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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 83,765

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

Wow. This Joni Mitchell song has more meaning as the years go by. Circle Game.

Lyrics to the Circle Game.

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him, "Take your time, it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down"

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind from where we came
And go round and round and round in the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind from where we came
And go round and round and round in the circle game
And go round and round and round in the circle game


Hillary's strong position on women's rights.


Found at Twitter. Posting because it just brings a smile.

The doggie's smile is just plain contagious.

Animals Twitter site.

The large dogs love me. I am appreciated.

David Miscavige when warned dad might be having heart attack said don't intervene, let him die..

if it is his time.

There is a chilling article in the Tampa Bay Times this week about how the leader of Scientology was paying private detectives to tail his own father. They were to report back to their agency every hour during the day.

They were to follow him everywhere.

Police report: Scientology leader spied on his dad 'no matter where he went'

What Powell didn't tell police until they read him his rights and started asking questions about his guns: He had spent nine years working as a private investigator for the Church of Scientology, and for the previous 18 months he had run a full-time, Tampa-based spying operation on Ron Miscavige Sr., the father of church leader David Miscavige.

....Released Thursday by West Allis police, the 2013 reports detailing Powell's arrest and his spying operation provide an eye-popping new chapter in the long-running history of Scientology and its use of private investigators to control ex-members and other enemies.

.....In one of the more notable passages in the reports, Powell and his son, a U.S. Army veteran, said they were struck by one incident. Once, while tailing the elder Miscavige on a shopping trip, the two watched him grasp his chest and slump over while loading his car. Powell later told police he had thought Miscavige was having a heart attack and might die. He said he phoned his intermediary for instructions.

Two minutes later, a man identifying himself as David Miscavige called back, Powell told police.

"David told him that if it was Ron's time to die, to let him die and not intervene in any way," the police report states, noting the apparent emergency passed.

The article quotes Jenna Miscavige Hill, Ron's granddaughter. Her book about her leaving is quite powerful. She has reconciled with most of her family now and is close to her grandfather.

She said she would have to let her grandpa decide when and how to tell his story.

She said "her grandfather describes his departure from the church's desert headquarters as an escape and has come around to being "super supportive" of her anti-Scientology activities."

Super duper editorial: Tell the Legislature's Immoral Minority to expand Medicaid in Florida

From the Tampa Bay Times today:

Editorial: Tell the Legislature's Immoral Minority to expand Medicaid in Florida

The names are in the editorial. Kudos to the Tampa Bay Times for this:

Most Floridians want it. So do thousands of businesses and the medical community. So do Republicans and Democrats in the Florida Senate. Yet 80 Florida House Republicans are denying 800,000 Floridians access to health care by refusing to accept Medicaid expansion money from Washington. It is immoral, and it is financially irresponsible. Of those 80 House Republicans, 13 represent Tampa Bay districts. Call them. Email them. Ask them why they are blocking health insurance for your families, friends and co-workers.

This may be the last, best chance for the Florida Legislature to accept billions in federal Medicaid money and create health coverage for low-income residents. The Senate has crafted a responsible bipartisan plan to use the federal money to subsidize private health insurance, and House Republicans should embrace it and stop being obstructionists.

The economic case for accepting the federal money and expanding access to health care is persuasive. It would bring tens of billions from Washington to Florida. It would save the state more than $1.7 billion over five years by replacing existing health care programs. It would help residents paying higher private insurance premiums to subsidize the cost of charity care.

The cost of rejecting the Senate plan? Federal tax dollars from Florida help pay for Medicaid expansion in 28 other states. The Low Income Pool that helps cover the cost of treating the uninsured will lose more than $1 billion in federal money. Florida hospitals and taxpayers cannot afford to make that up.

There is a list of the names to go with the pictures. Phone numbers and email addresses are given. A partial list:

RICHARD CORCORAN, Land O'Lakes: (850) 717-5037, richard.corcoran@myfloridahouse.gov — Corcoran is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the expected House speaker for 2016-18 and the chief obstructionist.

DANA YOUNG, Tampa: (850) 717-5060, dana.young@myfloridahouse.gov — Young is the House majority leader who helps prevent Republicans from voting their conscience on Medicaid expansion.

BLAISE INGOGLIA, Spring Hill: (850) 717-5035, blaise.ingoglia@myfloridahouse.gov — Ingoglia has an inherent conflict of interest as both the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and a state legislator serving all of his Hernando County constituents.

LARRY AHERN, Seminole: (850) 717-5066, larry.ahern@myfloridahouse.gov

CHRIS LATVALA, Clearwater: (850) 717-5067, chris.latvala@myfloridahouse.gov

KATHLEEN PETERS, South Pasadena: (850) 717-5069, kathleen.peters@myfloridahouse.gov

Third Way Partners with Former DNC Chairs to Urge Fellow Democrats for trade authority.

Third Way Partners with Former DNC Chairs to Urge Fellow Democrats to Support Trade Promotion Authority

March 26, 2015

Third Way partnered with former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairs today to urge fellow members of the Democratic Party to support granting President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for a new trade deal to strengthen the middle class and ensure America’s safety and security.

“Third Way is proud to work with these Democratic Party chiefs to promote the benefits of a pro-export agenda that will move America forward,” said Jim Kessler, Senior Vice President for Policy at Third Way. “These Democratic leaders know that modern trade deals create blue collar middle-class jobs because the data is clear. In our recent study, we analyzed all 17 trade deals since NAFTA to see if they improved the U.S. balance of trade in the blue collar goods sector. They did. The U.S. balance of trade in goods improved by more than $30 billion on average every year because post-NAFTA trade deals were negotiated with higher standards. With TPA, there is substantial opportunity to further contribute to America’s economic growth at a time of global economic stagnation.”

"Increasing America’s exports is the best way to create well-paying middle class jobs,” said Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA), one of the former DNC chairs who signed the letter. “During my time as Governor we tripled our exports in 8 years, helping Pennsylvania become the 9th fastest job creating state in the Union in 2010.”

From the letter from the DNC leaders...

As Democrats, we believe that America works when everyone plays by the same rules. 95 percent of the world’s population is outside our borders—and this number is only growing—which means that it’s important to set fair rules abroad and at home. Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will level the playing field for American workers and businesses by setting high labor, environmental, and other standards for 11 other countries in Asia-Pacific that make up nearly 40% of the global economy. If we don’t lead in this region, other countries will set weak rules that threaten American jobs and workers.

How do they know this? Why if this be true is it not generally known among rank and file Democrats? Or do we not need to know?
Posted by madfloridian | Thu Apr 9, 2015, 09:42 PM (5 replies)

Democrats, too, are dancing to the rich man's tune. Jim Hightower.

Lately I find myself thinking in different terms than which party will win, which party is taking the strongest stands on the issues I believe in. To Obama's credit, he has take some firm stands recently which I respect. But he and Arne Duncan both seem unaware of the education crisis they are causing.

I posted some videos of some of our Florida Republicans who are speaking out against the overtesting, blasting Rick Scott's idiocy, and one even took strong swipes against the Koch brothers interfering in state government.

I am thinking in broader terms such as what is best for the people, and for the country's future. It's hard to imagine supporting those who are not after those interests. On 2nd thought though I realize that it really doesn't matter which politicians I support. On that I most assuredly hope I am wrong.

I have started several posts the last few days, but a mental block set in.

I started another post about the strong arm tactics of the education "reformers", but then I realized only a few cared and efforts would be wasted. And the leaders in both parties are financially beholden to the billionaire boys club (to quote Diane Ravitch), so they don't give a hoot how the teachers, parents, and students are faring under these new policies.

I saw an article about the continued push to ban abortion rights for women...to take such decisions out of the hands of doctors and patients and legislate them. I realize it is mostly the extremists on the right pushing to restrict women's rights, but frankly I don't see too many Democrats calling them out on the harm being done.

I think about Chuck Schumer taking over for Harry Reid, and these words of his from 2005 keep coming to mind.

"... we are going to intervene if anyone one democrat attacks another, we're doing that in states where there are primaries. We can't afford to do it anymore. This always happens in the primaries, we would throw up the cards and see where they landed. No more, we are finding the best candidate in every one of the seats where a Republican is vulnerable."

"So I called up Governor...our number one target is Rick Santorum...let him go back to wherever he lives, Maryland, you know you heard about it, he is Pennsylvania but he tried to get exempt from the school tax there cause he lives in Maryland even though he is a registered citizen of Pennsylvania. In any case I called up the Governor of Pennsylvania, Governor Rendell, I said who is the best candidate to beat Santorum. He there is only one person who could beat him but he won't run and B you wouldn't want him to. I said why wouldn't we want him to run, he said he's pro-life. He's a deeply religious Catholic man. Bob Casey."

"I said, those days are over Ed. Yes I'm pro-choice, but we need the best candidate. We can't insist that every democrat check off 18 different issues before they get (unintelligible) we could do that, we can't anymore. And so, we persuaded, Harry using his very...Harry has amazing insights into people...and we together persuaded Bob Casey to run. A poll yesterday...national...all the polls they did...Casey 51 Santorum 40. You should see Santorum nervous and walkin on the floor."


"And we're doing this in the other states."

He is saying that Democrats can no longer afford to take stands for the people of the party like women. He is saying it is more important to win.

Schumer's stance with Bibi and against Obama has truly shocked me. It alarms me to think of his being in such a powerful Senate position.

Rahm won. Of course he did. He has for years manipulated our primaries. I could list time after time he got progressives out of races in our state to make sure his cronies won. Of course he won.

Then I saw a recent Jim Hightower article, and it said things just right.

Democrats, too, are dancing to the rich man's tune.

It's futile to hope that the GOP's gaggle of corporate-hugging, right-wing presidential candidates will seriously address the issue of rising inequality in our land – but where are the Democrats?

Well, Hillary Clinton has warned that, "extreme inequality has corrupted other societies." Uh... yes, but what about our society? Clinton says: "We have to have a concerted effort to meet a consensus about how to deal with this."

Huh? That's not an answer, much less a solution – it's a political tap dance around a crucial matter facing America. Why would she dodge a chance to swing away at a down-the-middle, working-class issue that's right in the wheelhouse of her party's populist strength? After all, recent polls show huge public support for direct government action to reduce the wealth gap, from raising taxes on the superrich to raising the minimum wage above the poverty level.

But there is one tiny constituency whose opinion outweighs all others on this issue: The 1-Percenters. Clinton and other top Democrats are weaker than Canadian hot sauce when it comes to embracing the unequivocating populism that ordinary voters want, because only 13 percent of the superrich think government should take action to redress inequality. These privileged ones tend to blame America's widening inequities on the very people who're losing jobs, income, and wealth – claiming that such people should simply improve their work ethic and character.

....When both parties kow-tow to money, the people's needs are ignored, and politics becomes illegitimate.

I have always voted for Democrats, and I want to continue to do so. I hope Schumer does not become leader of the Senate, I hope someone wakes up in time to save America's public education. I would like for Howard Dean to unblock me on Twitter, but I criticized his words against public school teachers...and I doubt he will. I would like to hear both parties take a stand for the rights of women to make their own reproductive choices.

But you know the old saying...."If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

Test Opt Out easy for some. The rest have to fight legal battles to do so.

This post was hosted at the Washington Post. It is by Alan Singer on why parents have chosen to opt out their children from these tests, albeit in different ways. Singer is social studies educator in the Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, and the editor of Social Science Docket (a joint publication of the New York and New Jersey Councils for Social Studies). He taught at a number of secondary schools in New York City, including Franklin K. Lane High School and Edward R. Murrow High School. He is also the author of several books. A version of this originally appeared on his Huffington Post blog.

How the Obamas opted their children out of high-stakes standardized tests

By Alan Singer

It was easy for Barack and Michelle Obama to opt-out. They send Sasha and Malia to the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. where tuition is about $35,000 a year and students do not take high-stakes Common Core-aligned tests. The Obamas chose this school in part because it offers children an enriched curriculum, not constant test prep. It was also easy for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to opt-out her children. According to her 2013 tax returns, her children, ages 12 and 7, attend the private Capitol Hill Day School, where they do not have to take high-stakes standardized tests either.

Wealthy celebrities are unwittingly part of the opt-out movement because their children attend or attended expensive private schools where they do not have to take high-stakes state-mandated standardized tests. They include Tom Cruise (daughter Suri, Avenues school in New York) and the children of the Jolie-Pitt clan (Lycée Français de New York).

Now you can opt out your children from high-stakes tests too. It’s not hard. NYS Allies for Public Education has a sample “refusal” letter and video instructions on its website. All parents have to do is fill out the letter and deliver it to the school principal, either in person or via email. They also recommend a follow-up call before the test dates to remind school personnel. Last year approximately 60,000 New York State students refused to take the tests. In New York State, high-stakes Common Core aligned math and reading tests will be administered in grades 3-8 from April 14 – 16 and April 22 – April 24.

....Carol Burris, award-winning principal at South Side High School in Rockville Center, New York is a leader in the opt-out movement.

"“The only remedy left to parents is to refuse to have their children take the tests. Testing is the rock on which the policies that are destroying our local public schools are built. If our politicians do not have the courage to reverse high-stakes testing, then those who care must step in.”

Florida is not making it easy for parents to opt out. Though the Opt Out groups are rapidly growing in numbers, threats from education leaders remain.

State Ed leader told FL Senate that opt out not permitted.

Florida students cannot legally opt out of the state's standardized exams, and their teachers and school districts could face trouble if they do -- or their parents do it for them, Education Commissioner Pam Stewart wrote today in a letter sent to key Florida state senators.

Stewart's letter -- written in response to a letter the senators sent her -- reiterated her position that state law (see section 1008.22 of the Florida statutes) "requires students to participate in the state assessment system, therefore there is no opt out clause or process for students to opt out or for parents to opt their children out."

....Opt out groups, including Opt Out Orlando, argue there are ways to legally refuse to take part in testing. Many opt-out advocates reacted angrily to Stewart's letter, sending emails and letters of their own to her office and to the Florida Legislature.

"I think you are under the impression we are asking permission. We are not," wrote one parent in an email shared with the Orlando Sentinel.

There are now two tiers of education forming now. There is one for those who can afford only public education for their children...and the tests are all-consuming. There is another level for those who want testing only for other people's children, and they send their own where they can get a well-rounded in depth education.

Posted by madfloridian | Wed Apr 8, 2015, 12:55 AM (5 replies)

The education model that fell apart. Albany charter schools.

The general idea was supposed to be that charter schools could take these students from deprived backgrounds and do much better than the public schools could do. Several years and millions of dollars later, many disruptions and much harm to neighborhoods.....there is a lesson being learned.

That lesson is that there are no easy fixes in situations like this. There are no miracle schools.

The education model that fell apart

A pro-charter rally in Albany. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Once heralded as a new beginning for children living in grinding poverty and stuck in a long-troubled school district, Albany’s charter system has so far failed to live up to that promise. Five of the 12 charter schools that opened in the last decade have already closed, and others are being skeptically eyed by state officials.

....In Albany, all of the charter schools currently operating were supported by the Brighter Choice Foundation, created by Pataki-era officials who helped write the state’s charter laws. Once considered a gold standard of charter operations, two Brighter Choice middle schools were closed by the state’s Charter Schools Institute after just five years in operation, because 80 percent of the students were not proficient in English and math. Other charter schools in Albany, including an all-girls high school with a graduation rate of 51 percent, could be shuttered in the near future for poor performance.

...“We didn’t need to spend scores of millions of dollars to find out that the work our teachers and staff do and the staff in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and New York City, and every city in poor communities in America is doing is hard work,” he said. “There is no quick and easy fix and privatizing education is no answer and that’s been proven here.”

The failure in Albany has shown the disruption that charters can cause to public school systems and surrounding neighborhoods. The Brighter Choice middle schools set to close were built just a few years ago, near the foundation’s headquarters. Half of a city block was leveled and residents were displaced from their homes.

Because there is a lack of oversight and regulation over charter schools, there were some very bad decisions made by some.

One of them hired a director who was still on parole from a bank theft.

Financial officer of 10 NY Brighter Choice charter management charged with embezzling $202,837.

The Brighter Choice Charter Middle Schools in Albany Friday Jan. 25, 2013. (John Carl D'Annibale / Times Union)

ALBANY — The former chief financial officer for the Brighter Choice Foundation, which provides funding and support to 10 public charter schools in Albany, has been charged with embezzling $202,837 from the organization.

The arrest Wednesday of Ronald A. Racela marks the second time in four years that Racela has been charged with grand larceny. Two years ago, Racela admitted stealing $53,931 from KeyBank in Albany, where he was employed as a manager in the Community Development Lending Group, court records show.

..."M. Christian Bender, executive director of Brighter Choice Foundation, said Brighter Choice officials were not aware of Racela's criminal history when he was hired as financial director of Brighter Choice Charter Schools in June 2010. Bender said Racela described his separation from KeyBank as "tense" but did not disclose he had been arrested for embezzlement eight months before he was hired by Brighter Choice.

"I knew that it had not been a smooth separation, but obviously I had no idea that it involved criminal activity on his part," Bender said Friday.

Well, how could Bender not know this when he would be handling all that money??

"I'm done with the testing program in the State of Florida" -FL State Senator Tom Lee (R)

State Senator Alan Hayes also (R) joins him.

He says: "We've got a train wreck, I kid you not."

Dear Arne Duncan, please listen to these two guys because they are honestly admitting they made mistakes about testing. Waiting for you to do so as well.

Florida senators' speeches on testing become big hit

During empassioned debate Thursday, Florida senators made clear what they really think about testing. The strong criticism from the Democrats, such as Dwight Bullard of Miami and Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth, came as no surprise.

The flaying by conservative Republicans, though, was somewhat unexpected. They took their lumps, admitting their fingerprints were on the system. But they also admitted mistakes and declared it's time to solve the mess.

Testing critics celebrated in particular the speeches of senators Tom Lee, R-Brandon, and Alan Hays, R-Umatilla. Watch them below, courtesy of Opt Out Orlando.

"I'm done with the testing program in the State of Florida" - Senator Lee

"We've got a train wreck, I kid you not." Senator Alan Hayes

I could not access the videos of the two Democrats mentioned. I keep getting older ones. Will search tomorrow.
Posted by madfloridian | Sun Apr 5, 2015, 02:00 AM (2 replies)
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