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Talk about confusion.

“Today kids, this test counts… Do your best…. everything is riding on your results…”.  On to the next day….

“Today kids, this test is practice. Don’t get upset. Do what you can, but don’t worry about what you can’t answer”.  On to the next day.

“Today, kids, this test is for real… It is not like yesterday’s test. This test goes to your moms and dads and you don’t want them to be angry with you and make you go to school all summer, now do you?”

Who is willing to bet that day three’s scores will be abysmally low?  And why do you not know this?  Smart Balanced Assessment’s multi-million contract with the state of Delaware to design the exams, prohibits the state from making the tests public and imposes a gag order on educators who administer them…..

Teachers watched hundreds of children in grade 4 sit for between 70 and 180 minutes per day for one day taking a state English Language Arts exam that does a very poor job of testing reading comprehension, and yet we’re not allowed to point out what the problems were….  they were appalled that they had to watch fourth graders take a math test which was testing geometry angled concepts like SAS and ASA or using the Pythagorean theorem to determine length, which were not in the curriculum and which won’t be until 10th grade geometry or 7th Grade basic math! 

Yes.  Teachers are angry. They cannot reveal the test.  But, they are not bound to reveal their feelings about that test, and that is what those teachers whom we have come to count upon to lead the way, now need to do… Be very clear about your feelings towards the test. To all and anyone who will listen.  Furthermore, be very public about those who will try to intimidate and silence you.  They need exposure too.

I think I am speaking for all teachers when I say they are not protesting testing; they are not protesting Common Core standards. Like me they are protesting the fact that they have just witnessed their charges, their children, being asked to answer questions that had little bearing on their reading  or mathematical ability and yet potentially will have huge future stakes for students, teachers, principals and schools.  

Even as an adult,  the tests were developmentally inappropriate, confusing, and certainly not aligned with the rubric of Common Core standards. The ELA questions focused on small details in the passages, rather than on overall comprehension, and many were extraordinarily ambiguous. Children as young as 9 were asked several questions that required multiple  rereadings of four different paragraphs to then decide which one of those paragraphs best connected to a fifth paragraph.  Can you imagine?  Throughout the test more questions addressed structure rather than focused on the meaning of the texts. And all questions were way too long; none of us can figure out why we need to test for hours to determine whether a 4th grade child can see through a labyrinth of convoluted adult text to in order delve both meaning and content; that is for college seniors, not 4th grade… For children this young, it is just torture. The test makers themselves are psychologically childish… Like a child would assume that playing charades in order to guess their interpretation of a meaning of a passage would portend intelligence instead of blind luck,  they take a simple message like “Rose went to the store” and purposefully hide it among tons of text to then ask a child to pick out which theme they wanted the child to pick.  To most children, the blandness of “Rose went to the store” doesn’t stick in their heads and they choose the wrong answer, because to them, that was far more exciting and therefore more important…  The right answers appear so random and seriously if taken for high stakes, bring up the scenario of being shut out of getting a good career or ever attending college because in the 4th Grade you guessed heads, and it turned up tails….

For the most part, teachers have implemented the Common Core standards with enthusiasm, and have always supported the idea that great teaching is the best test preparation. But this year’s Smart Balanced Assessment exam has made a mockery of that position…..

It is frightening to think what “teaching to the test” would mean, given the nature of the test….  Seriously… it is.  And Charter schools will try it! Damaging children for their entire lifetimes!

Anyone who has been in the field of eduction over time, knows that over the past few years, as higher and higher stakes have been attached solely to the results of tests,  schools have devoted more time to test prep, leaving less time and fewer resources for instruction in music, the arts, social studies and physical education… This is fact.  This is overly documented. Our students receive a less balanced education than 5 years ago …

Every teacher who has ever reassured a parent, that they would not stress out their children with these tests, that they would not teach only to the test but would cover all the material, that the tests are the best that can be created by Corporate America, now feels “had”.  This test is bad,  It is very, very, very, very, very bad…  It is in one word; pointless.

It will take another Snowden to release these tests… Someone with nothing left to lose, and whose love of children is greater than his desire for self-preservation….

Delaware’s General Assembly must now follow the suit of other states, and jump away from this test… At the very minimum, Delaware’s General Assembly should freeze further testing made by the Smart Balanced Assessments until:  Governor Markell, Mark Murphy, Frederika Jenner, Dave Sokola, Darryl Scott, all sit down in a forum under public television and blindly take this fourth grade test and then have their scores totaled live on line…..

Once all see this test, then all like us who already have, will never doubt again that we are flinging down the wrong path to making our children better educated……..

Parents of 4th grade children!… Ask them today to tell you what some of the ridiculous questions were…. then call your state Legislators.  Their contact info is to the left at the top of this page…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sweeney is at it again.  As old age creeps up on him as with everyone else, his edge has dulled.  In this case it is not his intellect, but his wisdom which fades.  Instead of thinking for himself, he is led by the nose with a thread, sewed through his septum, then tied in a knot, with a long string dangling out of his nostril….

“They” tried to hide the author.  It is buried under ….”Our View…”  But like his face in the picture often used to represent him… some things one just can’t hide….   There is a particular slant of Sweeneyism that is hard to copy.  That could be described as preaching the gospel of creationism long after it has been debunked…

In his latest attempt Sweeney gets called to save the dying Charter Schools.  Public opinion has turned against the administration….  Yet in Sweeney’s entire argument, there are no facts.  Why should we turn to Charter Schools? The facts are that they teach worse than do public schools, they waste more tax dollars than public schools, they actually cost more dollars than public schools, and they drain resources away from public schools,  Oh, and they pay their owners, superintendents, and administrators more than public schools…  To the tune of $72 dollars a student more!

So why should we continue with Charter Schools?  The only reason Sweeney can possibly derive… is because people want them.  Well. … …. … People want heroin too….   So perhaps the perfect rebuttal to Sweeney’s argument would be to substitute the word…” Heroin”…  for his words… “Charter Schools”…  Trust me… It is a really fun read… It also shows the spuriousness of Sweeney’s argument… “Why should everyone suffer just to make a few people happy?”   Here is Sweeney’s explanation… (Warning: don’t drink and read at the same time..).. 🙂

===

“Twenty legislators have asked the state Board of Addictions to consider the possible harm five new heroin dispensaries pose to the Red Clay Consolidated School District.

The legislators are worried that too much legal heroin will drive students out of Red Clay schools. They argue this would be a detriment to the district and to those who prefer a public drug-free culture.

They have a point. Looked at from the institution’s point of view, heroin poses a threat. However, what does it look like from the point of view of the addicts who would want to send their children into heroin addiction? What do they see? What is the need addicts are trying to fill?

The heroin debate generally has ignored questions like these. Most of the arguments coming from the legislators and others, focus on the concerns of the institutions and those who run them. The viewpoint of the typical addict is missing.

Abstinence has been, is and will be the backbone of the American anti drug system, its religion, its workplace. However, for generations, people with money could sidestep any legal faults they saw in that system by sending their children money for heroin. However, since the advent of laws allowing for legal heroin, middle- and low-income parents now have had the ability to leave that dull reality as well. Most likely, these parents do not see themselves as leaving an old reality; they are just trying to get a better thrill for their children. The parents, in other words, are voting with their actions, driving into Wilmington, buying bags, and giving it to their children.

Instead of complaining, the anti drug establishment and their legislative supporters should be asking why.

People who hook new addicts study their customers. When the customers stop coming back, those business operators find out why and do something about it. They do not blame the competition, they kill them. As one businessman recently put it, Pepsi does not try to shut down Coke when the customers stop drinking Pepsi. Pepsi fights back.

Do the leaders of Red Clay or any other anti drug institution know why parents want to take their children out of abstinence? The districts cannot blame the growth of drug use on just the plight of middle-class white parents. Heroin addiction is extremely attractive to lower-income minority parents as well.

Why? What prompts them to shoot up? What attracts them to heroin? If the anti drug leaders know what the reason is, why isn’t it on the table for discussion? Suppose the problem were lack of love or curriculum. Shouldn’t that problem be the topic for discussion? Shouldn’t the legislators be trying to assist the anti drug establishment to find a solution for the heroin addiction, rather than complaining about alleged unfairness of those selling heroin to be beyond the law?

We applaud the legislators for their concern, but they would have a better argument if they could speak to the addicts’ concerns as well.

====

This argument doesn’t work for heroin; it doesn’t work for Charter Schools…. The definition of freedom… at least as we (and that includes Sweeney) once learned…. “is the right to do what you want as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else”…… There are only two Charter Schools doing well…. Newark and Wilmington’s..  Between just the two of them, there are 2700 students…. Across the state there are over 133,000….  Why should every other student have to experience a decline in resources-per-child to benefit only 0.2% of the student population?

In Sweeney’s topsy turvey world, everyone of those 130,600 other students must now suffer (which even he admits to), until we find out why 0.2% of the population has an addiction to something different……

Yes.  It truly boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

Someone should opt her out.  Kevin Huffman did….

In her News Journal syndicated piece Michelle Rhee tries to white-wash the opt-out movement in an attempt to keep parents from jumping a sinking ship.

Yet we all know Common Core is sinking.  Allow me to encapsulate her argument.

  • Tests provide an objective measurement… No, tests are not fun – but they’re necessary.
  • Parents want to know how their children are progressing
  • Good educators also want an assessment of how well they are serving students
  • It’s our civic duty to make sure our kids can compete with India, and “Asian” countries.
  • USA supposedly ranks 26 out of 34 nations.
  • Time spent on testing is not outrageous at all.  She found some paid source to prove it too.
  • Standardized testing allows comparisons across the country.
  • Tests are just one piece of the evaluation process.
  • Tests need to be more rigorous, and more strenuous.
  • We shouldn’t accept the argument that testing interferes with real teaching.
  • We shouldn’t accept the argument that testing interferes with the joy of teaching.
  • Standardized tests are a marker of the service taxpayers are receiving
  • The alternate to testing is to hand out trophies for just showing up.
  • Standardized tests make sure every kid has a first class teacher.
  • Opt-out is a “distracting” movement because it prevents testing organizations from really beating up on children. (rigor)

Now… you don’t have to read her… but if you wish, here is her News Journal address.….

Let us begin…. by covering what she ignored, perhaps purposefully so…..

  • Testing is harmful to children.  If Common Core was Edward Bradley, would you leave your child alone with it?
  • The opt-out movement is not against all testing; just only against the consortium Common Core tests.
  • Common Core dumbs down children; it is a lower standard than most current state’s existing standards
  • Common Core is not just something different; it is revolutionary different from what anyone prior has ever learned.
  • Common Core is not about standards; they are a distraction;  It is solely about money.
  • Common Core is about failing kids so they will become accountable. 70% of New York failed last year after studying Common Core the entire year.  The tests were unrelated to the course material to achieve the desired high failure rate.
  • The US out-performs all other nations when incomes are factored in.  (Our top echelon beats the Chinese top echelon. Our middle echelons beat the Japanese middle echelons. The international disparity only comes about when you compare our inner city schools with the best the Chinese can accumulate in one place… Like comparing Delcastle High School to the entering class at Harvard.
  • Test scores are dependent on poverty.  Not even a great teacher can get improvement out of a child who doesn’t eat, or sleep when after he leaves the school property.  Holding teachers accountable to test scores will cause us to fire our best who are teaching our poorest, and keep our worst who are teaching our rich parent’s little bitches and bastards.
  • If one is to be fired because of low test scores, then passing the test is the only thing that will be taught,… until after the tests are over.

Seriously. Why were these ignored?   Because they directly counteract the argument being made by Rhee that opting out is bad for your kids. Truth is: opting-out is really, really, really, really good for you kids, and if other kids unfortunately don’t have parents who can opt them out, then causing the entire test to be abandoned due to lack of participation, will become good for them as well.

Now let us debunk her good natured home spun aphorisms.  Which appear to be invented out of thin air….

Equating taking tests with going to the dentist’s office… They both aren’t fun, but sigh… they are necessary. Here Michelle is completely oblivious to the objections of parents.  No one is metaphorically objecting to taking their child to the dentist for checkups and preventive work.  They are objecting to taking them to the equivalent of a dentist who has been arrested for child molestation, who has been publicly tried and found guilty, and who is currently serving out his probationary sentence….  So if you were a parent and were being force say by your insurance agency to only go to that dentist for you child… would you opt out?  Common Core is child abuse; less so in the instructional phase, but certainly so in the testing stage.  If you are any decent parent at all, opting out is your first and only choice.

Parents are eccentric for being against every standardized test.  Of course, if they WERE against every single test; that is misconception rising to flat falsehood.  Most parents considering opting out, want the state test to continue and are only opting out of the Federal tests because they have heard how horrible David Coleman has butchered them… and have seen on this and many other websites, the actual practice tests and those scared them so much it made them protective of their children…

Opting out is the equivalent of shutting down the county health department because we don’t care whether restaurants are clean? No! Not even close.  Opting out is the equivalent of shutting down the county health department because of malfeasance, bribery, corruption, and cronyism, have destroyed the integrity of that county health department.  For a fee, it will pass a restaurant no matter what health violations are occurring.  That is the equivalent…

Opting out is the equivalent of defunding the water-quality office because we don’t want to know if what’s streaming out of our kitchen faucets is safe to drink?  No! Not at all.  As above, it is the equivalent of shutting down the water quality office because of malfeasance, bribery, corruption, and cronyism has allowed poop to come out of our shower heads while we are shampooing our heads…  For a fee, this water board not only looks the other way, but actively joins the sewer to the water system to keep from pumping fresh water.  That is the equivalent!…

Opting out will cause your kids to lose jobs to the India subcontinent.  Umm.  Have you ever had a call transferred to India? Perhaps health insurance, customer service, or cable issue?  Are they taking your calls instead of American workers because a) their English is superior, b) their math skills are unbelievable, or c) they work cheaper than the minimum American wage? So how will we lose jobs to them, when they’ve already taken our jobs because they work for less?   Opting out will probably help your child, because instead of performing bells and whistles, he is at home, reading a book; any book is better than Common Core tests.

In grades three and seven, just 1.7 percent of classroom time is devoted to preparing for and taking standardized tests. This data was captured by a discredited service today called the Fordham Institute which is run by a known quack who spends hours wondering what the gadfly says.   How much time is 1.7 percent of classroom time?  Great question. The average day runs 6 and a half hours or approximately 400 minutes… The test time (1.7%) spent per day is then 6.8 minutes. At 180 days per school year, the total amount spent in this very narrow constraint, is still 20 hours… But why did Michelle choose only grades 3 and grades 7?  The answer is in the same report, even though done by the above discredited organization… “The variation in test time”, it states, “across urban districts is large, with high-test districts spending 5x as much time on testing as low-test districts.  The variation between high-test and low-test districts can be as high as 120 hours. After nine school years, this amounts to about 22 instructional days, or more than four weeks of school”.,,, On average, teachers reported spending about three times as much time in kindergarten and twice as much in third grade as the amount of time set aside for testing on district calendars. In seventh grade the report on time-on-testing from teachers was closer to what the district calendars
reported.

We also shouldn’t accept the false argument that testing restricts educators too much, stifles innovation in the classroom or takes the joy out of teaching.  Really what do you have in place of it?   This? 

Standardized tests are an indicator of the kind of service taxpayers are receiving – and whether schools, educators and policymakers are doing their jobs…  Not however when the tests are thrown, as is a football game thrown by the quarterback, to achieve it’s bettors the effect they desire.  New York failed 70% of New Yorks kids.  Kids who did very well in New York without the tests since 1653…..  Perhaps it is true that “honest” standardized tests are such indicators, but these dishonest tests by no means can be taken seriously…

I (Michelle Rhee) built an organization, StudentsFirst, that believes that every education policy decision – from the federal level through states and districts – should be made based on what is best for students and to increase student achievement…. Based on the NAEP tests, it appears what you did, was harmful to students.   Why should we listen to you?

The opt out movement has become a last ditch for parents who are frustrated that the Governor won’t listen to their concerns; that the Secretary of Education won’t listen to their concerns; that the General Assembly won’t listen to their concerns, the News Journal won’t listen to their concerns…

You are allowed to opt out, your right to do so is firmly stated in the national Common Core standards.  Of course people will tell you otherwise… but if that weren’t true, then why would they have brought in Michelle to try to twist your arm to convince you not to do it?   huh?

I hope you have a more fair and balanced opinion at this time….

Quiet, Quiet, Hush It Down, Please! John Sweeney is Stirring, About To Soon Speak....
Courtesy of Disney’s Alice in wonderland

Someone stirred the embers of John Sweeney’s soul. They shouldn’t have…. Sometimes it IS better to rest on one’s laurels…

In a News Journal op-ed Mr.Sweeney
tries to shame the Democratic Party… It is worth the read, for in its chutzpah, it reminds old timers still left, of how the very brave Poles road their horses with swords drawn in calvary formation towards the fully armored German Panzer divisions attacking them….

On the rank of futility, his efforts are similar. On the rank of bravery, his efforts are similar.

I think what we are experiencing is the passage of one century into another… Mr. Sweeney is a product of the last century. Things were very different then from how they are today. As one ages one is prone to becomes sentimental, and emotional, and embrace those good things they remember in ones youth…. As a result those things called facts, which depart from the other side of the brain, get vetoed out of existence in editing, and their interference with a fictions narrative is negated…

We get a nice story that if it stayed on the porch in the company of old men rocking their hours away, would remain that, a nice mixture of observation and opinion….

The problem is that this is not staying on the old folks home porch, but is attempting to interject itself into policy and plans for our future. Therefore, it must also be served alongside a complete rebuttal, so that policy makers are given a clear view or our future, both the dreams and reality, and not just the one sided wistfulness of one single old man.

Mr. Sweeney remembers Wilmington of a different era… 1973…. He doesn’t remember it very well for his piece is entirely devoid of any mention of the riots and subsequent war zone imposed on the city of Wilmington 5 years just before. He conviently fails to even mention the despondency of that time captured by then City Supervisor O. Francis Biondi in his telling the New York Times, “the National Guard here has become a symbol of white suppression of the black community. That may be a useful way to get elected, but who wants to run a city under those circumstances?”

He also fails to bring up the Court ordered desegregation rule that evolved from the ashes of that occupation and racial pot stirring. A rule that has the blessing of no political party, and still is the predominant problem underlying New Castle County’s education today..

These alone throw cold water on his assertions that life was ideal back in 1973. Just maybe… if you were a wealthy white; but certainly not for any black… Sweeney simply sweeps all blacks aside as he continues his claim.

Let us take and break down his opening paragraph….

  • Is Wilmington a better place to live today than it was in 1973? Why, yes. Yes it is.
  • Is crime worse or better? Crime is better. Despite overall shootings in and among drug traffickers, all other crimes are fractions of what they were in 1973.
    Are the schools better? Public schools are; particularly for those of Afro-American descent who come from the city. Charter schools suck though.
  • Are more kids going to college? More kids are going to college than back in 1973. And at higher percentages too.
  • Is business booming?Walk down market street some evening and tell me. Yes, business is as good, if not better than before the ’68 riots.
  • Is the city’s future brighter? We have the Riverfront, a baseball team, a civic center, a walk along the river. A very attractive city. Market Street, an Art School. Two state universities and a state college. I would certainly say our city if much brighter than 5 years after we had our national guard overextend their record.

So even his opening assertions, which he never attempts to defend, are at their very starting place, horribly misconceived…

If ones entire premise is horribly misconstrued, then everything afterwards is such as well… Were anyone to make a mistake and use sand instead of flour to make bread, their end product would not be bread would it not?  Logic works the same way….

The second gigantic flaw in Mr. Sweeney’s reasoning just oozes out of  this statement right here….  (I should warn readers that even in Sweeney’s advanced age, two parts of what he will ring true…  both are about his abysmal party, the Republicans…) ==“The easy – and accurate – answer is that there are barely any Republicans left in town. A second – and only slightly more complicated – answer is that the Republicans of late have shown little interest in cities and their problems. The final answer comes directly from the first two: Since the Republicans are no threat, the Democrats do not have to do anything to retain the voters loyalty. They will win automatically.

Did you catch the flaw? If not, allow me to point it out.. Mr. Sweeney seems to totally forget something called “primary elections” Perhaps he can be forgiven for that; Republicans have only had a few primaries in my entire lifetime, and they were only because of Mike Protack. Yet Democratic primaries have been some of the closest, competitive, promise driven contests in this state. If you are voted in, and don’t listen to your constituents, you are going to face 11 challenger for your seat the next session… Hell, the only way to get re-elected in this town, is once lucky enough to get in, you take damn good care of your client base….. And as Mr. Sweeney himself points out, those clients aren’t Republican voters…

You see, Wilmington voters are not voters who follow party rule as Mt. Sweeney so blandly assumes. The reasons they don’t vote for Republicans is because Repulbicans don’t care about them. Republicans only care about big money and is why they can’t get votes in Wilmington. Party has nothing to do with it. In fact you could make Wilmington flip Republican in just one election cycle. Just run a Republican who says he is going to tax Charlie Copeland and his friends 100% out the gazoo. Then you would find it was the issues keeping Republicans off the roster, not the name of their party… Republicans can’t get elected because they are wrong for Wilmington.

Yet Mr. Sweeney makes no mention of that either… And here is where Mr. Sweeney loses it.

He blames Barack Obama. Yep, blame the black man not just for this cities problems, but all cities problems… In his statement that all cities have democratic mayors and Barack Obama is not helping them, her forgets a couple of other observations by which only his statements could have the hint of truth.

He forgets that prior to Barack Obama, there was George W. Bush, a Republican, and he ignored cities too. (Remember New Orleans?) He forgets that not all mayors are Democrats. There are Republican mayors too… New York, Fresno, Miami, Mesa, Tulsa, Virginia Beach, are just a few Republican mayors experiencing the same city problems as is Wilmington. The truth is, that running a city on cutting taxes, getting rid of government, and instilling disciplined religion in all aspects of life, is a very hard sell. The reason almost all town mayors are Democratic, is because Democrats are the only ones who make sense. So if one has Republican mayors and a Republican Executive Branch, and a Republican State government, and still have the same problems, Sweeney’s argument is completely undercut.

He also seems to have had a tad memory slip up, and has forgotten that despite Democrats holding the presidency, and despite the Senate being blue, there is a Republican house. which has proposed nothing, and which has voted down every expenditure brought before it, even Hurricane Sandy aid. (It took Democrats to finally get that passed). With political realities like that, making grandiose plans that never get off the ground is nothing but an exercise in futility. Sweeney fails to mention the elephant in the room: that there can and will be no help for cities as long as they is not a super-majority of Democrats in both houses…

In a complete disembowelment of disbelief, Sweeney states that national politicians have stopped wooing City voters. Two things are missing on Sweeney’s radar. One, Republicans have tried to make inner city voting next to impossible by limiting voting machines and forcing intimidating long lines, and two, it is the growth of urban areas that propelled Democrats in every state. All states have counties red and blue. If a state is more urban, it’s blueness wins out…and more than anything, that is why Republicans are losing.

It is no ones fault but their own…

Is anyone shaping Wilmington’s future Sweeney asks? It is bizarre questioning, because Sweeney already answered it….

In some areas, the city is safer. In others, there are more jobs. Certainly, some schools are better today than they were in 1973. And individual organizations and people, including elected officials, have worked hard and have put together effective coalitions. The Financial Center Development Act brought new banking and credit-card jobs to town, a federal judge desegregated the area’s schools, the decaying dock areas were redeveloped into the Riverfront, with an I-Max movie theater, a convention center and a host of new businesses and condos and apartments

I’d say we had some good plans for our future. We’ve come a long way since 1973…

Is Wilmington better off? Hell yes… If so, that makes Sweeney’s argument that we need to go back to 1973 rather pointless and odd. I can think of no afro-American who wants things returned to 1973….

In the end, Sweeney’s arguement breaks down. We should have one political party he says, and that should include Democrats and Republicans. Well, (confused) that’s what you’ve been complaining over what we had?

Since Sweeney’s arguments boggle th logical mind, I struggle to find a box to put them in. At best, it is someone wistful of their younger days, of back when they were in power and who wishes their privileged class like that of Nicholas and Alexander, could once again rein supreme and not have to deal with “those people”…

The rest of us, are better off with all we got since then.

What do you think?

Dear Diary:

What if we raised income taxes on the top 1% several percent with a sunset clause not tied to a year, but based on achieving a certain state unemployment rate.? Perhaps 4.9%?

Work that through sometime soon, please?   

Thanks, 

me.

JohnSiglerandWhatHappensWhenAMindEquatesKillingHumansNoDifferentThanKillingPigeons_zps30dfca09

Most importantly, I’ve changed my view on mental health.  I used to think it was a weakness. I now see it as a disease.  I know I always accepted it as a disease, like when I talked to others, but inside, I thought since I was tough enough to beat it, others could too….  Like lifting weights to build body mass, one could rigor himself out of mental illness.  Boy was I wrong.

So much came out , and particularly in the “Gun Battle” that followed, I saw that regulating guns was not the real issue.  The real issue is helping those who see nothing wrong  with taking other’s lives and then their own…

I used to think the rising trends of mass murders,  came solely because we lost control over who bought guns… To some extent, it still is.  But there was another trend of which I was then ignorant and that was how cutbacks since the Recession was  and still is, ..creating more mentally unstable people…

Our society’s basic overall problems come down to this one single thing:   too-little money.  The self-imposed lack-of-it behind supporting government functions, means those functions are now not there, because no private entity volunteered to step up and take it on… The money needed for these programs is out there, but continues to filter up to the top 1%.

Had we had a healthy, thriving support system to deal with our mentally ill, … other choices may have been made leading up to that shooting..   Had we had the same in Aurora…. that disaster may have been prevented…  Had we had the same in DC, there is a good chance the Navy Yard Shootings would never have happened….

We make choices and those choices have consequences… We consciously chose to cut taxes on the wealthy and by doing so, hasten our government into bankruptcy … I know it was a conscious decision because I was right there eloquently arguing against it… and was over ruled.   Not by a lot, but by enough…  It was the way they saw of making ourselves better… and often when one narrows one’s universe a little smaller, to where those things happening on the outside nolonger matter, one can make a smaller universe indeed appear better… until of course the outside comes crashing in….

As so the problems of one burned-out divorced mother trying to deal with a mentally ill child, crashed in upon the national consciousness in a sickening way. So we’ve learned:

Lesson 1:  Mental illness is a security risk..  Mental illness is a disease.   We need to spend lots of money to cure and contain mental illness from crashing into our lives ever again…   No sliver amount of billionaire’s income is worth the loss of those children at Sandy Hook, ever again.

Secondly.   Unless a shooting takes place over drugs, almost all shootings are caused by those mentally ill.  Husbands, wives, children, killers, non killers, or Floridians  prejudiced against hoodies…  We are learning in just one year, particularly with Gun Fail publications now illuminating all the deaths around the country,  that all shootings probably have mental illness at their root…..

Which practically means, if we could completely eliminate mental illness from our society, we wouldn’t have to regulate guns at all, (except for the drug warriors of course… )

But until we do… we need to keep the guns our society has chosen to make so readily available, out of the hands of those who really don’t have the same values of right or wrong as do the rest of us,  particularly when it is about our lives….

In that regard, we need to hold those of red states accountable and put the blame squarely upon them, for they are the blockage of both directions at this problem… Either they open the now dry channels of dollars to fast flow towards  the treating of mental illness. or they opt to tighten the free flow of guns in order to make sure that only those who are not mentally ill, can legally own them…

There is truth in the saying that criminals  being criminals can always get guns if they want, because criminals aren’t worried about obeying the law….  That is entirely true.

However, the converse is also true, that if you have guns laying all over the street and readily available, more are going to get used than if it is really difficult and expensive to acquire even one…  A lot of legislation designed to tighten up the easy access to guns and gun paraphernalia,  was lobbied down this year…

Often by people a little mentally ill themselves (Wayne LaPierre) who fear the government of the People, for the People, and by the People, more than they fear a bullet escaping out of a gun nozzle headed their way….  Those who have the other fear,  ie, guns over government, need to clarify their argument, button down the rhetoric, and state that at stake, is just keeping guns out of the hands of those mentally ill….

Mental illness is a disease… Curing it should be our first priority, and from just hearing the results of the passing of the US Budget today,  that will never happen until we can get into Congress, only those who agree with those sentiments….  It’s about money. We know where it is kept, and we need more of it now….

Maybe you’ve heard, maybe you haven’t…  But Democrats have allowed a SNAP cutback agreed with the Republicans at some point in the past, to go into effect….

John Carney is in agreement.  Here is how that cutback will affect John Carney’s district, a district at large for the entire state of Delaware….

In Delaware there are 332,350 households.  Of those, 36,382 receive snap benefits.  Leaving 295,968 which do not.

Of those 36,382 households, 26,763 are families.  Of these families, 31% have two more more workers in the past 12 months.  50.1% of these families have one person working over the past 12 months.  Only 17.7% fall in the category commonly associated with food stamps.  people who are not working.

The benefits will be cut $11 dollars per month per single person, maxing out at $36 dollars per month for families four and over….  Using the figures above,  per month the 9619 individuals will cost Delaware $105,809 in less food purchased, and the 26,763 families will spend $963,468 less food dollars.  These are rough estimates using the averages provided here.

But these cuts mean that grocery stores across the state starting in November will receive $1 million less in sales for every month.  Of course a year means that 12 million will not be entering the Delawarean economy per year.

How does that affect the grocery business?

There are 326 Grocery stores listed in Delaware.   Although stores closer to areas that are less affluent will suffer worse, the average monthly loss to this slice of our economy per store is $3280 dollars.   Each store over the course of a month will lose $3280 dollars.  In a classic business structure, one expects to pay one third for product, one third for labor, and one third to everything else.  If one profits, it is because one has beaten the odds in any of those three categories…   Meaning that labor will be impacted by one third or $1100 each month….

Each of the grocery stores on average will need to cut $1100 each month…  because of John Carney’s support of this piece of legislation.

One can expect the entry positions to be cut first.  Entry levels are minimum wage, but just for our calculations, let us go with $10 per hour.   100 hours can be expected to be cut….  or if not spread across the staff, their loss will cost the removal of 2 and a half workers from each of the 326 grocery stores in Delaware…..

Across the state that carries to 815 jobs….

So the cutting of  SNAP benefits to appease Republicans appears to now cost Delaware an additional loss of 815 jobs….  According to August 2013’s  figures,  there are 51,200 Delawareans working in Delaware’s retail trade.  815 of those jobs disappearing is a 1.5% drop in that industry…. It is a small percentage of our total state workforce… 2 hundreths of one percent.

As of August 2013, there were 30,658 Delawareans out of work…  Add 815 and that new total, 31,473 jumps Delaware’s unemployment rate from its reported 6.9% up to our 7.1%…..

Now this does not account for 6 months later, when the impact of losing the cumulative of losing 1.1 million every month starts hitting farms.  Nationally the drop is $5 billion.  Simply put.  $5 billion less in food will be purchased over the course of a year….

Product will be scaled back, and most likely so will the payments to farm workers.  This too starts impacting the economy negatively…..

The giant agribusiness, will be most affected.  With fewer people buying their products, they must too cut back.

So, once again, we have cutting back on a Federal program that directly subsidized farm production, impacting the single common denominator of every single citizen… Food.

Like the floor of a skyscraper, once the first floor collapses onto the next, that one too gives out and drops downward as well, taking the next floor with it….

Most people don’t know how subsidies work; they never would complain about SNAP if they really knew.

Common Core started out a noble plan.  It was even able to convince our President that it was a good idea.  So cleverly was it crafted, that The News Journal editorial board still hasn’t yet woken up.

But the implementation proved to be too difficult for American Business.  They could meet the ideals and miss their profit goals, or they could meet their profit targets and skimp on the ideals, and so they opted for the latter… The maker of our tests (AIR) dumbed down the educational standards, choosing to not pursue the new proven way of learning, but to  take the questions off of the “No Child Left Behind” tests and recycling them as Common Core….

The exact problems we had with testing under the” No Child Left Behind Act”, are with us today, and perhaps worse.

This knowledge has recently been leaked and  come to light, and now America Business is doubling down and marketing their “push back”.. Instead of saying ” no it is not true that we are dumbing down our educational values,”  they are instead saying this:  “who needs those old fashioned educational values, anyways?”….

Delaware  contracted  to, and in 25 payments last year, spent $8,500,679 dollars to AIR, American Institutes of Research, to develop the test and curriculum for our children…

One hears from the mouth of Governor Markell himself that we must have the best educated workforce possible to compete in a global economy….. yet we are dumbing them down.

Here is what the company we contracted to make our tests, is saying about American education….

“we believe that strong two-year college leaders, working with state and local businesses and with state policymakers, can and will become more central players in the economic development of the nation.”

The distinct inference is: no longer will an Ivy league education suffice:  our leaders will now come from two year community colleges….

Remember this is from AIR, American Institutes of Research, the group making the tests and curriculum for our state of Delaware.

If you didn’t already guess, here is the problem.

If you don’t teach to the levels of a four year college degree or university, and only teach to the achievement of a two year level or associates degree, who is going to fill up our 4 year colleges and universities?

The report goes on to show their data. Their synopsis being that if a student goes to a community college in a state where wages are high, he gains more than the national average wage over his lifetime.  If he goes to a school in an area where wages are low, he earns less than the national average wage over his lifetime…   (Duh. At least that part of the report makes sense.)

This despite the problem that of those seeking an two year associates degree,  only 25% ever meet their two year goal within a framework of 6 years….

For this… we are scrapping the educational standards and programs already in place which have indeed kept our four year colleges full over all these years…..

When one replaces higher standards with lower standards, one is dumbing down education….   When the group stressing that policy is the actual maker of your state’s curriculum and creator of its tests to which all will be taught,  one should expect that state’s student’s will be dumber than if no changes had ever occurred at all…..

And it now appears……  the News Journal is more interested in promoting the careers of  their friends, the local politicians, than in telling you this truth….   Common Core dumbs down your kids.

Go figure.

Some title, huh?  If you can’t guess, this will be about the News Journal.   We are discussing credibility.

We know what credibility is; we don’t have to define it here for this audience…  Those of you who read the News Journal on a regular basis are aware of the violent rape that occurred in one of the Parks, and yesterday the two perpetrators, young boys of fourteen and fifteen were arrested, and are being held without bail….

I remember hearing the story, I didn’t read it, but was horrified that gangs of bottom level teens were marauding women in our parks.  What has Dennis William wrought upon us?

The real story is that two known prostitutes talked friendly to the boys, and offered them their services.  The boys thought they were getting turned on for free because they were hot stuff, and accepted.  Afterwards the girls tried to exhort payment.  Fourteen and fifteen year old boys in the inner city, don’t have that kind of money.  A fight broke out. The guys tried to get away but were held, and finally broke loose. The girls pressed the rape charge and told their story of being held down by large numbers of black men and raped.

The News Journal knew all this; yet didn’t print any of it.  The story became public through the good reporting one always finds on WDEL (where all the news is free btw).

What the News Journal did is called libel; when you print a lie, and hold it to be the truth.   Apparently the truth was too inconvenient for the News Journal to publish.  It destroyed “their” version of the story (We Can’t Have That), which will sell more papers.  To hell with two boys, incarcerated currently as we speak,  probably raped themselves by now, for agreeing to make out with a couple of girls who seemed friendly and to like them….  It is not rape when the girls initiate the action expecting payment;  if they’d gotten paid, no rape charges would be filed….

One should be infuriated at the actions this poorly reported story has caused.  The heads of the News Journal were reckless in publishing hearsay evidence without asking both sides; simply taking the prostitute’s views only.  All damages inflicted on these two young men, are the result of one false and poorly researched News Journal sensationalized story.

What does this have to do with their educational reporting?

Those familiar with the comings and goings of education reform incorrectly being reported in the News Journal, should immediately recognize the motif...  Tell only one side, Cream it up,  Do not, Repeat, do not, research anyone else who disagrees and knows the real truth…..

As goes rape, so goes educational reporting.

Only the official side gets told.  There is tremendous opposition among parents regarding the implementation of Common Core, based on the damage it did to school children in the 2012-2013 school year.   None of this has come to light.   There is a full court press of opponents to Common Core, so much it almost derailed HB 165, the Charter School legislation, because of the reform policies sneaked into them.

Has the News Journal even mentioned that serious harm is being done to children taking Common Core Classes.  Has it published the documentation demonstrating that Common Core is dumbing down our educational system instead of revamping it?  Has the News Journal mentioned that New York FAILED 70 percent of their students, and that is coming to Delaware?  Has the News Journal even mentioned that college ready is officially defined as being able to pass two years of the lowest grade community college in a row?  And that any student who learns only  Common Core, can never get into a top college or university, especially one of Ivy League status, no matter their IQ?  They simply lack the tools?  Has anyone mentioned that Common Core is separating us into two classes of education. Those privileged in private schools who will get all the good jobs, and everyone else in Public Schools who will fight over everything else?

These reports are all documented across the web.  In fact, there is more scientific evidence across the globe, done by professional evaluators, that speak ill of Common Core than speak well of it.   In fact, because I wanted to believe in it, I have been looking for one single study or example showing any positive results from Common Core teaching over the past 9 months… If it is out there, it is hiding from Google.  Meaning that, for the News Journal to print only one side of the Common Core debate, is on the same level as completely denying that Climate Change exists, ignoring all the mounting evidence to the contrary, and just reporting only what gets said by oil company executives.

I used to blame the new reporter on the Education beat for his one sided-ness.  I now apologize. With the inside knowledge on how this rape story is being mishandled,  I now understand all one-sidedness comes straight from the top… it is forced upon the reporters! The top management of the the News Journal, are sick, sick, sick.  Nothing they clear for publishing anymore is trustworthy….   It is a shame when Kim Kardashian’s alien love-child pictures in the National Enquirer have far more credibility than any of the News Journal‘s reporting on Educational Policy or a rape in a city park.

Period.

I was awaiting the Mayor’s comments on what he would do about the violence in our city….

“Nothing. It’s the Parent’s fault” he said. If one remembers the campaign taking place just a year ago last week, one remembers the current mayor Dennis Williams as a candidate lambasting the former Baker administration and its proxy, Bill Montgomery, for echoing these same exact sentiments.

“You’re not doing anything about it; blaming vague root causes is not going to take care of the real problem, which is bullets flying up and down our city streets!” he repeated many times of his campaign.

This week’s announcement was a tremendous statement. It acknowledges failure. When one falls back upon the same defenses as one’s political opponent, that means one has failed.

Blaming vague routes for the problem. Here is the reaction to Dennis’s statement.

“Ok, Dennis. You are mayor. Fix it.. Fix every parent taking care of their child. How are you going to do that?”

The answer is no one can do that. No one can pass an enforceable law demanding good parenting. Therefore using this excuse is one’s acknowledgement that it can’t be fixed. The solution is then still out there, still needed. There are very viable solutions out there to counter this problem; and answers come from recognizing first what the problem is.

The real problem is heroin. Come right out and say it… I will take the liberty to write here how Dennis “should have” handled the question…

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Hi, I’m Dennis Williams, and I approve of this message. When I took over as mayor of the City of Wilmington, little did I know that the tightening of the control of prescription drugs would become so effective, it would make heroin the least expensive alternative. The heroin business in Wilmington is booming. When criminal businesses, which are businesses run by rules outside the canons of law, become profitable, they change ownership by means also outside the canons of law.

Heroin is dealt in this fashion these days. A supplier drives in from a safe spot outside, drops off prepackaged bags, and gives you a bill of sale. If you choose to deal, you sell the product, then pay the seller for his money. If the seller doesn’t get his cut, you don’t last long. Now you have to sell. You sell heroin compartmentalized so no one knows the whole operation. One person you pick makes contacts at Glasgow High, another at Brandywine, you pick one at Olive Garden, one at Red Lobster, etc. One sells to the local IBEW; another supplies Bank of America. These are people you know; and they sell to people they know.

Bringing it on property is too dangerous. They deal in phone numbers. A cell phone number puts you in touch with a guy on the street corner. You call, say who gave you the number, and get told where to make the transaction. You put the address in your GPS, and drive. You call, he comes over to say hi, you say hi back and hand him the money, he drops the bag in your car, says have a nice evening, and you drive off…. You and your friends share the heroin and take off to go clubbing in Philly with no more thought to it than like having a beer before hitting the road.

Obviously the sectors close to exits off 95 are prime commercial real estate. Most of our shootings happen right off 202 and 95. Easy off – easy on. If you are selling down-stream, you get fewer customers… If you are selling $200 a night, and the guys up the street whom you can plainly see are doing $2000 a night, you are going to look at all options on how to increase you sales. In this business, it is all about location.

Almost all our shootings are a result of drug trafficking. Whether for non-payment, for elimination, or for reprisals, almost all our shootings are related to this industry… Very similar I might add, the same way all of Chicago’s shootings were related to the illegal alcohol trafficked through the Prohibition years in that metropolitan area.

Changes are required beyond me to fix this problem completely. For this is an ongoing war that can never be won by using the same weapons we’ve been using over the past 50 years. People are resourceful; if they want something they find a way to get it, around every roadblock we can impose. They do not stop wanting this product. The alcohol violence in Chicago only went away when alcohol again became legal. It is time to consider what might happen, and how we could control it if we chose to make heroin legal. For when one can buy heroin in Wal*Mart, with no stigma, and trust that some government entity has verified its purity, and lack of harmful substances, no one in their right mind would drive into the city to make a transaction for what could turn out to be corn starch laced with arsenic. And if no one is driving into the city, there is no money to be made. If there is no money to be made, there is nothing to be gained from the illicit drug trade. If there is no money in crime, crime goes away…

There are very easy ways if we make it legal, to control usage. One, small nightly dispensations could become the rule, so overdosing would be impossible. Two, addicts show up regularly become readily apparent , and could be directed by Wal*Mart to various appropriate detoxing agencies. The possibilities are endless. But it would not destroy society because it would be regulated and taxed and otherwise like every other vice that has followed the same pursuit, liquor, beer, wine, cigarettes, cigars, gambling, could become a beneficial revenue source for the government…

Without going this far, there are some things that can help immediately, maybe save a life or two, though not take care of the problem. If you see a drug deal, call the anonymous number. Say, “I have someone dealing on the corner of Baynard and 22nd.” Dealers’ fear of the unknown is our greatest defense against these street corner transactions ever happening. When we start getting calls before murders take place, fewer murders will take place. Putting up cameras just moves the transactions to where there are no cameras. Same with putting police on corners. Our best bet is to have dealers so fearful someone will rat them out, they don’t come out, anywhere. They find another way to sell. In doing so, we’ve destroyed the property value of the prime real estate, so that it is not worth killing for. We cut crime.

With your help, we can do that. However everyone needs to recognize that the problem is one of business. These are business killings. They are about business. People need money to live and unfortunately with an illegal business, a lot of people have to die to keep that type of business alive and afloat.

Likewise picking up the random car bringing the packets in, means another car gets dispatched the same night and makes the drive down to fill the hole in supply…

The same with guns.

We can also crack down. Make it unprofitable so the sellers choose to sell in Elmere, New Castle City, Newark, Christiana, Claymont. The crime moves there and we cheer our gun deaths are down. All we did was transfer the problem to my friend Tom Gordan.

The long term option is to make it legal, and by doing so, suck all the money out of that business. If one can walk into Walgreens, present an ID, sign forms and pay $2 a small bag, and then go home and sleep it off, the $50 bags on the street corner are going to disappear. The same person, goes home and sleeps it off, in either way. One way costs them $50, costs us $150 a bag in trying to interdict it, and continues eating up our young urban men. The other way, generates taxes, keeps control, drops crime, makes money for Walgreens, creates new jobs, and allows for $48 dollars to be spent into our economy for other commodities. Again, either way, the same person sleeps it off.

I am calling for a new conversation, a bold, innovative way we can get drugs off our streets entirely. I’m am calling for a way we can remove the market of illegal substances out of our neighborhoods, off our streets, and into the business world where it really belongs. It’s a business and should have the legitimacy it deserves. It has a demand that will be met, if not legally, then it must be met illegally. We haven’t changed that in 50 years of trying. Only the opposite approach, of making it legal, controlled, available, and legitimizing it, will take the illegal activity currently devoted to filling that demand….

It is the only smart thing to do.

Every smart thing requires a person of immense courage to start the ball rolling. Although I have no more courage than the next person, I do recognize that I am in this position at this time, and must do something. I am starting the call to legalize these narcotics as being our most effective method of attacking the ills of this business while it is allowed to remain illegitimate.

This is very unlike my predecessors blaming the parents… I can do nothing about fixing parents. I can work our legislators and become a public spokesperson for making this business legal again, so we, society in general, can control it…

There will be those who through shallow thinking may not agree with this long term solution. Not everyone is smart. But, we have an great opportunity in this city, with a complete lack of Republican countervailing power which always make progress unattainable because of their higher-than-thou moralistic posturing, to actually make something happen. We have the resolve, we just need the release to allow us to make progress happen.

The arguments they will use against it, are the same once used against smoking, against drinking, and against gambling. WE legitimized all those businesses and the sky didn’t fall. It is time to accept rationality and begin the process of this one… In the meantime we will continue fighting against the symptoms of a social disease our current processes will never fix. Any help or information before a crime is to be committed or immediately afterwards, will be highly appreciated in our endeavor to make Wilmington, which is truly a wonderful city, again become a great place to live…… For despite our inability to eliminate the overall big picture, every life we save, is an actual life we save… There can be put no price too high on that. We need your calls.

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That is what Williams should have said.