Monday, March 28, 2011

Obama gap

Just a quick shout-out to all you worried about the black-white achievement gap -- thanks for your concern, because from the looks of things, you're likely the only ones.

Obama to speak on Libya, hold education town hall

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is giving an update on Libya in a televised speech tonight.
It's scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern time from the National Defense University in Washington, D.C.
The White House says Obama will talk about the actions taken with allies and partners, the transition to NATO command and control, and U.S. policy from here on.
In the morning, the president will take part in a town hall meeting at a multicultural high school in Washington. He's slated to talk with students and parents about the importance of education in "winning the future." He'll also focus on Hispanic educational attainment.
The town hall will be broadcast later on the Univision Network at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time.

“Noticias Univision Presenta: Es El Momento – El Presidente, Los Hispanos y la EducaciĆ³n” (The Moment is Now: The President, Hispanics and Education), hosted by Univision’s Jorge Ramos, will give President Barack Obama the opportunity to engage with students, parents and teachers about education and Hispanic educational achievement. The town hall will focus on better preparing students for college and 21stcentury careers, greater parental engagement in education, and the politics of reforming the educational system.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


the greatest is gone

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Most gaps, great and small

Good Saturday morning and Happy Spring Break to you.

Hey friends, if you don't mind me asking, WHAT UP WITH THE D11 PODCASTS -- particularly the one where Jeff Crank initially addressed the Board of on February 23 or so.  That's really a HELLA long time for that meeting to have gone unposted -- this, despite at least two regular meetings of the Board wherein the minutes from the previous meeting were accepted and approved.

Hrrrrrm.  Almost as though someone or someones would just as soon rather not have John Q. Public looking at the video and hearing what Mr. Crank actually had to say.


Also, ya know, I never heard Word One about my Food Services 911 post, and I really thought I would.

So, now, on to today's topic:

Do you ever find yourself musing about *gaps*?

Not the GAP store with the talking mannequins...or is that Old Navy?.

I mean, more like the plumber's butt gap, or the button-gap that exists on some unfortunate blouses.

And let us not forget the gap-tooth gap?

But here, today, I'm really only musing on one gap -- and that would be the "achievement gap."

Supposedly there's one between boys, and girls, and blacks, and whites, and poor kids and rich kids -- I mean, EVERYWHERE, THERE'S A GAP.

Is the gap real?  Is it a big gap?  How wide is it? What types of gaps exist at your school, and how might they compare to the gaps at your at a different school, perhaps in a different district or different state altogether.

Well, you can stop your frettin' and wondering whether people are blowing smoke up your butt gap.  A visit to the link below will enlighten you to the details of every imaginable type of gap....well, almost every type of imaginable gap, I guess...errrm....most gaps, great and small.

You're welcome!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I cannot believe that I am just recently learned of the man Alan Keyes, and I'm a Black American -- as an American.  This man needs no teleprompter, he speaks with fervor...and surely, he speaks for me.

Keyes is a statesman who loves our country, and has the intelligence and diplomatic skills to lead us.  This man is a true leader; this man is a true American; this man is everything Americans should truly want in our leader.  Why isn't Alan Keyes the President of the United States of America?!?

Oh well, I know why.  We all do.

Keyes is too black for White America.

Let's face it -- whites are the majority in our nation, and so the white vote is the strongest; the white vote counts the most.

Sure, he might "talk white" -- as though proper speech can be so deemed; Keyes has a far better command of the English language than most people of every skin color.

And yeah, he might "act white" -- whatever that means.  Grace, good manners, tact, diplomacy -- all characteristics that are wanting in us all, black, white or otherwise.

But while he easily outshines every politician in his midst -- black, white, or otherwise -- Keyes is simply too black for white America...and for black America, and for all America.

This is the proof that racism remains alive and well in our nation -- that the people would freely and of their own volition choose as their leader the "light-skinned" imitation American over the darker-hued real red, white and blue.

And we all stand idly by and watch as our country slips from our grasp.

Shame, SHAME, shame on us all!

I guess we get what we give.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

CodeBaby Blue

Lo and Behold, I needed to travel via the Saturday City Bus service that starts up today, and as such had cause to alight on the City's website; I hadn't been for a while, and had forgotten about her.

The page had no sooner loaded, and there she was, right away...talking at me, yakkin' at me and asking me all kinds of questions...temporarily making me forget my reason for being there.

It was like being at the supermarket and catching sight of someone you'd rather avoid...a creepy Scientologist, say, or aggressive Amway lady; my urge to run and hide from CodeBaby Blue was visceral and real...

Cornered, with nowhere to go; I was forced to wait until she was all finished speaking before I could make her shut up.

You know, Microsoft Windows has a dog, and a wizard, and an Einstein who perform duties as CodeBaby's, in a far less intrusive way; for instance, you can set preferences so that you never see any of those creatures ever.  From what I can see, CodeBaby lacks any form of user control -- and desperately needs it.

I don't know what exactly and whose big idea CodeBaby is and remains; it's my understanding the feature was donated to the City.  Evenso, I remain curious as to how much *is* spent on the technical support for and development of that pushy, useless broad.  I actually find myself embarrassed by her nagging presence within the City's web architecture altogether.

Perhaps it's just me, but the City's CodeBaby Blue is a royal 'noid...and my unwanted interaction with her makes me annoyed in turn; indeed, she is the animated equivalent of the MagicJan, I mean, the MagicJerk, er..that is to say, the MagicJunk...leading me to this re-post from last year.

G'day mates.



I'm not going to exhort here, because it's unnecessary; I already KNOW...there is NO POSSIBLE WAY that anyone could pretend to disagree --


Was it someone named Jan, Hmmmm? 

Listen:  it could be anybody that's to blame for this awful illustration repeating itself over and over; the point is, that person is probably still getting paid for a job crappily done!  They turn off the street lights, and spend the money they save on this kind of TACKY AND GAUCHE FRIVOLITY.

'Fess up:  you know yourself, there sure is a suspicious resemblance to another annoying animation that we've all come to know a lot better over the past year -- Jan Tanner. 

The frosted Anne Heche hair?  The hippie get-up?   The magic crystal amulet? The repetition of "VOTE AGAINST THE EVIL TRIO?"   

Let's face it, friends, this pushy parrot IS Jan Tanner in toon form; the only thing that's missing is the extra-large pizza stain on the blouse.





CodeBaby Corporation is the apparent brainchild of Springs resident Patrick Bultema.  The highwage, creative internet software development firm announced that it will be expanding its Colorado Springs operations.  Currently CodeBaby employs 12 and has set a goal of employing up to 500 people in the next five years. CodeBaby software can be used to create digital characters that can assist users either online or for training purposes. Visit the Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak Web site to meet Katharine, a CodeBaby creation, that is currently assisting potential visitors.

Friday, March 11, 2011

MagicJack Public Service Announcement

Hello friends.

I just wanted to take a moment and address the subject of MagicJack.

You may wonder...What is MagicJack?  Well, it's a phone service that claims to save you oodles of money over time...because it lets you do away with landline phone service through someone like Quest, or cell phone service through whomever.

Does MagicJack work the way they say it will?  No.  Indeed, while I suppose I was being a little bit too trusting with the product when I plugged it into the USB port on my 2010 MacBook Pro, I certainly didn't expect the device to zap my motherboard.  THANK GOD MY LAPTOP WAS STILL UNDER WARRANTY -- else blood would have spilled.

Also, it would have been nice to know that the people who call and reach your virtual answering machine must endure a most annoying and embarrassing MagicJack advertisement before being able to leave a message.  Very Important People have been trying to reach me over the phone this past mom, my father-in-law, my friends, potential employers...

All I can say is, between the answering machine mortification and the spectacularly poor phone service, I soon felt my soundness of mind start to wane.  Tonight, there were at least two important phone calls I wanted badly to make...but after hours of trying to get the #@@#! thing to work, I gave up for fear I might accidentally break my brain....

The two videos below sum things up quite nicely.  If you don't like hearing the F-Word, then don't watch the second video; the woman in said video uses the F-Word at least four or five times, but her use of said word is NECESSARY IN ORDER TO EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE THE CAUTIONARY TONE OF HER MESSAGE.  Indeed, her message to you is my message to you.

As far as the quality of your's telecommunications experience would be decidedly better using tin cans and long lengths of thin twine, followed closely by smoke signals from atop a high mesa; alternatively, sign language, pantomime and telepathy also would be preferable.  One for yes and two for no would also provide a superior teletalk than the MagicJack.

Would I recommend MagicJack to others?  Indeed, I would to Jan Tanner and LuAnn Long.

MagicJack works sometimes...and that erstwhile occasion is precisely what causes the biggest migraine.  I could go on and on...but I won't, though *whew* thank you, I feel so, so much better now.

Anyone who purchases MagicJack after reading this post is a fool who deserves to be parted of his money.

For those of you who may have been trying to reach me, or who may have been anticipating my call -- SEND ME AN EMAIL:

A shepherd and its flock

Back in 1992 when I first learned of this church, its website included step-by-step instructions for every type of "self-deliverance." Good thing I can't read when I'm drunk...otherwise I'd not be typing this to you now.
Lawsuits caused the group to pull the instruction manuals -- which at least held more intrinsic value than the material used to replace it.
Don't tell me these people aren't sick with a terminal and communicable mental illness.  
They know it, they spread it, they gloat over it -- misery is a hypocrite...misery is a liar...misery loves company

Interview with Reverend Chris Korda -- Church of Euthanasia
-- by Einstein

"My favorite animal is... a tree: Ya, definitely a tree. They're the best. I hope to be reincarnated as a tree." Some people believe Chris Korda is mad. I believe he's angry. "We ask one simple thing, one thing! Don't procreate." There are no pews in the Church of Euthanasia. There is no altar or congregation. Only a message--the one commandment of the Church of Euthanasia: "Thou Shall Not Procreate." Propaganda covers the walls. Small signs are pinned to the wall: "Aim For The Chin," "Vasectomy Prevents Abortion." Praise to the Unabomber is evident. A poster hangs, showing acts of sodomy, cannibalism, abortion, and suicide--the four pillars of the Church. "We are the only pro-life religion," explains Chris, whose flawless facial skin gives him the appearance of an angel, as well as the image that Hollywood gives to a European terrorist.
Noise: How can you be pro-life when you talk of suicide and abortion?
Chris: They are forms of voluntary population reduction. The Church opposes involuntary methods, but anyone who truly values life should be trying to reduce the human population. [Membership in the church is taking a lifetime vow never to have children.] The Church is anti-human.
Noise: What about Kevorkian?
Chris: I totally support him. Actually he is going to be the first saint of the COE. I have not met him though. I prefer to admire him from afar.
Reverend Chris Korda is ashamed of being a human. Pointing his finger at the human species for the destruction of the earth's ecosystem, Chris went as far as to make a trip to Ireland to debate pro-lifers at Trinity College.
Chris: There is no balance between humans and other species. The Church of Euthanasia is dedicated to restoring balance between humans and other species, to restoring a sense of ethics.
Noise: What about, "thou shall not kill"?
Chris: That statement is not relevant to me. Killing is a part of life.
Rev. Chris Korda founded the Church of Euthanasia in 1992 after awaking from a dream in which an alien intelligence known as The Being warned Chris about the planet's failing ecosystem, and the denial of this terror by our leaders. The Being asked why the human species believes these lies. Chris woke up quietly chanting the Church's slogan, "Save the Planet--Kill Yourself." The Church eventually became tax exempt under the law, as an educational foundation.
Chris Korda was raised in New York, the son of a famous author and New York stage actress. He is the only child of two only children, both agnostic. "I'm pretty much the end of the line."
In 1985, Chris became a vegetarian for political reasons, claiming that it was "wasteful to consume meat at a time when there are more people hungry now, than any time before."
Chris: A third of the population is going to bed hungry every night. It takes ten pounds of grain to generate one pound of corn-fed beef. That's a shocking waste of food. Cows are being fed growth hormones and antibiotics. Aesthetics also played a part. It doesn't make sense to me, to eat an animal that I didn't kill. I only eat what I'm capable of killing myself. Factory farms and slaughterhouses are concentration camps for animals. We slaughter more than a billion animals a year. You either re-associate yourself with the reality of life and death, by hunting and killing and skinning the animal yourself, or you have no business eating animals.
Noise: It's been said that animals don't have the ability to reason and think. Do you agree?
Chris: The Lakota [a tribe of warriors from the Dakotas] believe that every animal has a particular strength that it depends on for survival. Our strength is the ability to reason, but that doesn't make us superior; we're inferior in many other respects. We're at a disadvantage in the wilderness. Our eyesight, our sense of smell, our ability to stay warm, are inferior to that of other animals. Many tribes believed that the animals were actually sacrificing themselves to the humans, because they felt sorry for the humans. The only way we could live is if the animals allowed themselves to be killed.
Noise: And domestication?
Chris: The Church is objecting not only to the domestication of animals, but also to the domestication of humans. [I eyeball the room and come across a sign declaring "We Are The Veal," possibly the same one that was internationally displayed during the Church's guest appearance on the Jerry Springer show.] We don't object because people are cruel to animals, we object because people are animals. In the process of domesticating our environment, or as the bible says, "subduing the earth," we have subdued the wildness in ourselves. Modern man is pathetic in comparison to his tribal ancestors! People are very sad now. They go to work and sit motionless behind desks. We have a culture of pacifism and weakness.

Noise: And what are we passive to?
Chris: We've been crushed, we've become resigned to a life in which nothing is left to chance. Elimination of freedom is the essence of technological society. Transhumanists believe that the only part of man that matters is his mind. The goal of Transhumanism is to gain total control, to reduce all things to information. The Church of Euthanasia tries to communicate with people about where our society is headed. We're not saying that we can prevent it, we just want some honesty about where we're headed. And that's a difficult message to sell, because consumer society depends on unthinking collaboration, on hiding the goal. If people really knew what the goal was, they wouldn't be so enthusiastic about it.
Noise: You don't seem to have a lot of faith in humanity.
Chris: The process of adaptation starts when you are born. Your parents immediately begin preparing you for institutionalization--in a nursery school. If you can't adapt to that first level of socialization, you won't make it! They'll put you on Ritalin! Our society clearly has architects. They are at Disney, MTV and VH-1. They are in "think tanks" and large corporations. They are in the government.
There is a moment of silence, time to reflect.
Noise: Will you be around to see a positive change?
Chris: No.
Noise: Buddhists believe that once we are born, we are dying. Does that appeal to you?
Chris: I understand that out of life comes death, and out of death comes life. Man is the only creature thus far in evolution that has tried to oppose that cycle. The most obvious example of that is Catholicism. In the technological religion, and in Catholicism we find denial of the biological... denial of the body.
Noise: What do you think of cloning?
Chris: Cloning terrifies me! I'm very sympathetic to the Unabomber. Most of his targets were directly connected to either genetics or computer science. Modern genetics wouldn't be possible without the information theory that's resulted from computer science.
I point to Chris' home-recording studio equipment that was used to spawn a top European club hit. He pauses.
Chris: I am against purity. The best tools to destroy something, are the ones it was made with. It's important for me to use the best and most expedient tools that I have at hand to accomplish my purpose.
Noise: Could you elaborate on the four pillars?
Chris: Suicide, abortion, cannibalism, and sodomy. Cannibalism is often misunderstood. There are 60,000 traffic deaths a year. We can make use of that flesh. It's not about killing someone and eating them. [Chris has not partaken in eating human flesh.] Sodomy is not simply ass-fucking. Sodomy has a long history. In the pre-Revolutionary days of the settlers, sodomy was defined as "unnatural sex." But if you dig deeper, you will discover that the real definition is "any sex not intended for procreation." We only have sex for pleasure. The pillars are in some way, an answer to Catholicism. The Catholic Church is opposed to abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and sex education, all of which we support.
Noise: Do you consider yourself anti-Catholic?
Chris: Yes, and anti-Christian as well.
Noise: Are you against all organized religion?
Chris: I like Taoism, because it's about balance. Transgenderism, which I practice, is also about balance, of the male and female polarities. I'm into biological reality. I'm into wilderness. And that's what we're losing, every minute. But back to Catholicism! These things that the Catholic Church opposes, and that the Church of Euthanasia supports, what do they all have in common? [Chris moves in closer, ready to educate, knowing that I don't have the answer that he's looking for.] They are all linked to mortality, to cycles of life and death! The Catholic Church stands for fear of the body, fear of our animalness. Hatred of the biological, and hatred of all that's wild! Hatred of pleasure! [Chris' volume comes down like a preacher from the midwest.] The Church of Euthanasia is pro-pleasure.
Noise: If there are no humans, who will spread the message of the Church?
Chris: We are not advocating complete human extinction.
Noise: Have you ever felt suicidal?
Chris: We're advocating the restoration of balance. Koyaanisqatsi--"life out of balance." "Disintegration." It's a Hopi [Native American tribe] word. Entropy! Standardization! Everything the same. Thermodynamics, a science dating back to the 1600's, dealing with the conservation of heat. Entropy is the tendency of heat or energy to dissipate, to distribute itself in space. Shifting sand in a desert has high entropy. We don't want that! Modern industrial society is very new. We need to slow down. We are headed towards maximum entropy. The sun will eventually become a red star. The miracle of life does not stop entropy, it slows it down. The Church of Euthanasia is trying to slow down the entropy. Life is negative entropy. Efficiency equals death.
Noise: Isn't media responsible for a lot of that?
Chris: Media is directly responsible for the homogenization of culture. The subliminal message of all media is that there's only one right way for people to live, the way of industrial society. Star Trek show us that thousands of years from now, we're still living this way. The Church is propaganda for diversity. There is a holocaust happening right now, the species holocaust. It is accelerating. Most people take a drive through a cornfield and think, "Isn't this nice, we're away from the city." I take a drive through a cornfield, and I think [puts on a sickly face], "this is an abomination!" Here is one genetic species going on for miles and miles. Just one genetic species! Nothing else is allowed to live here. The other species are driven away or exterminated. The land is usurped and robbed of its diversity. People should feel a sense of shame. Humans have destroyed the diversity of the earth.
Noise: What should be there?
Chris: Wilderness!
Noise: But isn't everything living, including wilderness?
Chris: No, not really, because the purpose of life--there is a purpose--the purpose of life is life. Life creates life, and makes the environment more suitable for life.
Noise: But we need life to create life, don't we? [Adjusting his black framed glasses, the reverend slides up to his computer.]
At last word, Korda was living as a man with his girlfriend.

A coward and fraud who won't even take his own advic
Korda is a poster child for retroactive abortion.
Chris: I want to read something to you. It's by Frank Herbert, the author of Dune. "The aim of life is simple: to maintain and produce coordinated patterns of greater and greater diversity. Life improves the closed system's capacity to sustain life. Life, all life, is in the service of life." That's what humans don't get. That's what we don't do. We are not in the service of life. That is where we differ from tribal people. Tribal people knew that God could never send them anything bad. That the universe was fundamentally a good place, and that the wilderness was good, and that their lives depended on it. They were in the service of it.

Lard ass

Other people told me so...but until I was *myself* adversely impacted by the District's eternal money problems, I didn't believe or understand the truth:

Even if our economy wasn't tanking and our nation wasn't on the brink of collapse...indeed, even in days of milk and honeycomb, the District would STILL be crying about money, and funding, and how cash-strapped it is.

If turning residential neighborhoods into ghettos is the objective, then school closures are a step in the right direction. The money saved when the District closed schools was negligible...eaten up by increased transportation costs to bus kids back and forth past the boarded up building on the corner. The money was frittered away on this and that, and now the money is GONE. It's a sad day, people, when $3 million is not much more than loose change.

Or perhaps "chump change" would be more accurate --

Besides closing those eight elementary schools a few years ago *how* has the District demonstrated its poverty...or its cinched belt...or its need?

How much money is spent on dubious teacher development, and on "bully-proofing" schools so that "gay teens" safely walk the school halls with their heads held high? What about the fat kids - THE most-picked upon strata of children? It must be because fat kids *choose* to overeat and not exercise...they simply need to control their behavior. Well, newsflash, friends: "gay teens" are *choosing* to be gay and flaunting their behavior, in large part due to the suffocating, in-your-face, It's Okay if You're Gay anti-bullying "programs" designed to improve school climate and culture.

Money for this type of costly cockamamie pours from the District like a puncture wound.

And surely the school closures have contributed to the ever-widening "achievement gaps" between this group and that. I'm tired of people crying crocodile tears over the "achievement gaps" between boys and girls and blacks and whites; the whole gender and race thing is rather hackneyed by now.

Since everyone's so gung-ho to study "data points" in the District, why not stir things up a bit: somebody study the achievement gap between children with both a father and a mother in the home vs. kids from broken homes...or the gap between kids from households *with* video game systems like Wii vs. kids without...or the gap between kids from families with a strong faith-based tradition vs. kids from families that adhere to a humanist belief. Now THAT might be a lot more provocative.

But even those types of studies are costly, and for what; to teach our kids slightly differently after the results of the study have been analyzed?

I remember going to the "listening lab," sitting at the station, donning headphones to listen to a story on a was a lot of fun then. My kids *still* think it's fun, and look so cute and funny while wearing the headphones, with their faces so serious as they concentrate on listening...

I mean, just because there's not much of a market amongst the general public for cassette tapes...since the listening labs were already in place and functioning, is it really necessary to upgrade to digital sound systems with Dolby Surround Sound?

This is just an example...I mean, maybe they still listen to cassette tapes in the listening labs...but there's LOTS of other examples of this type of unneeded upgrade to the District's equipment and such -- and the reason I know this is because of ALL THE DISCARDED-YET-FULLY-FUNCTIONAL AUDIO-VISUAL EQUIPMENT THAT WAS HAULED OFF TO ADAMS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND FOR MONTHS FILLED THE GYMNASIUM THERE FROM WALL TO WALL BEFORE BEING GIVEN AWAY PIECEMEAL TO OTHER NON-PROFITS.  

Don't you remember?  I do.

What if the District stops buying some of its more costly bells and whistles; are they even warranted in these economically challenging times? Who convinced the District the "culture" and "climate" at ALL its schools needs fixing -- and why? I thought the schools most wanting in culture and clime were already shuttered...for the betterment and in the interest of the kids.

The District blows fistfuls of dollars on research, retrofit and redesign of dubious merit...when all they need to do is hire more teachers to teach smaller classes.

More than three-fourths of property taxes go into the District's coffers...for such noble endeavors as re-toolingK through 6 elementary:

"Hmm...yeah...the whole elementary school thing seems a little stale to me...a little bland.  Hey, I know -- let's take sixth grade out of elementary school and move it into middle school!   Those kids need to grow up faster anyway.  But then things'll be a little crowded, so...hrrrmmm...I GOT IT:  let's take ninth grade out of middle school, and move it into high school!!!!  YES!!!!    Hrrrrrmm....but now, there's like, too much empty space in the elementary schools...wonder where'd all the kids go?  Let's study it....ok, the drop in elementary school students is attributable to lowered enrollment and urban exodus....what to do, what to do.....I KNOW:  let's close and consolidate a bunch of elementary schools so we can teach the kids more efficiently!!!  WOW, what would the District do without us forward-thinkers imagining the future of our imagination??? I to understand there's some underutilized space in the elementary schools??  How Could This Have Happened??   Hrrrm.....let's put out an RFP, and get a study group to figure out what's amiss.   OK, now let's study the data compiled by the study group:  our analysis would seem to indicate that a K through 6 model is exactly what the District needs -- somebody let the sixth grade middle schoolers know the wonderful news -- they're going back to elementary school.  EUREKA, WE'VE DONE IT!!!  AGAIN!  And that calls for a nice fat raise and drinks on the house!!!!"  

All the while, the kids are shuffled this way and are the are the is the community.  All of this stupidity and lack of foresight and shuffling and rearranging is all for the kids??? All of this shuffling costs time and money, you know -- NO WONDER YOU'RE ALWAYS DRAGGING ASS AND CRYING FOR MONEY.



I think teachers are *great.* But the bi-polar administration of School District 11 -- with its tortoise-like approach to solving pressing issues like class-size, its knee-jerk reaction to falsely-inflated bullying concerns, and its Let's-Defer-Mulling-The-Tough-Questions-To-A-Special-Tough-Question-Mulling-Study-Group-For-A-Study-And-Then-Let's-Sit-Down-And-Study-The-Study approach to every kind of achievement gap -- simply has its collective egghead lodged tightly up its collective lard ass.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meeting excerpts

Any time I'm able to be at a live D11 meeting of the board, I feel like I'm at the Oscars or it's a really special event.

I guess it is.

[Commence Recap]

As Billy Crystal used to say, "It's better to look good, than to feel good."  Suffering as I have with a week's worth of crud, tonight saw me doing neither.

It Is for this reason that I'm going to entirely let slide the one fashion faux-pas that snagged my eye hard.

How now, brown cow! From what I could see, most everyone dressed quite appropriately.  In front of each of the board members there sat a hat, like that worn by that Cat in the Hat!  "Oh, put that hat on, Jan," I thought, "pretty please; then smile for me big when you hear me say, 'Cheeze!'"  But time passed and Jan did not put that hat on; if ever she did, well, by then I was gone.

Just a bit of Dr. Seuss birthday fun.

Sandra Mann was belle of the ball in a subtle and shimmery white blouse that was quite simply All. of. That.

The show started with the winners of the PTA 2010 Reflections contest, the theme of which was, "Together We Can."  Several young people were recognized and made everyone proud.  

Next up was North Middle School and some of the great things happening there.  The video below does absolutely no justice to either the very impressive mural *or* the art teacher who was on hand to tell about it. Great teachers often have great presence...and the art teacher at North Middle School does

North further received a $300,000 grant that's being devoted to different publishing projects; students then presented each Board member with their own unique piece to keep, which the Board then showed off to the appreciative crowd.  My husband and my daughter are both North alumni -- GO VIKINGS!

March is School Social Worker Month.

Then came Citizen's Comments.  

Up first was Rick Johnson, who was there with several others to promote the innovative Building Technical Trades program being offered at the Career Building Academy.  The program takes the math and science lessons learned at school, and applies those principals to new home construction.  Students participating in the program will actually build a new home from start to finish, and at present, 70 kids are in the process of building two new homes.

One such young man described how the program had captured his interest like nothing had previously done; whereas he'd typically been a poor student, his grades were now straight A's.  He went on to tell of his growing confidence in the use of tools and estimating materials.  "I hope one day to be an instructor for the Career Building Academy, and one day possibly even operate a construction company of my own."

A worthwhile, super, super cool program...offered up by a group of consummate professionals.

Rick Johnson, by the way, also swept the Men's Best categories with ease... and this was despite the fact that BOTH Alejandro and Yellowman were in the hizzy.  Rick, the Big Kahuna at Johnson Heating & Plumbing, is a big guy...with a big voice...and even *bigger* presence -- think Zeus, Neptune, or the Brawny Man, and you get the picture.  When it came his turn to speak, he stood up looking *snazzy* making everything and everyone else in the room seem almost lilliputian in contrast.  

Bruce Cole  came to address the issue of public negotiations.  He sees it through many different lenses, he is a teacher, he is a member of CSEA, he is a taxpayer and voter in the city, he is a precinct chair, he holds closely to his political views.  Politics are a blessed reality of a free society.  It's important that the public know what their government is doing; if they are displeased, they have the right to vote them out.  There is no place for the public to doubt the integrity of their public servants; with that said, logical people understand that some things need to happen in private; even Jesus had some meetings with his disciples behind closed doors.  

Any agreements made in the negotiation process are open to public scruitiny.  There are some people, including some on the board, who are incorrectly discussing the details of this situation.  The parameter -- the big picture -- is looked at and then divided.  

These negotiations actually involve less than 1% of $1 billion dollars. There are no goons from the union bullying teachers into what to do and what to say.  CSEA membership is made up only by teachers.  There are various communication channels that are open.  Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent, but inflammatory language is only messing things up.  The negotiation process is long and arduous, and one goal is to remove the confrontational nature of bargaining.  IBB is working, but the learning curve is weak.  Neither side is ready to publicly show the model.  Both sides need the freedom to stumble…without people with ulterior motives to criticizing every step.

We risk otherwise becoming serfs to the tyrannical rule of urgency and expediency.  Living through CSAP, students have worked hard to show what they have been learning.  We need to get together and determine what w
ould-be tyrants would feign to. 

Kevin Marshall of CSEA up next.  "We call it bargaining, but that term reduces the nature of what the discussions are like…collaboration, responsibility, excellence, work, buildiung relationships.  Recently, forces outside the group are hoping to sway negotiations.  He hopes that everyone understands what’s happening here.  We have accomplished more as partners than as adversaries.

Jeff Crank of AFP followed up; I posted his comments in my post, "Cranking it up."

Victory Ebright - came to thank the board for listening to their ideas about expanding some of the programs at Buena Vista Elementary.  Montessori philosophy is a popular alternative to traditional educational methods.  They have a detailed presentation they will share at a later date.  Jannice Swift is developing a new buisiness model. 

The gentleman in the video below spoke after Jeff Crank and before Ms. Ebright.

Special Reports:

Charlie:  Citizens Bond Oversight will have their last meeting tomorrow night in the board room and discussing their fusion with the executive DAAC.

Al:  they were alarmed at terms like “backroom deals”….and while nothing of the sort is occurring, the appearance of that happening yet remains.  The only way to eliminate that type of characiature is to let people see for themselves the parameters, and the whats and the whys; for this reason, he feels it's important for these negotiations to be open to the public.

Sandra:  she received a lot of response from the public on this subject, and thanked CSEA for partnering with them.  The board is continuing discussions with CSEA and exploring ways for the dialogue to be opened up to the public.  CSEA has been a good partner for them. The community engagement meeting at Palmer was a success; there was a lot of discussion, and the event was very well attended. 

Bob: insurance committee has met, and will be presenting to the board.  The investment committee – there’s a good team together on that.  EDAAC listened to a panel of experts discuss the achievement gap.  The audit committee just merged with the milo committee, and this year, there’s an external company who'll be auditing the plans and the spending to assure rules are being complied with as agreed.   Bob is a member of the negotiating committee, and it was he who made the motions for the discussions to be opened.  While the contract does not allow him to protest the negotiations, his goal remains to open the negotiations; here are two sides.  Title One committee – how we spend those monies will be part of the combined grant report, and Holly Brilliant has done a great job explaining things to the group.

Tom:  I missed what Tom said.

Jan:  At the CASB winter conference a great speaker, Jamie Fullmer addressed the audience of approximately 200 school board members, along with the lieutenant governor and the state board.  Jan was at the communications meeting in February, and was happily surprised to find a great group of women there.  She was also involved in working on a family toolkit for _________. The Palmer community engagement meeting was a very good meeting.  The Crystal Apple award is coming up, there are some great nominations, you can send a teacher appreciation note to recognize and thank a teacher.  Jan then commended the public on their interest in school district matters, and remarked that there are many opportunities to get involved in the district.  "You can do all kids of things, there are school accountability committees, calendar committee,  please get involved."

(read:  "Spydra, please get a hobby."  But, indeed, I do have a hobby, though my husband says it's more of an infatuation.  I prefer to use its proper term, Janology).

Luann:  Communications – a lot of good coonversations, enrollment and withdrawl discussions, we talked about parent engagement, board engagement sessions, ESP.  On April 30, 2011, the regional science fair will be held at Swigert.  LuAnn attended the CASB conference with Jan, and confirmed it was an awesome experience; they were there on the floor of the house, and able to discuss different concerns regarding budgets.  She also confirmed that the community engagement meeting at Palmer was awesome and student led.


And that's when my coach arrived and I departed. 

For the Record:  I apologize for anything erroneous and/or inaccurate I may have said with regard to the CSEA Master Agreement negotiations...which is why it's important for the discussions to be public in accordance with and as stated in the Master Agreement.  No one wants to split hairs over the minutiae...but neither does anyone want to be left in the dark.  Allow me to use a 21st Century metaphor, and use sex education symbolism to support that contention:  keeping the talks closed is akin to an abstinence-only approach, whereas transparency includes some condom explanation and safe-sex instruction...lessening the risk of the unplanned, unknown and misunderstood.  Contract negotiations that are entirely open to the public are even more useless than tightly closed talks, akin to the perverse, Thank-You-That's-Entirely-Too-Much-Information free-for-all so often on display at GLBT Pride Parades.  

Common sense is common ground.

And while I was mistaken about the board policies being up for discussion and review...

Jan Tanner is, evenso, reaping unethical harvest from her as-yet (formally) undisclosed, 10-year, million dollar contract to provide lunchroom pizza for School District 11.  

No, we are NOT talking about a Mom and Pop Pizza Shop; here, go get the big Yellow Pages phone book....look and see how many Dominos Pizzas there are between Monument and Pueblo; now count all of them.  Next, estimate the revenues, or find the actuals, if you know how to obtain that information (Ed. -- and if you do, please clue me in).  Tally up the figures, don't forget to carry the one...and as you consider those numbers, consider that the Tanner family owns or has an interest in EVERY DOMINOS PIZZA FROM MONUMENT TO PUEBLO -- AND THAT'S JUST IN COLORADO.  

If you've tasted Dominos pizza lately, I needn't go any further in explaining why this situation is a crime.

Thank you, and good night.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Crankin' it up

Here's a little bit of footage from tonight's D11 school board meeting.

It was a pretty packed house tonight, and I sat where I please just keep in mind that what matters is the content of the speech.

This is the second time that Mr. Crank has addressed the Board on this topic; the footage from the first one has yet to become available...but I'll add it to this post when it does.


the glass...


the difference between
then and now

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Pedophilia as a ’sexual orientation’?

Pedophilia is another “sexual orientation,” comparable to heterosexuality or homosexuality, according to expert testimony recently presented to the Canadian Parliament.

The issue at hand was a bill that would either increase penalties or impose mandatory sentences on sexual offenders whose victims are children.

According to a report at LifeSiteNews, Dr. Hubert Van Gijseghem, a psychologist and retired professor at the University of Montreal and one of the expert witnesses, told members of parliament, “True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation.” The other expert, Dr. Vernon Quinsey, a professor emeritus of psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, added, “There is no evidence that this sort of preference can be changed through treatment or anything else. . . . It’s not necessarily that they need to change their sexual orientation; they need to learn to control themselves, with our help.

Member of Parliament Marc Lemay had this reaction to the testimony: “In my opinion, society and no one around this table will accept pedophilia, even if it is a sexual orientation. . . . I recall a period, not too long ago, when homosexuality was treated as an illness. It is now accepted, society has accepted it. . . . I cannot imagine pedophilia being accepted in 2011.”

The report raises many issues. First the good news. Legislators to our north are learning that there is no quick fix for pedophiles. Hopefully that will inform their decision-making on how to deal with them.

Now the not-so-good news. While I believe the doctors testifying were trying to make the point that pedophilia is a serious, perhaps untreatable, condition, calling it another “sexual orientation” undermines that point.

Lemay’s reaction is telling. Right now it may be impossible to imagine society accepting pedophilia. A generation ago it would have been impossible to imagine abortion on demand, or elementary school children being taught about homosexuality. And if you don’t think there are people out there trying to push this as an agenda, then I guess you’ve never heard of the North American Man Boy Love Association.

Here’s how that group describes itself on its website: “As never before, our society is beginning to recognize the value and richness of human diversity. . . . Man/boy love is exceptional only for the degree to which it is still misunderstood in cultures derived from Northwestern Europe. . . . [Man/boy] relationships do not harm anyone, and often entail many benefits for both man and boy.”