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July 07, 2007

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Yes! I was hoping someone would notice. I sent him a message immediately and told him he lost my vote if he's just going to parrot the Business Roundtable agenda. I wasn't happy, and I'm peeling off my Oh Mama! OBAMA! bumper stickers, too.

Good for you Marcia. Obama dazzles people, but I haven't been very impressed with him on the issues.

As for the immigration issue, I'm closer to Bush than I am to the the Tancredo crowd. Sure, the Mexican government is corrupt, but I really have no sympathy for those who clamor for English only and a preservation of our Anglo culture. On the other hand, I despise the powerful corporations who want to exploit cheap immigrant labor.

All in all, the whole issue is not one that concerns me that much. We have more important things to worry about. Health care, for example. I just got back from seeing Sicko, a powerful indictment of one aspect of American culture that I am not at all proud of.

Terry

Something else we can agree on. Until someone can show me how merit pay for teachers improves outcomes for kids - however those are measured - then I consider discussion of merit pay for teachers a distraction from the important issues that need to be tackled. Nobody has shown that it works yet.

And it is disrespectful to teachers. Glad you agree, David W.

Good for you, David. But the bigger issue is how does one determine a teacher's "merit?" As long as we buy into NCLB's test score accountability, teachers will always be at the mercy of those who foolishly judge the performance of a school --and its teachers-- on standardized test scores.

There are two all too obvious problems with the use of test scores alone to gauge a teacher's performance in the classroom. The first is that learning, including literacy and numeracy, happens gradually over a period of time, and it happens both in school classrooms and outside of them. Even it learning WERE confined to the classroom, a student, say at the third grade level, will have been exposed to several different teachers. Which one, then, is responsible for the students' third grade test scores? At the secondary level the problem with isolating teacher influence becomes even more problematic.

Secondly, if we tied merit pay to test scores, we would certainly encourage cheating. And we don't want that, so we?

RE: immigration and the capitalists
In response to the formation of the United Auto Workers in the 1930's, Henry Ford brought Black workers up from the south to work as scabs in the plants in Detroit. His promise of $5 a day was far better than what most people were making as agricultural workers in the south. But he was not a progressive, just an opportunist.
And the unions, until they began to address racism when Black workers organized, were complicit too.
I see many parallels in the immigration debate today. You are nowhere near Bush's oppurtunistic position, Terry. He is a capitalist first and foremost, and in order to keep wages low, non-unionized workers in Mexico, in right to work states in the South, in sweatshops in China, will be used to for cheap labor.
For some history of the union movement in Detroit you might want to check out these two books "Detroit, I do Mind Dying" and "Working Detroit". The first is a history of the Black revolutionary union movement in Detroit. The second is a pictorial history of the labor movement in Detroit.

Obama is no friend of progressives. His candidacy is tailor-made to be "safe".

re: merit pay
Dave,
I was a merit pay teacher in a public Jr. High in affluent Newton, MA. No sweat; highly motivated parents and kids. They even came to school at 7 AM for Latin class. Most of the teachers there were "merit teachers".

I relocated to Los Angeles inner city and taught 6th grade. WOW!
Equally meritorious teachers' test scores were low. One teacher harassed by the principle left took a teaching position in Beverly Hills, and guess what, her test scores were off the chart.

Obama just lost a vote with this new demonstration of his lack of knowledge on certain "substantive issues". In fact, he will lose most of the teachers' votes. I don't know about the administration, the CEO's aka CYA's

1 hour ago

"WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists even without local permission if warranted _ an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive."

And now this. Too bad. I actually thought in the beginning that Obama could make a difference. Sad to see that he really is only another politician.

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