blueollie

Politics, sex, cheating, drug testing…

drugtestingnotcosteffective

Note: the best I can tell: the numbers are off. See the New York Times article that I linked to; the positive test rate is about 2.6 percent.

One more caveat: this drug testing program did lead to some “walk aways” (people who refused to take the test thereby refusing the welfare; still there was no net savings)

Still, this is an emotional debate with some conservatives. They seem to think that being against drug testing welfare recipients is tantamount to condoning poor wasting public money on illegal drugs. It isn’t; I merely think that one can go too far in “punishing the slackers” and end up wasting money and humiliating people.

Sex
Screen shot 2013-11-10 at 7.18.26 PM

The male (a coach) got a reprimand and the female coach (same school district) got fired:

Laraine Cook had a fiancé, a chest, a Facebook account and a job as a high school basketball coach. Nothing unusual there — until those first three items cost her the fourth.

Cook, formerly the girls basketball coach at Pocatello (Idaho) High School, took a summer vacation in July 2013 with her family and fiancé, Tom Harrison — who also happens to coach football at the same school. The two posed for a photo in which Harrison hand’s rested on Cook’s clothed breasts. (Cook was wearing a bikini in the photo.) The image was posted to Cook’s Facebook page for about a day before being removed.

According to the Idaho State Journal, an anonymous tipster held onto the photo and recently submitted it to Pocatello High School administrators for review. The seemingly innocuous photo was enough to get the powers that be in District 25 hot, bothered and morally outraged.

Cook was subsequently fired in late October. Her fiancé, however, was simply “reprimanded” and allowed to keep his job — which the New York Daily News attributes to Harrison’s winning record as Pocatello’s head football coach.

This is beyond stupid….and the double standard is outrageous.

Cheating
Yes, teachers cheat and not only cheat to make their students score better on standardized scores:

FROM 2001 to 2010, I worked as an academic ghostwriter, helping students cheat in college and grad school. Inevitably, over a decade there were a few unsatisfied customers. […]

Teachers are under intense pressure to make sure their students pass state proficiency tests. It turns out that one of the best ways to help otherwise deficient students pass these tests is to erase their incorrect answers and replace them with the right ones. Episodes of this “wrong-to-right” mode of cheating have been well publicized in cities like Washington, Los Angeles and Atlanta. In the last case, nearly 200 educators from more than 40 schools took part in systematic cheating. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, some teachers actually gathered together on the weekends for pizza and eraser parties.

(For teachers who are simply too ethical to cheat, there are other options. In 2004, it was revealed that more than 500 students in a Birmingham, Ala., high school had been urged by teachers or principals to drop out of school before the test, for fear they would bring the school’s scores down. So that’s one way to go.)

Where do teachers learn this kind of behavior? Well, like everybody else, teachers start out as students. In a recent survey by the Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics, roughly 74 percent of students admitted that they’d copied another student’s work, and 51 percent said they’d cheated on a test in the past year. Students cheat because so much is at stake: good grades, good college, good pay, a good future. Teachers do it for the same reason: Their jobs, their mortgages, and the well-being of their families are all on the line.

[…]

Using standardized tests to make evaluations is fine. But we are using them as a replacement for real education, to prod educators toward unrealistic goals, and to punish and reward: These are the conditions that make cheating a pragmatic solution for so many. We can’t stop cheating but we can do a lot to reduce its incentives. We need to return to a focus on the enrichment and creativity that make learning as well as teaching worthwhile.

Until then, we’ll have more students cheating their way to college and more teachers helping them do it. Then, when these students show up at their various universities and realize no one is going to fudge the answers for them, they’ll have to fudge those answers themselves. Some of these struggling students even aspire to become teachers (why, I haven’t the foggiest). And that’s when they call up someone like me.

Indeed, somehow or another, all of my former ghostwriting customers found their way into college and, some, into professional education programs. The following is a revision request I once received from a customer taking a course in educational leadership: “Thank you for help me to complete my paper. Could I request to rewrite it because my teacher asked me to rewrite and show some mistakes in term grammar and cohesion in contain.”

That guy is somebody’s teacher now. If you can live with that, don’t change a thing.

So, there you have it. Obviously, the dishonesty is a huge problem. But another problem is that people are unrealistic as to what can be achieved statistically.

Politics
So many times, I’ve heard “why do campaigns have to go negative; why can’t candidates just talk about themselves and what THEY will do?

Well, one reason: candidates would end up promising the moon. Heck, even *I* could run for office and promise low taxes, great services and promise to “eliminate red tape, waste and inefficiency”, even though I don’t know my head from a hole in the ground on these matters. So promises and resumes need to be examined and critiqued.

Then there is this: candidates will LIE:

A Houston electrician known mostly for his personal crusades against LGBT rights and the city’s lesbian mayor has won a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees after pretending in campaign materials to be African American. According to Think Progress, Dave Wilson defeated longtime board member Bruce Austin — who is African American — by circulating campaign materials and faking an endorsement from a black state legislator.

KHOU reported that Wilson pulled stock images of people of color from websites and magazines and used them to make fliers to distribute in his district.

Wilson, a conservative white Republican with tea party leanings, realized that he had little to no chance of beating 24-year incumbent Austin in his heavily African-American district, so Wilson decided not to run as a white man. The virulently anti-LGBT activist previously ran and lost as a fringe candidate for mayor on a platform opposing marriage equality or any form of legal recognition for same sex relationships.

There is more there.

November 11, 2013 - Posted by | education, human sexuality, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , ,

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