Category Archives: No Child Left Behind

Thank You For Your Service, Sort Of…

To all the flag-wavin’, flag-clutchin’, flag-wearin’, flag-supportin’ members of the the GOP,  and this includes senatorial candidate Dean Heller,  here’s some unsolicited advice on how to truly be supportive of our Armed Forces and veterans. Some of these don’t translate well into bumper stickers or shouted slogans, but they just might be more effective.

#1. Let’s start with NOT separating from service members of the military and reservists who happen to be immigrants on a path to citizenship. [USAT]  For crying out loud, these people are VOLUNTEERS.  They have volunteered to place themselves deliberately in harm’s way to protect the safety and security of the rest of us.  Aren’t these exactly the kind of people we want to join us as citizens of these United States?

#2.  Let’s stop creating deportation issues for some 11,800 members of our military families [MilTimes] and let’s stop deporting the spouses of our veterans [NBC].  Where, please, are the voices of our members of the US Senate — yes, Senator Heller, this includes you — and the voices of our Representatives in the House?  And, yes, Rep. Amodei (R-NV2) this means you as well.  Please don’t try to convince me of your love and respect for active duty personnel and veterans while you allow them to worry about the deportation status of their spouses — and the mothers and fathers of their children.

#3.  Let’s start paying members of the military what they are worth rather than beginning the calculation with what we think is the least amount we can pay and still meet budget restrictions. For example, the pay increase for member of the US military for 2017 was 2.1%, and granted that’s above the “austerity years” previously, but the inflation rate for 2017 was also 2.1% so our members of the armed forces didn’t actually get a raise in terms of real purchasing power.  The latest bill includes a 2.6% pay raise. Will this cover inflation rates? [Mil.com] [FedPay] Can I get an “Amen!” from Senator Heller? From Representative Amodei?  I’m not hearing anything…

#4. And, while we are discussing purchasing power… Remember back in April 2018 when the White House floated a proposal to cut SNAP benefits? [Mil.com]  Those cuts would effect members of the US military. [Mil.com]  That argument was still going on as of July 5, 2018. [SanAntonioC] How about we decide not to have this argument at all. How about paying members of the US military enough so SNAP benefits are unnecessary, or if they must be then making sure military families have sufficient resources to put food on their tables? This would seem to be a very supportive thing to advocate? Yes? Senator Heller? Yes? Representative Amodei?

Meanwhile, what’s happening in the current legislation headed to the Oval Office [USNI]  on Basic Housing Allowances? Whenever Senator McConnell says things including the phrase “more opportunity,” I begin to wonder Whose Opportunity to do what.  On Tricare? On dental treatment plans?

In short, let’s stop talking about “thank you for your service,” and “support the troops,” and DO something that allows them to be thankful they joined the US Armed Forces.  If we truly appreciate their service then we ought to be willing to pay for it.

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Filed under Amodei, Heller, Immigration, Military pay, Nevada politics, No Child Left Behind, Politics

A Fable of Testing in the Land of Bahl

Once upon a time in the land of Bahl a coterie of influential PooBobs decided that all the Bahl Players would be rewarded on a strictly meritocratic basis using elaborately constructed standardized testing to insure that only the best Bahl Players would be on the best teams.  Kabillions of dollars flowed into the campaign to tell all the citizens of Bahl that the testing of the Bahl Players would yield excellent results.  Soon the citizens of Bahl began to believe the PooBobs, and to question their coaches.  Surely, a coach whose players had the highest standardized test scores should see the best results in the win-loss columns.

So, a decree went throughout the land that the Manufacturers of Standardized Bahl Tests would provide the means by which to measure the Bahl Players.  Players would be tested on the rules of the Bahl Game, on accurate passing, on accurate shooting, on the capacity to block shots, steals, assists, and on the continuity of dribbling.  The citizens of Bahl anxiously awaited the results.

However, when it came the season to actually play the Bahl Games the results didn’t seem to align with the copious promises for success.   Some teams, already including some highly skilled Players, weren’t seen as making adequate progress — and their coaches were questioned.  Why, people asked, with all the success you had last season, can you not make even more progress this season?

Other teams found that the meritocratic system appeared to diminish the Players rather than enhance their contributions.   Only a precious few Players scored high on all the phases of the tests — rules, passing, shooting, blocking, stealing, assisting, and dribbling. More  Bahl Teams found themselves putting Players on the Court who while they achieved relatively  high overall scores on the Manufactured Standardized Tests didn’t blend well as a Team.

One team, whose Players scored well enough in Blocking to assure the management that progress was just around the corner, was so lacking in offensive capability that their winning percentage declined as other Bahl Teams discovered it was all but unnecessary to guard them.  Another squad, highly skilled — as measured by the Manufactured Standardized Testing — was exceptionally proficient in shooting.  However, their games degenerated into mediocrity as other teams noticed that by utilizing a slow-down half court defense the scorers (who couldn’t defend worth a stale pickle on a concession stand hot dog) would be unable to play to their strength.

There were even problems within the teams.  Should a coach play only those Bahl Players who had the highest overall scores?  Should a Player who had a high score on the Manufactured Standardized Test section on shooting, but lower scores on blocking and rules be put on the Court?  What of the Player who scored well above the proficiency level on blocking shots, but well below the level of proficiency on dribbling, should he or she be included on the Bahl Team?

Should a Bahl Player with an 89% proficiency level in free throws, but only a 10% proficiency rate in Rules, be given playing time in preference to a Player with a 50% proficiency rate in free throws and a 50% proficiency rate in Rules?   And so the controversies continued.

Not only were the controversies created internally, but there were also controversies beyond the practice Courts.  Who was the best coach?  Was the best coach the one whose Players tended to score well in all the phases of the Manufactured Standardized Test?  Or, was the best coach the one whose Players actually won games?  Why was it that some of the best coaches, as measured by the performance of the Bahl Players on the Manufactured Standardized Test, weren’t achieving the expected level of success in the Win-Loss columns?

Why did some coaches persist in putting Bahl Players on the Court who scored only marginal results on the Manufactured Standardized Test, but who appeared to contribute an unmeasurable, and hence unscientific, “spark off the bench?”  Was a coach to be measured by the Win-Loss Column, the results of the Manufactured Standardized Tests, or the employ-ability of his or her Bahl players?

What were the citizens of Bahl to make of the coach whose Players consistently displayed leadership, ingenuity, creativity, and artistry such that they were always employable but who didn’t always achieve proficiency levels on the Manufactured Standardized Tests? Who weren’t always winners as measured by the Win-Loss column?

The questions remained unanswered as the citizens of Bahl listened to the campaigners for the Manufactured Standardized Tests.  The campaigners told them that proficiency could be scientifically measured, and the measurements would correlate to the efficacy of the coaching.  Surely global success was around the next corner.

Thus, coaches began to coach-to-the-test.  Only Bahl Players who demonstrated overall proficiency were included on the playing rosters.  Coaches proudly pointed to the proficiency scores of their Bahl Players, and some Teams advertised their test scores.  Managers put greater pressure on coaches whose Bahl Players were considered insufficiently proficient on the Manufactured Standardized Tests.  More and more  practice time was devoted to preparing for the Manufactured Standardized Tests than was given to preparing for the upcoming Games.

But the fans were not pleased.  Teams scientifically assembled based on the proficiency scores on the Manufactured Standardized Tests weren’t “winning.” Their Bahl Players were very good at taking the Manufactured Standardized Tests, but their performance on the Court was assuredly less than entertaining.

It was soon discovered that some Bahl Players, who were very skilled at taking the Manufactured Standardized Tests, weren’t all that good at actually Playing Bahl.  Indeed, it was perceived that when adverse situations developed on the Courts requiring creativity, ingenuity, and good old fashioned Intestinal Fortitude, some of the teams flopped faster than an Italian Serie A striker in the penalty area.

However, the Kabillions of Dollars continued to flow into the campaign to make Bahl Playing a scientifically measurable human activity, one in which the individual Bahl Players could be evaluated in percentiles, and in which the coaches could be graded based upon the overall achievement of their Players on the Manufactured Standardized Tests.   Owners, managers, and coaches continued to tinker with ways to make their systems conform to the demands of the test taking while still trying to teach the Bahl Game.

But the fans continued to be less than thrilled by the results.  “Be patient,” said the Campaigners for Manufactured Standardized Tests,” All will be well when all the Players score above the proficiency level on all the segments of the examinations. And, all will be perfect when all the Players on all the Teams have improving test scores.”

The fans persisted in looking at the score board, which told them what they already knew — their belovéd teams were composed of Bahl Players who were better at taking the tests than performing on the Courts.  Coaches who enjoyed the Bahl Game were leaving the field — saying that to teach the measurable portions of the Bahl Game was to place undue emphasis on the content of the contest, and not the contest itself.   Fans became anxious.  The improving scores on the examinations weren’t equating to the promised improvement in the Bahl Game.  “Never fear,” said the campaigners for Manufactured Standardized Tests,” There will be a day when all the Bahl Players will be satisfactorily proficient, and then you will see our success.”

And, the campaigners for Manufactured Standardized Tests continued to spend Kabillions to send that very message to the fans, over and over, again, and again.

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Filed under education, No Child Left Behind

>More on the School Daze of NCLB

>Mandevilla has another installment of the continuing saga about how Bush profiteers collect billions from the No Child Left Behind Act.

Supporters of the act have a message: “Their point is clear: The goal of the federal government should no longer be to invest in the preparation of broadly educated, creative, critical-thinking young minds, but rather to invest in the preparation of workers who will take direction well, who will quickly and accurately press the right keypads on the cash register, who will quickly and accurately combine the appropriate nuts and bolts on the factory floor, who convey a sense of smiley contentedness when asking, “do you want fries with that?,” and who will not ever call OSHA, or buck management, or suggest that their fellow workers organize for better pay.”

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Filed under education, No Child Left Behind