Monday, December 19, 2016

Ivanka Trump and Evita Peron: does a chilling foreboding cause shivers in your spine?

Does Ivanka do a more eerily accurate impersonation  of Evita than Madonna did in the 1996 movie?

Ivanka Trump                                                                Evita Peron

Here are the descamisados, then and now:

UPDATE April 20, 2017

The cult has begun:

Ivanka Trump Has Huge Chinese Fan Club Worshiping ‘Goddess Ivanka’
Eric Baculinao
NBC News
April 20, 2017

BEIJING — Ivanka Trump is fast becoming a cult figure for many in China, her popularity spiking so much there is already an online fan club dedicated to "Goddess Ivanka" with thousands of followers.

The boost in the first daughter's appeal has been such that her Chinese lawyers are currently filing several trademark applications in her name in a bid to stop hundreds of copycat Chinese companies cashing-in on her brand.

The applications in China have involved a bewildering array of products, from jewelry and underwear, to mattresses and formula milk powder — all filed in the name "Ivanka Trump" or similar sounding names since her father became U.S. president...

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Improving children's executive functions

Why Executive Function Is A Vital Stepping-Stone For Kids’ Ability to Learn

  • Breathing buddies: Students lie down on the floor with a favorite stuffed animal on their chests. They slowly breathe in and out, watching the animal rise and fall. This helps students calm down when they are upset and gives them a strategy to implement when they feel themselves getting worked up.
  • Teachers keep “meta boxes” in their classrooms full of fidget toys students can use to help them pay attention when they feel like they need to move.
  • When transitioning between subjects or recess, teachers often play calming music and let only five kids in at a time to limit the chaos.
  • Many elementary school teachers have had the experience of asking a question, seeing many hands in the air, but then calling on a student who says he forgot. That could be a working memory problem. Some Carlisle teachers are proactively addressing this by letting those kids record their thoughts on paper or a device so they can contribute when they’re called on.
  • Carlisle was an early adopter of Wexler’s Activate program, too. The iPad lessons focus on typical working memory games that require students to remember the order of things, progressively getting harder as the game develops. The physical games reinforce the online learning with social interactions that help embed the memories in movement. Mass ball is one game that requires students to throw a ball in a specific sequence. Students have to juggle paying attention to the order and catching the ball.
  • Carlisle teachers also have students do a lot of balancing games, which help with executive functioning. Teachers might ask students to walk on a line balancing bean bags on their heads or to do the same walk on tiptoe. Teachers also use relay races to get kids moving, since exercise alone helps with executive functioning.
Adults have an attention span of about 12 minutes with a fully developed executive functioning system, so it’s no wonder kids can’t focus without a break. “It cannot be overemphasized that all of us need to be thinking about taking information in smaller chunks,” said Malinda Mikesell, the reading supervisor for the Carlisle Area School District. She said kids need an opportunity to do something with the information on their own before having the chance to reset for the next chunk of information...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Discipline in schools: are the adults worse than the children at Horton and Castle Park Elementary Schools?

Here are two stories of misbehavior at schools. In the first, students became noisy in the cafeteria and grabbed a bathroom pass from an employee's pocket. In the second, teachers celebrated the last day of school by saturating curtains, walls, upholstered furniture and carpet in the teachers lounge with soda and desserts that were left over from parties in their classrooms.

Too many adults in schools confuse authority with power. They think whoever has power gets to do whatever they want. Quite a few teachers and administrators are as desperately in need of lessons in respect as the worst-behaved students.

Story One

ACLU criticizes S.D. elementary school for forcing students to plank

San Diego Union-Tribune
Dec. 5, 2016
Horton Elementary School in southeastern San Diego has come under fire for disciplining students for misbehavior by forcing them to hold a plank position on a hot blacktop surface, which the ACLU said amounts to corporal punishment.

An incident occurred in October when a ruckus erupted in the cafeteria after a student reportedly took a bathroom pass from an employee’s pocket. The school replaced open recess for fourth- and fifth-graders with structured exercising, including the plank or push-up position.

Some of the students’ parents were banned from campus for 14 days under threat of prosecution after they complained to the principal...

San Diego Unified disagrees that corporal punishment was used, rather Horton “modified open recess” for the students for three days “as a result of unruly behavior displayed by students during the lunch period on Oct. 14,” district spokeswoman Shari Winet said in a written statement...

The rowdy lunchtime incident prompted staff to summon the principal, Staci Dent, who arrived at the cafeteria to find some students pounding on their desks or tables...

According to the ACLU and parent complaints filed with the district, students were “forced to get into a push-up or ‘plank’ position, and hold the pose for a significant period of time, potentially as long as several minutes.” Some developed blisters on their hands after they “were forced to hold their hands against the scalding hot blacktop” or face time in juvenile hall, according to the principal’s threats, the ACLU said in its letter to Marten.

...The principal sent “stay away” letters to at least four parents informing them they were banned from campus for 14 days under a provision in the Penal Code. The letters threatened the parents with arrest and prosecution should they “enter onto district property in the future and should they cause disturbance or disruption....Read more here.

Story Two--Food Fight at Castle Park Elementary
by Maura Larkins
Dec. 11, 2016

There was a huge food fight at Castle Park Elementary School when I was a teacher there.

The walls, furniture and carpet of the teachers lounge were saturated with sodas and cake on the last day of classes. It took the custodians over a week to clean it, and another week for it to dry. There were absolutely no consequences for any of the immature, negligent teachers who made the mess. (No students were involved.)

The next year one of the teachers returned to the lounge on the last day of school wearing a raincoat. She was planning to do a repeat performance, but no one else was interested.

The teacher in the raincoat (I'll call her "R" for raincoat) had a habit of becoming enraged when students weren't suspended when she demanded it. She and her "family" (I kid you not; that's what her clique of teachers called themselves) controlled the principal and the district administration.

"R" also caused huge legal bills for the district and was finally transferred out as part of the "Castle Park Five" when the district tried to retake control of the school from the rogue teachers.

Ironically, David Loy, chief counsel for the San Diego ACLU, went out of his way to cover-up everything that happened at Castle Park Elementary. He went out of his way to undermine my First Amendment rights in this law suit. I suspect that some wealthy ACLU donor (someone like Irwin Jacobs) gives large donations to the ACLU and in return asks the San Diego ACLU to foster his pet projects, one of which is to increase the arbitrary power of school administrators. Irwin Jacobs is my top suspect because he has spent huge amounts of money trying to mold schools to fit his vision, which even included packing the SDUSD board with unelected board members.

I think the adults at Horton Elementary would have been more successful at encouraging kids to value self-control if they involved the kids in some highly organized but fun physical activities.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Who wants to help rich parents pay for preschool? Trump and San Diego Unified

Also see "Trump’s plan intended to reduce high cost of childcare through tax breaks" at EdSource.

The Learning Curve
By Mario Koran
Voice of San Diego
December 8, 2016

Tax deductions and rebates are at the heart of President-elect Donald Trump’s child care policy proposal, writes EdSource, a plan that would offer the most help to high-income families, some help to middle-income taxpayers and not much help at all to low-income parents.

“The plan very much tilts towards high-income families who need the least help,” said Elaine Maag, senior research associate at the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute.

There’s widespread agreement among education experts that access to quality, early education programs can pay dividends for students in school later in life. There’s also widespread agreement among parents that costs can prohibit families from taking advantage. In August, San Diego Unified announced – to much fanfare – that it was launching a “game changing” Preschool for All initiative. Despite its catchy title, however, that initiative amounted to letting parents pay up to $1,060 for a full day preschool spot. In other words, San Diego Unified’s initiative gave high-income parents an affordable preschool option, but did little for middle- and low-income parents who couldn’t afford what San Diego Unified is charging. In that way, San Diego Unified’s Preschool for All initiative isn’t so different than Trump’s proposal.