Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

Friday, June 3, 2016

Free Lunch




This landed in my in-box today, and I had to kind of cringe to keep from laughing when I read it. I still don't understand why we're not just feeding kids for free in school--whatever system is currently in use where many people live is probably antiquated and based on a time when making a lunch for a kid was relatively inexpensive. Now, with rising food costs and shrinking wages, this issue becomes more and more difficult for people to solve.

I like what Hillary Clinton says here:






Contrast that with this:

When it comes to public schools providing meals for low-income children, congressional Republicans have built up a discouraging record in recent years. In 2014, for example, a GOP congressman from Georgia suggested struggling children should either pay more for school meals or tackle janitorial tasks in their schools in exchange for food.

Around the same time, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) delivered a speech suggesting kids who rely on school lunches aren’t cared for as much as kids who bring their own lunch to school. The far-right lawmaker, we later learned, was relying on an anecdote that turned out to be made-up.

That was the last Congress. In this Congress, Jared Bernstein and Ben Spielberg made the case in the Washington Post yesterday that Republican lawmakers are eyeing new restrictions on the federal program.

Under current law, changed by Democrats in 2010, schools don’t have to verify which individual students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Rather, if a school serves a community in which 40% of the kids are eligible for meal assistance – called the “Identified Student Percentage” – the schools can make food available to all of its students. It streamlines the bureaucracy and verification process, cuts down on paperwork, and helps ensure children receive the benefits to which they’re entitled under the law.

If you fed kids as part of the school curriculum, and normalized the idea that school means education plus food, it would definitely increase costs for the school districts. That would have to be offset by funding from elsewhere, and, given the many wingnut state legislatures out there, you can count on expressions of massive butt hurt. But, wherever that funding comes from, it would provide several benefits that would have a huge impact on families.

One, it would ensure that kids on the threshold of receiving a free lunch wouldn't be left out and could count on getting food at school. Two, it would ensure that everyone in school had a chance to eat something and not go hungry, thereby making it hard to learn in the first place. Why not eliminate the stigma and just feed all the kids the same thing and make it free (and healthier to boot)? Is the country really that broke or do we just not want to make some hard choices? The schools are already in the business of giving kids free or reduced lunches. Why not get completely into that business, negotiate for better rates and lower costs, and make it part of what makes school important in a community?

There's a lot to be said for the stability that a good school can bring to a neighborhood. It can definitely drive property values up and it can increase participation for parents and students in what happens. Yeah, I get that there will always be apathy. It's not like you have to eat what's put in front of you--kids should be allowed to bring their own food or opt out.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Not Entirely Fair Reporting




The University of Missouri is hemorrhaging students:

Following a drop in students applying for housing, the University of Missouri will not be placing students in two dorms for the fall 2016 semester.

Mizzou will be closing the Respect and Excellence halls (ironic names, given the circumstances) in order to utilize dorm space "in the most efficient manner" to keep costs down.

In March, the university announced that it saw a sharp drop in admissions for the coming school year, and will have 1,500 fewer students. This will lead to a $32 million budget shortfall for the school, prompting the need to close the dorms in order to save money.

Of course, these two things won't happen:

1. They won't touch their endowment to make up the budget shortfall in a meaningful way.

2. They will blame former professor Melissa Click because she's the ready-made face of racial and social unrest at the university.

If the leadership at the school had been competent in any way, shape, or form, they would have already had in place a plan to deal with racial disputes between students. Instead, they were caught sitting on their hands. Now, nobody wants to go to school there.

What a shock.

And what's funny about this piece by Ashe Schow is that it reads like a condemnation of the students who decided that they were sick of going to a school where racism was ignored.  Hey, asshole--here's how capitalism really works. When you don't respond to your customers, they vote with their feet. The University of Missouri is about to learn how things really work.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Firing Dr. Melissa Click




There's a joke in here about tenure, but I'm not gonna make it:

University of Missouri's Board of Curators voted Thursday to fire assistant professor Melissa Click, who drew controversy after a video circulated of her calling for "some muscle" during protests at the university. “The board respects Dr. Click’s right to express her views and does not base this decision on her support for students engaged in protest or their views,” Chairwoman Pam Henrickson said in a statement. “However, Dr. Click was not entitled to interfere with the rights of others, to confront members of law enforcement or to encourage potential physical intimidation against a student.”


Basically, they took a pass on trying to educate someone as to how to conduct themselves in the "safe zone" of teacher-student-media interaction. I'm thinking that this was more about legal liabilities and future lawsuits, but it could have been more about the school just not wanting to have this kind of a public face.



(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js



(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});



(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js



(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Monday, December 28, 2015

Microagressions Suck





Just by writing this, Emily Shire committed a microagression!

Before 2015, playing beer pong and pulling all-nighters were the activities most associated with the college experience. That all changed this year.


From large public universities in America’s heartland, like the University of Missouri, to small private colleges along the coasts, like Claremont McKenna College in California, student outrage spread like mono at a frat party.


A new lexicon to cover hot-button campus issues—“microaggressions,” “safe spaces,” “yes means yes”—entered the mainstream as college protests earned increasing national interest, far beyond the academic bubble.


Student outrage doesn't bother me and it shouldn't bother you, either. Let them get spun up about these things--it's not like there aren't people being shot and it's not like women just stopped being raped. Let them have their moment within the safe environment of college to learn how the world really works, and, oh by the way, let them change society for the better by redefining what we can and cannot talk about. Deriding someone's opposition to racism or gender inequality means you're getting a taste of what's around the corner. Eventually, we'll all stop offending one another, even if it means giving up a banh mi sandwich, whatever the hell that is.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ethics Matter More Than College Degrees




I would put a candidate's ethical track record ahead of their possession of an advanced degree:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has buzz. He has impressed conservative activists in Des Moines and is the front-runner for likely Republican Iowa caucus-goers, according to a Bloomberg Politics-Des Moines Register poll published this weekend.


Supporters say the 47-year-old has more diverse qualifications than the other Republicans: A non-Washington Republican who has won tough contests in a blue state, taken on labor unions and has appeal to the conservative faith community and the business constituency.






Scott Walker having no degree is worse than him having a pair of bought-and-paid for degrees from Harvard or Yale? I'm not following that logic, since many of our privileged elites cheat their way through college anyway.





Walker is inherently an unethical governor, one who has been under investigation for years. That alone should make him unfit for higher office.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What is the Alternative to College?




This is a great story about why there is something broken with the system that educates people in this country:

Just 11 percent of low-income students who are the first in their family to attend college will have a college degree within six years of enrolling in school. This stems from many issues. Students from low-income backgrounds often attend high schools without rigorous college-prep tracks, meaning their access to good information on higher education may be inadequate. Many of them are also significantly behind academically, which stymies them from applying or being accepted to certain schools. And to make matters worse, thousands of colleges across the country lack resources or programs earmarked for low-income or first generation students. That means that, while many schools enroll these students, few are equipped to actually graduate them.

The European method of getting around this is to legitimize the idea of a vocational education. In America, we are telling kids that they're special and that they have to get a college degree or they'll end up in a filthy, despicable union job. In Germany, for example, they segregate kids in high school based on how smart they are and they provide a union job and training so that the work force can be professionalized and trained.

We can't follow the European model because that would mean that someone's kid, who has pulled C's for years, is a dumbass and will only be a sad and lowly plumber. Never mind the fact that a certified and trained union plumber can made damned good money--America is the land of the middle manager who barely graduated after six years in a state school.

I think it has something to do with the fact that Americans have been conditioned to hate actual skills and competence in another person and that union membership is akin to being in a child molestation ring, but that's shrill and unfair to put into print.

There's a racket and a scam behind charging people $150,000 for an education that will allow someone to get a job making $30K per year--the educator is making money and the employer is saving money. The bankrupt, uneducated person stuck with the bill is of no consideration to anyone.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Butt Grabber

John Epps Jr. is a serial butt grabber.

Epps Jr. has been accused of inappropriately touching two middle school females in Montgomery County. It's all on videotape, apparently, and his actions caused Montgomery County Public Schools a tremendous amount of embarrassment (which is what we call legal liability) when it was revealed that he had worked at nearly 60 different schools in the district.

In the old days, you would call him a pervert or worse. Now, you just call him a contractor:
So, how did Epps Jr. manage to gain access to nearly 60 schools in a day and age when student safety and wellbeing are two of the highest priorities? MCPS administrators were quick to point the finger at the 44-year-old's employer, Rockville-based Netcom Technologies, Inc.
In May, Netcom, Inc. hired Epps Jr. from a temporary staffing agency. Yet, instead of running its own independent background check, Netcom, Inc. accepted the paperwork the temp agency had on file. MCPS says those documents were grossly inaccurate.
"Going forward, Netcom has said [it] will do full checks on any temporary employee hired to work in a school. We are also reminding all of our contractors who work in our schools what their obligations are under the law and requiring they re-run checks on their employees working in schools," MCPS spokesman Dana Tofig said in an email sent to ABC 7.
Netcom, Inc., which has earned tens of millions of dollars in contracts from MCPS over the last 20 years, did not return our phone calls seeking comment.
Going forward, Netcom Inc. will still make a lot of money putting perverts on their payroll and pretending to know something about the people they hire. Profit margins being what they are, does anyone really expect this company to sweat a little butt grabbing? That's for the lawyers to work out.

Epps Jr. has made a career out of butt grabbing. Let's hope someone finally registers him as a sex offender (another failure documented in the article) and keeps him away from school kids.