans have health insurance than ever! before.

* 10 million people who would have previously had to pay full price for any health treatment can now afford an annual checkup, eye glasses, or birth control pills.

*In the (Democratic) states that embraced the ACA’s planned expansion of Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor, the number of uninsured fell by nearly 40%.

*Unemployment hits a six-year low (2008) at 5.9 percent.

*The US economy added 248,000 jobs in September and in an unexpectedly strong report.

* The GDP report was broadly constructive, with the gains broadly based and pointing to positive underlying momentum in the U.S. economy going into the last stretch of 2014.

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Since polls are made up, created, and have little bearing in reality as do real things, jobs, salary, hours worked, balance sheets, no out of pocket medical bills, …. one must assume, as would any person possessing their reasonable facilities, that these polls are were either blatantly lying, or were deceptively created through cherry picking the prospects, in order to create the illusion its authors “wanted” to create……..

If someone tells you the sky is green outside, do you stay in your cubicle and say “oh wow” … or do you take a break and go outside to see …. it’s as blue as it ever was?

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We finally got hard working America back on its feet after the last Republican Congress and Republican president gave us the largest economic Depression since the Great Depression of 1929:  Properly known as “The Republican Depression of 2008″! …..  Are you truly going to put them back in power to do it all over again?

If you don’t vote…. then you just did…  It all comes down to that… If every single one of you votes, then the real results like these will continue “AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE”….

No matter what the “lying” polls say…..

The answer is to look at the House, and see what bills passed there which would then, clear a Republican Senate and find their way to the President’s desk for a veto….

Here broken down by issue, is what has actually passed the House, but was stopped by the Senate…

Women’s Issues:

*A law that would make it a federal crime for an adult to accompany a teen across state lines for an abortion and hold doctors liable for knowing that.

*A law to ban abortion coverage in all state health-care insurance exchanges.

*A law to ban abortions after 20 weeks with an exception only for the life of the mother.

*A law to end the contraception benefit in the ACA.

These will need to be stopped by the veto pen of Obama. The real danger is if they get slipped into necessary pieces of legislation, funding bills, so he has to bear the burden and blame of shutting down government or letting them pass.

Paul Ryan’s Budget

*Protect tax breaks for the wealthiest.

*Austerity put in place to hold back growth.  Non-defense discretionary spending would fall by $783 billion.

*The Ryan Budget would cut nearly $2.8 trillion from the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies and Medicaid.

*The Ryan Budget cuts all Food stamps, all Earned Income Tax Credit, all unemployment insurance, and all retirement funding for federal workers up to $1 trillion.

*Reducing Pell grants, food stamps, money for renewable energy.

*Target the EPA.

*Federal subsidies for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting can no longer be justified.

*Allow for further drilling access in Alaska, the Outer Continental Shelf, the Gulf of Mexico,  and the Inter-mountain West National Parks.

*Keystone Pipeline

*Go after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, gutting Consumer protections by giving business more control, or taking it out from under the Federal Reserve Bank, which could reduce its authority.

Immigration

*An immigration reform  with no path to citizenship, sweetened so that Obama would have a very hard time vetoing: DREAMers, border security, STEM, and temporary legal status.

*Plenty of ways to try to force Obama to accept GOP priorities, especially on immigration matters, or issue a veto that would be difficult for some red-state Democrats to defend.

ACA

*Repeal is unlikely now for political reasons… They would nip and tuck. Starve the ACA by budgetary means. What happens if Congress doesn’t pass the health budget the president requests.

*Doing away with the medical device tax and cutting expenditures required to properly implement ACA and in generally making things nasty for the administration.

Supreme Court

*GOP give a nominee a hearing but sit on the vote, leaving the Supreme Court with only eight members until we see who wins the presidency.

Hillary Clinton

*The Republican Senate will try to keep the Benghazi attack in the headlines until the day Hillary Clinton gives her acceptance speech, and beyond.

*With 2016 coming? The best thing for them to do: (in political terms, that is, albeit not for the country)—is dig in, and drag down Obama’s poll numbers. If you are running to succeed a two-term incumbent from your own party, you are in some sense running for his third term. Gutting Obama hurts Hillary’s chances.

Irony

Ironically more legislation will pass both Houses if Republicans do take the Senate.  If a piece of  legislation clears the House, it will likewise clear the Senate to then land on the desk of the President.  Question is:  is that type of legislation what you really want passed?

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As long a the president has his veto and the Congress cannot override it, the big changes like the ACA already embedded into todays society by the Obama administration cannot be rescinded.   But, considerable bites can be taken out of them.  The next two years will be all about reversing the growth and development achieved over the past 6.

This is what is predicted to pass.. Of course those predictions are being made based off of 2010’s voting results…  (Looking at who voted in 2010 and predicting who will win based on those “probable” voters)…  This is why all the polls are showing the Republicans taking over the Senate….

But this all changes if and only if every single Democrat does go out and vote as they did both times in 2012 and 2008…. if they vote Democratic…..This election is all about getting them off their ass… If every Democrat is motivated to get off their ass, America continues it’s great economic  track record and even continues shuffling forward a little faster…

If they don’t, then we indeed have the road to hell ahead of us…  Conservatives will be grateful, of course, if you stay home… However, your children and grandchildren when they grow up and find out what you you could have prevented and didn’t do, won’t.

 

 

 

 

it is legend that during the Revolutionary War after a truly defeatist year was in its last week buoyed by two significant victories at Trenton and Princeton, that this occurred.

Washington’s army was to disband at year’s end.  Their enlistment time had expired and they would soon be free to go home.

This was not a well equipped army we are talking about.  Many had no shoes to speak of. It was cold, it was snowy, they lived in huts heated only by fires, and most had been away from their farms and families for over 2 years.  They couldn’t wait to get back.

Washington near the very last day of December, called them all out on their last review… He lined them up. A motley crew they were too… With his sword  he walked down the column of men digging a line in the dirt just feet away from their toes…

He then got on his horse, said a few words, thanked them for their service, and then said he would like to ask all to re-volunteer for another term of service, if they didn’t they’d be free to go….

He waited.  of course no one stepped across!… He waited again… No one stepped… He waited some more…..

Allegedly after about 20 minutes, finally one person, we know not whom, said the 18th Century version of “aw fvck it” and stepped across the line… A murmur ran up and down the line… “what is he, fvckin’ crazy?” or whatever the equivalent was back in that day and time.

Ten minutes passed and another, then another, and another all stepped across the line. By an hour, only a few standouts who really had hoped to be on their way soon, still had not crossed over… Realizing how they would be viewed by history, they too crossed and Washington then thanked them for all stepping up to come to the aid of their country, saying their family and friends would be eternally grateful…

I’ve always wondered what would have happened if that one person would never have started the process?  Would anyone else have stepped up? … Would that have been the end of the USA right then and there?  What arguments went on in that one persons head?  What singular thought pushed him to decide to carry on and by his single action, avoid the disbandment of the Continental Army of 1777 and enable it to carry through 1778 on into 1783?

We hold Washington to be a hero, “Father of Our Country” we used to call him.  However the real hero was that one single man, unnamed, who first stepped across that line and then all those heroes who joined him….. All we see around us today, comes from that.

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The parallel is pretty obvious if you’ve been paying attention to what is going on….  The middle class is being manipulated into becoming a servant class… Instead of the middle class leading, we are following… Instead of the middle class picking and choosing our destiny, we are picking and choosing among the insignificant crumbs left after the power brokers have had their food. The destruction of the middle class is being done by purpose and by design, little by little with every New Deal piece of legislation that gets overturned…. in order to make things easier for “business” to prosper and thrive.

When you control who can vote and who cannot, you don’t really have a democracy. When you control who can get their message out and who cannot, you don’t have a democracy.  When you control all aspects of employees lives, you don’t have privacy and without privacy, you can’t have a real democracy….

Much damage to democracy itself has taken place since 2000. This 2014 election is the last time to stop it before the events we have seen begun, begin to take over.  As all know, it is easier to keep something still standing than it is to tear it down and rebuild it back again… once it gets torn down, it will take a terrible  event similar to the Great Depression to motivate people to attempt the difficult task and rebuild it back…

If Republicans win, and we are being told that certainly looks probable because very few Democrats will go out to vote, then what has taken place over these past four Tea Party years will continue for at least the next 30…  Expect government shut downs for the slightest provocation.  Repeal of insurance for millions.  More money and power and citizen’s rights flowing to our bosses and less to ourselves.  Banishment for minorities at the polls and more acts of brutality to “keep them in their place.”  It has happened across history, in very many civilizations and if we go that way, we certainly won’t be the first.

It is sad and very likely to take place…  just like it was quite predictable before the end of 1777 that the Continental army would disband and this fledging nation give up its ghost. The only thing that can possibly stop it is… for all registered Democrats to actually get up and vote…  I know it is a hardship.  I know it takes time to stand in line. I know all that… But I also know what will happen if you don’t. If any Democrat doesn’t…  It’s basically over for anyone not making millions this very moment.  There will be no hope for a better future… It only gets worse.  There will be no help coming in the form of Hillary Clinton, or whomever.  They too, like Obama, will have to deal with a Republican Senate and House…. one who’s majority cares very little for anyone making less than 10 million a year.

This time, is it… This is the one election, ….after losing the battle of 2010, after winning a little back in 2012, it is this election that will either keep or break the back of the middle class…. We know what has to be done… Keep our Health Care Affordable…Reverse Citizens United… Eliminate big money from deciding all policy. Get rid of ID voting. Do something constructive with antiquated drug laws.  Do something sensible about immigration. Do something beneficial to women… Pay people more… while keeping our costs down… And strengthen Social Security and Medicare so it will be there when we need it…

When one party is only concerned with giving the top one percent a tax cut, no matter what that action will befall the rest of the nation,  it is time to do the one single thing you can do that is something constructive…

Vote this Tuesday.

Question is:  will you?

It is not so much class warfare.  It is not so much rich versus poor.  It is not so much whites against minorities…. it is not so much conservatives against liberals….  It is about hate.

Some of you have seen it before.  The white society of the south who resented Kennedy making the Negro equal… The SDS of the 60’s anti-war movement who felt that domestic terrorism was the only option for positive change.   The midwest conservatives who supported the Oklahoma City bombing because no conservatives were killed in that explosion. The black panthers who felt armed insurrection was the only thing whitey would takes seriously….

Why do we hate so much?  Looking at it long and hard over many years if pressed, I would correlate hate to frustration… As our frustration levels rise, our hate does as well. As frustration lowers, hate does as well….

This explains a lot.  It explains how when Obama won, the “haters” rallied against him. It explains how when the Tea Party upset the status quo in 2010, different “haters” rallied against all of them….  it explains how ISIS can do what it does in Iraq. It explains how Russian separatists can shoot down a commercial airliner with little kids excited to be going on vacation.  It explains how when 27 people die in Sandy Hook, gun nuts went ballistic. It explains how when the Eagles are losing, fights break out.

It is about frustration…. Not about right or wrong. Not about science or religion. Not about love or hate…  But frustration that the tides of time are changing and they do not bode well for the status quo with which we have become comfortable…..

Hence the animosity of the Republican Party against the Republican health care plan (one they created and tried to sell to America), simply because it was stolen to become the Affordable Health Care Act.  Now if their idea becomes a success, someone else will get the credit for it.

Essentially, what we are seeing across the board is the demise of democracy…  The elite have taken over almost everything.  They control our news sources. They control our sports teams. They control our education. They control our politicians.  They control our finances. They control our credit scores. They control our power usage. They control our internet speeds. They control our gas prices. They control.

And it frustrates the hell out of us.

A person cannot get ahead…. We have to beat up on someone or we will explode….

The question is… is that how we really want to live?  if we do, then we shouldn’t complain for we are getting exactly what we ask for…

You may wonder why post this at this time?  That is a valid question… You see today, I have listened to our local US Senate debate, US House debate, state treasurers debate (all done recently), and it became apparent that the Democratic Chris Coons doesn’t care about individuals… Certainly the Democratic John Carney doesn’t care about individuals. Neither does treasurer candidate Sean Barney care about individuals.  Instead in all their points it was obvious that they were jockeying to curry favor with the elite with deep pockets by scoring a point here and a point there.  All three reminded me of Smithers sucking up to Mr. Burns by making his points in the meetings for him….

Republicans only care about the rich.  That too is a no brainer… They are worse than the Dem’s.  And so where does that leave us?

Third Party.  For the Senate, Congressional, and attorney general’s office, candidates who are very in tune with the real needs of people, are running.  These three are very fine people. (And I should add the libertarian 22nd state delegate candidate for good measure).

I can remember being disappointed when my parents decided to throw their votes away on independent candidates back when they realized both major parties were decrepit and neither was concerned with their interests.  They simply couldn’t stomach voting either Republican or Democratic across the span of two presidential elections…  I now understand how they felt.

Almost all of us believe we somehow face some form of accountability when we die.  It may be from ourselves in our last moments.  It may be from those we leave behind.  It may be from a higher power.  Obviously it is something we can’t know ahead of time, and must face at some point and once we do, it is too late to tell others we’ve already left behind.

Therefore each of us is afraid to vote for someone we can’t stand because to someone or thing, we will have to explain that mis-vote later.  This gets balanced against the notion that voting for any  third party candidate is irrelevant, that is unless many people all come together to do the same.  Then it is very relevant.

Most of us understand that some people are conservatives and some are not.  That doesn’t bother many of us… What does bother most people is when either or both dismiss us entirely as not being important and instead, hover around someone else and perform his bidding which is often the exact opposite of ours…

The only way to break this cycle is to replace management.  We are the stockholders!  If our managers are in collusion with our competitors, then we need to replace them….  Since both Republicans and Democrats are serving the same master (it isn’t us)… we need to replace them with someone loyal to us.

Nice thing is, none of these third party candidates are looneys… (You know the type, always wearing cowboy hats in public)   These are genuinely good people who if by miracle found themselves in office, would be quite loyal to those of us who put them there…. ..

They were also the stars in every single one of the debates….   If you want a human being to vote on legislation affecting you and not an agent of some lobbyist operation that buys and sells Senators and Congresspeople…. then you should seriously consider the following….

US Senator:   Andrew Groff

Rep in Congress:  Bernard August

Rep in Congress:  Scott Gesty

Attorney General:  Catherine Damavandi

22nd Rep:  Steve Newton

Third party candidates usually get short shift… Which is why, as soon as the election is over, we all then get short shifted by those lobbyist sponsored candidates who then run over top us in their efforts to please their masters.

If you want a candidate to pay attention to you…. This is the election to go all out for a third party…

Seriously… These are some fantastic people we have running here… Far better than what either major party is offering….  This is one chance when what usually is considered a vote for “none of the above” is actually a vote for the best possible candidate who will do what the Constitution says they should do:  represent us, their constituents….

Fact:  Common Core is skewered.

Evidence:  The Council of Chief State School Officers is now spinning that having only 26 states out of 50 still on Common Core as a great success.

All know at one point there were 45.  Now 26.  In Chris Minnich’s words:  “IF WE HAD SAID IN 2010 THAT WE WOULD HAVE 26 STATES PARTICIPATING IN WORKING TOGETHER ON ASSESSMENTS NO ONE WOULD HAVE PREDICTED THAT. WE HAD 50 STATES EACH WRITING THEIR OWN TEST AND SO I THINK 26 IS REAL PROGRESS.”

Immediately bringing up this question in any observer’s head:  if the prime idea of Common Core Standards was that it put all states on the same standard…. how does that translate to a success where 26 are on that standard and 24 are not? “

Obviously the prime aim of Common Core, which was to enable us to compare the educational programs of one state against another, seems to now be bypassed.

What then were the secondary aims?

This is where things get fuzzy. We get all sorts of nice platitudes in answer to this question. Here are some:

  • Make kids learn
  • Make kids know what they need to know.
  • Make kids not have to pay for learning in college for what they should have gotten for free in high school.
  • Higher graduation rates.
  • Close achievement gaps for the poor, black, Hispanic, and non English speaking households.

That is mostly it.

The reality is that we are going to have roughly 50% of the states on this one program and 50% of the states that are not.

I say so be it. The states that want to go forward with Common Core in a gung-ho fashion, and have heavily invested in such, should probably not change horses in mid stream. We all know how turning the horse around at full speed suddenly upsets the apple cart. Likewise, those states that have to be dragged kicking and screaming towards Common Core, will probably not execute it well enough to make any difference in their children if they indeed were forced to comply; it could create more harm than good.

Then with this dichotomy… (and this is important)… WE can see how the children in the states not doing Common Core test on the NAEP compared to those children undergoing Common Core and test under the NAEP….

If Mississippi suddenly shows improvement quickly surpassing Delaware, then we know the problem is Common Core.  I cannot see how this dichotomy is bad for the country.  It may be bad for Delaware’s children if our governor proceeded down the less productive alternative, but in both ours and Mississippi’s scenarios, with both having dedicated teachers directly engaging the teaching processes, the amount of intellectual damage will be minimal through both our teachers’ abilities of compensate against whatever weaknesses either curriculum may expose, and any backwardness if necessary can be made up at college level.

Likewise, if the 26 Common Core consortium states after 3 years surprise us all by showing promising results as did Kentucky, then perhaps the problems of Common Core were overstated.

It is my opinion that Kentucky’s results are not so much due to the actual curriculum of Common Core, but instead belie the focus of effort its implementation forces teachers to teach around it. I’ve heard much more time of a teachers day there is spent on their class work and lesson planning, strictly because of the inadequacy of Common Core’s curriculum; far more than was done previously back in the olden days.  Explained thusly, if you were to give me a sentence written in gobblygook, I am going to translate that for my students so they can understand and I will take much more time out of my day in doing it.  It is the human effort behind the timely translation and interpretations of what Common Core is trying to do, which seems to be causing the promising results in Kentucky.

If it weren’t for Common Core, less effort (leading to less results) would be applied…

One of the reasons many states do not want to go forward with Common Core is because they do not see it as being state-led, but federally mandated.  As all here know, it is illegal for the Federal Government to meddle in curriculums. That is to be done on the local level by our existing laws.

If the Federal Government were to offer up another 300+ million for the other states to come up with their own educational consortium themselves, perhaps that action might save the brand Common Core from annihilation.

The real underlying question behind Common Core is this:  will it work?  We were given a liquid in a bottle, and told to take spoons of it until we felt results… Is it real medicine?  Or were we duped?  We have to wait for the results to find out.

Like a Doctor’s Gruel, if it does the trick, then we should take more of it.. If it makes us sick and does nothing to achieve betterment of our symptoms, then we need to say never again…

As for failing 70% of students, that needs to be explained better.  It needs to be explained as being nothing more than changing the grading system as we know it… Where 70% used to be a failure rate, we have moved that rate up to 85%. Your student is just as smart as they ever were, but now, 85% will be the new minimum passing level… That is all it is; that is all they are doing…

It is like if you are used to driving in miles and switch to kilometers.  Before you drove with your speedometer set on 60.  Now you drive with it set on 100… With your new speedometer, you are still going just as fast.

It all hinges on the test.  If the test is good, then we were wrong to slow it down.  But if it is bad and from the things we see it certainly looks that way, then the 24 states are right, and those 26 continuing forward with Common Core and the consortium test. are jeopardizing each one of their state’s students.

This post is just a light-hearted caveat provided to prove a point often made by parents against reformers who have no children of their own, or if they do, who have sequestered them far away from the very programs they try to pin on public schools.

In a quarterly review with a student, I noticed this one student was now getting A’s on Chemistry. Point was, he F’d it all marking periods the previous year…

“I actually like chemistry” he said. “It makes such sense I don’t know why I didn’t pick up on it last year.”

“Is their a difference in the difficulty level perhaps”I asked.

“Last year was AP Chemistry, and this year it is just regular… “

“Why do you think you didn’t learn it last year?”,  I asked.

“Well, we covered too much too fast.  It was impossible to ask questions, and at first when I did, I was kinda told I was stupid, so I never did again. “

“Also there was so much homework, I couldn’t keep up with all my other classes, and we were given an old textbook for reference, since it was AP and there was not book, just sheets of handouts.”

I responded: “Are you saying essentially that AP is too difficult and emphasizes doing busy work, but your class now is easier and so the emphasis is more on learning?”

A look of realization crossed his face… “Why, yes,… that is exactly it.”….

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Ladies and Gentlemen:  Rigor is bad, and has no business being in any classroom in America, unless those classrooms are in our most prodigious universities which at that point, are undergoing the process of selection for future pre-Med.

Came across an amazing chart from the Paris School of Economic’s database.  It allows you to customize your search for any time or place over the world.

My area of expertise is within the US and here is what I wanted to see:  the percentage of national income earned by the top 0.01%…. not just the top 1%, but the top-tip 0.01%.

Tax rate impact firsttax rate impact secondtax rate impact thirdtax rate impact fourthtax rate impact fifth

This shows the past 100 years of national income percentage earned by the top 0.01%. There are some very striking facts noticed by those looking at this data for the first time.

1) The year 2012 was one of the record highest, beaten only by two years during WWI when the rest of the world was embroiled in war, and our top echelon were selling to both sides…. If one extracts that exception, then in 2012 we gave the top 0.01% (one hundredth of one percent) more of our national income than at any time previously recorded.

2) The Great Depression did little to affect the income percentages (1928-1932);  Roosevelt however (1933-onward), did a lot.

3) During America’s most prosperous times ever, after WWII made us the sole global economy, the incomes of the top 0.01% stayed under 1% of national income across the next 43 years. (1943-1986)

4) The Reagan Tax Cut of 1986 caused a doubling of the top 1%’s income in just 2 years. from 1% in 1986 to 1.99% in 1988.

5) The percentage again dropped under 2% after Clinton’s tax hike in 1992 causing a robust expansion, but passed that 2% mark in 1997 never to return.

6) During the “w” Bush years, the percentage continuously climbed peaking in 2007 and would have peaked higher in 2008 but the recession clipped the last two months off that year. Despite that, 2008 was the 2nd highest grossing percentage up to that time (discounting the WWI anomaly) across almost 100 years of data.

7) The Great Recession (2008-9)  as did the Great Depression (1929-32), had little effect on the top 0.01% percentage of national income. At no point did their yearly take dip below 3%, a mark first crossed in 2005 (if one continues disregarding the anomaly of the First World War).

8) The rebound ability of an economy at large is hampered when more money collects at the top and is not returned as investment to the bottom. Though small in percentage points, those difference of those 3 percentage points ( from under 1.0 to 4.0) translates to $500 billion that did not impact our economy because it went to less than 31,000 Americans.  Considering our TARP was passed only for $800 billion, we only saw $300 billion net running through our economy. because $500 billion of the $800 billion was handed over to less than 31,000 people then quickly whisked away to foreign bank accounts beyond the reach of the IRS.

9) Although difficult to state through all the multiple influences that impact economies daily, the extensive overview shown by this chart makes it clear that were we to have another great recession, we should first use the incomes of our top 0.01% to first rebuild our national economy as did Roosevelt, and not assume that those wealthy will do so voluntarily as did our creators and negotiators behind this current rebound.

10)  Data from 2013 will be most interesting.  The Bush Tax Cuts for the top 0.05% were rescinded that year, and at that point, our economy took off ( at least when Republicans weren’t threatening to shut it all down).  If it does indeed show a drop in the top 1%’s income, then we will know that in order to have robust recoveries, those at the top need to be taxed more, not less.

As for politics, this needs to be taken to heart.  Anyone who argues for less taxes on the top 1%, be they Democrat or Republican, needs to be shown the door…. We now have sufficient data to know with certainty, and from it, we can see all evidence points that higher marginal tax rates do benefit the middle class and subsequently the economy at large…..

This historical chart rings that out, clear as a bell at the end of a day’s trading…..

Thanks to Exceptional Delaware for spreading the upcoming changes to the IEP process.

Upon a preliminary perusal of the Scribed Document enclosed therein, I see many upcoming problems.  Most likely it will take 29 different separate posts to debunk each of the 29 pages contained therein….

However first mention should be over the underlying premise driving these individual planks of “reform”,  for reform they are not.  They are a push backwards to the pre-Industrial tenants of education…  to the times when education was not intended for everyone.

The driving force behind passage of the IDEA was this:  Children who have special disabilities have the right to learn too.  Anyone growing up in the 60’s and before, knows that before enlightenment,  special people were baby-sat, written off upon their initial classification, and left somewhere to hang in the wind.

The IDEA was pushed through Congress and loaded upon the states because actions like those were deemed to be immoral.  Behind the IDEA, is the driving principle that children who suffer disabilities, have the Constitutional right even with extra expense, to be given specialized instruction which will enable them to have an ability to insert themselves somewhere in society enabling them to have productive lives….

Making IEP’s conform to CCSS (Common Core Standards) returns us again to setting a bar too high, and writing off as losers all those who can’t reach it.

Which is actually good policy if you hate disabled children and rub your hands gleefully whenever you see them suffer.  Isn’t that the framework from where this policy is being generated.

Metaphorically this new policy can be demonstrated thusly…. Across the board, the Common Core standard takes an existing 3 foot high jump bar for 1st graders and raises it now to 5 feet…  The idea being that if they can’t jump 3 feet now, by setting the bar to 5 feet and firing the coaches whose 1st graders don’t meet it, we will create a race of 5 foot jumping first graders..  The IDEA back then said essentially that if 3 feet was the standard, a portable elevator should be installed so that those with no legs could elevate themselves up to that 3 foot  level and then throw themselves over to land on the soft cushion on the other side.

What this new policy is doing , is saying that despite the IEP elevator being only able to go up to 3 feet, the bar must be set higher to 5 feet (because that is the CCSS standard) and all children must be able to throw their bodies over it by first grade level or not go forward. Too bad for all of those who suck at the 3 foot level…

This is not only a procedural change; it is a structural change as to how America feels, thinks, and deals with all people not lucky enough to be in their top condition.

This takes us back to that philosophy behind the days where being in a wheelchair meant you did not have access to buildings.  This takes us back to where being mentally ill, meant you stayed in an asylum for life…  For if you don’t meet the minimum standards of their designation of “normal”, you unfortunately don’t need to be part of regular life.

This turns its back on America’s philosophy and action over the past 30 years…

That is what is at stake.  All know that Common Core standards are broken already. Most Americans are discouraged against them being used even for regular children. Most certainly, they should not be used to ban all and every potential disabled child from having a possible productive and satisfying life.

They return us to labeling children as “unfit”  as opposed to “needing assistance” as early as first grade.  This new policy implementation is nothing less than the odious placement of charter school selective standards upon the accept-all comers policy  required of public schools…

Why should we return to the dark ages of putting our “mistakes” in the attic and sliding food under the door?  I’m sure this program’s proponents have not yet thought through all the implications their policies will generate…. So you need to.

Why are we going backwards 40 years?

All of you know why the label of “Judas” is frequently applied to State Senator Greg Lavelle who now is running against Sarah Buttner (3 houses down from Joe Miro) in the 4th Senatorial District of Delaware…

All know he is the one to be blamed for any faults arising from the use of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Many of you do not know that some of his children are IEP’d. His gracious spouse, Ruth, is actually New Castle County’s citizen representative on the IEP task force. There recently she stated she was in a meeting last week and said IEP Plus is not user-friendly and questioned whether it is less of a band-width issue but the system itself…..

What is interesting, and very odd indeed, is that the Smarter Balanced Assessment which Mr. Greg Lavelle is solely responsible for making the “law of the land”…  is very harsh to any child who has an IEP and must take it.  It is as if Greg Lavelle voted against the interests of his own child, … but why would he do so, and for what?

Just odd, I tell you.  One of those little things that if you know, causes you to ponder them over and over in trying to find some rational logic to explain what obviously is unexplainable.

Six months ago, or just 3 months before Greg cast the deciding vote, sealing the Smarter Balanced Assessment into the state’s official test…. the American Statistical Association, (ASA), the accountants’ association equivalent of doctor’s AMA, came out and slammed value added testing (VAM) as being impossible statistically to hold anything or anyone accountable…   (VAM purports to be able to take student standardized test scores and measure the “value” a teacher adds to student learning through complicated formulas that can supposedly factor out all of the other influences)… These formulas can’t actually do this with sufficient reliability and validity,

Because math and English test scores are available, reformers have devised bizarre implementation methods in which teachers are assessed on the test scores of students they don’t have or subjects they don’t teach.

But what is odd, is that the major consensus among all educators, is that it certainly does not work for children with learning disabilities.  The more disabled students a school has, the lower it’s total average score will be if compared to any school having fewer disabled students, even if the level of teaching is overwhelmingly superior in the first school with more special ed students than occurs in the second with fewer…  If everyone inside a building is being rated by a school’s average score in only English and math, then smart teachers will flock to schools with zero IEP students,

Since No Child Left Behind started, the standardized test-based “accountability” era now more than a dozen years old, there has yet to show any evidence that standardized tests have improved student achievement, or that linking test scores to teacher evaluations has created better teachers.

From now on, the Federal Department of Education will not only consider whether proper procedures are being conducted but on outcomes, including how well these students score on standardized tests and the achievement gap, based on test scores, between students with and without disabilities….  The department believes that more testing will help special education students achieve more in school.

A 2009 warning by the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences stated that “VAM estimates of teacher effectiveness should not be used to make operational decisions because such estimates are far too unstable to be considered fair or reliable.”

The Educational Testing Service’s Policy Information Center has said there are “too many pitfalls to making causal attributions of teacher effectiveness on the basis of the kinds of data available from typical school districts,”

Rand Corp. researchers have said that VAM results “will often be too imprecise to support some of the desired inferences.”

Duncun, Markell, and Murphy keep denying this extensive research.  And now, very oddly, Greg Lavelle believes that more testing will help special education students achieve more in school. He has joined them even though it jeopardizes the future of his own children,….

Why would anyone who has children on an IEP, vote for them to take the Smarter Balanced Assessments?

It is very odd indeed.

This, from top-notch educational expert Steve Newton, (who incidentally is running for state rep in the 22nd Delaware district), explains everything….  This, if you could only read one piece on educational reform, should be it.

Like nothing else before or since, it explains why Duncun, Markell, the Chief’s for Change, Rodel, Murphy, Jenner, Jacques, Sokola, Scott, Sweeney, are all very wrong.

Read.

Like Hamlet, it is a must-read….

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