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Catching up again
buzzed, B&W
So, I caved and bought a new hard drive to replace the one in my laptop that died. While I was getting along fine w/o it, it's definitely nice to have it working again (since it lets me do things like use the laptop anywhere in the apartment, and I can sit at a coffee shop and use it - even if the wireless signal is a bit flaky where I'm at right now). It's a shame the other hard drive completely died and I wasn't able to recover anything off of it though. I haven't spent much time geeking out with the laptop, so it doesn't have that many of my common tools/utilities installed. Most of my time with it has been spent installing Windows, getting SP2, all the various updates, etc. I did install Firefox, but I installed 1.5 RC3, and many of the extensions I use haven't been upgraded to recognize it yet. I also haven't managed to get some of my settings from other computers (bookmarks, e-mail, etc).

The laptop definitely makes posting to LJ easier though, as I can have many more tabs and things open, and I can use Semagic again (neither of which were options on the Gentoo box).

Connect for Kids had this response to the earlier article I linked to about integrating by income. The real key here is that our schools need to change, that they can't be stagnant, and that paradigm shifts are critical to fixing our schools.

This article appeared in the New York Times on September 28th (yes I'm that far behind on my links). It's an interesting look at the other end of NCLB - not the underfunded urban schools that get penalized for not teaching the test, but the elite schools that have achievement gaps as well. The final quotation is interesting:
"If the gap can't be narrowed in Princeton," she said in an interview in her office last week, "then where can it be narrowed? There can't be a question here of resources, or of community support, or of quality of staff. So if we can't impact the students who are not born into privilege, then where can it happen?"
In other words, are our schools destined to failure?

The Marguerite Casey Foundation released a fascinating study about poverty, looking at the attitudes of the haves vs. the have-nots. (PDF versions of their press release and slides). On an aside, why the hell is Adobe Reader a 20 meg download? There are a number of interesting slides:

  • Slide 13 asks In your opinion, which is the bigger cause of poverty today - that people are not doing enough to help themselves out of poverty, or that factors beyond their control, such as the economy or discrimination, cause them to be poor? The interesting bit about this is that those of lower income (below 100% - I'm not sure if they mean 100% of the median, poverty level, or what - the labels on the slides are horrible), think that poverty is the result of factors beyond their control, and the percentage that thinks this declines as income increases, while at higher incomes, people tend to think poverty is a result of "not helping themselves" (46% vs. 32%). Not surprising, but nice to see numbers with this.

  • Slide 17 asks Have there been times during the last year when you did not have enough money to [provide] for your family? First off, how the hell have 8% of people about the 200% line not had enough money for food? And how have 13% not been able to pay utilities? Of course, the overwhelming trend is that those who are in poverty often can't pay for basic needs that so many of us take for granted - and if they can't pay for the basics, how are they ever going to get out of poverty? So, no matter what you're income, people come up short sometimes to cover their basic needs - is this a matter of people not budgeting well, or are US incomes not meeting the cost of living?

  • Slide 22 asks I'm going to read a list of things some people say the government could do to directly help the poor in America. Please tell me if you support or oppose the following [measure]? Interesting how as income increases, support for subsidized programs declines, though there is pretty high support across the board . . .

This is an interesting look at the needs of gifted students . . . and how they're often neglected as we try to help those at the bottom . . .

Wal-Mart apparently has a war room to deal with all the hot topic issues that come up - how crazy is that? The end of the article makes the accurate observation that the real battle is over the people in the middle.

All right, I'm neglecting Kelly right now, so I'll finish getting caught up later . . .


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