Sunday Open Thread

Good Morning, Everyone. Hope you’re enjoying the weekend!

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14 Responses to Sunday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 04:25 PM CST
    The great charter school rip-off: Finally, the truth catches up to education “reform” phonies
    Fraud, financial mismanagement, lousy results: Reports highlight awful charter schools and people are catching on
    Jeff Bryant

    Last week when former President Bill Clinton meandered onto the topic of charter schools, he mentioned something about an “original bargain” that charters were, according to the reporter for The Huffington Post, “supposed to do a better job of educating students.”

    A writer at Salon called the remark “stunning” because it brought to light the fact that the overwhelming majority of charter schools do no better than traditional public schools. Yet, as the Huffington reporter reminded us, charter schools are rarely shuttered for low academic performance.

    But what’s most remarkable about what Clinton said is how little his statement resembles the truth about how charters have become a reality in so many American communities.

    In a real “bargaining process,” those who bear the consequences of the deal have some say-so on the terms, the deal-makers have to represent themselves honestly (or the deal is off and the negotiating ends), and there are measures in place to ensure everyone involved is held accountable after the deal has been struck.

    But that’s not what’s happening in the great charter industry rollout transpiring across the country. Rather than a negotiation over terms, charters are being imposed on communities – either by legislative fiat or well-engineered public policy campaigns. Many charter school operators keep their practices hidden or have been found to be blatantly corrupt. And no one seems to be doing anything to ensure real accountability for these rapidly expanding school operations.

    Instead of the “bargain” political leaders may have thought they struck with seemingly well-intentioned charter entrepreneurs, what has transpired instead looks more like a raw deal for millions of students, their families, and their communities. And what political leaders ought to be doing – rather than spouting unfounded platitudes, as Clinton did, about “what works” – is putting the brakes on a deal gone bad, ensuring those most affected by charter school rollouts are brought to the bargaining table, and completely renegotiating the terms for governing these schools.

    Charter Schools As Takeover Operations

    The “100 percent charter schools” education system in New Orleans that Clinton praised was never presented to the citizens of New Orleans in a negotiation. It was surreptitiously engineered.

    After Katrina, as NPR recently reported, “an ad hoc coalition of elected leaders and nationally known charter advocates formed,” and in “a series of quick decisions,” all school employees were fired and the vast majority of the city’s schools were handed over to a state entity called the “Recovery School District” which is governed by unelected officials. Only a “few elite schools were … allowed to maintain their selective admissions.”

    In other words, any bargaining that was done was behind closed doors and at tables where most of the people who were being affected had no seat.

    Further, any evidence of the improvement of the educational attainment of students in the New Orleans all-charter system is obtainable only by “jukin the stats” or, as the NPR reporter put it, through “a distortion of the curriculum and teaching practice.” As Andrea Gabor wrote for Newsweek a year ago, “the current reality of the city’s schools should be enough to give pause to even the most passionate charter supporters.”

    Yet now political leaders tout this model for the rest of the country. So school districts that have not had the “benefit,” according to Arne Duncan, of a natural disaster like Katrina, are having charter schools imposed on them in blatant power plays. An obvious example is what’s currently happening in the York, Pennsylvania.

    School districts across the state of Pennsylvania are financially troubled due to chronic state underfunding – only 36 percent of K-12 revenue comes from the state, way below national averages – and massive budget cuts imposed by Republican Governor Tom Corbett (the state funds education less than it did in 2008).

    The state cuts seemed to have been intentionally targeted to hit high-poverty school districts like York City the hardest. After combing through state financial records, a report from the state’s school employee union found, “State funding cuts to the most impoverished school districts averaged more than three times the size of the cuts for districts with the lowest average child poverty.” The unsurprising results of these cuts has been that in school districts serving low income kids, like York, instruction was cut and scores on state student assessments declined.

  2. I haz a sad. :(

    Crying and blowing nose

  3. Arian Foster!!!!!!!! Touchdown Texans!

    I like the way you move…

  4. Cheer leader Pictures, Images and Photos

    What we gone do! What we gone do!
    What we gone do! What we gone do!

  5. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  6. vitaminlover says:

    He is very courageous.

  7. Ametia says:

    October 05, 2014 8:45 AM
    Ebola is the new Africanized honeybee
    By David Atkins

    Remember the uproar and terrified hysterics over the invasion of “Africanized” honeybees coming up from Mexico? For a couple of years it seemed like the poor old average European honeybee was doomed by the hyper-aggressive foreign replacement.

    Never mind that the entire threat was far overwrought and overhyped by xenophobic politicians and news media. And never mind that the real threat to the European honeybee wasn’t an “Africanized” invader, but extinction due to corporate domestic pesticide poisoning. It’s almost a perfect metaphor for American politics writ large.

    Well, there’s a new “African” terror for the xenophobes to chew over. Move over, honeybee, ebola is the new craze for conservative and press hyperbole:

    For once, President Barack Obama and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are on the same page. At separate briefings on the Ebola crisis, Obama administration officials and Perry have delivered the same message: Don’t panic — the health authorities know what they’re doing. But for other Republicans — and conservative media outlets — it’s time for panic.

  8. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

  9. Ametia says:

    For Secret Service, a delicate dance of guards and guarded
    Ocober 4, 2014

    In July, President Obama stood on an outdoor stage before a crowd of 2,000 people at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

    The president had just begun a new campaign-style speech when a man in the crowd, standing less than 50 feet away, interrupted with loud cries. “Antichrist!” the man yelled. “You’ll be destroyed!”

    As the Secret Service moved in, Obama cracked a joke from the podium to keep things light. He had seen the man before, he said: “He needs to update his material.”

    Less than an hour later, however, off stage and surrounded again by security and staff members, the president was no longer laughing.

    “That man would kill me,” he told them flatly.

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