July 2010


One reason the Common Core fared so well is that its authors eschewed the vague and politically correct nonsense that infected so many state standards (and earlier attempts at national standards).

via The Common Core Curriculum – Chester E. Finn, Jr. & Michael J. Petrilli – National Review Online.

I currently count myself among those leery of just about anything that the federal government has a hand in.  I’m not really sure how I feel about this new Common Core Curriculum being adopted.  I know that locally they are being studied, but I don’t know what will come of it.

I like the idea of setting standards and measuring students based on how they perform compared to the standards.  However, I am concerned that the curriculum standards will become a tool that will be used to bludgeon teachers and students in the future when they fail to measure up to the standard in some way or another.  I lean toward the implementation of the Core Curriculum to as local a level as possible.  If a school chooses to focus its energies on how to save the planet by recycling Capri-sun juice bags, then that’s fine.  However, let them live with the consequences of that philosophy and for heaven’s sake, please don’t tie it to money from the federal government.

This is brief summary of the money spent by the Department of Education:

ED currently administers a budget of $63.7 billion in FY 2010 discretionary appropriations (including discretionary Pell Grant funding) and $96.8 billion in discretionary funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—and operates programs that touch on every area and level of education.

from the U.S. Department of Education website

According to my 4th grade math skills that equals $160.5 billion.  (whistle)

According to this site the average student to teacher ratio was 15.7 in 2006 with a total of 49 million students enrolled in public schools.  That averages out to about 3,121,000 teachers.

So, what if we just took the $160 billion and just gave it to teachers as their salary?  That would be just over $51,000 per teacher.  If we have to have a federal department of Education (which I would dispute), then lets just give the budgeted money directly to the teachers.  We certainly wouldn’t be spending the money less efficiently.

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The rise is partly a result of seasonal factors but also reflects the job market’s weakness.

via FOXNews.com – New Jobless Claims Jump by 37,000 After Hitting 2-Year Low.

Mike Booen of Raytheon gave USA Today the money quote for the day: “The targets came in over the ocean, and it was a good day for lasers, bad day for drones.”

via U.S. Navy Successfully Uses Laser to Shoot Down Drones – Tech Talk – CBS News.

Journalists working for Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic expressed outrage over the tough questioning Obama received from ABC anchors Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos at a debate and some of them plotted to protect Obama from the swirling controversy, according to the Daily Caller.

via FOXNews.com – Liberal Journalists Plotted to Protect Obama From Rev. Wright Scandal, Online Mag Says.

Next installment in my vocabulary blogging:

jocose

It is safe to say that I am generally jocose, sometimes to a fault.

Anyway, this word also hails from The American Civil War by John Keegan.  Here is the context:

The circumstances of Meade’s appointment were inappropriately jocose.

The definition is here:

–adjective

given to or characterized by joking; jesting; humorous; playful: a jocose and amusing manner.

I am sympathetic to the newspaper owner because of oversensitivity to politically correct issues.  However, I’m not sure that the newspaper owner has much of a law suit.  KFC and the Kroger stores are private companies (right?) and they are entitled to include or exclude whatever newspapers they want.

The columns didn’t sit well with at least one patron who complained to several companies that they amounted to hate speech after a guest columnist in April referred to Islam as “evil.” One month later, the Reader was dropped from Kroger grocery stores, and soon after from a local KFC.

I think he should pursue his case as long as he wants (hopefully with prudence), but it already looks like his case is reaping rewards for his business.

“We’ve had a heck of a lot more new subscribers. We have 14 new distribution points where businesses have called us and said they want our paper in their store,” he said. “We’ve even had to increase our printing.”

via FOXNews.com – Newspaper, Businesses Feud in Tennessee Over Claims of ‘Hate Rhetoric’.

A new blog idea?  How about a new vocabulary word every now and then?

Well, I consider myself to be reasonably learned, but it never hurts to increase understanding (the hard part is to make sure that wisdom comes with knowledge…but that’s a different post).  So, while reading The American Civil War by John Keegan, I recently came across this word:

glacis

Here is the context:

A European fortress or an American fortress in the East would have had its surroundings altered to make “dead ground” and provide fields of fire across a smooth glacis which could be swept by artillery fire and musketry.  The nature of the ground and the abundance of vegetation at Vicksburg [Mississippi] made the construction of such a glacis impossible.

Here is the definition (from Dictionary.com):

1. a gentle slope.
2. Fortification . a bank of earth in front of the counterscarp or covered way of a fort, having an easy slope toward the field or open country.