The Watering Hole, 12/02/2015: Quotes

Some quotes from Thomas Jefferson:

Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.

Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.

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Watering Hole: October 10, 2011 – Charter Schools and Tax Dollars

I know that today is Columbus Day, but I refuse to pay homage to that brutal killer.  Instead, I would like to share this mini documentary with you.  This is where tax dollars and religion meet… in Charter schools.

This video is copyrighted so I am providing a link.

This may surprise you.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

Watering Hole: December 13, 2010 – They Are Coming For It All

I spoke with a woman that ran for Congress three times against Joe Pitts.  Yes, it is the same Pitts from the Stupak/Pitts amendment to the health care reform bill.  Her name is Lois Herr and I have met her on many occasions.  She said that this time she became more acquainted with Washington money and the huge amount of money that is required to get elected on the national scene.  Unfortunately for Americans, Lois Herr did not unseat Joe “creationist” Pitts.  She will not be running for Congress again.  Instead, she will be writing a book about the influence of big money on our elections.

According to this article at the Los Angeles Times, the fund raising has already begun.

George Carlin, may he rest in peace, said it all.

This is our open thread.  It’s your turn to Speak Up!

Wiggle while you work..

What a GREAT idea!!

Eric Hudelson's 6th grade class replaced their chairs with exercise balls. Photo by Devon Haskins

Instead of forcing students to sit still in class, these 6th graders in Moscow, Idaho now sit on exercise balls.

In stead of sitting still, they can wiggle, wobble and work on their posture.

Hudelson admits he was skeptical at first, but the new seats seem to be working.

“So far, they’re paying attention and participating a lot more in classroom conversations,” says Hudelson.

The principal says a classroom of chairs is about $2,000. The same number of exercise balls costs only $200.

I bet the kids love it.  And, anything that gets kids to participate and stay engaged longer is a real coup!  Good for you, Moscow, ID!

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No Critical Thinking Act

What was terribly wrong with this law to begin with, was the fact that it never allowed for “Critical Thinking Skills” to be developed.  Instead, it narrowly concentrated on reading and math test scores. It was a bad experiment on millions of children that can’t get those years back to learn and think on their own.  It also damaged our public school systems with labels and allowed the rise of Charter Schools that took our tax dollars away from our school districts.

Personally, I think they should just repel the law but, the Education Secretary wants to “rebrand it.”  I guess he figures if they wrap it up in a new name, like re-gifting a bad present, that will make it all better.  Bad idea, in my opinion.  The New York Times is reporting they are making a contest out of “rebranding” the No Child Left Behind law.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan agrees. “Let’s rebrand it,” he said in an interview. “Give it a new name.”

And before Mr. Duncan has had time to float a single name, scores of educators, policy wonks and assorted rabble-rousers have rushed in with an outpouring of proposals.

The civil rights leader Marian Wright Edelman took the high road, suggesting it be called the Quality Education for All Children Act. But a lot of wise guys have gotten in on the act too, with suggestions like the All American Children Are Above Average Act. Alternatives are popping up every day on the blog, where Andrew Rotherham, a former Clinton administration official, is sponsoring a rename-the-law contest.

The nicknames of the law and the entries will give you a good laugh this morning.

Nicknames for the law proliferated: No Child Left Untested, No Child’s Behind Left, No School Board Left Standing.

Since Mr. Rotherham announced his contest last week, Eduwonk has received 41 entries, including: the Double Back Around to Pick Up the Children We Left Behind Act, the Rearranging the Deck Chairs Act, the Teach to the Test Act and the Could We Start Again Please Act.

Joking aside about the names, this law does not address the inadequate funding to many of the school districts across the nation. They have out-of-date textbooks, labs, decaying school buildings and over crowded classrooms. These inter-city children are still being short changed compared to the schools in the suburbs.  Our high school, this year, was shut down for 4 days because of our ancient boiler system needed to be overhauled.

My parting thought, we have too many resource inadequacies in our schools, which is one of the causes for the nations rise in poverty.

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Barack Obama seriously cares about education!

ABC news reports:

Obama Campaign Donates Campaign Office Leftovers to Schools
As Offices Close, Nearby Schools Benefit From Campaign Merchandise

“Tens of thousands of dollars of resources have been put into schools across the United States in less than four days,” said Valarie Swanson, marketing director for “The Obama campaign was specific that they wanted all their resources to go to schools.”
Obama’s Pittsburgh campaign office donated to her school district at least five flatbed trucks of office supplies, including 12 Dell computers, multiple 17-inch LCD monitors and three printers. Much of the equipment was brand new, given to the schools unopened in boxes.

The computers’ files were deleted by the Obama campaign to pass along the machines in data-less condition.

Details like this stress what I was impressed with from the beginning about the Obama campaign. They are highly competent superbly managed and thorough and they stick to their message. If the presidency is handled as competently as the campaign was and, indeed, the transition is being handled I have high hopes for the future.

To be fair, the McCain campaign has donated much of it’s campaign stuff as well. They have been restricted by rules that come with public financing, however.

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McCain: Dishonorable and Despicable

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In response to an ad that the Obama camp put out along with a speech Barack Obama gave today concerning education, John McCain shot back with a dishonorable, despicable and disingenuous ad in essence saying that that scary black man is going to sexually harm your children. The McCain ad is disgusting. Again, McCain decides that lies are better than truth. Since he has no issues on his side, he has to scare the electorate into voting not for McCain but against Obama.

Are you frightened yet?

Reproductive Health Reality Check notes:

The issue of age-appropriate sex ed was also discussed at the You Tube debate during the primaries where candidates Edwards and Obama both clearly discussed the fact that it is important to teach young kids about “wrong touching” in case adult relatives, teachers or clergy prey upon them.

Bill Burton from Obama camp responded quickly to this smear campaign by saying:

“It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls – a position that his friend Mitt Romney also holds. Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn’t define what honor was. Now we know why.”

Just how disingenuous was this ad?  Everything Senator McCain approved for this ad is a lie.  Really? you say.  Yes, really.

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Schoolin’ Palin

For some reason, this does not surprise me.

The Chicago Tribune reports that:

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin seems to have switched colleges at least six times in six years, including two stints at the University of Idaho before graduating from there in 1987.

Federal privacy laws prohibit the schools from disclosing her grades, and none of the schools contacted by The Associated Press could say why she transferred. There was no indication any were contacted as part of the background investigation of Palin by presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign.  Let’s look at her combined eduction and experience?

  • University of Hawaii – for two weeks
  • Hawaii Pacific University – Freshman year
  • North Idaho College, a two-year school – General studies
  • University of Idaho – Journalism
  • Matanuska-Susitna College
  • University of Idaho – Bachelor’s degree in Journalism
  • Wasilla, AK, City Council – four years
  • Wasilla, AK, mayor – six years
  • Governor of Alaska – 20 months

Hmmm, what about that other Veep candidate, Joe Biden?

  • University of Delaware – double major, History and Political Science
  • Syracuse University College of Law – Juris Doctorate
  • St. Joseph’s University – Honorary degree
  • Widener University School of Law – Teaches Constitutional Law
  • United States Senator – 28 years

What the hey, how about our Presidential candidates?

John McCain:

  • Graduate United States Naval Academy
  • Unites States Congressman – Four years
  • Unites States Senator – 22 years

And Barack Obama?

  • Occidental College – two years
  • Columbia University – Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations
  • Harvard University – Juris Doctorate, first year Harvard Law Review, second year, President Harvard Law Review.  Graduated Magna Cum Laude.
  • University of Chicago – taught Constitutional Law for 12 years
  • University of Chicago – Lecturer for four years, Senior Lecturer for eight years
  • Illinois Senate – Eight years
  • United States Senator – Four years

We all know that Sarah Palin is no money manager, as she left the town of Wasilla in debt to the tune of $20,000,000 dollars (in a town of less than 6000 people, at the time).  This is even after receiving more than $27 million dollars in federal funds (can you say Ear Marks?  Yeah, I thought you could.)

Vice President Palin does not comfort me.  President Palin scares the crap out of me.

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When Education Fails a Nation

I have been saying for some time now that we, the American people, have become pretty stupid. Where education was once valued and desired, it is now reviled. For the last decade or more, our education system was affronted with No Child Left Behind, possibly one of the worst educational blunders we’ve experienced. But it’s not just Bush who did this (one only has to look to our Hail to the Chimp daily dose of Bush’s sheer ignorance and stupidity). No, this has been going on longer than that. Examples you say? Ok. How about whole word learning versus phonetics? Maybe that the Constitution Test is no longer mandatory for grade and high school students to graduate.

So, this begs the question: Just how stupid have we become?

The following are snips from the book How Ignorant Are We? The Voters Choose… but on the Basis of What? By Rick Shenkman. These statistics come from varying studies done over the last 20 years.

  • 25% of Americans cannot name more than one of the five freedoms granted by the First Amendment.
  • 20% know that there are 100 senators. 25% knew a US senator’s term is six years.
  • 40% can correctly identify and name the three branches of government. (Ed note: the author found this encouraging!)
  • Most Americans cannot name their own member of Congress or their senators.
  • 34% know that it is the Congress that declares war.
  • 35% know that Congress can override a presidential veto.
  • 49% think the president can suspend the Constitution.
  • 60% believe that he can appoint judges to the federal courts without the approval of the Senate.
  • 45% believe that revolutionary speech is punishable under the Constitution.

Ok, that’s politics. What about more general knowledge? Funny you should ask.

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