Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Required Reading

It's not short, and it's not sweet, but it is unbelievably important. If you can't read it here, buy the magazine.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Sequestration, when it doesn't have to do with juries or chemistry, is defined by Webster's as "the taking and holding of property pending resolution of a legal dispute." I'm not entirely sure how that applies to our current situation, except in the intimation of confiscation. I happen to be on the boards of two organizations that will be grossly and immediately affected by sequestration, no matter how many Tea Partiers get on TV to say that it's "simply slowing future growth" or whatever their latest sound bite might be. In the case of TC Action, we could lost 30 percent of Head Start and 50 percent of Community Block Grants. That seems like a lot to me. In the case of BOCES, here's what I wrote our Congressman:
Dear Congressman Reed: The sequestration that is about to hit March 1 will have a real and immediate impact on BOCES through funding cuts to IDEA, Rural Education, Special Ed Grants to States, School Improvement State Grants, CTE State Grants, and Adult Basic and Literacy Education Grants. Please support the negotiation of a thoughtful compromise that does less to damage our children's education.
His office wrote back:
I am a strong supporter of cutting excessive government spending, but I am concerned about the indiscriminate nature of these particular spending cuts. The House has voted twice to realign these cuts and protect vital government programs whose funding is endangered as a result of Sequestration, but neither of those plans were acted upon by the Senate. Regarding cuts to life-saving medical research and payments to Medicare providers, Specific sequestration spending cut decisions are made by the President. Until our government has found a solution to the threat of Sequestration, I will remain attentive to this issue.
I like the capitalization of Sequestration, which makes it far more menacing. And I guess it's all the fault of the Senate and the President. I should have known.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

TRS Hits the Iceberg

Here, in a nutshell, is why NYS schools are in so much trouble. Colleges, too. It's the elephant in the room at all budget meetings.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dumb Like Mom and Dad

Honestly, I have always thought of the Texas GOP as the dregs of American society (and madly applauded any move on their part to secede from the Union), but Krugman points out that their ignorance-based ravings are now endorsed by the leadership in DC.

The Texas GOP, as WaPo blogger Valerie Strauss points out, opposes early childhood education, sex education, and multicultural education, but the part Krugman is pointing to is their dislike of "Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority." The Party has tried to backtrack from this position after being ridiculed, most notably by Stephen Colbert, but that's not even the dumbest part of their education platform.

As Colbert would say, "The minds of our young people are being poisoned by knowledge..."

Monday, February 11, 2013

Inviting the Viper

One can only hope that they eject Ted Nugent at the door. It's a sign of the times that someone thinks this is a good idea.

Friday, February 1, 2013


For better or worse, he was my mayor. I lived in NYC for 13 years, and he was mayor for 12 of them. I still remember "Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo," a slogan that caused me to oppose Mario when he first ran for governor (I later repented—Mario was better than a lot of folks, including his own offspring). And I doubt there was anyone in NYC at that time who didn't get a handshake and a "How'm I doing?" on the way to the subway. You were doing okay, Ed. Not great, not entirely ethical, but not bad, considering where we've been since then.