Rewards Unfortunately, Need to be `Worth the Sacrifice'.

Democrats in Congress tried recently to create a new tax to help pay for the Wars.  That of course hit a brick wall.  I can almost bet you those that fought the idea were those that have been pushing War from day one.  

I'm sure the real reason for trying to pass a tax bill was to get American's to wake up.  Most of us know that when Americans are hit with possible tax increase they immediately go into Alert mode.  Yes, I want new schools.  Yes, I want new roads.  Yes, I want new infrastructure and new bridges.  Yes, I want a stronger military and yes, I want to go to war; but don't ask me to pay for it.

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NCLB - It's Getting Serious

[I hope this post about the changes to No Child Left Behind proposed by Congress proves interesting. It was originally posted on Edwize and written by Edwize blogger Maisie.]

Lest you think that the debate over reauthorizing No Child Left Behind is hard-to-follow/wonkish/a tempest-in-a-teapot or anything like that, note that Jonathan Kozol today entered his 76th day of a partial hunger strike over NCLB.

In protest over that law, Kozol, the widely-published, passionate advocate of educational equality, has taken himself into the realm of serious danger.

He's sick of NCLB. Mandating math and reading tests and punishing schools and students who do not meet their targets is "turning thousands of inner-city schools into Dickensian test-preparation factories," Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page quoted Kozol as saying. It has "dumbed down" school for poor, urban kids and created "a parallel curriculum that would be rejected out-of-hand" in the suburbs.

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The NY Times, The Business Roundtable, and NCLB

[I hope this post about the changes to No Child Left Behind proposed by Congress proves interesting. It was originally posted on Edwize and written by Edwize blogger Jackie Bennett in response to a New York Times editorial.]

Every corner of the educational community has protested the consequences of No Child Left Behind, including that the law has narrowed the curriculum and unfairly penalized schools already making progress.

In spite of that, an editorial in the NY Times defends the status quo. Referring to proposed NCLB revisions, the Times complains that the changes will "allow schools to mask failure in teaching crucial subjects like reading and math by giving them credit for student performance in other subjects."

Yet, just one paragraph earlier the Times has this to say: "Faced with poorly educated workers at home -- especially in science -- American companies are increasingly looking abroad."

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New Orleans and the Future of American Education

[I hope this post by UFT President Randi Weingarten on Hurricane Katrina and its continuing impact on New Orleans schools proves interesting. It's crossposted from Edwize and Eduwonk, where it originally appeared.]

Today we mark the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The images of widespread destruction and needless suffering and death that flashed across our television screens two years ago remain fresh in our collective memory, if only because they were so stark and terrible. For a moment, the reality of the "other America," living in poverty and shut out of the American dream, became real for all Americans. We were shamed by the knowledge that thousands of people, many of them poor or of color, were left for days and days without essential food, water, shelter, medicine and health care as a result of the catastrophic failure of our government. In the wealthiest and most powerful nation of the world, such a failure was a monumental travesty.

In the two years since Katrina, those images have faded from our television screens. But the government's abandonment of the poor and working people of New Orleans continues today. In June, I went to New Orleans, together with UFT leaders Michelle Bodden and Leo Casey, to further our partnership and assistance to our sister local, the United Teachers of New Orleans [UTNO]. I was stunned by what I heard and what I saw: it is hard to find the words that fully convey the enormity of the wrong that is being done today in New Orleans.

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My thoughts on the California bond initiatives

Proposition 1B - Bond money for roads - No

First of all, I object to the amount of bonded indebtedness we've already incurred with exorbitant measures that have been pushed and passed at a bipartisan level.  The money isn't free.  The 20 billion the state would borrow for this measure will double in costs over the next 30 years.

Secondly, the money is ostensibly for congestion relief, but the bulk of the funds would go to road expansions which is temporary relief.  The expansions historically lead to more mass housing developments, which quickly fill up the roads again - or to quote my environmental law professor: "if you build it, they will come." Only a small portion of the funds go to public transportation, the only serious way to address traffic congestion.

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