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Re: “In The Flesh: WTF AF with The Exbats, Jade Helm and Dani Boi at Club Congress

Speaking of the exbats, Last week!!

Posted by Firsttimecaller on 07/23/2017 at 12:47 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Reply to So Broken, "And this is exactly why, year after year we go nowhere."

In 1870, Dr. Semmelweiss became the first scientist to not only discover the germ causation of disease but to solve it by having his doctors immerse their hands and arms in a chlorine solution before delivering babies. Instantly, his hospital's baby death rate dropped from 10% to 3%.

Instead of achieving fame, he was mocked and ridiculed by the medical profession and literally driven to insanity, losing his job and dying a horrible death in an asylum.

The medical profession was culturally trapped. Empirical data and logic can't overcome culture, culture is just too strong - it is the body of iron rules that determine our values, beliefs and guide our behavior. Our brains are hard wired to follow to these rules, even though we don't know where they came from.

In this year's AzMerit test, the academic gains from 3rd grade to 8th grade were 25 points per year in math.

But, what if you redesigned the classroom, this 2000 year old artifact from the middle ages? What if you plunged your hands and arms in chlorine? What could you achieve?

My research suggests 100 to 200 points per year as a typical possible outcome for children in poverty and minority children. This would reverse the ethnic achievement gap in one year.

We know what not to do. Education culture assembled its best and brightest rolling out Race to the Top. Result: math scores went down for the first time ever, reading scores, previously on an upward trend, did not improve.

Will we allow education culture to spend another 100 years torturing teachers and the education system with "reform?"

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by on 07/23/2017 at 11:46 AM

Re: “Danehy

Kiss my ass.

Posted by CW13 on 07/23/2017 at 8:04 AM

Re: “Dr. Word Says: Trump Tries His Hand at Poetry

There is a man is the White House...someone that we all know...who has the you know what of a Mouse. As often as he often as he cried...this poor little thing would NOT Grow.

Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/23/2017 at 7:19 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores


I will bow out with the Simple Observation that your Initial Call for a National Curriculum Required for Our National Security is, on the face of it, a Far Cry from simply supporting the Common Core. If, you are simply arguing in favor of states aligning learning objectives without Federal overight and intervention or bribery, that is good enough for me. No harm, no foul.

The Common Core was a fine idea but nothing new, poorly designed and implemented. It was prone to attracting the worst of the worst, those hucksters including publishers, test developers and "school reformers" who would profit from the buckets of cash associated with the effort. Without further infusions of cash, the movement will continue to spiral out of existence and become another footnote in the history of US public education. Our National Security will not be effected.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rick Spanier on 07/23/2017 at 7:14 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

And this is exactly why, year after year we go nowhere. Too many so called experts can agree on nothing. And you guys mock Congress?

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Public Ed Is So Broken on 07/23/2017 at 5:43 AM

Re: “Danehy

If you're not into the Trump bashing columns, than don't read them.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by The Grim Reaper on 07/23/2017 at 12:11 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

"States that fund their schools adequately get good results."

I.e., all it takes to solve Southern Arizona's conspicuous problems with education delivery is add more money to all public districts, including a conspicuously malfunctioning and mismanaged one, which unfortunately also happens to be the largest district in Southern Arizona, "serving" close to 50,000?

No, sorry, it would be nice if the problems we face were that simple and that easily solved, but that's not accurate. It's not sufficient to look at what's going on in the schools. You have to look at the Board meetings and how decisions are made about where available funds will be applied. And that is a time consuming endeavor in a context where you will not only have to contend with changed order of agenda items and significant business buried at hour 4 and 1/2 of a five hour meeting and agenda items postponed from one meeting to the next because the Board President decided to absent himself from discussion and vote, but in order to get a complete picture of the budget you may also have to submit public records requests and engage in the equivalent of forensic accounting to figure out, for example, what was done with 301 and 123 funds, etc.

It's time consuming business being a well informed citizen with enough knowledge of what's going on in our education systems to be able to say with any confidence, "Just add more money and that will solve ALL the problems!" I'd be willing to venture that 99.9% of all the people locally who make that their constant litany have not put in the time necessary to know whether what they are saying is actually valid or not.

5 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by You can't solve the problem if you don't understand it. on 07/22/2017 at 6:13 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Francis. I'll be brief, blow it out your ass !!!

1 like, 6 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 07/22/2017 at 4:44 PM

Re: “Danehy

Well, I'll Tommy this much. He wrote a whole column and didn't bash Trump once. I'm sure he'll double up next week.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 07/22/2017 at 4:41 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Mr. Spanier: As you probably know, our "Founding Fathers" knew all too well that the Viability and Long Term Survival of our Republic is Directly Related to a Viable/Successful System of Public Education; teaching Citizens "to take the measure of a Man"; to Critically Evaluate Candidates for Public Office!!!

I never suggested that the Federal Government or Agency develop and impose "... a national curriculum from the federal agency level to the states and LEAs.

What I did suggest is that Constitutionally, Congress by providing for the "General Welfare" and the Executive's National Security Responsibilities MUST step in if a State/Local District fails in efforts or is not providing it's Citizens with a Quality Education. These problems must be Diagnosed and Remedies Instituted.

Efforts such as Common Core must have the support and encouragement of the Federal Government...."National Curriculum/Assessment Examinations"

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/22/2017 at 3:17 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Agreed, Rick Spanier, on NCLB, RTTT, and on the inadvisability of a national curriculum.

The way to get valid education is not by creating top-down mandates, it is by getting fully educated people with a genuine mastery of and love of their subjects into classrooms. You don't get that by paying them what teachers are paid in too many states, and, though certification requirements are better than no certification requirements, in the current "system" they are no more a guarantee that valid education will necessarily be taking place in every American classroom than machine graded standardized test results are a guarantee of same.

We believe that all our citizens should be fully educated critical thinkers -- our enlightenment-concocted political structure and the ideology behind it requires it, demands it. But when you look at what "fully educated" properly means and how that is achieved, and then you look at the conditions in our society and in our schools, you know it is not currently possible. Four administrations worth of scorched earth federal policy have degraded and damaged educational programs and faculties in every state. Worker protections that guarantee families raising children some kind of economic stability have been undermined. Same with social safety nets. Several state level governance operations have gone completely off the rails (AZ, WI, KS, NJ...) and excellence in local governance is the exception rather than the rule. At this point, with these conditions, a system of universal public education that can produce a uniformly fully educated, critically thinking citizenry is an unrealizable dream, and the current federal administration seems likely to take conditions in a direction that will make that dream less realizable rather than more so.

What to do? Hard to say, in a context where neither major party is presenting policy proposals that are realistic or viable. Choice without any meaningful standards or oversight won't work and cutting off access to alternatives to the public district system won't work because large portions of the public district system are not working. One thing is certain: the Southern Arizona political strategy of lying to the public about what is really going on in public schools and how bad conditions and outcomes have actually become will only make our schools and our communities worse. Decision making by the electorate needs to be done based on facts, not ideologically driven propaganda and politically motivated lies. People who lie to voters or systematically suppress relevant information are not treating the electorate with respect.

"You will smile here at the consistency of those democratists, who [...] treat the humbler part of the community with the greatest contempt, whilst, at the same time, they pretend to make them the depositories of all power." (Burke) A very good gloss on much local political behavior relating to education governance, unfortunately.

6 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Federal, state, & local: all failing at education. on 07/22/2017 at 3:01 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

You're blaming starving children for not having food with these dumb arguments about who controls schools. States that fund their schools adequately get good results. Segregated Arizona? You can forecast test proficiency by zip code. And Huppenthal, you've got some nerve to even comment when you've dedicated your life work to undermining our schools and the pblica confidence in them.

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by BrianS on 07/22/2017 at 2:51 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores


I never once conflated your call for a National Curriculum with the Common Core ... apples and oranges. Common Core died its own slow death but not because it was seen as part of a movement to develop a national curriculum.

There is a profound difference between states cooperating to develop their own "consistent learning goals" in concert with other states and your call for developing and imposing a national curriculum from the federal agency level to the states and LEAs.

"Local Control of Public Education, generally, has been a dismal failure!!...hence the move, by Parents, of their Children, to Charter/Private Schools. We need to turn this around via a National Curriculum/Assessment Examinations." Your words.

Or do you have something else in mind you would like to share?

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Rick Spanier on 07/22/2017 at 1:54 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Mr. Spanier: With all due respect, you have an Egregious/False Notion of National Curriculum (Common Core ) Standards!! They are not IMPOSED by the Federal Government, but, in fact, Developed and Voluntary Adapted by he States Themselves. Please....Please GET THE FACTS before you Criticize!!…

The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade."...." Forty-two states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have voluntarily adopted and are moving forward with the Common Core."...Recognizing the value and need for consistent learning goals across states, in 2009 the state school chiefs and governors that comprise CCSSO and the NGA Center coordinated a state-led effort to develop the Common Core State Standards. Designed through collaboration among teachers, school chiefs, administrators, and other experts, the standards provide a clear and consistent framework for educators."...

4 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/22/2017 at 1:39 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores


Can't dispute your evaluation of failing governments or which is worse in AZ or Tucson. But our state and local education authorities are hardly the norm and there are far better systems in other cities and states. But the proposal to design, implement and enforce a national curriculum takes us from one bad state of affairs locally to an unconstitutional federalized system that becomes even more horrific considering this administration and its Secretary of Education. We live in the worst case scenario with Trump and DeVos in power. Presidents and administrations change but the dangers of a nationalized education system are real whether it's Obama-Duncan or Trump-DeVos.

8 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Rick Spanier on 07/22/2017 at 12:09 PM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Let's see....

Federal Power: Trump et al.

State Power: Ducey et al.

Local Power: the TUSD Board

Frying pan, fire, furnace. Take your pick. Sound education will not survive at the hands of ANY of them. It may not conform to Democratic Party orthodoxy, but in this region Independent and Catholic schools that step outside of the forced mismanagement of federal, state, and local education governance do best in delivering valid academics.

For an interesting thought experiment, try re-reading Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France and asking yourself how much of what he says about the weaknesses in post-revolutionary France's political structure may apply to us. It's a frightening thought in a context where we've shredded so many of the traditions and institutions Burke thought were necessary to provide a ballast and stabilizing influence to the democratically elected portions of the British government.

"The will of the many, and their interest, must very often differ; and great will be the difference when they make an evil choice. A government of five hundred country attornies and obscure curates (in contemporary America, you can sub in "plutocrats") is not good for twenty-four millions of men, though it were chosen by eight and forty millions."

5 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Federal, state, & local: all failing at education. on 07/22/2017 at 11:22 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

Mr. Spanier: You are correct about this "President" and this Congress...and that we are a Republic where the Voters ultimately decide the course of action.....and given that....

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."..... Abraham Lincoln

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/22/2017 at 10:43 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

This is a joke, Francis, right?

You want THIS president and THIS congress to intervene in the states' Constitutional right to provide public education under the guise of a national security threat?


Will the nation's students be forced to sing the Internationale each morning and worship Putin?

Too funny.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Rick Spanier on 07/22/2017 at 10:20 AM

Re: “A Few Thoughts on the New AzMERIT Scores

So you say!!!...and....a failing System of Public Education is a National Security Issue that both the President and Congress have the Constitutional Authority to Address.

3 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Francis Saitta on 07/22/2017 at 10:10 AM

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