WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

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Which stories / topics / issues have captured your attention?

Delaware appears to be weathering the succession of winter storms better than some other states in terms of road salt reserves. DelDOT says it has enough left for two more significant winter storms. But the way things are going, will that be enough? And DelDOT has turned down requests from other jurisdictions seeking some of that remaining salt, as the stormy weather and frozen waterways have impeded salt deliveries. Fortunately, power outages associated with this latest winter storm were minimal in Delaware. And after a little more snow Friday night/Saturday morning, the big melt will occur next week. I suspect a lot of people - even winter weather aficionados - are getting stir-crazy.

As I've posted before, all the lost snow days - and resulting scheduling chaos - for Delaware schools underscore the short-sightedness and stupidity of the movement to move the regular school year to well after the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Speaking of schools, this from POLITICO:


"Florida students no longer need chemistry, physics or Algebra II to graduate from high school. Texas just scrapped its Algebra II requirement. And Washington state has dropped its foreign language mandate.

A standards rebellion -- or in the eyes of the opponents, the dumbing-down of America -- is sweeping red states and blue, promoted by both Republicans and Democrats. President Barack Obama has called for a rigorous college-prep curriculum for all students. States, however, are responding with defiance: They're letting teens study welding instead of Spanish, take greenhouse management in place of physics, and learn car repair instead of muddling over imaginary numbers.

The backlash stems, in part, from anger over the Common Core, a set of standards that Obama has promoted as a way to guide students through a demanding college-prep curriculum fron kindergarten through high school..."

Here's the complete article from POLITICO...


After deliberating for just six hours, jurors in Georgetown convicted ex-pediatrician Melvin Morse, 60, for the "waterboarding" of his companion's daughter by holding the girl's head under a faucet. Defense lawyers argued Morse used the term "waterboarding" as a joke to describe hair-washing the little girl didn't like.

Cable colossus Comcast has begun an aggressive campaign within the Beltway to repel threats that could undermine its 45-Billion-dollar merger with Time Warner Cable. This corporate merger raises a host of questions about rates, Internet service, etc. Supposedly Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and antitrust forces will all scrutinize the likely impact. But the pessimist in me suspects they'll all cave and we'll end up with an even more monopolistic goliath which screws the average consumer. One headline from The NEW REPUBLIC on line:
"Coming Soon: The United States of Comcast. Comcast Time-Warner merger will create Orwellian monopoly" One likely consequence, according to TNR's John B. Judis: "The American telecom/broadband industry, already lagging behind South Korea and other upstarts, will fall further behind."

A headline from The Allentown MORNING CALL: "A bigger Comcast would make Philly a media mecca" Only last month, Comcast unveiled plans to build a skyscraper, which would tower over all other buildings in Philadelphia.

A former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader - Alexa Brenneman - files a class action suit claiming the Bengals franchise violated Federal wage laws, first reported by The CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. Also revealed: A laundry list of what many would regard as humiliating rules.

Such as: "No slouching breasts. Support as needed"

"No panties are to be worn under practice clothes or uniform, not even thong panties."

"Less than 100% participation (example: mocking leaps, turns, dances, etc.) or sitting on the sidelines with an injury or illness does not mean participation."

"If you are over your 3 lb. leniency weight, you will be required to stay 30 minutes after practice for extra conditioning."

"If you are benched for weight violations for more than two games and/or team events, you will be put on weight probation for three weeks... if no improvements are shown, you can/will be dismissed from the team."

"Insubordination to even the slightest degree is ABSOLUTELY NOT TOLERATED!!!" (Caps and emphasis, theirs)

Both have come under fierce criticism for "objectifying" women, but toymaker Mattel's Barbie dolls and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's annual swimsuit issue have collaborated on this year's edition. Barbie will grace the 50th anniversary cover of SI's best-selling, annual swimsuit issue. The toymaker and SI have already launched a no-holds-barred marketing campaign. A preemptive strike at feminists who have long argued that Barbie undermines the self-esteem of young girls? Is this Mattel's answer to declining sales of Barbie dolls? But wait a minute: Barbies are intended for young girls (except for some adult collectors); SI's swimsuit edition obviously has a much different target audience.

FACEBOOK introduces 50 new gender terms - such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual - giving FACEBOOK users more choices to describe themselves. (I noticed - even with 50 terms - "asexual" was not one of them, although one or two other words might come close.)

On a similar subject, Al Jazeera America has a piece about young people defying traditional gender classifications in Arkansas, of all places: "Putting the Q in LGBTQ -- in Arkansas: These youths aren't afraid to defy gender and sexuality norms, even in this deeply conservative state"


Speaking of gender attraction, scientists from the University of Chicago & Northwestern University found two DNA strings linked to homosexuality in men. This latest corroboration of the so-called "gay gene" will bolster the case for homosexuality resulting from biology rather than choice. I've never doubted that. (Although the phenomenon is obviously more complex, as with the studies suggesting the more males carried by the mother, the greater the chances of that boy being gay.) If a genetic test were ever developed, would some pregnant women choose to abort their "gay" babies? Could this lead to an unlikely alliance between some gay/lesbian groups and anti-abortion groups, at least on some tactics?

In Syria, the Assad regime's bombardment of Aleppo is bringing 'a feeling of paralysis'.

Posted at 8:16am on February 14, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Fri, Feb 14, 2014 10:37am
If I remember correctly, I recall reading many years ago that Europe used to test students in the 8th grade, and those who passed went on to College Prep courses, and those who didn't went on to Vo-Tech training [don't know if they still do that in Europe]. Maybe that's what we need to do. Many kids don't want to go to college and are NOT college material, so why waste their high school years teaching stuff they'll not use, giving them a diploma that hasn't prepared them for some sort of non-college required work? On the other hand, those students who do have the ability and desire to seek higher education; we should help to achieve that too.

Both groups of students are important.

Fri, Feb 14, 2014 10:03pm
I heard the broadcast where there was a lot of confusion over where this idea came from: that no all children were destined to go to college.

The answer is that Common Core by it use of the term, "college and career ready" and its appalling low scores has brought this odd dilemma upon us.... Either we scrap the term "college and career ready" or... we change our school expectations to match what that term implies.

This may be new to some, but those of us involved in this fight, have found that the words "College and Career ready" is nothing more than the score of 1550 on the SAT... Above that, all are deemed college and career ready, and those below, are not.

This is nothing new. The ratio has always been the same since the SAT's were incorporated. That is how we determine who gets to go to which college. The percentages have to stay consistent for the SAT to have any worth in measuring where each test taker fits into society.... So between 20 and 30 percent of mankind for at least since the 1950's, has been college and career ready, and the other half has not...

Now, even though the ratio is consistent over time, the whole American population has moved forward. As an entire population we are all smarter today, than we all were 50 years ago. Which means that today's 50 percent level would actually correspond to around the 20-30 percentile of 50 years ago. Our 50% knows the same as the top 20-30% of 50 years ago..... We had no issues then, so why is it such an emergency right now, that for instance Delaware has to spend $120 million on all new tests, to test exactly the same thing all the tests did 50 years ago.

If it is starting to sound like a giant scam, you are exactly right. The whole Common Core is really nothing but a giant grab for public education dollars which between Federal, State, and local, amount to just under a trillion dollar market per year... Essentially if the old textbooks were good enough, how could you sell new ones? You create new standards (on paper) and only allow the new textbooks teaching to those standards to be used. A trillion buys a lot of new textbooks.

Back to your point. New York failed 70% of its students on the Common Core test which essentially says... 70% of you are not college and career ready. Yet New York puts 70% of its grads in post secondary education. Those students currently in colleges would include the 30% which tested college and career ready, and another additional 40% out of the the group testing not college or career ready, yet, they are doing fine in colleges and careers, and have been for decades...

So the test grade is faked. Furthermore, the test is graded on a curve. The curve is set by the superintendent and can be moved up and down at will. Joe Klein the superintendent at the time, leaked what the scores would be months before the test was taken, some say before it was even made. And Florida originally told the grading entity to be tough, but when only 30% passed, changed its mind and Florida gave orders to let more in, so it was spared the problems New York has had. Parent revolt. The grade is a joke. It is crafted after the tests are taken. The test grade does not measure what you know. It measures where on the sliding scale of humanity, you fit in... So standards could be already well met, yet 70% of the students are failed for political reasons....

The reason for the high failure rate, in case you do not know, is that if you say look at the low scores, you can allow more charters to enter into the system... Charter schools then depress a public school further, so you can bring in more charters. Essentially that is what happened in Philadelphia to our north. They let charters in, charters sucked 30% of their base, so eventually they had to close 30% of their schools. Because of course, 30% of their finances got sucked out with those charters, making it harder for them to turn around schools.

Charters ruin school districts. you may not know this, but Moody's Analytical verified this last fall. The problem with inner city school districts is that charters are being allowed to compete with public schools. Areas where there are no charters, have thriving inner city school systems without the catastrophic financials pointed out in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta, DC, and Philadelphia....

By focusing on being College and Career ready, it has focused everyone's eyes on the fact that most of us learned stuff in High School we never used again. Hence it is really Common Core's fault that this idea of getting rid of Algebra II ( an actual common Core idea btw; it stops teaching at Algebra I and includes no geometry, no trig,. no calculus either...

Common Core has actually been recently marketed as the dumbing down our standards so everyone can pass it. That directly goes against the mantra that we need common core to succeed against the world competition....

We don't. We need a stronger middle class that buys things, to compete against the world competition. The nation that buys the most of the world's goods, will be the one who sets the world's rules...

It used to be us. Things are nebulous right now, but China is close, or possibly ahead of us in global purchasing power. Meaning they call the shots. We are in danger of becoming the 20th Century's Britain and France.

Sat, Feb 15, 2014 9:49pm
Was just reading on the WDEL website about Christina Atkins, the girl who got locked in the bathroom at Beebe Medical Center and died because staff members couldn't get the door unlocked.

It's pretty scary to think we have to pass laws in order to get people to use plain common sense. I want to know why an emergency backup plan for opening those doors didn't exist in the first place. Come on! This is a hospital where they're supposed to make sick people well, and a 14-year-old girl ends up dead because they didn't plan for emergencies, and an emergency like this is likely enough it shouldn't have been overlooked.

Makes me wonder what other potential hazards exist that somebody will have to die for in order for them to discover it.

Kinda makes me think of people who are meticulous about cholesterol and other lipid profile numbers but won't wear a seat belt when they drive.

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