Sunday, January 22, 2017

What Asterisk?

For John, BLUFCredibility is easily lost.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Reporter Kyle Drennen, at News Busters we have this item re Talk Show Host Chuck Todd.

I think I understand what it is Mr Todd is trying to say, but, frankly, out across the fruited plain there is no "asterisk".  That said, there may be an "asterisk" with regard to media coverage over the last year.

The other thing is that when people question his election it is no surprise that the President fights back.  If he gives in there will be no end to this kind of innuendo.  The President needs to fight back each and every time.  And we who support the President need to help him fight back.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Today's March

For John, BLUFWhat about those who voted to elect the Electors who voted for Mr Trump?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

There are a number of essays at the link above.  The top one, when I linked in, is by Ms Lindy West, a columnist at The Guardian and the author of the memoir Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman.

She still seems pretty shrill.  Is it going to be rejectionism from now on out, one side or the other rejecting the outcome of each election?  Are the 34ists going to cling to their distorted view of the world for ever?  And where did this "Trump as anti-Semite" meme come from?

President Trump with a Jewish son-in-law, who he seems to listen to.  President Trump with an inclination to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.  If that makes President Trump an anti-Semite, then what does it make outgoing President Obama?

This is just crazy.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  A Jewish friend, in an undisclosed location, EMailed me an article on this and I EMailed back that we would hide him on our third floor, given that Martha and I are both only about 1% ethnic Jewish, thus the evil forces might pass over us.  He wrote back that he would start writing his diary now.

Improving Learning Outcomes

For John, BLUFYou should print out the report and skim it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I got to this article in The Wash Post via BREITBART, yesterday.  The original reporter was Ms Emma Brown.

This article is about an effort by the Federal Department of Education to improve K-12 schools.  It was called the School Improvement Grants (SIG) and was funded at $3 Billion.  Even today that is a lot of money.

Here is the lede plus one:

Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.

The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division on Wednesday, hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.

Here are four key paragraphs from the middle of the article (The "Duncan" mentioned is former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan):
Some education experts say that the administration closed its eyes to mounting evidence about the program’s problems in its own interim evaluations, which were released in the years after the first big infusion of cash.

The latest interim evaluation, released in 2015, found mixed results, with students at one-third of the schools showing no improvement or even sliding backward.

Even then, Duncan remained optimistic about the School Improvement Grants, which he said had — along with the Race to the Top grants — unleashed innovation across the country. Speaking about the two grant programs at a fast-improving high school in Boston in 2015, he argued that it would take time to see and measure their full effects.

“Here in Massachusetts, it actually took several years to see real improvement in some areas,” Duncan said at the time. “Scores were flat or even down in some subjects and grades for a while. Many people questioned whether the state should hit the brakes on change. But you had the courage to stick with it, and the results are clear to all.”

From the Department of Education Report we have these "Key Findings":
  • Although schools implementing SIG-funded models reported using more SIG- promoted practices than other schools, we found no evidence that SIG caused those schools to implement more practices. Our descriptive analysis found that schools implementing a SIG-funded model used significantly more SIG-promoted practices than other schools (22.8 of the 35 practices examined [65 percent] versus 20.3 practices [58 percent], a difference of 2.5 practices). Our more rigorous RDD analysis found a similar difference of 3.3 practices, but it was not statistically significant. Therefore, we are unable to conclude that SIG caused the observed difference in use of practices.
  • Across all study schools, use of SIG-promoted practices was highest in comprehensive instructional reform strategies and lowest in operational flexibility and support. In the comprehensive instructional reform strategies area, study schools reported using, on average, 7.1 of the 8 SIG-promoted practices examined (89 percent). In the operational flexibility and support area, study schools reported using, on average, 0.87 of the 2 SIG- promoted practices examined (43 percent).
  • There were no significant differences in use of English Language Learner (ELL)- focused practices between schools implementing a SIG-funded model and other schools.
  • Overall, across all grades, we found that implementing any SIG-funded model had no significant impacts on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment.
  • When we compared student achievement gains from different models in elementary grades (2nd through 5th), we found no evidence that one model was associated with larger gains than another. For higher grades (6th through 12th), the turnaround model was associated with larger student achievement gains in math than the transformation model. However, factors other than the SIG model implemented, such as baseline differences between schools implementing different models, may explain these differences in achievement gains.
So, what DO we do to improve our schools?  I am a layperson in this area, but having heard that the statistics show the number one indicator of success in life is if your natural parents are still married, I would think that the solution is not necessarily in the classroom.  Perhaps it is in the Living Room or Dining Room or Kitchen of the child's home.  How can we influence that environment, in order to influence learning, but do it without the heavy hand of Government falling on the family, which is the next to the smallest unit of government?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, January 20, 2017

Pictures From DC Today

For John, BLUFAn upbeat look at the Inauguration.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The source is Newsday

Some great photos.

Hat tip to my neighbor, Marie.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFI hope it goes well.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Congratulations to Mr Trump.

Great opportunities stand before him.  And thus before us.

But, for everyone it is a time to reflect on that fact that this is a four year term and not a life sentence.

I am reminded of this song from the show Kismet:

Princes come/Princes go. An hour of pomp and show./ They know. /Princes come/ And over the sands and over the sands of time./ They go./ Wise men come./Ever promising/the riddle of life to know./Wise men come./But over the sands./ The silent sands of time./ They go./Lovers come./Lovers go./And all that there is to know/Lovers know./Only lovers know.
So, my conclusion is to give the new President a chance and to remember that "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Mark 12:31).

Regards  —  Cliff

  In the interest of full disclosure, the musical is based on the music of Alexander Borodin.
  That is the hard part, isn't it.  But, first you have to love yourself. 

The Next Four Years

For John, BLUFNew ideas to be discussed are usually a good thing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

What Mr Trump Promises

As we look at Mr Trump becoming President, at noon today, the thing that stands out about his incoming Administration it what it offers in terms of how we look at things, foreign and domestic.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that she was not "transformational".

Mr Trump, by questioning received wisdom, has opened space for others to question the the status quo.  I have seen, in the area of foreign affairs and national security, in recent weeks, articles being published that offer alternatives views, other perceptions of threats, other options for proceeding.

If we are going to overcome our problems, recent and long term, we are going to have to have new thinking.  Mr Trump offers that opportunity.

Welcome, Mr Trump and congratulations.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Senator Waffle Warren Didn't Really Snub Nominee Betsy DeVos

For John, BLUFThere are not enough excuses to cover our Senior Senator.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Report by Mr Stephen Miller, at Heat Street.

The article points out how Republicans didn't realize that Senator Waffle Warren was merely using a very legitimate Indian Sign to acknowledge Ms Betsy DeVos.  The article puts it down to typical Republican insensitivity toward minorities.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff