Belluz and Hoffman add little to the debate and appear equally compromised. Unfortunately, they both answer to interests with something to sell, and this time it is a very expensive, partly effective new vaccine.
On healthcare, Americans are right to be skeptical. There are plenty of snake-oil-salemen, and carpet baggers among us, and even in high public office or on the Op-Ed page masked as "real" journalists.posted @ Saturday, December 21, 2013 - 13:52
@Bearhand: We have an older corps of SPED teachers who really can perform awe-inspiring miracles with students in various needs categories. This was true in many districts before IDEA. On the other hand, in some categories, it is unreasonable to expect that a DOWN kid might one day become a doctor or lawyer. As harsh as that may sound, still harsher is a level of spending not in line with reality which brings all outcomes to a lower level. Despite the rhetorical flourishes in IDEA and NCLB, resources are NOT unlimited and spending in one category means funding the other will diminish.
Generally, of course, I blame much of this on our system of second-stringers doing "ed leadership" in the schools. They have refused to prioritize spending between sped and non-sped students and their teachers; many of them, as well, are SPED-babies, too, which means they are always siding with the poor SPED teachers and running rough shod over the real work-horses that are the regular education teachers.
Athenians should be proud of the advances we've made in the education of children with special needs. But they should realize, as well, the diminishing returns we see given unlimited spending on SPED; and they should not accept the "equal outcomes" goal as superior to a disparate output seen if we spend, adequately, to help top-performing students accede to their highest capability.posted @ Saturday, December 21, 2013 - 13:06
[quote][b]keepitsimple[/b] - Enjoy your high and Merry Christmas[/quote]
Thanks, KIS, for a worthy retort!
Generally, it has been pretty easy to get a job in teaching, though for economic reasons, it has become more trying lately. What's more, I would argue there is evidence those in the schools are worked harder and sometimes treated with disrespect, etc., by high-handed, sometimes political appointees, in administration. Bottom-line: The schools can treat their students no better than are the mainline teachers treated by higher-ups.
If it's harder to get a job in education today, no doubt it's still the case that getting a job in SPED is easiest of all due to the uptick in vacancies wrought by legislative fiat and by the fact that the job is relatively easy with no experience required. This is why some schools offer a "twofer" when they wish to hire a good coach: He gets the coach job, and the wife gets the SPED job! In fact, these positions, very often, are spots in a newly robust "spoils" system where higher-ups, including BOE members, Principals and other "gatekeepers" reward political supporters with jobs, jobs, jobs!
In the previous 2 decades MUCH has changed in public schools with regard to recognizing the unique needs of students. I'd argue the whole thing (SPED agenda) has gone too far, and does more harm than good.
Traditionally, public schools have sought to educate and manage all children including the disabled. The effectiveness of such programs depended on dedicated and experienced teachers who can manage kids with disorders such as Down Syndrome, autism, ADHD, and physical limitations including cerebral palsey, etc. Generally, "big-rich" school districts have done a better job than poorer rural districts for a variety of reasons. THIS was the status quo before IDEA and NCLB.
IN the past, parents of disabled kids often took responsibility for managing them; today, such students are foisted off on our educational systems with a federal guarantee that "all their needs will be met" or else! In some cases, very seriously disabled kids are delivered to our schools which, themselves, have had to retransform, partially, into quasi-medical facilities with all the expense and liability that entails. Generally, I don't believe our public schools -- in addition to their responsibility to educate children -- ought also serve as physical and mental rehabilitation centers.
Post IDEA and NCLB, schools did see a rapid rise in the numbers of various categories of SPED teachers at the same time evolving rubrics ferreted-out increasing numbers of students (highly, moderately, mildly intellectually disabled ... ETC!) who qualified for such services. In many cases, the letter of the law had to be interpreted on the ground because conventions were not yet established. Generally, pro-SPED activists wrote into policy rubrics rules that encouraged parents of disabled students to demand more effective programs and the laws facilitated school-changing lawsuits against districts. Under the rules, SPED students were to be educated in the "most appropriate setting," and funding for such services was on a "whatever-it-takes" basis. The rub? Neither federal mandates came with funding. Secondly, even if they had been funded, the spending authority was a blank check with no apparent upper limit. This has meant a great uptick in SPED spending that has come directly out of the regular education budget.
As noted, higher education training programs in schools of higher education have picked-up the impure mantle that were the general guidelines and goals of special education law: That the disabled deserved more effective programs. Interestingly, UGA recently hired as dean of its school of education a leader who comes from the SPED side of education; in other words, this new "trend" may be operated to dominated ALL educational theory and therefore to subvert and undermine plain old-fashioned hard core teaching of the brightest and the best. As noted, the thinking remains, perhaps, that "equal outcomes," even if lower than before, trumps the disparity generated when we educated the highest performing to their highest abilities. This is not to say that those who teach the disabled are taking the "easy way out." As you note, there is quite a bit of paperwork involved, such as the production of IEPs for individual students. STILL, workloads between regular and special education teachers remain disparate with the majority of the hard work done by regular education teachers who operate in a more limited funding environment because SPED teachers and students have hogged so many of the available resources. Regular education teachers, as well, under new rubrics, must teach their students to reach real, concrete goals of literacy; SPED teachers, on the other hand, have much smaller caseloads with only vague, ill-defined goals. As noted, over time, those in education "get it," and flee to SPED and away from the real-deal that is the life of a regular education teacher. Other hideouts where workers can be "safe" in the schools (face much lower workloads without being under the gun to make their students meet rigid standards of knowledge)? Counseling. PE coach. Culinary Arts instructor. Etc. Etc.
Granted, greater inputs in SPED education means these students progress further. That was never in dispute. But the way the funding is looked at never questions "diminishing returns" or the way SPED funding eats-up that available for non-disabled students. My thread, really, is to encourage real, meaningful limits on SPED spending in line with what is possible; as noted, the wispy basis for modern SPED only argues we ought spend "whatever it takes." In the real world, that is unsustainable and unfair both to regular education teachers, and to their students.
As your sharp comments make clear, new federal mandates have created within public education a "two camps" mentality. In the schools, many SPED programs are headed by a director, and other levels of a new bureaucracy that has grown-up in recent years. SPED teachers, who are certainly well intentioned, would like the same levels of respect and pay that regular education teachers get, though the latter, often have many more years of experience, must meet more rigourous standards of learning outcomes, and have much larger workloads RE planning, teaching and evaluating. It doesn't help, either, that many SPED groups conduct their own "faculty meetings" during the day when kids are in class; effectively, they abandon their posts to get a little down time (while they rail, among themselves, about the latest "outrage" against SPED teachers by ungrateful regular ed teachers!); regular education teachers NEVER do that, but meet in faculty meeting after students have left for the day!posted @ Saturday, December 21, 2013 - 12:34
Grimes' confidence in secularization as some sort of salve for the masses is high-minded and reminds of his disconnect from the folks he claims to uphold.posted @ Friday, December 20, 2013 - 14:55
It should raise eyebrows, particularly in NE Georgia, where poultry production and processing is a significant part of the economy.
We are regularly treated to unctuous dispatches from some employed in "safe-from-outsourcing" employment encouraging Athenians to "stay in school" or "work in jobs that cannot be shipped overseas!"
Over-time, however, we will witness the falsity of such notions; granite AND poultry!; medical care, finance, education, auto repair, etc; ALL OF IT -- outsourceable ... or "insourcable," where talent is imported, to displace "rich" Americans, or do the jobs citizens "refuse to do."
We need only note our relative wealth, and the fact that competitors wish to have it for their own.posted @ Friday, December 20, 2013 - 14:01
But home, private, and religious schools are generally more effective. I'd not single out the "public" schools for special punishment, but pit various operations against one another in a bid for customers. In some ways, this is already taking place. This is why I think the public ought not limit their views of education, per se, to just the public schools; in fact, they are no more public, generally, than are our home and religious schools.
Generally, much of the "venom" aimed at education today is misplaced; the failure of education did not downsize the American economy. Our political leadership did that!posted @ Friday, December 20, 2013 - 13:33
[quote][b]avenger[/b] - When America has taken away the hope for citizens to rise above their station in life, to a better standard of living and to the American Dream, the incentive for entrepreneurism declines[/quote]
More or less, you have summarized the incentive for hard work and entrepreneurism. If I'd had my way, I'd have not brought the U.S. to this point. But still, YOU ARE HERE!
Even if finance supports higher studies, evenly, in the future, fewer have faith they'll recoup educational investments. Likely, funding has already peaked and now is headed for a bottom.
Changes in the U.S. economy, as well, mean fewer have the leisure time necessary to devote to scientific inquiry. One would guess that old models -- say of a Monk who studies genetics -- based on spiritual, theocratic colonies and organizations may re-emerge as one of few viable options. This scientific inquiry "default" position has a much longer history than or modern connotation. It is more robust, obviously. AND, secularists needn't worry that faith-based science might become "politically correct."
(For THAT to occur, you need secularized institutions such as UGA where scientists push "global warming" as an almost tenet of faith. It is the price of admission, there.)posted @ Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 13:04
[quote][b]avenger[/b] - And nothing could better symbolize China overtaking America than its taking our place on the moon, walking over footprints first laid down, then casually abandoned, by us.[/quote]
In the U.S., continued human curiosity will drive science and discovery. Even while the "coast is clear" and resources are aplenty, U.S. policy -- at both the state and federal levels -- has severely undermined manufacturing, technology, and science, and may be set to further worsen the environment for many years.
In a real sense, U.S. achievement has returned to a default level where discovery is freely dissipated and research and study of basic science generates little economic leverage or advantage. In this context, the endeavor is driven by personal interest and not in pursuit of a financial reward. (The majority of science was discovered/ learned in such a context; the "big-rich" science machine (WWI-Vietnam War) of the U.S. and other developed nations was a temporary aberration.)posted @ Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 18:37
Got a sampler of chicken mull there one time. Mostly I stopped in for "to go" sandwiches and stuff on the way to Broad R. Sorry they are closing up and they will be missed.posted @ Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 18:26
Conant finally delivers as one of the ABH's highly paid and respected Op-Ed writers, if only inadvertantly.
Democrats’ intransigence on reducing spending and Republicans’ refusal to consider revenue increases have combined to create our enormous $17 trillion debt.
But this struggle is only one about how best to treat our collective ills. Offer more relief! Exhort the crippled to arise and walk!
Such a controversy is a minor concern in the face of the collapse of the U.S. economy. There was NO intransigence, or refusal, to proffer free trade pacts, loosened capital controls or hesitation to grin and 'wink' as millions of immigrants bolted the fence, and created a labor surplus in the U.S. No gridlock at all! Instead, there was complete and utter solitdarity, and fraternity! AND, THERE STILL IS!
If the media, per se, weren't wholly owned and operated by Even More Global Hyperconsumer R Us, perhaps we'd hear the truth, instead of be witness to a cheap circus side-show claiming political division has come home to roost. NO, political UNITY, and stupidity, finally destroyed the American Dream in Detroit, and everywhere!posted @ Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 16:16
Few liberals get to live in the same "borrow-and-spend" economies they advocate for everyone else. Except in Detroit.posted @ Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 16:04
Thanks for that link! In the short term, I would guess price volatility may trump either inflation or deflation in the U.S. Political leaders are "safer" from deflation than they are from inflation, I think. If citizens cannot afford food and other essentials, political leaders must call forth the police, later the military, and sometimes a friendly travel agent.posted @ Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 15:52
NeSmith's presented "model" aka "branding" is all about image, and not substance. Substance, before image, is the proper sequence.posted @ Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 14:34
This is about all our modern understanding machine is capable of, though. We see this "victory" as justification for our modern economy and leadership. It is THIS sort of celebrated man -- held-up by left-thinking and feeling Obamamen -- who is proof PROOF of our deliverance from the usual critics of the West, capitalism, moral relativism, hyper-consumption -- and saving the best for last -- spending more than we make!!!
Hope it works, guys! From the coverage, like a charm!posted @ Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 17:04
Generally, I like the concept of popular revolt and wholesale "fixing" of the government. But I know, the left only wishes to get rid of the right and then get back to some serious borrowing and spending ... so I have a caveat: We depose your President and Party the same time as we oust the Republicans!
Our leaders always like to pass new rules about behavior for the little people. They may tell us we cannot smoke in a bar or on the street or in a park.
I'd like some common sense rules for their behavior:
If a Congressman sponsors legislation that mandates an expenditure that is unfunded, then he, his family, and heirs will fund that spending. If a local commissioner pushes a bond issue, he pledges his personal collateral, first, to cover any losses or problems with repayment.
On bank law, when a bank goes bust we close it: Then, we claw-back ALL the personal property of those who ran the bank including the assets of their family members and children. Sorry!
PS: When an industry Too Big Too Fail needs a "bail-out" we first bill all elected leaders who had accepted any campaign contributions from the bankrupt entity. If they don't have the money lying around, we put a lien on their property until every penny of the lobbyists money goes back into the rescue fund. Oops!posted @ Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 16:48
In the end, your insistence that outright repeal of the law is the only reasonable response to its problems may prove to be the course that should be taken, however politically unlikely it may be that such a thing will happen.
Yes, amending or repealing the law rests upon a unified Congress, and that is no where in sight. With some exceptions, our media, including the ABH, has done a mediocre job of reporting the facts about the implementation, and unintended consequences. We mostly hear a few liberal anecdotes about successes, but have no real data indicating how it has affected most people. Like the Op-Ed, itself, objectivity, data and the truth are all relative to political points of view. Because democrats led by PBO supported and passed the law, the liberal media seems unwilling to provide critical coverage, and very willing, now with the words of Jim Thompson, lash out at anyone critical of the Obama-Baby!posted @ Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 14:48
[quote][b]davidxto[/b] - Censorship is the low point for local journalism.[/quote]
Silencing the messenger does not a policy fix create. I'll not make my former mistake again, though. I have no evidence the powers-that-be are singling out posters based on their political point of view. I still don't believe they ever published Mr. Lowry's Op-Ed about the solid waste department. That might be something of a low-point in recent history.
I have flip-flopped on comments, as I have admitted. Stopping them -- appended to news articles -- could be considered "censorship."
When posters consider comments underneath stories perhaps they should ask themselves how they would feel if the story involved a loved one, or even themselves?posted @ Monday, December 9, 2013 - 15:45
[quote][b]jtsim[/b] - Do you mean the comments or just the story in general when you said it represented another low point for local journalism?[/quote]
I mean, journalism, first. I didn't think the comments were particularly harsh, but as noted, I don't think the paper ought allow appended comments.
This story went from petty shoplifting to "outing" someone. These additional details heaped ridicule on the alleged offender, violated his privacy, and subjected him to public humiliation. None of this information was pertinent to the need for public knowledge; the details, apparently self-confessed, do seem to indicate motive. If anything, officers and the public ought remember Miranda and the right to remain silent! This is NOT what a newspaper should be doing, imo. Of course, the ABH gets many things right and I certainly am supportive, generally, of their efforts and appreciate the comments, mostly.posted @ Monday, December 9, 2013 - 15:35
I'm sticking with my position about allowing NO comments appended to articles in the paper. The notes under the story about the shoplifter represented what I think was another low point for local journalism; and that's really saying something, if you think about it!
BUT, I realize many like reading and writing those comments and believe "corporate" thinks page-views are more important than ethical, moral or personal qualms. So it's all " it ain't broke ...."
ATTN CORPORATE: Long-term, solid, stable investments in personnel who report the news is THE answer. PS: I need a job!posted @ Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 17:25
@avenger: Yes, my comments were over the top, and I don't believe the "left" is out hunting down rightist Op-Ed writers or conservatives ... of course, I don't think the opposite is true, either.
When Op-Ed writers decide to no longer write for the paper, we simply lose a point of view; same thing with those who make comments.posted @ Saturday, December 7, 2013 - 13:28
[quote][b]davidxto[/b] - 2) The editors and staff have declared open war on anonymous posters, especially those who are not on the far left.[/quote]
The left in this town would systematically hunt down and exterminate all the non-believers. You see, they must destroy the village to save it.
Note: I decided to edit my comments, here, because I think they were too harsh towards those on the left. We have lost Op-Ed writers for various reasons but we have gained others. I regret that my comments may have offended some, I am sorry for that.posted @ Friday, December 6, 2013 - 16:09
"In many countries globalization has meant a hastened deterioration of their own cultural roots and the invasion of ways of thinking and acting proper to other cultures which are economically advanced but ethically debilitated."
" The process of secularization tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal. Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially in the periods of adolescence and young adulthood which are so vulnerable to change. As the bishops of the United States of America have rightly pointed out, while the Church insists on the existence of objective moral norms which are valid for everyone, “there are those in our culture who portray this teaching as unjust, that is, as opposed to basic human rights. Such claims usually follow from a form of moral relativism that is joined, not without inconsistency, to a belief in the absolute rights of individuals."
That, from the latest Papal Exhortation.posted @ Friday, December 6, 2013 - 14:59
Brown's economic diagnosis seems weak-minded at best, but it is still far superior than what we get from elected leaders, actual economists, and self-described journalists.posted @ Friday, December 6, 2013 - 14:27
I kind of like this editorial about Dugan's efforts. "Torturous" is right!
STILL, over the period of a generation, national, state and local sentiments and practices increasingly reflect secular values before traditional religious views. We are encouraged to believe our "new" diversity somehow makes us a more sensitive, efficient, productive and, most-importantly, prosperous people.
Even in rural school districts, principals and APs and BOE members fret and worry about whether the image their imagery projects is politically acceptable. Getting it "wrong," of course, brings national condemnation from at least the NYT, and probably all the rest riding the PC bandwagon. For secularists, the fear put in "us" as to whether our values are inappropriately displayed must be the subject of great mirth. We are to be ashamed of our values. Are they ashamed of theirs?posted @ Friday, December 6, 2013 - 13:57
ABH has lost Op-Ed writers as well. Not sure if the numbers of journalists are down, what they are paid, and how much money admin consumes ... or the general financial condition of the paper.
I do worry about readers and posters. I have very little faith in "anonymity" and in these times controlling the dialogue means a sustained psychological and perhaps even physical attack and coercion of people who "don't believe" or are "negative." I am noting a greater level of cooperation on the left to target mostly conservative critics of local government and everything else. This is because local institutions remain "on edge" and fear further restraints on their once limitless spending authority. Many hold onto those jobs (public institutions) like they were gold and unscrupulous managers ride herd over a frightened and intimidated corps of workers. Is it worth ALL THAT, Mr. Allan Reddish??!! (ACC HR Head Harry Owens? CCSD HR Head Ernest Hardaway? UGA HR Head Duane Ritter??)
Last I looked, the Red & Black seemed poised to "reunify" with the PR arm of UGA because it can't make a go of it. Incest.
WGAU??? I liked the PBS channel from ATL a lot better! Now, it's "all the secularization propaganda you can swallow, and then some!"
Flagpole seems flush aka no cars were repossessed this week; and they've upped page views because Blake updates some news during the week. But not this week!
Locally, WGAU has gone to an FM signal and they have added programming such as Zoller and Bryant that means additional hours of interesting listening. Apparently, the signal still carries a short distance and may fade out as you approach Winder. One wonders why they'd upgrade to FM but still refuse to finance the broadcasting power necessary to carry the signal far and wide. Oh well! At least in my case, it means I can listen to it in the car; before it would not pick up the oh-so-weak AM signal! And, with co-hosts, there is always the potential for an on-air fight ...!
I wish the ABH would run more local news, and abort a lot of the "filler" national liberal agenda AP stories and what not. I hate the way they run all the local institutional PR puff pieces with little questioning of the powers-that-be.
I still decry appended comments to news stories, though before I thought they were ok, and respect the fact others disagree. Flip-flop!
I think some of the work in the media, lately, shows Athens has built-up more influence regionally, state-wide, and now-I'm-gonna-vomit, even nationally! I am noting the way the Kingston interview (where he said he voted for Obama and would kill to keep "Obamacare!") got picked-up and run around the world. It was produced locally! The snark attack on Broun, of course, is NOT journalism but a smear campaign but it will go national, at some point, because our local media is as craven and partisan as the big girls running the NYT propaganda feed. Wish Blake, Rebecca, Pete, and the rest would hop a flight to NYC and never come back!
The AJC is buying ads in the ATH market to encourage locals to subscribe. (When you make online access "free" I will begin reading the paper again; right now I skip it and you are wasting money running those ads in "my" market! Sorry, Kevin!)
At UGA and in our USG system we have a chance to lead. With a new Regent Chair, it remains to be seen what will be done. I expect a little housekeeping some more money along with more requests; and about the same old thing. Deal and many other political leaders fail to understand the way education in GA has declined; and that, not more money, but better ways of spending it, are the keys to improvement. Won't happen until the system collapses, I'd guess.
THEN, we have the governor's race. A senate race. Etc. and so forth ...
Looks like conservatives are still too scared to shake things up politically in ATH. That will lock in tax and spend fuzzy liberals right up to the point when we have a major break, such as the departure or shutdown of a large employer. A Gainesville sort of thing ...
But missing the Selig thing was a blow to the region's reputation at least among big finance types; and they were key to the 6 week turnaround miracle economy our leaders had hoped for. CAT can scoot on a moments notice leaving you-know-who, the you-know-what (tab).
For further information about the local economy consult my Op-Ed "Athens Blueprint From Hell" in the Blueprint section. I am posting less, but trying to post better. On the other hand, it does make me a target of the usual drunks and some serious as heck boys with money and means. Not really worth all that, sometimes!
PS: If anyone knows of some decent employment opportunities in the Athens metro area, please post them!posted @ Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 18:37
Summary: North Oconee's Kawon Bryant was named the Region 8-AAA Offensive Player of they Year. North Oconee's Kawon Bryant was named the Region 8-AAA Offensive Player of they Year. Elbert County's Mecole Hardman was the Player of the Year. Hart County's Sean Harper and Morgan County's Tevin Waller were named Co-Defensive Players of the Year. Here's the rest of the All-Region team: Harison Puder, North OconeeKyle Vaughn, North OconeeTate Adcock, North OconeeJL Banks, North OconeeCole Coker, North OconeeIndy Wilson, North OconeeBradley Glenn, North OconeeBrackin Smith, North OconeeXavier Harper, Jackson County read more
Summary: Nearly 80 players from two dozen high schools will participate in the FCA All-Star game on Friday. Nearly 80 players from two dozen high schools will participate in the FCA All-Star game on Friday. The game will be played at Clarke Central at 7:30 p.m. The West team will be headed by honorary head coach Billy Henderson and assistant head coach Jeff Herron, The East team will be led by honorary head coach Ray Lamb and assistant head coach Michael Gunn.