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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 02:59 PM
Number of posts: 67,122

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Secret Teacher: the cold, hard truth is that many of us cheat to meet targets

Secret Teacher: the cold, hard truth is that many of us cheat to meet targets
The obsession with levels and never wanting to be on the wrong side of data is forcing many teachers into unscrupulous practice

Over a decade ago, I remember a headteacher jokingly bending back the clear plastic of the sealed key stage 2 Sats to try and see a few of the questions on the science paper. After spending several minutes contorting his body into positions a gymnast would be proud of, he’d managed to denude three words. He bounded into my room with them as though he’d found the holy grail. When I pointed out that, forces, habitats and solutions were areas we’d been revising anyway, he snorted with derision at my lack of appreciation for his efforts.

This behaviour seems farcical, almost quaint, in comparison to what is presently happening across our schools. There are a few common techniques that I’ve seen or heard have been employed in exams and assessments: seating less and more able children together so the former can copy from the latter; pointing out mistakes to borderline pupils; writing in correct answers where gaps have been left on a test paper; completing the coursework for a student and passing it off as their own; artificially raising all the children in a class a full grade, but keeping them in ability order to avoid suspicion. These are just a few of the desperate methods employed.

If I’m looking to level the blame for this despairing state of affairs, I wouldn’t lay it at the door of the wonderful professionals who work at the chalkface every day. I’d start with The Chart, one of the many sheets stuffed with data that measure teacher performance. Statistics have become the de facto arbiter of a teacher’s value. Anything outside the myopic parameters of the chart is worthless.

Cruel, reductive and misleading though it may be, the chart completely dominates our education like never before with its mantra of “progress” and metric of levels. The chart is faceless, dispassionate and utterly unforgiving. It renders us obeisant before it while everyone does anything they can to receive the chart’s approval.


the rest:

Photo: Police officer and young demonstrator share hug during Ferguson rally in Portland


This image, shot by freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen, shows Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum hugging 12-year-old Devonte Hart during the Ferguson demonstration in Portland on Nov. 25, 2014.

According to Sgt. Barnum, the interaction took place at the beginning of the rally. With emotions running high as speakers were addressing the crowd, he noticed a young man with tears in his eyes holding a "Free Hugs" sign among a group of people.


Justice Department likely to impose reforms on Ferguson police

Source: LA Times

Those hoping the federal government will criminally prosecute Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of an unarmed black man are likely to be disappointed, but chances are strong that the Justice Department will impose significant reforms on the city's police department through its ongoing civil investigation.

St. Louis County officials announced Monday that a local grand jury had found insufficient evidence to charge Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, 18.

Ferguson protest
Police officers face protesters in Ferguson, Mo., after the grand jury decision. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)
Some Ferguson activists hope that the Justice Department, which is conducting its own inquiry into the shooting, will file a federal criminal case against Wilson. But former civil rights prosecutors say the threshold for charging him with a federal crime is even higher than for local prosecutors because it requires proof that the officer intentionally used more force than reasonably necessary to deprive someone of his civil rights.

"It's a very tough thing under federal law to indict a police officer in a shooting," said William Yeomans, who supervised police investigations while serving as a top Justice Department official and currently teaches law at American University. "It doesn't happen very often."

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-ferguson-feds-20141125-story.html

If Walmart can spend this much on lobbyists ...



Obama Teases Critics Of His Immigration Action While Pardoning Turkeys

President Obama on Wednesday partook in the annual White House tradition of pardoning two turkeys in celebration of Thanksgiving.


This year he used the official pardoning ceremony as an opportunity to comment on and poke fun at the conservative backlash over his recent executive actions on immigration.

"I am here to announce what I'm sure will be the most talked about executive action this month," Obama said. "Today, I am taking an action fully within my legal authority, the same kind of action taken by Democrats and Republican presidents before me, to spare the lives of two turkeys, Mac and Cheese, from a terrible and delicious fate."

"They'll get to live out the rest of their days respectively at a Virginia estate with 10,000 acres of roaming space,” Obama continued. “I know some will call this amnesty."


Tampering With Evidence in Ferguson?!

When Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson left the scene of the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, the officer returned to the police station unescorted, washed blood off his hands and placed his recently fired pistol into an evidence bag himself.


What clearly cannot be said is that violence—like nonviolence—sometimes works.

What clearly cannot be said is that American society's affection for nonviolence is notional. What cannot be said is that American society's admiration for Martin Luther King Jr. increases with distance, that the movement he led was bugged, smeared, harassed, and attacked by the same country that now celebrates him. King had the courage to condemn not merely the violence of blacks, nor the violence of the Klan, but the violence of the American state itself.

What clearly cannot be said is that violence and nonviolence are tools, and that violence—like nonviolence—sometimes works. "Property damage and looting impede social progress," Jonathan Chait wrote Tuesday. He delivered this sentence with unearned authority. Taken together, property damage and looting have been the most effective tools of social progress for white people in America. They describe everything from enslavement to Jim Crow laws to lynching to red-lining.


What cannot be said is that America does not really believe in nonviolence—Barack Obama has said as much—so much as it believes in order. What cannot be said is that there are very convincing reasons for black people in Ferguson to be nonviolent. But those reasons emanate from an intelligent fear of the law, not a benevolent respect for the law.


Black people know what cannot be said. What clearly cannot be said is that the events of Ferguson do not begin with Michael Brown lying dead in the street, but with policies set forth by government at every level. What clearly cannot be said is that the people of Ferguson are regularly plundered, as their grandparents were plundered, and generally regarded as a slush-fund for the government that has pledged to protect them. What clearly cannot be said is the idea of superhuman black men who "bulk up" to run through bullets is not an invention of Darren Wilson, but a staple of American racism.


"i am SO thankful that you can't be with your family today"

New Yorker Magazine Cover: Broken Arch


Thanksgiving Day

Don’t drink too much to deal with the relatives. Also, when they engage you in political talk and start to offend you, just don’t respond. Wingnuts like to argue, and if you just ignore them they will shut up.

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