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Indiana Officials Help Republican Donor's Charter School Get A++ In Grade Inflation

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Those of you Wonketeers who work at or have attended a "poorly performing" public school surely know that one does not have to suffer the consequences of poor performance -- consequences that include replacing the principal, laying off teachers, losing tax revenue, or closing the school entirely.


No, one does not have to suffer the indignity of these consequences; one simply gets on the horn to the state official responsible for overseeing education and asks him to overhaul the entire grading system so that the school's grade will be a positive one, and being a good sport, the state official will immediately agree, saving everyone a lot of time and trouble.

Except ha ha, this is only true if you happen to work for or attend a poorly performing charter school that is run by a prominent political donor to the GOP. From the Miami Herald:

Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold “failing” schools accountable.

But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor [Christel DeHaan] might receive a poor grade, Bennett’s education team frantically overhauled his signature “A-F” school grading system to improve the school’s mark.

 To be fair, there are many ways to hold people accountable. One way is to make sure that the highest echelons of authority see their fortunes rise and fall with the lowliest among us.

But another, equally valid way is to say "Is our children learning? No? Well, let's overhaul the entire grading system to make it look like the students at certain charter schools are learning, same difference." Life is not fair, and the kids should learn that early. It is a lesson in and of itself.

Bennett consistently cited Christel House as a top-performing school as he secured support for [a measure to change the grading scheme from A-F]...but trouble loomed when Indiana’s then-grading director, Jon Gubera, alerted Bennett on Sept. 12 that the Christel House Academy had scored less than an A.

“This will be a HUGE problem for us,” Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12, 2012, email to Neal, the chief of staff.

Neal fired back a few minutes later, “Oh, crap. We cannot release until this is resolved.”

Oh crap indeed.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Here, let us use this as a "teachable moment:" We COULD work hard and get good grades, taking it at face value that the system is fair and the people who run it are fair, OR we could just make friends in high places, and fire off a bunch of emails asking them to overhaul the entire system when it doesn't benefit us. This is how life works, better than everyone learn it earlier than later.

[Miami Herald]

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Yesterday afternoon, 45-year-old Gary Martin of Aurora, Illinois was let go from his job at the Henry Pratt Company, a factory that manufactures water valves. In response, he took out a pistol with a laser scope and began shooting at random. He killed five people and injured six others who were just trying to make it through the day at the water valve factory, and then the police killed him.

His mother said he was "stressed out." He "seemed fine" according to the clerk at the Circle K where he bought his cigars that morning. His neighbor thought he was a nice guy. Some people were surprised, others were not.

This kind of thing used to be shocking, but it's a story we're used to now. It gets repeated at least once a month. It's just what happens now, and we can't do anything about it because we can't do anything about gun control. This is, the Right has decided, just the price we all have to pay so they can stockpile guns for funsies, and take sexy pictures of guns shoved in their pants. This is the blood that waters their special tree of liberty.

It's fucking exhausting. And stupid. We shouldn't have to live this way. No one should have to live this way. But we do. Why? Because some day some yahoos might want to overthrow the government, which is (of course) a completely legal thing to do, and their "right" to do that must be protected. So it's literally just never, ever going to stop.

Gary Martin, like most other mass shooters, also had a history of violence against women. In 1994, in Mississippi, he was convicted for stabbing one. He should not have been able to get a gun after that. I would like to know how and why he was able to get that pistol with the laser scope that he killed five people with yesterday afternoon. Maybe someone gave it to him. Maybe he bought it somehow. Maybe someone forgot to do a background check. Maybe he bought it from someone who didn't have to do a background check.

I am so goddamned tired of writing this article. I am out of things to say.

[Sun-Times]

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That's right, Wonkers, while we're all up here in America dealing with the terribleness, your Editrix and her fambly are in MEXICO AT THE BEACH, where they will probably stay for a little while longer or maybe they're never coming back SHRUGGIE EMOTICON. But that's OK, they deserve some time to be AT THE BEACH in MEXICO, oh no, don't get NATIONAL EMERGY CARAVANNED!

Yeah, so it's time to count down your top ten stories of the week, like we do on Saturday mornings. Shall we? WE SHALL.

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