Updates from February, 2015 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • dannyboystories 2:23 AM on February 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Would there be a flap over ISTEP if kids knew the material? 

    I cannot say I know all the ins and outs of the current Indiana flap over the length of ISTEP testing. The annual test is intended to measure the proficiency level of students in the basic areas of study. Here is the definition given by the state for the mandated program:

    “The purpose of the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus (ISTEP+) program is to measure student achievement in the subject areas of English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.”  It’s all part of the “No Child Left Behind” federally mandated program. The testing for students grade 3-8 is an annual event that teachers and students practice for days prior to the actual computer-based test. (http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/assessment/iapm-1415-chapter-01-istep.pdf)

    Recently, teachers, administrators, and others have complained the 2015 test is much too long–three hours too long! Glenda Ritz (D), the often embattled Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, trimmed the test by eliminating social studies, thereby cutting the test short by three hours. Does that even sound sensible, eliminating an entire section. Previously, Indiana’s Gov. Mike Pence, in an executive action, ordered the test shortened.

    I wonder why it is necessary to worry over a lengthy test? If students are being schooled in the areas to be tested in the first place, would they not know the material well enough to take a test? Now, it is likely folly, and perhaps not fair to compare Apples and Oranges, but I seem to remember Friday was quiz day in virtually every subject taught back in the day. Remember those long, narrow, lined sheets of paper issued for each test? Oh, I know…”back in the day” doesn’t relate to today.

    Wait just a darn minute! If we are not effectively teaching in the first place, no test of any kind will demonstrate successfully having learned the subject matter. Is that not so? The very fact students must “practice” taking the test for a month or so before the “real test” is given seems to me to be tangible evidence our kids may not be learning and retaining grade-to-grade. Does all this fuss not point to the fact a large majority of our children are not learning the basic English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies as they move from grade to grade? Is all the worry by teachers and administrators over testing because low scores will reflect badly upon their ability to teach?

    In my view, these are all good questions that beg answers. It just seems to me the problem is very fundamental, and goes to the very heart of what are the shortcomings of American educational systems today: Are our children not learning, and not being taught effectively? If that is so, no one seems to be making a real effort to solve the problem. Why? — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

    ComputerizedTesting

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  • dannyboystories 11:45 AM on February 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    This will likely cause me trouble! 

    The liberal left, aided and abetted by a dishonest media, is currently working overtime to find every juicy morsel challenging those who would seek the Republican nomination for President in 2016.

    What irks me most is the lack of vetting for then Senator Barack Obama. Apparently, by the time Obama was elected, most of his background was hidden or wiped away. At least, that’s the charge by those who continue to pound away at the President’s credentials.

    Now, I don’t know one way or another about Barack Obama, except for what I read in various dispatches. What I do know is his ability to spew lofty, honey coated rhetoric is without equal in modern times. In my view the voting public, particularly the youthful, swallowed his disingenuous verbal twisting hook, line, and sinker. Barack Obama is a master orator. No doubt about it. The Pied Piper would be envious.

    The Obama crew manning the White House is the President’s best weapon of choice. It would appear Mr. Obama and his henchmen make every decision based upon their perceived notions of changing America into what they alone believe this country should become, not what was intended under the Constitution. Admittedly, that frightens me.

    I’m also fearful of the tightly bound Republican muscle running the Congress. Cursory evidence points to an old hand group more interested in their collective power that doing what is right and what the American People want, as is clearly evidence by various polls. Case in point: If the President has violated his Oath of Office, or done something un-constitutional, where is the repercussion? Why have the Republicans not screamed bloody murder? Where is the loud outrage.

    I wonder out loud if the Republican leadership in the Congress has made a deal to leave the President alone during his final months in office? But, that’s just the view of an Old Man living out his last days troubled by the direction this nation is headed. — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

    crying liberty

     
  • dannyboystories 3:17 AM on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Repercussions from the ignorance of the founding of the United States of America. 

    Unless you are over the age of 60 years, you apparently have a general lack of understanding when it comes to the extraordinary fete by a handful of men who brazenly set out to form an independent nation by separating the 13 American colonies from the British monarchy.

    Strong statement, you say. Not at all. However, one cannot dispute the above statement without first studying and knowing American history and how the United States came into existence, especially the many back stories that provide a more complete appreciation. Without real knowledge of what the Founding Fathers each undertook and contributed, in my opinion, one cannot fully understand the greatness of the accomplishment.

    Such an understanding also breeds simple patriotism, nationalism, and an abiding love for the United States of America and what this country should mean to each one of us. In fact, our God-given liberties were cemented by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, both hammered out by the handful of representatives in Colonial America. The fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution are the result of brilliant thinking by so few. Recent cries for Constitutional change in my view are the result of a lack of knowledge, or a diabolical desire by some to unwind our democratic republic altogether.

    “…a new report shows that students anywhere from high school to fourth grade are solely lacking in their knowledge of American history. Results from the 2010 gold standard of testing, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 13 percent of the nation’s high school seniors showed proficiency in their knowledge of American history, and only 18 percent of eighth grades and 22 percent of fourth graders scoring as well.”  — ( http://townhall.com/columnists/danieldoherty/2011/10/22/the_decline_of_american_history_in_public_schools/page/full )

    Writer David McCullough is one of only a handful of Americans to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His novels of American history include “John Adams”, subject of an extraordinary HBO seven part series of the same name, “1776”, and “Truman”, among others. Some say “1776”, “an authoritative text on George Washington and his generals during the most significant year of the American Revolution”, should be required reading in every school in America. Likewise the “John Adams” dramatization series should be required watching. If you have the right tools, one can watch the miniseries on a television or personal computer ( http://www.hbo.com/john-adams#/ ).

    Study of the “Federalist Papers”, published explanations of the Constitution for public consumption written before the Constitution was ratified by the 13 states, should be required before high school graduation. The “Federalist Papers” are virtually unknown by most Americans. Unfortunately, McCullough’s books are likewise not encouraged for students.

    “Many Americans know U.S. students’ test scores on subjects like math and reading are low. In civics, however, they’re appalling. On the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a respected, voluntary nationwide test, 22 percent of students test proficient in civics, and only 18 percent rate proficient in U.S. history.” — Morgan Sweeney, writing for Heartland.org. ( http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/05/13 )

    Suffice it to say, I believe a primary reason for the decline in voter participation in the election process, the complete misunderstanding of “God-given rights”, and an expansion of the belief the Federal Government should be the end-all solution to all problems, personal and otherwise, is entirely due to a profound ignorance of American history and civics. The real tragedy is I doubt few can argue my opinion is wrong! — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

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  • dannyboystories 1:45 AM on February 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Frankly, I don’t give a damn for your opinion! 

    Shockingly, I really don’t give a damn for opinions. I WANT FACTS!, irrefutable facts that lead to the whole truth, not those adulterated “facts” apparently prepared by figuring liars.

    Sure, you have heard the old saying: “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” Well, I’m sick and tired of liars figuring, twisting the truth and selling it to low information voters.

    1. Case in Point #1, the Southern Border–Deportations of illegal immigrants along the U.S./Mexican border have increased substantially since the Obama Administration took office. The irrefutable fact is the method of counting was changed! Previously, those illegals who were grabbed at the border and immediately taken to the nearest crossing and released back in Mexico were NOT COUNTED in any report. The Obama Administration changed that. Now those immediately caught and sent back are counted, giving the appearance of a substantial increase in border enforcement by the thousands! Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.
    2. Case in Point #2, The Economy is Vastly Improved–The President points to the fact unemployment is down, signaling the end of the Great Recession. The irrefutable fact is while “reported” unemployment has declined, the number of those who are no longer looking for work has increased, and there are fewer persons now actually employed than there were at the start of the recession! So, the economy for those unable to find work, or those working at a lesser paying job has not improved. Furthermore, there has been a dramatic increase in those receiving food stamps to keep their families fed. Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.
    3. Case in Point #3, Domestic Oil Production–Domestic oil production is at the highest level ever because of the Obama Administration policies. The irrefutable fact is the restrictions on oil drilling have not been relaxed. Increased production is due in large part to the highly successful capturing of oil from shale using new technology. Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

    You can look all of this up yourself by simply searching the internet. In the meanwhile, just give me the real facts, not the twisted statistics used to manipulate public thought or action. — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

    Hair Pull SML

     
  • dannyboystories 12:46 PM on February 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Simple 3-point foreign policy: 

    3PointForeignPolicy JPG 150

     
  • dannyboystories 6:09 PM on February 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    ARE THE STANDARDS WRONG, OR IS IT THOSE WHO ARE WRITING THE NEW CURRICULUM? 

    Examples of so-called “Common Core” math and English lessons make my blood boil, but if one reads the actual “standards” there is little comparison to those nonsensical lessons and what may be the real truth.

    “While the standards set grade-specific goals, they do not define how the standards should be taught or which materials should be used to support students. States and districts recognize that there will need to be a range of supports in place to ensure that all students, including those with special needs and English language learners, can master the standards. It is up to the states to define the full range of supports appropriate for these students.” — http://www.corestandards.org/read-the-standards/

    I’ve reviewed most of the math and English standards as written, albeit not all of them. In the sections I reviewed, there is no recommendation of actual lessons to be used. Too, there are no specific references to particular writings or teaching materials. Why, then, is there such a turmoil about standards that only appear to set achievement goals?

    I contend the American educational system is in large measure the captive of teacher unions and administrators. That statement lumps many of my personal friends in a category of suspects I certainly do not intend. However, the federal Department of Education (DOE) and the National Education Association (NEA), the teacher’s union, have a relationship that is much too cozy. If it were up to me, I would dissolve President Jimmy Carter’s DOE.

    There are few folks in the private sector who have a near guarantee of employment for the future through what is called “tenure”. Certainly, I understand the intention of things like tenure. In the past, political spoils have removed many fine employees from their positions for light and inconsequential reasons. That is patently wrong. However, tenure and similar near guarantees of employment fashioned by unions to protect its members have swung the pendulum too far afield.

    But, what about Common Core? In fact, it is up to each state to adopt Common Core Standards, or not. It is the written curriculum that may be adopted that bothers me. The standards have been received by the liberal intelligentsia as a green light to fashion lessons in a world view that dilutes traditional American nationalism and  values. That’s where we part company.

    Math and English standards are vital to the ever-changing future of this country. It does not signal abandonment of our heritage, or the twisting of our history for political purposes. That’s clearly brain-washing our children, in my view. — D. C. ‘Dan’ Lee

    RULES JPG

     
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