Friday Open Thread [7.25.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on July 25, 2014

The Cape Henlopen School District is feeling the heat (it seems) over their decision to remove one book — The Miseducation of Cameron Post–from their summer reading list, so they decided to abolish the reading list all together. It wasn’t enough that they banned the first book without even reading it (they googled it and saw the controversy– gasp) OR even talking to the teachers’ group that put the book on the list. And as far as I can tell, they took this decision to abolish the summer reading list again without talking to a single soul responsible for curriculum. If I’m a parent in this District, I’m making the replacement of this entire school board crew a priority. Because they are pretty clearly incompetent. Apparently this move is meant to avoid actions by the ACLU, but certainly isn’t about helping students maintain some learning readiness.

Paul Krugman is feeling the schadenfruade today – while Californians were considering Prop 30 and aggressively implementing Obamacare, conversatives roundly predicted the end of that great state. Instead, they’ve wiped out their deficit and are in budget surplus; their Obamacare implementation was one of the smoothest in the nation and resulted in reduced premiums for most; AND their unemployment rate is back to pre-recession levels (at the same time, Kansas — who reduced taxes — has a massive budget hole and a Governor who is in re-election trouble):

What has actually happened? There is, I’m sorry to say, no sign of the promised catastrophe.

If tax increases are causing a major flight of jobs from California, you can’t see it in the job numbers. Employment is up 3.6 percent in the past 18 months, compared with a national average of 2.8 percent; at this point, California’s share of national employment, which was hit hard by the bursting of the state’s enormous housing bubble, is back to pre-recession levels.

On health care, some people — basically healthy young men who were getting inexpensive insurance on the individual market and were too affluent to receive subsidies — did face premium increases, which we always knew would happen. Over all, however, the costs of health reform came in below expectations, while enrollment came in well above — more than triple initial predictions in the San Francisco area. A recent survey by the Commonwealth Fund suggests that California has already cut the percentage of its residents without health insurance in half. What’s more, all indications are that further progress is in the pipeline, with more insurance companies entering the marketplace for next year.

And, yes, the budget is back in surplus.

Wegmans is coming! Wegmans is coming! This is the talk everywhere it seems. I love this store and (many years ago before they built the Shop Rite) lobbied to get a Wegmans where the Shop Rite is at the Riverfront. The Wegmans would have taken that entire site, but it would have been awesome. This new construction is close enough to my office to be an Official PITA for the next year or so they think construction will happen. My Top 3 Things in Wegmans: 1) The Mediterranean Bar (olives of all kinds!); 2) The carry-out Sushi Bar; 3) Copper River Canyon salmon (in season only).

A candidate for the Best Photobomb of ALL Time:

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Comments (19)

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  1. Republican David says:

    The only firing that I would do would be the agenda oriented person who put it on the list. This borders on insanity. Great job Indian River School board for being a school board and setting policy. If a kid wants to read the book and report on it, fine, but to recommend such a book is inappropriate at best.

  2. Jason330 says:

    It is a shame. Cape has great students, parents, teachers and administration but a brain-dead Republican “Christian” dipshits for board members.

  3. cassandra m says:

    Right here is where you can pinpoint the failure of Education in this country:
    The only firing that I would do would be the agenda oriented person who put it on the list.

    This book was not on this list because of one person. It was on this list because of a team of teachers who agreed it should be there. And note that NONE of the people banning this book ever read it. The used the Google to find their own outrage.

    And if you think about it, this might be why we need Common Core. If the standards of literacy here mean that you get your second and third hand experiences of a book treated as gospel, then we clearly have a ways to go before some folks can claim to be educated.

  4. John says:

    Fine. I will be the one to point out that Republican David gave kudos to Indian River for something Cape did. Perhaps he should pick up a copy of the Miseducation of Cameron Post, simply for the practice of reading comprehension.

  5. Steve Newton says:

    @jason If Cape has such great parents, how did they elect this school board?

  6. Jason330 says:

    Good point.

  7. Aoine says:

    Coz more than just the parent vote?…….

    That would seem like the logical answer…..and also the obvious one

  8. Steve Newton says:

    Actually, very few of ANYBODY votes in school board elections … but in general parents do in much larger proportion than anybody else.

  9. John Young says:

    Still waiting for one cogent, peer reviewed, research item that concludes that common standards actually yield what they claim: increased student achievement.

    Until then, CCSS is just a crude vehicle for the continual misuse of standardized tests developed with 350MM Federal dollars (SBAC/PARCC) for nefarious purposes like the evaluation of teachers as one example. The strategy of standardized testing also has no demonstrable efficacy in achieving their stated goal: increased student achievement.

  10. Dave says:

    Still waiting for someone to recognize that CCSS establishes guidelines for what every student should know and were designed to ensure students are prepared further education and careers. Design of Experiments (DOE) which would provide the evidence you desire (either nay or yea) cannot be conducted without implementation of the standards in some fashion. That you wish to have conclusive evidence of “actual yield” before the standards have been implemented and in use for a sufficient period in which to acquire the evidence, could be construed as evidence that the standards have been sorely needed for some time (at least since you were in school).

    Arguments that CCSS could or would be used for nefarious purposes is the same argument posited for opposition to any advancement in science, engineering, culture, etc, whether it’s the PTA who condemned Elvis and rock & roll as instigators of juvenile delinquency or those who fear disenfranchisement because of voter id requirements.

    Any and all tools can be used for nefarious purposes (i.e. CIA vaccination program in Afghanistan). What society must do is weigh the possible harm against the possible good and determine how to mitigate those possible harms. If we do not and did not do that, we would have no advancement, evolution, maturation of our society and civilization at all.

    Is summary, you may have a valid argument regarding the deployment and employment of CCSS. If so, you should focus on those areas rather than dismissing the concept of common standards. Or even argue against the standards themselves, if you believe they are wrong, not needed, or whatever.

  11. Steve Newton says:

    Still waiting for someone to recognize that CCSS establishes guidelines for what every student should know and were designed to ensure students are prepared further education and careers.

    I have been involved in standards design and implementation in education for more than two decades. Your statement is naive at best.

    CCSS were created primarily by testing industry representatives and funded by specific corporate interests, not by educators. The organization behind CCSS is one that supports multi-million-dollar profits for a handful of textbook and testing companies.

    That’s happened every time there has been a standards-based movement.

    I have also sat in the discussions of what should go in such standards, and there (behind closed doors) you will hear the quite naked motivations of the players discussing the need for new standards to be aligned with their products, not vice versa.

    As far as the standards themselves, CCSS is not a set of guidelines–it is a de facto curriculum based the breadth of the requirements. Standards, or “guidelines” if you prefer, become a curriculum at the point that more than 50% of a year’s teaching time would be necessary to satisfy them, and particularly when high-stakes tests are based only on students’ proficiency with that information.

    You want specific criticism of the elements of CCSS? OK, start with a really simple one: having Close Reading replace Critical Reading as the preferred strategy for teaching students at all levels represents, quite frankly, the minority position of a few higher-ed professionals. Close Reading is a strategy that is developmentally inappropriate prior to late middle-school, and could not be better at discouraging the development of a love of reading if it was specifically designed to do so.

    There. Happy now?

  12. Truth Teller says:

    Nothing wrong with the list you could pick any book you wanted from the list. The only problem is that the DIP SHITS are making the decisions . Remember this is lower slower Delaware where there are still a bunch of right wing nuts.

  13. Dave says:

    “There. Happy now?”

    Yes, much happier now that you have made a specific criticism of the standards. As I understand it, the term close reading promotes the use of the technique of analyzing a text to develop a thorough understanding of the text which under CCSS, is followed by critical reading after achieving an understanding of the content. I do not find that CCSS directs the use of close reading in place of critical reading at all. In fact, the standards pretty clearly begin with close reading which immediately followed by critical reading as the second step.

  14. John Young says:

    Design of Experiments (DOE) which would provide the evidence you desire (either nay or yea) cannot be conducted without implementation of the standards in some fashion.

    In this case, the DOE is being conducted by our DEDOE, on kids. You OK with that?

    I’m not.

  15. John Young says:

    Dave wants this?

  16. John Young says:

    Arguments that CCSS could or would be used for nefarious purposes is the same argument posited for opposition to any advancement in science, engineering, culture, etc, whether it’s the PTA who condemned Elvis and rock & roll as instigators of juvenile delinquency or those who fear disenfranchisement because of voter id requirements.

    No, it is what is actually happening in K-12 public education. CCSS was linked to points on competitive grants (RTTT), the grants have been almost 100% spent, and testing has flatlined/regressed. Now, 350MM of RTTT monies have been given to SBAC/PARCC and next year Delaware, thanks to our feckless legislators, will be foisting this unproven test on our kids. All in the name of corporate reform.

    This isn’t a theory. It’s practice in DE.

  17. cape parent says:

    To Cassandra just to clarify an error in your article which is great otherwise. The list was not created nor were the books on the list recommended by teachers. The list was complied and finalized by the Delaware Library Association after suggested books were voted on by young high school students.

  18. cassandra_m says:

    Thank you, cape parent! I think I heard on the audio of the meeting where they pulled the book that there was some curriculum group involved. But this is abit more painful that they asked for input from kids on the list and then completely abolished it. Not exactly a good model for future civic behavior.

  19. Republican David says:

    You don’t turn over education to children especially if you give them bad sources to choose from in the beginning. The ALA is an organization that should please you all.
    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/Articles/thelonelinessofa.html but it isnot a place to recommend kids for a balanced perspective.