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Milestones online student testing system crashes in test run

The Milestone test is nationally normed, whereas the CRCT was GA curriculum based and not nationally normed. When GA students have been assessed using individually-administered nationally-normed tests, scores have usually been significantly below CRCT scores. The Milestone tests will count big time in teacher and administrator evaluations, at the same time as producing lower student scores. The scores will probably correlate highly with poverty levels (as has always been the case with achievement tests), resulting in teachers and administrators in higher poverty areas (like Clarke County) receiving lower evaluations. We have one of the highest poverty rates in the nation, so long-established correlations suggest that we will also have some of the lowest scores. The you-know-what will hit the fan when Milestone test scores come back next summer, and JUST MAYBE some folks will begin to get it. On the other hand, look for the excuses. We already have a shortage of math-science teachers in teacher training; look for it to drop.

posted @ Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - 08:20

Georgia a leader in poverty

And for some purely political reason, this is never figured into the education formula. We pretend that we are on equal footing with New Hamshire, but because of "poor teaching" we are lagging, thus failing. No wonder (see another article in today's ABH) there is a decline in those enrolling in UGA education. If we must compare, let's compare to other states (or counties) with similar poverty levels. Clarke County has many of the most spectacular teachers I have ever known, but if we compare our test scores to Oconee or Jefferson City Schools, our teachers are comparative "failures." I want to stand on the roof and scream, "The emperor is buck naked folks!"

posted @ Monday, January 19, 2015 - 10:49

Deal proposes $45B Georgia budget as economy improves

No Medicaid expansion, but proposing money to keep hospitals (who are taking indigents) afloat? Wait. What?

posted @ Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 10:01

Deal address highlights; Athens' Cowsert is Senate majority leader

It is not complicated. Some schools UNDERperform because they have many children living UNDER poverty and they are UNDER funded. With the state shifting more and more responsibility to local communities, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In every aspect of life, the bigger the problem, the more resources needed to solve it. Blaming teacher competency is a smoke screen. Advantaged kids will learn despite the teacher. Disadvantaged? Not so.

posted @ Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 08:22

Blackmon: Georgia's patchwork approach to education isn't working

Myra--I am pulling my hair out over this lunacy. You must be about bald by now! Can someone give me the name of any educational expert/researcher who is on an advisory board to our legislators. I am completely serious. Is there an advisory board? Is this public information and how do I access? Policy demands that classroom interventions for students be data based. I want to find out who is advising our legislators and how they are incorporating this research into policy. I am serious about gathering information, not spin.

posted @ Sunday, December 7, 2014 - 08:52

Climate-change deniers are like cult

Appreciate this letter. I am surprised that the ABH even printed the previous one. It was very misleading, presenting the info as Science. OK, it was on the opinion page, as is this one. In the first-grade curriculum in Clarke County, students are expected to master fact vs opinion.

posted @ Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 10:20

Filler: What if politicians just told the truth?

Nailed it! Finally the truth.

posted @ Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - 07:44

Dupuy: Let's politicize Ebola

One of the least partisan pieces Tina has written, and still folks want to politicize HER. Which kinda makes her point, doesn't it? Goooooooo, Tina!

posted @ Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - 08:48

Polman: 'Dark money' driving politics to new lows

Does the donor get to specify how the money will be used? For example, can they say it is to be used for negative advertising against a particular candidate? At what point does free speech become the right to slander? Has any candidate ever sued?

posted @ Friday, October 17, 2014 - 09:35

Petition to White House to pardon Gurley may be losing steam

I wonder how many of these 9000 are angry when the Feds intervene in local education, or God forbid, health insurance? When it's football, politics go out the window. Always.

posted @ Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 06:40

Solid Waste Director Jim Corley to retire in December

I am so pleased to see that we are considering increasing leaf and limb pick up. I was so sorry when it was cut back as less of a priority re budget concerns. These guys do a fantastic job, but if we even have a minor weather event, they can't keep up and the schedule has to be revised, sometimes several times. We end up with mountains of bags and branches in our neighborhood. My friends in Oconee tell me they have weekly pick up. Once a month would be wonderful if it could happen.

posted @ Friday, September 26, 2014 - 08:29

Pitts: Two questions on economics and politics

I am continually baffled as to why the most economically disadvantaged folks vote for candidates whose economic policies do not benefit them at all. I can only figure that they are sucked into the smoke screen of "They're coming to take your guns, your freedom, your Bible...not to mention that they want to turn you gay, will make you speak Spanish, and are evil believers in the false god, science." Of course, most educated CEO's don't give a rip about any of this social agenda, their only fear being that they will lose some of their financial benefit if the playing field is leveled even a tiny bit. A theme throughout history....the poor poor, being used so that the rich can maintain advantage and power. Is there nothing new under the sun?

posted @ Monday, September 15, 2014 - 08:05

Pitts: GOP's biggest threat isn't Democrats, it's demographics

Public school in the US has started this year with white children being in the minority for the first time in our history. It does not matter whether one approves of this or not, it's a fact. This trend will continue. It may not be who we were, but it's who we are and will be. Our two-party system is healthy and at the core of democracy, but both party's need to be based in reality. You can only spin it for so long.

posted @ Monday, August 18, 2014 - 07:47

Stanford: Americans must come to agreement on reality

What Americans have in common is a cultural bias toward competition. We are all about winning, which we translate to mean " there must be a loser." We feel like it doesn't really count if it's win-win, and we most definitely see compromise as lose-lose. Cooperation is not part of our cultural heritage. This is the down side of the AMERICAN SPIRIT.

posted @ Monday, August 18, 2014 - 07:37

Georgia sees nation's highest jump in Medicaid enrollment

I guess I am missing something here. Georgia made a decision not to expand, and yet we have a huge expansion? What am I not understanding about this?

posted @ Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 06:41

Leubsdorf: Models of bipartisanship not likely to gain traction

Cannot recall a time in my lifetime when our country was so anti-cooperation. A house divided against itself....This is a truism and will eventually play out. Hopefully we don't need to go through a mega disaster to relearn this.

posted @ Monday, July 7, 2014 - 07:30

Corporations are people? It's a real legal concept

If corporations (as people) ever get the right to marry, they would have to marry a flesh-and-blood human. If they wanted to marry another corporation, they would have to move to a state that allowed same sex marriage.

posted @ Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 09:12

Morrow: An interesting take on contraceptive decision

Since the court has decided that personal religious beliefs trump federal mandates, does this mean I can deduct a portion of my income tax that goes toward our military involvement in foreign wars? Or do I have to be a corporation to have this freedom? I fear we have opened Pandora's box.

posted @ Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 06:57

Conant: Step away from the screen to improve political climate

Great and well-written article. It's getting harder and harder to find news outlets that present just the facts minus the spin. It's all about ratings (and in the case of newspapers, survival), fueled by the fact that we love to have our own point of view validated. Often I say to myself, "I just wish I could find out the facts" and then form my own opinion.

posted @ Friday, June 20, 2014 - 12:13

Negative ads air again in Georgia Senate race

I know that negative ads appear to "work," but so do trashy reality shows. Can someone give me the name of any politician (either party) who ran a clean campaign and won.

posted @ Friday, June 20, 2014 - 11:46

Pitts: Gun rights 'groupthink' is dangerous

Any movement born of absolutes is bound to eventually extinguish itself. Remember "America--love it or leave it"? Ethics are for the most part situational. Life is gray areas. Any doctrine that does not allow questions, will eventually not sit well with the value American's place on freedom. Ironically the NRA espouses to assure us our freedom via a rigid stance.

posted @ Monday, June 16, 2014 - 07:00

New flashing yellow traffic lights arrive on Athens roads

Much improvement with new light at Jennings Mill and Atlanta Hwy. Now let's finish the job by painting arrows on the two lanes showing direction. There are still folks who are obeying signals and still pulling into the wrong lane.

posted @ Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 12:35

Georgia governor signs bill expanding gun-carry rights

“This is the apple capital of Georgia. And, yes, it’s a community where we cling to our religion and our guns,”

Mom, apple pie, guns and religion. Now ain't that Amurican? At what point have guns and religion become paired? Next thing we'll be pairing prayer and nuclear weapons, as well as meditation and grenades.

posted @ Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 06:09

Most area schools improve on state school report cards

"The scores, strongly correlated with wealth in a school system..."

For decades it has been known that there is a strong statistical correlation between socioeconomic status and academic performance. This is not an excuse, but a reality. That is one of the reasons that we cannot have the expectation that every child will be at the same point at the same time. Everyone can grow, but folks, it is not a level playing field. Let's bless, rather than curse, those teachers who lovingly work with our most disadvantaged, but can't show the "scores" to reflect their diligence.

posted @ Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 06:24

Blackmon: An Easter prayer for love and forgiveness

When I was working with children professionally, I told them that "I'm sorry" wasn't enough. They had thrown the relationship out of balance, and therefore had to work to restore it. They, instead, had to ASK forgiveness, which the offended one might or might not want to give that very moment. Then they had to perform some act of kindness to restore balance. They also had to ask for guidance to control themselves from being a repeat offended. This process slowed down the reflexive "I'm sorry" that frequently is without meaning.

posted @ Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 10:12

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  • Andrew

    Blog: Watching movies by myself

    Summary:  I'm not saying it's lonely to be a movie critic, but we often find ourselves seated alone in an empty theatre when we're watching new stuff. I know people who say they won't go see anything unless they have at least one other person to go with, but I've always enjoyed having the place to myself. I'm not saying it's lonely to be a movie critic, but we often find ourselves seated alone in an empty theatre when we're watching new stuff. I know people who say they won't go see anything unless they have at least one other person to go with, but I've always enjoyed having the place to myself. read more

  • Jim

    No cartoons on racism

    As you might imagine, the vast majority of the editorial cartoons available these days for publication through the syndicate which supplies cartoons to the Athens Banner-Herald/OnlineAthens are addressing the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where the fatal shooting of a black teen by a white police officer has touched off a number of demonstrations -- some peaceful, but many not at all peaceful, with tear gas fired by police officers and gunshots fired by some protester. read more

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