Obama Celebrates Anniversary by Pushing Controversial Education Reform Program

Well this is interesting: The President and Arne Duncan are celebrating Obama's first anniversary in office by pushing states to come up with bold ways to reform education. Until recently, it seemed to me that education had fallen off the administration's priority list entirely. Then Obama delivered his intense and hated-by-conservatives stay-in-school plea (follow that link for video and transcript), where he put the onus on kids to take responsibility for their own education, and now there's this.Built into the stimulus plan was $100 billion for education-and from that huge pot of cash is this little-known effort, announced this past summer called the Race to the Top. Well, it's getting a big push today, and the idea is this: Spur states to compete for the $4.35 billion in grants, because competition begets innovation, and innovation is what schools need-bad.To qualify for the money, states must meet certain criteria. They have to show they are able to build systems to measure success; that they can design and adopt internationally recognized success standards; commit to turning around crappy schools, possibly through charters; and that they are willing to reward teachers for student performance. Wait, what?That all sounds good, except the part where charter schools get a broad bump and the part about merit pay, which immediately disqualifies some states. California, for instance, had a law in place that prevented schools from rewarding teachers based on student performance, but they quickly overturned it.The whole merit-pay thing been controversial for some time. One study showed a decrease in student performance when teacher pay was tied to it (though the study allowed that this might have just been a poorly implemented program). Other studies show the opposite. No matter, other states have made similar moves-and frankly, can you blame them? Politics aside, these schools need money if they're going to be able to adopt better practices, boost teacher retention and up student performance. The teaching to the test model has to go, but with limited resources, that's been next to impossible. Still, it strikes me as a little dicey when states start rushing to change controversial laws just to qualify for much-needed financial supportThe grant winners will be announced in January. Stay tuned.Image via
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

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"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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