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Surge in insured CA students defies #Obamacare concerns

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obamacare is winning, insured students surge

Two words, GOP: Neener nanner. All those "repeal Obamacare" efforts in the House of Representatives are becoming more and more laughable as good news stories continue to emerge about Affordable Care Act sign-ups. Here in my home state of California, there has been a surge (a word John McCain and his "pro-life" buddies seem to covet when it comes to killing people, but not when it comes to saving lives here at home) in insured students.

Read it and weep, obstructionists, trolls, and Obama Derangement Syndrome sufferers. And while you're at it, take a gander at the story below this one, because it, too will annoy the hell out of you. First, the insured student "surge," via the L.A. Times:

New data show the number of students without health insurance on California State University campuses dropped by 60% after health insurance enrollment, defying concerns that not enough young people would sign up for health insurance. [...]

According to a poll released Thursday, at the 15 largest CSU campuses, between 25% and 30% of students were uninsured before enrollment began, and 10% were uninsured after. The drop accounts for 60,000 students who became insured, and illustrates the late surge of young people who signed up for policies. [...]

Walter Zelman, chair of the Cal State L.A. Public Health Department and director of the project, said that he believes the 10% uninsured rate among the students is "virtually unheard of in California." He pointed out that the 60% drop in the number of uninsured CSU students is vastly higher than the 26% reduction in the number of uninsured nationwide that was reported by a Gallup poll this month.

Twenty-three-year-old Natasha Buranasombati signed up through Covered California, and observed that "the issue is not invincibility, it's affordability." Which brings me to article numero dos from the L.A. Times:

In the strongest indication yet where Obamacare rates are headed, industry giant Anthem Blue Cross said its California premiums for individual coverage will increase less than 10% on average next year. [...]

The outcome in California will be closely watched because the state is a key barometer for the health overhaul nationwide.

Another GOP talking point bites the dust.

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Decades of research show that teachers are not the problem. #Vergara got it wrong.

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Vergara
I’ve covered the Vergara trial pretty extensively, thanks to and with the help of my contacts who attended. But unfortunately, there's a sad ending: The judge sided with the billionaires over the public school teachers.

For those of us who paid attention to the trial, it was pretty clear that this was never about how to improve education. If it were, they would have focused on trivial little things that actually matter to, you know, student outcomes and achievement.

Nowhere in the decision does the judge mention important matters like poverty, segregation, unequal funding or the consequences of high-stakes testing. The decision actually reads like like it was written by, you should excuse the expression, a Michelle Rhee-ish "reformer."

What’s amazing is that there was evidence presented by the best education experts that said the “reformers” are wrong. Stanford’s Linda Darling-Hammond and Harvard’s Susan Moore Johnson are considered the best in the field of education. The judge completely ignored what they had to say. Berkeley’s Jesse Rothstein completely refuted Chetty and Kane, noting that using student test scores to judge teachers just doesn’t work.

AFT president Randi Weingarten really got it right. Here's her this statement:

"It's surprising that the court, which used its bully pulpit when it came to criticizing teacher protections, did not spend one second discussing funding inequities, school segregation, high poverty or any other out-of-school or in-school factors that are proven to affect student achievement and our children.  We must lift up solutions that speak to these factors—solutions like wraparound services, early childhood education and project-based learning.”

BUT... there are some rays of hope. First, this was only a superior court judge. Which means it will be appealed. And this is a pretty darned thin decision without much reasoning. Why, it's almost as if the judge said “I don’t like teachers unions, so I’m going to side with the other guys.”

Even one ed reformer pointed out that there are problems with this decision. So let's keep our fingers and toes crossed that this will be overturned on appeal.

Second, CA Superintendent of Public Education Tom Torlakson came out against the decision. He’s doing a fantastic job, which is why hedge funds and ed deformers are funding his challenger, Marshall Tuck, a guy who has never taught.

"All children deserve great teachers. Attracting, training, and nurturing talented and dedicated educators are among the most important tasks facing every school district, tasks that require the right mix of tools, resources, and expertise. Today's ruling may inadvertently make this critical work even more challenging than it already is.

"While I have no direct jurisdiction over the statutes challenged in this case, I am always ready to assist the Legislature and Governor in their work to provide high-quality teachers for all of our students. Teachers are not the problem in our schools, they are the solution."

For those of us who really care about crazy things like equity and preserving a public education system that serves all kids, regardless of their zip code, the take away should be this: the privatizers will do anything to create headlines that pits teachers against students.

That is sad.  We have to continue to show that teachers and students are on the same side. When you attack a teacher, you hurt a student. I know that, having taught in public schools for years. Attacks like Vergara must stop.

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Friday Links

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Fed Chair REFUSES to Answer Bernie Sanders: Are we a Capitalist Democracy or an Oligarchy?

Al Franken Blasts Net Neutrality Vote, Warning It Could Hand Corporations the Internet

Elizabeth Warren urges passage of student loan bill, blasts FCC net neutrality plan, and trade bill

Harry Reid Sends Republicans Reeling By Proposing a Koch Killing Constitutional Amendment

Students Coast to Coast Write Open Letters about the Effects of Government Surveillance on Academic Life

Cultural Differences: We Use 3D Printers to Build Guns, The Chinese to Build Houses: 3D Printer Built 10 Houses In Just 1 Day – Seeing It In Action Is Mesmerizing

Spitting, Stalking, Rape Threats: How Gun Extremists Target Women

Encrypted Web Traffic Has Surged Since First NSA Links Last Year

Fast Food Protests Spread Overseas

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Charter schools, corporations cheat kids, spend millions on trips, strip clubs #CharterSchoolsWeek

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charter schools corporate

Charter schools are cheating our children. Brace yourselves: Over 100 million dollars meant for our kids have been misused, lost or stolen by charter operators and corporations. Why? Because there is no regulation. We all know how the GOP and corporate America hate regulations, and this is why.

Privatization gives greedy, corporate types all kinds of opportunities. For instance, the opportunity to use taxpayer funds meant for students; they're using that money, our money, to pay for house renovations, outings to strip clubs, and vacations to Atlantic City.

How in the world can we keep giving money to people (because we all know that corporations are people, my friend) who do this? How in the world can Americans keep supporting-- and voting for-- these pigs?

By the way, the report covers what "might just be the tip of the" proverbial iceberg, focusing on a mere fifteen of the forty-two states that have charter school laws.

Paul Rosenberg at Salon has the story:

While there are plenty of other troubling issues surrounding charter schools—from high rates of racial segregation, to their lackluster overall performance records, to questionable admission and expulsion practices—this report sets all those admittedly important issues aside to focus squarely on activity that appears it could be criminal, and arguably totally out of control. It does not even mention questions raised by sky-high salaries paid to some charter CEOs, such as 16 New York City charter school CEOs who earned more than the head of the city’s public school system in 2011-12. Crime, not greed, is the focus here. [...]

[The report] organized the abuse into six basic categories, each of which is treated in its own section:

• Charter operators using public funds illegally for personal gain;
• School revenue used to illegally support other charter operator businesses;
• Mismanagement that puts children in actual or potential danger;
• Charters illegally requesting public dollars for services not provided;
• Charter operators illegally inflating enrollment to boost revenues; and,
• Charter operators mismanaging public funds and schools.

Perhaps most disturbingly, under the first category, crooked charter school officials displayed a wide range of lavish, compulsive or tawdry tastes. Examples include:

• Joel Pourier, former CEO of Oh Day Aki Heart Charter School in Minnesota, who embezzled $1.38 million from 2003 to 2008. He used the money on houses, cars, and trips to strip clubs. Meanwhile, according to an article in the Star Tribune, the school “lacked funds for field trips, supplies, computers and textbooks.”

[...]

Others spent their stolen money on everything from a pair of jet skis for $18,000 to combined receipts of $228 for cigarettes and beer, to over $30,000 on personal items from Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger. But the real damage came from the theft of resources for children’s future.

No wonder Republicans are trying to do away with public schools. They're no fun!

More at Salon.

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