Sunday, March 31, 2013

Public Educators Behaving Poorly

I was going to call this "High Stakes Testing Challenges", however that may imply to some that "the Testing/NCLB/AYP made them do it...".  I want folks to remember that students are faced with "high stakes" testing every day, yet we don't expect them to cheat to get better scores.

I mean the Public School Administrators and Teachers create tests and administer them to the students.  These are daunting to many students and the results set their grades, which have a strong impact on their potential future.  How much higher stakes can there be?  Yet we expect the students to work hard and not cheat in the face of this challenge.

NCLB, AYP & Testing did the exact same thing at the district and school level.  And these "adults" chose of their free will to do something that they would not respect or tolerate from their students.  I hope the guilty are punished in this case.  The students deserve and need Teachers that practice what they preach and provide an excellent role model.  Thoughts?

CNN Georgia Educators Indicted
HP Standardized Test Cheating
G2A MN High Stakes Testing
G2A MCA Testing and Links

Happy Easter !!!

He is Risen...  He is Risen Indeed...

Now for some fun:
Easter Bunny's Rude Awakening
Global Warming and Easter
Brown Eggs
Trojan Easter Bunny
My Butt Hurts
Cat Easter Present
Eggs in a Basket

Saturday, March 30, 2013

San Antonio, Posts and North Korea

Sorry for the delay in posting again.  This time the family and I took a quick spring break vacation in lovely San Antonio TX.  While there we visited the Natural Bridge Caverns, Sea World, the River Walk and the Alamo.  The girls also got to interact with Beluga whales.  We had a great time though it was a little cool for San Antonio. (60's and 70's...)  However the grass was green and there were flowers to be seen.

Also, I am kind of running out of interesting and non-repetitive topics.  So please write me a note or post a comment if you have some ideas for a post topic.  And remember that I am happy to publish posts from guest authors.  Just email me your post and I'll put it up on the site giving you full credit/blame... And yes I am happy to post Conservative, Liberal, Anarchist, Fascist and any other views as long as the meet the G2A Rules. (ie polite and not too personal)

North Korea seems to be in the news an awful lot lately.  It is odd that such a small country can make so much noise.  What are your thoughts?  Should we ignore them, blow them up, keep up the political / economic pressure, other?

CNN bellicose rhetoric
CNN Behind the veil
CNN Why N Korea regime is scary

Saturday, March 23, 2013

US Senate and House Pass Budgets

Well at least 2 of the 3 players have placed their cards on the table.  And apparently Obama is scheduled to submit a budget in early April. (~2 months late)


FOX News Democrat Cracks
FOX News Senate Budget
FOX News GOP Budget

CNN Senate Budget
CNN GOP Budget

Politico Obama Budget
Bloomberg Obama Budget

Deep Portage Field Trip

Sorry for my absence, I was camped out in Northern MN with my sixth grader.  I was acting as a parent chaperone during their Deep Portage field trip.  Robbinsdale 6th graders have been given this excellent opportunity for ~20 years.

The kids are given the opportunity to learn and experience many things that they would not normally be exposed to.  We did a survival exercise, cross country skiing, used a compass to find our way through the woods, snow shoed, studied animal signs, climbed a rock wall, and more.  Needless to say I have muscle groups aching this morning I did not know I had...

Even though it is a bit chaotic to have 80+ 6th graders in the room, I am going to miss not being part of it again.  This 6th grader was my baby, and the third time our family has taken part.  The camp's staff and the RDale personnel do an excellent job, and the kids learn so much.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

MN Education Stuff

Apparently a lot is happening in St Paul, I received 3 "get involved" emails from 3 different groups.  So as always, I will share them with you.  Thoughts?

Students First MN News
Parents United 8Mar13 Update
Parents United Legislative Page
RDale LAC Education Platform
RDale LAC Page
Education MN Page
Education MN Priorities
MN Senate Ed Committee
MN Combined Legislative Calendar

The RDale LAC Newsletter was not posted on their site, so I copied and pasted it here for your info.
The Voice-may be a popular entertainment show on television, but the past few weeks it was legislators, sitting in their chairs, listening to the voice of those testifying on issues important to our students.
Robbinsdale Area Schools school board member, Helen Bassett, testified before the House Education Finance Committee on February 14th regarding integration aid. Bassett spoke as a member of the Integration Revenue Replacement Task Force. She detailed how the recommendation of the Achievement and Integration for Minnesota (AIM) would combine the goals of racial integration, increased student achievement, and educational equity.
"Our students in all their diverse glory ARE the crop.", shared Bassett referring to the need for MN students to reap the harvest of education they deserve. Bassett shared how the task force engaged in substantive dialogue while considering alternative viewpoints. She told the committee that support for integration aid leverages investments in education. It is not an either/or choice.
HF 247 continues its journey through the House.
Director Bassett was appointed by the Commissioner of Education, Brenda Cassillius to the Integration Revenue Replacement Task Force. The task force completed its work a year ago, but the findings were never granted a legislative hearing. Director Bassett from She is also chairperson of West Metro Education Program (WMEP).
Another Robbinsdale voice was heard in support of a bill that would tie the per pupil formula to inflation. Kami Aho, a parent and member of the Legislative Action Coalition testified before the House Education Finance Committee. HF 416 , if passed, would allow districts to forecast and budget better. Rep. Paul Marquart, chair of the committee, told Aho how important it is to hear from parents.
Let you voice be heard! It is an important and very simple process. If there is an issue you are passionate about, contact me to discuss testifying at the Capitol.
Current Events
February Forecast was released on Thursday, February 28 and the news was better than many thought. The improved forecast shows a deficit of $627 million rather than the projected $1.1 billion. As things currently stand, $295 million will go towards repaying the shift - what is owed schools. Scott Croonquist, executive director, Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) testified at a hearing in February.
"One thing schools really need is an increase in the state's basic formula allowance for K-12 education", said Croonquist. He went on to say that more aid is needed for underfunded special education services, all-day kindergarten and technology. The StarTribune ran an OpEd by George Kimball, chair of AMSD.
Governor Dayton's budget has called for a 1% increase in the basic education formula. That would translate to approximately $52.00 per student. Quite simply, it isn't enough. Now is the time to contact your legislators and Governor Dayton to let them know we need more. (Click on the links on the right side of the page)
SF 481 was introduced as a bill that would establish scholarships for high-rated early learning programs. Minneminds, a statewide organization formed to help ensure the youngest learners have access to high-quality care and learning programs, is helping build momentum behind this bill. An OpEd on what the long term benefits of early education ran in the StarTribune. One of the authors, Art Rolnick, is a leading authority and advocate of early learners and a former Federal Reserve Bank executive.
Special education has needed more funding for years. Cross subsidies have reached $12 million in Minnesota alone. Recently, there has been a great many conversations and articles written on the need to fully fund special ed.
Now is the time to reach out to your legislators and tell them to it is not right to have such a high cross subsidy - special education needs to be fully funded.

Governor Dayton's budget plan calls for a one percent increase in the general education formula. That 1% equates to approximately $52. per student. There are 170 school days - is $0.31 a day really enough? With budget targets on the horizon, you as a constituent, can make an impact. Email or call your legislators today and tell them that the proposed 1% increase in the general education formula isn't enough.
Governor Dayton's budget 
  • Investments in E-12 learning - an increase of 1% in the general formula for FY2014
  • Increase in special education funding -
    $125 million investment beginning in FY 2015 by adopting the recommendation of the Education Finance Working Group. I
  • Teacher Evaluations - $10 million budgeted to create and implement a system that supports teachers and will continue to benefit all our student achievement.
  • Early Childhood Education Scholarships to ensure more children attend high quality preschool and child care.
  • English Learners - ensuring longer access to language skills to fully participate classroom learning.
  • Investments to provide education, training and support for the prevention of school bullying.
For more information, please click here.

Recent Events
Almost 75 people came to Capitol Rally Day to show lawmakers their support for education.

Parents and community members for Robbinsdale Area Schools, as well as four neighboring districts, shared how programs such as Early Childhood Family Education or Family Literacy impacted their personal lives. Others asked questions about the GRAD math requirement and if lawmakers would support raising the per pupil rate to inflation. Read the article that appeared in the Patch here.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

North Korea: Preemptive Strike

Though I know it isn't right, I often have an urge to kick those silly yippee dogs that continue to bark in order to "prove" their dominance.  This report generated the same urge regarding North Korea.

MSNBC North Korea Preemptive Strike

On the upside, President Hugo Chavez is no longer with us.
CNN Relations Likely to Remain Rocky
CNN Chavez: Hero or Villain

Of course we do still have Ahmadinejad around to entertain and annoy us...

What do you think we should do about the countries and their leaders?

Was Chavez a hero or a villain?  Why or why not?

Monday, March 4, 2013

MN Special Education Tsunami?

The Star Tribune had an interesting article on Sunday.  It explained one of the root causes as to why the Public School system is so expensive.  So:
  • What is causing this increase?
  • Should some of these kids really be in school?
  • If not, where should they be?
  • Should "Privates" be forced to take more of these kids?
  • Other?

Star Tribune Rising Special Ed Costs
Star Tribune Cost Graphics
G2A Why Pay More?
G2A Blame vs Contributions
G2A Weakening of America?
Wiki Causes of Autism
Wiki Emotional Disorders