Opponents of Common Core are distinguished by what they dislike…. “Its a federal take over of public school education, philanthropists are trying to dictate the public school education agenda, there was limited teacher involvement in the design, the student testing requirements are absurd, moneyed interests are driving this reform movement, and teacher evaluation methods are flawed.”
Playing to the above sentiments may win votes in the Republican primary but will not necessarily bring victory in the General election. Under the watch of Republican governance in the last ten plus years, public school education has experienced billions of dollars in cuts, Georgia’s overall student achievement ranks near the bottom, unfunded mandates to local school systems have brought about local tax increases, on and on. Given the performance record of Georgia’s public school education system it can be effectively argued that some opponents want more public funds with absolutely no accountability. There is enough substance surrounding this policy issue for any political strategist worth half his or her grain of salt to craft a compelling message to present to the electorate in the general election that will have some penetrating effect on Party allegiance.posted @ Friday, February 21, 2014 - 09:55
You are a big disappointment. For some unknown reason, I expected more conceptual breadth and depth than you have demonstrated on this issue.posted @ Monday, February 17, 2014 - 16:20
Argument of the Tea Party against Common Core, an education reform effort that seeks improvement in student achievement from America's public schools, is that it is a federal take over of public school education. More recently arguments against the initiative have been expanded to include suggestions that philanthropists are trying to dictate the public school education agenda, there was limited teacher involvement in the design, the student testing requirements are absurd, moneyed interests are driving this reform movement, and teacher evaluation methods are flawed. The recent arguments come from renegades in the education profession and their limited thinking sympathizers who want more public funds with absolutely no accountability.
The fundamental distinction within this weird coalition is that one supports an expansion of charter schools, another education improvement effort, and the other does not because it diverts funds away from public schools.posted @ Monday, February 17, 2014 - 11:16
Myra has declared your comments to be "eloquent." Somewhere I read that eloquence sets fire to reason. Based on what I know about the subject matter, the nature and substance of your comments not only lack rationality they reflect a state of delusion. Notwithstanding, I am also cognizant of the fact that history is filled examples of the delusion-ed leading the delusion-ed.posted @ Monday, February 17, 2014 - 07:49
“The bigger issue here is not the content of the bill, though that’s bad enough. The real question is why our legislators have cut billions from public education, (and) then proceeded to vilify schools and teachers for imagined failure; diverted millions to tax credits for private school scholarships, created special breaks for charter schools and required evaluations designed to make public schools look awful.”
Myra, public school failures are not “imagined,” they are real. Their continuing failure provides fuel for the continuing growth of the Charter School movement. The performance measures are no longer high school diplomas, but career and college readiness. See Joel Klien’s, “The Failure of American Schools and,” “System Failure: The Collapse of Public Education” for a current in depth examination. The most recent required data from the No Child Left behind Act also paint a dismal picture and there is considerably more evidence out there.
Sure, not all schools are failing, but from a national and state perspective the facts speak loud and clear. “Nearly three decades after A Nation at Risk, the groundbreaking report by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, warned of “a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people,” the gains we have made in improving our schools are negligible—even though we have doubled our spending (in inflation-adjusted dollars) on K–12 public education. On America’s latest exams (the National Assessment of Educational Progress), one-third or fewer of eighth-grade students were proficient in math, science, or reading. Our high-school graduation rate continues to hover just shy of 70 percent, according to a 2010 report by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, and many of those students who do graduate aren’t prepared for college. ACT, the respected national organization that administers college-admissions tests, recently found that 76 percent of our high-school graduates “were not adequately prepared academically for first-year college courses.” While America’s students are stuck in a ditch, the rest of the world is moving ahead. The World Economic Forum ranks us 48th in math and science education. On international math tests, the United States is near the bottom of industrialized countries (the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), and we’re in the middle in science and reading. Similarly, although we used to have one of the top percentages of high-school and college graduates among the OECD countries, we’re now in the basement for high-school and the middle for college graduates. And these figures don’t take into account the leaps in educational attainment in China, Singapore, and many developing countries.
Which is the better approach to curing the problem; straight talk or anecdotal feel good musings? We both share a support for public school education. We differ in how best to address the challenges that confront public school education. I believe public school educators should know the nature and substance of the challenges they face. They should know how their overall performance is being measured. Apparently you embrace in the encouragement approach by focusing on the positives, minimizing the negatives, and attacking the reform movement. Your approach is like wetting on yourself in a dark suit, you get a warm feeling but no one notices.posted @ Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 13:46
As you know very well, open and honest dialogue demands straight talk, mutual respect, and no cheap shots.
"And if you believe there is a "paucity of evidence" to support current practices, you haven't been reading the current independent research." Quite a play on my words, totally unnecessary, and in no way compel me to justify.
Because of your problems with the associated deficiencies in assessment, most of your writings suggest scrapping Common Core rather than refining it. Is that a correct assessment? I know that, along with other reasons, are the driving forces behind other opponents. There are Good reasons and Real reasons behind the opposition. Distinguishing which is which is quite a challenge for even the best of minds and the well intentioned. In the process some people get used up.
If you had made your piece problem and solution focused it would have presented less of a problem for me. After all, you claim to have gotten some good suggestions from your recent solicitation.posted @ Monday, February 10, 2014 - 15:07
With due respect, what you are suggesting is the equivalent of suggesting
patients operate on themselves or defendants represent themselves in a
court of law.
There is a paucity of evidence supporting a continuation of the current state of public school education. The voice of advocates who want to maintain the status quo, as well as the perennial critics of public school improvement efforts are being silenced by a growing charter school movement.
Why do teachers test students? They do so to ascertain what the students have learned? Standards without some form of reliable assessment are meaningless.posted @ Monday, February 10, 2014 - 12:07
I saw no value in responding to any of the reactions to my diatribe because I truly believe we all love and support public school education. However, for some unknown reason I woke up this morning with the compulsion to make one more statement on the matter.
There is a paucity of evidence supporting a continuation of the current state of public education. The voice of advocates who want to maintain the status quo, as well as the perennial critics of public school improvement efforts are being silenced by a growing charter school movement.posted @ Monday, February 10, 2014 - 10:28
Thanks a million. You expressed my sentiments much better than I could have done. All people who love human dignity are sick and tired of the saga.posted @ Sunday, February 9, 2014 - 21:22
I have to respectfully and strongly disagree with you on this one. The evidence is quite clear and indisputable. For the last twenty or so years public school student performance has been on the decline. The decline occurred under the leadership watch of professional educators…whether in matters of student discipline, curriculum design, innovative teaching methods, and so on… their opinions, suggestions, and offerings prevailed.
Castigating Gates, Bloomberg, and other philanthropist for their commitments and dedication to improve the current state of affairs is not only wrong but irresponsible. Their ability to provide their children with the best educational opportunity has no bearing on what they are trying to do to improve public school education. As a matter of fact, the glaring distinction in quality and outcome could have been one of the catalysts for their actions. You are very wrong in playing to the misguided misperception that they are trying to dictate rather than facilitate improvement in a system that is in need of change.
To the critics, I say with first hand experience, that there never has been and will never be a perfect performance appraisal system. I personally supervised the redesign of a performance appraisal system for a workforce of better than two thousand. No, it was not a perfect redesign and yes it had to be refined with experience. But it sure was better than the old system.
In this matter of critical importance its time to stop playing to emotions and deal with the reality at hand. After all, the future of our country is at stake.
Grady L. Cornishposted @ Sunday, February 9, 2014 - 06:39
"What is Gov. Deal’s alternative strategy for improving the lives of these 400,000 Georgians?"
A goodly number of voters who support Deal do not favor helping these Georgians and he will do what they want. I am sure there is a compelling reason although I have not heard or read it yet.posted @ Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 21:00
Excellent satire!posted @ Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 04:55
This article does not mention the specific changes the Governor ordered to the State Health Benefit Plan. Does anyone know what they are or where to go to find out?posted @ Monday, January 27, 2014 - 21:18
Given the money being made from chronic political discord and the many within and among the citizenry who define themselves by it, the effort is a swim up stream but I welcome it. Bi-partisanship will truly come as the electorate becomes more engaged and demand that gerrymandering be taken out of the hands of elected officials.posted @ Saturday, January 25, 2014 - 06:11
@friendlyfire: Thanks for taking the time to generate this more substantive response.
As I understand it, the state decision to switch from United Health Care to Blue Cross took place before "Obama Care" mandates became effective.
Notwithstanding, the fact remains that the state has not been transparent or forthright in the way it has handled the increases, which is a major cause for the uproar. Moreover, the explanation and justifications provided so far are muggy at best. Though thoughtful, nothing in your more substantive response adds clarity, as far as I can see.
Your suggestion that "As far as rates going up, if you had been paying attention, you could have seen the increases teachers are going to have to pay for their insurance coverage coming" is quite a stretch in the assignment of responsibility. Under the Exchange provision of " Obama Care" the insured is granted the opportunity to shop for the best plans and rates. In the instant situation, that opportunity was not provided. Unlike private employers, it could be effectively argued that the State has a duty, if not obligation, to be transparent and forthright to us policy holders. After all, past and present employees pay premiums and taxes.
Finally, redirecting the State's failure or willful neglect of its duty/ responsibility to "Obama Care" is neither related to the subject of this article nor the source of the uproar. It is no more or less than a full embrace of one of the reasons the Governor's office provides for the increased premiums, deductions, and co-pays.
Again, thanks for taking the time to provide a fuller explanation of where you were coming from in your prior comments.posted @ Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 22:17
A little friendly admonition...you really should not make any further comments on this subject. Not only do your rants lack relevance and connectivity, they glare with an immense degree of shallowness.posted @ Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 16:19
"Your employer can decide to negotiate a new group policy that shifts more of the cost to the employee. Employees of the State of Georgia are now realizing the Deal administration did exactly that."
Well said! Where do the Blue Cross claimed overall savings of 1.5 billion go? If they go into the State budget then these increases to policy holders are tantamount to a tax increase. I am open ears for a sound justification.posted @ Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 11:30
Lack of choice of health plan provider, higher deductibles, premiums, and co-pays are affecting a group of people who is less susceptible to buying into the spin crap...and as a retiree I am one of them. I plan to participate in the February 8 demonstration at the Capitol to express my displeasure, and 50 of the people I have called have also agreed to come. This is an action issue that is way beyond partisanship.
I have known the Governor since 1973 and personally like him very much but this is a pocket book issue that affects the well being of a lot people.posted @ Monday, January 20, 2014 - 14:49
"And let’s not forget that Deal has, in effect, cut teacher incomes dramatically for 2014 through the new state health benefit plan. When I was a state employee, our health plan had reasonable deductions and co-payments, but that’s not the case any more."
Blue Cross claims higher premiums, deductions, and co-pays will save Georgia 1.3 billion overall. Why these savings were not passed on to the policy holders? If the savings go to the state budget then the increase costs are tantamount to a tax increase.posted @ Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 19:54
Though not on the radar screen as of this writing, another emerging issue is the controversy over the State Health Benefit Plan, which affects 650,000 state employees, teachers, retirees and dependents, as well as other school personnel. As of January 1, 2014 the new provider became Blue Cross.
According to yesterday’s article in the ABH, “Georgia Teachers rally against State Health Plan”, there are two claims behind the switch. Blue Cross claims that its contract will save the state more than $1.5 billion overall. The State Department of Community Health, which administers the plan, claims the contract will save an estimated $200 million this year.
The leading complaint is about the lack of choice of health plan providers, higher deductibles and premiums. Notwithstanding the discrepancies about how much will be saved, the question that demands an answer is why the savings are not passed on to the policy holders in the form of reduced premiums and lower deductions. If the savings go into state coffers then higher premiums are tantamount to a tax increase.
It’s a significant issue that has election year implications.
Grady L. Cornishposted @ Sunday, January 12, 2014 - 22:22
@Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass:
Thanks for the invitation but I do not engage in polemics.posted @ Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 19:54
"I don't mind somebody telling me "abide by rules of decent conduct and do the right thing," but don't tell me "this is how everybody, including you, should think."
I did not see any such suggestion in Jim's editorial. Are you speaking in hypothetical terms?
Based upon the substance of your overall comment, it appears that you agree with the ABH that reasoned and respectful dialogue is a value worth promoting?posted @ Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 17:14
@davidxto: “I'd say that we just had the beginning of an on-line dialogue. That's something that apparently seems to be almost unthinkable and beyond the scope of most newspapers.”
Quite the contrary. Jim Thompson stated early on that “There was some hope, naive as it appears in retrospect, that online commenting would become a venue for reasoned public discourse.”posted @ Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 14:13
“Not so long as it's calling its forum "public", and not so long as it's taking your, mine and everyone else's tax revenues in its capacity as serving as the county's legal organ. You don't get to decide which subset of the public is worthy, and which unworthy.”
Really? That is a pretty strong assertion. While I cannot speak with certainty, I doubt that the ABH would relinquish its right to control its forum as a condition of being the county’s legal organ. My doubts are based upon on the belief that the ABH, given its years of experience and money at risk, would not expose itself to that extent.
On what basis do you assert that the ABH does not have the right and duty to determine what community values it wants to promote, another strong assertion?
You suggest that “because it's not their living room, it's our classroom” the ABH does not have a right and duty to determine what community values it wants to promote. Even classrooms, whether public or private, have rules of conduct.
Note: At the time of this response I was not aware of Barryhollander"s informative comment.posted @ Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 13:46
Summary: Fun facts: The first-ever Oscar ceremony, held in 1929, ran a brisk 15 minutes. By contrast, the longest was in 2002, clocking in at a monstrous 4 hours and change. As usual, there are things I loved about it and things I didn't. Rather than be snarky or complain, I'll offer a few suggestions on how the organizers might bring the show into the 21st century. Fun facts: The first-ever Oscar ceremony, held in 1929, ran a brisk 15 minutes. By contrast, the longest was in 2002, clocking in at a monstrous 4 hours and change. As usual, there are things I loved about it and things I didn't. Rather than be snarky or complain, I'll offer a few suggestions on how the organizers might bring the show into the 21st century. First, a few thoughts on the winners: read more
Athens-Clarke County police officers responded to Pinewood Estates North on a 911 call concerning a heated domestic dispute. it reportedly was an argument over the lack of heat and food in a family's trailer and a woman was threatening to stab anyone who tried to take away her 7-month-old child. State patrol responded also, from their post nearby on U.S. Highway 29 North. The situation apparently was resolved. An officer reported he was driving the woman and infant to another home in Athens. read more