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Re: “Gabby Giffords on Las Vegas Mass Shooting: "This Must Stop"

Grow a pair, Wayne.

28 likes, 20 dislikes
Posted by Peabo on 10/02/2017 at 4:00 PM

Re: “Gabby Giffords on Las Vegas Mass Shooting: "This Must Stop"

Why not wait until we have some details about the shooter, the weapons, some more facts, and the possibility that these weapons already were illegal?

Then start by outlawing hate. I see plenty of it right here in the comments section.

23 likes, 37 dislikes
Posted by Wayne Olson on 10/02/2017 at 3:06 PM

Re: “Danehy

Ahhhh. I bet you tell that to all the boys !!

4 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 10/02/2017 at 2:55 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

What's interesting about your perspective, David, is that it always seems to omit reference to the factors of individual choice on the part of parents, politicians, and administrators. That's a choice you make, based on political ideology, that screens out several things that are highly relevant to what happens with educational outcomes and in education policy.

I don't deny that money matters or that culture matters, but individual choice and virtue (or lack thereof) matter as well. Take it from someone who has taught (among other places) in private schools serving primarily high SES families: too often even these families do not know how to, or choose not to, or are too busy to provide optimal levels of support to their children. It's actually quite common to observe kids floundering academically in families where both parents are high income earners in demanding professions. Where can you go to hire the right kind of consistent social, emotional, and educational support for your child from a fully educated, committed, reliable and engaging adult? Talk to a few professional women who've recently become mothers and are looking for it: it is in very short supply indeed. 50 or 60 years ago we decided as a society that two parents working outside the home was the ideal for families of a certain educational / professional level. The formal and informal messages that communicate disapproval to women in those cohorts who leave the workforce to care for their own children are at this point pervasive in this country. Unfortunately, while we were developing that new social (economic?) priority, we forgot to develop solid, high quality services that could keep that societal decision from harming the next generation. It's a massive systemic "oops," that harms kids, parents, and the exploited workers in what is largely still a ghettoized employment area: preschool & K-12 "education."

Leaving aside the now highly politicized area of decisions made within the family, let's admit that in school districts, what choices politicians and administrators make and whether they have sufficient virtue that they deny themselves the $500 per night hotel suites when traveling and $500K per annum compensation packages and whether or not they are willing to prioritize funding allocations that benefit students over contractors, consultants, and political affiliates matters a great deal to the quality of education students receive. And to their test scores.

All this beautiful rhetoric about cultures and poverty has a certain amount of truth to it, and those factors do need to be taken into consideration. But narratives that are built exclusively of factors outside individual control don't end up telling the whole truth and they don't end up providing sound foundations for public policy, either.

7 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Include a few more factors if you want an accurate account. on 10/02/2017 at 1:39 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

Nathan K, let me comment on your question about the link between income and test scores. First, the major problem is not the spending on schools. If you spend more on schools in high income areas and less on schools in low income areas, that compounds the basic problem, but it's not the prime mover.

One of the few things about education we know for sure, based on good international data, is that there's a very strong correlation between family income and standardized test scores. So the question is, why is that true. Here's a few probable reasons, in no special order.

Children from families with adequate income have enough to eat and don't worry about where the next meal comes from. They live in adequate housing where the children most likely can get a little privacy and be guaranteed uninterrupted sleep. They live in reasonably safe neighborhoods where a walk down the street isn't a cause for concern. They have good health and dental care. All those factors mean they are less likely to walk through the school doors with bodies and minds filled with physical problems and emotional worries. As any of us know, when we're burdened with personal concerns, or we have a toothache or a stomach ache, or our stomach in rumbling from hunger, we're going to have more trouble concentrating on things that seem less important than what's going on inside us, like what the teacher is talking about or what's written in some book about a subject that's not intrinsically interesting to us.

Another issue is, higher income parents generally have more education than lower income parents, they generally have jobs which require higher education and they value education more. The children grow up in an atmosphere that emphasizes the same kinds of values as schools when it comes to education. The house has books in it, and the children see their parents reading. They are more likely to be read to. When they go to school, parents expect them to pay attention, do their work and perform well -- and as important, since the parents have been successful in school, they know what to encourage. If a child demonstrates gifts in an academic area, those gifts are encouraged and nurtured. Someone in the home can help the children with schoolwork, or a tutor can be hired. And those children are likely to have a wider range of experiences outside the home which are valuable in terms of their classroom education.

When a child has parents, family and neighbors who have gone to college and are in professions demanding education, they assume that's where they're heading. If they don't attend college, that's the exception, and usually a disappointment to the family. If parents haven't had higher education or tried it for a short time and did poorly, the children don't picture themselves as college material, and if they see college in their future, they get less help and encouragement than if they were in higher income families.

The biggest exception to the correlation between poverty and poor educational attainment is people who are educated and come from cultures which encourage education but for some reason lack money. The most typical example is immigrants who were educated professionals in their countries of origin, then come to their new country with no financial resources. While they are low on the economic ladder, everything about their attitudes is more like people who have more money. They expect their children to attain good educations and become professionals, and their expectations tend to be met by their children. You see that in Asian immigrants to the U.S. who tend to come here with education and come from a culture which values education. From what I read recently, African immigrants to the U.S. are the most educated immigrants to this country in history. No matter where these groups of people fall in the economic spectrum, they're going to encourage their children to excel. One exception from Asia is people from the Hmong ethnic group who come from a culture with little formal education and whose children generally don't do well in our schools. It's a telling exception.

Poverty tends to be a vicious cycle which breeds more poverty, and the U.S. creates fertile breeding grounds by not dealing with some of the root causes of poverty. As someone said, trying to get schools to fix poverty without dealing with the problems in the outside world is like trying to clean the air on one side of a screen door. That doesn't mean we should give up on schools. Schools can do a great deal of good. But to burden them with the task of repairing our societal ills is to ask them to do the impossible.

7 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by David Safier on 10/02/2017 at 12:03 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

If you don't like long comments, you can always skip them. Personally, I don't like reading profanity, so usually I won't bother reading or responding to comments that don't have much to offer besides four letter words. Everyone has their likes and dislikes, and fortunately no one is required to read comments not to their taste.

7 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by It's a free country, as they say, at least in some respects. on 10/02/2017 at 10:48 AM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

The only way to infer the point of view of the commenter who appears now and then to drop profanities into Safier's comment streams seems to be to assume that he or she disagrees with the comments he or she insults. So here I suppose we can assume that he or she doesn't agree that how money is applied in homes and in schools makes a difference to the quality of support or educational services students receive. And / or perhaps he or she does not agree that Title 1 and desegregation funds should be applied to improve the quality of educational services delivered to the populations that should benefit from those funds (the poor and minorities).

It would be interesting to understand how those opinions could be supported. Perhaps one of these days this commenter will state an opinion or a policy preference and be so kind as to explain the rationale for it...?

7 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Why not explain why you disagree? on 10/02/2017 at 9:14 AM

Re: “Looking at Tucson Unified's AzMERIT Scores: Another Approach

The long winded fuck strikes again.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Still not the kind of commentary needed...or wanted on 10/02/2017 at 9:07 AM

Re: “The Skinny

Imma maroon!

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by CW13KnowNothing on 10/02/2017 at 8:59 AM

Re: “Danehy

Azmom and ContemptuousWacko13 obviously don't think at all.

12 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by So Tired of Conservative Assholes on 10/02/2017 at 8:37 AM

Re: “Sinema's In: Democratic Congresswoman Joins Race for Sen. Jeff Flake's Seat

This is so typical of Schumer getting the worst Democrat in the House to run for the Senate. Sinema is not a Democrat, a progressive, or a leader. She has the lowest Progressive Punch score among House Democrats & is owned by Wall Street. She has voted against many efforts to rein in Wall Street excesses including supporting decimating the CFPB. The only Democratic policies she seems so support are those that support the LGBT community. Sinema more of a self-interested calculating careerist like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, than someone who wants to serve and improve her country or Arizona.

This does not bode well for the Arizona Senate race. There were three very electable Progressive Senate candidates: Alan Grayson in Florida, Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, and P. G. Sittenfeld in Ohio. Well, Schumer got his marching orders from Wall Street and recruited three awful primary candidates. Former Republican Patrick Murphy in Florida, Conservadem Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania, and way past his prime Ted Strickland in Ohio. Needless to day all three results of Schumers meddling lost their races; which is why McConnell is still Majority Leader and and the reactionary garbage known as Gorsuch instead of Merrick Garland sits on the Supreme Court.

Surely the Arizona Democratic Party can do better?

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Wileybud on 10/01/2017 at 7:40 AM

Re: “From Wastewater to Cold Beer

How is it decided when water it "fit for drinking"?

Who decides when?

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Anonymous on 09/30/2017 at 10:16 PM

Re: “Sports Scandal Rocks UA Basketball Program

just pay the players already, in terms of revenue to the U of A, the cachet of having a big time mens BB program in Tucson making season tickets more expensive than most broadway plays, they deserve it. The old school mantra of they get a free education, just doesn't make sense with billions in TV contracts in play.
Student athletes add value to the school and to the community, pay all scholarship players, whatever the market determines they are worth!

0 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by laddderflappy on 09/30/2017 at 10:04 PM

Re: “Business Leaders Say, Raise Taxes to Fund Schools

Arizona Rural Schools Association, representing 100 districts serving more than 100,000 students in every county have formally asked the leaders of Arizona's business community to take up the challenge. Steps have been taken to address the needs of our education system, but they don't fully address the needs and if something isn't done to address the end of the current 6/10ths sales tax the future of education in Arizona looks very grim.

Posted by SERickert on 09/30/2017 at 9:14 PM

Re: “Danehy

It's interesting - a friend has for years claimed that throwing money at the problem will not help. Now that there are private schools and vouchers, he says he's 'willing to try anything'. Especially throwing money at the problem.

12 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by W Corvi on 09/30/2017 at 12:56 AM

Re: “Danehy

Think nothing of it Azmom. I've been around here a long time, you get used to it. I could praise the virtues of Mother Teresa and people would hit dislike. And don't ask these people to think on their own. If Tommy says it, that's good enough for them.

5 likes, 20 dislikes
Posted by CW13 on 09/30/2017 at 12:19 AM

Re: “Checkpoint Trauma

I always have a good day 'smile and wave'. Especially after being exonerated in court like I have every time one of CBP's minions has tried to do CBP's dirty work for them.

How many times have your buddies tried and failed now? I'm starting to lose count. You could ask the TOPD though, they may know.

While you're at it, why don't you tell everyone why deputies with the PCSD hang out at the CBP roadblock along SR-86 'smile and wave'. I know I'm looking forward to telling the judge why....

Checkpoint USA

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Checkpoint USA on 09/29/2017 at 11:41 PM

Re: “Have a Little Faith

Beautifully written and makes me feel hopeful.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Carlos Torres on 09/29/2017 at 5:31 PM

Re: “Catalina Foothills Districts Earns Bragging Rights With Its AzMERIT Scores (Or Maybe Not)

I'll be interested to see what David replies -- if he replies. In the meantime perhaps another commenter can add a few thoughts on money and test scores.

High parental income does not cause high test scores. It enables the possibility of higher test scores, when the money is applied in the right way. (Example: when a wealthy family where both parents work 70-hour a week jobs employs a nanny who does not know how to provide the right kind of educational support in the home, their money will not cause their children to have the highest possible test scores those children are capable of having. If, however, they hire a retired teacher who provides the right kind of educational enrichment and support, their money may enable (but not CAUSE) higher test scores -- if, that is (to add another significant variable) their children are willing to apply effort in school. In a poor family, both parents may have to work full time to pay rent and utilities and there may not be enough extra left over to secure the optimal kind of child care for the hours when children are not in school.)

Similarly, public funds allocated to a school district can enable but do not cause higher test scores. They will enable higher scores only if the money is applied in the right way. It is easier in wealthier districts where the families have the means to provide maximal educational support in the home. But let's look at poorer districts, where students come to school with more needs unmet and where helping them learn is harder: if desegregation and / or Title 1 funds are applied to ensure that every classroom in neighborhoods with high concentrations of lower-SES and / or minority families has a qualified teacher in it rather than to build a swimming pool or to add vaguely described "support" positions that have no clear function in increasing the quality of education delivered to students (two examples from the long and baffling history of TUSD's management of its funding supplements), increased funds may have a chance of enabling better test scores.

To sum it up: what enables (not CAUSES) maximal student success is complex and involves many variables, which would include at a bare minimum: 1) sufficient funding at home and in the school system, 2) the right kind of support in the home either from parents or from supplementary care they hire and fully qualified faculty in the schools, 3) intent on the part of school governance and administration to apply funds they control for STUDENT benefit, and 4) some level of oversight both from an active, engaged, knowledgeable citizenry and from higher level authorities within the state's educational system. Then there are always the variables of student motivation and application of effort, without which no amount of resource allocation and responsible oversight can do any good.

Some of the variables needed for maximal student success are missing throughout Arizona and others are missing in some of the institutions in this region. One political party whines constantly about what is missing statewide while ignoring or cloaking the local problems and the other denies the reality of statewide problems while failing to use the means at its disposal (state level institutions and governance) to identify and treat the regional problems.

8 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by It's complicated, and both party ideologies get it wrong. on 09/29/2017 at 2:26 PM

Re: “Fun and (Spy) Games

I thought "mother!" was the weirdest thing I'd see all year until I saw Elton John here, karate kicking people in a peacock suit. As uneven as it is, I loved this movie.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jagger Czajka on 09/29/2017 at 1:01 PM

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