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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 81,862

About Me

Retired teacher who sees much harm to public education from the "reforms" being pushed by corporations. Privatizing education is the wrong way to go. Children can not be treated as products, thought of in terms of profit and loss.

Journal Archives

Cecile Richards: Mom never led in the polls. People just showed up and voted.

Encouraging tweet from Cecile Richards about her mom, Ann.

Mom never led in the polls - she was elected #TX gov b/c people showed up & voted. Ready to make history again? #tbt

I mailed my ballot this last week. I am trying not to let the polls and pundits discourage me here in Florida. According to both, Rick Scott and Charlie Crist are the same....they say there were no clear winners during the debates. Well, I say there is a clear winner when the nation and world are laughing at our present governor try to speak coherently.

I voted for Charlie Crist, and I voted a hearty YES on the medical marijuana amendment. We were feeling really good about that amendment for a while. But now the religious folks have gotten into the fray, our sheriff the loyal Southern Baptist is doing a good job of convincing people it would open the door to terrible things if sick people got to use what would really help them.

Now it's down close to 60% approval (it needs 60% in order to pass), down from a high of close to 80% not long ago.

The media is the worst. Most major papers have endorsed Crist...but you really have to dig to find that information.

So thanks, Cecile Richards, for reminding us that your mother never led in the polls.

They announced the new chair when Dean was in Samoa, unaware of what was happening.

He was there on the last leg of his promise to visit every state and territory during his time as chair.

Naming names. The ones who went behind Dean's back when he was in Samoa.

On January 7, White House political director Patrick Gaspard, a former top labor organizer from New York, called DNC executive director Tom McMahon. Gaspard told McMahon that Obama planned to name Virginia governor Tim Kaine as his new DNC chair and wanted to make the announcement at the DNC the following day. Gaspard asked if Dean would be around. Dean's planning to be in American Samoa, the last U.S. territory he'd yet to visit as DNC chair, McMahon responded. (He'd logged 741,000 miles on the job.) Should he postpone his trip?

If he's already planning the trip, don't tell him to cancel, Gaspard replied. It would be better, in other words, if Dean wasn't there. Administration officials didn't want Obama to face any questions at the press conference about why Dean hadn't received a plum position in the White House. One snub led to another.

Gaspard, ironically, worked on Dean's campaign in 2004, but now served a higher office. "The decision was made by Rahm and Plouffe and (deputy chief of staff) Jim Messina", said the senior transition member. "I was specifically told by a senior administration official, 'It comes from those three guys. They specifically want to do this to Dean.'"

Even the new Camelot wasn't above a little revenge.

It was an ugly rude thing to do.

Al Ruechel, BayNews9, Tampa: "Pundits agree there was no clear winner" in Crist/Scott debate.

He said it so casually. He really said pundits agree there was no clear winner. I haven't listened to any pundits since the debate last night, but I don't see how anyone could have watched it and thought there was no clear winner. I notice Al Ruechel sounds more and more like that lately. More spin from his mouth.

I did see some national polls in which more than 90% declared Crist the winner.

But that's the kind of press Rick Scott gets here in Florida. The worst they say is that there is no clear winner. Some "pundits" basically said the same thing after the last debate when Scott could not even speak in clear sentences to explain why he didn't come on stage on time.

Here is more from BayNews9 on last night's debate. Again pointing it out to be a tie. And check out the poll on the page....Crist and Scott neck and neck.

Scott, Crist get personal during final Florida governor debate

Did either candidate gain or lose ground in this last debate?

"I don't think so," said Bay News 9 political analyst Ana Cruz, (D). "I think both of these candidates, what they wanted to come in and do on this debate is to not really stumble ... and really make a reason for people not to like them, not vote for them and to not have any kind of a real gaff. And I think they both pretty much avoided that."

"I would call it a draw. They both really stayed on their message. And they didn't stray too far on any of the issues or the answers. I think it was a wash," said Bay News 9 political analyst Chris Ingram (R).

A recent exclusive Bay News 9/Tampa Bay Times/UF Graham Center poll has the two candidates locked in a virtual dead heat. The poll, which was published last week, found Scott and Crist each drawing support from 40 percent of those polled.

So just in case you were thinking people here in Florida had seen the light about what Rick Scott really is...then stop thinking that.

Luckily the national scene gave opinions to the contrary last time, and even Fox 13 in Tampa blasted Rick Scott.

Debate tonight: Crist says Rick Scott got his money in unsavory ways.

Florida debate turns bitter

Videos are at the link.

Scott blamed Crist for the loss of more than 800,000 jobs while he was governor from 2007-2011, saying Crist is out of touch with average Florida voters because he grew up with wealth.

"I grew up with families that struggled. I don't know my natural father. I lived in public housing. I have an adopted dad," Scott said. "I didn't grow up with money. You did. You grew up with plenty of money. Charlie, you lost more jobs than any state but one."

Hammering back, Crist argued he was not responsible for the "economic meltdown" that occurred nationally during his tenure. He returned the attack against wealth, blasting Scott for being the one who's out of touch.

"You don't know me and you can't tell my story," Crist said. "But I know you are worth about $100 million or $200 million today and God bless you for that wealth, but the way you got it was pretty unsavory."

That is true. Scott's company was fined 1.7 billion for fraud. He was so arrogant at his deposition that this needs to be posted often as a reminder.

More than 1000 pages about a charter school's failures in Florida. Mavericks has problems.

School was started five years ago, troubles still happening. Investigations still going on. They have received 70 million dollars in money from taxpayers, have repeated failed to meet standards.

This means money and resources taken from public school systems throughout the state.

Mavericks in Education: Failing to make the grade

Here are some of the problems listed:

• Overcharging taxpayers $2 million by overstating attendance and hours taught. The involved schools have appealed the findings.

• Submitting questionable low-income school meal applications to improperly collect $350,000 in state dollars at two now-closed Pinellas County schools.

• Frequent academic errors that include skipping state tests for special-needs students, failing to provide textbooks and using outdated materials.

Those are serious problems, some bordering on fraud.

When in doubt blame the management companies, over which Florida seems to have no control.

Pegg, who oversees charter schools for the Palm Beach County school district, said problems with Mavericks in Education have frustrated district officials. State charter-school laws do not address the performance of management companies.

"The statute doesn't give any kind of authority to hold those management companies accountable; we can only hold the schools accountable," Pegg said. "We need to be able to have some authority with (management companies). They are the ones taking the tax dollars."

If the management companies are to blame, then I heartily suggest the state get some kind of control over them.

The lack of regulation and control over public money and resources is appalling and dangerous.

And guess what? There's a rule in Florida that if a charter school applies to open.....the district are not allowed to consider their past history. They have to rely on the present application only.

Florida: Charter Operators with “Troubled” Histories Request Another Chance

The story in the Sun-Sentinel by Karen Yi and Amy Shipley says:

“At least seven groups of applicants with ties to failed or floundering charter schools are seeking second chances and public money to open 18 more.

“Odds are, most will prevail.”

“School districts say that they can’t deny applicants solely because of past problems running charter schools. State laws tell them to evaluate what they see on paper — academic plans, budget proposals, student services — not previous school collapses or controversial professional histories.”

Incidentally this school included Frank Biden when it was founded. The article mentions him only as a lobbyist for the school now.

Special Ed teacher's alarm at amount of testing. How Testing is Destroying My School

This is from Ms Katie's Ramblings by Katie Osgood. She writes of returning to public schools after six years teaching in a hospital setting.

Testing is Destroying My School

She also writes at Twitter

In just the first six weeks of school, I have administered more pointless, random, unnecessarily difficult tests to my students than I can count. We have barely had more than two consecutive days to simply teach where we were not interrupted by some ridiculous mandated assessment. There’s the REACH (for teacher evaluation purposes only), On-Demand Writing Tasks, tests that go to our network, tests for the district, tests because our school in on probation, and placement tests to use the TWO online test prep programs our school is forced to use weekly. These tests are not aligned to the curriculum, they don’t measure what we are actually learning in class, they are not tied to a broader unit of study. These are tests just to feed the data monsters.

..... And it’s not just the tests, it’s also the test prep. We have not one, but two online test prep programs our school is mandated to use weekly. 45 mins per week, per subject, plus an assessment in one program and completion of 2-3 “lessons” in another used directly for math. These expensive programs are basically test prep questions presented in a video game format. Get the “right” answer and earn coins to play games. In some classes, these programs take up as much as 40% of instructional time each week. Even our little kindergartners are forced to get on iPads and practice taking tests. Our Early Childhood teachers know this is wrong. In fact, all our teachers know this is wrong. But the answer to every question we ask is…”because this is what they need to know for PARCC (the Common Core aligned test.)”

.... And what’s worse, I am a special education teacher, so my students are the most fragile of all. And these tests are killing any possibility to motivate my kids. There are only so many times I can repeat the mantra that “These don’t matter, guys!” “Just do your best!” These tests are breaking the trust between me and my students. It feels so unethical to day after day administer tests that are so far beyond their current abilities. It’s like we’re giving these kids tests in Chinese, just to prove they don’t know any Chinese. And they leave feeling just…dumb…because they couldn’t answer any of the questions. I don’t even need the data these tests generate-they are so inappropriately hard, they tell me nothing of use. Besides, I have a whole Individual Education Plan that tells me exactly what my kids need to work on.

But still, every single week, here I am giving yet another absolutely disgusting test. My kids bang their heads on desks, they cry, they whine, they give up and say “I’m done” in front of a blank answer sheet. They fidget, they act out, they get in trouble just to get out of going to yet another class where they feel stupid.

I feel dirty when I come home. I wonder, “Should I start to boycott administering these tests?” But I don’t have tenure. Everyone tells me to lay low, to take the bold moves in three years when I've earned tenure.

I really had teachers on my mind today. I was thinking how thankful I am that I don't have to face what they are facing. Just imagine having to demand of students what they may be mentally incapable of doing, imagine breaking their spirits day in and day out.

Just imagine facing a school system being put in place by both parties which no longer recognizes students as individuals with varied abilities. The Secretary of Education of this United States feels that all students must be ready for college, all students will be able to pass all tests if teachers and parents are tough enough and demanding enough.

The powers that be are now applying the policies of "no excuses ever" and "zero tolerance" to academics.

Paul Begala on the debate: "When the Rick hits the fan". LOL

When the Rick hits the fan

To begin with, Scott has all the telegenic appeal of a garden slug: lean and hairless and slick and creepy. But then again, I've been a friend and business partner of James Carville for 30 years, so who am I to judge?

...I have seen and done a lot of crazy stuff in political debates. In 1992, my compadres and I stole the stools Bill Clinton rehearsed on from a Williamsburg, Virginia, hotel and put them on the stage of the Bush-Perot-Clinton town hall debate in Richmond, so Gov. Clinton would have the home-butt advantage. I made one client so angry before a debate that he rhetorically bludgeoned his opponent until the poor man wept onstage.

...No matter. Crist will become governor again, and Rick Scott will slink back under the rock from whence he emerged. But even there, in the gritty grime of the fetid Florida sand, he will be recognized and remembered as the guy who blew it because of a fan.

When Dr. Thompson removed himself from this Earth he had his ashes shot out of a cannon. A spectacular explosion of fireworks scattered Hunter's earthly remains over Colorado. Rick Scott's political demise was considerably less spectacular; the remains of his career as a politician were blown all across Florida by a one-foot-wide electric fan.

Incidentally for the next debate CNN has made it clear there will be no fan at all. Even the DNC allowed Crist to have his fan onstage...and he wasn't even a Democrat yet.

Crist's fan and his retrospective on his GOP days. Excerpt from "The Party's Over".

The first few paragraphs of Charlie Crist's book The Party's Over are like he is looking back at his GOP days and not liking the image he saw.

First the fan at the DNC 2012.

A small fan was whirring at my feet. I always like a fan at the podium when I give a big speech. You have no idea how hot those TV lights can be. But I could still feel tiny beads of sweat forming on my forehead. I don’t usually get nervous giving speeches. My heart was pumping now.

More from the book:

An excerpt from Charlie Crist’s “The Party’s Over”

I’d been the low‑tax, pro‑life, pro‑ gun Republican governor of Florida. As a young state senator, I’d been such an anti‑crime cru­sader, people called me “Chain Gang Charlie”—and I considered it a compliment. Heck, I’d named my boat Freedom. Was that Republican—or what? I’d risen through the ranks from education commissioner to attorney general to governor, always running with an “R” next to my name. In the 2008 presidential campaign, I’d worked diligently for John McCain, even making his short list for vice president. At various points along the way, I had referred to my­self as a “Ronald Reagan Republican.”

And here I was with a prime‑time, Thursday‑night speaking role at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, preparing to sing the praises of Barack Hussein Obama. That’s how many of my old party mates liked referring to him, as if he weren’t just a president from a different party but a highly suspect, otherworldly creature and prob­ably a Muslim too.

....I was addressing this Democratic crowd the same night the pres­ident was. My slot was after Caroline Kennedy and just before John Kerry and Joe Biden. The big addresses from Michelle and Barack Obama were coming right after that. You’d have to look long and hard in the annals of American politics to find a fish more out of water than I was that night.

He speaks about how many of his friends were telling him he was really a Democrat at heart. He speaks about the new direction of his party.

I had this notion about bringing our bipartisan Florida values to Washington. It was just about then that a band of crazy extremists hijacked the party I’d grown up in. Pedal to the metal, they drove it off an ideological cliff. I got banged up riding with these unsavory characters. But thankfully, I leapt to safety just in time. Now I’m happier than I’ve ever been and feeling thoroughly at home.

Someone in a post yesterday said I was hero-worshipping. No, that is not true. I am exercising common sense in a situation that could forever damage my state.

Clips of stunned news anchors on Rick Scott's refusal to debate because of a fan. Great video.

And a great photoshop found on Twitter @BrianJWrites

The Senseless Rick Scott Meltdown over Charlie Crist's Fan. Great post at Sunshine State

The Senseless Rick Scott Meltdown over Charlie Crist's Fan

Sunshine State News leans toward the right side of politics usually, so I thought this was great.

The debate was over before it started.

When Gov. Rick Scott didn't immediately come out on stage in Wednesday night’s debate against former Gov. Charlie Crist at Broward College due to concerns about the Democrat using his ubiquitous fan, the governor lost the debate right off the bat. The Crist team quickly took to Twitter, insisting under the agreed-upon rules their candidate was allowed to have his fan.

Crist’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sent out emails before the debate was over, mocking Scott’s decision.

.....“For a few incredible minutes just now, Charlie stood all alone at the podium while Rick Scott threw a temper tantrum backstage, denying the people of Florida the chance to hear from their gubernatorial candidates because of -- literally -- a breeze,” Khan continued. “Scott finally caved and decided to join the debate. But the fact that this sideshow happened at all is an embarrassment to our great state and fellow citizens.”

....With his momentary protest over the fan, Scott lost control of the narrative of Wednesday night’s debate, no matter what he said about education, the Second Amendment or the economy. Scott’s handlers seriously hurt their candidate in what is shaping up as a close contest -- over a fan. This was a major unforced error by the Scott team.
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