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New trends are constantly sweeping across the education field in America. Unfortunately, they often amount to little more than buzzwords and jargon that get thrown around in training sessions: things like “student centered education,” “Creating life-long learners,” “Engaging critical thinking skills,” and the newest - “Data driven instruction.”

While these jargony phrases all have reams of studies “proving” their effectiveness and often really do have good ideas and practices at their core, just as often they are empty catch-phrases that just  give new names to stuff we've already been doing.

But data-driven education is different. It seems more pervasive than previous trends I've seen and, while it sounds like a good idea in theory, it is destructive to real learning when put in practice in the classroom.

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Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 02:27 PM PDT

A good day to donate

by rhetorical tool

Just a very quick diary to note, the Ryan selection is sure to give Romney a big bump in donations this weekend as teabaggers show their approval. This will undoubtedly lead to a media narrative that the selection is popular, paying off for the Repubs., etc.

That makes this an important time to give Team Obama an equal bump in donations, both to help keep the campaign financially competitive and also, to make the narrative, "Ryan selection leads to fundraising boon for both campaigns," which is a much better message to have out there for the next news cycle.

So, if you plan on giving something to the campaign this month, do it today. And if you weren't planning on giving, consider a donation. I just gave $35.

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Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 03:00 PM PDT

Rick Perry's Slush Fund

by rhetorical tool

Rick Perry boasts that his Texas Enterprise Fund, which has dispersed more than $400 million, has created tens of thousands of jobs for Texans, but troubling questions have been raised by The Texas Observer and Austin American-Statesman about the use of the fund.
It seems the recipients of the fund have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Perry's campaigns and to the Republican Governors' Association, while Perry was chairman of the organization; and the businesses getting the money have not come close to creating the jobs they promised. In one case, a business run by a close associate of Perry received $4.5 million from the fund, while putting up just $1,000 of his own money.

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My Congressman, Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio) recently hinted rather strongly that Obama should be impeached for violating his oath of office by not stopping illegal immigrants from crossing the Mexican border. I rarely write to politicians. But I was moved to write the follwing letter.

Mr. Smith,

You may remember me. I interviewed you several times over the years when I reported for the Williamson County Sun, The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung and the San Antonio Express-News.

I even remember when you bucked the GOP and voted for the Family Medical Leave Act during Clinton's first year in Office. That was the last time I remember you actually breaking with your party.

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With all those SUVs driving around my town with "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" bumper stickers, imagine my shock at this two paragraph brief buried in the biz section of my daily newspaper.

"Rig Count Drops Most in 15 Years"
"The number oil and natural gas rigs operating in the U.S. fell this week by the most in 15 years, according to data published by Baker Hughes Inc.
"Rigs exploring for or producing oil or gas declined by 98, or 5.7 percent, to 1,623..."

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