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Speak Out 7/9/12

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cable concerns

People are complaining in Speak Out about the crossover cables on the interstate. Now that the Missouri Department of Transportation is repaving the interstate by the airport, the road surface is going to be even higher, maybe another five inches; and those crossover cables are going to be even lower and more dangerous to us. They really should be put in the center of the median and not right next to the southbound lane.

SEMO raises

This is to the person complaining about SEMO giving raises. The university is consistently losing good faculty and staff because the pay is not nearly competitive. Just because some people do not have jobs, does that mean employers should not provide a competitive salary to those who do?

A levee point

This newspaper had pictures online of water flowing over the top of the Birds Point levee before the Army had its explosion. If the Army had thought about it, the water was already going over the top of the levee. There was no reason to blow it up. It was already relieving pressure on Cairo, Ill. Then, if they had not blown up the levee, local farmers would have fixed the levee for free because there would not have been much work to do. Now it is over a year later and the Army is still fighting about whether they are going to fix the levee and who the contractor is. If they had just left it alone, the farmers would have fixed it for free last year.

Thank you notes

Recently I have been to two high school graduations, one college graduation, one bridal shower, two weddings and one birthday party, all of which I have given generous money or presents that are nice and unique. I have not received one thank you note. I am so sick of going to these things and people not responding with thank yous. I think it is extremely rude and parents need to make sure this gets done.

Obama's ad

I just saw the ad on TV again about President Obama and how many jobs he wants to put back to work for firefighters and public service people. As much as I support that, there are average Americans who should be included with that. I am really getting tired of this commercial that just keeps harping on the fact that it is going to put these people's classifications back to work when everybody needs a job. I have been in my career for 30 years and I have been unemployed for the last year and haven't been able to find a job -- and the field I'm in should be a good one. It's just the economy and I don't see it lifting. So for him to say average Americans don't need jobs just really hurts and it is going to hurt him in the election in this person's eyes.

Health care spin

Many conservative columnists are spinning the health care decision like whirling dervishes. Because the erstwhile conservative Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote, we are being told that the decision was in reality a long-run win for conservatism. The real motive of said columnists is to grovel and pander to Roberts so that he will in the future forgive his fellow conservative justices for turning on him with vengeance and assuring that he will in the future return to the conservative fold.

Graduation rate

Memo to the school board: Are you aware that if we had Sikeston's graduation rate, almost 80 students a year more would graduate here in Cape Girardeau? Maybe it is time to concentrate on that rather than dress codes and performing arts centers for the chosen few.

Mo. NCLB waiver

MO schools have applied for and received a waiver from the punitive dictates of the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind Act. Does this mean back to business as usual? I sure hope so.


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"two high school graduations, one college graduation, one bridal shower, two weddings and one birthday party...parents need to make sure this gets done."

Most of those mentioned are adults. I have a rule, 'no thank you (note, email or peronsal contact), no future gift.

-- Posted by ratiocination on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 3:29 AM

Interesting...if the person receiving the gift, makes personal contact and thank you...is a note required? Old school etiquette would say yes, but in today's society with texts, emails etc., I would think personal contact would be even more sincere.

-- Posted by Theorist on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 4:53 AM

Curious that we have two comments today - one on failing graduation rates in Cape Girardeau and another praising the waiver for "No Child Left Behind" - a bill pushed by liberal democrat Ted Kennedy and signed by Bush.

Cape schools failing and we're excited that accountability of schools is weakened. Pay close attention to responses from educators on NCLB. Their ONLY answer to school problems is "more money". The more we spend, the worse education gets.

-- Posted by Dug on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 9:26 AM

The No Child Left Behind bill was passed by a republican congress, and signed by George W. Bush.

-- Posted by jayrod on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 10:32 AM

Yes - and as I said co-sponsored by Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy who praised the law for shifting the focus to improving education for all students by forcing schools to track progress for children of different abilities, race and socio-economic status.

Only so-called education "experts" and educators don't like NCLB. Why? We've been listening to them and the NEA for decades while our schools get worse. The NEA doesn't like accountability.

-- Posted by Dug on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 10:42 AM

NCLB isn't practical. But you explain it Dug...you tell me why a 'one size fits all' will work with all children.

Do you know anything about the countries who 'appear' to score higher in education than the USA?

Do you understand learning differences, disabilities, and disorders?

Do you understand how ineffective standardized tests are?

Do your homework and get back with me...

-- Posted by Theorist on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 11:10 AM

I've done my homework. All you have are excuses - no answers. All I need to know is that we've given public education TRILLIONS in dollars and increases over the past 30 years and our students are now even further behind other nations, drop out rates are the highest ever and you, an educator, only have 2 answers - a) give us more money b) don't hold us accountable.

We've *always* had learning differences, disabilities and disorders even when education was FAR better than today. What's your excuse now?

Do you understand how ineffective your liberal approach to throw money at every problem is? Why do private schools perform MUCH better with less money? And don't give me some tripe about handling children with special needs. There are special needs children and they need help - and they ARE getting it. What's your point?

My point? You have no answers but "give me more money" and "don't hold me accountable".

-- Posted by Dug on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 11:22 AM

In other words...you don't know the answers to my questions....

food for thought...Do you know how many more students we are educating now, than 30 years ago?

ps. I never said give anyone more money, and please hold me accountable for my students :)

-- Posted by Theorist on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 11:26 AM

Do you understand learning differences, disabilities, and disorders? Yes.

Do you understand how ineffective standardized tests are? Premise of the question is wrong. Standardized testing was used for decades when education was much higher. I don't think you understand how effective standardized tests are. Do you? They are given in every class all over the country every day. What do you suggest? Random history tests for 30 kids in a class today? Nearly *all* tests are standardized. Is the ACT not standardized? I answered your question - now answer mine.

What does it matter how many more students we are educating? It's a non-issue to education. Did you know that we've been educating more students every decade since this country was created? And that education improved dramatically and kept this country in a leadership position until liberals and the NEA took over education? Hmmmm..... Your point on "more students" is baffling. Guess what - there will be even more next year - so what?

You may have never said give me more money but your union says it all the time.

-- Posted by Dug on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 11:32 AM

Theorist - are the ACT and SAT tests standardized? Aren't a HUGE majority of tests given in a class room today standardized for the students in that class?

Haven't we always had special needs children - even when the US lead the world in education?

Won't there be more students in the next decade?

Haven't you championed Obama's call for more money in education with the federal government hiring more teachers?

-- Posted by Dug on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 12:19 PM

.I'd have to go with what somebody who does these things says , an educator... -- Posted by Rickʘ on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 12:14 PM

Good! Then pay attention to my posts on this :-)

-- Posted by Dug on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 12:20 PM

...so Obamacare was upheld based upon the premise that the government has the power to tax, and that tax "penalty" is reasonable due to the slight (but very real) possibility that a person without health insurance MIGHT get sick, injured, or in some other way require medical assistance and be unable to pay for it...and when that happens, taxpayers are burdened with paying the costs for you.

So why not use the SAME logic to push for a firearm mandate? There should be a tax "penalty" for anyone choosing NOT to own and carry a gun, since by owning and carrying a gun you are accepting responsibility for your own safety and protection. Your failure to do so causes the burden and costs associated with providing for your security to fall upon others in society by way of funding a larger police force with their tax dollars.

The Supreme Court has now established a legal precedence for penalizing an individual through the tax code for failing to buy a product or service where the purchase of that product or service reduces the risk of the individual someday becoming a financial burden on society as a whole. When it comes to government dictating what an individual MUST buy with the fruits of his own labor, how far is too far?

-- Posted by dixietrucker on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 12:24 PM

Tests are a means of evaluation. If I give you a visual test but you are an aural learner, do you think you will test as well as the visual learner?

Yes the ACT is a standardized test...the ACT has long-standing problems of bias, inaccuracy, 'coach-ability', and misuse. Because of these flaws, no test - neither the ACT nor SAT - should be required in the college admissions process.

Which makes one wonder...why do we have to have an evaluation which predicts how a student will do in college. Why not let everyone try to get a higher education? Why not evaluate a hard work ethic and desire to learn? Think about that, and you see the problem with testing.

-- Posted by Theorist on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 12:45 PM

That was a placement exam Rick, and they are good at doing just what you said.

-- Posted by Theorist on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 1:02 PM

What about a history test given to students in a class today somewhere in America? Is it not "standardized"? What is wrong with that?

Standardized tests, standards in general and accoutability apply to any successful measure today. You have to know if you're performing. Somehow, someway educators always cry "foul" when standards are introduced.

We'd all like to have jobs where we aren't accountable. That only happens in education - why?

-- Posted by Dug on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 1:06 PM

Two kids. Both went to public school. Both graduated, both attended college. One is a lawyer and the other in medical school. In the same school were students who dropped out, failed, did poorly, and others who excelled. ALL the students had the same opportunity.

If I judge the school by the experience of my children, it was terrific. If I lump all the rest in the pot, I am sure some would find a need for improvement. This is like judging a business by those employees who don't show up for work, take no pride in the effort, and put out the minimum to get by. In the business world the employees would be fired; in the schools we test them.

-- Posted by Cogito on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 1:25 PM

We all sure did start Monday morning out the right way fighting among one another were beginning to sound like that bunch in Washington can't agree on nothing. I'm as bad as the next one maybe it is all in the water around here, no it's the extreme heat.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 2:46 PM

The thing is you have great teachers and terrible teachers. The great teachers try and help the students succeed, but it has now reached a point to where teachers can't do anything to help students succeed. I remember when I was a student (not but a few years ago), if I did not do my homework I would be punished, both by the teacher and by my parents. The problem today is teachers cannot discipline the children for their actions and parents do not care what their children do.

I read a comment the other day of someone complaining about having to work 9 hours a day then come home to help their child for 3 hours on homework, what grade is your child in? IMO that is parenthood, but also I did not have 3 hours of homework unless I goofed off in class or until I was in college. When I did have 3 hours of homework my parents would ask why I had so much and the reason was always I goofed off, of course I tried to lie about it but always got caught, and guess what I got in trouble for that.

A teacher only has "X" amount of time to teach "Y" amount of subjects in a day. Great teachers lay out their lesson plans a week or so ahead of time and leave enough time for the children to do the work at school and ask any questions so they do not have homework.

Also this testing to evaluate the teacher and how their class has learned over the course of the year is B.S. When I was in school they would give us these tests which were the biggest waste of time - imo, so I would rush through knowing that it would not affect me. However now that I am older I realize that my actions were selfish which is why I teach my son not to rush through these test, but you will always have those selfish children like I was and will rush which only affects the teacher. The teachers know "Little Jimmy" rushed through the test but they can't do anything about it; can't sit him out from recess-he might get fat, can't sit him in time out, or scold him-you might hurt his feelings. People are teaching their children that it is ok not to do your job; someone else will pay your way.

-- Posted by irishjester on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 3:40 PM

SEMO raises: OK for raises but no increase in tuition in order to do so.

Thank you notes: The ones that send out thank you notes are those that care, apparently there are fewer people who care. They are too busy on Facebook and Twitter telling everyone what they had for lunch.....

Health care spin: Both sides have spun it so much that I'm getting dizzy.

Graduation rate: Maybe the Cape school board should see how the Sikeston school board runs things.

Mo. NCLB waiver: We need good teachers to teach good students. There has always been students just getting by that turn into grown ups just getting by.

-- Posted by semo471 on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 4:24 PM

It's an example of diminishing returns. Using the current system, regardless of how much additional money is thrown at it, the level of improvement will not be proportional to the resources spent. If the aim is to cause the public school system be the answer to 'every' student's needs, I would submit that there isn't enough money to accomplish that goal.

I agree that well-qualified, motivated and professional educators are essential requirements. But, a radical redesign of the whole system may be necessary too.

-- Posted by Cogito on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 4:39 PM

But, a radical redesign of the whole system may be necessary too. -- Posted by Cogito on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 4:39 PM

Cogito - just curious - what are your thoughts on a $2000 voucher for every child and they can choose (public/private/home school???) for their education. If the child doesn't perform (or test) well then they don't get the money the choice next year.

Whaddayathink?

-- Posted by Dug on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 6:26 PM

Dug:

Public schools worked for my children, my wife and me. However, it is not reasonable that public education works as well for everyone.It is probable that home schools, private, and parochial schools are needed alternatives.

If vouchers allow the student a choice which leads to success in an alternative to public schools, I am for them.

Seriously, every strategy which offers a path to improving education and accessibility needs to be considered.

-- Posted by Cogito on Mon, Jul 9, 2012, at 9:05 PM


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