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Here is a teachers idea of how Common Core should be taught… ie, close reading of a text…

It is broken down into three readings… Reading one, Reading two, and Reading three.  To show grownups what this does to the joy of reading, another  Nancy Bailey (no relation to George) last year took the classic The Night Before Christmas, and after each paragraph, inserted the criteria required to teach in Common Core.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

STOP!

The First Reading

What is the main idea?
Summarize the passage I just read.
Do you have questions about what I read?
What did you hear?
What is this about?

The Second Reading

What text structures and text features were used?
What is the author’s purpose?
How does the author feel about the subject?
Why did the author use particular words and phrases?

The Third reading

What Inferences can you make?
How does the author support key points?
How does this relate to other texts you’ve read?
How does this relate to your life?
How does the author support key points?

——

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

STOP!

The First Reading

What is the main idea?
Summarize what I just read.
Do you have questions about what I read?
What did you hear?
What is this about?

The Second Reading

What text structures and text features were used?
What is the author’s purpose?
How does the author feel about the subject?
Why did the author use particular words and phrases?

The Third reading

What Inferences can you make?
How does the author support key points?
How does this relate to other texts you’ve read?
How does this relate to your life?
How does the author support key points?

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She ruins the entire poem.

Now, besides the irritability of having to stop one’s train of thought every stanza… look at some of the required discussion questions..

What is the main idea?….  Answer… Everyone was asleep… Do we really need to dissect a poem to infinity and beyond to understand that it is about late night when everyone is tired and going to sleep?

Duh.  Really how much more can we learn about everyone being asleep, something obviously heard and understood at first reading, by discussing it excessively in class?  Does this make children smarter and able to read better at some future point? Or does it teach them to play video games all day at home and not read at all?  Obviously it does the latter.

Another question:  what text structures and text features are used?  Excuse me… what is a ….. text structure…   How in hell have I been able to read and write my entire life without knowing what a…. “text structure” is?  Oh, of course I can guess… by saying the too obvious…

“Excuse me, teacher, is it the structure of the text?”

“Why very good kavips, you nailed it exactly… The text structure is the structure of the text”….

“Ma’am?”

“Why yes little kavips.”

“So how is this text structured, can we see it?  What supports what, like on a bridge?  You know how the bottom holds up the top?  So where is the structure in this?”

“I’m sorry, little kavips… no one knows… You see English is a living language changing every day, and if there was structure that was too tight, it couldn’t change… ”

“But what IS the structure, can you explain it to me?”

“No. it is unexplainable. It IS after all, Common Core”

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In the old days we used to diagram sentences.  That was visual and real and very helpful in understanding adverbs and participial phrases.  We don’t do that any more… All we get is one teacher’s goofy definition of structure she pulls of the top of her head since it is never explained, which is different from all other teacher’s definitions of structure.. So much for “one” curriculum.

—-

Whereas this curriculum may have a place in some specialized field of literary English criticism, perhaps Harvard…  the intellectual movement that Common Core’s ELA forces on children, “only focus on the text”, was debunked as a critical movement back in 1949.. The world has moved on…

All but David Coleman, the founder of Common Core.

Dare you. Read the poem all the way through, answer every question. (No adult will, but yet we thrust it on our children because they have no power of complaint) … then, opt out your child so Common Core disappears after this year and your children again can learn that learning about what is cool, is fun.

In the meantime, next year (2016) pay attention to our General Assembly.

Look for a:

Bill to replace the Smarter Balanced Assessment

Bill to replace Common Core  curriculum with Delaware’s own standards.

Bill to fund Charter School by line items in state budgets and not allow them to steal money from good public schools and bad.

Bill to minimize Standard test results to only 5% weight on a teachers evaluation, making it a factor of no consequence except in borderline cases.

Bill to raise taxes only on  the top 1% of the state’s revenue earners, to be used to fill in budget gaps looming so large they call loudly for drastic cuts, all unnecessary if taxes just get raised on the top one percent…

 

 

 

 

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We’ve already run through the cost analysis.  It is cheaper for you to pay 10 cents a gallon than not (because of the damage done to your car if the money if not forthcoming).

Now, let us look at who is against it and why.  Pete Schwartzkoph, and the Republicans.  Both have a singular characteristic. Both need to justify their positions to voters back home.

If you are a Republican, for example, you have essentially earned a salary for doing nothing except show up.  You are pointless and take up space, simply because in a blue state, solely because of the smallness of your voting bloc, even if you wished, you could not make any legislative difference.

Since you are so impotent, you seize on this distraction, to pretend to show your voters that you will look after their interests, even though you know what you are saying is just plain wrong. Even though you know that if you were in power, that you would be pushing this 10 cents gas tax, instead, by pretending to be against it you hope to pretend you are tough and standing up to the governor, and hopefully some dummy who will only pay attention to this topic, will be enough to push you over the top in your next election….

You are probably going to lose in the next election.  Then as a civilian, your car will hit potholes too.  And you will be paying far more in repairs, than the 10 cents gas would cost you…  Not voting for ht 10 cents will kick you in the end….

Everyone will  first react negatively.  I did. But everyone who looks at the benefits, sees this tax as a very cheap option to save oneself a whole lot of money….. Truth is, if I hadn’t looked at the wonderful benefits, I’d be against it still.

It’s sort of like this:  if someone says, “hey you, buy this car” you say, “aw shucks, can’t. Not interested. I’m happy with what I got here.” But if someone says, “buy this car, it’s worth $40,000 but right now, it is priced at $10,000… Buy it for that?.”  Then buying a car is a whole different ball game.   The 10 cent gas tax is like that….

Governor Markell in a distraction to focus attention away from Charter Schools breaking all sorts of statutes, has proposed a controversial 10 cent tax increase on each gallon of gas…

If you are like me at all, and I’m sure a large number of you are, when you first heard that you probably echoed my words or something to it.  “Are you effin crazy?  We just finally got prices back down under $3.33 a gallon (the feel good mark since $10 will buy you 3 gallons which will get you 60 miles or 150 in you have a 50 mpg car…. )!!!

Seriously, how are we going to get back on our feet?

Then I saw the car in front of me swerve and I didn’t and hit the pot hole digging it out another inch… Someone’s got to fix those I said…

Light bulb.

Now I have to get an alignment….  The cheapest alignment in Delaware is $69.95…  but I know the guy.  He charges everyone else $89.95…   So I asked myself how often to I have to get an alignment?  The correct answer if I was being truthful to myself?…. every time I hit a pot hole.  How much does it cost me if I don’t get alignments?  At $150 per tire, $600 dollars.  $300 if I just do the front…

I don’t know if you have noticed but there are an awful lot of potholes that just showed up this week.  i can name locations of about 20, some of which are pretty scary.

Is it cheaper for me to  pay 10 cents a gallon I wondered instead of buying new tires?   So I turned off Rick Jensen and did the math.

At 10 cents a gallon, my cheap alignment would equal  699.5 gallons.   Meaning if I didn’t pay the tax and suffered paying alignments, I would have to  burn up 699 gallons to break even… At  gallon 700, the cost  of the alignment becomes cheaper than the tax on the gas.  And that is a cheap alignment.  The $89.95 version would cost you 899 gallons of gas.  When you burn gallon 900, no tax and the allignment becomes cheaper.

How far does 899 gallons take you?… At 20 miles per gallon, it would carry you 17,980 miles….   if you get 25 mpg, it takes you up to 22,475 miles.  That is almost 2 years of driving in a leased car…. It is almost a year of driving for a normal family car with teen age kids.

So  if you don’t pay taxes on gas at 10 cents a gallon and just pay for alignments, at mile 22,476 you break even.  How many alignments will you have over that time? Bad as roads are today, possibly 4. at 3 month intervals…   Therefore by saving 10 cents a gallon, you would be spending  the amount for 4 alignments, or $359… in 22,476 miles…   So which would you rather pay?  $89.95 or $359 each year?

So what if you buck it and skip the alignments and just buy tires when the metal pokes through?  Well,  in two days since the pothole incident, I’ve lost all the tread off the corners of my tires, or about 50,000 miles worth.  The centers are still like new so at that rate, it would probably be a month before I have to buy two new front tires, and the going rate for big tires on sale is near $150 each installed, some more, some less of course. That equals 3 alignments right there…

So what if I don’t pay 10 cents a gallon tax, and never hit a pot hole… What happens then?   Fat chance that will ever happen, but if such a miracle ever were to occur, it would have saved you  $89.95 across every 22,475 miles…..

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Now I certainly understand the emotional side of putting ones foot down and saying no to paying 10 cents more per gallon.   if you are like me you watched gas go up after George Bush was elected, and climb, and climb, and climb, and climb, and climb, and then, when the speculators had to cover their margins, it dropped to $1.40 a gallon.  Remember that?  Today the sell-shorts are larger than the sell-longs. That means BIG money is betting on the price of oil to fall over time, not rise.  Prices will continue to be near this level for a long time.  It sort amounts to a savings for us when we fill up at the pump.  A weeks driving at $4.00 cost us $100.  Now it costs us $83.25…  We have $16.75 to spend on other things,  Like 5.67th Rita Water Ices….which honestly, we wouldn’t have bought if gas was $4.00 a gallon….

I understand the emotional backlash.

It’s like being frustrated and behind, frustrated and behind, frustrated and behind, and finally there is an opening, a break going our way, and someone is trying to scoop that up away from us… How dare they!..Makes perfect sense….. that is on an emotional level….

But, what if you had a leaky roof?

Would you, when money finally came into your possession after a long drought, say, well we need to have some fun, lets blow it, whoopee?

Maybe… but if you had a roof that dripped, and could never have afforded the cost of a patch or replacement, and fatalistically accepted your plight in life with buckets mapped out in precise arrangements every time precipitation was announced,  would that change your calculations?  Would it make sense to first use that first extra money coming in, to fix that roof now, instead of letting it go, increasing its future repair cost with each month it goes unfixed?  Wouldn’t it be wise to put off going to the beach and use more extra money, instead of going now on the little bit you have, and having the roof cost more later?

That is where we are with this 10 cents a gallon controversy.  We want to spend our money at the beach this summer, and let the roof go.  But we should fix the roof first, and we all know it…  we just don’t want to do it…..

Politics aside, this is just a smart decision.  Putting a tiny bit aside now from everyone, to prevent a huge cost later in the future.  If you look at the costs of doing nothing, this 10 cents a gallon saves us money…. It really doesn’t hurt us; it really does help us save beaucoup de dollars…

Between last Thursday night and last Friday morning, the price of gas jumped 12 cents. from $3.27 up to $3.39.   Has anyone complained vociferously?  Have you heard anyone complain vociferously?  Have you seen any news media outlets running stories on the corporate price hike that was 20% HIGHER than the proposed gas tax increase?…. No.

Because it really isn’t that big of a deal.  Compare that to how many people you tell when you buy tires and get the sticker shock!  Because that is a big deal…

There are 1 million people in Delaware.  But 70 times that, 70 million come into Delaware every summer to visit our beaches…  Mathematically that  means the gas tax will be paid by 1 million Delawareans for 52 weeks a year and 70 million for one week a year while they are here on vacation.  So if we use 50 gallons of gas per week, per person (imagine little babies driving cars, lol)  that $5 of extra tax would be generate from Delaware’s citizenry, ($5.00 X i million X 52 weeks per year) or  $260 million each year, and from the visitors, ($5.00 X 70 million X 1 week)  or $350 million would be added to our coffers.  So the total  would be $260 of which came from us, and $350 which comes from our visitors.

Delaware then gets a benefit of $610 million dollars while coughing up $260 million… which as we said above, really doesn’t hurt us at all on an individual scale.  So if people were cars, we’d have $610 million.  But, the ratios opf in-state and out-of-state automobiles remain the same, since the allotment of vehicles is similarly proportioned to the amount of people.  Just with Motor Vehicle data I didn’t bother to look for, we can make a very close calculation in dollar figures which should closely mirror the  42% of the total received revenue that Delawareans would actually pay…..

It is very rare when one finds a tax where it costs one less to pay, than not to pay….  This one is…