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landmark
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I'm a regular reader of a blog which I think is fairly extraordinary--Diane Ravitch's educational blog. I think anyone who reads her blog for a week will come out with a much greater understanding of what is happening to education in America.

So here's my proposal: I will agree to read any blog of your choice for one week, if you will agree to read Diane Ravitch's at Dianeravitch.net for a week. I'll be willing to take this on for the first two people who want to make this trade.

You can either take me up on the exchange here, or in a PM. Then perhaps, if we both agree, we can report on our experiences here.

So here's our chance to expose ourselves to viewpoints that we might not normally follow regularly. Or maybe just the thought of landmark having to read The Blaze for a week makes you smile. I'm game Smile
LobowolfXXX
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I'll read it for "free.". Thanks for the recommendation.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
landmark
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Thanks Lobowolf. That leaves two slots still open!
Magnus Eisengrim
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I'll also read it for free. But you have to read my daughter's blog http://petstorereflections.wordpress.com/ But as she doesn't post very often, you might not want to put it against your total. Smile
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
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I was going to be sadistic and ask you to read the Blaze or WND, but then I realized how guilty I'd feel if you ended up suffering severe and irreparable brain damage. So I'll read it for free as well.
landmark
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My gosh all these freebies, it's practically socialism. Thanks, gentlemen. C'mon, I know you're out there, I'd really like to have a reason to immerse myself in a completely different viewpoint that you feel is worthwhile.
rockwall
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Ok landmark. I won't let you down.

It's not really a blog so just read as many articles as you feel appropriate and I'll read the Diane Ravitch blog for the next week.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell1.asp
landmark
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Fair enough. Ravitch posts a lot, so I'll read a bunch a day. Is it just Sowell or jewishworldreview in general that you want me to read?
landmark
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Update: I'm not going to post any opinions until the week is up as I'd like to keep an open mind. I'm just reporting in to say that since I haven't read any of Sowell in years, I thought I'd read a bunch of previous columns to see where he is currently at. So I read all of his April 2013 columns and his current May columns. I also skimmed the home page of jewishworldreview to get a sense of the site. It's an aggregation of many columnists and news sources so it's not really realistic to read all of it. I'll stick with Sowell unless Mike has another suggestion.

I also read all the blog entries of John's daughter. As I said, I will refrain from posting any opinions yet, but here is a fact: John you are a lucky guy! Smile

One more offer to trade still left.
rockwall
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Sowell
landmark
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One left for trade. Free shipping included in the CONUS.
rockwall
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Magnus, After two days, I have to admit, I wish you had issued the challenge instead of landmark. I should have checked out Diane's blog before agreeing to the challenge. Man, she posts a lot! And your daughters blog is so much more interesting! Although, while she does get to learn something new each day, and while African Clawed Frogs are legal in Canada, I hope she also knows that they are also considered a harmful invasive species and have been outlawed in several states in the US because of there overtaking of habitats.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_clawed_frog

I doubt she was planning on letting them loose but it's probably a good thing to know. Maybe Canada is too frigid for them to become terribly invasive anyway. I don't know.

She did leave me kinda hanging on her April 11, 2012 post about the trained goldfish. Did she ask the guy, "Trained to do what?"? I want to know the answer to that one myself. She told us the 3 things that went through her mind but not the actual response she gave! Enquiring minds want to know!

A fun blog.
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Quote:
On 2013-05-10 00:33, rockwall wrote:
Magnus, After two days, I have to admit, I wish you had issued the challenge instead of landmark. I should have checked out Diane's blog before agreeing to the challenge. Man, she posts a lot! And your daughters blog is so much more interesting! Although, while she does get to learn something new each day, and while African Clawed Frogs are legal in Canada, I hope she also knows that they are also considered a harmful invasive species and have been outlawed in several states in the US because of there overtaking of habitats.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_clawed_frog

I doubt she was planning on letting them loose but it's probably a good thing to know. Maybe Canada is too frigid for them to become terribly invasive anyway. I don't know.

She did leave me kinda hanging on her April 11, 2012 post about the trained goldfish. Did she ask the guy, "Trained to do what?"? I want to know the answer to that one myself. She told us the 3 things that went through her mind but not the actual response she gave! Enquiring minds want to know!

A fun blog.


Thanks Rockwall. I'll pass this on to her, and maybe she'll write an update. I've already requested a Betta entry for Bob1dog who is thinking of getting one.

And I suspect that African Clawed Frogs would have no capacity to overwinter, at least here in Alberta. There may be parts of Southern Ontario and Southern British Columbia where winter stays warm enough for them to survive.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
rockwall
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OK, I finished my assignment. I've read all her blog entries from May 8 through today. While I have a goal about not arguing politics anymore here, I suspect that landmark would want some sort of update on my opinion on the blog, so here goes.

Diane does love to point out what she sees as problems with today's public educational system. She seems to have two main enemies that she posts comment after comment complaining about and seems to feel these are the two biggest problems with our system. That is any type of performance testing and charter schools. She HATES charter schools. Even charter schools that are doing a great job. They are obviously all cheating by getting rid of bad performers and stacking the deck in their favor by only accepting high achievers. She also HATES performance testing. She doesn't seem to like students taking performance tests or teachers being graded by how well their students do.

I saw little if any solutions to fixing our public school problems other than spend more money and close down charter schools and stop performance testing. Apparently, in Diane's view, every teacher is a saint and doing the absolute best they can given the resources they have.

On May 12, she has a blog entry entitled 'A Teacher's Life' that starts with "A teacher writes to explain how life in the classroom differs from his earlier life in another field:" This teacher is (rightfully) unhappy with being evaluated by a single test given to his 7th and 8th grade students. I find it ironic that the method he preferred, from his past corporate life, is exactly the type of evaluation that unions hate and will not allow. It's because they won't allow this type of evaluation that districts have to search for other 'measurable' forms of evaluation, like student tests, that he and Diane so hate. He describes his corporate evaluation like this:

"I signed a contract each year which I had to negotiate with my immediate superior and the corporate lawyers. That was not easy and I got eaten alive on a few occasions by their New York lawyers. I was evaluated by my superior strictly on my performance in my job and how he as a professional in the same field thought I did."

Yikes!! Evaluated by your superior on a largely subjective basis!! The Horrors! His superior knew what type of worker he was and what he contributed. He essentially knew how important he was to the business and would offer him a contract based on that perception. Unions hate that!!!

Needless to say, while applauding his post, Diane doesn't really point this little tidbit out. She just wants another arrow in her quiver about the lousy evaluations method that her beloved unions have essentially forced the bureaucrats to come up with.

I'll end with a blog that Diane should include based on what my wife was complaining about today. My wife is a teacher for the blind and visually impaired in our local school district. The district employs a fair number of teachers aides to help with her caseload of students. Today, it was announced that next year, teacher aides would be limited to 25 hours per week to avoid having them categorized as full time and hence, forcing the district to provide them with health care per Obamacare. Because of this, a significant number of her aides are considering quitting as they can't afford to have their hours cut that much. This of course means that my wife will either need to spend a lot of time training new aides willing to work for less hours or just not being able to provide for the needs of her students. Actually, either way, she won't be able to provide the support necessary as her time will either be taken up training new aides or she won't have the aides necessary to get the work done.
landmark
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Rockwall, thanks very much for your going through with this experiment. I know it was probably a pain because Ravitch evidently never sleeps and posts maybe a half-dozen times a day. I think you fairly characterized her positions, and I think you considered what she had to say, I can't ask for more than that. Thank you. I hope things get better in your wife's district.

I've been keeping up with Sowell, but frankly he only writes two or so columns a week. I've read all his columns since April until now, but I feel like I owe you, so I'm going to read him for another week before I report back.

Thanks again for living up to your side of the trade.
rockwall
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You're welcome. And thank you for recognizing that I didn't just give a knee jerk response to her posts. I do agree with her that our educational system is a mess and that many of the bureaucratic solutions won't help. I just disagree over the causes of the problem and the solutions. Almost 180 degrees!

I'm surprised no one else took you up on your proposal.

Oh, and I think she posts a bit more than just a half dozen times a day!!! LOL
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Okay, Sowell posted two columns this week, so I think I'm done.

Well, it's been interesting, but I kind of wish it had been more interesting. I don't find Sowell to be a particularly engaging writer. In the April columns especially I found myself nodding off a bit. There was a lot of punditry and not very much evidence to back it up. Which is okay for that kind of column, but those sorts of columns are meant more for the faithful than to persuade others. I didn't feel much intellectual power that some attribute to him. Frankly, I feel much more intellectually challenged/stimulated by the posters in this forum who don't agree with me politically (like yourself) than Sowell. In the May columns, it picked up a bit with references to different books, articles, and events.

I think my biggest takeaway, though, is in seeing the kinds of issues that he likes to deal with day after day--and much of it seems to have to do with denying that there is any racism or white privilege in the US, and that there is some sort of "American" culture that is under attack by leftists and foreigners. That seems to be an important part of his message and value to conservatives. I'll leave it to you as to whether I agree.

So thanks for steering me there, and participating.

I'd like to offer a trade now with someone with Glenn Greenwald's columns. He writes for the Guardian and is a very interesting guy on Constitutional and civil liberty issues. His articles are lengthy, but fortunately he only posts about three times a week. I admire that he is non-partisan in the sense that he doesn't hesitate to call out either party or columnist when he thinks they are bad on a particular issue. Here's a link to his page if you'd like to "try him out" before you commit to a week.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/......-liberty
Woland
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Hi landmark,

If you are looking for a conservative columnist who covers a wide range of subjects and writes with great verve and wit, you might try Mark Steyn.
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Is that an offer for a trade?
Woland
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It's a free will offering.
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