Workout notes: I stayed up too late and ended up getting up too late (6:40?)

Walk: 5 miles on the treadmill (58:11 (12:21/11:24/11:25/11:25/11:35)) then 3 outside. The 5 on the treadmill was becoming…well..too similar to a race effort so I backed off. Also, the rain had subsided a bit so it was time to get outside and to the course to Bradley Park (Maplewood, Parkside, down and up).

While on my way back it sounded as if the world was ending; West Peoria did its 10 am, first Tuesday of the month siren test.

For all of my fantasy, I am not in shape to walk a fast marathon just as yet. I need to be able to double the distance I did on the treadmill with roughly the same effort to have a chance at a reasonable walking marathon result.

But I’ve made progress though.

Some other stuff
So, Chicago public schools are increasing their graduation rates. How?

Get a high-school student through freshman year and the odds skyrocket that he or she will graduate. Chicago was a pioneer of the strategy, first applying it in 2007, and has the numbers that would seem to prove its worth, even after accounting for inflation by principals possibly gaming the system. The potential is huge for school systems across the nation, especially those in urban areas plagued by low graduation rates.

Between 2007 and 2013, the number of freshmen in the Chicago Public Schools making it to the 10th grade grew by 7,000 students. The school system’s four-year graduation rate also jumped, from 49 percent in 2007 to 68 percent in 2014. Graduation rates are up across the country, but Chicago’s double-digit growth stands out.

Wow, that’s pretty good, right? How did they do it?

chools like North-Grand that have successfully improved freshman pass rates employed variations of the same set of interventions. They adopted data systems to track freshmen progress, carefully picked the right teachers for ninth-graders, created weekly grade checks, provided mentors and tutoring sessions, stepped up truancy monitoring, set aside one day a week for students to make up work, and started freshman seminars that teach kids to “do high school.”

Yay! Oh wait:

Some schools also switched to forms of grading that are designed to be more fair and modern—less emphasis on turning in homework on time and more emphasis on actually learning—but have been accused of inflating GPAs.


At Manley High School on Chicago’s West Side, students frequently skip first and last periods, according to attendance records provided by three teachers. The records show that administrators frequently change absences marked by teachers as “unexcused” to “school function,” a notation that once covered field trips or assemblies but now appears to cover almost any reason for being out of class. This change marks the child as present, boosting attendance data for the student and the school.


Meanwhile, many teachers across Chicago fear that the new grading policies—with names like “standards-based grading” and “no zero” grading—make passing too easy. Some schools go too far, they say, by declining to penalize students for late work and prohibiting teachers from giving grades below 50. Traditionally, a student who didn’t hand in work would get a zero.

A single zero can disproportionately pull down a student’s average, but teachers at some schools say the new grading tactics come with a destructive practical effect. At Manley, some students refuse to work until the very end of the quarter—in some cases just cutting classes—when teachers must give them a make-up packet for any classes they attended but for which they failed to submit assignments, or those classes marked as a school function. If the student completes most of the work, they are likely to pass.

Ah. In other words, lower the bar far enough….

What this means, practically speaking, is that these kids will be unprepared for college and unprepared for the work force.

Now about criminal activity: does it work to…pay delinquents not to shoot people? I am still trying to wrap my head around this one. This is counterintuitive to me…but the results were better and cheaper than what we’ve tried earlier.

On the other hand, people in my old stomping grounds (Bastrop, TX) were concerned that the United States was going to invade them? Why? Well, “President Obama”.

I am so glad that I don’t live among them anymore.

Health notes: Why is the percentage of people with celiac disease going up? Evidently humans are evolving a maladaptation?


July 7, 2015 - Posted by | education, health, social/political, walking | , ,

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