Posts archived in Education

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Judgmental by Nature

“Bob S” has an amazing ability. He can judge a person’s soundness as a parent based on only a few minutes of watching your child in a supermarket.

He was at the local Hannaford when he saw this unfolding scandal:

I just got back from Hannafords. A guy with a young overweight girl sitting in the cart, about the right age for kindergarten, was playing video games on an ipad. My grandson informed me that she was playing “angry birds.” Hardly an educational use of the ipad, and it isn’t helping the little girls health either.

Thanks, Bob, for your contributions to backseat parenting. I’m sure your kids are perfect, they surely aren’t fat, because you make them do sprints up and down the aisles while you shop for whole wheats and kale. Oh wait, the Obamas like kale- better exchange that for some all-American 25% fat hamburger meat. Close call.

Now, I’m not saying it is wrong to think that an overweight child should, maybe, be a bit more active. But for crying out loud, they are in a supermarket. Sometimes the parent just wants to get in and out. And seriously, if the kid had been reading “Atlas Shrugged” she wouldn’t have been getting any exercise either, except maybe some diaphragm stretching trying to repress the urge to vomit all over the pages. But Bob S would be handing out parenting gold stars if he saw that going down.

Here is the point: Bob, you have no idea what the hell is going on in that kid’s life, or her parent’s. Maybe she is playing angry birds because she cleaned her fucking room today, so she gets a half-hour playing a video game with cute birds and pigs. Oh, the humanity!

Or maybe her Dad takes her home and ties her down like a young calf, and force feeds her grain and milk through a tube. I’d object to that, but if anyone tried to give her a healthy lunch at school Bob would start bitching about the “nanny state.” You just can’t win with some people.

Either way, Bob has no reason to make any judgments at all. All he saw was a young child in 2012 playing a cute video game. That is all. News flash: I’m pretty sure the guys that built Google played a few pointless video games in their lives. They turned out okay overall, even if they lose a few points on the Conservative Guide To Your Entire Fucking Life Official Scorecard because Google occasionally tries to put up a few wind turbines here and there.

Bob even had to take it one step past simple judgmental bullshit; he had to bring taxes into the argument.

Hopefully, it wasn’t one of the taxpayer provided ipads. I would hate to think that we were contributing to the demise of this young girl.

Her demise? Bob has known of this person’s existence for all of sixty seconds, and he already knows that her life is, for all intents and purposes, over. He is thinking to himself, I bought that fat little fuck’s iPad, even though I doubt Bob contributed more than a dime to it, if that. I’m pretty sure they don’t let kindergardeners take the iPads home. They are classroom tools.

The final word: I’d rather have my kid grow up to be an Apple programmer than a judgmental, vindictive, and close-minded asshole like Bob S.

Maybe my kid will invent “Angry Republicans,” a game where you toss Santorums (the person, not the sexual byproduct) and Gingriches at welfare queens hiding in subsidized housing. When you win, the screen says, “Good job, you slut.” I think that would be a big seller.

If only LePage had told us how he really felt before the election.

In this video, Governor LePage is addressing a group of homeschooling parents. They laugh about how public school teachers aren’t educating and then discuss how kids are being perverted by public schools. When a parent asks to bring God back into the schools and reinstitute daily prayers, LePage agrees with the goal but says it can’t happen unless Maine votes even more Republican in 2012.

 

It made news recently when Maine’s representative of the Khmer Rouge, also known as Mike Tipping, noticed that our Governor hadĀ not required any cut to his own pay or pension despiteĀ asking teachers to take a large cut in the form of increasing pension contributions from 7.65% to 9.65% of their gross salaries as well as getting fewer benefits when they retire.

AMGers, put in the odd position of defending a lack of government cuts despite insisting that our state is headed towards bankruptcy, nevertheless put up a brave fight. Some immediately noticed that Maine’s constitution does not allow pay changes to the Governor while he is serving.

His hands were tied!

Bullshit.

He could have just refunded the state, personally. He could donate the excess. He could cut pay for his next term, or the next governor. He could request a constitutional amendment allowing the Governor’s pay be decreased during his term, but not increased. There are, frankly, a billion things he could do but he hasn’t done any of them.

And prior Governors have been able to take pay cuts.

This made me wonder- Republicans love to tell us how overpaid teachers are and how we should make them “accountable.” If this is so important, why not make the Governor accountable in the same way? So on the behalf of Republican accountability-mongers everywhere let me suggest the outlines of a future bill known as the “Governor Accountability Act.”

The first thing to do is allow the Governor to be fired. Accountability for teachers means that politicians, school boards, and administrators have complete leeway to fire a teacher. Therefore, to equalize the situation for the Governor we must immediately implement a change to our Constitution to allow a recall election at any time.

That may lead to some slight chaos in our state government, between the constant recall petitions from one side or another and having a recall-fearing Governor make “election year decisions,” usually not the best ones, for his entire term. But this is no different than a teacher’s change in behavior when he or she fears firing at any moment. They are less likely to rock the boat on class sizes, curriculum standards, and funding problems if they know that complaints might mean losing their livelihood. So be it.

The second requirement would be to link Governor pay to performance. Teacher “accountability,” of course, means linking pay to student performance on standardized tests. Likewise, Governor pay should be linked to economic performance.

If Maine’s economy shrinks, so does the Governor’s pay. You may ask, what if the Governor is caught up in a national or global economic slowdown and Maine’s economy shrinks despite his best efforts? No matter. Teacher merit pay doesn’t, and can’t, take into account whether a particular class has more or fewer students from homes that encourage learning, ate a healthy breakfast, or otherwise have their grades affected by any of the nearly infinite variables outside the teacher’s control. Therefore, reducing the Governor’s pay based on “results” rather than his actual effort is surely fair.

Third, no more budget increases. Teachers aren’t getting budget increases to buy supplies and books. Class sizes are increasing with workforce cuts. Likewise, our Governor shouldn’t be allowed to increase the budget several hundreds of millions of dollars over the last budget, as Governor LePage has requested, just to try and keep voters happy. I know this makes things really tough, but no tougher than the situation for a teacher trying to raise her student’s grades and therefore keep her “merit” pay during a time of serious budget cuts. I don’t want to hear any whining about this one. Fair is fair.

Lastly, the Governor must of course take the pay and pension cuts being required of teachers. Currently a Governor must work all of one day to qualify for $26,000 in annual pension benefits for life. This must be raised to be comparable to teachers who work twenty-five years for the same benefit. And the Governor should contribute the extra 2% towards this pension. If this takes a Constitutional amendment, well, maybe the Governor should ask for one.

I think with all these changes we would see a remarkable improvement in the performance of our Governor. It just makes sense.

Which of our results-oriented Republican representatives will introduce this bill?

 

 

If you haven’t seen Rachel Maddow’s interview with Oregon Republican candidate for Congress Art Robinson, you need to stop whatever you are doing and watch it.

It is about 20 minutes long. Here is part one. And then part two. Yes, 20 minutes is a long time for a YouTube video and you’ve got lots of things you’d rather do- but you need to see this. Art Robinson is an absolute crank and has no business being a major party candidate.

Why is he a crank? He runs an eight man “Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.” His children are included among the eight. Among the crank pseudo-science he promulgates with his organization are such inanities as:

- There is a process known as “hormesis” that makes radiation healthy for human beings. Therefore, there is no problem dealing with nuclear waste. It should be ground up and spread into the ocean or, better yet, used as insulation in your home. No joke!

- The so-called “AIDS” was a government conspiracy to cover up the fact that gay behavior is just, in and of itself, deadly.

- Public education should be abolished, because it prevents people from being as smart as him. His children, of course, were home-schooled so they know all about things your child is too dumb to learn, like “hormesis.”

- Global warming is disproven. And not just generally by scientists around the world, but by him, specifically.

Lastly, if you watch the full interview you will find he has an interesting theory on the cause of the delay we see in satellite interviews. Namely, there isn’t a delay. It is all in your head. I almost hate ruining the surprise but I know some people just don’t have twenty minutes to drop on this douchebag.

And none of what I wrote is an exaggeration. He wrote all of it in a column in his own newsletter. Despite his words being published by himself, his responses to Rachel Maddow ranged from “That’s out of context,” to “It is too complicated for your puny brain,” to “I didn’t write that!” Note to reader: those were all reactions to the same quote; his answer changed over the twenty minutes.

Ok, you say, so this guy is a crank. So what? Luckily for us he is running for office in Oregon very very far away.

Here is why I’m bringing this up on my purportedly AsMaineGoes centered blog.

Watch this video. It is only a minute.

Yes, when Republican legislators want to learn more about global warming they invite Art Robinson to speak to them. And when he suggests that Maine abolish public education, they are ecstatic.

If you always thought that one of the problems with the Maine Republican party was that they can’t separate the crazy from the reality but couldn’t quite put your finger on a concrete example, look no further. Why would you trust a party that trusts Art Robinson? Why would you let them run our schools? Well, “run” might be the wrong word because it implies they would continue to operate them in good faith; “privatize” is more accurate. Hence the desperate wish for charter schools. They want to bleed public education dry so we can all be a little more like Art Robinson.

I want to know which legislators met with Art Robinson. Can anyone help?

This thread has turned into a discussion of Maine educational results; specifically, whether Maine students are pretty good or pretty bad when measured by standardized tests like the SAT college entrance exam.

Frankly, I have always wondered why conservatives get all huffy about Maine student’s average SAT scores. After all, a high SAT score just makes it more likely that the student is going to go to one of those ivy league liberal schools, get multiple fancy degrees, find a job in an ivory tower somewhere, vote Democrat, not go to church as much, and eventually get appointed to some position in a future Democratic administration where the job is to tell your less highly educated children how to live their lives.

Why not nip this in the bud? Let’s not try to help our students do better on the SAT; instead, we should support more America-friendly lifestyles by encouraging students to join the football team and keeping them away from condoms. After all, students with traumatic head injuries or pregnant girlfriends are far less likely to go down the ivy league path towards socialism.