“Saw a stat yesterday on filibuster. When Lyndon Johnson ran the senate, he dealt with 1 (yes, the actual number 1) filibuster. During his tenure running the show, Harry Reid has dealt with 386 filibusters. And Johnson and Reid served about the same amount of time. It's outrageous. A substantial reform to the filibuster would be perhaps the most important piece of legislation these guys pass.”
Nov 16, 2012 at 13:57:17
“I think the deterioration of physical education and the sale of junk food at schools are the result of two big problems facing districts today; a federal choice to place such a heavy emphasis on standardized testing and funding cuts. Schools desperately need cash, and sometimes promoting and selling junk food is a money maker for a school. Budget cuts have also eliminated certain intramural sports programs. And, with so much riding on high stakes testing, many schools across the country have eliminated recess. Where we spend our money shows what we value. Education is so often under-valued and that lack of value creates a large echo in the economy. There are literally millions of jobs that remain vacant because we aren't producing students with the skills to fill those jobs. Education is perhaps the ultimate preventative step our country can take against poverty, unemployment, teen pregnancy, juvenile crime, long term reliance on social programs; you name it. Have a social issue? Education is almost always a big part of the solution.
“A real important point here is that simply throwing money at a situation may make people feel better about things, but it rarely solves a problem unless some long term planning accompanies the bucks. With so few dollars readily available, schools now struggle with the worry of investing in technologies that may be outdated in a very short time. It can be a gamble. Let's hope districts think before they spend, and best identify the long term skills needed for tomorrow's work force and how best to support those skills in the classroom.
“The technology does go out of date very quickly. Unfortunately, many of us are left with one computer lab with 10 year old computers for a school of 1300 students. It's tough for teachers to remain current with technology when the things they are learning at home on their own time are simply not available in our schools. People learn by doing and when you ask teachers to learn things that they are unable to do with their students. My district spent 30K on a computer program for our students and never considered the fact that it is designed for weekly use and the most I can get into the lab is once per month. We are stuck with less technology now than we had 20 year ago with our old Apple 2e's. Now our district is trying to be at the forefront of Common Core adoption without technology. The whole thing is backward. Most teachers are perfectly willing to integrate technology into the curriculum, now we just need some access to technology.”
foresure6379 on Nov 16, 2012 at 20:37:55
“You make an important point that will be well received by teachers. Since technology can go out of date, and since it certainly will. It should never be introduced.”
“I always hear that, "As California goes, so goes the country." Seems true this time around. California voted to extend several tax hikes to pay for the basics like education. As a result, LA Unified is looking into putting about ten days back into the school year. It may not sound like much, but the U.S. already goes to school several fewer weeks than kids from other countries; countries they will be up against for good paying jobs in the global economy. Kids can't afford an education recession. Jobs may come back, but a child's chance to stay competitive for jobs does not. Glad to see parents making such a bold show of support for what's right.
“If this were the age of Eisenhower, this guy would have a tax rate hovering somewhere around 80 percent. What did Eisenhower do with the money? Built interstate highways. What's Obama want to do with the money here? Make it possible for the government to help get health insurance for millions of Americans. Can we agree that crying about four cents per pizza is now unpatriotic, suggesting an unwillingness to help your fellow Americans?”
“The Constitution is a lot like science; even if you don't believe it, it's still true. Bottom line is that you can't pass laws that exclude or discriminate against people due to gender, race, age, or sexual orientation. It's why women were given the right to vote, why segregation in the south fell, and it's why gay marriage will be the law of the land soon. That's America. It's government's job to enforce laws that are inclusive. It's your job to explain to your child that you're a bigot.
“It's so odd to me that the extreme right chant about government so small it can drown in a bathtub, yet try so desperately to control people socially, the worst possible attribute of "big" government. Blocking gay marriage. Eliminating choices to be best left to woman and their doctors. Marijuana use. Attempting to trump the constitution with THEIR interpretation of a metaphorically written Bible. On and on it goes. But, the election went a very different way. Gay marriage/rights winning in four states. Marijuana winning in two states. More women than ever in the Senate. A Hindu woman elected (probably won't use the Christian Bible for oath of office, I'm guessing). The Times They Are A-Changing. Who knows America could start looking and acting like....America.
“Was it this year or last year that pizza became a vegetable? Anybody remember that? Congress, incapable of getting anything accomplished, was somehow able to turn artery-clogging pizza into a vegetable because of the tomato sauce. The sauce, as we all know, is LOADED with so many other ingredients. And yet again, here we are dropping everything for school lunch legislation. Apparently, the economic cliff can wait, but this can't. I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but the food lobby must be bubbling over with power. In terms of food though, I agree. A teenage boy usually does require more calories if they're involved in a rigorous sport. But, no one can deny that we do have a childhood obesity problem in America, and though the guidelines might need some fixing, it still makes a lot of sense.
“When we talk about great teaching, it's vital to know best teaching practices; to be able to adapt what you do based on the kids you have sitting in front of you each year. But, I believe that all great teachers, all the teachers that kids remember for the rest of their lives are above all, inspiring. They inspire children to do more, to be more, to believe in themselves despite their hardships and struggles. I can't think of a better role model for kids than those that were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Role models that were prepared to die for freedoms and privileges just like the right to a free public education. The potential to inspire more kids, create an authentic sense of patriotism, and make that connection between their classroom and their rights is enormous. My only skepticism would be sending newly recruited teachers into the workforce too quickly. Well intentioned teaching programs sometimes are too quick to assume that their new teachers are ready to be both inspiring and effective. I wish this effort all the best.
“Tough call on the make up days but, in the end, I think I agree. Two reasons. First, American kids already to go school a few weeks or so less than students in many other countries, falling every so slightly behind economic competitors in a global economy each year. Second, making up the days sends two important messages ---- Life is returning to normal, and school is simply that vital.
“And the "new normal" just seems to keep on keeping on. I love it. A simple document written by a bunch of liberal revolutionaries continues to steer us in the right direction. Sometimes, it has been awful slow, but we keep moving to that great inclusive society. Congrats.
Nov 7, 2012 at 14:10:55
“Life of Pi begins with (paraphrasing here) "Let me tell you a story that will make you believe in God." And the book somehow is able to hold to such a high standard. I found the book moving. It allowed me to feel something deeply, and that's always a good thing.
“Kids need to know the consequences of sex. And kids need to know the benefits of abstinence. But, to teach only abstinence is to fight millions of years of biology. Lots of luck with that. Kids that are taught abstinence only usually have higher pregnancy rates because they are ill prepared when biology wins the battle.
“Public schools are not indoctrinating people. Period. If by indoctrination, you mean that teachers will reprimand students when they make racist, bigoted, or slanderous remarks against others, then you may have a point. I will always reprimand a student for using slurs of any kind, whether they be racists, sexist, or based on sexual orientation. Gay marriage is following the same path of acceptance that all civil rights issues follow. Society keeps growing more and more inclusive. That pesky constitution sort of forces the issue a bit.
“Three areas of skill are vital for teaching. If you don't have one, then you may not be effective in the classroom. First, you need to be competent in your content area. Next, you need to be able to teach. You need to be able to gauge student learning, the effectiveness of your lessons, and seek and find new approaches to material so that kids of varying levels and abilities can access it. Finally, you need to know how to build relationships with each class and each student. To be honest, I found that being an expert in say math, doesn't always equate into great teaching. I have seen some incredibly bright people, experts in their fields, fail in the classroom. They couldn't teach, or couldn't build the relationships that help bridge the gap with kids. I find it unfortunate that this system is in place. It doesn't seem to tell the whole story. We may be letting go some of our best.
“You need the second two first and foremost - the ability to teach and the ability to build relationships. Content knowledge is good but not required. Fact.
Content knowledge can be aquired, learned.
Teaching skills and the ability to build relationships, thus helping a young person build themselves into a more whole human being cannot. They are more inate. These skills can only be honed. A teacher either has it or doesn't.
I agree. We are currently in danger of losing our best.”
“Someone else mentioned it here, but it's true. So little time is spent on each essay, there's an excellent chance that secrets of abuse, if not stated explicitly right up front, would go unnoticed. And, wouldn't that be the true scandal? Perhaps hundreds of children write a plea for help and no one responds. It's really hard to figure out who we're trying to protect here. At the most basic level, it's not the best question. But, what's the real fear on this one?
“Sorry to hear that. Maybe I shouldn't haven't such a narrow lens. Good luck.”
Atwill on May 7, 2012 at 13:54:23
“no problem. Many do not understand what most state workes do or what we sacrifice to do our job. and trust, these big fat pensions you hear about are not true. I already sat down and figured out my pension. About a big fat $2000 a month.”
“I was thinking the same thing. When Biden said it, I wasn't sure. Smart guy, but he has that tendency to speak before he thinks. But now, I too am wondering if this isn't a very pointed campaign tactic.”
Ioan Lightoller on May 7, 2012 at 11:48:19
“Could be. Didn't think of that, but you have a good point.”
“I have seen the size of my own classes swell. I used to have about thirty-three kids to a class. Now, that number has inched up over forty. My own district has done an amazing job of cutting as far away from the classroom as possible, but eventually, if things don't change, they will be left with little choice. Just about all other options have been used. Recent research that's been on this site shows a direct link between a lack of quality education and kids that eventually have problems with the law. At some point, money cut from education should be put into a future fund to expand one of America's growth industries --- prison. For decades, each generation has made sacrifices to enable the next generation to have greater opportunity. I feel like we've lost our way on that one. What's in the best interest of kids is what's in the best interest of the country.
“But LAUSD has commissioned consultants at insane costs to tell us class size has no impact on instruction. The malice and mendacity of white chalk crominals never ends.”
patrick klocek on May 8, 2012 at 06:42:34
“I myself have already resigned myself to leaving CA for this reason. I will join the many who left. I live overseas now but if/when I return to the US, I will probably go to Utah or maybe Washington. I love CA but enough is enough.”
Atwill on May 7, 2012 at 11:51:30
“Good luck on that. Gov Brown is making big cuts in corrections. We who work in corrections are constantly looking at the Calif web site to see if our names are on the lay off list. so far mine is not, but it is very stressful. Exspecially for those of us who moved our families half way across the state to take a job, bought a house and now are wondering if we will have a job next year.”
“So true. We are more than willing to make the prison system a growth industry, but the reality is that early education can directly impact crime. It's like so much we do. We seem to keep spending the money at the wrong end. We're too slow or too apathetic. We're not pro-active, we just simply react. And we don't do that well. I know, I sound like some positive thinking CD series, but it's true.
“You are so so right. Society complains about the number of people in prison but they only want to focus on their children or the ones in their neighborhood, there is no more empathy or sense of unity in our country. Education is the key to reducing poverty, crime, and a host of social aliments but we are just reacting and people don't want to change the system because they are lazy or they don't want to put in the effort to make it different so that it will work for everyone.”