Monthly Archives: December 2012

For Poor, Leap to College

(Community Matters) NYT: Poor students struggling, not enough succeeding in college – this is a huge problem. I know Break Through and College Forward are addressing. Deserves more of our attention.

Austin

bouillibasse 1212(Community Matters) so nice to be home for a bit. Returned on Friday evening, expecting to drive to Marfa this morning – but weather here is gorgeous and we’re delaying our departure just a day.

Starting the bouillabaisse for Xmas eve while here – always best after one day.

Wayne LaPierre on Meet the Press

Wayne LaPierre(Community Matters) “If it’s crazy to call for armed officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy. … I think the American people think it’s crazy not to do it. It’s the one thing that would keep people safe. … I said what I honestly thought and … what hundreds of millions of people all over this country believe will actually make a difference.”

Seriously, NRA? Hundreds of millions? As in 2/3 or more of the USA’s population? This is part of the problem – unrealistic perspective.

The NRA has 4mm members. To put this in perspective, the AARP has 40mm members. Not dismissing the important role NRA once played in protecting 2nd amendment rights but their proposal and their extreme tone deafness do not predict well for the organization’s relevance going forward.

NRA

Another example of the right wing living in an echo chamber. Like the Romney campaign, these folks probably thought they were proposing a winning solution, though they failed to focus group the plan outside their supporters. What a horrific PR disaster – literally threatens the entire organization’s relevance.

As for the efficacy of arming teachers or hiring security guards or armed volunteers – Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 & wounded 29 others at the most populous army base in the world, Fort Hood – where even most of the victims were armed. As to armed volunteers, images of George Zimmerman come to mind.

It will not serve us well for them to remain so far outside reality. We’re talking about 4mm well-armed, passionate folks who we don’t need to make feel threatened. 8k more Americans are now joining everyday. I’m hearing there are lines outside gun shops.

We need to proceed thoughtfully and carefully.

As an FYI – I believe in the right to bear arms. I don’t think it extends to automatic & semiautomatic weapons. I also believe the rights of citizens’ safety allow us to place certain restrictions and conditions on the right to carry these arms.

Legislative Battle for Education Reform, Beware Trojan Horses

trojan horse(Community Matters) As Dr. Anthony of Raise Your Hand Texas predicted, we’re seeing the first wave of vouchers introduced (or vouchers by another name) Tuition Tax Credits & Alternative Accreditation – AAS: Inside a Catholic elementary school State Senator Dan Patrick & Lt Gov Dewhurst introduce five-point education reform package that includes a plan for helping public school students attend private schools.

Patrick’s “tax credit” funding solution for private schools will take from the general budget, decreasing public school funding – thus a voucher by another name.

I’m told we’re yet to see more aggressive voucher proposals in the coming weeks, likely from Senate Finance Chair Tommy Williams.

 

GOP Hostage to Protection Racket

(Community Matters) Richard Painter’s guest editorial in the  NYTimes – helpful frame for thinking of all the groups hijacking the GOP primaries

Assault Weapons Ban

ASSAULT-articleLarge(Community Matters) A super NYTimes article from two perspectives: 1) the reality of what passing an assaults weapon & high-capacity magazine ban and 2) lessons learned about allowing swiss cheese exceptions

Nate Silver

nateSilverPersonOfYear2012_1(Community Matters) Profile of Nate Silver in Out Magazine.

“To my friends, I’m kind of sexually gay but ethnically straight,” explains Silver, who came out to his parents after spending a year in London studying economics—“I don’t know how I got any work done”—and considers gay conformity as perfidious as straight conformity. He supports marriage equality, but worries that growing acceptance of gays will dent our capacity to question broader injustice.

 

The Economist on Effective Education Systems

the_learning_curve_EIU_home(Community Matters) “There is no substitute for good teachers: successful school systems have a number of things in common: they find culturally effective ways to attract the best people to the profession; they provide relevant, ongoing training; they give teachers a status similar to that of other respected professions; and the system sets clear goals and expectations but also lets teachers get on with meeting these. Higher salaries, on the other hand, accomplish little by themselves.” The Economist’s, The Learning Curve

Five lessons for education policymakers

1. There are no magic bullets

2. Respect teachers

3. Culture can be changed

4. Parents are neither impediments to nor saviours of education

5. Educate for the future, not just the present

Homeless Young People

(Community Matters) in the NYTimes, Young, Unemployed and Living on the Street

future implications?

Joaquin & Julian Castro on Charlie Rose

(Community Matters)

castros charlie rose

 

video here

the guys are especially thoughtful and effective discussing gun control

 

Waiting and Doing Nothing

bill adams oxnard(Community Matters) As we’re decompressing, remembering how to be quiet, we’re reminded:

On the Importance of Waiting and Doing Nothing: 
A Mid-Advent Reflection

There are so many ways to wait, and things to wait upon, in our lives. This time of year especially we wait in lines so that we can buy stuff for people we (sometimes) can’t wait to see. Then we get in our cars and wait for mall traffic to subside and for red lights to turn green, only to arrive at home and wait the minute and a half it takes to warm up last night’s dinner since we were too busy off doing other things to get home on time. There’s as much waiting and standing around as there is holiday bluster and hustle.

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