On-Going Things that are Pissing Me Off 14

Well a few things have been on my mind and building up, so let’s begin.

Charter Schools and Voucher programs:  There is no evidence that Charter Schools are any better than public schools, there is evidence however that they are much, much worse. What is this about, the incessant need to cheap out on our children? What I mean by cheap out here is, the hiring of unqualified individuals with crackpots ideas to teach our children.

Creationism: Check.

Distorting test results: Check, Why does Michelle Rhee’s name always come up in these cases?  (Hey New Orleans, what’s up?)

Greenwald, because Greenwald… that guy is simply exasperating. I’m tired of him.

Climate change deniers.. seriously, what will it take for these people to wake the fuck up?

Politico, all of it, all of their reporters, Check out the link, Pot meet kettle.

Chuck Todd, who doesn’t seem to know what his job actually is, oh well.

Congressional Republicans, god they piss me off. So once again they are attacking poor people. Why do they hate poor people so much? I honestly don’t understand it.  Republicans actually worship at the Temple of Draco. I am convinced of this.

Congressional Republicans have rushed headlong into a draconian new cut to the nations meal assistance program known as  SNAP. The 5% cut will displace 3.8 million people from receiving this assistance.  Not a big deal for those Republicans and their big wig friends.  However, the SNAP program dollar amount is around $32.00 a week for groceries per person. Wow. If one gallon of non-organic milk is around 6.00, which is roughly 1/5th of the weekly allotment, how does one get adequate nutrition? And yet these horrible human beings, Congressional Republicans, are willing to throw 3.8 million more people off the rolls, even though they are only getting $32.00 a week. It’s a huge cut at a time when we should be putting more money into that program. We should be boosting WIC, Public Health programs and senior meals. These monies need to be restored.

There are huge societal consequences to malnutrition.

In children the effects are great from an early age in that it impacts cognitive abilities.

From the Nursing Times.

Here is more on the impact of malnutrition on children and pregnant women.

Effects of malnutrition on the elderly.

And let’s be honest here, cutting SNAP does nothing for the budget, it has no impact. If Republicans were serious about righting the wrongs of subsidized money we would quit subsidizing oil, natural gas, corn, commodity crops, military contractors and their cost plus bidding processes, etc and so on. Cutting SNAP just makes Republicans look like they worship at the temple of Draco.  Well they do worship at the Temple of Draco, that is part of the problem.

And now onto ACA, Republicans need to stop, just stop, they look like the biggest asses on the face of the earth.  Like Chris Hayes said on Real Time last night, let’s see what works, let’s get this law implemented and see what works, and we will go from there.  And frankly, this is the law, all three branches have affirmed this. All three.  Time for the opposition to get over it. They Lost. Time to  participate in the system we have created, contribute to new reforms, something anything, just quit being such pricks about everything by basically holding the entire country hostage because they are still mad they lost the election in 2008 and 2012.  If they don’t they will be left out of the process, because the more they dig their heals in and do nothing, or do things that have extremely negative effects on the nations already fragile economy, they will be thrown out of office, and that is just fine by me.

That’s all I got.

Have a good day.

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Reforming K-12: Scarborough Blames Teachers Unions 2

Today on Morning Joe, Joe went crazy accusing Howard Dean of being a liar when it comes to education reform and blaming Democrats and Teachers unions for the state of our k-12 system. Public schools just like reproductive rights attract Republican attacks often.

Scarborough was not just rude, he is wrong and it is easy to blame the teachers unions for everything. Joe is wrong when he first begins to speak about education reform, he says: “Republicans love to talk about education reform, it’s the Democrats that don’t like to talk about education reform.” This is where is he is not just wrong he is lying.  Republicans like to talk about getting rid of teachers unions and charter schools, that is all they talk about when they address reforming the k-12  They never discuss the actual problem educating large diverse population with a variety of needs. It is easier though to present the problem as simple, with easy solutions, but if there were such easy solutions as Joe seems to believe, the problems would have been solved 30 or more years ago.

Joe happens to be continuing to rant on this issue on twitter, which is how I found out he went on this epic rant this morning against Howard Dean. He is ranting to prove himself right. Joe doens’t offer facts though, just opinions. He is only convincing people who already believe what he believes, he isn’t convincing anyone who knows the facts.

Let’s discuss real reform and why we have many underperforming school districts, this will be something Joe Scarborough and his ilk will not discuss because there is no way to gain the political upper hand if  he were to really talk about how to reform our k-12 public schools.

Let’s take Joe’s biggest talking point he said: “We as a nation spend more money per child than any other nation in the world.”

Wrong, we are third coming in behind Switzerland and Norway but that doesn’t mean anything really. Our funding mechanisms, student populations are completely different.

But let’s talk about the Charter School panacea, that Republicans never stop talking about. We know now that Charter Schools more often than not do not educate students adequately. And yet they never ever stop with the “We need more charter schools and we need to get rid of teacher unions”.

Charter schools are notorious for not taking students with special needs, public schools are mandated of course through title i, to educate special needs students. This is part of the reason that the job of the traditional public school system, which still educates about 95 percent of all school children, is far more complicated than Republicans and conservatives who advocate reform want you to know. Reform to them is no teacher unions and no title i funding, I wonder how many kids would remain uneducated if Joe and his Republican goon friends got to do what they really wanted to do, complete the circle, subpar education for everyone who doesn’t have money and no college education for those who don’t have access to at least 50,000 for tuition.

We also have some facts now on charter schools, let’s take Florida’s charter school the International Academy, funded by public dollars and run by a private businesses. Well when all the schools took the FCAT, the International Academy garnered a grade of F. Yeah, even though they get to reject subpar students, they still scored an F.  In Miami-Dade a greater percentage of charter schools failed the FCAT than did public schools and in Broward county all the schools that failed were Charter schools. According to a CBS report in Florida;

“A CBS4 News analysis of Department of Education numbers shows fewer than one percent of public elementary and middle schools received an “F” in grades released last week.  In contrast, nearly six percent of charter schools received an “F.”

Charter schools got failing grades at a rate more than seven times that of public schools.”

But Florida isn’t the only example of this of course, let’s talk about New York State and charter schools.

Charter schools in New York City and everywhere else have yet to prove that they can solve the problem that is America’s education system. In the South Bronx, the Academic Leadership Charter School has been put on probation this week for not randomizing admissions—as charter schools are supposed to do—and possibly testing or interviewing applicants, which they are not, the Times reports.

This is a typical tactic of charter schools, yet empirical evidence exposes that despite their built-in test-score advantage of not accepting every student, they don’t outperform public schools in any meaningful way.

Then of course we have the Houston, Texas scandal. Is privatizing public schools really the way to educate students? Doesn’t seem to be, unless you want uneducated students. Charter schools over and over again, in state after state do not educated children any better than public schools, although in many cases those schools perform worse than public schools and are not educating students. I imagine it is because those private companies who are running these schools care more lining their pockets than they do about educating students.  With Republicans corporate profits = #winning, educating all students = #losing

New Jersey is just another example of the failure of charter schools. This more progressive state has the same problem with their charter schools that the other states have had, they have a high rate of failure, in fact 40 charter schools in New Jersey have lost their licenses to operate.

According to the article:

Advocates continue to argue that charters’ freedom to innovate allows them to provide an intense focus on achievement lacking in many traditional public schools, particularly in poor urban communities like Trenton, where test scores remain far below state averages and large numbers of students drop out.

I have to ask Joe Scarborough why this is adequate for children whose parents can’t afford private schools, why it is okay to not serve special ed students equally, and why it is Republicans always blame teachers unions for the failure to educate students when the issue is much more complex and has very little to do with teacher’s unions and much more to do with how states and levy’s fund school districts and educating diverse populations?  Public schools continue to do a better job in educating our students over-all. Charter Schools have yet to achieve the rigor and standards of public schools. Hey Joe, it’s easier to play politics with issue of public schools then solve problems! Yelling a Howard Dean proves this.

Next blog: Complexity of school funding and educating disaffected populations

Crossposted @DAGBlog