Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's Late, I'm Tired, But Dang

I really do try to keep my temper under control, those that know me are aware that is not a small task, (I blame my Celtic heritage). I already wrote of the imbecilic french response, but here I am, beyond my bedtime facing an article that is such idiotic proportions...

European allies alienated by President Bush's first four years in power offered Wednesday to let bygones be bygones, saying they want to work with the new administration and seeking, right from Day 1, to get the new White House to listen more to overseas opinion. Generous of them, don't you think? Chirac thinks that now that Bush has a mandate, he'll begin to let them call the dance, while the US pays the piper? I think NOT!

French President Jacques Chirac, in a congratulatory letter, said he hoped Bush's second term "will be the occasion for strengthening the French-American friendship."
Friendship? Where? When?

"We will be unable to find satisfying responses to the numerous challenges that confront us today without a close trans-Atlantic partnership," wrote Chirac. He addressed the letter to "Dear George." We? Where? When?

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who also clashed with Bush over Iraq wrot
e the president a congratulatory letter expressing "great expectations" for renewed cooperation. Schroeder should be thankful if we continue to ignore him.

"The world stands before great challenges at the beginning of your second term: international terrorism, the danger of weapons of mass destruction, regional crises — but also poverty, climate change and epidemics threaten our security and stability," Schroeder wrote. "These challenges can only be mastered together." Kyoto? LOL!

Another critic of the Iraq war, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said his government wants "a relationship of efficient, constructive cooperation with the U.S. government and with President Bush, respecting the ideas of each side."
Yeah, right. It's going to happen real soon, yeah.

Zapatero, who angered Washington by withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq, stayed up most of the night to watch as Republican red crept across the U.S. electoral map.

Election interest in Europe was intense, as was the disappointment many felt over Bush's victory. Some saw it as proof that Europe and the United States are farther apart than ever.

"There is a major and lasting lack of understanding between the American people and the rest of the world, in both directions," said Hubert Vedrine, a former French foreign minister. "Almost all nations, with perhaps three or four exceptions, wanted change." Finally, a french guy that gets it.

Others worried that Bush, strengthened by a bigger win than in 2000 and backed by a Republican Congress, would turn a deaf ear to world concerns. Do ya think?

"Europe will continue to criticize Bush the same way as earlier," said Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson. "But I do not believe that he will be more willing to listen." See above. Note to Swedish Prime Minister, the majority of Americans do not WANT him to listen.

Bush allies in the war on terror took comfort in continuity.

"From our point of view, the Bush administration is a known quantity," said Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. "We've had a very good relationship with them for the last four years and I'm sure we'll be able to keep building on that over the next four." Yeah, we love the Aussies and they reciprocate. I sure wouldn't want to be the terrorists that put them in harm's way, ala Bali.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
said a Bush victory would mean the American people had not given in to terrorist threats. "I would feel happy that the American people have not allowed themselves to be scared and made the decision they considered reasonable," Putin said at a Kremlin news conference. Interesting, Putin is now on 'our side.' Why am I reminded of WWII?

British Prime Minister Tony Blair
pledged to work with Bush in the war on terrorism and in revitalizing the Middle East peace process, and called on Europe and the United States to "build anew their alliance" after strains created by the Iraq war. "A world that is fractured, divided and uncertain must be brought together to fight this global terrorism in all its forms and to recognize that it will not be defeated by military might alone but also by demonstrating the strength of our common values, by bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq as we have done to Afghanistan , by pursuing with the same energy peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine," Blair said. Again WWII, though with the US at the forefront...

But even among these supporters, there were appeals for Bush to work on healing the trans-Atlantic rift.
"It is not natural to have — maybe not a cold war — but, in any case, a chilling of relations along theses lines," said Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka. "I hope that European leaders and President Bush will show initiative in this area."
I've heard only good things about PM Belka, so I would assume he is putting equal weight on both sides of the Atlantic, something our old 'allies' fail to understand.

Hungary, meanwhile, announced it would withdraw its 300 non-combat troops from Iraq by the end of March. Its government has been under mounting pressure from citizens and opposition parties who object to the soldiers' presence.

Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said Wednesday he was glad his ally had won a new mandate that would promise to bring progress in the fight against terrorism. Poland is a key U.S. ally in Iraq, where it commands a 15-nation security force.

An ailing Yasser Arafat
congratulated Bush and expressed hope that a second term would help give a new spark to the Middle East peace process, an aide to the Palestinian leader said. Well, we could have hoped for him to come out and throw a fit that Kerry wasn't elected, but we DO understand he is not feeling well.

Arafat "declares the readiness of the Palestinian leadership to cooperate and work with (Bush) to resume political efforts to bring about peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the president's vision" in the road map, Arafat aide Mohammed Rashid said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
's top adviser, Raanan Gissin, called Bush's re-election a victory for a "relentless fight against terrorism." No Manure.

South Korea
pledged to work more closely with the next Bush administration to peacefully resolve a dispute over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Whoopee!

"The government hopes that the second term of the Bush administration will continue to cooperate with its allies to secure peace and prosperity in the world including on the Korean Peninsula," the presidential office said in a statement.

Chinese President Hu Jintao said Beijing looked forward to promoting "constructive cooperative relations" with Washington. China opposed the war in Iraq and most Chinese said they were against Bush's re-election. Respect on both sides would be in order.

Leaders from nations throughout Latin American and the Caribbean expressed willingness to work closely with the White House, despite near-universal public opposition to the Iraq war and concerns about U.S. trade policy.

Even Venezuela, whose government has openly criticized the Bush administration, said it wanted to reverse tense and often angry relations with the United States.

"We won't see the United States as an enemy, as an adversary, but as a very important country in the region with which Venezuela has extraordinary relations in terms of petroleum, in terms of the war on drugs," Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente said.

Aides to President Hugo Chavez said the populist leader would continue to speak out against the war in Iraq and would keep fighting "against imperialism."

But Cuba's state television said Bush won the presidency by manipulating voters' fears of future terrorist attacks. On Wednesday's edition of the island's nightly televised "Mesa Redonda" discussion program, host Randy Alonso said Bush's win was due to a successful strategy "to cultivate fear among (U.S.) citizens" and "present himself as the great leader of the fight against terrorism." Glad to hear the Monroe Doctrine and corollary are recognized.

Though U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
congratulated Bush, U.N. rank and file were less sanguine. The relationship between the world body and its most influential member sank to a new low over Iraq. They think we care? Why?

I Wish I Had Written This

Honestly, greatness is evident when it seems effortless, over and over again. Just this one time, I want a great post here:

The Morning After

Buckle up. I've got a lot to say today.

As the whole world knows by now, it is pretty evident that George W. Bush will be the President of the United States for the next four years. Obviously, that makes me happy.

A lot of people are having some trouble with my happiness right now. That goes for you, too, if you voted for GWB. A flow of nastiness is seeping from through the floors of the country, pooling around the feet of the collective left.

But which left, you ask? Because sometimes, people will come after me for saying 'the left" as if that phrase represented everyone who sits, well, to the left of me and not just the wingers, even though they know full well I mean the Michael Moores, the DU citizens, the Oliver Willises and MoveOn members of the world.

Not so sure about that today. I woke up to a very different world in which people I assumed were rational Democrats are spitting poison nails. I received some nasty emails and comments (since deleted) that were alarming in their venom and hatred. People I never had a harsh word with were suddenly knocking down my virtual door to leaving the equivalent of letter bombs. This did not frighten me so much as make me sad. I can say with all honesty that, had Kerry won this election, I would have done no such thing. But, that's just me.

I did read through some of the near lunatic fringe of the left today. Sad state of affairs, really. They seem to be so overcome by bitterness and anger that their emotions are getting in the way of rational thinking. How else do you explain the call to arms, the threats to join al Qaeda, the pleas for violent uprising, or the wishful thinking for a terrorist attack to happen now?

And here we go again with the "illegitimate" election fantasies. The whole basis of argument for the left in recent times has been "if I don't agree with it, it must be a lie." This has never been more evident than right now. Witness: This election is a fraud, a sham. The Republicans (sorry, Rethuglicans) cheated their way through another vote. The vote counts are all wrong. The machines were fixed. Someone was paid off. And, of course, the exit polls were rigged. Even if Bush were to win both the Electoral vote and the popular vote, his win would be decried as illegal. Perhaps that is what is driving the hate today; the fact that there is nothing to point to in order to support the cries of another fake presidency.

I do believe that even if every person in America who voted for George Bush marched themselves in front of a line of lefties outside of George Soros's mansion this morning and pledged that they did, indeed, vote for GWB, they would claim that Karl Rove implanted mind control chips in each and every person.
Why is it so hard to imagine that not everyone thinks like you? Are these people so arrogant, so self-smug that they truly believe their way is the only way? Funny, that. They accuse Bush of that all the time and here they are engaging in it, with relish.

If you don't mind, I'd like to address the throngs of Chicken Littles who seem to be out in full force on the net today. I just want to clear up a few things, as you all seem to be pretty misguided in more than one area today.

I voted for George Bush. I am not a redneck. I do not spend my days watching cars race around a track, drinking cheap beer and slapping my woman on the ass. I am not a bible thumper. In fact, I am an atheist.I am not a homophobe.I am educated beyond the fifth grade. In fact, I am college educated.I am not stupid. Not by any stretch of facts.I do not bomb abortion clinics.

You will not be thrown in jail for the sole reason of being a liberal.Your child's public school will not suddenly turn into a center for Christian brainwashing.Your favorite bookstore will not turn into puritan central.

This is not Nazi Germany in any way.You will not be forced into concentration camps.You will not be burned in human-sized ovens because of your religion.We will not be forced to wear uniforms and march in line every day.You will not live in fear.If you think this is a country in which you have to live in fear, I have some friends in Iran who would like to have a little talk with you.

What does the (presumed) election of George Bush mean to you, as a member of the left? It means you and your party have four years to get yourselves together and figure out exactly what you stand for. It means you have a couple of years, max, to come up with a viable candidate who represents the majority of you and doesn't pander to every knock off group of your party. It means you have time to get your act together and decide once and for all what you stand for and produce a leader who will stand up for your ideals. It means you better find a candidate who is someone you can vote for with conscience, and not just vote for out of hatred for his opponent.

What did you all believe in this year? Hate? Anger? You ran your own campaign, one filled to the brim with bile and acidic spittle and you wonder why you feel so black today? You were pinning your hopes on the the wish that the rest of America harbored the same intense hatred as you and would vote with their clenched fists. Now that you are left without the hoped for victory party as an outlet for your rage, you have to direct it somewhere else. If not at the candidate, then at his voters, right? What I am seeing today makes me pity you, and it's a pity tinged with disgust and should not be mistaken for empathy.

It means the same things for us moderate Republicans. Maybe in this time we can produce a candidate who doesn't alienate the social liberal in us, yet speaks to our concerns about defense, security and the war on terror. I am not completely enamored with the Republican Party. There's a lot of work to be done within the ranks. I'd like to see a full stop of the move towards the religious right.

Perhaps there is the perfect candidate out there for both of us, someone just making his or her way up the political chain right now. With any luck, there will be a day when a president is elected who is liked by both sides of the fence, who is respected by everyone.

And that's the great thing about waking up today. See, the world is still here. The sun has risen, there were no great floods or earthquakes or visits from Lucifer during the night. We have the future. We can all - Republicans, Democrats and everyone else - learn a lot from this election and use those lessons to move this country forward.

Sure, it's easy for me to say those things while I'm sitting in the victor's chair at the moment. But I believe in my heart that if Kerry were today making a victory speech, I would feel the same way.
I certainly wouldn't be calling for violent action. I would not be threatening total strangers with death or wishing ill will on them.

But this is a left that is buttressed by people who have more bile than good will, more venom than virtue. They are fronted by circus sideshow acts like Michael Moore, who turn up the flames underneath their followers until the kettle is whistling like mad. That is the shrill sound you hear coming from the left today. And I fear no one is going to turn the flame down.

We are living out the proverbial Chinese curse of living in interesting times. I do hope with all my heart that we can turn down the hate at some point and make the next four years a little less interesting.

3 November 2004

Was Someone Speaking of the French?

via Will at Vodkapundit, http://vodkapundit.com/archives/007180.php , in how many ways is this ironic:

CHIRAC CONGRATULATES BUSH ON RE-ELECTION Received Wednesday, 3 November 2004 19:27:00 GMTPARIS, Nov 3 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac on Wednesday congratulated US President George W. Bush on his re-election, saying he hoped Bush's second term would be a chance to reinforce Franco-US relations. "On behalf of France, and on my personal behalf, I would like to express to you my most sincere congratulations for your re-election to the presidency of the United States of America," Chirac wrote in a letter to Bush. "It's in the spirit of dialogue, of mutual esteem and respect that our cooperation, our common fight against terrorism and the actions we are leading together to promote liberty and democracy must continue to develop," he said. The French leader said he hoped Bush's next four years in the White House would "provide an opportunity to reinforce the Franco-American friendship". "We can only find satisfactory solutions to the numerous challenges with which we are confronted today through a close transatlantic partnership," Chirac said. Bush, the incumbent Republican, defeated Democratic challenger John Kerry after a hard-fought campaign. Kerry called Bush to concede after holding out for hours for a miracle win in the key battleground state of Ohio. Before Tuesday's election, opinion polls showed as many as 90 percent of French people wanted a win for Kerry -- a reaction sparked by the bitter split between Washington and Paris over the Iraq war.

It's Over! Bush Won!

No surprise at this late time. If you didn't know this you are either dead or UBL, same thing I guess.

I got home at nearly 2am this morning. Woke up at 6:15, just in time to run to school. While I would never do it again; no radio or tv on election night is NOT my idea of a good time, it was interesting. I was partnered with a wonderful woman, a democrat needless to say. Luckily in DuPage, seems those that are involved with either party are not into dirty tricks, at least at the level we were dealing with, after voting. From what I could see, all got along well, where there were problems, i.e., challenges, both readily agreed.

We were processing the absentee votes through the scanners. My partner and I went through nearly 1k of these. There were less than 10 that wouldn't make it through the optical scanner. Those 10 went to a group of 4: 2 dems and 2 rep. to be 'remade.' All have to agree and sign off on-no problems. One of the 'absentee' partners by us, did have a 'challenge.' Interesting, within 3 ballots of each other, were 2 from the same precinct. In each, the 'Presidential vote' of George Bush had been lined through, with 'hell no!' written above, same handwriting. No vote other than that. Both were 'invalidated.' Both rep and dem reps were laughing/disgusted at the stupidity. That was earlier on in the evening.

Sometime about 10:30-11:00, a cell call came in to let one of us know that Bush was called by NBC for Bush. The person getting the call, yelled it out. Suddenly 1/2 the people there were like too depressed. My partner became very 'tired', later crying. One of the supervisors came by, saying she couldn't believe this, 'no way was GW going to be reelected, not without a revolution.' She is standing next to me, telling us how this election is being 'stolen' after watching all of us doing the same thing. Lots of talk about 'it's all about oil, Halliburton, fear', take your pick. Damn. This in an upperclass suburban area. I can't imagine what was going on in more working class or university areas.

I had caught Edwards 'fight' speech last night. So glad to hear the concession speech today, though the many mentions of 'rage' were noted. Quoted the Kerry line to my classes, "In an American election, there are no losers... because the next morning, we all wake up as Americans." Middle school kids got that-even if they had been for Kerry.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It's Here, Finally

Going to go vote, teach classes, then off to Board of Elections-going to be a long day.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Pardon My Italian, Understatement of the Week

Sorry, can't bring myself to say, "Pardon my French," even if I could speak either. Interesting times indeed, via Instapundit, http://instapundit.com/archives/018832.php . Greg at Gscobe posts:

There is a curse of disputed origin but popularly credited to the Chinese that reads: "May you live in interesting times."Consider yourself cursed. This is certainly going to be an interesting week. Consider the twin specters of the reloaded assault on Falluja and Ramadi coupled with a potentially turbulent Presidential election.Domestically we face the very real possibility of electoral disarray with no clear winner on election night, the possibility of violence at the polls and lawsuits thereafter. All the while, our armed forces will stage an assault on a highly dangerous urban area, in what is widely acknowledged as a pivotal and final showdown between the U.S. and the coalition of Sunni insurgents and foreign jihadists.By week's end, we may have a new president and a new "reality on the ground" in Iraq - for good or ill.

I am wishing for boring...

Falluja: When?

Fresh troops arrive and high Baghdad minister assassinated. Wonder when this is going to start?

Choice: Future or Slow Down?

There is no doubt that Bush has led aggressively, perhaps too much so for some? Editorial from WSJ Online, subscription only:


Among the many ironies of this year's election campaign is that the challenger, John Kerry, has been running as the candidate of caution and old ideas. The incumbent says he has much more to do. If Mr. Bush loses his bid for re-election tomorrow, it won't be because he has tried to achieve too little. The reason may be that many Americans, nostalgic for the illusory calm of the 1990s, want to take a breather from Mr. Bush's habit of accelerating history.

In a sense, Mr. Bush was granted Bill Clinton's wish to live in "interesting times," as the Chinese curse has it. Instead of inheriting an economic recovery as Mr. Clinton did, Mr. Bush began his term facing the end of the 1990s investment bubble and a looming recession. And instead of inheriting a placid post-Cold War world, he was presented with September 11. In both cases, the two largest issues of his Presidency, Mr. Bush's choice was not to play it safe but to spend his political capital to set a new policy direction.


Yes, the deficit has returned, and Mr. Bush could have done more to control spending. But when his opponents on the left attack him for "deficits," what they really mean is that Mr. Bush should have imitated his father and raised taxes. Then Democrats would have blamed him for the slower recovery. Without the boldness of his 2003 tax cut, in short, the economy would be weaker than it is today and Mr. Bush would be heading to almost certain defeat.

Mr. Bush's other great political bet has been in reordering American foreign policy. Any President would have had to pursue al Qaeda, though the success of Afghanistan allows Mr. Kerry and others to say they would have done it the same way. We doubt it. At the time, there were cries of "quagmire" and don't topple the Taliban or work with the unsavory Northern Alliance. Mr. Bush took the risk of doing both, and the recent Afghan elections mark a major strategic anti-terror victory.

The President further upset the security establishment with his strategy of "pre-emption," and pursuing the states that sponsor terror. This led him inevitably to Saddam Hussein, and the initial success followed by difficulty in Iraq. Mr. Bush now finds himself running for re-election when the costs in Iraq are more obvious to voters than the potential long-term benefits, which remain enormous if that country can follow the Afghan path. But no one can deny Mr. Bush's boldness in toppling a ruler that everyone (including Messrs. Clinton and Kerry) said was a threat but had refused to act against.

His critics would have us believe that Mr. Bush's Iraq invasion has made the Middle East more unstable, but what pre-war "stability" are they imagining? The Oil for Food scandal has shown why the containment of Saddam was unsustainable, and 9/11 proved that we can't sit out the civil war that al Qaeda has begun in the Muslim world. Mr. Bush's "forward strategy of freedom" in Iraq and the Mideast recognizes that reality. If Dick Holbrooke or Brent Scowcroft have an alternative beyond returning to the "realist" illusions that led us to 9/11, we haven't heard it.

With ambitions this large, Mr. Bush has suffered from his failures as a communicator. Especially amid the troubles in Iraq, Americans have yearned for a President who could better explain the dilemmas of acting or not in Fallujah, the mistakes of Abu Ghraib, and the nature of the insurgency. Mr. Bush did himself no favors with his reluctance to hold more press conferences, a lack of practice in making his case that showed during the first Presidential debate.

We also recognize that Mr. Bush has shown he is capable of some crass political retreats, notwithstanding his campaign theme as a leader who never bends a principle. Steel tariffs, McCain-Feingold, the farm bill, Medicare prescription drugs, and most recently his surrender on intelligence reform--these have not been profiles in political courage.

Yet in the larger arc of the Bush Presidency, all of these are also of secondary importance. A leader's first priorities are peace and prosperity, which in our time mean keeping the U.S. economy competitive amid the emerging challenge from India and China, and of course the battle against terrorism.
A frequent lament among journalists, and often voters, is that politicians always take the easy way out; they never risk their personal popularity or re-election chances for the sake of longer run gains in the national interest. In Iraq and the Middle East, Mr. Bush has done precisely that. We will find out on Tuesday how much Presidential leadership the voters really want in a dangerous world.

NCLB-Lawsuits Forthcoming

I have mixed thoughts on the following article, though I have serious issues with some of the particulars of NCLB, most of which would not be appropriate for this particular topic. I know that all schools, all children, all teachers, are not created equal. I know of the correlation between parents being educated, having a good income, and stable home life, and their children's test scores, as well as overall child health and well being. I'm more than aware of the inherent bias in tying school financing to property taxes, (I have a sociology, political science, and history degrees).

The academic standards that are being measured are minimums to ensure that at 18, a person is able to function at a level to pursue a job in our society. State standards are not a panacea for parents to instill in their child a respect for doing the work necessary to achieve to the child's ability. To perform at 'grade level' in reading and math are not the requirements necessary to gain entry into most universities. They are the tools necessary to reach the level that make college a possibility, and they are what is becoming necessary to gain entry level employment.

At the same time, when reading of schools in poor areas, where the majority of students are 'ESL' students, one cannot but think that their teachers are facing a gargantuan task, and so they are. The question I cannot help coming back to; what of so many of the immigrants in the 19th C. from Italy, Greece, Russia, Germany, etc.? In many of these cases the parents didn't speak English at home. As is still true today, most settled into enclaves, where their neighbors, newspapers, and business owners spoke their native language. Yet, their children did learn to read, speak, and succeed in English. In US cities, during the late 19th C-1930's, I would doubt that one would find smaller class sizes than today, nor more resources available to help the students.

It seems to me that many factors have changed; some in the schools themselves, some in society as a whole, and some in the nature of immigrant patterns of dispersal. Beginning with Reconstruction, but at a faster rate after the 1930's, following the matriculation of the influx of Southern and Northern Europeans, schools were increasingly charged with roles other than educational.

Today schools are suppose to teach 'values/character education'; provide two meals a day to qualified students; address problems such as 'childhood obesity' or drug/alcohol/tobacco addictions; detect and deal with child abuse/neglect; identify and prevent bullying; detect possible learning disabilities, arrange testing, develop IEP's, follow through and document both the successes and failures of each of these children; keep up with certification. To think that the schools, even when adequate resources are available, can deal with all of these roles and TEACH, one wonders how any child meets the standards, much less an ESL student.

Returning to previous generations of immigrants, the parents knew that their children would have to read and write in English to succeed in this country, even if the parents didn't. They expected their children to learn the language, often with the assistance from volunteers at local churches, where help could be given in both the native language and English. I very much doubt, actually I know from relatives, that the children did not want to attend these extra classes, but their parents insisted. Today, the schools are charged with this, usually requiring 'pull out time' from classes the child really needs to be attending. We have ESL classes in many communities for adults, perhaps there should be some thought to an expansion of this? It may be time that some serious consideration should be given to whether or not schools are the best means of addressing all the issues that pertain to children?

I would assume that there must be some young sociology graduate students doing family cohesion studies on the migrant workers in the Southwest-where the language problems are certainly coupled with a lack of regular school attendance. My guess, those families would be as intact as the US norm, if not more likely to have both parents with the child. Assuming that the parents may not be able to assist their children with academics, we should be looking at how we help these students keep up with their studies, when regular classroom attendance is impossible? It would seem a small leap to combine some methods from successful homeschooling and the use of laptops, (anyone hear of any studies/grants)? I find it difficult to believe that the parents do not want their children to have opportunities that become available with education and would be supportive, if assistance was given to help them.

Excerpt from the title link:

The federal No Child Left Behind Act threatens costly penalties for schools deemed failing to meet academic standards. In response, many educators have a threat of their own: A flood of lawsuits aimed at avoiding the sanctions.

Since President Bush signed the sweeping education reforms in 2002, the law has drawn criticism from educators debating its strict performance and test requirements. The act requires all students to be proficient in reading, writing and math by 2014.

Starting this academic year, parents of children in failing schools can demand transfers to better campuses. Over the next four years, schools must offer tutoring services, administrators and teachers can be fired, states can take over districts, and federal funds can be withheld.


According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, students at more than 27,500 schools nationwide — almost 31 percent of all U.S. public schools — are failing at math and reading.

Last December, Reading School District in Pennsylvania sued over its low performance rating, arguing its Spanish-speaking students couldn't read the tests. About two-thirds of the district's 16,000 students are Hispanic; 15 percent have limited English proficiency.

But, judges ruled that testing in a student's native language is not mandatory, only required "to the extent that it is practicable to do so." The district plans to appeal.

"It's a wonderful title, No Child Left Behind. Who could ever disagree with that?" said Richard Guida, a lawyer for the Reading district. "But kids are all different and, unfortunately, this calls for a cookie-cutter approach to education that doesn't take difference into account. Some kids will be left behind."

At Oasis Elementary, more than 90 percent of the school's students are Hispanic and come from families of migrant workers surviving on less than $10,000 a year, the principal says. They are taught in English — still a foreign language for many.

Christian Rocha, 8, looks down as he recalled last year's tests. "Estaba trabajoso," he says quietly, or "I worked really hard." But he didn't pass.

Though there are plans to create a Spanish-language test, development won't begin until at least 2006, said Linda Lownes, a consultant for the state Education Department. In California, students must take standardized tests in English.

Kathleen Leos, of the federal Education Department, noted that states have the option of excluding test scores of students who have been enrolled in a U.S. school less than one academic year. States also can decide whether to offer a student reading and math tests for up to three years in languages other than English.


UPDATE: AP updated their story to parents, rather than schools, I think I quoted enough of the original article for the reader to obtain the difference: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&e=4&u=/ap/20041101/ap_on_re_us/left_behind

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Best Endorsement of the Year

I appreciate the really well reasoned endorsements that I've read around the blogosphere. There have even been a couple of newpaper editors that actually seemed to have read their own papers, before writing their endorsements. Well done everyone, but this one wins! Go see.

Crumpets and dead terrorists, and a few bucks!

Note of Sanity on the Polls

This site, along with Real Clear Politics have been the best at poll reporting this election season. Polipundit has led the way in debunking results that 'were too good to be true' as well as those at the other end.

From above Link:

Sunday, October 31st, 2004
CBS Poll
CBS: Bush by 49-46
Like I said, for every poll that shows one move, others show the opposite. Today,
WaPo and Fox show the race tightening. Rasmussen, Zogby, TIPP, Pew and CBS show movement towards Bush.
Ignore the polls. Get out and
vote. That’s all you can do now. -- PoliPundit

Oh Dear, Oh Dear

Took a nap after waking up to early thanks to the end of DST. Woke up to find that the poll numbers had not only moved closer, but literally moved to a tie across the board. Yes, I DO know I shouldn't be looking at the polls anymore, I guess an addiction that will be broken cold turkey.

Mudville Gazette has a wonderful post, its conclusion is made with one photo, it makes me happy with my decision, http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/001657.html

Iran to Continue Enrichment

AP seems to think that this might "deepen an international dispute over Iran's nuclear activities. " I wonder if this might cause the UN to write a 'very angry letter?'

Here's a bit of what the mullahs had to rant:

Shouts of "Death to America!" rang out in the conservative-dominated parliament after lawmakers voted to advance the nation's nuclear program, an issue of national pride that provides a rare point of agreement between conservatives and reformers.

Washington has pushed hard for Iran to drop its nuclear program, which Tehran maintains is for peaceful energy purposes. The U.N. nuclear watchdog is also trying to persuade Iran to limit its nuclear activities.
The United States, which has secured some support from European nations, accuses Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons.

Parliament speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel called the vote a message to the world.
"The message of the absolute vote for the Iranian nation is that the parliament supports national interests," he said. "And the message for the outside world is that the parliament won't give in to coercion."

Japan Will Stay In Iraq

AP is reporting that Japan has publically stated they will continue their humanitarian mission in Iraq, despite the discovery of the body of the beheaded backpacker. It appears that the coalition members have learned from Spainish mistake.

Photo Essay Reveals Vote

(via Instapundit, http://www.americandigest.org/mt-new/mt-tb.cgi/1932) Vanderleun at American Digest has a photo essay posted, dated 11/2/04, that brought me to tears. The photos selected are a montage of the past 3+ years, that reveal factors to be considered when one votes.

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