Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Despite the hype surrounding the fictional work, it truly is a tour de force, gripping and clever and worth reading. A great beach book.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Vibrancy is a sort of performance that artists or musicians are expected to put on, either directly or indirectly, for the corporate class. These are the ones we aim to reassure of our city’s vibrancy, so that they never choose to move their millions (of dollars) to some more vibrant burg. An artist who keeps to herself, who works in her room all day, who wears unremarkable clothes and goes without tattoos— by definition she brings almost nothing to this project, adds little to the economic prospects of a given area.
Because the business has fewer than 50 employees, it is exempt from employer responsibility for offering insurance. However, since it has fewer than 25 full-time employees and offers wages that average under $50,000, it could provide employee health insurance, pay at least 50% of premiums, and receive a tax credit of up to 35%, increasing in 2014 to 50%. It will also be eligible in 2014 to shop at the Affordable Insurance Exchange to receive more choices and lower prices—similar to the buying power that large businesses currently have. If the employees it is insuring feel the cost is too high, they can take the employer contribution in cash and apply it to their own chosen health insurance plan from the Exchange.
Because it is so small, the Dryden business may decide to continue without offering insurance. Employees will be able to buy insurance directly on the Exchange, starting in 2014. If they make under $14,000 (or $29,000 for a family of four), they will be eligible for Medicaid. If they make under $43,000 (or $88,000 for a family of four), they will receive a tax credit that is advanceable (to lower monthly premiums). They may also qualify for cost-sharing of payments and deductibles. If they choose not to purchase insurance, they will pay a fee (now considered a tax), which will go to help pay medical bills for other uninsured Americans, a fee that every taxpayer in the nation currently helps to pay.
Monday, July 16, 2012
60%: Observations. These, of course, are largely subjective. At TST-BOCES, they will be based on the Danielson rubric, but other districts may use other rubrics—or none at all. Only certain people are allowed to evaluate through observation, and there must be a minimum of two observations per year, one of which may be announced ahead of time.
20%: State Score. Since TST-BOCES has very few classes in which state tests apply, most teachers there will be writing individual SLOs, student learning objectives, through which to measure their students' growth. In the districts, teachers who teach coursework that is not tested by the state will also need to write SLOs. Although there are some suggested directives for writing these SLOs, there is no clear across-the-board methodology or correlation. In theory, this assessment measures individual growth over time. A fourth-grader's scores from 2013 may be compared to that same child's scores from 2012 to see whether the child's year in Ms. K's class led to the expected growth. What that expected growth might be is something State Ed is apparently working out. With the exception of classes that have SLOs, this is the one segment of the APPR that might be considered quasi-objective and universally correlated—in other words, once State Ed works it out, growth G in Student A in District X will be equivalent to growth G in Student B in District Y.
20%: Local Score. Districts may buy existing tests or create their own. At TST-BOCES, there will be a mix. In theory, this assessment measures comparative achievement, although it is possible that it might also (or instead) measure growth over time.
A teacher who receives an overall composite score of 75, once all variables are compiled, is considered to be effective or highly effective. One who receives a score below 75 is considered to be developing or ineffective and thus in need of a TIP (Teacher Improvement Plan). Two ineffective scores over two consecutive years are grounds for dismissal, although there is an appeal process available.
Possibly the lone good thing about this plan is that it has forced unions and administration into serious talks about what constitutes a reasonable plan for evaluating teachers across the board. They all pretty much agree that this isn't it.
Worth noting: the amount of instructional time lost as teachers test students, grade tests, prepare SLOs, etc.
I should mention that there is a similar plan for evaluating principals.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
On the radio with me this morning, Mike Sigler suggested that Tom Reed had a "broader appeal" to people in the district. I thought he was talking about politics, but maybe I should have pressed him on it.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Thursday, July 5, 2012
1. Olivia can stay on our plan until age 26.
2. We no longer have a lifetime limit on coverage.
3. We can't get dropped if we get sick.
4. Our premiums may increase, but they can't suddenly skyrocket.
I thought we'd get free immunizations, but there's some discrepancy in what I'm reading. It appears that grandfathered plans aren't forced to provide free preventive care.
All in all, it doesn't seem to affect me much, at least not the way the screaming right wing would suggest. I don't much feel that my freedom is affected one way or the other.