Tagged: home schooling

Time for Bob Dole to leave the Republican Party behind

Bob Dole is probably mad as hell right now. And he has every right to be. In fact, he should leave the Republican Party in protest!

Dole, a lifelong Republican politician who was disabled during World War II, made an extraordinary appearance on the Senate floor Tuesday as lawmakers prepared to vote on a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled.

Dole, now 89, frail and in a wheelchair (and just six days out of the hospital), hoped his presence would sway his party to approve the treaty, which is modeled after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act that he pushed through Congress in 1990.

But his party, now controlled by the hard right, rejected it. With 38 Republicans casting “no” votes, the 61-38 vote fell five short of the two-thirds majority needed to ratify a treaty.

Opponents like Tea Party favorite Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) argued that the treaty by its very nature threatened U.S. sovereignty and could lead to the state, rather than parents, determining what was in the best interest of disabled children in such areas as home schooling…

An instance where just a fraction of the reactionaries in charge of Republican ideology were able to translate their paranoia, xenophobia, idiocy into party policy.

The treaty, already signed by 155 nations and ratified by 126 countries, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, was negotiated by the George W. Bush administration and signed by President Barack Obama in 2009.

“This is one of the saddest days I’ve seen in almost 28 years in the Senate and it needs to be a wakeup call about a broken institution that’s letting down the American people,” Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a statement after the vote. He continued:

“We need to fix this place because what happens and doesn’t happen here affects millions of lives. Today the dysfunction hurt veterans and the disabled and that’s unacceptable. This treaty was supported by every veterans group in America and Bob Dole made an inspiring and courageous personal journey back to the Senate to fight for it. It had bipartisan support, and it had the facts on its side, and yet for one ugly vote, none of that seemed to matter.”

So this is what the Republican Party has become since Dole left office.

The article rolls on about the emotional difficulties facing Dole if he considers leaving the party he served all his political life.

Sorry, Bob – I offer the same unnecessary “sorry” to anyone else who thinks this is difficult. I have one family member who left what the Republican Party became under George W. Bush. He didn’t need to wait for the crass cowardice of party leaders since the advent of the Tea Party.

That the party he supported for 50 years discovered a “mandate” to invade two countries and lay the deficit for those wars on the shoulders of following administrations on the basis of neo-con ideology, after taking office with a losing popular vote – was contemptible. Crap not worth justifying by any stretch of self-deceit.

What has followed through Republican opposition to the Obama presidency solely on the basis of losing control of the White House to a Black intellectual – is something lower than contemptible. Only human beings are capable of conjuring up such rationales for self-destruction.

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Singapore Math comes to the U.S.

Franklin Lakes, NJ — By the time they get to kindergarten, children in this well-to-do suburb already know their numbers, so their teachers worried that a new math program was too easy when it covered just 1 and 2 — for a whole week.

“Talk about the number 1 for 45 minutes?” said Chris Covello, who teaches 16 students ages 5 and 6. “I was like, I don’t know. But then I found you really could. Before, we had a lot of ground to cover, and now it’s more open-ended and gets kids thinking.”

The slower pace is a cornerstone of the district’s new approach to teaching math, which is based on the national math system of Singapore and aims to emulate that country’s success by promoting a deeper understanding of numbers and math concepts. Students in Singapore have repeatedly ranked at or near the top on international math exams since the mid-1990s…

For decades, efforts to improve math skills have driven schools to embrace one math program after another, abandoning a program when it does not work and moving on to something purportedly better…

Singapore math may well be a fad, too, but supporters say it seems to address one of the difficulties in teaching math: all children learn differently. In contrast to the most common math programs in the United States, Singapore math devotes more time to fewer topics, to ensure that children master the material through detailed instruction, questions, problem solving, and visual and hands-on aids like blocks, cards and bar charts. Ideally, they do not move on until they have thoroughly learned a topic.

Principals and teachers say that slowing down the learning process gives students a solid math foundation upon which to build increasingly complex skills, and makes it less likely that they will forget and have to be retaught the same thing in later years.

And with Singapore math, the pace can accelerate by fourth and fifth grades, putting children as much as a year ahead of students in other math programs as they grasp complex problems more quickly…

“All along, people have said it’s too hard, too demanding for teachers,” said Jeffery Thomas, a history teacher who founded SingaporeMath.com with his wife, Dawn, after using the books to tutor their daughter at home in the suburbs of Portland, Ore…

Well, that’s almost the “American” reason for reversing course on any program, isn’t it?

I haven’t read anything about Singapore math. Though “KB” and I have discussed the absence of maths improvement in some of the school systems which have increased success otherwise. Sorry to say, it’s been so long since I learned my basics – I don’t remember how it worked, though it probably was mostly rote. Given my geezer age.