RSSCategory: Education

Chris Hedges: Kick the modern money-changers out of the temple

April 18, 2011 | By | Reply More
Chris Hedges: Kick the modern money-changers out of the temple

Chris Hedges had some sharp words for the modern day money-changers last Friday, during his speech in Union Square, New York City, during a protest outside a branch of the Bank of America:

The bankers and hedge fund managers, the corporate and governmental elites, are the modern version of the misguided Israelites who prostrated themselves before the golden calf. The sparkle of wealth glitters before them, spurring them faster and faster on the treadmill towards destruction. And they seek to make us worship at their altar. As long as greed inspires us, greed keeps us complicit and silent. But once we defy the religion of unfettered capitalism, once we demand that a society serve the needs of citizens and the ecosystem that sustains life, rather than the needs of the marketplace, once we learn to speak with a new humility and live with a new simplicity, once we love our neighbor as ourself, we break our chains and make hope visible.

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How standardized test essay questions are graded

April 17, 2011 | By | Reply More
How standardized test essay questions are graded

Ever wonder how those big testing companies grade the essay questions on standardized tests? This article in the City Pages (an alternative weekly in the Twin Cities) will make you wonder, more than ever.

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Ayn Rand’s worship of a serial killer

April 17, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More
Ayn Rand’s worship of a serial killer

I was stunned when I read this article by Mark Ames at Alternet. I’ve long found Ayn Rand’s worldview to be morally stunted, even sociopathic, but I had no idea that she was so far gone that she fervently admired a serial-killer/dismemberer. Check out this intro:

There’s something deeply unsettling about living in a country where millions of people froth at the mouth at the idea of giving health care to the tens of millions of Americans who don’t have it, or who take pleasure at the thought of privatizing and slashing bedrock social programs like Social Security or Medicare. It might not be so hard to stomach if other Western countries also had a large, vocal chunk of the population that thought like this, but the U.S. is seemingly the only place where right-wing elites can openly share their distaste for the working poor. Where do they find their philosophical justification for this kind of attitude?

It turns out, you can trace much of this thinking back to Ayn Rand, a popular cult-philosopher who exerts a huge influence over much of the right-wing and libertarian crowd, but whose influence is only starting to spread out of the U.S.

One reason most countries don’t find the time to embrace Ayn Rand’s thinking is that she is a textbook sociopath. In her notebooks Ayn Rand worshiped a notorious serial murderer-dismemberer, and used this killer as an early model for the type of “ideal man” she promoted in her more famous books. These ideas were later picked up on and put into play by major right-wing figures of the past half decade, including the key architects of America’s most recent economic catastrophe . . .

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A day in the life of an inner-city middle school principal

April 14, 2011 | By | Reply More
A day in the life of an inner-city middle school principal

Ever wonder what it is really like to run a public middle school in the inner city. Jonathan Mahler of the New York Times has writtenan excellent account of the job of Ramon Gonzalez, principal of a public middle school in the South Bronx.

In certain respects, 223 is a monument to Klein’s success: empower the right principals to run their own schools and watch them bloom. Thanks to Klein, González has been able to avoid having teachers foisted on him on the basis of seniority. He has been able to create his own curriculums, micromanage his students’ days (within the narrow confines of the teachers’ union contract, anyway) and spend his annual budget of $4 million on the personnel, programs and materials he deems most likely to help his kids.

And yet even as school reform made it possible for González to succeed, as the movement rolls inexorably forward, it also seems in many ways set up to make him fail. The grading system imposed by Klein that has bestowed three consecutive A’s on González is based in part on how well 223 does on state tests. But the school’s relative success on these tests and other measures also disqualifies him from additional state resources earmarked for failing schools. The ever-growing number of charter schools, often privately subsidized and rarely bound by union rules, that Klein unleashed on the city skims off the neighborhood’s more ambitious, motivated families. And every year, as failing schools are shut down around González, a steady stream of children with poor intellectual habits and little family support continues to arrive at 223. González wouldn’t want it any other way — he takes pride in his school’s duty to educate all comers — but the endless flow of underperforming students drags down test scores, demoralizes teachers and makes the already daunting challenge of transforming 223 into a successful school, not just a relatively successful one, that much more difficult.

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Anthony Weiner calls out Republican hypocrisy on Medicare

April 13, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More
Anthony Weiner calls out Republican hypocrisy on Medicare

Representative Anthony Weiner nails it with this short statement:

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Creating Doubt in Science

April 12, 2011 | By | 9 Replies More
Creating Doubt in Science

There is currently a strong suite of Discovery Institute bills running through state legislatures to allow “alternative theories” to be taught in science classes. See list here: Antievolution Legislation Scorecard. There is not a direct link back to the Discovery Institute, but it is their wording, seen before and passed in places like Texas and Louisiana and Tennessee.

From a legal standpoint, the bills look harmless, closely resembling intellectual freedom policies. But the point is clearly to sow confusion about the difference between science and just making things up, especially in regard to evolution and climate science.

Hemant Mehta suggests that it would only be fair to show this video in churches where the churches put their books into science classes.

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Blunt Language From Missouri Senator About Abortion

April 10, 2011 | By | 22 Replies More
Blunt Language From Missouri Senator About Abortion

I fully participated in the recent campaign to prevent the move to cut funding to the the organization that prevents more abortions than any other, Planned Parenthood. Even though Republicans held to that partisan budget pittance to the point of shutting down the government, the health services for poor women provided by Planned Parenthood will continue to get that dollar per citizen for another year. Yay.

But along the way, I wrote to my Senator, Roy Blunt. Weeks later, he wrote back. Here (in part) is his response:

“Thank you for contacting me about funding for Planned Parenthood”

“I am deeply opposed to the practice of abortion and do not support federal funding for any organization that performs or promotes abortions, which includes Planned Parenthood. An unborn child is a living human being and abortion ends the life of that child. Throughout my time in the House I worked hard to protect the lives of the unborn.

“I am proud to have the highest possible pro-life voting record according to National Right to Life, and, as I begin my time in the Senate, I will continue to support efforts to make adoption more attractive for parents and prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion.”

Either he is ignorant, or tacitly lying. Three percent (3%) of Planned Parenthood’s activities are abortion related. Of those, none (0%) have ever been taxpayer supported.

The prohibition against tax money for abortions is still in effect from the 1976 Hyde Amendment. Only under very rare circumstances does this act allow any federal money to be involved in an abortion. Lawmakers can posture all they want to; it is already illegal for tax money aid poor women who must resort to that tragic choice.

I’m not a single-issue voter, nor do necessarily I oppose his position every issue. But his ignorant formula response to my request has cemented my opposition to his reelection.

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Conservatives who hate Planned Parenthood because they hate contraception

April 8, 2011 | By | 4 Replies More
Conservatives who hate Planned Parenthood because they hate contraception

Lawrence O’Donnell gives Senator John Kyl a well deserved thrashing today for the lie Kyl told about Planned Parenthood.

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“In God We Trust” Signs Going Up in Missouri Public Buildings

April 2, 2011 | By | 5 Replies More
“In God We Trust” Signs Going Up in Missouri Public Buildings

This morning I spotted this article on FriendlyAtheist.com and thought I should share. Apparently Dee Wampler, Christian Lawyer, is sending letters and drafts of proposals to every city administration in Missouri to officially declare allegiance to God and to post this motto on the interior and exterior of every City Hall. Go read the first link for all the details.

The sad thing is that it is working. His method is to treat the issue as resolved, and to goad each city board into merely ratifying his contention that this is a Christian nation, has always been so, and every entity should visibly so proclaim.

Several counties have already unanimously approved and signed into law his proposal.

Theocracy, here we come!

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