By A.P. Dillon

There are primary shenanigans going on in North Carolina.  Democrats haven’t been able to put up quality candidates in many races or, for that matter, any candidate in some races. This is partly due to the scandals, money troubles and in-fighting that have plagued NC Democrat party. Chairman Randy Voller brought more controversy with him with calls for his resignation not long after his installment.  Voller’s move farther Left probably has the more centrist members of the NC Dems in a bit of panic mode as evidenced by the pushback when Voller attempted to bring controversial figure Ben Chavis into the NC Dem fold.

But enough about the NC Dem party itself and let’s get back to the primary shenanigans. Get a whiff of what true desperation smells like.  I’ve written about various candidates and a school official promoting the idea of Democrats switching their party affiliation to independent in order to influence the upcoming primary races in Cabarrus county.  Now it’s going on in Rowan county too.

ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) –

Hundreds of registered Democrats in Rowan County are switching their party affiliation ahead of the May primary.

Does it signal a philosophical change in political thinking, or something else?

According to many in the county, it’s a deliberate move to try and oust the more conservative candidates for Rowan County Commission, including Chairman Jim Sides. Jr.

“When 15,000 people in the county start blogging and say that everything that I’ve done is wrong, maybe I need to set up and listen,” Sides told WBTV.”  “But when I go to the blogs and look at them it’s the same 8 people.  8 people are not going to deter me from doing my job.”

Currently there are 8 candidates in the Republican primary, including Sides.  If Democrats switch their affiliation to unaffiliated, they can vote in the Republican primary.

There are three candidates in the Democratic primary, but since there are three seats open, all three Democrats will be on the November ballot, along with at least one Independent.

Punchline courtesy of the NC Board of Elections, emphasis added:

Yes. If you are an unaffiliated voter, you can choose to participate in any recognized party’s partisan primary, or you may request a non-partisan ballot. However, you must choose only one party’s primary. Participating in a partisan primary will not affect your status as an unaffiliated voter. If you request a non-partisan ballot, you will only vote for those contests that are non-partisan (i.e. judicial contests, referenda, etc.).

Watch the video, aptly named “Democrats plotting a coup“, that goes with the above report.  The group pushing this tactic is calling themselves “La Resistance” with a little French beret as their icon. The gentleman interviewed in the video calls “La Resistance” a ‘bipartisan’ movement and he said it with a straight face.  How original and subtle —  naming themselves after the French Resistance who fought back against the Nazis. Yes, because Republicans are Nazi’s…or something.

In other NC Election news…

 

 

If you enjoyed this article, you should really check out other pieces written by Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven writers and maybe hit that tip jar!

AP DillonA.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

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by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

faustaYesterday the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 6-2 that states have the right to ban racial preferences, what we call “affirmative action”, which the French refer to “discrimination positive“, or positive discrimination – an oxymoron if there ever was one, but overly optimistic, or the newest euphemism for academic settings, “race-sensitive admission policies” (emphasis added):

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, in the opinion that controlled the outcome, insisted that the Court was saying nothing new on the constitutionality of public policies that take race into account. “This case,” he wrote, “is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it….The holding in the instant case is simply that the courts may not disempower the voters from choosing which path to follow.”

He added: “There is no authority in the Constitution of the United States or in this Court’s precedents for the Judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to the voters.”

Justice Sotomayor dissented, but her dissent was framed in emotional terms, having conceded that the Michigan law itself did not violate equal protection:

Race matters for reasons that really are only skin deep, that cannot be discussed any other way, and that cannot be wished away. Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up. Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?”, regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country. Race matters to a young person addressed by a stranger in a foreign language, which he does not understand because only English was spoken at home. Race matters because of the slights, the snickers, the silent judgments that reinforce that most crippling of thoughts: “I do not belong here.”

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and, unlike Justice Sotomayor, do not consider myself to be a “wise Latina“:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” said Judge Sotomayor

Certainly it wold be ridiculous, if not downright foolish, to assume that accident of birth in the form of ethnicity has made my life experiences “richer” than anyone who hasn’t lived my life. During the decades I’ve lived in the Continental U. S. I have been “addressed by a stranger in a foreign language” – in German, in Italian, and in Spanish – which did not offend me; to the contrary, I see it as a compliment that a person would like to communicate with me in their language.

But I pose to Justice Sotomayor this question, does race matter when Asian (East Asian and Indian) students are denied admission to top colleges because quotas favor a different minority?

The real issue on college admissions is the quality of public school education,

As a practical matter, the fact that non-white students do relatively poorly under race-neutral admissions standards at our public universities is an indictment mainly of our K–12 education system and of the cultural anarchy that has imposed especially high costs on the children of black and Latino families. It is not an indictment of race-neutral standards. Unable or unwilling to do a better job of preparing black and Latino students for college in the public institutions controlled by its most reliable footsoldiers, the Left insists on anathematizing the very standards under which the incompetence and negligence of our government-run schools, the very model of progressivism, are revealed. If that takes a bit of doublespeak — non-discrimination is discrimination — it wouldn’t be the first time the Left has relied on it.

Or, as my colleague Juliette Akinyi Ochieng correctly names it, The Great Indoctrination.

Back when Justice Sotomayor was nominated, I said,

Identity politics is, in a word, wrong.

Elevating ethnic-identity politics over the law doesn’t make it right.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on US and Latin American culture and politics at Fausta’s Blog.

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Lindaby Linda Szugyi

Where was I? Oh yes, The Fordham Institute’s Common Core Movie Fact Sheet, and its thirteen rebuttals to points made in the anti-Common Core movie, Building the Machine.

I covered the first two points last week.  On to Fordham Institute’s point and rebuttal number three:

3.  “ASSERTION: ‘THE COMMON CORE DISINCENTIVIZES PARENT INVOLVEMENT. IT STOPS PARENTS FROM A DEEP AND ABIDING INTEREST IN THEIR CHILD’S EDUCATION.’  FACT: WITH STANDARDS, PARENTS CAN CLEARLY ASSESS IF THEIR CHILD IS BEING CHALLENGED TO GAIN THE SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE NEEDED TO SUCCEED IN COLLEGE OR CAREER.”

The problem here is the assumption that all standards are helpful.  Of course, generally speaking, people can better track their progress in anything–education, building a house, or cooking a stew, as examples–if they have some instructions to follow and some checkpoints to compare.

But come on.  Which is going to be the easier stew recipe to follow?  The plain-written one, or the one that carries on ad nauseam about the level of seasoning complexity, the integration of tubers and nightshades, and the importance of having diverse ingredients?

In order for standards to be helpful to parents, they first have to be readable.  Yet, the Common Core Standards are phrased in as verbose and convoluted a manner as possible.  Have a look at them, if you haven’t yet.  Even simple things like listening and holding a conversation are expressed in complex, high-sounding terminology.

Phony claptrap may intimidate some parents, but it shouldn’t.  It should be derided as just another from of legalese.  We can call it “expertese.”  As a culture, we’ve been ceding authority to the self-appointed experts of child-rearing and education for far too long.  Our experts have turned into naked emperors.

The unnamed author of the Fact Sheet feebly attempts to support the dubious FACT #3 (parents can clearly assess their children with Common Core Standards), by reminding us that states had their own standards before Common Core, and parents didn’t complain about them.

parts is parts Wendy's ad“What’s the big deal?  Standards are standards,” seems to be the implicit argument.  I’m reminded of that old Wendy’s ad about the competitors’ chicken sandwich:  Parts is parts!

In this one regard, the Fact Sheet is correct.  We should have been complaining about our ridiculously unhelpful state standards.  It took the foisting of a national set of unhelpful standards for us to sit up and take notice.  As I’ve said before, Common Core doesn’t invent the lousy education, it just nationally standardizes it.

The most interesting part of the Fact Sheet’s argument in #3 is an off-hand use of the word “knowledge”:

“The existence of standards enables parents to clearly track if their child is gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to be ready for college or career.”

Gaining the necessary knowledge?  I have noticed that the Common Core Standards don’t cover knowledge; they only cover skills.  Therein lies the basis for the oft-repeated claim that Common Core does not influence the curricula, i.e., the substance of the information taught in the classroom.  Therein also lies their pointless nature, for the skills they purport to assess are skills that humans tend to naturally acquire in the process of attaining knowledge.

Whether the knowledge is gained from experience or books, the skill to apply that knowledge is an innate part of the human experience.  The question then becomes, what bodies of knowledge will best hone the natural human tendency to apply knowledge by creating, by making decisions, and by communicating with others?

To answer this question, Common Core has suggested texts in Appendix B.  Analyzation of these suggestions is best left for another time, and in fact has already been done by Terrence O. Moore.  You really should buy his book.  It’s called “The Story-Killers” for a reason.  Suffice it to say that the folks who publish “Common Core-aligned” textbooks think it’s more important for high schoolers to read a Saturday Night Live parody of Frankenstein than it is to actually, you know, read the classic novel itself.

Wow.  Class is over already, and I covered only #3 of the thirteen “assertions and facts” in the Fordham Institute’s “Fact Sheet.”  I’ll have to pick up with #4 next week.  Just remember, learning is an innate part of being human, but the traditional school experience has a tendency to crush it.

Here’s my bio.  I am an over-educated, stay-at-home-mom who is only just now learning how to be a life-long learner.  I’m finishing up my second year of  experimenting upon homeschooling my two boys, who are currently 6th and 3rd graders, and I’m well fed-up with experts who have no common sense.  If you enjoy Da Tech Guy’s blog but have not yet subscribed, please do so.  That is all.

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT –I was at the ballpark this weekend watching a local college baseball game.  As I took my seat I noticed a lady a couple of rows behind me reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and I wondered – does she know that’s below her Lexile level?  She shouldn’t be reading that!  The Book Thief, you see, has a 730 Lexile level score which places it at about grade 5 reading level.

Lexile levels are the basis of what Common Core uses to determine the complexity and acceptability for books in each grade level.

Lexile measures work similar to the old Accelerated Reader system, if you’re familiar with that.  (Everything in education comes back around with a new name, eventually.)  A Lexile score determines a book’s complexity and difficulty based on a measuring system of sentence complexity, vocabulary, and syntax.  Theme and content don’t come into play which is why Lexile levels are billed as “a starting point” or a tool for determining a book’s acceptability for your reader.

The result is often bizarre.

For example, as noted by The New Republic back in October, Awesome Atheletes! by Sports Illustrated has a Lexile score of 1070 which puts it in the grade 9-10 range.  On the other hand, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain receives a score of 720 which places it around the grade 4-5 area.  Now, to be fair, the Lexile analyzer site designates books like Huck Finn with a “HL” notation along with the score which means that teachers and librarians should use this designation when assigning books “written at an elementary level” to struggling older or struggling readers.  Huck Finn is then placed in the 12-16 age range; that’s probably fair.

To Kill a Mockingbird is scored 870 with no HL designation which places it at grades 4-5 level; there is no age recommendation assigned.

Based on this, Awesome Athletes! is more complex than To Kill a Mockingbird.

Back to The Book Thief:  this book, if you haven’t read it or seen the film, is set during World War II in Germany; it’s about a young girl who steals books when she can find them; during bombing raids she reads to her neighbors to calm them until the bombing is over.  Meanwhile, her foster family has a Jew hidden in their basement; the Jew is eventually captured and marched off to a concentration camp, which of course is traumatic to the girl as she has grown quite fond of him.   The narrator of the story is Death.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I think fifth grade might be a little young for both the subject matter and possibly the abstract narrative perspective of Death.  But maybe that’s just me.

Common Sense Media assigns a recommended reading age of 13 for this book.  (Common Sense Media lists Chelsea Clinton on its Board of Directors as well as Geoffrey Cowan from the Annenberg Foundation).

John Steinbeck’s 455 page story of human perseverance in a cross-country trek during the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath, receives a Lexile score of 680 (with no HL designation);  “challenging words” in the text include “rusts,” “harmonicas,” and “boxcars”.  Again, that’s grade 4-5 territory.  Common Sense Media says age 15 for this one:

Parents need to know that this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about sharecroppers struggling to survive the Great Depression, fleeing the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma for California, is as harsh and gritty as its time. There’s drinking, smoking, swearing, and extramarital sex, and violence stalks the Joad family and their fellow migrants. But its realism and passion have made it a must-read for generations.

And again, to be fair, the Lexile system is meant to be used only as a tool.  One of the demands of Common Core is the incorporation of more non-fiction reading which means that the teacher could bring in outside non-fiction articles or excerpts of documents to read alongside these texts which could increase the rigor and complexity of the entire novel unit.  However, as I stated last week, the teacher no longer has this discretion.  If The Book Thief is assigned to a ninth grade reading list, the tenth grade teacher can’t teach it even if the ninth grade teacher doesn’t teach the book.

The problem with the Lexile system, it seems to me, is that it ignores theme and content.  If Common Core is meant to increase rigor, what is rigorous about Awesome Athletes?  Why are we basing our reading choices on such a system?  The answer is almost always “follow the money.”  At least one of the developers of the Lexile system is associated with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who has poured millions of dollars into Common Core and PARCC.  And there you have it.  The selling out of our education system.  It’s a tangled web once you start pulling away the layers.

Follow the money, but for crying out loud, let’s put some common sense back in the classroom.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

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Ruberry Hopkinton
Blogger at Boston
Marathon start, 1996

By John Ruberry

Tomorrow morning the 118th Boston Marathon will begin 26.2 miles from Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood in Hopkinton. It will be the most most closely-watched of the Grandaddy of all Marathons because of last year’s savage bombings by two Islamist terrorists near the finish on Boylston Street that killed three people and injured 264 others.

I’ve finished 33 marathons and three Boston races–those were in 1994, 1996, and 2004. Until this year’s run, the most anticipated race was the 100th Boston in ’96 when there were over 38,000 participants–the most ever–which is a record that is expected to be topped on Monday.

For runners, qualifying for Boston is considered their ultimate goal, in my age group, I need to run 3 hours and 30 minutes in another marathon to be accepted. Yes, many are called but few are chosen. Runners raising money for charity are also accepted.

Boston is a different race in so many ways. Chiefly, the crowd support is unmatched. A half-million fans line the streets from Hopkinton-to-Ashland-to-Framingam-to-Natick-to Wellesley-to-Newton-to-Boston.  Many families have been watching the race for generations from the roadside. They barbecue, they post updates on the Red Sox game on chalkboards, and they cheer.

Mile after mile.

Ruberry at Wellesley
Ruberry at Wellesley

Other than the finish, my favorite spot on the Boston Marathon run is at the halfway point at all-female Wellesley College, dubbed the “scream tunnel” by runners. The women offer by far the most enthusiastic support on the route. In 1996, an older runner–who was about my age now–quipped, “Wow, even I can get lucky on this campus today.”

While not as loud as Wellesley, the encouragement in Newton, home of Heartbreak Hill and three other thigh-and-calf-punishing massive hills, is certainly needed and welcome.

After passing Boston College, it is literally all-downhill from there for the entrants. With less than a mile left, runners turn from Hereford Street onto Boylston–another scream tunnel. Every runner feels like a celebrity on Boston Marathon Day on that street.

But that is where those cruel bombs were detonated last year.

I won’t be there tomorrow, but I am certain the crowd noise will be louder than ever on Boylston as the athletes run to the finish.

The fans are as much of a part of this legendary race as the runners in the Boston Marathon.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit

steve eggBy Steve Eggleston

That is the question we in southeast Wisconsin are going to be starting to ask after the events of the past week. Herb Kohl, a former Democrat Senator whose family founded Kohl’s Department Store, sold the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks to a pair of New York-based hedge fund managers for $550 million, with a promise from the two of them to not only keep the Bucks in Milwaukee, but to kick in $100 million of their own toward a new arena for, mainly, the Bucks. Kohl has also pledged to kick in $100 million, which means that before taxes, he made $423 million on his $17 million investment back in 1985.

The Bucks are the primary tenants of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which was a $90 million gift from the Pettit family back in 1988 as part of their futile dream of bringing a NHL franchise to Milwaukee as an upgrade to their minor-league hockey team, the Admirals. The Bradley Center has served the Bucks, Admirals, and the Marquette Warriors Golden Eagles well over the years, with it still (barely) modern enough to host the opening weekend of games in the recently-concluded NCAA men’s basketball tournament. However, the “hockey-first” arena has become quite antiquated compared to the average NBA arena, and the building has been deemed too small and too expensive to remodel like other late 1980s-early 1990s arenas have been, and the preliminary cost has already jumped by $100 million to $500 million.

I will admit that a NBA arena isn’t cheap – the 11 most-recent multipurpose basketball/hockey arenas built for existing/expansion NBA franchises not located in Brooklyn, going back to 1997, cost an inflation-adjusted average of $353 million, with three crossing the inflation-adjusted $500 million threshold (though none crossed the current-dollar $500 million threshold). Indeed, the newest arena to be built, in Sacramento, is expected to come in at $448 million, complete with a practice facility (something the Bucks presumably wouldn’t need), but not an ice rink for hockey.

Naming rights, given Milwaukee is a very small market with virtually no local corporations left, probably won’t bring in much more than $30 million. Assuming no other private money, that’s at least $270 million (plus interest) that will be from the public.

The economic development often promised by new arenas and stadiums almost inevitably never comes, especially when the new facility is in the same general area as the old. Indeed, the Bradley Center is a prime example of that failure. The city of Milwaukee thought it could get a restaurant to go into and stay in a new parking structure across the street because the Bradley Center represented a significant capacity upgrade from the MECCA Arena (now US Cellular Arena) for the then-competitive Bucks. That worked after a fashion…until the Bucks became uncompetitive, with the space becoming a restaurant graveyard. Worse, that was the only bit of new development that could conceivably be tied to the Bradley Center.

Granted, the attendance is still higher than it was at the Arena, which does help out the thriving Water Street nightlife scene a few blocks east. Unfortunately, even if the Bucks were to return to competitiveness, it is unlikely that many more than were showing up in the Bradley Center’s/Bucks’ heyday will be heading into the downtown.

That leaves the $270 million question – how many of the 16,000-18,000 who show up for the average Bucks game would still head over to Water Street if there were no NBA basketball? Something tells me it would be a significant portion, which would make the subsidy a poor decision.

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If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

 

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, died yesterday. Cuba’s government-run media mourned Fidel’s friend, who even worked for Cuba’s Prensa Latina news agency in Bogota and New York. He was 87 years old.

One of the giants of Spanish-language literature, García Márquez’s most renowned novel is A Hundred Years of Solitude, which brought magical realism to the forefront,

“In Mexico,” he says, “surrealism runs through the streets. Surrealism comes from the reality of Latin America.”

It may at times, but it also helps to bear in mind that he had books to sell, and his own staunch support of Castro verged on the surreal: Cuban author Carlos Alberto Montaner, who knew Garcia Marquez well (they shared an agent), narrates (link in Spanish, my translation with emphasis added),

With no other factor than compassion for [Cuban political prisoner and former union leader Reinol González] Reinol’s wife, who had gone to Mexico to meet the novelist and ask for his help without ever having met him, García Márquez interceded with Fidel to release him. And so it happened: the Dictator not only released González. He gifted him to García Márquez right in the middle of the street, as one gives away an inanimate object, and, suddenly, the Colombian found himself in Havana with the strange gift from his powerful friend, owner of the lives and deaths of all his subjects.

That a human being would waste his prodigious talent in the service of a monstrous dictator after having witnessed such event speaks of a blindness, a void of the soul.

But then, Fidel had gifted García Márquez a fully-furnished mansion in Havana’s best neighborhood (link in Spanish), and a Mercedes, complete with staff, after the 1982 Nobel award was announced.

Regardless of the house and slaves, García Márquez lived in Mexico, where the government kept him under surveillance as a Cuban propaganda agent.

faustaIf you would like to borrow García Márquez’s novels from the local public library, I recommend Love in the Time of Cholera, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor. I read One Hundred Years of Solitude while in college and it blew my mind, but decades later attempted to re-read it both in the original Spanish and in the Gregory Rabassa translation, and found it unreadable.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on US and Latin American culture and politics at Fausta’s Blog.

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Olimometer 2.52

Friday is here and the worst week of the what is shaping up to be the worst month financially for this blog is again taking shape.

That’s wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that prior to this month February & March were respectively the worst financial months the blog had before it.

I’d like to think this site and our writes are worth your support. Frankly we are sitting $1254 shy of the mortgage and the payroll. It’s going to take a $100 a day each day to the end of the month to get this done and turn this three month slump around. (And the establishment certainly isn’t going to provide it).

I think the site and the work done here is worth it, if you do too then please consider hitting DaTipJar below .

Naturally once our monthly goal is made these solicitations will disappear till the next month but once we get 61 more subscribers  at $20 a month the goal will be covered for a full year and this pitch will disappear until 2015.

Consider the lineup you get for this price, in addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit) and Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Sunday  Linda Szugyi (No one of any import) on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly Fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

 

By A.P. Dillon

Earlier this week, Glenn Reynolds gave some great advice to the GOP in his column at USA Today which blasted Obama and the Democrats pay gap hypocrisy.

If I were the GOP, I’d start running attack ads in these legislators’ home states, quoting President Obama and asking why these Democrats hate women. It just might work — and it would certainly drive home a useful lesson about bogus statistics. Which President Obama — who is now even attacking unequal dry cleaning bills — could use.

Read the whole thing.

Just prior to that paragraph, he mentioned some of the vulnerable Senators out there.

Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado pays women workers 85 cents for every dollar he pays men.

Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana pays women 88 cents on the dollar.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia pays women 75 cents for every dollar he pays a man.

Rep. Gary Peters pays women 67 cents for every dollar that a man makes.

And Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska pays women in his office 82 cents for every dollar that a man makes.

I’m adding North Carolina’s Kay Hagan to that list.

Hagan pays her male staffers an average of $15, 343 higher than her female ones. Page 955 of this report is where you can find Hagan’s staff salaries. According to the Washington Free Beacon, Democrat Senate female staffers made 91 cents on the dollar compared to male staffers and the female staff salary was an average of $5,500 less in the last year. Free Beacon noted that in 2011 and 2012, that was also the case. Hagan’s pay gap is nearly triple that. Tsk, tsk Kay…Kay Hagan is quite the hypocrite.

Glenn Reynolds’s column deftly mocks the gender pay gap theme. It should be mocked, it’s ridiculous. The Democrats want everyone to suck in a breath and say ‘how awful! It must be a Republican’s fault!’. A couple years ago, people did. Then the debunking happened and the glaring hypocrisy was exposed.

In trying to resurrect the pay gap theme, Obama’s base and the media are likely banging their heads on their desks. They’ve already had to defend this theme and they lost. Now they’re not fighting it, they’re joining in on the denouncing and re-debunking. I think we’re going to see a failure to re-ignite the old attacks. They just don’t play anymore. Just to underscore this point… Spin, Jay, spin!

Hope and Change!

 

 

If you enjoyed this article, you should really check out other pieces written by Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven writers and maybe hit that tip jar!

AP DillonA.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

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Olimometer 2.52

In order for this to be a viable full-time business this blog has to take in enough to make the mortgage/tax payment for the house (Currently $1210 monthly) and cover the costs of the writers writing here (another $255)

We’re $1200 short for the month and we need your help to close that gap.

I think the site and the work done here is worth it, if you do too then please consider hitting DaTipJar below .

Naturally once our monthly goal is made these solicitations will disappear till the next month but once we get 61 more subscribers  at $20 a month the goal will be covered for a full year and this pitch will disappear until 2015.

Consider the lineup you get for this price, in addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit) and Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Sunday  Linda Szugyi (No one of any import) on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly Fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

Beanie : $2.00USD – weeklyCap : $10.00USD – monthlyHat : $20.00USD – monthlyFedora : $25.00USD – monthlyGrand Fedora : $100.00USD – monthly

 

LindaTo: The Folks at the Fordham Institute

From: Linda Szugyi

Re: Your Common Core Movie Fact Sheet

Fordham Fact Sheet

Fordham’s Fact Sheet lists thirteen ‘facts’ to counter thirteen ‘false assertions’ in the HSLDA movie about Common Core, Building the Machine.  Here are the first two.  I will continue with the rest in later posts.  My comments are italicized.

1. ASSERTION: THE COMMON CORE WILL NOT BENEFIT CHILDREN.  FACT: NO LONGER WILL A ZIPCODE BE THE LEADING INDICATOR OF WHAT ACADEMIC GOALS A CHILD IS EXPECTED TO REACH.

Since the goal of advancing educational excellence is embedded on Fordham’s logo, the author of this fact sheet probably knows that neither the assertion nor your refutation are statements of fact.  They are both opinion.  I may not be on the staff of an education policy think tank, but I’ve seen the “fact v. opinion” lesson over and over.  My older son’s curricula emphasized it every year, beginning in 1st grade.  The skill of distinguishing between fact and opinion is a favored educational subject these days, and it is fully incorporated in the Common Core Standards.

Perhaps next time, Fordham’s fact checker will follow the example of Mr. Farris, a man who knows the difference between conflicting evidence and differing opinions:  “I think that on balance [David Coleman‘s] proposals are not for the good of the public schools . . . he wants to try to improve the public school system.  He genuinely believes that systemization, centralization, and data collection are good things for kids.” (Building the Machine, 32:00-32:40)

2.  “ASSERTION: THE STANDARDS ARE TOO LOW OR, ALTERNATIVELY, TOO HIGH.  FACT: THE STANDARDS PROVIDE ACADEMIC BENCHMARKS BY GRADE. IF THE BENCHMARKS ARE ACHIEVED, A STUDENT WILL BE READY FOR COLLEGE OR CAREER. THE BENCHMARKS ARE A FLOOR, NOT A CEILING.”

It’s a floor, not a ceiling, so of course a student can learn more than the standards require.  Except, wait a minute.  Common Core is advertised as rigorous, “informed by the highest standards,” and “informed by the top performing countries.”

So which is it?  Are they the minimum required, or are they “new demands” and “high expectations?”  Logic dictates that they cannot be both a floor and a ceiling at the same time.  By the way, the skill of exercising logic is also fully incorporated in the Common Core Standards.

The folks at Fordham want us to believe that the Common Core standards are like Mamma Bear’s porridge: “just right!”  Um, guys.  You are trying to impose a single set of standards on every public school kid in America.  There are a lot of public school kids in America.  They have very diverse life experiences and goals.  How in the world are those standards going to be “just right” for every single one of them?

Bonus:  here is one of the authors of Common Core, explaining how the standards are too low for students who plan to either enter a STEM field of study or apply for a prestigious, competitive university:

The Fordham Fact Sheet carries on at length about students performing poorly in math, but how exactly does the existence of this problem prove Common Core is the solution?  It does not follow.  Here’s some remedial work for Common Core proponents:  a CC-aligned lesson on logical fallacies.

Here’s the third assertion/fact to chew on:

3.  ASSERTION: “THE COMMON CORE DISINCENTIVIZES PARENT INVOLVEMENT. IT STOPS PARENTS FROM A DEEP AND ABIDING INTEREST IN THEIR CHILD’S EDUCATION.”  FACT: WITH STANDARDS, PARENTS CAN CLEARLY ASSESS IF THEIR CHILD IS BEING CHALLENGED TO GAIN THE SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE NEEDED TO SUCCEED IN COLLEGE OR CAREER.

I’ll pick up with this one next week.  Hint:  I think I see some false premises in there . . .

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Olimometer 2.52

The time has come to ditch the weekly goal to focus on the monthly figure, that’s where the real action is at.

In order for this to be a viable full-time business this blog has to take in enough to make the mortgage/tax payment for the house (Currently $1210 monthly) and cover the costs of the writers writing here (another $255)

As of this writing 7 AM EST we need $1278 to meet this goal by April 30th.

That comes out 51 people kicking in $25 over the rest of the month or basically three people a day.

I think the site and the work done here is worth it, if you do too then please consider hitting DaTipJar below .

Naturally once our monthly goal is made these solicitations will disappear till the next month but once we get 61 more subscribers  at $20 a month the goal will be covered for a full year and this pitch will disappear until 2015.

Consider the lineup you get for this price, in addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit) and Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Sunday  Linda Szugyi (No one of any import) on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

 

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – The state of education in the United States today is troublesome.  One report after another comes across the wires:  stressed out teachers are disengaged with their work, teachers are overworked and burned out, and apparently we have ineffective teachers in our low-performing schools.  Go figure.

Is any of this news to anyone?

Sometimes we can read all this data and all these reports and draw false conclusions.  Let’s consider some alternative conclusions to the ones most commonly drawn.

Consider the report that stressed out teachers are disengaged with their work.  This is a conclusion drawn from a new Gallup report, The State of America’s Schools which contends that  7 in 10 teachers are “do not feel engaged” in their work which is having a negative effect on students.  Certainly if a teacher is stressed out and under pressure this will have a negative impact on the teacher over time.  We all want our kids to have teachers who are exciting and make them feel the hunger for learning, so this report is obviously troublesome.

But why are teachers disengaged?  Gallup:

On two points, teachers were the least likely of any profession surveyed on workforce engagement to respond positively: whether they feel their opinions at work count, and whether their supervisor creates an “open and trusting environment.”

“That’s a really big eye-opener,” says Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education. “So there’s something about the open, trusting environment that isn’t working in schools and that they don’t believe their opinions count. That is definitely weighing down the potential of making them more engaged in their workplace.”

Well, that’s an interesting conclusion but I don’t think it’s fair to put so much blame on the supervisor or administrator.  True, that’s an important role:  you need a supportive administrator who will back your decisions in the classroom, but the administrator is also just a gateway in a sense.  Walk it all the way back.  Principal, supervisor, local superintendent, state level superintendents, and now (thank you Common Core…) the federal government.  So, to put all the blame on the immediate supervisor is misguided.

A simplified example:  A teacher wants to teach a novel that has relevance to her students; it meets and challenges their reading level. (The teacher knows this reading level because she has done a diagnostic test and has determined the reading level of each student).  The teacher knows this novel will engage her students and has a passion for bringing that novel and level of engagement to her students.

But wait!  She can’t teach that novel.  Common Core says all her students must read an obscure work with a Lexile level much higher than her students are functioning on, a novel for which the teacher has no engagement or passion.

How well is that going to work?  The teacher isn’t going to be excited about the lesson, the students are going to be struggling to relate to the work, and the students are going to struggle to even make sense of the words because said novel is so far above their reading level.

Now granted, that’s a simplified example; a really good teacher will figure out a way to bring passion to whatever novel the idgits that made the reading list make her teach.  But it wears you down.  The teacher has been stripped of her professional ability and decision making.  The teacher no longer can decide what’s best for her individual students.

Thus, burnout.  Frustration.

Is this all Common Core’s fault?  Of course not.  Teachers have been fighting bureaucracy and burnout for years.  The suits sit around conference tables and figure out what new save-the-state-of-education fad will be imposed this year and then they do endless professional development sessions to implement the plan.  Veteran teachers have seen them all before; they come in cycles.

With regard to burnout and frustration, consider that one of the requirements of Common Core is that states must also implement a rigorous teacher evaluation system.  Professional evaluation is important and I don’t know of a single profession that doesn’t have an evaluation system, but common sense must prevail.  Some of these evaluation tools are profoundly subjective and unfair.  When a teacher is marked off on an evaluation because a student put a dab of lotion on her knees during the observation, which obviously means classroom expectations haven’t been taught and the teacher has poor classroom management, frustration will result.

When those observations and evaluations are tied to teacher pay and that annual incentive check comes out, the teacher that has Honors and AP kids will get the big incentive check while the teacher with the low-performing, struggling kids who have not been taught social skills at home gets the very small check.  Frustration results.

In reality, teachers aren’t frustrated with their work or with their job.  They are frustrated with the system that prevents them from doing their job and that persecutes them for things beyond their control.  I don’t know one single teacher who went into the profession to get rich.  Every teacher I know does it because of a love for kids and for the opportunity to make a difference in just one kid’s life.  When that passion is squelched by a system that ties their hands, strips their decision making, persecutes them, and makes them feel like failures, then there is something wrong with the system, not the teachers.

Consider these words from a frustrated first-year teacher:

The truth is that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that is required of me. There is always something, whether it’s a training requirement or writing tests or preparing my lessons or grading papers or counseling struggling students. Some things get finished. Most things do not.

My working life is an uneasy calculation between the most pressing need and the requirements that I hope can remain unfinished. Sometimes I feel like I am always on the verge of failure, one tiny slip or miscalculation away from either being fired or failing my students.

She resigned shortly after her letter was published.

The sad thing is, her situation is all too common.

We need to support our young teachers, trust our veteran teachers, and restore local autonomy to our school systems and classrooms.  If we fail to do this, public education will be an antiquated idea from a society that has failed its most vulnerable members: the children.

 

Pat Austin also blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

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Olimometer 2.52

The time has come to ditch the weekly goal to focus on the monthly figure, that’s where the real action is at.

In order for this to be a viable full-time business this blog has to take in enough to make the mortgage/tax payment for the house (Currently $1210 monthly) and cover the costs of the writers writing here (another $255)

As of now we need $1278 to meet this goal by April 30th.

That comes out 51 people kicking in $25 over the rest of the month or basically three people a day.

I think the site and the work done here is worth it, if you do too then please consider hitting DaTipJar below .

Naturally once our monthly goal is made these solicitations will disappear till the next month but once we get 61 more subscribers  at $20 a month the goal will be covered for a full year and this pitch will disappear until 2015.

Consider the lineup you get for this price, in addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit) and Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Sunday  Linda Szugyi (No one of any import) on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?