Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 78,784
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 78,784
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.
Does not bode well for the future of education since Christie takes pleasure in in yelling at teachers in public
Here is the google search link....amazing and shocking.
A few examples:
Democrats who endorsed Christie now appearing in mailers with the governor
Christie touts 50th Democratic endorsement
Chris Christie Reelection Backed Increasingly By Democrats
This is a crying shame.
Posted by madfloridian | Wed Nov 6, 2013, 12:41 AM (63 replies)
A retired teacher remembers the "special" kids. I get a little sentimental when I think about the years I taught before the "reforms" began under the Bush family. They are continuing under Obama's appointee, Arne Duncan.
These students may not have been in a special education program, they may not have had any "label" at all. For years there were no such programs or referrals. But they were special in their own way.
I wonder how they would fare now with all the one-size-fits-all testing. After all there are few exceptions, in some areas no exceptions, for students like them when it comes to the endless testing now in place.
I remember most of us teaching way back then did the best we could to provide them with needed help and assistance.
I often look at a lovely green and white vase on one of my shelves with a pointed matching lid...and I think of the mother who lovingly made it for me by hand. She was a lovely lady who had her hands full. Her husband was a Vietnam veteran with serious emotional problems. Her boys were among the best-behaved, most polite, I ever taught.
However they could not read a single word by 2nd grade. Not a word. They were whizzes in math, they could do the most complicated word problems once the examples were read to them. They did science experiments for the class that were brilliant.
I had them tested not just by a county school psychologist, but by a medical doctor as well. Their IQs were in the 180s. Today they would probably be called dyslexic or learning disabled. Back then the labeling had not really begun. There were no special classes. I had taken a course in which such students were covered. I knew that tactile and kinesthetic techniques were recommended. We did all that and more. I could never get them to read a single word. I would love to know how their lives turned out. I kept track of their teachers for years, and they were nurturing.
One of the most special students was a 2nd grade girl who was sweet and well-behaved. She was not a good student, barely got by with much help from an aide. She was at my desk near the start of school, and she told me she loved my new mushroom because it was so colorful. I had no idea what she meant so I asked her to show me. It was my new swirly colored pencil. Whenever she could not think of what to call an item, she called it a mushroom. It seemed perfectly fine to her, and I corrected her now and then, substituted the right name. It simply went over her head.
There was a child whose mother told me from the start of the year that he was mentally handicapped. I worked with him the best I could, had an aide give him special tutoring in reading. One day he walked up to my desk, sat down beside me and started to read a book on grade level. I handed him another one, he read it also. He was so proud.
A couple of years later I learned that he was determined to be in the low 70s and 60s ability wise. "Normal" is supposedly in the 90s. His reading continued but had reached a plateau about 4th grade level, still amazing.
I had a student in 4th grade whose parents were well educated, fairly well off. They admitted their son had problems they could not solve. They asked my help, were willing to work with doctors to determine how best to proceed. He was unable to be still, though he knew all the work and knew it well. He wandered, disrupted. I filled out daily behavior sheets for the parents' chosen doctor. He was learning in spite of his severe hyperactivity, but he could not be on task enough to produce.
This doctor was not one for ritalin or similar drugs, but he said in this case it might work. The difference was night and day after one dose. This student was very advanced in science because of his home environment and his father's scientific knowledge.
I tried letting him teach the class a lesson on a science topic with a promise of others to come if it were received well. He did amazingly well. The principal walked in during the lesson. The student continued unfazed. Later the principal shook his hand and commended him on a job well done.
Then there were the high achievers who fell apart when presented with bubbles to fill in on multiple choice items.
For years the only test we gave was the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). It was used in an entirely different way than today's high stakes tests. It was used as a tool for teachers and schools to measure their progress....not as a way to cause schools to fail so they could be replaced by corporately owned charter schools. One very bright girl in particular comes to mind. She was so mature and wise. Her mother really had problems, and she had to play along to survive. She wanted to please so badly that she would be unable to complete the test out of fear of failure.
Her mother was obviously pregnant, and she often came to help in class. I had known her for years and was seriously upset at what she was pretending about her pregnancy. She told everyone she had a watermelon in her tummy, and the big bump would go away when the watermelon disappeared. Her daughter had to pretend she was right.
One day that girl came to my desk and told me she hoped I understood. She said she knew her mother was going to have a baby, but if she didn't go along she would be punished. She often held her mother's hand in support of the pretense. She just wanted to be sure I understood she knew better.
Two of my brightest 4th graders decided to rebel when the FCAT reading test first began in the late 90s. At that time teachers were not yet being judged by the class scores, so I was thankful for that. They put their heads down the day of testing. They could not be persuaded by anyone to take part in the test.
When I retired I could see that the times were changing. Jeb was now governor, and we were not to speak a critical word about him at school. I saw the future when our new principal did nothing but blame teachers for everything.
Thank God I could retire, and I did.
Arne Duncan should have the grace to realize the harm he has done, and he should simply step down from his position. Ideally it should have been done a long time ago before so much damage was done to public schools, before the "reformers" got the upper hand.
It may be too late now.
Posted by madfloridian | Tue Nov 5, 2013, 09:12 PM (49 replies)
The lack of support by the Florida party for progressives goes back a long way. We were supporting this guy against Adam "Opie" Putnam, and we mistakenly assumed Florida Democrats would also. But they didn't. Doug Tudor would have been a good thing for Florida Democrats, yet they shut him out.
Wasserman Schultz insults FL Dem candidate...says "don't pull that populist stuff on me."
In the words of a very capable Democratic candidate with a lot of support from the people....
One of the most satisfying aspects of my time in Denver was being able to see Democrats uniting together to help other Democrats. I received financial support from Congressman John Salazar (D-CO), Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), future Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), as well as from convention attendees from Washington, Montana, North Carolina, and Florida. What I have not been able to do is to get Democrats from Florida’s congressional caucus to risk offending their good friend, Adam Putnam, by contributing from their personal wealth or campaign accounts, or by endorsing me.
Don't pull that populist stuff on her? Now that is just sad.
It wasn't just Doug, and it wasn't just Debbie W. who refused to support Democrats.
Two Florida Democratic congress folks prefer their Republican incumbents to their own party.
This time around, Wasserman Schultz and Meek say their relationships with the Republican incumbents, Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and his brother Mario, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, leave them little choice but to sit out the three races.
I sort of mentally compare this attitude in Florida through the years to the apparent lack of opposition to Chris Christie in NJ. There's a price to pay for refusing to oppose Republicans.
Posted by madfloridian | Tue Nov 5, 2013, 06:07 PM (1 replies)
All over the news this last week or so there are a lot of articles about doctors and the use of torture on detainees during the war on terror.
The news that doctors were aware of or took part in torture in Iraq is nothing really new. Or at least not if we were paying attention. See the recent NBC News report. It is called "'Big, striking horror:' US military doctors allowed torture of detainees, new study claims"
Medical personnel watching as pain is inflicted....a Rumsfeld legacy?
LISA MILLAR: The Red Cross has slammed medical personnel who allegedly supervised interrogations and the torture of terror suspects by the CIA. Based on interviews with 14 terror suspects, the Red Cross has found medics monitored prisoners' vital signs to make sure they didn't drown during waterboarding. And it says that may amount to direct participation in torture.
That was from 2009.
This was from 2006. Time Magazine.
How Doctors Got Into the Torture Business
Soldiers are trained to kill and doctors to heal. At least that's how we usually understand those two professions. But wars can often distort reality, and the war on terrorism has turned into a test case. An inspiring example is that of Colonel Kelly Faucette, M.D. He recently wrote about caring for a new patient at the intensive-care unit of the 47th Combat Support Hospital in Mosul, Iraq. The patient was a terrorist insurgent, a man who planted hidden roadside bombs to murder civilians and Faucette's fellow soldiers. Faucette wrote in his local paper: "Something inside me wants to walk up to this guy ... and just clobber him." But Faucette didn't. Instead he healed him before sending him to a jail, and by that act of healing he helped heal Iraq.
From 2004. The New England Journal of Medicine
Doctors and Torture
There is increasing evidence that U.S. doctors, nurses, and medics have been complicit in torture and other illegal procedures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay. Such medical complicity suggests still another disturbing dimension of this broadening scandal.
And finally from 2003 there are the shocking pictures from a Norwegian newspaper of Iraqi detainees being walked naked through the streets at gunpoint. This report does not mention doctors, but it was most definitely a warning sign to keep our eyes wide open. It was so obvious that all involved had to have known. Taking away one's humanity is a sure sign that worse is on the way.
We saw pictures from Iraq from a paper in Norway in 2003. We knew we were tormenting them then.
It was a shock to see the picture from the Norwegian paper, Dagbladet. The article is still there today, and so are the pictures. I remember that day in April when I called Senator John Warren's office and sent them a link to the website while I was on the phone. They claimed ignorance of course. I called Senator Bill Nelson's office and did the same. They knew nothing either.
The articles from Amnesty International and Dagbladet. If you follow the links the pictures are still there at Dagbladet.
Amnesty International expressed concern today at the disturbing article and images portrayed in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet which show American soldiers escorting naked Iraqi men through a park in Baghdad. The pictures reveal that someone has written the words Ali Baba - Haram(i) (which means Ali Baba - thief) in Arabic on the prisoners' chests.
The NBC News report just out makes it sound like this is just now being discovered. Instead I would say eyes have simply been shut and facts ignored.
I am not sure if knowing all this for so long should be blamed on our pathetic corporate media system, or if it goes to the prevalent attitude of people not wanting to know...in a country in which many are in denial.
Posted by madfloridian | Mon Nov 4, 2013, 03:12 PM (23 replies)
Christie's temper tantrum toward a teacher
I went to listen to him speak. I stood in the front of the crowd that was standing towards the back. I know he caught sight of me. He stared at me a few times during his speech. I left right as his speech was over to position myself right at the door of the bus. He came out, shaking everyone's hands as he was getting on the bus. I asked him my question, expecting him to ignore me but he suddenly turned and went off.
- See more at: http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2013/11/exclusive-govchristie-to-teacher-i-am.html#sthash.e0C8vPa7.dpuf
Here is the sign the teacher was holding.
Posted by madfloridian | Sun Nov 3, 2013, 08:22 AM (130 replies)
Peter Deutsch, talking to reporters about Ben Gamla in 2007 in Fort Lauderdale, lives in Israel. Andrew Uloza / FOR THE MIAMI HERALD
Peter Deutsch, the driving force behind South Florida’s controversial Ben Gamla charter schools, is a six-term former Democratic congressman with a unique status: He lives more than 6,000 miles away in Israel as an expatriate.
Hallandale Beach successfully fought him to prevent a school there.
He is facing another fight in Hollywood, Florida, where he wants a zoning exception to build a 600-student high school on Van Buren Street near City Hall that upset residents say is already choked with traffic from Ben Gamla’s existing, adjacent K-8 school.
Public schools are seeing the money that used to come to them now going to charter schools which often are religious schools. It is breaking the back of the traditional public school.
Posted by madfloridian | Tue Oct 29, 2013, 09:01 PM (12 replies)
Posted by madfloridian | Wed Oct 23, 2013, 04:55 PM (8 replies)
He does say they won't happen unless the Republicans agree to raise new revenue by closing some tax loopholes. That would be nice to close some loopholes that allow the rich to get richer, but Medicare and Social Security should NOT be on the table.
Senior Democrat pushes firm line in U.S. budget talks
The article title is misleading, I think. He is not holding firm on entitlements. I wonder just what the Democrats will agree upon to make that deal.
Maryland Representative Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told the Reuters Washington Summit that he would be willing to consider some changes to big entitlement programs such as Medicare, the health insurance program for those 65 and older.
So Chained CPI is still on the table it seems.
Chained CPI is stealth cut to Social Security benefits. Not acceptable.
The Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) has published a brief on one of the proposed changes to Social Security under the “fiscal cliff” deal – this one known as the “Chained CPI.” The Chained CPI is a bit complex, but here’s the bottom line: it would cut benefits for Social Security recipients by shrinking annual cost-of-living adjustments.
It is not acceptable to put programs for seniors on the table.
Posted by madfloridian | Tue Oct 22, 2013, 07:36 PM (97 replies)
They are now classified as "highly-qualified" teachers, though they are only given 5 weeks training. Yes, they are college graduates. So are traditional classroom teachers. It is misleading to parents to classify teachers in training this way. This label has now been extended for 2 years.
Senator Tom Harken admits this is his doing. Makes me wonder if anything else got slipped in involving Social Security and Medicare.
From the Washington Post:
The debt deal’s gift to Teach For America (yes, TFA)
Unobtrusively slipped into the debt deal that Congress passed late Wednesday night to reopen the federal government after 16 days and allow the United States to keep borrowing money to pay its bills is a provision about school reform that will make Teach For America very happy.
Posted by madfloridian | Mon Oct 21, 2013, 02:30 PM (12 replies)
That statement is in the first two minutes of a Theocracy Watch video from 2006. This is a Supreme Court Justice saying those things.
Justice Scalia: Government is the minister of God with powers to "avenge" to "execute wrath"
Joan Bokaer of Cornell University's Theocracy Watch gives a rundown on the growing danger of Dominionism, also known as Christian Reconstructionism, the ideology behind the scenes of Christian extremism in the United States and abroad. An important video for anyone who wants to understand the motives of the American Taliban and what's happening to American politics.
She quotes the words of Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court in this video about Dominionism.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia 2002:
Posted by madfloridian | Thu Oct 17, 2013, 06:19 PM (16 replies)