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MSNBC just put up a critique of Texas education.. Texas was the instigator of No Child Left Behind which when Obama took over, became Race To The Top.
It started in Texas. It is about to end, … in Texas.
A coalition of parents nicknamed Mothers Against Drunk Testing has taken the fight to the Texas Legislature. Soon, it appears Texas will lead the nation again on education,… by banning the role testing plays in analyzing the competency of education.
The problem underlying both No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top is not in its philosophy. It is not in its intent. It is not in its principles. It is … the test.
There is a reason these tests are top secret. Here is the story of one that leaked out… The Hare and the Pineapple…..
Needless to say, both came out of a firm, Pearson, receiving a 5 year $32 million dollar contract from New York State….
Grown ups are now taking the tests. Florida school board member with a bachelors degree and two masters degrees made national news when he flunked his state’s 10th-grade math test. Seattle teachers boycotted the giving out of their tests based off the faults inherent in their texts.
Then, we got the results.
Texas started to lose 70,000 kids a year, most dropping out before they had to take the 10th-grade tests that would count against the school.
A third of kids in Texas who started high school never finished.
Scores on the Texas test rose, but SAT scores for prospective college students dropped.
The Texas tests designed by Pearson primarily measured test-taking ability, researchers discovered.
National Assessment of Educational Progress scores were cherry picked to show progress, but Texas lost ground to the rest of the country.
According to Julian Helig, who released this report to examine the education for the Texas Legislature,
“The reason why we’re seeing, well, what we’re seeing, after ten years of No Child Left Behind is the fact that we didn’t close the gaps, the fact that our graduation rates haven’t gone anywhere, our dropout rates haven’t improved, because Texas never did that in the 1990s,” said Heilig. “Over the last ten years now that we have Texas-style accountability and policy in the whole United States, the reason why it didn’t deliver is because it never delivered in Texas.”
Texas revolted back in 2009. The parents and teachers that is. But Republican Governor Perry refused to sign the bill banning standardized testing, saying he would not sign it unless the legislation doubled down on accountability….
So instead of the testing being eliminated, kids in elementary school and middle school would be required to pass tests—or else. To get out of high school they’d have to pass not two, but 15 tests. Pearson got a new $468-million contract to write and administer all these new tests…..
Sandy Kress, a Democratic lawyer from Dallas, who first got Texas Governor George W. Bush’s ear with the expression: ”soft bigotry of low expectations, has moved on to a high paying job with Pearon and was on Texas Governor’s Educational advisory committee when he doubled down on standardized testing.
Now, and only now, as a result of all this data, even the Republican Texas Chief of Education, Robert Scott, is calling the fatuation with all this testing, … a perversion.
Speaking to the Texas State Board of Education late last month, Scott said that the mentality that standardized testing is the “end-all, be-all” is a “perversion” of what a quality education should be. What’s more, he called “the assessment and accountability regime” not only “a cottage industry but a military-industrial complex.” And he attacked the Common Core Standards Initiative as being motivated by business concerns. It is the heart of the vampire, so to speak.”
It’s too soon to say whether a near-unanimity of opposition to high-stakes testing from school boards, superintendents, parents and education researchers will succeed against Perry and Pearson, but there’s a better chance than ever that the false education doctrine that Bush started in Texas and then spread across the country will finally meet its end in the same building where it started.
It can best be described by the Republican appointed Texas Commissioner of Education at a Dallas Board Meeting.
When you are getting married, for the short term you can enjoy the sex, the presents, the booze, the going out, but for a marriage to work you really have to know the other person’s heart. If you err, it costs a big bundle, it financially sets you back a decade, and it affects your life forever…
As any great mom or dad will tell their progeny…. If you don’t want to go through with it, don’t. It is easier to call if off now, then it will be 10 years from now. Plus, all that time isn’t wasted finding your real love.
Alan Levin is looking for a suitor. His bride is the Port of Wilmington. The dowries match up, the agreements between families work ok, but how can he tell if his daughter will be happy with the arranged marriage? He needs to discern the heart of the suitor, find out what lurks within. Is it malice, or self sacrifice. Is it selfish? Or selfless?
Finally we have a glimpse…..
2011, for example, the US Department of Labor sued Kinder Morgan, arguing that the
firm had been underpaying nearly 4,600 workers for overtime for at least two years.
The company contends that its incentive plan shouldn’t be considered part of an employee’s regular hourly pay because whether any bonuses are paid —as well as how much an employee might get — is at the discretion of management and the boards of directors,
The Labor Department, which filed the lawsuit February 2011 in federal court, alleges that the pipeline company did not include the bonuses it paid its employees when it calculated their overtime pay. Federal labor law requires companies to include bonuses when overtime pay is calculated,
The Labor Department brought the lawsuit after its investigation uncovered what it called “systemic violations” of federal overtime laws at 11 Kinder Morgan locations in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas. According to the Labor Department, Kinder Morgan improperly rounded work hours in the company’s favor and failed to pay employees at several locations who attended meetings before their shifts began.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 spells out how employers must calculate overtime pay. Many don’t realize they have to include bonuses that are related to meeting or exceeding production, efficiency or attendance goals, according to the Labor Department. Employers put the programs in place as an incentive for employees to work faster or more efficiently. Such bonuses — including quarterly and annual awards – must be included in total compensation and used to calculate the base hourly rate that determines the amount of an overtime premium such as time-and-a-half.
The company agreed to settle the suit, paying out $830,000 in back pay.
In business there are two kinds of people. Those that screw over their employees, and those that don’t. I’m sure over the course of your personal experience you will agree. What is particularly of interest here, it that this mistake could only be made in a non-union organization, and two, the rounding down systemically occurring across the nation, shows that directive comes from the top….
If one is pushing one’s employees to work harder and faster, and then cheating them on pay, one doesn’t have their best interests at heart.
So, we’ve glimpsed the heart. Since the deal over the port of Wilmington mysteriously revolves around the compensation of those current union employees who unload this and every week’s cargo, knowing how Kinder-Morgan will eventually view our employees behind their backs, should play a big part of the decision whether or not we want to allowed them into our family…….
Here is what the EPA says….
Kinder Morgan Transmix Co. has agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $600,000 to resolve numerous violations of federal air and hazardous waste regulations, including mixing hazardous waste with gasoline.
Keep in mind that any accident, even a tiny small one of a gallon or two, affects the entire Delaware Bay and its unique biodiverse shoreline.
Now Imagine a tanker taking a hole.
Outlined here are the violations Kinder Morgan got hit with…..
A. The illegal mixing of a RCRA hazardous waste with gasoline, and from failing to sample and test gasoline to ensure compliance with CAA emissions standards.
B. Kinder Morgan failed to comply with a number of sampling and testing requirements of the CAA and fuels regulations to ensure the environmental and quality standards of fuel they produced.
C. KMT failed to notify EPA or the State of Pennsylvania prior to storing the cyclohexane mixture, a hazardous waste, at its Indianola Transmix Facility.
D. KMT failed to perform or obtain a general waste analysis upon receiving its first shipment of the cyclohexane mixture as required
E. KMT accepted the hazardous waste cyclohexane mixture at its Indianola Transmix Facility without first obtaining a RCRA Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility Permit, and therefore violated the following federal and state hazardous waste requirement…
F. KMT produced gasoline at the Indianola Transmix Facility that was not “substantially similar” to any fuel utilized in the certification of any motor vehicle or engine sold in the United States,
G. KMT failed to collect and analyze representative samples of conventional gasoline that it produced at the Hartford Transmix Facility, in violation of the anti-dumping regulations…
H. KMT failed to collect and analyze representative samples of conventional gasoline that it produced at its Hartford Transmix Facility for the purpose of determining the sulfur content of these batches of gasoline..
Result of Kinder Morgan’s actions?
Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC (Marathon) reimbursed repair costs to owners of many vehicles that sustained damage. EPA understands that KMT reimbursed Marathon for the costs that it incurred in responding to these consumer complaints.
Obviously Kinder Morgan came up with the idea that they would rid themselves of an expensive waste product by burning it off in the cars that used its gas. It was cheap and untraceable. To accomplish this, they went dark on their self testing until the product had passed through their lines…. It would have worked, and they would have gotten away with their little scheme, except…. the fuel filters clogged with the waste product, and the traces began.
So, is this the epitome of ethics we want in Delaware? Of course ethics like this exists in Texas. That’s where they filmed Dallas. But do we need them here in Delaware?
No doubt, Alan Levin was not privy to this information. He is now.
The following is what the Vision Committee of Occupy Wall Street struck up as their vision statement….
We Envision:  a truly free, democratic, and just society;  where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus;  where people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making;  where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others;  where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments;  where political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few;  where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings;  where we value human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible;  where we work together to protect the global environment to ensure that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies, and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past generations have enjoyed.
It’s not practical.
Take the first line:
We Envision:  a truly free, democratic, and just society;  where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus….
“Where we the people, come together.” Ok, how many people will you get together and where? 25, in a library side room? 40, in a Union Hall? 120 in a fire hall? 300, in the county building’s auditorium? 7000, in Frawley Stadium (hope it doesn’t rain)? 140,000 in Dover Raceway (fifteenth largest stadium in the world) and then what, where do the rest of our 307 million conglomerate?
Perhaps one could do it on-line. But how do we know that result is real, and not hacked? No, there is a reason that a representative system is best. For one, you just have to argue good sense into a few heads at a time, not millions who aren’t getting all the details of the argument.
Secondarily, as recently portrayed within the Occupy Movement, it often takes sooooo long for pure democracy to reach a consensus. and as illustrated by Occupy Oakland when they tried to throw out a trouble maker. There it was possible for him to stack the group in open meetings and thwart the necessary and significant change. Can you imagine what Republicans would do if we were discussing all policy in open forums and having everyone vote upon them? It takes one bad apple to ruin things in a pure democracy, and the Republicans are much larger than a party of one.
 where people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making;
I’m sorry, I’d like to be at the meeting, but I have to work.. or I have to watch my kids, or I have this Dr.’s appointment made months ago, or my kid’s starting in the game tonight, or I have to volunteer at the food bank, or I have to see a movie and report on it for school, or I have to get my finances in order,….
How many of us make meetings now? How will it be any different in our future? Sorry honey, no sex tonight. I have to go vote on whether we raise country revenues by 33 million or 32 and 3/4 million… It’s very important you know.
 where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others;
Forget it! There is no way I’ll sit in the same room while a corporate fat cat whines about the fact that he’s losing money….. He should be in jail. After all he’s done to ruin America? Why should I tolerate and respect his views? Ain’t happening….
 where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments;
Define unjust governments: What happens if my government blocks my Internet access because I downloaded a free copy of Roger and Me? Wouldn’t that be unjust?
 where political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few;
If unions support and elect a candidate, don’t they, then having the inside ear, become the privileged few? If churches can bend the inside ear of their candidate, don’t they get to include themselves among the privileged few? When Mayor Barry got reelected, didn’t crack dealers consider themselves the privileged few? Whoever wins an election, or helps win an election, becomes the privileged few. Whether he’s a small town operator, or owns a wealthy conglomerate, if he has the ear, he gets his way… Currently, it’s the one percent that has control. But that can change in an instant.
 where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings.
We do that: the concept of high school is broken; it doesn’t work.
 where we value human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible;
We did that with the Great Society. We pumped welfare money into black and Appalachian neighborhoods and wound up creating dependent societies who could not function without welfare money. Unemployment never dropped, because there was no incentive. Why work when you could live for free? No matter how much we pumped in, their standard of living still sucked.
 where we work together to protect the global environment to ensure that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies, and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past generations have enjoyed.
Build a city? or preserve open space? People always will win over animals.
Although these are thoroughly impractical, they are nice platitudes. They would be nice standards to place in a Miss Manners Guide to Congress, at least as a guide on how Congress should act civilly among themselves to in turn represent the greatness of what they do, and the respect of whom they represent.
But they are impractical in a real world. Only one person could sabotage a meeting under these guidelines. The assumption behind these platitudes is that everyone want what’s best for America.
That is a lie. We saw Republicans sell America down the river last summer solely to help their party’s chances November 2012. You and I got dissed; they get elected (and then dis us up even more… )
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin J. Carey in Wilmington, Delaware, compared two groups of competing creditors to warring animals in a parable about a fox and scorpion who must cooperate to cross a river safely.
Inside that story was a bigger story. And a mind opening revelation.
The Tribune Corporation which filed bankruptcy in 2008, is currently funded by JP Morgan, and is being sued to become owned by Aurelius Capital Management LP…
(Tribune, which is worth about $6.75 billion, owes creditors about $13 billion, according to court records.)
Under both plans, New York-based JP Morgan and the other senior lenders would be Tribune’s majority owners. Those lenders include hedge funds Oaktree Capital Management LP and Angelo Gordon & Co.
Tribune owns eight newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, with a combined daily circulation of 1.9 million last year. The company’s television stations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are among a total of 23.
Now here’s the rub. The Tribune is owned by Oaktree Capital Management LP, Angelo Gordon & Co., JP Morgan Chase & Co…
So if raising taxes really does cause economic growth, as the smartest economist now contend, but which directly impacts these top 1%’ers, how is that news going to get out to the public so they can make an informed decision?
There is no way you can trust a news rag that is owned lock stock and barrel, by a multibillion hedge fund….
All the economic news we have been given has been the opposite of fair and balanced. That includes the Los Angeles Times, often quoted in this blog, as well as the Chicago Tribune, and 23 television stations….
There is a way to stay informed. Use Google, Yahoo, and other search engines to go around the capital investment houses which failed to give us the whole story during the past 10 years, causing us to make decisions based on misrepresented information, that sent us down the wrong path..
Don’t trust the press.
It appears a court appointed bankruptcy trustee will be appointed this afternoon (November 1)… He too should read this post so that he knows no one will soon be reading those papers, except to clip out ShopRite coupons or learn the latest of Kim Kardashian’s divorce.
The current party system is broken. Gridlock ties up DC, even to the point where the Republican Party will filibuster a bill that they themselves proposed when both houses were Republican. The filibuster is only pursued because if passed it will be considered by us, the public, to be a success for the standing president.
You can’t blame Republicans. They are just trying to survive. Tying up Washington so that nothing gets done, is the only option they have.
Which leaves us with a choice… Should WE the voters continue this same gridlock? Or shall we take matters into our own hands and do something about it?
If we split our votes, the Gridlock continues.
The only way to prevent future gridlock is to make the penalty for doing so, so severe that any future party treads very lightly if it dares try using gridlock as a political weapon again….
That penalty needs to be that the party obstructing all activity in Congress, not receive any votes to return.
Let’s examine this proposition…
Assume all Democrats and no Republicans return to Congress starting 2013. The House would be completely 100% Democratic, and the Senate Republicans would drop down to 36 if all 11 Republicans up this year lost and all Democrats won.
We would have a one party system… or would we?
The Democratic party would soon split. The Progressives from the Blue Dogs… We would continue to have two parties in Congress. It’s just that that they wouldn’t be jockeying around for political points against the other side.
Instead we’d have what Congress was supposed to do. Debate bills on their merits, and once all facts are on the table, vote them either up or down based on the personal convictions of each Senator or House Member…
We’d still have the same debates as the powerful lobbyists swirled around those who would most likely represent their interests…
But if would be as if America took one step to the left. As if the entire political tone of Congress, just shifted left.
Would the same thing work if the Republicans are put into all seats they run for?
No, and here is why. Republican policy is what got us in this mess. Phil Gramm deregulated derivatives. Eventually that caused the enitire markets to catch up to where Enron went earlier, and collapse. It was the Republicans who decided over Democrats objections, to not raise taxes on the wealthy in order to pay as we went for two wars. So now, we we have a bill coming titled “Payment Due,” for those two wars plus interest. It was Republicans who because we had a surplus, decided to stop that money coming into the Treasury that was paying off our debt. So under them, we added debt on, and stopped paying our payments. No wonder the deficit is so high.
They are the wrong person to put into unlimited power.. simply for when they were there, the got to exercise with impunity all their dreams. We are bankrupt now…
Harken back to the era of Clinton, and everyone was making money… whether you were poor, middle, or rich… You made money and had more left over to spend on yourself, than you do now…
That simple comparison is why we need to go to an all Democratic Congress and not an all Republican one.
We will always have divided government. It is just that when it becomse divided along party lines, and not along the lines of the American people, that we get the gridlock we see happening daily today…
Republicans are the cause.. Their elimination (no offense to the nice Republicans I know) will be the beginning of a new day for America.
The last time we eliminated Republicans was in 1932. It took 64 years for them to return. Those were the best years America has ever had.