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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 84,028

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

NC Anti-Abortion Bill Would Force Doctors To Send Private Medical Records to the state.

This is really getting out of hand.

Anti-Abortion Bill Would Force Doctors To Send Private Medical Records, Including Images, To The State

Reproductive rights supporters urge Gov. McCrory to veto proposed abortion restrictions

CREDIT: Planned Parenthood South Atlantic

A piece of anti-abortion legislation currently advancing in North Carolina contains an unusual provision that critics say could be used to intimidate doctors who provide abortion services after the first trimester.

Under HB 465, physicians would be required to report detailed information about miscarriages and abortions to North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services if their patient’s pregnancy ends after 18 weeks.

“A physician who advises, procures, or causes a miscarriage or abortion after the eighteenth week of a woman’s pregnancy shall record all of the following: the method used by the physician to determine the probable gestational age of the unborn child at the time the procedure is to be performed; the results of the methodology, including the measurements of the unborn child; and an ultrasound image of the unborn child that depicts the measurements,” the legislation stipulates.

Proponents of reproductive rights are worried that’s specifically designed to target abortion doctors, leaving them vulnerable to potential lawsuits from state officials who may allege they performed an abortion on a fetus that’s too far along. There’s also some concern that keeping a file of ultrasound images in the state health department would raise issues of privacy and doctor-patient confidentiality.

“When I first read the bill, this was the provision that frightened me the most,” North Carolina Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D), who’s currently the Democratic Whip, told ThinkProgress in an interview. “It seems to be all about intimidating physicians. The state legislature is setting them up for potential prosecution. I don’t care what it says about privacy in the bill — we know what the end game is.”

Shots Still Reverberate For Survivors Of Kent State...remembering May 4, 1970.

Shots Still Reverberate For Survivors Of Kent State

From 2010: It's now been 45 years.

It was 40 years ago Tuesday that the shootings — which killed four people and wounded nine others — stunned the nation. Even at the height of the Vietnam War protests, no one imagined that government soldiers would fire real bullets at unarmed college students.

"I saw the smoke come out of the weapons, and light is faster than sound, and so I knew immediately were not firing blanks. So it was almost instinctive to dive for cover," remembers Jerry Lewis, who was 33 and teaching sociology at Kent State in 1970.

Lewis says that when he takes people to the scene of the shooting on the Kent Commons, he likes to point out a particular mark — a perfectly round bullet hole in a steel sculpture.

"This is what an M-1 bullet, .30-caliber bullet, does to steel," he says. "And the artist, to his credit, has refused to fix this. So, ironically, the National Guard created their own memorial."

Here is the audio slideshow from NPR.

On May 4, 1970, unarmed college students were shot by members of the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University. Forty years later, this slideshow takes a look back at the events of the day.

The victims:

Allison Krause

Sandy Scheuer

Jeffrey Miller

Bill Schroeder

Bernie Sanders: What's Wrong With America Looking More Like Scandinavia?

What's Wrong With America Looking More Like Scandinavia?

During an interview on ABC's "This Week," host George Stephanopoulos asked the 73-year-old Vermont senator if it's really possible for someone like him to be elected president. Sanders, who identifies as a democratic socialist, announced his White House run last week.

"Well, so long as we know what democratic socialism is," he said. "And if we know that in countries, in Scandinavia, like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, they are very democratic countries, obviously. The voter turnout is a lot higher than it is in the United States. In those countries, health care is the right of all people. And in those countries, college education, graduate school is free."

When Stephanopoulos said Republicans were likely to jump all over Sanders for saying the U.S. should be more like Scandinavia, the senator said he has no problem with that.

"That's right. And what's wrong with that?" Sanders said. "What's wrong when you have more income and wealth equality? What's wrong when they have a stronger middle class in many ways than we do, higher minimum wage than we do, and they are stronger on the environment than we do?"

.....As The Huffington Post's Jonathan Cohn notes, there's an important distinction between a democratic socialist and what many Americans may think of when they hear the word "socialist." Democratic socialism is a milder, more aspirational form of the ideology. Instead of actively pursuing the goal of government running large industries, a democratic socialist focuses on far less radical objectives, like making the welfare state more generous and limiting the influence of money on politics."

DeBlasio took stand against some charters. So they passed a law to give millions to charter schools.

It was meant to rebuke him, and it's a law that will take tens of millions from public schools to benefit charter schools. Seems they are harming students and parents and teachers in trying to spite DeBlasio.

City set to begin paying millions for charter-school rent under new law

By the end of May, the Department of Education will have sent money to dozens of expanding charter schools to cover this year’s facility costs, according to a letter sent to school leaders this month. The schools are the first to reap the significant financial benefits of a state law passed just over a year ago that is sure to grow more costly for the city in the coming years.

...The city is obligated to spend $40 million to cover rent costs of eligible charter schools if they are not given space inside of a city-owned building, according to the law. Once the bills hit the $40 million ceiling, costs will be split with the state.

The law was passed in April 2014 as a rebuke to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who during his early months in office signaled that he would end the city’s practice of giving charter schools space inside of city-owned buildings for free. Charter schools do not automatically receive any funding for space, and de Blasio’s predecessor Michael Bloomberg used the controversial space-sharing policy to help grow the city’s charter sector.

For several years charter schools in New York have been allowed to move into existing public schools and in effect take over the facilities.

Charter school moves into public school..moves furniture around, takes over auditorium.

Suzanne Tecza had spent a year redesigning the library at Middle School 126 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, including colorful new furniture and elaborate murals of leafy trees. So when her principal decided this year to give the space to the charter high schools that share the building, Ms. Tecza was furious.

“It’s not fair to our students,” she said of the decision, which gives the charter students access to the room for most of the day. “It’s depriving them of a fully functioning library, something they deserve.”

Charter schools, privately run but publicly financed, are generally nonunion, freeing them from labor restrictions. They have gained traction with their promise of innovative teaching methods and more flexible work rules for teachers. Arne Duncan, President Obama’s education secretary, has told states that they must remove impediments to charter schools as a condition of winning so-called Race to the Top grants.

More about how KIPP charters took over a school.

KIPP charter school invades NY public school with "A" grade....read the views of both sides.

There are several important reasons why charter schools not only harm public school children, but are a direct threat to public education as we know it. The harm is not ideological in nature, it is direct. I just attended the expansion hearing of KIPP into PS 195 in Harlen this Monday - and it is heartbreaking to hear that PS 195 students have class in the cafeteria. The teacher must ask the other students who are having lunch to quiet down, so instruction can happen. And if this isn't unbelievable enough, KIPP is expanding from its current grades of 5-8, to K-8.

More than a few PS 195 teachers got up to demand that KIPP teachers stop threatening charter school students with the admonishment,"Do you want to be like them?" The lesson hammered into these children every single day in that partitioned environment is one of segregation. The public school students are made to feel less, and the charter school children learn that personal advantage gained by harm to others is not only an entitlement of their talent, but a necessity.

DeBlasio did try to stand up to charter school leaders like Eva Moskowitz, who moves her Success Academies wherever she likes.

DeBlasio said they must stop enabling Moskowitz. But Cuomo to hold huge fundraiser for her.

Here are his words during the campaign. I found them in a long video interview of Eva Moskowitz by Reason TV. It's about 4 minutes in.

DeBlasio: Time for Eva Moskowitz to stop having the run of the place. She has to stop being tolerated,enabled, and supported.

But Moskowitz threatened to go to the president if DeBlasio crossed her, and Cuomo took her side.

ALBANY—Eva Moskowitz said she would go to the president of the United States to help her students if she had to. For now, she's stopping at Andrew Cuomo.

Moskowitz, C.E.O. of Success Academy charter schools in New York City, helped organize a massive rally outside the state Capitol on Tuesday, where she said she was “delighted” to have the governor's support.

Cuomo spoke at the event, pledging his commitment to getting charter schools the money and facilities they need to “thrive,” while down the street New York City mayor Bill de Blasio fought what is shaping up to be a losing battle for his tax-the-rich pre-kindergarten plan.

“It's just nice to have friends and supporters,” Moskowitz said, when asked about Cuomo. “We have felt kind of alone in this fight.”

The education reformers will stop at nothing to get their way. Too bad public school advocates don't have the resources to fight back.

Posted by madfloridian | Sat May 2, 2015, 10:16 PM (6 replies)

TIME: More about Marilyn Mosby. Interesting woman.

Who is Marilyn J. Mosby? A Guide to the Baltimore State’s Attorney

Why Charges in the Freddie Gray Case Came Quickly

In some ways, Mosby is an unlikely prosecutor to bring charges against police officers in the Gray case. Five generations of her family were all in law enforcement, and her grandfather was one of the first African-American police officers in Massachusetts. “I know that the majority of police officers are really hard-working officers who are risking their lives day in and day out, but those really bad ones who go rogue do a disservice to the officers who are risking their lives and taking time away from their families,” she told Baltimore Magazine in January.

Mosby was raised by a single mother in Boston, where in 1994 her 17-year-old cousin was killed near her home after being mistaken for a drug dealer. She was the first in her family to graduate from college and attended Tuskegee University in Alabama, studying political science. She later attended Boston College Law School and worked as assistant state’s attorney in the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office.

In the run-up to Gray’s charges, Mosby had been criticized for her lack of experience having never held elected office before, as well as a potential conflict of interest regarding her husband Nick, who is a city council member representing the neighborhood where Gray was arrested. Mosby has brushed off that criticism, saying that she doesn’t answer to the city council but by the constituents who elected her.

Now that charges have been brought, she’ll face yet more scrutiny — not least from Baltimore’s police union, which accused Mosby Friday of having a conflict of interest in this case due to her “close relationship” with the Gray family attorney. According to the Baltimore Sun, Billy Murphy, the Gray family’s attorney, gave Mosby $5,000 for her campaign and was part of her transition committee.

Sounds like a very strong lady.

Posted by madfloridian | Fri May 1, 2015, 09:39 PM (7 replies)

Some interesting paragraphs about Bernie Sanders' lifestyle.

The differences

Unlike Clinton and the vast majority of his Senate colleagues, Sanders has parlayed his career in public service into a lifestyle that is less than lavish. He makes $174,000, a salary frozen since 2009. He lives in a narrow, two-floor, one-bedroom townhouse on Capitol Hill that he bought (from me) for less than $500,000. There's a window air-conditioning unit on the second floor because the 125-year-old home doesn't have central air. It's worth the price of a mansion in Iowa or New Hampshire or Vermont, but it's modest for a walk-to-work crash pad a few blocks from the Senate.

His net worth, based on disclosed ranges, is somewhere between $110,000 and $551,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He has debts of up to $65,000 or so. If he gave three or four Clinton speeches, he could retire. Not that he would do either. Sanders said Thursday that he grew up poor, that his father dropped out of high school, and that his brother introduced him to books, of which there were not a lot around the Sanders household.

I guess he owns a home in Vermont also.

Bernie Sanders' letter to Alabama's governor about 2016 budget pulls no punches.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the latest presidential hopeful, issues dire warning to Alabama

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, ranking member of the Budget Committee, outlined the cuts he predicted in an April 26 letter to Gov. Robert Bentley. He sent similar letters to governors of every state.

"In my view, the proposals contained in the Republican House and Senate budgets will be devastating for the middle class and working families of our country and will move us in exactly the wrong time," said Sanders, an Independent, who is set to announce a presidential run.

How bad? Here's what Sanders said:

172,000 people would lose healthcare coverage.
32,000 jobs eliminated by 2017 because of cuts to transportation and education programs.
280,000 families would pay $1,116 more in taxes because of cuts to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.
1.1 million seniors would be forced out of traditional Medicare and moved into a voucher program.
Prescription drug prices would go up an average of $930 for almost 90,000 seniors who received Medicare Part D benefits.
The cost of college education will go up for 153,000 Alabama students because of cuts to the Pell Grant program.
570 fewer children would have access to Head Start.
902,000 would see a reduction in food stamps.
$879 million designated for roads and bridges will be cut.
Title I education funds will be reduced by $17.9 million, impacting as many as 33,700 children.
28,900 Alabamians could lose access to job training.

Cuomo on Opt Out. "Tests don’t count against students". (Just count against teachers.)

Cuomo on ‘opt out’: Tests don’t count against students

Cuomo. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

More to the story, though. Cuomo had vetoed a bill that would spare teachers from being affected by this often faulty roll out of new tests.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday said parents who have chosen to have their children “opt out” of taking this month’s state exams don’t understand that the scores are “meaningless” in terms of students' grades.

“That’s their option,” Cuomo, referring to parents who have participated in the unprecedented boycott of state exams, told reporters after an Association for a Better New York breakfast in Manhattan. “What I don’t think has been adequately communicated is, we passed a law that stops the use of the grades on the test for the student. So the grades are meaningless to the student.”

Cuomo was referring to provisions in the 2014-15 state budget that prohibited Common Core-aligned tests from being included on students’ permanent records or used in grade promotion decisions. He said that action was necessary because of the flawed rollout of the Common Core standards in New York, which he has blamed on the State Board of Regents and Education Department.

But wait.

Cuomo and lawmakers initially intended to also shield teachers from consequences of students’ low scores on the Common Core-aligned tests. At the end of the 2014 legislative session, Cuomo introduced and the Legislature passed a “safety net” bill for educators who might be in danger of being fired because of the rough rollout to the higher standards. But Cuomo later vetoed it.

From the comments section:

So lets get this straight..............
The tests are not an accurate assessment of the student because they are flawed, but are a good measuring tool for the teachers evaluation? We have State Ed going on and on about their value and how important they are .......then............he says this........Seriously!

Arne says parents to blame for test stress. Threatens fed intervention if Opt Outs continue.

And so Arne Duncan is asserting his power, showing his ignorance about education, and threatening the states that don't stop the Opt Outs.

He must think someone appointed him God of Education.

As opt-out numbers grow, Arne Duncan says feds may have to step in

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Tuesday that the federal government is obligated to intervene if states fail to address the rising number of students who are boycotting mandated annual exams.

...He also said the tests are “just not a traumatic event” for his children, who attend public school in Virginia.

“It’s just part of most kids’ education growing up,” he said. “Sometimes the adults make a big deal and that creates some trauma for the kids.”

A federal education department spokeswoman said last week that the agency could withhold funding from states if some of their districts have too few students take the exams, but that it has not yet done so because states have addressed the issue on their own.

There are some interesting posts in the comments section.

iCarly • 5 days ago

Arne says that the tests are not stressful to his children. Well, Arne, they're stressful to mine because since my husband got laid off last year, my teaching job has supported our family. Now with NY teachers' jobs tied so heavily to test grades, I face the possibility of losing my job since I teach very low functioning students. My children are stressed out about having their mother lose her job and our family's income based on the testing whims of other kids. So yes, a-hole, the tests are stressful to children depending on what your perspective is. My kids will be refusing NY's math tests this week in protest of the high stakes attached to them with regard to teachers' job evaluations.

Brruinsgirl . iCarly • 5 days ago
His Kids also do not take the same test we are refusing for our children. His kids do not take the SB or the PARCC.

Lance Hamm Brruinsgirl . • 5 days ago

Neither did Cuomo's, neither do Obama's. Neither do any of the elite's children. No one in the 1% is subject to this, and yet the 1% is dictating it.

This post in the comments is really good. I think Arne Duncan has opened a big old can of worms here.

yarissa • 5 days ago

When a public policy begins to crumble, like this one is, the right thing is to sit down and think "what are we doing wrong?" and not "how are we going to beat people into submission?"

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong approach, Arne Duncan!

High stakes standardized testing has been not proven to be an accurate measure of what a student can do and how ready he/she is becoming for adulthood, but it HAS been proven to go against the affective filter hypothesis (among others educational theories and best practices) which states that students do best in a stress-free environment. Students also do well when they are slightly challenged , but it has been shown that CC and these standards and tests are above the Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky), which means they are too far away from where the students are to really respond. 4-5 hours of testing is also completely inappropriate pedagogically and developmentally for children in primary grades.

Take a step back, reassess and come talk to education experts and GET IT RIGHT instead of pushing on and admitting you made a mistake... isn't that what learning is all about? We learn from FAILURES!
Failing leads to improvement, but only if you're brave enough to admit you have failed.

Are you brave enough, Arne Duncan?

(My apologies for any typo, this page on my phone isn't great)

IMO Arne may be starting a battle he can not win. Time for President Obama to rein him in or fire him. He is threatening a war with teachers, parents, students, and states.

TPP branded as trade agreement, but what's really at stake. From Public Citizen.

Branded as trade agreement, but what's really at stake.

Trade officials from twelve Pacific Rim nations--Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile,
Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vi-
etnam are in intensive, closed door negotiations to sign the TransPacific Partner-
ship (TPP), a sweeping Free Trade Agreement (FTA), in 2014. Every Pacific Rim na-
tion from China to Russia could eventually be included. There are draft texts for
many of this pact’s 29 chapters, most of which have nothing to do with trade, but
rather impose limits on domestic food safety, health, environmental, and other policies. The governments won’t release the texts to the public. But about 600 U.S. corporate “trade advisors” have full access. America’s worst job offshoring corporations, global banks, agribusiness, and pharmaceutical giants want this deal to be another corporate power tool like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Consumer, labor, environmental, and other public interest advocates want a transparent process and a “Fair Deal or No Deal.”

A major goal of U.S. multinational corporations for the TPP is to impose on more countries a set of extreme foreign investor privileges and rights and their private enforcement through the notorious “investor state” system. This system allows foreign corporations to challenge before international tribunals national health, consumer safety, environmental, and other laws and regulations that apply to domestic and foreign firms alike. Outrageously, this regime elevates individual corporations and investors to equal standing with each TPP signatory
country’s government and above all of us citizens. This regime would empower corporations to skirt national courts and directly challenge our governments before tribunals of private sector lawyers operating under UN and World Bank rules to demand taxpayer compensation for domestic regulatory policies that investors believe
diminish their “expected future profits.”
These regulatory policies can be anything from government procurement contracts and environmental protection to financial regulation.

If a corporation “wins”, the taxpayers of the “losing” country must foot the bill. Over $400 million in compensation has already been paid out to corporations in a series of investor
state cases under NAFTA style deals alone.

And a little from one of my favorite columnists, Michael Hiltzik.

On the other side of the argument is the trade pact's potential to foster economic growth and job creation — "650,000 jobs in the U.S. alone," as Secretary of State John F. Kerry asserted last month. But that widely challenged figure is extrapolated from a 2012 report by the Peterson Institute of International Economics, which didn't offer a jobs estimate. In fact, the report said the TPP might dislocate workers and drive older people out of the workforce — and that any benefits might be canceled out by the resulting costs to workers and society. Evidence from earlier trade pacts, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, suggests that the benefits for developing countries among the treaty signatories are similarly oversold.

Here is more from the Public Citizen website about the Investor State system.

Investor-State Attacks: Empowering Foreign Corporations to Bypass our Courts, Challenge Basic Protections

Among the most dangerous but least known parts of today's "trade" agreements are extraordinary new rights and privileges granted to foreign corporations and investors that formally prioritize corporate rights over the right of governments to regulate and the sovereign right of nations to govern their own affairs. These terms empower individual foreign corporations to skirt domestic courts and directly challenge any policy or action of a sovereign government before World Bank and UN tribunals.

Comprised of three private attorneys, the extrajudicial tribunals are authorized to order unlimited sums of taxpayer compensation for health, environmental, financial and other public interest policies seen as frustrating the corporations' expectations. The amount is based on the "expected future profits" the tribunal surmises that the corporation would have earned in the absence of the public policy it is attacking. There is no outside appeal. Many of these attorneys rotate between acting as tribunal "judges" and as the lawyers launching cases against the government on behalf of the corporations. Under this system, foreign corporations are provided greater rights than domestic firms.

This extreme "investor-state" system already has been included in a series of U.S. "trade" deals, forcing taxpayers to hand more than $400 million to corporations for toxics bans, land-use rules, regulatory permits, water and timber policies and more.
Under a similar pact, a tribunal recently ordered payment of more than $2 billion to a multinational oil firm. Just under U.S. deals, more than $38 billion remains pending in corporate claims against medicine patent policies, pollution cleanup requirements, climate and energy laws, and other public interest policies.

At the bottom of that link there are more examples of other cases going on.

I was also reading a post here today that I had missed.

Fact or Fiction: Does the Hatch-Wyden-Obama Trade Promotion Authority Bill Protect U.S. Sovereignty

Thanks, Cali, for posting that.

I am surprised at how many still compare sincere questioning about such a drastic policy to being a hater of Obama. I still get feedback that is ugly when I question how public education and public school teachers have been steamrolled by this administration's corporate education reform.

I hope the use of terms like hater soon stops, or else it is going to be a tough time until next November.

My late hubby and I supported Obama both times, not just donating but locally taking part as well. It makes me feel like I am no longer part of a party when questioning policies brings labels like that.

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