My humble thoughts on education, politics and sports as well as reaction to those talking heads on the radio.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
A few thoughts on tonight's awards...
Will win- Forest Whitaker "The Last King of Scotland"
Should win- I can't pick Whitaker because I didn't see the movie. Although the movie was nothing to write home about, Ryan Gosling's performance in "Half Nelson" was stirring. I'll go with him.
Supporting Actor Will win- Eddie Murphy "Dreamgirls"
Should win- Murphy. Wahlberg was the overshadowed by every other male actor in "The Departed". Arkin's role, in my opinion, was not very special.
Lead Actress Will win- Helen Mirren "The Queen".
Should win- OK... The movie wasn't the greatest. Yes, she's had bigger roles. But Meryl Streep's transformation into superwitch overshadows the field here. Outstanding performance by an outstanding actress in "The Devil wears Prada".
Supporting Actress Will win- Jennifer Hudson "Dreamgirls"
Should win- Cate Blanchett in "Notes in a scandal".
Director Will win- Martin Scorcese "The Departed"
Should win- I have no clue how the general public should rate directors. I'll hold off until Best Picture which, to me, is really the same thing.
Best Picture Will win- Hollywood likes to give awards for careers. It's a night for Scorcese. "The Departed" wins again.
Should win- This year's list is a bit uninspiring. "Sunshine" was cute but nothing more. I didn't see Iwo Jima, so maybe in a month I'll hedge my bet. But it seems to me that "The Departed" is the best in a mediocre bunch.
James starts an interesting conversation on whether or not to have school today. Unfortunately, he appears to be on the wrong side of the issue. When did our society become so wimpy!
James is right about one thing... the Freeman sound off will be full of morons complaining that they had to change their morning schedule to see their kids off to school. Is there any question now that our priorities are all screwed up? Keep in mind that these are the same parents who will be complaining when their vacation plans are messed up by make up school days. My kids got off to school (I drove them.... yes, you can still do that!) and they don't seem to be in any danger from the ordeal.
As I ran errands today I was amazed at the number of school age kids in all of the stores. Too cold for learning... but just fine for a trip to the mall.
While schools may be in a lose - lose situation when deciding whether to call school off, the teachers inside the buildings aren't exactly showing much common sense either. Cold or snow days become fun days because we can't dare to actually educate kids while 6 or 7 students are gone. Which means they might as well as stayed home in the first place.
My kid's principal said the school was swamped with complaint calls all day today. I imagine that explains why school has already been called for tommorrow. Chances are the principal will here from the other side tommorrow.
Come on, people! Stop halting the world everytime the weather changes! This is Wisconsin, for cripes sake!
UPDATE: SpringCity Chronicle has an outstanding post on the same subject. His, however, is written better. Check it out.
I almost hate to make a prediction on the Super Bowl after my almost infallible election picks in November. But, everyone else does it, so here we go. Take the underdog Bears to cover and the game to go way under...
1. Everyone has forgotten that the Colts rush defense has been horrible for MOST of the year. The Bears will expose that and shorten the game.
2. Desmond Clark should have a huge game against the Colts pass scheme. He is absolutely essential in a Bear's upset attempt.
Brett Favre told the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. today that he is returning to the Packers for the 2007 season.
Last year I thought it was time for the Packers and Brett to part ways. He play had fallen off quite a bit in 2005 and I thought the rebuilding process needed to begin now.
This year, however, I am excited about his return. It is clear to me that his retirement means 5-8 years without returning to the playoffs. With the NFC so weak right now, a dabble in the postseason next year isn't out of the question with #4 at the helm.
My advice? Enjoy the year and enjoy watching one of the greatest ever play out his career. The playoffs would simply be icing on the cake....
H/T to texasedequity. If public schools are forced to bleed enough, perhaps this idea will win support someday.
Bush Proposes Adding Private School Vouchers to 'No Child'Law By Amit R. PaleyWashington Post Staff Writer Thursday, January 25, 2007;
The Bush administration yesterday unveiled an education plan that would allow poor students at chronically failing public schools to use federal vouchers to attend private and religious schools, angering Democrats who vowed to fight the measure.The private school vouchers, which on average would be worth $4,000, were among a series of proposals presented yesterday that President Bush hopes will be included in the reauthorization of his signature education initiative, No Child Left Behind.
In a conference call with reporters, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said the initiatives were necessary to help students in the nation's 1,800 most persistently under-performing schools."How do we answer the question: What do we do for kids trapped in schools that continue to under-perform?" she said. "Is the promise of No Child Left Behind real?"Democrats in Congress assailed the plan -- which also would allow low-performing schools to override union contracts or become charter schools despite state laws limiting their creation -- and expressed concern that the politically charged proposals could delay the reauthorization, which is scheduled for this year."Ideological proposals like private school vouchers and attacks on collective-bargaining agreements won't help this reauthorization move forward on shared, bipartisan goals," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The plan also includes measures that enjoy bipartisan support. It addresses one of the most persistent criticisms of No Child Left Behind: that schools that meet state testing goals overall but fail in a small category must provide all students in the school with free tutoring or the option to transfer to another school. Under the president's proposal, only students in the categories that failed would receive those options.The initiative also would hold schools accountable for test scores in science starting in 2008 (the current program holds schools accountable only in reading and math).
It also would for the first time require states to publicize their performance on a national test that states are already required to administer.Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, attacked the administration's proposal to allow some school administrators to override labor contracts to push out bad teachers and attract better ones."The No Child Left Behind law was designed to close the achievement gap, not to strip collective-bargaining agreements," he said.
The president's plan also would allow mayors to take over chronically failing schools and for those schools to transform themselves into charter schools, even if that would violate a state law capping the number of charter schools.It was the private school voucher proposal, modeled on a plan implemented in the District in 2004, that seemed to anger some Democrats. The program in the Distict provides $7,500 vouchers, known in the administration as scholarships, to about 1,800 students, from kindergartners to high school seniors, attending 58 private schools."We have seen that the sky doesn't fall when kids go to private schools with public money," said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, who was briefed on the plan in advance by White House staff. "So school choice is not nearly as scary as some congressmen have led us to believe."
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, called the voucher proposal a "bad idea" that was unlikely to gain traction in Congress. "Private school vouchers, which would divert taxpayer dollars away from public schools that need them, have been rejected in the past and nothing has changed to make them acceptable now," he said in a statement.Spellings insisted that the administration will try to push through even those proposals likely to face stiff resistance in Congress. "I plan to fight hard for the whole kit and caboodle," she said.