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CPS: Expulsion rate higher at charter schools

CPS: Expulsion rate higher at charter schools | Better_Politics | Scoop.it
As it continues to modify strict disciplinary policies in an effort to keep students in the classroom, Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday released data showing privately run charter schools expel students at a vastly higher rate than the rest of the district.
Brian Watkins's insight:

This may not be national politics, but it is a perfect example of the difficulty of political discussions. The data that is presented hasn't been called into question, but it also doesn't answer any questions - in fact it raises more than it answers.

 

The problem is that both sides of the charter school argument will use these numbers as some sort of "proof", which will dilute and ruin the key points that will lead to improvement.

 

The data needs to be understood at a much deeper level. For example, are the behaviors that led to expulsion comparable in the two areas? If so, are the punishments comparable? If not, then what are the parameters of punishment that we want to set?

 

My concern is that people will place blame with the charter schools, when the fault may lie with the public schools not doing enough to discipline the students. This is a complex issue that needs to be discussed fully and openly, not with high level data, media talking points, and biases.

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Ukraine peace deal halts violence but crowds still angry

Ukraine peace deal halts violence but crowds still angry | Better_Politics | Scoop.it
KIEV (Reuters) - A breakthrough peace deal for Ukraine halted two days of violence that had turned the center of the capital into a war zone and killed 77 people, bringing sweeping political change that
Brian Watkins's insight:

Interesting that the EU was a key player in getting the talks going and completed, when the UN was nowhere to be found (or the US for that matter).

 

If the UN will not get involved in world affairs that are leading to deaths, is not as effective as other groups like the EU, and has little (if any) power to get governments to follow its requests, why do we have it.

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Outrage Over Wall St. Pay, but Shrugs for Silicon Valley?

Outrage Over Wall St. Pay, but Shrugs for Silicon Valley? | Better_Politics | Scoop.it
Opposition to outsize pay packages should not be reserved just for executives on Wall Street, Steven M. Davidoff writes.
Brian Watkins's insight:

Great article that points out the hypocrisy of our current society. We hate bankers because of all the money they make, but we don't hate the tech crowd when they make even more money for accomplishing less.

 

I am as opposed to outsized Executive pay as anyone and believe that the large pay is rarely, if ever, justified. Yet, we demonize only a select group because it fits our limited narrative. This makes me wonder if we really dislike the unfairness of the pay scale or if we simply don't like the business some people are in.

 

Here is the question: How should Executive pay be measured?

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Extending unemployment benefits stumbles in Senate

Extending unemployment benefits stumbles in Senate | Better_Politics | Scoop.it
Updated 8:21 p.m. ET, 1/14/2014

(CNN) -- Senate passage of long-term unemployment benefits appeared in doubt on Tuesday following the failure of two procedural votes, leaving the fate of emergency government assistance to more than 1 million people in limbo.
Brian Watkins's insight:

Everyone agrees that extending this is the right thing to do, the key is how to pay for it. As usual, our representatives want to use budget tricks instead of simply finding the money by not paying for something else. The question is: what is less important to fund than unemployment?

 

My vote is the fees we pay to the UN. According to this story, extending unemployment would cost approximately $6 billion. While exact figures we pay to the UN are hard to come by, the latest numbers indicate that it is more than $7.6 billion. 

 

Which would you rather pay for - the UN (what I personally consider one of the most useless organizations on the planet) or unemployment benefits for Americans?

 

What are you suggestions on where we could get the money to pay for this?

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Debt Ceiling, Immigration Fights Loom Steer Political Dialogue - NBC News

Debt Ceiling, Immigration Fights Loom Steer Political Dialogue - NBC News | Better_Politics | Scoop.it
A Meet the Press roundtable examines the critical role the economy and immigration currently play in the American political landscape. - NBC News
Brian Watkins's insight:

There is a ton of misinformation out there, some of it perpetrated by the press. On Meet The Press on Feb 9, E.J. Dionne tried to spin the issue of the CBO report that ACA will put fewer people in the workforce. His argument is that this is a freedom of choice. But the report clearly said that some people will choose not to work and it will shrink the labor force. 

 

The key here is that this is a complex issue and it cannot be explained easily. 

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John Kerry mocks those who deny climate change

John Kerry mocks those who deny climate change | Better_Politics | Scoop.it
Brian Watkins's insight:

Sec. Kerry's speech lacks one critical piece of information - since the climate change scientists started warning us about the problems in the 1980's, their predictions have been wrong. Their models continue to say that the climate change issues should have been worse then they really are.

 

As Sec. Kerry touts "shoddy science" for those who question climate change, shouldn't he also point out that the science he is using as his support has been less than accurate over the years?

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DSCC raised $6.55 million in January

DSCC raised $6.55 million in January | Better_Politics | Scoop.it
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $6.55 million last month — nearly $2 million more than its Republican counterpart and the best January in its history. The DSCC has $15 million cash on hand and $2.5 million in debt, a source told POLITICO. The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced Tuesday that it raised $4.62 million...
Brian Watkins's insight:

This says all you need to know about how the 2 major parties govern. Both have a ton of money, both want to raise more, but Democrats have debt and Republicans (even with less money) have no debt.

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Dems' new 2014 plan: Neutralize Obamacare

Dems' new 2014 plan: Neutralize Obamacare | Better_Politics | Scoop.it
Democrats know their biggest problem in this year’s midterm election is Obamacare. So top party operatives have settled on a strategy to try blunting the GOP’s advantage: Tell voters Republicans would make the problem worse — raising prescription drug prices, empowering insurance companies and even endangering domestic violence victims....
Brian Watkins's insight:

Key paragraph in the middle of the article states that the Democratic message will be to make accusations on how Republicans will target women and the elderly. As usually, there will be no basis of fact, but they can attack. Republicans do this too, but this is where we as voters need to really start to be smarter and more demanding of our politicians. Accusations have to give way to reality - we can't let them win with negative rhetoric.

 

Also, notice that the Democrats are trying to "highlight the most popular elements of the law while trying to avoid directly mentioning it". Sounds like the very definition of avoiding accountability.

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Ajit Pai: The FCC Wades Into the Newsroom (Subscription may be required)

Ajit Pai: The FCC Wades Into the Newsroom (Subscription may be required) | Better_Politics | Scoop.it
In The Wall Street Journal, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai asks: Why is the agency studying 'perceived station bias' and asking about coverage choices?
Brian Watkins's insight:

Kudos to Ajit Pai for this commentary. The FCC is trying to direct news stations on what information they consider important. Instead of ensuring adherence to guidelines, they are looking for ways to influence the news. While no one would say we are becoming an authoritarian state, this certainly is a bad step.

 

Several questions need to be asked:

1. What is the purpose of gathering this information? What can or will be done with it?

2. Is there a better way to gather the information - instead of the FCC, find an independent third party?

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