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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 85,427

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

Arne Duncan: $1.4 Trillion In Student Debt Isn't That Big Of A Deal

$1.4 Trillion In Student Debt Isn't That Big Of A Deal

The Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and other federal financial regulators are all worried that the rise in student debt risks slowing economic growth. Bankers worry it'll lead to a decline in other types of lending. Some policymakers are concerned it will hurt home sales, cause a decline in new small businesses and result in lower retirement savings.

Voters are concerned, too, which has led 2016 presidential aspirants to talk about student debt on the stump. Even Donald Trump claims he's worried.

But Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama's education secretary, thinks that's all overblown.

.....Outstanding student debt, which totals nearly $1.4 trillion, has climbed 86 percent since Duncan took office in January 2009, Federal Reserve data show. The figure stood at $730.7 billion three weeks before he took office, and that amount is expected to double by early next year, despite the Obama administration's successful efforts to increase the amount of grants available to students from low-income households.

The words of Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities:

"It strains credulity to assume that the last 18 months of this administration will accomplish that which the six and a half years prior failed to address or take notice of," Nassirian said. "Most of what they've done has been talk. I seriously doubt that much else will change."

No matter how Bernie adjusts his message, it won't be enough. Not ever.

Because in actuality much of this outrage over his messaging is not about Bernie at all. It may have been about Bernie at first at Netroots Nation, but now it has turned into something else.

No other candidate is being scrutinized so closely, no other candidate's every utterance on racial issues is being analyzed word by word. I literally mean word by word.

Not ready to leave DU just yet, so I will not give my interpretation of what it is going on....but it is about far more than Bernie.

He could give a whole speech on how black lives matter, it would not be enough.

To his credit after the Netroots Nation event, he humbled himself as they wished.

He immediately went to work to adjust his message, even though his decades of work already spoke for him.

It doesn't matter what Bernie says, because it's not about Bernie.

He did a brilliant job today against Chuck Todd's idiotic verbal assault loaded with talking points. Yet I have seen posts already analyzing how he could have done it better.

That's how it will be from now on. Because it's not about Bernie. AND it's not about his supporters...so tired of hearing that.

Grumpy old Grandpa...

7 ways Bernie Sanders reminds us of our grumpy grandpa

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is probably best known in Washington for two things. One -- his status as the Senate's only self-identified socialist -- is unique. The other, a bit less so: as even his friends would admit, Bernie Sanders can be kind of a grump -- a charter member of the "get off my lawn" caucus.

The presidential primary challenger to Hillary Clinton is regularly drawing crowds in the thousands for his message decrying income inequality, and his calls for a more even distribution of the nation's wealth. Ask him about the minimum wage. Ask him about Wall Street malfeasance. But whatever you do, don't ask him about, say, the way he likes his coffee. Bernie Sanders isn't big on small talk.

I so relate to the small talk thing.

“I’m a grumpy old guy,” Sanders told The New York Times' Nick Corasaniti in May. He was talking about his approach to the Internet. He could have been talking about his entire political career.

Been on message like forever:

And that "grumpy old man" demeanor actually dates back to his earliest days in politics. Here's Boston Globe's Christopher Rowland on Sanders:

"When I was a reporter for the Brattleboro Reformer in 1988, I covered Sanders on a campaign swing through southern Vermont as he was waging a losing campaign for US House (he won in the next election cycle, in 1990). He was completely humorless, relentlessly focused on the evils of the American corporation. Not self-important, but self-serious to an extreme....

....Yes, those of us who covered him back in the 1980s can attest — this is the real Bernie. He has been on message, it seems like, forever.."

I tend to be on the serious side, so I appreciate that part of his personality.

Found the linked interview from skimm.


Yes, I have 100% lifetime voting record. I believe a woman has the right to control her own body, and not the government.

I strongly supported the Supreme Court decision.

I really haven't thought too much about that.

I don't.

Do you have many of these questions?

With some cream.


They were not "humble enough" and had to be shut down.Words of BLM founder.

Those are the reasons given for the Netroots Nation fiasco.

From Raw Story:

‘We will shut down every single debate’

“He couldn’t take 15 more minutes of the heat,” Cullors said of Sanders in an interview on This Week in Blackness, making reference to the senator ending his appearance as demonstrators at the event walked out en masse.

Journalist and activist Jose Antonio Vargas, who interviewed both Democratic candidates during the forum, later told The Raw Story that he was directed to wrap up his discussion with Sanders 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

Cullors told This Week host L. Joy Williams that she felt neither O’Malley nor Sanders were “humble enough” during their town hall appearance, and called on presidential candidates to be willing to openly discuss issues of race and gender.

“No more skirting around the issues,” Cullor said. “We will shut down every single debate.”

Posting here in the Bernie forum. Out of the GDP until later, much later.

I guess they will let us know when Bernie and Martin are humble enough.

Interesting article on funding, but doesn't go far enough.


I maybe will be in Education and GD, or maybe not.

Bernie Sanders voices concerns about police brutality in Dallas campaign stop

(Link should work now..what a confused mess)

Music used with the permission of Neil Young.

Sounds like quite an appearance. And just like he said in
June of this year, Bernie spoke of police brutality and walking while black. Just like he has been doing.

From Dallas Morning News Trailblazer blog:

Bernie Sanders voices concerns about police brutality in Dallas campaign stop

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders sought Sunday during a Dallas visit to calm complaints about his response, at a progressive activists gathering this weekend, to concerns about police brutality.

“We want a nation where a young black man or woman can walk down the street without worrying about being falsely arrested, beaten or killed,” Sanders told more than 8,000 people who packed a Sheraton Hotel ballroom to hear him.

....But on Saturday, Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, got a less-than-friendly reception at Netroots Nation. Attendees chanting “black lives matter” interrupted the pair, and Sanders at one point threatened to leave. By Sunday afternoon, #berniesoblack was trending on Twitter, as users both mocked Sanders’ response and hailed his progressive agenda.

Sanders’ appearance in Dallas, though, drew no protests. The crowd hailed his standard lines on topics from abortion and civil rights to Social Security and corporations.

....Supporters were greeted with revolution-themed song like “Uprising” by Muse, and attendees could be heard laughing as the music changed to “Rocking in the Free World” by Neil Young—a jab at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

(Okay, I checked the link to the Dallas Morning News article, and the text has changed. I gather it's only a freebie one time read only. If anyone has paid they can check the full article. I am leaving as is for now. )

This is crazy stuff. Don't know whether to delete it or leave it.

(Someone just posted correct link. Thanks.)

What Bernie said in June of this year about Black Lives Matter. Did the hecklers know?

The episode yesterday at Netroots Nation has now to me become not about candidate Bernie Sanders, but about far more than that.

Though I support Bernie in the primary, this issue is much deeper and more important to the 2016 election than it is about one person.

It's about groups that attack the very people who are standing for them the most. It's about trying to make two very fine candidates look bad in a public venue. It's about not allowing discussion, demanding that only certain words are acceptable, and shouting out anyone else speaking.

Black Lives Matter is an important and vital group. Yesterday they publicly embarrassed one of their strongest advocates.

What Bernie has said (so far) on Black Lives Matter

From June of this year.

A little over a month ago Bernie Sanders said this:

The Good News is: That you're hearing more and more about that issue. You're hearing about Ferguson, you're hearing about Baltimore, you're hearing about New York City, you're hearing about elsewhere.

The Bad News is: IF you think these issues have just occurred in the last year of two, you'd be sadly mistaken.

The truth is that for many many decades, there have been situations where the Police Officers have treated Prisoners terribly. And even in some cases, absolutely unjustly killed them.

The poster also listed some of the solutions Bernie mentioned.

1) We have to recognize Police have a tough Job. We got to Respect them. They have to be well-paid. And they have to be well-trained.

2) BUT, if a Police Officer does something wrong, like anybody else, they have to be held Accountable for their actions. If they break the Law they have got to be held Accountable.

3) We need to stop the Militarization of Police. Police Departments should NOT look like 'Armies'.

4) Community Policing: In effect, to integrate Police Officers in the Community -- so that they become part of the Community, so that actually know the people by name. We have to end the concept of of the Police as the Oppressors.

What Bernie was saying when the shouts got louder...

“Black people are dying in this country because we have a criminal justice system which is out of control, a system in which over 50% of young African American kids are unemployed. It is estimated that a black baby born today has a one in four chance of ending up in the criminal justice system.”

Rather than listen the protestors shouted him down. He never got to finish talking about it. About 9 minutes in.

The Netroots Nation videos of Bernie and Martin.

Editing to change the link to Bernie's video. Someone just found the full interview, which is the one I saw live. Thank you, Skwmom.

Keep calling our candidates racist. Keep shouting them down without allowing them to speak. There will be no winners at all then.

The Netroots Nation seems mostly pleased with all of it at their twitter feed.


They should apologize to our candidates.

"how strange the politics of education are these days" Diane Ravitch weighs in on ed bills.

Bush I started it all, he even had Diane Ravitch as his assistant Secretary of Education. Later in 2010 Ravitch renounced her support for his policies.

George Bush II pushed even harder for "reform" policies. He got the No Child Left Behind policy in effect. However much of what he wanted to accomplish failed because the Democrats opposed them.

When President Obama took office he adopted those Bush policies and was able to get more done because there was no party opposition.

However the "reforms" were carried to extremes, and though Democrats were still accepting of them....the Republicans started opposing them.

Now it appears the Senate and House bills effectively take away the power of Arne Duncan to threaten states that don't do things his way. Now it appears powers revert back to more local and state control.

More from Diane Ravitch:

She speaks of an amendment put forth by the the Democratic Senator from CT and co-sponsored by Senator Warren. It was supported mostly by Democrats, and the amendment failed. It is tiring to see Democrats keeping on supporting things that will harm students, teachers, and parents.

Murphy Amendment Did NOT Pass, Fortunately

Just to demonstrate how strange the politics of education are these days, one of the key amendments to the Senate “Every Child Achieves Act” was called the Murphy amendment. It failed. It would have revived or worsened the punishments of NCLB. It main supporters were Democrats. Mercedes Schneider describes this amendment (and others) in this post. Schneider writes: “Senator Murphy’s (D-CT) amendment 2241 (which Warren co-sponsored) went up for a vote and was rejected 43-54. The 12-page text of Murphy’s SA 2241 reads more like No Child Left Behind (NCLB), with its detailed prescription for reporting on student test results, for “meaningfully differentiating among all public schools” (i.e., grading schools), including publicly identifying the lowest five percent, and, among interventions, potentially firing staff and offering students the option to transfer to other schools and using part of the budget to pay for the transportation.”

This amendment would have enacted tough, federal-mandated accountability, akin to setting up an “achievement school district” in every state.

She lists those voting for and against.

It is as though Democrats voted to continue the punitive policies of the Bushes, and the Republicans voted against it. So strange.

Ravitch then speaks for the recently formed Network for Public Education:

Senate’s “Every Child Achieves Act” Passes by 81-17

Speaking for the Network for Public Education, I will say that we are pleased to see a decisive rejection of federal micromanagement of curriculum, standards, and assessments, as well as the prohibition of federal imposition of particular modes of evaluating teachers. We oppose annual student testing; no high-performing nation in the world administers annual tests, and there is no good reason for us to do so. We reject the claim that children who are not subjected to annual standardized tests suffer harm or will be neglected. We believe that the standardized tests are shallow and have a disparate impact on children who are Black and Brown, children with disabilities, and children who are English language learners. We believe such tests degrade the quality of education and unfairly stigmatize children as “failures.” We also regret this bill’s financial support for charter schools, which on average do not perform as well as public schools, and in many jurisdictions, perform far worse than public schools. We would have preferred a bill that outlawed the allocation of federal funds to for-profit K-12 schools and that abandoned time-wasting annual testing.

Nonetheless, we support the Senate bill because it draws a close to the punitive methods of NCLB and RTTT. It is an important step forward for children, teachers, and public education. The battle over “reform” now shifts to the states, but we welcome an era in which the voices of parents, educators, and students can mobilize to influence policies in their communities and states. We believe that grassroots groups have a better chance of being heard locally than in Washington, D.C., where Beltway insiders think they speak for the public. We will continue to organize and carry our fight for better education to every state.

The parties have totally switched sides on the reform and privatization of public education.

I have found myself in agreement on education with some of the most extreme tea party bloggers.

It really makes no sense.

Arne's family has gone back to Chicago already and enrolled his kids in private school there...where he used to be CEO of Chicago Public Schools. I have read he will be staying on in DC until the end of Obama's term, even though the powers he had over the states are apparently no more.

Yes, the politics of education are strange, and to me...sad. A Democratic president will have a legacy of not supporting public education as he should.

Elizabeth Warren weighs in on primary..NetrootsNation.

You can follow the events at Netroots Nation at Twitter Feed

I gather from a Tweet there that Warren used the term "billionaire sugar daddies." Waiting for context...but I love it.

The New Republic has more about her speech there today.

Elizabeth Warren Challenges Hillary Clinton to Stop the Revolving Door

At the Netroots Nation convention on Friday, Senator Elizabeth Warren delivered a direct challenge to Hillary Clinton and all Democratic presidential campaigns to support legislation that would end the “revolving door” between top government positions and corporate America.

“Anyone who wants to be president should appoint only people who have already demonstrated they are independent,” Warren said to the progressive convention-goers, “who have already demonstrated that they can hold giant banks accountable, who have already demonstrated that they embrace the kind of ambitious economic policies that we need to rebuild opportunity and a strong middle class in this country.”

This is the first time Warren has decided to engage in the presidential election, which activists tried for months to get her to enter. Instead of asking candidates to endorse one of her particular policies on bank reform or student loans, Warren is focusing on the personnel who will implement those policies. It’s a notable choice that dovetails with Warren’s interest in ensuring that executive branch appointments will not tip the scales in favor of Wall Street or private industry, seen most directly in the fight to block Antonio Weiss from the No. 3 position in the Treasury Department. Warren raised the profile of Weiss, a longtime bank executive, enough for the administration to revoke his nomination.

“Sure, laws matter. But it also matters who interprets those laws, who enforces those laws,” Warren said. “Think of it this way: How would the world be different today if, when the economic crisis hit, Joe Stiglitz had been secretary of the Treasury and Simon Johnson and Robert Reich had been key economic advisers?”

Also Raul Grijalva called Sheriff Joe a "criminal with a gun." He welcomed Netroots Nation to Arizona.

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