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I never thought of this. These guys are brilliant.  Connecticut and New York have figured how to keep food stamp (SNAP) benefits at their current level.

First how they were cut.  In the Farm Bill just passed, the Republicans insisted and got a large reduction in the amount being paid for SNAP (food stamps)… This huge reductions can devastate economies in states with large numbers of recipients.  If you take a 20% cut,  close to 20% will be cut from being spent in Grocery stores, thereby hurting the economy.

In a piece of legislation primarily aimed against Blue States, the Republicans targeted a program called “Heat and Eat” in which states states could qualify residents for higher food stamp benefits by giving them a small amount of heating assistance.. That level used to be $1 dollar.  The new law raised that to $20 dollars thinking that no state would pay the premium and that would force cuts to the Federal Program.

The genius is in the benefits and rate of return…

Connecticut will spend about $1.4 million in federal energy aid, increasing benefits for 50,000 low-income Connecticut residents from $1 to $20 so they do not lose $112 in monthly food stamp benefits…… It will preserve about $67 million in food stamp benefits….So the rate of return for Connecticut is 4785% (correct, thousands) meaning that for every dollar spent on heat,  Connecticut gets $4785 dollars back in food benefits to be spread thoughout their state….

New York will spend about $6 million more towards the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program’s funding to maintain food stamp benefits totaling $457 million… New Yorks rate of return is 7611% meaning for every dollar spent, they get $7,611 dollars back.

Now if they would just raise taxes on their one percent’s income to pay for those small increases, .. it comes as free money….

If only Delaware could quickly jump on the wagon and get those dollars into our state and make the Republican supporters in this state, pay for the damage their Republican campaign funds do to both our state and the United States of America….

But alas. we are stuck fighting the battle of Common Core… instead of truly fighting for education by fighting against poverty…..

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There is a reason the opponents of Obama care are racing the clock to defund it before October 1st. They know how popular it will become to the American people.

I just looked and Delaware does not have their worksheets up yet, but in the state offices, things are looking rather rosy for the citizens of Delaware… Most of you will save thousands per year on medical bills.  Not all, but most..  Looking at the voting trends,  those who vote often, will all save money with insurance.

Other states do have their insurance options up and I have been looking through them.  The general trend is thusly.  If you are young, you are going to incur an expense you have not had to yet pay. Sorry.  That will come with sticker shock, as does a new car, as does your first house.  However, it should allow you the confidence to get checked out sooner, and therefore live healthier in your golden years than you otherwise would today if you had to pay full expense for care.

Hopefully, since you have to pay for it anyway, you will take advantage of it.

But you! Oh you! Who are old?  Who have pre-existing conditions?  Who have suffered with poor coverage for so long?  You are going to love what this does.  You will be able to figure out medical costs to the penny across your future years with your financial planning advisor, no matter what happens to your body.  The costs will be fixed, and a lot cheaper than you paying through the nose upon each occurrence.

One can describe it as buying a warranty.  What, the initial questioners ask?  You want me to pay money to this shop each month even  when nothing happens?  Yes and if something happens you get your car fixed for free.   Some gripe about losing $150 a month, until they see their first bill at a hospital would have cost them $5,000…. Then … they finally understand.

And you with families?  Especially you who have not taken your kids to a doctor because you couldn’t afford it?   You’re kids can now go…

So yes, those with money to lose will spend it all on ads telling you horror stories and capitalizing on one or two exceptions they make up as to who will pay more…

but just wait till October 1st, when you see that you start saving thousands…  EVERY SINGLE YEAR!

Then remember the Republican party tried to run the economy over a cliff, twice, to stop these savings from coming to you…..

October 1st, it is almost here.  About time for the pirated version to be leaked,  don’t you think?

Common Core took quite a few arrows into the heart with the release of New York’s Test Scores.   One of the huge questions being asked, is how did the Commissioner John King, know what the drop would be before the tests were given?

We are learning; new reports popping up every hour on how those scores were derived.  To understand the process, you must first be familiar with how regular grading scores are determined.  Most teachers when they score their tests assume that if a student can show that they understand 65% of the material, they can pass the class.  It is reality based.  Here is the material, you know this much, you shall pass because it is above the 65% threshold.  If you have a good class, you can pass all of them.

I hope you are sitting down.  The Pearson tests were taken, then graded.  After that was done,  they were then scored.  They were not scored on whether a person got the answer right or wrong.  They were scored on where the benchmarks should be.  A benchmark is that spot where a score of 1 then becomes a 2, or a score of 2 becomes a 3 and so on.

This is the story of how those bench marks were determined.  Close coordination was done with the College Board SAT’s.   The tests were going to determine which students were… or were not, college and career ready.

So how was the level where one is college-ready determined?.  It was decided to be at that level where there was a 75% chance that a student would receive a B- or above in ELA,  and writing, and a 65% chance that he would receive a C+ in math, in his first college course in those two subjects… Got that?  “That” is college ready.

Once that arbitrary level is set, and it is arbitrary.  Is a B- the same at Harvard as it would be in Michigan State?  is a B- the same if given by Professor X or Professor Y?   Anyone who has ever picked their college classes over the alleged difficulties of certain college professors, certainly knows that this method is very suspect.  But regardless of whether it makes sense, once the threshold is set, one can compare the SAT scores of those students and come up with a correlation.  The correlation  between these grades  and those SAT scores that would determine if one was college ready, happened at the score of 1550.

Now that you know how this score was determined, you can forever dismiss its validity.  That is not being snippy. That is a real assessment of the credibility these scores now have.

From the score of 1550, the next step was to determine how that works downward to the test scores of 8th graders who still have 3 years before they take the SAT. The Breakdown of that score was 560 Reading, 530 Writing, and 540 Math.

To those teachers gathered for the opportunity to cut the scores, the Pearson executives showed them all the data, then told them where the bookmark should be for a 3.  From there the groups determined where to draw the lines for a 1,2,3 and a 4. Then they went and did the 7th grade, then the 6th.  Each grade was determined by the previous one, all of which went back to comparing the 8th Grade to the SAT to be taken 3 years into the future.

They returned to the 8th grade, and re-walked through that process then, that was the cut turned into the commissioner.  Because he had given them the rubric  or guidelines upon which to make their judgment, he already knew ahead of time how the results would turn out.   Does that make sense?

Here is an first person account of what went on inside those cutting rooms…  and here is a humorous account with diagrams, which help a lot in understanding the twists and turns taken to determine this result.

Your test question now. Did you add the three individual scores I posted up above? Had you done so, you would have noticed that they came up to 1630 instead of 1550. It is 1630, significantly higher than the 2011 College Board’s index associated with a B- in college.

The above illustrates how one can manipulate the percentage of college readiness by hopping between the columns and changing the definition of “college ready” to suit oneself. If the State Education Department had increased or decreased the grade and/or the probability, the college readiness indicator would move up or down. In the end, they chose values that are extraordinarily high, producing an index that exceeds the College Board’s index for achieving a B- average.New Yorks score was already higher than the national average. 

From this assessment, comes the criteria that permanently classify a student, that fire a teacher, that close down a school, that wreak havoc in a district.  An assessment that has no basis in reality…

What does have a basis in reality?

Decades of research have shown that the SAT test can be an accurate indicator of IQ. Which is why, test prep classes rarely move the needle on the actual scores themselves.

According to the College Board’s own research, the SAT is not such a great predictor of college grades. The correlation between the SAT and college grades is about .48, which means that its predictive power (r squared) is only 23 percent. High school grades are a better predictor of how students will do in college courses (nearly 30 percent). In addition, other research has found that high school GPA is three to five times more important in predicting college graduation than an SAT or ACT score. Even with all of that known, the State Education Department aligned students 3-8 scores with later performance on the SAT to create cut scores that give the illusion of being on the road to college readiness.

They created this report to justify their methodology.

If you connect the dots and read all of these links you will see that these scores were supposed to be low for a reason, a reason of politics,  They had the data and knew that the results would be scored low, that was their plan.

As they even state here, education did not fall apart; the students are not dumber; the teachers are not derelict; the schools are not failing.  They were just graded on a different curve, that’s all.

It was all done politically to show that large numbers of students did not meet the arbitrarily decided new standard of being college and career ready…

Yes, in even those in Third Grade.,


Courtesy of the NRA

This ad would appeal only to the sliver of those who would rejoice to see Obama, Michelle, or his girls shot dead in cold blood; that extreme group to whom if this would happen,…it would “make… their… day.”

Is the NRA’s extremism eroding the 2nd Amendments rights for all? It did in New York. The tone-deaf policies of Wayne LaPierre really pissed both Democrats AND REPUBLICANS off up there. As a result, probably due to anger against the NRA more than anything else, New York just exercised their rights under the Constitution and and set the cause of gun rights back 225 years..

It is the NRA’s fault.

How?

If someone has a viewpoint on a topic of no concern to you, let us randomly pick….. tariffs on Paraguay, whatever transpires pro or con affects you …. say, not at all… You couldn’t care less.

Now say, a proponent of extending those tariffs follows you around, stalks you, and whenever he can get close enough, he punches you in the head. You start to develop an opinion. That opinion is not favorable to extending those tariffs….. In fact, you start to take an interest in purposefully defeating that tariff extension, and maybe get personal satisfaction that it is having such a hard time going forward…

You really have no concern that by not extending them 4 million Paraguay citizens would lose employment and fall into destitute poverty. By your natural inclination (until you started getting beaten up), you probably would have supported helping Paraguayans escape poverty… You are not really mad at the cause; but for some reason you just hate the lobbyist….

After today, card carrying NRA members owning guns in New York 1) should burn their NRA membership card. 2) join the Democratic Party which WILL protect the 2nd amendment, as long as lobbyists for the NRA aren’t punching them in the head….

No one can blame New York state for doing what they did after the Newtown tragedy. You should blame the NRA for bullying legislators so aggressively that they enacted even more Draconian measures than would have been effective….

Dragging the president’s daughters into the fight, questioning their need for security, suggests that the NRA is slipping further away from the mainstream. Gun-rights supporters deserve a better advocate.

So yes, the NRA is losing it…. Let’s review.

After Newtown, LaPierre called for all schools to have armed police officers in place. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said. We NEED an OK Coral shootout in each of our schools.

A shooting-range app for the iPhone and iPad branded as an “Official NRA Licensed Product” where the targets are children’s coffins, was released on the one-month anniversary of the Newtown massacre.

After meeting with Vice President Joe Biden on gun control, the NRA accused Obama of an “agenda to attack the Second Amendment,” a gross distortion of the president’s position. Please see the mild recommendations Biden proposed.

Now let us review just what the NRA’s actions caused in New York, shall we:

TOUGHTEST gun ban in The nation just signed into law

1) Any gun holding over SEVEN rounds- out.

2) Any gun with ONE military feature- out. If you have one you must register it.

3) Closes every loophole on gun shows and private sales.

4) Background checks- mandated for EVERY purchase.

5) For ammo too- Mandated for EVERY purchase.

After spending $17 million this past election cycle in support of Republicans, the New York Republican Senate and the Democratic House, just passed the first NRA Backlash Bill in the nation. More states to follow soon…

The issue is an emotional one; the NRA is firing up the wrong emotions against gun lovers everywhere….
Burn your card. Pay them zero. Donate to the Democratic Party…

These actions are what will finally put thoughtful practices into place, like those done the day before in a completely Democratic state… Delaware under Governor Jack Markell, Lt. Governor Matt Denn, and Attorney General Beau Biden proposed much more moderate policies…

If you live in Democratic Delaware, you get to keep your guns.