Education, Politics

Opt Out: 21st Century Civil Disobedience

Diane Ravitch (whatever would we do without her) posits the following on her site:

What if every parent said, “I refuse”?

What if every parent said, “My child is not taking the test”?

What if everyone said, “No, thank you, I’d rather not”?

If change is gonna come, it’s got to start in every home of every child whose parents are fed up with weeks upon weeks of unnecessary testing. If parents say no, school administrators will have to take notice, and so will state legislators, and members of Congress, and the Secretary of Education, and the President (and those seeking to replace him).

It’s civil disobedience. It’s democracy in action. It’s desperately needed to change the education “reform” movement.

It’s up to you. Act in your child’s best interest.

It’s time to opt out.

Media, Politics

MoDo Shows You How Not To Write a Transition

Once, Maureen Dowd was a very insightful, acerbic columnist for The New York Times.


In today’s column, she attempts to use a timely story – the death of Robin Williams, no less – as an attention-getting device. Not a bad way to get your audience’s attention, unless you follow it up with this:

So when I think of Williams, I think of (Michael) Kelly. And when I think of Kelly, I think of Hillary (Clinton), because Michael was the first American reporter to die in the Iraqi invasion, and Hillary Clinton was one of 29 Democratic senators who voted to authorize that baloney war.

MoDo’s has a bit of a Clinton fixation, and some of her criticism is warranted.  But for the love of Strunk and White, how the hell do you justify using Robin Williams’ death as an opening to that piece? 

To borrow a phrase from Charlie Pierce, the mind, it boggles. 

Education, Politics

RNC’s Shorts In A Bunch Over. . . AP US History?

Oh, this is just priceless. The Republican National Committee wants Congress to investigate the College Board because of its new AP US History curriculum, claiming it has a “radically revisionist view” of American history. Yes, the folks who revise history whenever it’s politically convenient are getting their fee-fees hurt by something that closely resembles the truth. Take a look at the new curriculum here.

Keep in mind that the College Board is now run by David Coleman, the “architect” of the Common Core. Can’t wait for Glenn Beck’s tin foil brigade to gets ahold of this.

Education, Politics

Rhee-Invention: Same Stuff, Different Name

Michelle Rhee has decided to step down as Grifter In Chief CEO of StudentsFirst. She’s also changed her name to Michelle Johnson (she is married to former NBA star, now mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson).

What will keep this fierce “change agent” occupied now that the bloom is off her reforming rose?

She’s joined the board of Scotts Miracle-Gro.

Michelle’s an expert at shoveling sh. . . fertilizer. She’ll fit in just fine.


Life, Media, Politics

Protecting Your Data in The United States of Secrets

Tonight’s FRONTLINE presentation is the definition of must-see broadcast journalism. (Watch it  online here.) Everything we do via the Internet is collected by the NSA in the name of national security. Not only does this raise questions of violating the Fourth Amendment, but the NSA hasn’t collected one bit of data responsible for stopping any recent terrorist activity in the USA.

Not one.

How can we protect our data? Check out this FRONTLINE podcast with two privacy experts:


Literature, Miscellany, Pop Culture

This Is What Happens When Bookstores Leave Your City

Here in Grand Rapids, where you can’t find a bookstore north of 28th Street, a lack of literary outlets leads to this kind of thing:

Police blocked off an area of downtown Grand Rapids for a time Monday evening after a suspicious package was found in a parking garage. A GRPD bomb squad was called to the scene and X-rayed the package to find that it was a Dick Tracy book.

An entire city block roped off for nearly three hours because of a book. Or, perhaps, a lack of a decent bookstore.