The Big Think

April 25, 2013

Do As I Say

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 7:36 am

“Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said…

Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. “

Via Politico

Ya think? I’m waiting for all my friends who supported this monstrosity to give me a good reason why Congress should be exempt. So far I’ve heard only crickets.

More:

“Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said if OPM decides that the federal government doesn’t pick up “the 75 percent that they have been, then put yourself in the position of a lot of entry-level staff people who make $25,000 a year, and all of a sudden, they have a $7,000 a year health care tab? That would be devastating.”

Boo frickin’ hoo. You should have figured that out before you passed it. Proof of irresponsible ineptitude.

Burr added: “And that makes up probably about 30 percent of the folks that work on the Senate side. Probably a larger portion on the House side. It would drastically change whether kids would have the ability to come up here out of college.”

Yet Burr, a vocal Obamacare opponent, is also flat-out opposed to exempting Congress from the exchange provision.

“I have no problems with Congress being under the same guidelines,” Burr said. “I think if this is going to be a disaster — which I think it’s going to be — we ought to enjoy it together with our constituents.”

Good for him. Either Congress suffers with us, in which case changes are likely to be made, or Congress proves that they think of themselves as a Ruling Class that can vote itself out of problems that bother the little people.

Oh, what am I saying? They did that years ago.

Reason #452 Why I Don’t Teach

Filed under: Education — jasony @ 7:27 am

“More testing does not equal more rigor. In my 17 years teaching middle school language arts, I’ve seen exactly the opposite. As high-stakes testing increased, real learning fell by the wayside. Authentic, creative writing has been replaced by 26-line formula essays. Imagination and elaboration are discouraged unless it can fit on one page. Classroom lessons are focused on getting students ready for the test, which steals instructional time away from teaching students how to actually write and communicate.

What else has been stolen? Novel studies, independent thinking, analytical discussions, and creative writing. Where my 2001 students would have read 10 novels by now, my current students have read one. Where my 2002 students would have written and peer-edited more than 15 creative writing pieces, my current students have completed zero. Instead of analyzing literature, students get sorted into testing rooms to take practice tests. School officials seem to think that testing kids — who have already lost significant instructional time to STAAR practice — will improve their performance. But as we say in Texas, weighing the pig does not make it fatter.

No, testing has not made kids smarter. It has, however, taught students that the test is all that matters. They ask, after STAAR testing is complete in April, why we go to school for another month and a half. For many students, school equals test prep, and once they’ve taken the test, they see no value in coming to school. These students don’t recognize that the true purpose of education is to learn new things, to expand their minds, to further their knowledge and understanding of the world. To them, school simply means narrow learning of skills that will appear on the test.”

STAAR Writing Test A Big Step Backward

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