Tuesday, October 18, 2016

We Must Not Allow . . . Runaway Graduation Rates . . . to Create an Achievement Score Gap!

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 2:40 PM

George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson, Dr. Strangelove. - COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA.ORG
  • Courtesy of wikimedia.org
  • George C. Scott as General Buck Turgidson, Dr. Strangelove.

Kidding. I'm kidding with that headline about not letting runaway graduation rates lead to an achievement score gap. (Hat tip to General Buck Turgidson's "Mineshaft gap!" in Dr. Strangelove, starting at the 4 minute mark on the video.) It's great that graduation rates are on the rise across the country, hitting an all-time high of 83.2 percent. I hope that number keeps heading higher. But consider for a moment what increasing the number of students who stay in school until they graduate does to overall student achievement rates.

Since this country began, we've striven to increase our student enrollment rates. Universal K-12 enrollment has been our goal, and we're closer to it than ever before. But a consequence of keeping more students in school is that schools have a growing population of students who are less likely to be high achievers. True, some students drop out because of factors beyond their control, but often they leave because school isn't working for them. When you keep those reluctant students in school, you increase the student population which is likely to score low on achievement tests, and they're also likely to make up the largest population of behavior and attendance problems. Every time we work to hold onto a student in danger of dropping out, we increase our educational challenges.

In 1920, about 27 percent of high school-aged students were in school. In 1950, it was around 75 percent. It shot up into the 80s in 1960 and has inched up and down since then, until now it's in the high 80s or low 90s. (The percent of K-8 students has always been higher than for high school students, but it has followed a similar upward trend.)

Think about today's high schools, with all their well-documented problems. Then think about what they might be like if we kicked out 10 percent of the students—those who combined the lowest achievement scores with the lowest attendance rates and the highest rates of behavior problems. School achievement scores would shoot up, not because the remaining students were scoring higher but because the students whose scores were dragging down the average would be gone. Attendance rates would improve for the same reason. And classroom disruptions would become less frequent. School would be a bit more like the "good 'ol school days" some people reminisce about, when that "problem 10 percent" wasn't in school.

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9 Questions With Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Jonathan Rothschild - TIM GLASS
  • Tim Glass
  • Jonathan Rothschild
Editor's Note: It's the return of 9 Questions! This column was scrapped almost two years ago, but after much thought (and about a billion reader comments) it is back, kicking off with this talk we had with the mayor. Enjoy:

As the mayor of a major Arizona city, Jonathan Rothschild doesn't have a ton a time on his hands. But, that doesn't mean he can't listen to totally rad music. As a Tucson native, Rothschild's music taste has been heavily influenced by the Old Pueblo and his life experiences across the country.   

What was the first concert you went to?

The first concert I ever saw was at the Tucson Community Center, I think I was 15-years-old because I know I wasn’t driving. It was Chuck Berry opening for the James Gang.

What are you listening to these days?

Actually it probably hasn’t changed much. Most recently: Tom Petty, Steely Dan, Mountain, Van Morrison—I love Van Morrison—Jackson Browne, Buddy Guy, Dave Mason and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

What was the first album that you owned?

I’m so old, when I first started listening to music we didn’t buy albums we bought 45s. I do remember that two of my first 45s where “She Loves You” and “I’ll Get You” by The Beatles and “Get Off My Cloud” and “I’m Free” by The Rolling Stones. I was probably 8-years-old and I still have a little box of those 45s.

Tell me one musical trend that everyone loves but you don’t get?

That’s a hard one because I really like all sorts of music. I’ll listen to country, I’ll listen to hip-hop. But, I will admit that something I have never gotten is new age music. I just don’t.

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Quick Bites: Eat Your Trees!

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 10:07 AM

Grab some pomegranate, lemon and orange trees and think about how much juice you'll be able to make. - BIGSTOCK
  • BigStock
  • Grab some pomegranate, lemon and orange trees and think about how much juice you'll be able to make.

Yes, pieces of broccoli look like little trees, but that’s not at all what Mission Garden means by “edible trees,” the focus of its Fourth Annual Membrillo Fest/Edible Tree Celebration, coming up this Saturday and cosponsored by the LEAF (Linking Edible Arizona Forests) Network.

No, in this case edible trees are, of course, trees on which edible goodies grow. And the event is being held to encourage you (and your family) to plant them.

The all-ages celebration—held at a farm near A Mountain—will include exhibits, demonstrations, orchard tours, edible-tree sales (take home whatever produces your favorite produce!) and a class in making traditional cajeta de membrillo (quince paste, a Mexican dessert or snack taken at tea time) and quince jam. The class will be taught by Josefina Lizárraga, a Tucson artist, master cook and edible-plant cultivator (she’s got a whole garden full of edible and medicinal flora, including… pineapples). If you take the class, you get the added benefit of tasting as much quince paste and jam as you want (but OK, Lizárraga will probably let you taste it even if you’re not really participating in the class part).

So come on down to the festival, buy some “edible trees” to take home and plant—and once you can eat what they’re producing, you can skip the broccoli a little more often.

The Membrillo Fest takes place Sat., Oct. 22, from 2–5 p.m., at 929 W. Mission Lane. It’s free.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Justice Denied: McCain Says He'll Block Any and All of Clinton's Supreme Court Nominees

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 4:03 PM

U.S. Sen. John McCain says that if the people decide Hillary Clinton should pick a Supreme Court justice, he'll still obstruct their will. Because he can.
  • U.S. Sen. John McCain says that if the people decide Hillary Clinton should pick a Supreme Court justice, he'll still obstruct their will. Because he can.
Sen. John McCain made an amazing promise earlier today: He would band together with his fellow Republicans to prevent Hillary Clinton from appointing anyone to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

It’s bad enough that earlier this year, Republican senators made up a bogus “tradition” that presidents shouldn’t be able to appoint someone to the bench in the final year of their presidency because “the people” should decide whether a Democrat or a Republican would have the chance to make an appointment. But now it appears that no matter what the people decide, McCain will continue to oppose Democratic nominees.

McCain told a Philadelphia radio station: "I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up. I promise you. This is where we need the majority."

McCain later walked back his statement through a spokesperson. (So his vow to be united against any nominee may not have been a promise?) Team McCain clarified that that McCain would at least look at the nominee’s record, but Arizona’s senior senator remained skeptical that Clinton could put forth the name of judge who wasn’t too liberal for his standards. Kind of a distinction without a difference.

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NAACP Ratifies Resolution Calling For a Moratorium on New Charter Schools

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 3:11 PM

  • Shutterstock
Since the NAACP created a resolution, to be ratified at a later date, calling for a moratorium on new charter schools, it has run into all kinds of resistance. The expected pro-charter groups opposed the resolution, as did the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

This weekend, the NAACP approved the resolution. I sent a personal email congratulating the group on its courage, and took out a membership for the first time.

Black children, who make up 15 percent of the overall school enrollment, make up 25 percent of the charter school population. Clearly the schools are a popular option in black communities. But the NAACP's concern is that too many of the charters attended by black children "mirror predatory lending practices." I'm not sure the analogy works exactly, but the concept is accurate. If you want to find poorly run charter schools where the people who "own" them are out for a quick buck at the expense of the children, look at schools serving children from low income families, whether black, brown or white. It's tough to get away with offering shoddy education to the children of high income, well educated parents, but unfortunately, it's all too easy to stick the words "college preparatory academy" into the name of a school serving low income students and sell it as a way for children to get a better education than they get at their local public schools. As poorly as district schools sometimes serve their children, some charters do even worse.

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The Annual Community Mental Health Arts Show Is Back

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 12:45 PM

Art is a universal language that has the ability to transcend barriers put up by societal differences. The ability to enjoy art, both in its creation and appreciation, is granted to every person regardless of who they are. 

For the seventeenth year in a row, Community Partners Inc. is here to celebrate the importance of art and its benefit to a specific group of people. The 17th Annual Community Mental Health art show is an exhibition that focuses on the artistic work of people who are connected to the public behavioral health system. 

  • Community Partners Inc.

The exhibit is free and will be open from Oct. 26-28 from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with a public reception held from 5- 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 at the Plaza Arboleda Conference Center, 2502 N. Dodge Blvd.

The show will highlight five different categories of art, each with the purpose to shed light on how art has and will continue to positively affect individuals with mental health effects. 

If you would like to submit art visit http://www.communitypartnersinc.org/arts-show. In order to submit art you must be receiving behavioral health services, but in terms of attendance, all are welcome!

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Blueberry Needs a Home

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 11:33 AM


Hi, I'm Blueberry!

I'm a 3-and-a-half-year-old sweet boy and need a new home! I'm a little on the chubby side, so I'm hoping that my new family will be able to provide me with daily exercise, play time and a healthy diet!

I'm a really sweet boy and am very affectionate, but I weigh more than 80 pounds so my new family needs to be ready for some BIG doggy snuggles. If you have a current dog bring them over to the Humane Society of Southern Airzona Main Campus at 3450 N. Kelvin Blvd. to do a meet and greet!

Hope to see you soon!

Lots of love,
Blueberry (832277)

Cinema Clips: Mascots

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Director Christopher Guest, who hasn’t made a movie in nearly a decade, returns with what is easily his worst.

His usual acting corps (minus Eugene Levy) takes a crack at the world of mascots, and I can’t think of a dumber subject for a comedy. Much of the movie is performers in full mascot suits in a competition doing routines that have nothing to them and eat up the running time. There’s a laugh every now and then, but mostly groans, and the subject matter just doesn’t call for a full movie.

Parker Posey has the film’s biggest laugh after eating bad sushi, and it’s not a very big laugh, so that’s not saying much. In what amounts to a truly desperate move, Guest cameos as his Waiting for Guffman character, Corky. His presence in that persona simply reminds us that this once funny guy is now straining for laughs, Mel Brooks style. His improvisatory style has worked before on better subjects (community theater, pet shows, folk music), but this one certainly suggests that he has run out of ideas. In many ways, it actually rips off Best In Show, his pet competition movie.

Mascots is just a less funny version of that movie with people dressed as pets rather than having real animals running around. This is a tremendous waste of everybody’s time, and needs to be removed from Netflix to make room for more shitty Adam Sandler movies.

Available for streaming as a Netflix original.

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