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Like every new idea, ones defenses go up… “Whoa there, buddy…. ”

Except for sports careers, it kinda does make sense….

We ask children who’ve finished learning, emotionally, psychologically, (and for the most part) biologically, to stay on-board for two years of “extra” curricular activities which when we reflect back on our years, all of which we learned academically in those two years, rarely get used today…. (sex is a different story).

Before you jump the shark, recognize this:  that if we keep the final two years optional… (by making them years to opt-in on), we also make them preferential which tends to allow discipline to be internally enforced by each student who chooses to continue onward ( ie, the reality of being kicked out is a real negative; it is no longer something to brag about)…

Here’s why. The issue I hear from High Schools today, and this involves input from students, faculty, parents and administrators, boils down to this:  that a lot of young adults in the upper grades do NOT WANT TO LEARN….  Every negative aspect stems from that single ubiquitous elephant in the room:  discipline problems, lack of personal respect, work ethic, mental alertness, focus, fights, productivity, lack of motivation, etc. …

And every time a round table discusses how to improve high school performance, someone (this is true) inevitably says:  if only we could cull those who don’t want to be there, most of our problems would go away… Sigh:  but that will never happen……………………………….”

So what I’m asking:  is…. why can’t that happen?

Rule 1:  Every child must be in school till age 18.

In society, this is a relative new rule.  When there is no solid structure supporting society adulthood entry levels move downward, usually settling around somewhere in the low teens, correlating with puberty for the most part…  Romans married off their children at 13. That was also the age of dissolving parent-child bonds in the Middle Ages on the continent of Europe.   Native Americans, both North and South, also became adults then…

Obviously there must be precedent: our own Common Core Standards stop measuring before reaching the upper grades.

So, instead of forcing people who for multiple reasons do not want to continue schooling to go against their will through the motions of being schooled, what if we provided an alternative?

For example what if we allowed them to work at something on the scale of our military, which was the template for the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps?  Those men like the military, stayed in camps, had discipline structure,  meals and lodging provided, and worked hard (physical labor) for a dollar a day…  When they were ready to leave, they had a nest egg on which to begin. Today, we should do $20 a day.

Yes. It would take planning to iron out details.. We would need input from a variety of societal perspectives to discover just the right mix.

But, a 16 year old could be given the option, based on his past feeling over his 11 years (counting kindergarten) of public schooling, to decide whether or not they wanted to start work, or go to college… Their growing brain would continue learning, just not stuff that was irrelevant to them…

And if someone ever made the wrong choice by staying in classes inappropriate for them, and became consistently disruptive or violent, there would be a ready option available outside of public schooling into which we quickly place them.

After all for our first 200 years, most of America’s success was built on the backs of Americans who did not finish high school…

This solution would solve or at least dilute many of high school’s problems.

  • Disruptive Classes
  • Fewer Discipline events
  • Poor Work Ethic
  • Disrespect for Authority
  • Low test scores (that are meaningless to those who care not.)

 

And there is a model. In a corporation when one has a division of ones company that is not adding to the bottom line but taking from it, one sells it off.  As soon as the transaction occurs, ones results improve…

Why not use that same model in high school and make grades 11 and 12 elective? By simply having an alternative, most students will choose to continue to opt-in, willingly continuing their free public education because is serves in their best long-term interests to do so…

Once they’ve gained this realization, their whole attitude changes….

Because the entire problem with High Schools today is that we force them to deal with people who DON’T want to be there (like prisons)…  And I don’t know about you, but my High School was not like that. That type of element was just not around.

I’m proposing we make this happen in our schools …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazingly, there still continues to be some confusion, as I’m sure back during the Reconstruction Era when white supremacists first insisted that black voters take some type of “smarts” test before entering the voting booth, there was confusion among many Afro Americans at that time who thought having tests of knowledge was indeed a good idea…

History proved who was right; and who were wrong.  When you give someone trying to keep your race down, the tools to do so, they will use them and your race will be kept down.

That is why it is hard for many of us in educational circles to understand how any Afro-American can be in favor of using the Smarter Balanced Assessment to grade their child…

Because unlike 1890 when literacy tests were begun, today all have information on what these tests are… 

Let me show you a picture of racism in 2016….Draft ELA targets

This is Delaware’s official ELA target.  (Click image to enlarge.)

Whites have to grow from 61.5 to 80.8… a total of 19.3 points….

Asians have to grow from 77.1 to 88.5…..a total of 11.4 points…..

Blacks have to grow from  35.8 to 67.9….a total of  32.1 points…..

Hispanics have to grow from 39.0 to 69.5… a total of 30.5 points…..

Low incomes have to grow from 34.2 to 67.1…. a total of 32.9 points…

Disabilities…. have to grow from 19.3 to 59.6…. a total of 40.3 points…

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Pure racism. Fully endorsed by the KKK…. Hear them now?   “YEAH!!!!  That’s what we’re talkin’ about…..”

(Don’t blame me; I’m not even the messenger…This is from the DOE website…)

 

Draft Math Targets

This is Delaware’s target.  (Click image to enlarge.)

Whites have to grow from 49.2 to 74.6… a total of 25.4 points….

Asians have to grow from 70.7 to 85.4…..a total of 14.7 points…..

Blacks have to grow from 22.0 to 61.0….a total of  39.0 points…..

Hispanics have to grow from 28.6 to 64.3… a total of 38.7 points…..

Low incomes have to grow from 23.8 to 61.9…. a total of 38.1 points…

Disabilities…. have to grow from 15.0 to 57.5…. a total of 42.5 points.

 

Can anyone tell me how this is any different than guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar?  Whites have to show a 51.6% improvement… Blacks have to show a 177% improvement… Might as well label blacks as disabled: 283%

What is being said here, disguised as an attempt to elevate blacksscores, is that they have to jump through a different hoop than the rest of us… why?  Skin color, of course…..

No ifs. No buts. No ands…

There are proven ways to raise the results of our lowest scoring children. Corporate types flat out do not want the right answer proven to be effective over and over and over again..  I have covered it so many times, it is pointless to do it again. But for now, rest assured.  This way, shown above?….  Leads us nowhere…..

Except to make the KKK very happy….. 🙂   Can you hear them?

“Hooray, Hooray,  Blacks will be second class citizens again.. Whoopee!  Toast!  Celebrate!  Yeah, Greg Lavelle* and all the other supporters of the Smarter Balanced Assessment!!!  Hip, Hip, Hooray!”

 

 

 

Granted.  Most of us are not legal eagles.  In fact we are kind of scared of the law… We live our entire lives free of legal notice and suddenly one day, out of nowhere, BAM, we get one…

Our fear: “Oh my goodness, I’m going to be bankrupt”.. We then quickly undo what we did and hope that maybe they will forget and follow up with anything else.”

And that is what they hope we will do….

 

But.  That is not the law.  For there are entities who both file and receive copyright violations all the time… Sony, Disney, Samsung, Apple, Google for example.  Where would today’s society be without any of those?

 

The protections the law put in place for them… are also there for you… it is just that you don’t have 150 lawyers working for you and they do…

 

If you are reading this, it is probably because Pearson used Twitter or Blogspot to force you to remove some of their test questions (or links to them) which you (in shock over what they revealed) bravely determined needed to be exposed and announced, so that normal and proper societal actions could be taken to rectify the damage these items were doing to the brains of children….

 

So let us first explain how DMCA works and then you will see how it works backwards as well to your advantage….

 

Imagine you took a picture of yourself and your old college friends acting silly and perhaps a little lewd in some bar….   Now imagine you are later googling images related to your name and see on some commercial site, that same picture was used to represent something totally unrelated to you…  Your first fear is that Snoopy in Human Relations will flag it to your superior.  So you want it quietly gone…. and you can, under the DMCA. You file a DMCA with the ISP …  In it you provide your personal details,  the details of the Internet location of the offending product, and the reason why the image should be taken down (unauthorized use), and then demand it be removed.  Now…. most likely you didn’t copyright or register that photo as being yours. Doing so takes considerable time and money and who does that to facebook photos? So the end, you may lose.  But, because ISP’s get millions of requests per day, they take them down immediately with no concern over right and wrong. It automatically comes down. (Not sure, but at the speed at which they do, it must be done without human involvement or oversight)…

Immediately it is blocked from being seen.  If the party posting it ever notices it is missing, they can file a DMCA Counter Notice. At this point, they don’t even know “who” you represent as the person requiring them to take it down… All they know you as, is that “cease and desist”person. Furthermore, if they contest it, they must blindly provide all their personal information to you in good faith, and they never get to know who filed the complaint, unless they ultimately pursue expensive legal action…

This makes it easy to manipulate. If you have an “enemy” at your job site (who maybe once asked you out and you refused, and then became your troll),  and you post something that is flattering to you, he or she can file a DMCA for no reason, making it immediately go away for a minimum of 10 days and force you to counter and go through the human chain to get it restored. This flawed system is unequally balanced and currently is tilted to allow anyone to use a bullying tactic of forcing immediate take-downs of anything one doesn’t want the public to see… rightly or wrongly.

At the time of the law’s inception, this was originally deemed a good thing.  At that time this immediate course of action was seen as the better alternative over allowing copyright infringement to continue indefinitely until a case was resolved in court…. So for now, the burden of proof fully rests on the defendant of a takedown request to prove he is allowed to show the item.

 

Ok. You got a notice. So what do you do?  Well if you are Samsung, and it’s Apple who files a takedown of all mention of your newly rolled-out product, … you file a counter notice…

 

That same privilege extends to you against Pearson.

Copyright owners sometimes send bogus takedown notices that have no basis in law or fact, which are meant solely to intimidate the target. A prompt counter-notice can make these empty threats go away for good.

Here is how you do it:

First, make a backup copy of all the material that you will have to delete. You may need this when you want to restore your web page. Then remove the material in question from your web page. You may substitute a brief note informing potential page viewers that a DMCA attack has been filed against your web page and the material has been temporarily deleted for 10 business days while you contest the DMCA charge via a “Counter Notification Letter”.

Secondly, you should file a counter takedown letter. Provided in the initial takedown will be information on how to contact the ISP, (in our case either Twitter or Blogspot.)

Here is the standard form-letter used by corporate America in their dealings with each other. Customize it to fit your situation…..

==========================================================================

Dear Internet Service Provider:

This letter is written in response to your notification to me of a complaint received about my web page(s). The pages in question are:

(insert list of URLs here)

My response to this complaint is as follows: (include all that apply from list below)

Allegations of Copyright Violation / Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The claims of copyright violation should be rejected because:.

*The material in question is not copyrighted, or the copyright has expired. It is therefore in the public domain and may be reproduced by anyone.

*The complainant has provided no copyright registration information or other tangible evidence that the material in question is in fact copyrighted, and I have a good faith belief that it is not. The allegation of copyright violation is therefore in dispute, and at present unsupported.

*The complainant does not hold the copyright to the material in question, is not the designated representative of the copyright holder, and therefore lacks standing to assert that my use of the material is a violation of any of the owner’s rights.

*Provide a complaint in written form. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)]

*Include a physical or electronic signature of the complainant. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(i)]

*Identify the specific copyrighted work claimed to be infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works are covered by a single complaint, provide a representative list of such works. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(ii)]

*Provide the URLs for the specific files on my web site that are alleged to be infringing. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(iii)]

*Provide sufficient information to identify the complainant, including full name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(iv)]

*Include a written statement that the complainant has a good faith belief that use of the disputed material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(v)]

*Include a written statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complainant is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(vi)]
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This communication to you is a DMCA counter notification letter as defined in 17 USC 512(g)(3):

I declare, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the complaint of copyright violation is based on mistaken information, misidentification of the material in question, or deliberate misreading of the law.

My name, address, and telephone number are as follows:

(address here)

I hereby consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which I reside (or, if my address is outside the United States, any judicial district in which you, the ISP, may be found).

I agree to accept service of process from the complainant.

My actual or electronic signature follows:

(electronic or actual signature here)

Having received this counter notification, you are now obligated under 17 USC 512(g)(2)(B) to advise the complainant of this notice, and to restore the material in dispute (or not take the material down in the first place), unless the complainant files suit against me within 10 days.

==========================================================================

As soon as the service provider receives your letter…. it notifies the complainant and awaits their response.

The downside is that as part of the “Counter Notification Letter” you  DO have to state that you will accept a lawsuit from the “Cease and Desist” people.

(Before you send a counter-notice, you should consider carefully whether you are in fact infringing the complaining party’s copyright. There are two reasons for you to consider this carefully. First, the counter-notice requires you to state, under penalty of perjury, that you have a good faith belief that your material was wrongly removed. You do not want to make this claim lightly because it might come back to haunt you. Second, if the complaining party has a good infringement claim, sending a counter-notice may trigger a lawsuit. If you are not prepared to stand up for your use of the copyright owner’s work in a lawsuit, you should think twice about firing back a counter-notice.)

Initially this sounds frightening but it actually works in your favor. For if you were actually infringing on the original “Cease and Desist” people, they could and would have legitimately already filed a lawsuit against you without using the DMCA – thus this requirement on the “Counter Notification Letter” does not open you up to anything that you weren’t already liable for. To pursue, the original “Cease and Desist” people must file a lawsuit IN YOUR DISTRICT COURT if they want to continue. Frequently this would involve travel and legal expenses on their part. If they do not file a lawsuit (most likely outcome), your web host will restore your web page on the tenth day and you are back in business again.

If they do sue, and what you are exposing IS important for society to know… there are some other tricks you can use to keep the material up, tricks which can be loosely defined as making multiple copies and spreading them all over the Internet.  Unless there is a specific instruction stopping you, there is nothing to prevent you from creating another web page that has essentially the same information. If the original page had illustrations, alter them slightly (use any photo editor, add arrows, captions, etc.) so they are “different”. Give the illustrations, and the page a new name (URL identifications), etc. Then put the new page up. If there were links to your old page, include both the link to the old page and your new page in these prior links. If nothing else, this will get your new page into Google’s indexes.

You could even open a new website using the “Free” website offers that are available from many web hosts. Just use the old material on your new free website. Be sure to include a link from somewhere in your old website to “Another example of <whatever> can be found at <your new free website>”. This link will be all that Google needs to get your new website into Google’s index. The object of course, is that you want people to be able to see what you are criticizing. The “Cease and Desist” people will eventually find out about the new website and may repeat the DMCA attack. However they will be spending more effort than you are, and will eventually be forced to give up.

Finally, bring up your problem in an online talk group – e.g. one of the Google Groups. If you are having a problem with the “Cease and Desist” people, the chances are there will be a lot of other people that aren’t happy about them either. Start a “thread” about your problem, and you will probably hear from a lot of people that would like to help. This might well included people outside the U.S. who are not subject to DMCA attacks.

As bloggers (still a new concept legally) you do have some protections. Already it is standard that short quotations will usually be fair use, not copyright infringement. The Copyright Act says that “fair use…for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”  This seems to cover the expose of test questions if done for the public good, but not if stolen by a competitor, which would be theft. It will eventually rise to some court to ultimately decide on who has the upper hand here, the citizens of this country, or an LLC whose headquarters are in England.

American Copyright law particularly favors “transformative” uses — commentary, either praise or criticism, is better than straight copying — but courts have said that even putting a piece of an existing work into a new context (such as a thumbnail in an image search engine) counts as “transformative…

As long as you don’t intend on making money or having people substitute your questions for the ones on the test (laughable in this case), you maintain a great chance of never being sued.  Furthermore and the lawyers of Pearson know this, if in your expose`, you either mocked or parodied the questions, even criticizing them so effectively that no one wanted to by them, THAT STILL DOES NOT  count for having “an effect on the market” under copyright law…..

Furthermore, you are free to report the facts and ideas embodied in another person’s article or web page or test. Copyright only protects “the expression” — the “combination of words and structure” that expresses the factual information — not the facts themselves. By changing a few words around so it is not an exact duplicate, you become even further protected and insulated against court action.

Furthermore,  if  you can establish harm occurred to you in any way by a takedown notice (LLC’s use this all the time) you can use the DMCA’s section 512(f) to sue back.“Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section (1) that material or activity is infringing, or (2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification, shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.”

=========

So, see, the law IS not one sided, that is, as long as you pursue and engage in the process… Usually DMCA takedowns only involve one or two steps….

  1. Either the person receiving the takedown does not contest and removes the offending content as requested….
  2. Of, a counter notice is filed and after 10 days, the material can be reposted….

It rarely goes beyond…

For if Pearson were to file an injunction after you responded, there is nothing to stop you from opening a new website and reposting the material.  If they went after that, it would cost them double, and if it happened again, it would triple the expense they must undergo.  It is called putting money down a rabbit hole.

Why then are counter notices not more frequently done?

Most infringers (as well as most legitimate users) aren’t invested enough in their uploads to invest the energy to learn how to file a counter-notice or take the legal risk in filing one.

Furthermore most people who are subject to a DMCA takedown are unaware of the opportunity to file a counter-notice and many on-line hosts do a very poor job of explaining the process.

It is to this last point, that I address this post.  For the more you know about take-downs, the less you have to fear….

In this case, since we are dealing with the brains of little children and not with something we popped up on our website without thinking, it would be advantageous for everyone who reads this, to send their server a letter (feel free to copy from the above- it’s fair use) and hit Pearson back with as many counter notices as they sent notices…

The law is actually on your side, not their’s; as experts in the law, they know it.  They are just hoping you don’t…. and never find out……

But, there is one more reason, WHY everyone here who was ordered by Pearson to cease and desist, should file a counter notification…..

To bar repeat offenders, the DMCA law requires ISP providers to keep track of how many takedowns you get. Responding with a counter, puts you back to zero.  Right now, everyone who received a takedown notice has a “strike” against them. If you file a counter, that strike goes away… If you don’t, it stays…. you only get three and then you do get kicked off the internet. In today’s world, that is serious.

So before you forget. respond to your ISP and say the take down was done in error. You had fair use of the material.

 

YOU MUST RESIDE IN THE 27TH REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT.

Battle Ground XXVII

Whether you register as a Republican or Democrat, your incumbent has been considerably weakened last year and this.

Here is what you will have behind you.

Financial resources of the Delaware PTA organization, consisting of parents and teachers from North Claymont to Southern Fenwick Island who deeply care for all children and want them to learn, not jump through meaningless hoops that curtail their development.

Backing from the DSEA teachers’ union, including financial resources and unlimited manpower…

Additional backing from regional teachers unions, such as the Red Clay and Christina local collections who would bend earth and water to replace Earl Jacques with someone who actually cares about kids.

National publicity and financial support from anti-Common Core affiliations sprouting up across America, including some well known like the BadAss Teachers association, and Diane Ravitch, who follow Delaware’s actions through its excellent blogs.

The power of hundreds of thousands of holy prayers rising upwards and a few financial resources from parents absolutely incensed over how the Smarter Balance Assessments manipulates their child to feel stupid when they aren’t,  and who read widely of how almost every other states is running away from Common Core but yet see this incumbent using his leadership position solely to block each, all and every reform.

Support from all the significant editorialists and newscasters in this state, who will give you unlimited access to get your message out. That would include BOTH Rick Jensen and Al Mascitti on WDEL who would do so, because you are fighting a common enemy: corporate interference into public education. .

Here are your incumbent’s crimes……

Authored and pushed forward a charter bill (HB165) which removes $21 million of your dollars our of your school district and gives it to charters scattered all over the state.

Refused to allow the Opt Out Bill out of his committee though it had 52 of 62 (82%) of our General Assembly supporting it.

Called parents pussys because they were afraid of a “little” old test.

Consistently votes for those rights and financial concerns of international corporations over any concerns from people living on Cann Ave.. his own street.

Is personally responsible for the Smarter Balanced Assessment being given to your children.

But the main crime despite all these horrible issues,  is that as chair of the House Educational Committee, he had multiple chances to act to return Delaware to a much better test, and did nothing….

The fact he does nothing in his leadership position, is the prime reason he needs to be kicked out.  We need someone who does SOMETHING!

Voters in the 27th have lately been ill served. Especially if they have children.  No other candidate anywhere in this state can garner this much support so early on. Not even our Representatives in Washington!

Please hear our calls.

Run, run, run….. Voters in the 27th are desperate for any, any other option, regardless of party affiliation…  We will support Democrats who run against him.  We will support Republicans who run against him…. We will support Independents who run against him..

If you are a mom or dad… please, please, please run.  It is really not hard to do at all.  Again, all the experts above can guide you through the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a very horrifying case involving student data, parents of children who were forced to give private information to an outside private entity in order to  comply with Common Core, now find, their data is up for sale,… to the highest bidder whomever that might be….

It appears that calm assurances of total privacy made by governors and Secretaries of Education, don’t stand up in bankruptcy court.  There,… assets are assets, and must be sold.  Student information, it appears is very valuable……

ConnectEDU filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April, listing between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities against less than $10 million in assets, according to its petition. Last July, the company was awarded a grant worth nearly $500,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build an innovative technology platform that would empower students to master Common Core standards

Over 20 million student records are at stake.  Although the bankrupt company ConnectEDU made assurances that its data would be destroyed in the event of a corporate takeover, it’s new owner does not agree… North Atlantic Capital, a Portland, Me.-based venture capital fund, is arguing that as in all bankruptcy sales, previous agreements are null and void….  The data is an asset and should now belong to the new owners… 

The FTC is weighing in on the side of protecting the children… It is arguing that every parent receive a letter and that if the parent checks deleting the data, the new owners will delete the data….   The new owners don’t want to do this…. Just think of 20 million stamps being licked in Boston.

Here is where it stands…

The current law, which has been in effect since Alexander Hamilton, says the data now goes to the new owner who can do with it, whatever he wishes….

The FTC is trying to use moral tactics bullying the investors into doing the right thing…

It could go either way.

All I’m saying here…. is we told you so… Once the genie gets out of the box…. there is no putting her back…..  Once your child’s data goes on to the internet, there is no getting it back.

(Red Clay and Wilmington Charter Schools paid $10,550 this year to ConnectEDU…. and $10,060 the previous year)   Those children’s data is now up for sale.

We told you so….

Because son, in this world, if you don’t make your own decisions,… someone else will make them for you…..

 

The following candidates support We, The People, and not Corporate America, being the ones to make our own decisions for our own kids…..

 

John Young —  Christina School District

Michael J. Piccio —  Red Clay School District

Melodie Spotts —  Colonial School District

 

Hmmm…  There is no clearer way to have put that…..

 

This was in his editorial:  

“One of the best investments the business community can make is to simply share our knowledge of leadership, goal-setting and time management.

Business community:  shall we present your knowledge of leadership?

“I don’t care if you do think it’s a really stupid piss poor idea that will destroy my business. It’s my way or the highway… Wait a minute. You’re fired! So it’s the highway. There! I decided it for you!..  Seriously, how about them apples?…”

Business community:  shall we present your knowledge of goal setting…?.

“Um.  If they meet their goal, they will all get lazy afterwards and not want to do anything… I know, I’ll raise the goal 4 gazillion times higher than anyone can possibly achieve in reality!… Then I’ll fire them for not meeting it… That should keep them scared of me and on their toes…”

Business community:  shall we present your knowledge of time management?

“Holy piss!  Grading these motherfvcking papers? I’m not doing them, they can kiss my fvcking a$s.   I don’t have time for that s\it… I gotta tee off at 2:30…..”

====

Somehow… I think as far away, as we can keep businesses from our kids while they are growing up…. the better all will be….  Kids have the right to grow up right.

Our children can learn what real assholes are, AFTER college is finished….  like, duh,… when it’s time to enter the…… business world……  heavens.  Who in their screwed-up mind still thinks that businesses are something holy to still be venerated?   Duh… How long has it been since Cheney took over our country?  Fourteen years now?

 

We all know better than everyone else. That is the first thing any politician learns on his first sortie out knocking on doors.  Everyone knows the right thing to do and damn it, you had better listen to them if you know what is best for you.  The only problem is two doors down, their enthusiasm is matched, but for the opposite approach.

Thus the political conundrum.  “Which side is right” gradually morphs into….. “which side will be best for me”…

The Red Clay School Board was in that position. The state board will be in that position on Wednesday, according to Kilroy… The News Journal I hear has now turned up the heat…

The people missing from the arguments will be those children who can’t speak for themselves, and those parents who will be dismissed as collateral damage to whatever path the “appointed” chose to go….

The question is this:  is it better for special students (those who ride the short bus) to be mainstreamed into regular instruction with normal students,  or to have individual instruction in a specialized environment?

The answer will depend on which criteria get used. As for administratively, mainstreaming is more cost effective, and if one can spin it off as being better for at-risk children, then so much the better.  That is the number one consideration.  Mainstreaming is cheaper and frees up money which can be spent elsewhere.

The second benefit is simplicity.  Mainstreaming is so much simpler to manage than the complex individualities juggled in transportation needs, curriculum needs, and personnel needs all unique to the mix of students changing-up every school year.  If one imagines having a re-occurring headache with regularity, and suddenly getting an operation and it is gone, you can begin to understand the driving emotional appeal this race to simplicity will have.  It is one giant weight being lifted off ones shoulders.

Those are the drivers.  Since they don’t sell, here are the sweeteners being offered.  It improves special children’s socialization skills,  Umm. Yep, I’m afraid that is it; the only benefit.  So expect to hear this drummed out loud and hard in an effort to overwhelm in volume any arguments to the contrary….

Those contrary arguments will be:  absorption, as in my child needs quiet in order to focus and absorb what he/she is being taught; Another will be self-confidence, as in my child needs to feel confident and loved as he/she does in a special class but won’t in a class where it is obvious even to him/her, that there is something very wrong with them. A third will be focus as in my child needs too much attention that no teacher in a 30 person class can give, without taking it away from 29 others.  Why should they suffer, and my child suffer too?

So let us look at it abstractly. Theoretically.  If a child can’t count to two, for example. In the inclusion model he gets sent off from his regular class to special classes which teach him repetitively how to count to two. After class he goes back to regular sessions teaching science, and since he can’t count to three yet, that entire science lesson using numbers 3, 4, and 5 is lost to him.  The excuse given by the inclusionistas is that the curriculum can be arranged so that discrepency is never covered by the main class and therefore never would become a problem.  But the other balance of THAT statement is why then, should the rest of the class of 29 others, be forced to a watered down curriculum that is being driven by one student who can’t count past 2.?

So you see the dilemma…

The argument will come down to a moral argument phrased like this…  Is it better to save money and lose special-ed students… or…. is it better to spend money and save … special-ed students.

That is solely what is at stake. Absolutely every other argument  is either a distraction or window dressing to cover up this point:…..

Is it better to save money and lose special-ed students… or…. is it better to spend money and save … special-ed students

It’s just money.. and how one feels about either money or people, which one stresses more, will determine the outcome of how this vote gets taken…

There is no way a special-ed student will benefit from an inclusion plan.  On the other hand there is no way to make the exclusion model, as cheap and simple to run as one can with the inclusion plan…

So… which is it going to be?   Better people?  Or better finances?  That decision really is more about the soul of our nation, than it is about what is best for special-ed children in the Red Clay  School district.

So think about it. long and hard.  How do you want to be remembered?  When you die and go beyond, how do you want to be announced to the masses as you enter the pearly gates?  money?  or people?

Finally, I’ll add this and leave you alone to your thoughts.  When i was young, I knew what was best for everyone.  i didn’t have experience; I hadn’t studied, but I was smart, and if i had gained special insight into a problem, then I knew what the correct answer was that would solve whatever woe with which I was beseeched. . Then I was put in power and realized there were real consequences for bad decisions.  I wasn’t as flippant anymore.  I realized I didn’t know Jack.  ( I do now, but he is not much help)  Not everything turned out the way I had envisioned.  Gradually I learned that wisdom if I sought it, could be  found in those who dealt with my problems on a day by day basis.

If you are not a special needs child’s parent, you  literally can have no idea of what they go through.  They may come across as slightly loupy when the try to tell you.  It is because they have so much to tell in so little time.  They literally know the breadth of human capacity, between love and hate, between thought and emotion, between self-love and self-loathing, between high hopes and dashed dreams, they have experienced it all, in every single unit you wish to measure.  They are your experts.  They, and only they, can speak for their child…. Attempting to dismiss them is like any one of us, trying to dismiss Darwin for his evolutionary theories, or Einstein for his General Relativity.

Everyone has a personal story.  My acquaintance  is  one who believed in main-streaming their special ed child.  They recognized the need for special classes, but insisted that he also be part of a larger class to maintain his social skills.  As the child went through 4 years of IEP, it became apparent in the 4th year, that his inclusion in the class was a) pointless to him, and b) a major distraction to all others, and that child’s  parent sadly consigned to bus them out to a specialized school.   That child in single stream, DCAS’d in the 3’s,  just under breakwater for a level 4…. That child went the opposite way Red Clay is going, and blossomed…  Most of it was psychological.

So I’d advise you to listen to the real experts.  Not those who “study’ it; those who live it.   Then do what they say, whatever it is. You won’t go wrong…..

Nancy had something about SB 27.

This Act would authorize the Department of Education, pending available funds, to offer competitive two year start-up grants to public schools for the purpose of developing new programs for students capable of performing accelerated academic work.

Some background.

It is a copy of the Federal Program that went horribly wrong. The US Department of Education decided to give grants out to just Charter Schools to help them start up and become viable. It is the same as capital funding except these were going to be competitive.  By making it competitive, one can “choose” who will get the money…  Hooray!  Triple X Charter School! You win a Prize!”  and it can be done with no mention that the money would be better served in an existing District, which also did the work and actually put in a better grant application. This type of legislation opens the doorto where I can request money from my “friends” in legislature “whom I shoot pool with”, and they will …”give” it to me, and they can actually preapprove or “guarantee” that I will win the contest ahead of all the other future applicants…

The Federal Program, sponsored by the federal DOE, had one purpose…

“The purpose of the Charter Schools Program (CSP) is to increase the national understanding of the charter school model by (1) expanding the number of high-quality charter schools available to students across the Nation by providing financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools, and (2) by evaluating the effects of charter schools, including their effects on students, student academic achievement, staff and parents.”

Now the state is emulating that same policy.

However the Federal Program had some glitches.  In 2011,  the Federal Program awarded new grants to the top two rated applications, New York and Florida. Three other states, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey received highly rated applications but could not be funded with the available FY 2011 funds. Therefore, the Charter Schools Program funded down the FY2011 slate using FY 2012 program funds.

The language of SB 27 specifically designates public schools. Since the Federal Program was strictly for Charters upon which this was modeled, we should get clarity if Charter Schools are being designated here as public schools for this grant?  Public schools are owned by the public, Charter Schools are owned by profit seeking corporations.  Can they, or can they not,… apply for these grants?

Further more, there is now, another task force:  The Gifted and Talented Student Task Force... Time for FOIA requests.

There are two Amendments attached to it in the House both by Miro, and one is to replace the other…  The first amendment has this line added…. supporting existing or inserted before this line… “initiating new programs”.. Apparently he was redacted after posting it, for the second amendment has these lines inserted instead….  “or renewing existing programs of the same description whose funding sources are expiring”.

Then with this sentence in the middle…  “The number of schools receiving such grants and the amount of such grants shall be determined based upon funds available during the relevant fiscal year”…. it concludes with this:   Grants shall not be awarded to supplant existing funds for current programs..

Confusing?  Not just to you.   How can funds be used to renew existing programs which have current funds expiring, but at the same time be forbidden from being used to renew existing funds for current programs?

Cost of this?  The fiscal note is complete, but…by magic, it unfortunately disappeared as has mysteriously happened with all education bills being processed through the General Assembly this session. It went dark as critical voting approaches.  The website shows it was done on this page, but the link… was disabled…

So are we giving Charter Schools, $1 million?  $2 million?  $3 million?  $4 million?  $5 million?  $10 million?  $15 million? $25 million?  $30 million?  $45 million?  $50 million?

Kind of makes the Port of Wilmington look like pennies on the dollar.

I’ll close with Bryan Townend’s remarks,  published by Nancy.

4) “During Senate floor debate, it was noted that the JFC Co-Chair had never seen a bill with a fiscal note that said “TBD” pending decision of JFC. Given the complete novelty of that approach, I believed it to be inappropriate to vote for the bill. It does not set a particularly helpful precedent to pass bills with “TBD” fiscal implications.”

I’ve got this feeling that this Senate under Blevins and this House under Schwartzkoph are taking the Democrats to their ruin in 2014 and 2016. The city seats will be safe, but not the suburbs or rural areas. As these effects hit all public schools on top of Common Core, voters will get mad. When they look back and see shenanigans such as voting on bills that are incomplete to be filled in later, passing bills without debate which will do colossal damage to our educational infrastructure just as suffered by those in Chicago and Philadelphia…

Even I’m ready to work for Republicans running against these rubber stamping guys. You don’t mess with our kids!

I wish I’d gotten to this earlier.  But listing to El Som and Al Mascitti on WDEL this morning, a light bulb went off over the conversation of the Bank Of America Building turnover to a charter school… Those aren’t free…

Every General Assembly bill with money involved must have a fiscal note attached.  I’d looked over it before and once was almost going to make a post over “Gee, What Could Cost $351,857 That Would Break Down Consistently Across The Next Three Years.”  Well you know what I was thinking:  this was an arbitrary slush fund being buried supposedly with “minor repairs” attached to its checkbook which could be used however it is to be wished….

Then in a completely unrelated verbal conversation taking place last summer, this statement got thrown out… “What’s the rent for putting in that charter school?”   “Umm, just 55K over a million, across three years…”

On a hunch… and it could be coincidence….

3 years  X  $351,857  =  $1,055,571..….

This entire charter bill is a smokescreen to get the state to put up 1.5 million for a connected someone’s Private School…  It has nothing to do with School Lunches. It has nothing to do with new charters. It has nothing to do with closing bad schools.  It has nothing to do with anything really, except get people to talk about the other…. so this $1.5 million for “a friend of ours” gets done….

Now let me be perfectly clear.  The money, now that we know why it is being rammed through, now that we know for exactly “WHO” it is being rammed through, is inconsequential…

What is unconscionable,  is that every single solitary student remaining in the entire web of the state of Delaware’s public school system, currently one of the finest in the nation,  must suffer, so “SOMEONE” gets their $1.5 million slid over to them in secret…….

That borders the definition of evil…..