Friday, November 21, 2014

ASD Wants A Middle School In Madison

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 12:01 AM

In the wake of 13 existing Metro Schools schools falling among the lowest-performing statewide, the state’s turnaround arm is singling out Neelys Bend and Madison Middle schools for possible takeover.

The Achievement School District will spend the next three weeks meeting with teachers, parents, faculty and district leaders to determine which of the two schools with such similar demographics and challenges it should hand over to LEAD Public Schools charter school under orders to quickly turn the school around.

“A final piece of the decision making process for us is to get eyeball-to-eyeball with folks, parents, teachers, folks in the community and hear what they have to say about the school to feel like we’ve got a full picture before we make a final decision,” said Chris Barbic, superintendent of the ASD, who said that, among the schools’ struggles, there are good things happening in each of the buildings.

The decision could turn into something of a game of eeny-meeny-miny-moe. Neelys Bend and Madison Middle Schools both struggle with high mobility rates, with more than two out of five children spending less than the whole year at the schools last year, statistically hurting those students’ academics. The schools also have high teacher turnover rates, according to district officials. Madison's teacher retention rate was 54 percent last year, with 55 percent at Neelys Bend.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Daily Links: Privacy, Snowpocalypse, and Innocence

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Every day we read a lot of stuff. If it's interesting, thought provoking, funny or being shared by everyone we know on the Internet, we share some of it with you. Happy reading.

From Fusion: The coming era of privacy scandals

From The Buffalo News: Aerial photos of Winter Storm Knife

From The Intercept: Is Texas Getting Ready to Kill An Innocent Man?

From The Cleveland Scene: Ricky Jackson To Be Released From Prison Friday After 39 Years of Wrongful Incarceration

From The Atlantic: Drone Strikes Never Kill 'Humans'

Those are the links. This is a lynx...

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  • Amiee Stubbs

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NAACP Requests Register and MNPS Spend More Time on North Nashville, Other Parts of City

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 10:49 AM

In a letter to Director of Schools Jesse Register and members of the school board, the NAACP's Nashville chapter said that Register and the district are "inordinately focused on one area of Nashville at the expense of other parts of our community."

President John Arradondo and Erica Lanier, the chapter's education committee chair, requested that a North Nashville Community Advisory Committee be formed like the one formed in East Nashville. Register created the first group in response to parental demands for input after he announced in September that he was turning East Nashville into an "all-choice zone."

From the letter:

The reality is: Of the 14 MNPS priority schools, four of them are in East Nashville — Bailey Middle, Inglewood Elementary, Jere Baxter Middle, and Kirkpatrick Elementary. Meanwhile, North Nashville is also home to four priority schools in or near predominantly low-income neighborhoods — Brick Church Middle, Buena Vista elementary, Pearl-Cohn High, and Robert Churchwell Elementary. we believe North Nashville's schools deserve every bit the same commitment and focus by the MNPS Central office. Moreover, another six priority schools serving low-income students in other parts of Davidson County — Cohn School, Joelton Elementary, Madison Middle, Napier Elementary, Neely's Bend Middle, and Whitsitt Elementary — are entitled to the same kind of structured community-based input.

Here is the complete text.

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Quote of the Day: Bill Haslam is One of the Best American Governors...Ever

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM

"...I have to be careful because I represent more than one governor — but I think he’s one of the best governors in the country, that we’ve ever seen.”

— Republican ad man Fred Davis on Bill Haslam, in a new, glowing Politico piece on the guv, who is emerging as a clear favorite for the chairmanship of Republican Governors Association. Davis does not mention any unseen governors.

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Ravitch in Nashville: Civil Rights Area of our Time is Protecting Schools from Privatization

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Six months ago to the day, Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman stood in a Commodore Ballroom on Vanderbilt University’s campus to tell hundreds of education writers across the country about the status of the state’s ed reform movement.

But last night — education blogger, author and former Assistant Secretary of Education under George H. W. Bush who then stood behind increased accountability, school choice and charter schools — stood in that same room, likely at the same podium, and explained why all those moves are wrong.

“The promise of American public education was, is, and should be equality of educational opportunity, not a market-based system where if you win, everyone else loses,” she said to applause.

Speaking to a group of some 400 parents, teachers, school board members and some state lawmakers, the national critic of education reform chided the country’s infatuation with test scores, charter schools, alternative certification programs, vouchers and merit pay.

Ravitch, who is in town speaking at a separate conference in town Thursday, was largely preaching to the choir in a room that became a who’s who largely of like-minded educators, elected officials and activists. She called on them to question the reform movement and “demythologize” the charter school story.

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Tennessee Slaughterhouse Accused of "Torturing" Chickens En Route to Chick-fil-A

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM


Note: The above video includes graphic images.

An animal rights group says the chicken in your Chick-fil-A sandwich was tortured to death.

Mercy For Animals went public Wednesday with allegations that Koch Foods is guilty of abusing the chickens that it would later supply to chicken-sandwich giant Chick-fil-A. The group released the video (seen above), which they say was taken during undercover investigations at a farm in Mississippi and a slaughterhouse in Chattanooga, where workers are shown, among other things, "throwing chickens, hiding cockroaches from USDA inspectors, and scalding birds alive in water."

Chick-fil-A distanced itself from Koch Foods in a statement released on its website Wednesday, claiming the restaurant hasn't used the Chicago-based supplier since April of 2013 and maintains that its suppliers treat chickens humanely.

"As a values-based organization, we strictly partner with suppliers who share in our goal of responsible environmental stewardship, and maintain our values throughout all animal welfare and management practices," the statement reads. "We wholly support the humane treatment of all animals and do not condone their mistreatment at any point along the supply chain."

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Sure, We Could Regulate Hemp Out the Wazoo or We Could Legalize Pot

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 6:00 AM

I love how we live in a state where Republicans brag about lowering taxes and yet WPLN reports that there's this shit going on:

A hemp license would run $250 a year plus $2 per acre. Inspectors would be allowed in the field at any time to check levels of THC, which is the only real difference between hemp and its look-a-like cousin, marijuana. The farmer would even have to foot the bill at $35 an hour, including travel time.

Call it licensing and fees, but it's still the government taking farmers' money. It's a tax in disguise. I'm not opposed to taxes. I'm not opposed to raising taxes when the state needs revenue. I am opposed to claiming that you're not raising taxes and then requiring licenses and fees for things — like, say, farming — that have never required licenses and fees before. It's still money out of farmers' pockets and in the pockets of the state.

And the only reason we need all this bullshit bureaucracy is because you can't tell a marijuana plant from a hemp plant by looking. So, someone's got to pay so that we can hire people to come out and check fields and make sure no one is growing pot. Or, you know, we could legalize pot and not concern ourselves with what farmers are growing.

That would seem to be the fiscally conservative thing to do.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Daily Links: Bill Cosby, Malice at the Palace, and Google

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Every day we read a lot of stuff. If it's interesting, thought provoking, funny or being shared by everyone we know on the Internet, we share some of it with you. Happy reading.

From The Atlantic: The Cosby Show

From Grantland: Grantland Flashback: 10 Years Later, the Malice at the Palace Revisited

From The New York Times: Talking With the Authors of ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Wild’

From Eater: Life in Chains: Giving Thanks at Cracker Barrel

From The Washington Post: Everything Google knows about you (and how it knows it)

Those are the links. This is a lynx...

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  • Amiee Stubbs

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In Hating on Obamacare, Tennessee Libertarians Abandon Logic

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 3:15 PM

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Those wacky peeps at the libertarian Beacon Center of Tennessee are ringing alarm bells against Obamacare again, this time claiming Medicaid expansion actually would damage Tennessee’s economy and cost jobs. Say what?

Rural hospitals are closing and we’re losing out on tens of thousands of new health care jobs because, out of pure political spite, Gov. Bill Haslam and the Republicans have refused to expand Medicaid and accept billions of dollars in federal money from the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, this state’s unemployment rate remains one of the nation’s highest.

Yet in a bizarre case of magical thinking, Lindsay Boyd, the Beacon Center’s policy director, claims that expanding Medicaid somehow would take money out of our pockets. She warns this “downshift to Tennesseans’ personal income growth would amount to a whopping $3.6 billion …” As usual with the Beacon Center, these so-called facts are pulled out of thin air.

The Beacon Center bills itself as “a non-partisan, non-profit state organization with the mission to empower Tennesseans to reclaim control of their lives so that they may freely pursue their version of the American Dream”— that is, until we get sick and die.

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Womick Denies Castigating Harwell as Puppet

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 2:00 PM

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Rep. Rick Womick (R-Land of Oz) is batting his eyes innocently and denying he sent those attack emails denigrating House Speaker Beth Harwell as a puppet on a string. That’s the news today from Womick’s fanciful Tea Party campaign to oust Harwell as speaker and replace her with himself.

The emails in question depict Harwell as only one of many establishment Republicans who have fallen prey to the all-powerful House clerk Joe McCord. Until we heard about this, we assumed like nearly everyone else that McCord was just another political hack holding down a menial government position and happily slurping from the public trough. But no, it turns out his influence is pervasive and overwhelming in the halls of power. He’s a hillbilly Svengali! We're not sure yet how exactly to interpret this development.

Anyway, Womick says he didn’t send the emails and doesn’t know anything about them at all. And if you believe that, there’s an electromagnetic pulse bomb explosion he’d like to tell you about.

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