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In the last few days, two reports have come out form the business wing of think-tank-land, both of which should be chilling for the future of public education.  And yes, The Jebster co-chaired one of those reports.

In a nutshell, the main thrust of both reports, one by the Aspen Institute and the other by AEI, is that more student data needs to be made available to educational entrepreneurs.  Why?  So that they can datamine everything a student does at school and, after shitting rainbows and unicorns, provide the student with an "individualized learning program".  Excellent, but follow me below the squiggle-thing for how this gets ugly very quickly.

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Yes, Michelle Rhee, Broad Foundation and others.  It's about those rotten teachers and their tenure--THEY'RE the ones keeping down students from poor districts.  It's their fault.  Their tenure privileges (first established in 1909) are in violation of the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.  End their ability to block "needed reforms" and tah dah!  Unicorns and Rainbows following on the heels of a standardized curriculum, high stakes testing, value added model evaluations and the introduction of ed tech into the classroom.  

I'm making fun, but the sad part is that this attack on teachers, their unions, benefits and protections is political and ignores the realities on the ground.  Here in Philadelphia, for the first time ever, a survey was conducted to see how many students in the system were involved with DHS (Philly's Department of Human Services, handling foster care and childhood interventions) or the juvenile justice system.  See below the squiggly thing for the results.

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Hi folks,

As a teacher, I've been resistant to bringing more educational technology into our classrooms (in the form of a 1:1 iPad program).  I have many reasons, from student distraction to the lack of quantitative research in how ed tech is supposed to improve student outcomes.  I also disagree with the "student-centered" or "discovery learning" approach as being more effective in teaching than other approaches.

These are issues upon which reasonable people can disagree, and the views folks have may change as research into the use and effectiveness of ed tech catches up with the initial waves of optimism.

However, there is a darker, political side to the story that, for the first time I have seen, was recently made explicit by the Hoover Institution.  Follow me below the squiggle-thing for more.

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Apple is evil.  There's no way around it.  They have become one of the world's great tax dodgers, pissing off governments from Australia to France by their tax-dodging ways, all the while using the infrastructures those very countries established so that they can earn massive profits.  This does not include their wage stealing from engineers, wage stealing from their retail workers, their use of sweatshops to manufacture their goods, their poor environmental record (link, though, hey! they're trying to change!).  

See after the doo-dad for that $130 billion.

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Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 03:35 PM PDT

Ford vs GM: Ford Proves They Get It

by dizzydean

I'll make this brief...remember this annoying Superbowl ad for Cadillac?

I hate this commercial--I want to kick that asshole in his Fourth Point of Contact for his materialistic, Republican bullshit.  "You work hard, create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible."  Asshole.  Of course, he's white, upper middle class, so I guess that's who buys Cadillacs.  Fucker.

But Ford comes out with a play on this, and it rocks:

My God, I want to go out and get an electric car now!  

Poll

If I could buy a new car right now and money wasn't an issue, I'd get a/n

6%5 votes
8%7 votes
7%6 votes
1%1 votes
0%0 votes
2%2 votes
0%0 votes
1%1 votes
2%2 votes
1%1 votes
43%34 votes
3%3 votes
2%2 votes
8%7 votes
10%8 votes

| 79 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

See here--it's two pages and is worth reading to see where the EU is right now.

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I've been closely following the situation in Ukraine for some time.  In the one hundredth anniversary of the start of The Great War, I have to say I am horrified by the potential for a new great power conflict with the weaponry at the disposal of the powers today.  The world, of course, is a different place than it was in 1914, but the possibilities of great power conflict through a misunderstanding of interests or miscalculation by the leadership of the countries involved could easily lead us to another costly conflict.  

Is it probable?  As of this writing it is not.  Is it possible?  Yes.  And, given that we have to think of the possibilities (9/11 taught us that, if nothing else), what are the scenarios?  How should we--as the liberal/progressive base--react?  What happens if the situation spirals out of control?

This is the most important contest between the powers since the end of the Cold War.  How it plays out will impact the foreign policies of all the powers for many years to come.  

Follow me below the squiggle for more.

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David Simon is someone who gets it--not only did he write and create The Wire, but he spent much of his life on the mean streets of Baltimore as a journalist.  He's seen first-hand what our society does to the poor and working class from the war on drugs to the loss of inner-city jobs.  

See below for the video and links.

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Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 10:07 AM PST

Republicanland is a Strange Place

by dizzydean

I know.  Duh, right?  However, I've always been one (and I don't think I'm alone) who has believed that with the right amount of facts and logical arguments, someone who holds a view different from mine can be persuaded.  But is this really true?  Maybe individually, but, as a number of Pew polls have been showing over the past few years, self-described Republicans are on such a different world than self-described Democrats and independents.  Given this, it is no wonder we get the likes of the Michelle Bachmans and Louis Gohmerts of the world elected by them.  

Maybe, the answer to What's the Matter with Kansas? is the Kansans themselves.

Follow me below the squiggle for the numbers.

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Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 07:41 AM PST

22 Dead in 20 Days

by dizzydean

Philadelphia has a reputation as a pretty rough place in terms of crime, especially homicides.  It was once known as Killadelphia, and, as you can see from this map of homicides in the city, the name is justified.  Since 1988, over 9000 people have been killed in the city.  

Last year was a pretty good year, with 246 dead.  This was the lowest yearly total since 1967.  We thought that maybe the reforms instituted by Mayor Nutter and Chief Ramsey had finally taken hold.  Maybe they still have.  But, the year is off to a bad start.

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In a short item from this weekend's Financial Times, the FT reports that worldwide investment in clean energy fell 11% in 2013 on the heels of a 9% drop in 2012.

Why is this important?  

The International Energy Agency, the watchdog backed by rich countries’ governments, has estimated that about $1tn per year more needs to be invested in emissions-reducing industries to limit the long term increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees centigrade, the level deemed acceptable by UN member countries.
See below the squiggle for more...
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Ugh.  So, I made my annual Family Foray to the South this past week.  A trip to the Nashville area to see my momma, which, from Philly is an 850 mile trek, mostly through Virginia.

Along the stops I make and places I visit, I get exposed to the racism that still lies at the top of much of Southern society--and it ain't a pretty thing.

Follow me below the squiggly thing for more...

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