Saturday, October 31, 2015

Survey Says

Well when a pro charter funded study actually says something negative about the methodology they endorse then someone needs a dunce cap.

I want to point out that one of the Universities involved is the University of Washington, a school that produces many of the future Teachers for America. Which is ironic as while collecting fees and tuition from regular students who chose to learn the pedagogy of teaching the same University touts TFA with its 5 week bootcamp. They also advocate a fellowship program which is a variation of the same and it like TFA has largely been a failure.  And then they have a fascinating program that is for just implementing policy in schools and who funds it? Well.  So those who can't or won't teach will however implement and design policy and programs for public schools. Note this: The Northwest is home to some of the world’s largest and most productive philanthropic and education advocacy organizations.  Enough said.

So when I wrote about Student Teachers and my observations and experiences with them there are two explanations: They are MEllinneals, Enough said.  The other they are students from the UW which has made no secret they support ed reform as we know it - meaning charter schools, online schools and city takeovers of school boards.

We are ground zero here in Seattle with the Bill Gates foundation right here and the same goes for Los Angeles with Eli Broad and his foundation. And the same with the Walton family and their foundation  and the Koch brothers who  have no problems crossing state lines to push any agenda they approve of.

And the stomping of the feet and the SLANT nonsense I first saw 8 years ago and thought it was bizarre then, I now realize that I only see it in schools of color although again in the upscale middle school with the Student Teacher from the UW who was being filmed  the next week and that is another bizarre interesting requirement;  it runs to the whole filming cops idea. Hey, security I am for and having cameras in schools and classes only for that reason.   But you see the point that it can alter behavior and that may or may not be all good.  But in prep for this,  this young man was slanting and stomping and clapping with the timer running and all of that is charter school pedagogy.  It was a long day that I just felt bad about in so many ways.  Especially when a little girl asked me if I was going to be the sub tomorrow too? The look in her eyes was akin to a hostage, it was all so contrived and forced so I am not sure what it was largely in response to - his personality (which I sorta loathed) or the pressure to look good on camera.

And I sub in the alternatives. These are the laptop schools with all academics online and some "Teacher/Moderator" there to provide the push, the nudge that does nothing. I have seen it repeatedly and it too is largely for kids with discipline and academic problems that need much more hands on learning and services that sitting at a computer cannot fulfill.

So when I read this I fell over as I heard that "Hurricane"Vicki one of the Gates Foundation acolytes who endorse this bullshit is leaving.   Her history of Teaching for what looks like 3 years of her life then jumping from one educational job to another leaving schools closed and Teachers and Students failing and falling in her wake is fascinating.  Cannot wait to see where she turns up next? Michelle Rhee anyone?


Study on online charter schools: ‘It is literally as if the kid did not go to school for an entire year’


By Valerie Strauss
The Washington Post
October 31 2105


A new study on the effectiveness of online charter schools is nothing short of damning — even though it was at least partly funded by a private pro-charter foundation. It effectively says that the average student who attends might as well not enroll.

The study was done by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, known as CREDO, and located at Stanford University, in collaboration with the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington and Mathematica Policy Research. CREDO’s founding director, Margaret Raymond, served as project director. CREDO receives funding from the pro-charter Walton Family Foundation, which provided support for the new research.

CREDO has released a number of reports in recent years on the effectiveness of charters — using math and reading standardized test scores as the measure — which collectively conclude that some perform better than traditional public schools and some don’t. In its newest report, released this week, CREDO evaluated online K-12 charter schools. There are 17 states with online charter students: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.

The study sought to answer this question: “How did enrollment in an online charter school affect the academic growth of students?” Academic growth, as mentioned before, is measured by standardized test scores for the purpose of this study, which evaluated scores from online charter students between 2008 and 2013 and compared them to students in traditional public schools (not brick-and-mortar charters). Here are some of the findings:

Students in online charters lost an average of about 72 days of learning in reading.
Students in online charters lost 180 days of learning in math during the course of a 180-day school year. Yes, you read that right. As my colleague Lyndsey Layton wrote in this story about the study, it’s as if the students did not attend school at all when it comes to math.
The average student in an online charter had lower reading scores than students in traditional schools everywhere except Wisconsin and Georgia, and had lower math scores everywhere except in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Layton quoted Raymond as saying, “There’s still some possibility that there’s positive learning, but it’s so statistically significantly different from the average, it is literally as if the kid did not go to school for an entire year.”

The implications for the results, according to the study:

Current online charter schools may be a good fit for some students, but the evidence suggests that online charters don’t serve very well the relatively atypical set of students that currently attend these schools, much less the general population. Academic benefits from online charter schools are currently the exception rather than the rule. Online charter schools provide a maximum of flexibility for students with schedules which do not fit the TPS [traditional public school] setting. This can be a benefit or a liability as flexibility requires discipline and maturity to maintain high standards. Not all families may be equipped to provide the direction needed for online schooling. Online charter schools should ensure their programs are a good fit for their potential students’ particular needs.

Current oversight policies in place may not be sufficient for online charter schools. There is evidence that some online charter schools have been able to produce consistent academic benefits for students, but most online charter schools have not. The charter bargain has been “Flexibility for Accountability” and all charter schools must be held to that concept. Authorizers must step up to their responsibilities and demand online charter providers improve outcomes for students. Authorizers should hold a firm line with those schools which cannot meet their end of the charter bargain.

States should examine the current progress of existing online programs before allowing expansion. Online schools have the potential to serve large numbers of students with practically no physical restraints on their expansion. As such, mechanisms which have typically played a role in regulating the growth of brick-and-mortar schools such as facility construction and limited potential student pools do not exert pressure on online schools.

Without these natural constraints, online schools have the potential to expand more rapidly than traditional schools. This makes it critical for authorizers to ensure online charter schools demonstrate positive outcomes for students before being allowed to grow and that online charter schools grow at a pace which continues to lead to improved outcomes for their students.

It’s hard to overlook the language in these recommendations.

“The evidence suggests that online charters don’t serve very well the relatively atypical set of students that currently attend these schools, much less the general population.” Suggest?

“Current oversight policies in place may not be sufficient for online charter schools.” May?

Oversight policies aren’t sufficient for many brick-and-mortar charters, too, especially in Ohio, where a $1 billion charter sector has had so many problems it has become a national joke in some circles. Yet the largest online charter operator in Ohio, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), blasted the report in this Columbus Dispatch story, which says in part:

Ohio is expected to spend $554 million on online charter schools over the next two years. Most have struggled with state academic-performance measures; that includes ECOT, whose founder, William Lager, is among the top donors to Republican state legislators.

Gov. John Kasich is to soon sign House Bill 2, an overhaul of state charter-school laws. Among its many provisions, it ensures that the academic performance of online charter schools counts in evaluations of sponsors, and it requires e-schools to contact parents of struggling students and maintain accurate student-participation records.


It takes some chutzpah for a charter operator to attack a study funded by a pro-charter foundation and accuse the project director’s institution of seeing to dismantle online learning. But if there is anything some of these charters have, it’s chutzpah.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Back to the Past

Just following the 30 year anniversary of Back to the Future made me recall the DeLorean.  Before that iconic time traveling car and the man who brought it to the present, there were other wealthy entrepreneurs and automotive engineers that had the dreams and beliefs that the automotive industry will be revolutionized by their design of the car of the future.

The Crosley Hotshot was the work of Powel Crosley Jr., an Ohio industrialist who owned Crosley Broadcasting and the Cincinnati Reds. Despite this impressive resume, he was unsatisfied. Crosley longed to make cars, and in 1939 he founded Crosley Motors. Despite his success in several different businesses over the years, however, the car company never took off, and it became a black mark on Crosley’s otherwise impressive career.

One of the company’s biggest embarrassments was the 1950 Hotshot. A stylish enough car on the outside, its major design flaw was its engine. The car could only manage an average speed of 52 miles per hour, and instead of casting it in iron, it was welded together with tin. The welding failed on a regular basis, and heated the inside of the vehicle to an alarming degree. Crosley Motors closed its doors in 1952, but the Hotshot lives in infamy for a generation who saw a mangled specimen in the 1961 driver’s education film “Mechanized Death.”

As for the DeLeorean, that was due to John DeLorean was an American automobile executive who developed the GTO, the Grand Prix, and the Firebird. Despite being involved with such iconic cars, he’s best known for the one that bears his name, the DeLorean DMC-12, which rolled out in 1981. What first got people talking was the unique gull-wing design of the doors. Once people stopped marveling at it and decided to drive it, however, their enthusiasm quickly evaporated.

The DMC-12 took more than 10 seconds to go from zero to 60 miles per hour, something that would make most Toyota 4 Runner owners take their cars to the shop. The 2.8-liter V6 was lethargic at best, particularly when its job was to power a car with as heavy a build as this one. After a year of flagging sales, the British government ordered the car’s Northern Ireland factory shut down as the workers were unskilled and untrained and that FBI sting over DeLorean might have had something to do with it and the DMC-12 ceased production in 1982.

But even Ford had a lemon.  And  perhaps no car on earth is as identified with failure as Ford Motor’s Edsel. It was discontinued more than 50 years ago, and yet the name “Edsel” is still popular shorthand for a very expensive failed product.

Made by Ford and named after Henry Ford’s son, it was manufactured from 1958 until 1960, but never caught on with consumers. In reality, there was nothing particularly wrong with the car. It’s true that it was overpriced, it didn’t get great gas mileage, and the design of the vertical grill was somewhat ill-advised. However, the Edsel was no lemon, and its failure in the marketplace was due more to excessive marketing hype and an economic downturn in 1957 that made the car’s sticker price prohibitively high. Still, rightly or wrongly, the Edsel is unlikely to ever shake its image as the ultimate failed car.

And lastly another car made infamous by a movie - the Tucker.
 
Unveiled in 1946 in a series of sketches, the Tucker Torpedo, as the sedan was called, hurtled into the future: With its swooping lines, the car appeared almost as if it were moving, even when standing still. “It was like the Star Wars of that period,” says Jay Follis, historian for the Tucker Automobile Club of America. It wasn’t only the sleek shape that resonated: The car boasted innovations including a third, centered headlight, which swiveled to light the way around corners; fenders that pivoted defensively when the car turned; disc brakes; a pop-out windshield (designed to eject during a crash, protecting passengers); a rear engine; and a padded dashboard.

But while his designs and safety innovations were pioneering, Tucker’s business model lagged. Car manu­facturing had contracted during the Great Depression; by the late ’40s, only a handful of companies remained, rooted in a culture that valued corporate prudence over individual genius. By the mid-1950s, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler manufactured 95 percent of American cars.

So while I appreciate the idea of the Tesla I have little of the adoration for Elon Musk. His Hyperloop is enough to make me laugh my ass off but hey at least he is busy with rocket ships and solar power so he has plenty on his plate to occupy his time and take VC money.  But as for the Tesla  I suspect it will go the way of those other iconic brands.


Is Tesla Doomed?
Road & Track
October 28, 2015

 Bob Lutz thinks the writing is on the wall for the EV maker. Is Tesla Doomed?

 Tesla's showing all the signs of a company in trouble: bleeding cash, securitized assets, and mounting inventory. It's the trifecta of doom for any automaker, and anyone paying attention probably saw this coming a mile away.

Like most big puzzles, the company's woes don't have just one source. It's true that the world may be running light on buyers who will spring for a big-dollar electric vehicle that can't make the hike from Detroit to Chicago without stopping for a long charge. And cheap gasoline isn't helping Tesla's case.

Right now, prices around the country are hovering close to $2 a gallon. If that's bad news for the Prius and the Volt, it's worse for the Model S. In addition, there's never been any secret sauce to the company's battery technology.

The automakers that bought into Tesla's tech early did so to avoid having to pony up development dollars on first-generation battery packs of their own. Now that Audi has announced it's getting into the EV game, Tesla should be even more concerned. If you're a luxury buyer, which car would you rather have? And then there's the distribution problem. Nobody has ever been successful with company stores, though plenty of manufacturers have tried them.

When I came to BMW in the Seventies, it had five factory stores. The idea was, like Tesla, to be in control of the retail environment and give customers an upscale experience. They were all money pits.

 I think Tesla CEO Elon Musk figured that if factory stores work for Apple, they'll work for Tesla. But the fixed costs for an Apple store are next to nothing compared with a car dealership's. Smartphones and laptops don't need anything beyond a mall storefront and a staff of kids. A car dealership is very different. It sits on multiple acres.

You need a big building with service bays, chargers, and a trained sales force, plus all the necessary finance and accounting people. It ties up a staggering amount of capital, especially when you factor in inventory. Under a traditional franchise arrangement, the factory never has to carry that burden. Right now, Tesla does.

Stockholders may be clinging to the hope that the company's upcoming crossover will help put Tesla back on track, but there's little evidence to bolster that optimism. A big, expensive vehicle with a compromised structure to accommodate gullwing doors can hardly be a sales knockout. If I were sitting in Musk's seat, I would take an urgent look at cutting cost. Not just taking cost out of the car, but reducing expense in general.

When they have a situation where, on an operating basis, they're losing $4000 per car, they're in trouble. At some point, they're not going to get any more money. I would seriously consider an entry-level model with a cheaper, range-extended hybrid driveline. Something with a much smaller battery that also looks great and drives great. Something that's electric most of the time, say 50 or 60 miles, but can carry on under gasoline power past that.

Would an internal-combustion engine dilute the Tesla brand? Maybe, but everyone said Porsche could never build a front-engine car, and look how that turned out.

 I like Elon Musk personally, and I think the Model S is a fabulous car, but history's filled with defunct companies with great products run by brilliant people. Unless Tesla rights its organization and products in a hurry, it'll join those ranks.

Hard Knocks

 I used to jokingly say when asked what college I went to I said it was the school of hard knocks. I loved gangster movies as a kid, I had old parents what can I say. But in my years going to private schools, public schools and lastly Catholic Schools I never really got into the whole concept of school life.  As I look back on it now I think I was already a misanthrope in training. I did like to read and I loved music and theatre but never elected to participate in either as spending more time with people who annoy me was not my plan, but the library was a haven.  I have no idea that being a loner was the equivalent of being a sociopath or anything more than that.  Different times different generation.

But today social media and an ever increasing need to "belong" I think places undue pressure on kids. The rise of single parents and that affect has been duly noted to affect boys more severely but it has problems for all children, as this article in Slate discusses. 

As I wrote yesterday about a boy pressured to say his father had molested him, at times I am afraid single mothers do their best to hold it together and they are often the ones most penalized and lionized.

So many of the "boot strap" stories seem to come from men who talk about their single moms and how they raised them. To be honest I think that is usually a sign of a man with real problems with women,  it re-dfines "mommy complex" and again the stories about guns and boys are  quite telling as most lived alone with their mothers.   Even Bill Maher joked and noted that the sexualization of our culture contributes to further confusion about where one fits and what is appropriate with regards to relationships and sexuality.

Google the phrase "15 year old brings gun to school" you get this

Or you can read about the kid who wanted to Columbine his school and this is becoming an almost daily ritual, which I believe is largely again due to excessive media coverage. Instead of the Ferguson Effect we can call it the "Sandy Hook Effect"

We had a student in a local middle school graffiti his intent to shoot up the school. I know that school and I quit subbing there last year. The Principal there was attacked in the parking lot after a school dance but claimed it was a student from "another" school. Middle School dances are closed to off campus students but sure. The high school across the street the Principal was attacked in the lunch room by a student who had been suspended and blamed her. Later another student who had been suspended showed up to finish the fight with the individual who allegedly led him to be suspended and that led to a dog and helicopter search by the Police to find the boy who was hiding under a porch a block away. Slight overreaction but you saw that with clock boy. And that was attributed to race and ethnicity as clock boy was Muslim. Well I hate to break it to you race at times like this have little or nothing to do with it,  but yes children who are not white are expelled at higher rates and have more discipline problems.  And in turn that is what led to a cop attacking a girl. Not excusing it but trying to explain it.  That is the stereotype so the "enhanced" suspension rates are misleading and of course issues related to the zero tolerance policy that schools now follow.

There is so much going on public schools and in our own citiies that at times I think this is like the Sunni/Shia/Kurd argument that perpetuates the Middle East. I suspect that has large portion of what is happening in Syria as the migrants are from a certain ethnicity that the State wants removed. It is the genocide of the Armenians of 70 years ago. We had our own migration issues post civil war and oddly now in reverse which I suspect contributes to the sudden voter laws, redistricting and other issues to manipulate and isolate those of color.  And again in Katrina where the white wealthy took advantage of a natural disaster to re-populate the city and further segregate the city.  So racism comes in every color but it is often simply just a matter of black and white.

I see kids of all colors act out. I was at the largely white middle class middle school for two days this week. I was in the "intervention" room and the only kid that was assigned in house detention a little white girl, who was nice. But she disliked this teacher. Here is a plan switch teachers. But that is too easy. So they detain, suspend and isolate kids. The remaining kids were kids defined at risk academically. They were all black and all African descent. I am not sure if there is a correlation but I do see a true problem with children whose families having migrated here and the confusion of which culture they belong and the subsequent confusion and frustration with many American black kids.

The next day I was in the same school but this was the Spectrum class. This are the kids that test in the upper quartile. They are largely white and Asian. In this school they are well just largely white due to location and the demographics of the neighborhood. There are some nearby apartments and you see some of the kids I mentioned in the overall school population, the African descent and some of Latino, but few Asian kids as their families do not live in the area.   So the "stereotype" with regards to the advanced classes have one color in composition -white.

To get into advanced placement classes, the testing starts pre-k.  The test actually cost money so of course that isolates the population who would take them. And the kids of color may actually succeed in the academic program as frankly it is just the work load, as in they actually get homework and have it daily as the texts, readings and lesson plans are largely the same. Parents complain endlessly that the HCC cohort lessons are inadequate but there is no mandate or law requiring this type of "special" education in our state so they simply segregate them into these tracked cohorts based on test scores. Ah the testing once again that determines one's life course.  So we take young children at age 5 and they are segregated from their peers with little done to integrate them socially or academically to any other classes or students.  And due to heir schedule they are the same kids in any extra curricular as well - so if they take Music, PE is exempt, Art is out as they may have a foreign language, which may put them in with "regular" kids  but that even changes in high school when they enter the International Baccalaureate program as their foreign language classes have a defined curriculum.

We create racism via our instituions. We create classism and we create gender inequity as well as there are boys who test well in math versus girls and that further divides the classes.  It is all the way that funding and the push to eliminate public education and of course integration that came from the 1954 Brown vs the Board of Education.  What white flight could not accomplish, money was the final death knell.

So in other words a privileged child could go through 13 years of education (that includes of course Pre K) without ever meeting any child of another race, class or culture due to this testing tracking philosophy. So they are eliminating the programs here and placing the advanced kids in gen ed and of course the helicopters are flying and not the search kind.

The reality is again simple, put kids of color that are borderline on the tests, set up an academic calender and tutoring program for both child and parent to meet certain obligations to get the student up to the same base level as their peers in this cohort. Oh wait that costs money and its hard! So nope. No one can play with my toys but me so I am throwing them out! So there!

This same school got a new Principal this last year. She ran a home school program so to step up to a well to do area and their school means do little to upset the apple cart but of course there is an overwhelming need to make your own stamp. The bookend is the school in the south end that it too got a new Principal last year.  This school was a "magnet" school and still has the programs in place to draw the "good" kids  from around the area, this year it is dissolving their spectrum program. This is being accepted with much chagrin and kickback as the school is discreetly becoming a neighborhood school so while still  in a largely gentrifying district so its population will change on its own however current scheduling still reflects very much a racial divide regardless of the public face and reports. I decided to quit going there unless it works in my schedule or I am utterly desperate. The kids are the least of the problem.

Then we have the new Teachers, the have drank the kool aid and the focus on testing, the common core and imitating the ideas of what defines charter schools as they seem to be what they are teaching in ed school.   They (whoever they are) are fully funded by the wealthy ed reformers who are strong advocates of both charters and school control by the City vs by elected school boards. This type of central control is further dividing and conquering as schools see even less funds and more pressure to perform on tests to prove they are worthy of existence.  And this article on charter schools discusses the way they segregate and separate the problems and use public schools as dumping grounds that have no money or resources to repair and help these "problems" become productive members of the community. This perpetuates of course the idea - from the school yard to the prison yard.

So new Teachers with a truckload of debt and suitcase full of bullshit arrive and they are put into classrooms that the demands are not something the pedagogy of ed schools actually teach. I watched two Student Teachers at this same school, one last year who is now a member of the staff full time.  And at the bookend the other student teacher is as well.  Having worked with both they are nice women but need more support and guidance frankly. But any Teacher who has not been teaching for 5 years has not hit their stride, their evaluations, their teaching and their whole approach to the field takes time. It explains why that 40% leave the profession by year 4. Imagine having a support and co teacher to work with and commiserate or celebrate with. That takes money.

The Student Teacher I had yesterday was a nice person but utterly overwhelmed with insecurities. It was painful to watch a 35 year old man treat children like elementary students and seem obsessed with clocks and timing.  He would be a great elementary Teacher as they need more males and that type of approach works well in that environment. Why he was not placed in one I have no clue.  I think Elementary Teachers loathe Student Teachers and if they are like him (and they are) I can see heads butting in many ways. 

If you think any of this doesn't trickle down to the kids (its trickle down education vs economics) you are mistaken. I can always tell what families are talking about in the presence of kids by what broken records I hear. You had to be around during Ebola, wow that was a fount of misinformation.

So why are kids being violent in acts and deeds, meaning thinking about it, telling people about it and then in some cases acting upon it? They have no support system.

The schools fail as they are overwhelmed with not a few but hundreds of kids who have problems that go beyond their academic ones. They have staff members spending hours filling in evaluations and validating their own existence. Then we have the teaching the test and ensuring that little snowflake does well and that too reflects on their abilities to teach and how they are perceived/evaluated as a professional.

So who has time for the kids. They go to school and is a school of hard knocks. 


Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly drawing ‘diagram’ of plan to shoot up Dallas grade school

The Washington Post
Michael E. Miller
October 30 2015

School shootings have become sickeningly common in the United States. From Columbine to Virginia Tech to the deadly attack that tore apart Oregon’s Umpqua Community College earlier this month, students have chosen their own schools as staging grounds for murder and mayhem.

There have been more than 40 such school shootings across America this year. In most cases, the shooter has been a male in his late teens or early to mid 20s.

Now a case in Dallas is breaking that pattern — but for a devastating reason.

On Thursday, Dallas police arrested a student at Trinity Basin Preparatory for allegedly plotting to shoot up the school. The Dallas Police Department said the student had spoken several times over the past month about bringing a gun to school but classmates thought he was joking. When the student brought a “diagram” of his deadly plan to school on Thursday, a fellow student turned him in.

The possible school shooting plot, though thwarted, has nonetheless shocked people in Dallas due to the suspect’s age.

He is just 12 years old.

The pre-teen’s alleged plot is all the more stunning because of the apparently meticulous manner in which he allegedly planned the attack.

In a Thursday evening press conference, Dallas Assistant Police Chief Randy Blankenbaker told reporters that the boy had brought to school a “written diagram detailing how the plan would be carried out.”

Local TV station WFAA described the diagram as “a detailed map of how he would carry out his attack.”

Over the past month, the student had told one of his classmates several times that he planned to shoot up Trinity Basin, a diverse public charter school near downtown Dallas. The classmate didn’t take the 12-year-old suspect seriously — until he showed up with the diagram describing exactly how he planned to open fire in the school.

That’s when the classmate told school administrators, who found the diagram in the 12-year-old’s hand and contacted police.

Blankenbaker praised the classmate for preventing a possible massacre.

“This young man was very courageous. He did what he needed to do to protect himself and his classmates, and he is to be commended for that,” Blankenbaker said, according to NBC 5.

The assistant police chief said the diagram or map was detailed enough to signal serious intent.

“An average person would see this diagram and it could give them grave concern,” he said. “A reasonable person would see this diagram and they would believe that he intended to carry out his threats.”

The boy’s name has not been released due to his age. He has been charged with exhibition of firearms, a third-degree felony, for the alleged plot even though it’s unclear if he actually had access to a weapon.

It’s also unclear if he will be charged as an adult. He is currently locked up at the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice Center, according to NBC 5.

The juvenile’s arrest was the second such incident in a Dallas-area school in little over a week. On Oct. 20, a 15-year-old boy was arrested after allegedly threatening to shoot up North Forney High School, according to the Dallas Morning News. The teen reportedly told friends he planned to bring a gun to school the next day.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

12 Angry Men

One of my favorite plays as it first introduced me to the flawed jurisprudence system.

 A jury of your peers if they are all white guys, angry, biased, and of varying intellects and incomes. Great. Guilty!

And now comes the most amazing research ever that came out of Harvard ever! Angry women are not welcome to lean in/out or around. Shocking, I know! Then they will redo the study with afro-centric names. Next up Rachel Dolezaal will arrive with Caitlyn Jenner to see what the 'Harvard" Jurors will respond to.

 And that is why I have found the patronizing arrogant ramblings of a wealthy Ivy League protege of Larry Sanders utterly absurd. It is a form of gender bating and blaming. Next up slut shaming!

 Women are not permitted to be angry. I.get.it.I.really.do.

 I like to point out that the voice/gender of anger in Inside Out was Lewis Black, a perpetual angry comic. And Amy Schumer plays a drunk slut but she's funny isn't she?

 Why Angry Men Are More Influential Than Angry Women
  By Belinda Luscombe
Time
Oct. 27, 2015

Righteous anger is one of Hollywood’s favorite devices for delineating an inspirational figure. Atticus Finch has it in To Kill A Mockingbird, Peter Finch’s newscaster has it in Network, Mr. Davis has it in 12 Angry Men and Liam Neeson has it in just about everything.

 Angry women, not so inspirational. It has never been clear whether it’s women’s anger that is the problem or the way women display anger. Tears, heightened voices, jabbing fingers: are women just doing anger wrong?

Now a new study suggests that female anger is simply less persuasive—to both men and women—no matter how it is expressed.

For the study, 210 undergraduates were on a computer-simulated jury with five other jurors. They were shown arguments, testimony and photographic evidence in a case in which a man is accused of murdering his wife, and asked to make a decision.

 They then interacted, through typed responses on a screen, with the other jurors as they talked about the case. Four of the jurors agreed with them and one didn’t. For some of the participants, that juror was furious, as communicated by a liberal use of the caps lock and exclamation keys.

None of the responses were from real people, however. They were pre-set into the computer program that the candidates were using. The angry juror’s name was either Alicia or Jason but her/his answers were always the same. At various stages throughout the process, the study participants were asked how confident they felt about their decision. The results were depressing.

 “After Jason started expressing anger, people’s confidence in their opinion dropped,” says the study’s lead author Jessica Salerno, assistant professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, “but when Alicia expressed anger they grew more confident.” Jason’s passion led to 19% less confidence among participants in their opinion, on average. Alicia’s anger led to 13% more confidence in their opinion, on average.

 In total about 7% of participants changed their minds during the course of the experiment.

 When the juror was not angry, that 7% was split between people who had been interacting with Jason or Alicia. But angry Jason got 18% of people to switch their verdict. Angry Alicia changed exactly zero people’s minds.

The female anger in this experiment was expressed in exactly the same way as the male anger: words on a screen, with phrases like “This is just really frustrating…” and precisely the same number of capitalized letters. So Salerno believes it’s simply the gender that was the problem.

Depressingly, again, both men and women reacted the same way to Alicia and Jason, echoing previous studies that showed both male and female Harvard Business School students would want to work for the aggressive CEO in a business case study when they thought he was a guy, but wouldn’t want to when they thought she was a woman. (Turns out she was a woman, Silicon Valley executive Heidi Roizen.)

Why do people react so differently to male and female anger, even in 2015?

Salerno thinks it’s because we believe anger comes from a different source for both genders. “I believe that people are drawing different conclusions about where the anger is coming from,” she says. “Male anger is situational. People think they must really have a reason to be so passionate. It’s situational conviction.”

 Female anger, however, is assumed to be coming from within. “Female anger tends to be attributed to something internal,” says Salerno. “People think: ‘That’s just such an emotional person, she’s not thinking clearly.’ ”

 Salerno is a little worried the results of her study are going to stop women from expressing their anger. That would be the wrong response. The right response, she says, would be to acknowledge that these implicit biases exist.

 “I’m hoping this calls people’s attention to to these biases,” she says. “I’m hoping well-intentioned people will catch themselves when they do this.”

Also, Hollywood, some kickass female attorney roles wouldn’t hurt. Legally Blonde can only get us so far. Salerno has another angry juror study underway, she’s already analyzing the data. It’s too early to talk about it but the some of the jurors names were Logan and Emily and others were Lakeisha and Jamal.

A D for Democracy

The Age of Democracy is now. And that means if we do nothing we will find our democracy gone or a version of it that is a facsimile of what the founding fathers had in mind when the wrote the flawed but the foundation of our country.

We have challenges being landed in communities across the country, from school board elections to voting rights in one after another poor town or city or state to the aging equipment and the long term problems/costs associated with delayed or debated results, the reality is that the 1% speak loudly and more elaborately than anyone in the 99%. Even in matters that have nothing to do with the community where they live or work. They are the Gladys Kravitz of America.

As more people run away from the hurricane into cities and towns where jobs lie or at least one's they believe will pay them more and offer more opportunity they leave communities behind that are sheer pushovers for folks like these to use their towns and cities as trials and tests for further ways to erode this foundation. It is as if one bitch of a storm caused by global warming hit the beach and it was akin to Normandy only this D day is the day democracy died.

 This is just one more way they will do so - money over guns.

 Outside Spending by Special Interests Floods Judicial Elections at Record Percentage, Report Finds

October 29, 2015
The Brennan Center for Justice

Once Rare, Multi-Million Dollar Judicial Races Have Become Commonplace Across U.S. Special-interest groups accounted for a record-high 29 percent of total spending in state judicial races in the 2013-14 election cycle, according to a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Justice at Stake, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

Offering a detailed analysis of the latest state Supreme Court campaign trends, Bankrolling the Bench: The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2013-14 shows how special-interest spending has impacted the composition of state courts nationwide — and calls into question how campaign spending may affect courts’ decisions.

The study finds that multi-million dollar judicial races, once unheard of, are now common across the country. Social welfare organizations and other outside groups are also increasingly spending on court races, the report notes, spurred in part by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010. The cycle also saw a notable development in a highly public initiative by a national group, the Republican State Leadership Committee, which spent nearly $3.4 million across judicial races in five states.

 “As special-interest groups continue to pump money into judicial races, Americans are rightfully questioning whether campaign cash influences courtroom decisions,” said Alicia Bannon, senior counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice and co-author of Bankrolling the Bench.

“Fifteen years of data makes clear that high-cost and politicized judicial elections are not going away. It’s time for states to rethink how they select judges and to adopt common-sense solutions such as public financing and stronger rules for when judges must step aside from cases.

Without real policy change, fair and impartial justice in America is at risk.” “The hard numbers make it clear: when judges have to run for election, there is a risk that the concerns of ordinary people will take a back seat to the special interests and politicians who are trying to reshape courts to fit their agendas,” said Scott Greytak, Justice at Stake policy counsel and research analyst and lead author of the report.

“This turns how we choose our judges into a political circus that is bad for our courts and bad for democracy. The good news is that we can fix this. We can work toward real reforms like merit selection, to help get money and politics out of the process, so judges can focus on their real work instead of raising money and fending off political attacks, and so all of us can have confidence that our courts are fair and impartial.”

 While overall election spending was slightly lower than in other recent cycles due to a high number of uncontested races, more than $34.5 million was spent on state Supreme Court elections in a total of 19 states — much of it coming from special interests.

Outside spending by interest groups in judicial races rose to a record-setting 29 percent of total spending, or $10.1 million, in 2013-14, topping the previous record of 27 percent in 2011-12. When outside spending by political parties was also included, total outside dollars accounted for 40 percent of total judicial election spending, a record for a non-presidential election cycle.

Among the report’s other key findings:

 The highest spenders overwhelmingly supported Republican and conservative candidates. Most of the top spenders targeting judicial elections supported conservative candidates, including nearly $3.4 million spent by the Republican State Leadership Committee. Democratic supporters also spent substantially in a few key races. Two of the top three highest spenders in the election cycle supported a Democratic candidate (in Michigan) or opposed a Republican candidate (in Illinois).

 The airwaves around judicial elections were dominated by ads, many of them harsh, about criminal justice issues. “Tough on crime” was the most common campaign theme, as a record 56 percent of TV ad spots discussed the criminal justice records of judges and candidates. Average per-seat spending on judicial elections has surged in states with retention (i.e, yes-or-no) elections.

The average for 2009-14 represents a tenfold increase over the average for the previous eight years. Negative advertising in the most recent retention elections jumped to 46 percent of all ads, compared to 10 percent in the prior cycle. Lawyers and business interests spent big on judicial elections.

Business interests — many of whom frequently appear in state court — and lawyers and lobbyists were the largest donors to Supreme Court candidates, collectively responsible for 63 percent of all donations. Business groups and plaintiffs’ lawyers were also major contributors to several of the highest-spending outside groups.

Lies of My Father

Only this was the lie of the son. I read this and just felt sick for both of them.

 Here is the perfect illustration of what I have been saying all along that children get angry, sad and in turn they say and do things that make often no sense. And suddenly this same child who was troubled to begin with is now an authority and expert and utterly valid in whatever he/she is saying.

 Again they arrest mothers and fathers for leaving children in the car alone but they never question the motives or the adults in children's lives when it is a matter of serious import. Why is that neglect acceptable? This is not the first nor the last but this is just another.

What is distressing is that now he wants to repair the damage he wrought and cannot. Again the adults in the room that were listening so intently when this troubled little boy told his tales of woe are now not listening to the adult in the room.

All wrong all sad and all just another indication of how the concept of sex registries and engaging children into the criminal justice system as either victim or perpetrator is wrong, all wrong.

 And two wrongs don't make it right.  

‘Lie’ begets lifetime of regret for Clay County father, son

 When Brodie Leap was a 5-year-old boy, he says, he felt pressured to say his father, Earnest Leap, had touched him inappropriately. It was a lie, he says.

  By Eric Adler
 The Kansas City Star

 Brodie Leap was 5 years old when he told what he now calls The Lie.

 He says he knew it was a lie the second he said it. He is 31 now, living in Oakview in Clay County, and he has known his entire life that it wasn’t true.

“Have you been touched down there?” his mother asked him. Leap insists he told the truth at first. “No,” he recalls repeating to his mother as she asked him time and again. The date was Dec. 1, 1989.

 Karen Leap, then 36, was asking her son about his father and her ex-husband, Earnest Leap. The couple, separated for three years, had just ended their seven-year marriage that September. Despite their bitter parting, the parents received joint custody of Brodie and his toddler brother, Josh.

 The Lie Explained Brodie Leap of Oakview, Mo., says his father, Earnest Leap, was wrongly convicted 26 years ago In 1989 of sexually abusing him when he was age 5.

 To Karen Leap’s grave disappointment, Earnest Leap was named prime custodial parent, meaning the boys lived mostly with him. “Have you been touched down there?”

The answer that Brodie Leap finally uttered, and which for the past eight years he has declared in affidavits he felt hounded to give, continues to haunt the life of his father, who both Leap brothers attest has been the most supportive and positive force in their lives.

 “The only stable component of my childhood was the immutable presence of my father,” Josh Leap, 27, a computer data scientist in St. Louis, wrote in support of Earnest Leap. Said Brodie Leap, “I live with the guilt of that lie every day of my life.”

A Navy veteran and one-time financial adviser, he recently came back to the Kansas City area and moved in with his dad, in part to take on the mission of his father’s exoneration and pardon.

 At the very least, he hopes to get his father’s name erased from the rolls of Missouri’s registered sex offenders. By state statute, Earnest Leap is required to stay on the registry for life. The Kansas City-based Midwest Innocence Project notified Leap last month that it was reviewing his records as it considers whether to take up his cause in court.

 “This has been going on for 25 years,” said Leap, 57, who retired this year as a driver for United Parcel Service. “I have never had anything to be ashamed of.” Brodie Leap’s quest to clear his father’s name comes at a pitched moment in the debate over sex offenders and the laws that keep track of them.

 Across the nation, attorneys, criminologists and even law enforcement agencies have begun, with greater force, to question the public benefit, legality and appropriateness of making available the photos, names, addresses and workplaces of some 850,000 individuals on the nation’s sex offender registries.

Officials also question a tapestry of ever-changing rules that differ state by state on where offenders can live, work and walk. Kansas, for example, has no residency restrictions regarding how close to a school, church or park a registered sex offender can live or work. But in Missouri, county sheriffs and prosecutors are still struggling to determine what to do after a 2013 Missouri Supreme Court ruling.

 The case, State of Missouri v. Michael Wade, is related specifically to Missouri Statute 566.150, which went into effect in 2009. It prohibits individuals found guilty of a sex offense from loitering within 500 feet of a park with playground equipment or a public swimming pool. The court, in its decision, ruled that the loitering law could be applied retroactively to offenders who were found guilty in the years before the law went into effect.

The ruling went on to say that other such criminal laws also could be applied retroactively. The problem that sheriffs’ offices now face is that the newer ruling runs directly counter to two previous Missouri Supreme Court rulings. Those rulings found that a different criminal law, 566.147, which restricts sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare, could not be applied to people who occupied their homes before the law went into effect in 2004.

 But based on the new ruling, any sex offender who lives within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare is violating the law, regardless of when they were convicted. In densely populated Jackson County, that essentially includes all of the county’s 2,100 registered sex offenders.

 “I don’t know where, physically, you could live in Jackson County where there isn’t a park or daycare or school or playground,” said Capt. Mike Rogers, who said the Sheriff’s Department is still working on what to do. “It would displace thousands of people.”

 If sex offender registries are about keeping close tabs on offenders, he said, forcing them to move would send the system into chaos. “We are not in the position of displacing a bunch of families or displacing someone who has lived in their house for 50 years because they have a park or school down the street,” Rogers said. Platte County is home to 96 registered sex offenders.

The Platte County prosecutor’s office has received no cases of violators, although if it did, a spokesman said, the office would prosecute. Cass County has 143 registered offenders. Four have been informed they are in violation.

In Clay County, Earnest Leap was among 57 of the county’s approximately 330 registered sex offenders who received a letter from the Sheriff’s Department in August. The letter said his house on the border with Gladstone is too close to a school. It is 990 feet away.

 “All of the sex offender laws are really screwed up because they contradict each other,” said Capt. Tommy St. John of the Clay County Sheriff’s Department.“All the sex offender laws are a mess.”

Leap has been in his home since 2000, rebuilding much of it himself. He raised Brodie and Josh there through their middle school years, after they voluntarily left their mom. His wife, Natalie, 41, has lived there with him since before their marriage in 2008.

Her son, Austin, from a previous marriage, also eventually lived with them there. But Clay County’s letter, St. John said, was carefully worded. It placed no deadline on leaving. “It’s a basic, generic letter,” St. John said. “We take a criminal report and file it with the prosecutor. The prosecutor decides whether to file or not and that gets the monkey off our backs.”

 At least seven registered offenders already have opted to move. The prosecutor, as of recent events, had opted not to prosecute others among the 57. But the Leaps said the letter is vague and leaves them wondering what their future holds.

 “They won’t tell you,” Natalie Leap said. “Are they going to prosecute you if you stay? Even if we move, where do we live? If we move into another neighborhood, all the red flags come up with him being a registered sex offender. “You can’t go to a park. You can’t go camping, If he goes to another state, you have to register there.”

 Registries exist in every state, with many studies showing that the public overwhelmingly supports them for keeping people informed and thus feeling safer.

 “I think sex offender registries are an important part of an overall child-protection strategy,” said Staca Shehan of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Her division at the center helps authorities by collecting information on the whereabouts of “noncompliant” sex offenders, those who have failed to register.

No clear number exists, but she estimated there are tens of thousands nationwide. Over the last two decades, state and federal lawmakers have responded to public sentiment with strong legislation. In 1994, the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act became the first federal law to require that states operate a registry. The act was named for Jacob, 11, who was riding his bike with friends when a masked man abducted the boy near his Minnesota home. Neither Jacob nor the man was ever found.

 In 1996, Megan’s Law allowed registries to publicly disclose offenders’ private and personal information, such as where they lived. Megan Kanka, of Mercer County, N.J., was 7 years old when in 1994 she was raped and murdered by a neighbor who was a twice-convicted pedophile.

Another law passed that year further allowed offenders to be tracked from place to place. In 2006, 25 years after the death of Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old Florida boy abducted from a department store and later found murdered, Congress enacted the the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Title I of the law is the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act which, among many provisions, expanded the list of offenses for which one was required to register, as well as penalties.

 Under SORNA, failing to register is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Offenders also must notify authorities when and where they move or take a new job. “It allows the public and families to have knowledge about who is in their community,” Shehan said of offenders required to register, and provides “the opportunity to create a safety plan, to educate themselves about what the risks are.”

 Certainly national headline-grabbing stories have tended to reinforce the need for vigilance.

 Shehan offered the example of Jaycee Lee Dugard, the 11-year-old California girl who was grabbed off a street as she walked home from school. Dugard remained missing for 18 years until, in 2009, she was recognized and found in the company of convicted sex offender Phillip Craig Garrido, who had kept her captive.

 “There’s others,” Shehan said. “It is anecdotal, for the most part, but we have seen cases where registered and noncompliant sex offenders have re-offended and raped or murdered a child.” "case in point, she said, is John Albert Gardner, who in 2010 pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of 14-year-old Amber Dubois in 2009 and 17-year-old Chelsea King in 2010, both in California. Gardner was a convicted sex offender who had been imprisoned previously for molesting a 13-year-old girl.

 The most common argument against the registries is that they go too far, in that they publicly brand offenders with a felony scarlet letter for anywhere from 10 years to a lifetime, long after offenders have completed the terms of their convictions.

“My reputation has been ruined,” Earnest Leap said.

 Others say the registries cast too large a net, placing rapists on the same registry with those convicted of public urination or so-called Romeo and Juliet crimes — consensual sex between underage teens that is prosecuted as statutory rape. The registries’ effectiveness also is being questioned.

 In July, the U.S. Department of Justice published a research brief on sex offender management. In effect, it offered a summary of what collective research shows on how effective strategies such as residence restrictions and registration requirements have been in reducing sex offender crime rates and recidivism, meaning repeat crimes by previous offenders.

 The Justice Department brief was absolute regarding residence restrictions. “(T)he evidence is fairly clear that residence restrictions are not effective,” the brief said. “In fact, research suggests that residence restrictions may actually increase offender risk by undermining offender stability and the ability of the offender to obtain housing, work, and family support. There is nothing to suggest this policy should be used at this time.”

  In February, the California Supreme Court struck down sex-offender living restrictions in San Diego County, with Justice Marvin Baxter declaring the county’s restrictions “unreasonable, arbitrary and oppressive,” an “infringement” on offenders’ constitutional rights that “bears no rational relationship to advancing the state’s legitimate goal of protecting children from sexual predators.”

In New York that same month, the state Court of Appeals struck down a 2006 Nassau County ordinance that prohibited sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school. And in August, Massachusetts Associate Justice Geraldine S. Hines likened sex-offender living restrictions to some of America’s darkest historical moments.

 The state Supreme Judicial Court unanimously struck down local ordinances banning sex offenders from living near schools or parks. “Except for the incarceration of persons under the criminal law and the civil commitment of mentally ill or dangerous persons,” Hines wrote, “the days are long since past when whole communities of persons, such as Native Americans and Japanese-Americans, may be lawfully banished from our midst.”

 As to whether registration and notification actually reduce the rate of sex crimes, the Justice Department brief concludes the results were mixed. Some studies have found no effect; others have noted decreases in the rate of sex crimes. But the brief was more conclusive regarding recidivism, the effect of registration on reducing repeat offenses by sexual predators. The majority of studies found “no impact.”

 Separately, Arizona State University law professor Ira Mark Ellman this summer took on the very assertion, used in dozens of legal cases to justify the use of sex offender registries, that sex offenders should be tracked because their rate of re-offending is “frightening and high,” as much as 80 percent.

But as he notes in an essay to be published in the law journal Constitutional Commentary, the assertion that offenders re-offend at an alarming rate stems from data offered to the U.S. Supreme Court in an amicus brief in a 2002 Kansas sex offender case, McKune v. Lile.

 Looking deeper, Ellman tracked the 80 percent number to what he determined to be its original source, a 1986 story in the popular magazine Psychology Today. It stated that “most untreated sex offenders released from prison go on to commit more offenses — indeed, as many as 80 percent do.” But the story provided no studies, data, experts or sources to support that statement.

 “There was no study at all. There is no reference or anything. That was pretty surprising,” Ellman said in a telephone interview. “Fear, the fear of what a person might do, drives people to reach these conclusions. They don’t hear the facts.”

 It is difficult to calculate a single percentage of sex offenders who do re-offend, Ellman said. But the number, he said, is not close to 80 percent and is lower than the re-offense rate for other felony crimes.

 Ellman cites a meta-analysis of some 8,000 sex offenders that showed that, among the highest risk offenders, 20 percent committed another sex crime within five years of prison release, and 32 percent within 15 years. But the longer one goes without re-offending after release, the less chance for any new crime.

 No high-risk offenders who were offense-free after 16 years committed a sex crime thereafter, Ellman wrote. Earnest Leap said that for him recidivism is not an issue because he didn’t sexually abuse Brodie in the first place.

“Never. Not my son, any other child, or adult,” Leap said last week. Leap’s former wife, now Karen Harris, 62, lives just over a mile from the home Leap shares with his wife and Brodie.

 She insisted in a recent interview that although she never witnessed her ex-husband abuse their son, she nonetheless believes now as she believed nearly 26 years ago that Leap molested him. “It happened,” Harris said. “I believe my child. … My son would not have lied to me back then. I don’t know why Brodie is lying now.”

 Brodie Leap holds that in 1989 any truth of his father’s innocence quickly became buried beneath the landslide of dysfunction, family drama and the desire to please his mother that both sons have said came to define their childhoods.

Harris hardly denies that life had been difficult. She was 28 when she met and married Earnest Leap in 1982. By then she had been married four times and had four children, all boys. She said she was about 14 years old when she was sexually assaulted by one of her father’s Army buddies and became pregnant.

 She was forced by her family to wed the man shortly after. They had a baby. “He was a rapist,” she said. “They made me marry him. They sold me out.” Leap said he met his former wife while she was cutting hair at a Northland salon. He was 23 and already working for UPS. They wed a few weeks later.

In February 1984, Brodie was born. Although the couple separated after four years, they got back together briefly. Josh was born in August 1988, less than a year before the divorce became legal. The marriage was dissolved in Clay County on Sept. 13, 1989. The court named Earnest Leap as primary custodian. Harris recalled that she quickly came to think that her husband was keeping Brodie and Josh from seeing her. “I said, ‘You can’t keep them away from me forever,’ ” she recalled telling him at that time.

 The accusation of child sexual abuse came less than three months after the divorce. Earnest Leap maintains that the “false accusation” had everything to do with custody. Karen Harris recalls it differently. She remembers picking up Brodie from his father’s place — Earnest Leap was living in Blue Springs at the time — to stay the weekend with her. She said Brodie was moody, acting “antsy” and “nervous.”

He had been playing aggressively with a toy car. She thought he might be mad at an older half brother. “I said, ‘Brodie, why are you doing this?’ He didn’t really answer. But there was a cover over the couch and he kept covering his head and everything.” Harris said she thought he was just acting strangely. “I took him to the bedroom and sat him on the side of the bed,” she said. “I said, ‘Brodie, you’ve got to talk to me. I don’t know what’s going on.’ ” Harris said that it was in that moment that the notion he might have been sexually abused crossed her mind. She had been following the news, and in the 1980s, child sexual abuse was making national headlines.

 The McMartin preschool case — in which it was later determined that preschool workers were falsely accused of abusing some 360 children in their care — was still working its way through the courts. “All of sudden something hit me,” she recalled. “If you remember, that was about the time everything started coming out, saying, ‘Ask your kids if someone has touched them.’ ” Harris said she held Brodie, told him she loved him and said he could reveal anything to her. She recalled his response: His father had told him that if he talked, he would be “dead meat.” She said she persisted and that Brodie, in a child’s words, indicated that he had awakened to find his father performing a sex act. Recently, Brodie Leap shook his head at hearing his mother’s recollection.

By choice, neither he nor Josh has contact with their mother. Brodie said that when he thinks of his mom, “I don’t feel anger. I feel more pity for her.” He thinks his mother came to believe what she wanted to believe. His memory of that day is vastly different. He recalls her asking him countless times whether his father had touched him in an improper way.

 “It was just incessant,” he said. He remembers saying no over and over again until, after two hours of questioning by her, he finally relented so that he could go to bed. His mother took him to the hospital.

There was no physical evidence. But he said he repeated what he knew to be a lie to others, including a counselor and worker for the Missouri Division of Family Services, its name then. “I repeated the story … because I did not want to get into trouble for making up the story,” he wrote in a 2007 affidavit used in a petition for pardon sent to Gov. Jay Nixon. Trouble came for Earnest Leap. His children were taken away and given to his ex-wife.

 The Jackson County prosecutor, using the evidence of Brodie’s statement to his mother, police and others, charged Leap with first-degree sexual abuse. Documents back his assertion that for more than a year and half he refused to plead guilty. But on the advice of his public defender, he said, he finally agreed to terms that he thought would make it all go away.

 It was an Alford plea, in which the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that if the case went to trial, the prosecutor would have enough evidence to convict. Going to trial was the last thing Leap wanted, he said, and not just because of the risk of jail time.

A trial would mean that Brodie would be compelled to testify against his dad. Leap broke into tears recently as he said, “I didn’t want him to have to go through that.” The agreement seemed right: A sentence of three years that, most important to Leap, allowed him to maintain his innocence and also offered suspended imposition.

That meant Leap would get no jail time. If he stayed out of trouble for three years, any record of his conviction would be wiped away. That’s what happened. A search of public documents shows no record of his conviction. But all of that was before the creation of the sex offender registry: before residency restrictions, before past offenders had to add their names, before the eruption of the Internet allowed all of Leap’s co-workers, friends and neighbors to find his face and address with the click of a mouse.

 The Leaps have for years been deeply involved in dog rescue. In late August, Natalie Leap received a two-sentence letter from a group for which they had volunteered. “This weekend your husband’s criminal record was brought to our attention,” it stated. “Given the nature of his conviction and our involvement in the community (our group) can no longer continue our relationship with you or your family.”

 It’s a miniscule example, Leap said, of what they experience. “I’ve been harassed by police officers, co-workers, bosses, neighbors,” Leap said. To everyone who looks on the Internet, he said, he knows he’s seen as the area pervert. Except, that is, to his family. His wife has become an active member of Women Against Registry, a national group based in Arnold, Mo., that attempts to bring fair treatment to the families of individuals on the registry.

Registry aside, in middle school both Brodie and Josh left their mother’s house and chose to live with their father. Both attended college. Brodie became a top wrestler at Oak Park High School and later in the Navy. Brodie has had his troubles, he said, including a divorce. Injuries from wrestling, rugby and mixed martial arts have made work difficult enough for him to seek disability.

For the time being he’s moved back into the home where he feels safest. “My dad,” Brodie said, “is the one I always come back to.”

Checking Out

If you are in a teaching hospital right now and Dr. House is not your Physician overseeing your care, check out right now or you may never leave - on your own recognizance.

When I read the below article I immediately went to the comments to see what was said about this and I found these comments:


I trained at a major city hospital 50 years ago when being on call "every other night" meant no sleep for 36 hours, then a "night" at home (meaning one hour at the dinner table), then back to another 36 hours. I quickly realized I was losing my "humanity" with a schedule like that and completed training at a more reasonable major university program in internal medicine-cardiology. I then went into private practice. During the first few years, in solo practice, I again had periods of 30 hours or more providing "all" the inpatient and outpatient care. I quickly recognized the toll it was taking on my health and family life. For that reason I developed a medical group. With the good medical training I had I was able to accurately "hand-off" acutely ill hospital patients, and they were in far better hands with someone who was rested and could quickly learn the important facts of any patient with a well- kept chart. The fallacy of "better for the patient" with a doctor who takes care of them for 30+ hours at a stretch is perpetuated by academic physicians who have no idea what a humane private practice can (and should) be. The thirty hour "trial" is archaic, the "I did it so you can, too," mentality. It is bad for the physician and bad for the patient, and that kind of thinking has no place in modern medicine.



No physician I ever worked with believed they did not have physical limitations and could go 30 hours without sleep. In fact, I, for one, crawled into the call room for every 20 minute nap I found between duties in the 30 hours. But hospital revenues are supreme! Why hire an IV team when you can wake up a resident? While the focus on patient safety is appropriate no one mentioned the health of the residents. During my residency two young doctors I knew committed suicide and one was on duty, a surgical resident crashed her car on the way home from work dying on the scene, and the psychologic stress caused alcoholism and severe burn out causing young doctors to be uncaring. If we were talking about airline pilots there would be no suggestion that it was safe to board a plane after having been awake for 20+ hours and fly a full aircraft. Doctors and their patients deserve better. Work hours should be shortened and I don't understand why this is even a debate.


This obsession in America with the notion that working harder means to the point of exhaustion is insane. I am not sure if this is "I did it so can you" or "I am Dr. John Galt." We have this absurdity that we are all superman and woman and should be attached, connected and working 24/7 to validate our worth. And if it is a true that we are facing a serious doctor shortage by 2025, this is not the way to encourage people to enter the profession.

This is unsafe and absurd and this is our Medical Industrial Complex continuing to live up to its name.


Some new doctors are working 30-hour shifts at hospitals around the U.S.

By Lenny Bernstein
The Washington Post
October 28 2015

Some first-year doctors are working 30 hours in a row at dozens of hospitals around the country in a test of work-hour limits that were imposed in 2011 because of fears that inexperienced, sleep-deprived physicians might jeopardize patients.

The 30-hour shifts, which were banned four years ago, are one element of a $9 million research project partly funded by the National Institutes of Health to determine the best way to train novice physicians while maintaining patient care.

The arrangement is reviving one of the oldest debates in the education of physicians: whether they learn best when subjected to brutally long and difficult working conditions, whether their patients have a right to know about it, and whether physicians and patients can be kept safe.

Critics of the study, some young doctors among them, argue that exhausted physicians can make mistakes that cost lives. But the researchers and some experts say the work limits force more handoffs of patients from physician to physician, which are more dangerous than leaving them in the care of sleep-deprived doctors.

To change the doctors’ work hours, the researchers obtained permission from the organization that regulates physician training. And because it involves actual patients, the study also needed approval from the ethics panel at the University of Pennsylvania, which is leading the research. That panel deemed the study’s risk to patients and new doctors minimal, and said hospitals did not have to inform either.

David Harari and Jeff Clark, first-year residents in psychiatry at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said that the risk is more than minimal. They have told the school’s ethics panel they were not informed that they could be working as much as 30 ­­­hours at a time when they interviewed for their jobs and that their patients are unaware of it.

“It’s really hard to function for 30 hours in a row,” said Harari, who was interviewed after a 30-hour shift during which he was responsible for six patients and got about 2  1/2 hours of sleep. “I’m not aware that I’ve made a mistake yet, and I hope that never happens.”

Sidney M. Wolfe, co-founder of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, which in 2001 tried to persuade the federal government to regulate new doctors’ work hours, agreed there are risks in longer hours. “From my perspective, it seems both patients and doctors have to be involved [in consenting], and both patients and doctors need to be able to opt out.” He said that is unlikely or impossible because of the way this study is designed.

But Mildred Solomon, president of the Hastings Center, a nonpartisan research institute that studies ethical questions in health care, strongly endorsed the research. “We haven’t really studied whether [restrictions on work hours] made a difference or not, not in this kind of rigorous way,” she said. “And I think we need to find out.”

Long confined to academic medical circles, the issue burst into public view after the 1984 death of Libby Zion, the 18-year-old daughter of influential New York lawyer and journalist Sidney Zion. Libby Zion was being treated for an undiagnosed problem by an overworked first-year doctor at a New York hospital when she went into cardiac arrest and died.

A grand jury took up the case but declined to issue criminal charges. New York state eventually passed a law limiting residents’ work hours. As a result, no New York hospital can participate in the current study.

In 2011, after a study by the prestigious Institute of Medicine, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education banned 30-hour work shifts for all trainees and prohibited first-year physicians from working more than 16 hours consecutively, with a few minor exceptions.

But some involved in training newly graduated physicians — known as “residents” at hospitals — say the work-hour limits have made staffing needlessly difficult. They said they believe that a novice learns best by following a case in the critical 36 hours after a patient is first admitted and that patients are better served, as well.

“Duty hour rules were born out of a concern for patient safety. . . . But the pushback is they have greatly increased handoffs,” said David Asch, director of the Center for Health Care Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania’s school of medicine and the study’s lead researcher. “And we already know that handoffs affect patient safety.”

The study involves 6,000 internal medicine trainees at 63 programs across the country. About 2,400 are first-year physicians. The rest are second- and third-year doctors. It began July 1 with the incoming crop of residents, with results expected in 2019. It is similar to a year-long study of longer work days for new surgeons that concluded in June.

In the current study, 31 programs will stick to current rules on resident work hours. Along with the 16-hour limit for first-year trainees, second- and third-year doctors are restricted to 24 consecutive hours of work. Residents may not work more than 80 hours a week, must have one day off every seven days and may not work overnight more often than every three days — all averaged over one month.

In the other 32 programs, directors who schedule residents’ work hours must observe most of those rules. But they can allow the young doctors to work as long as 30 hours consecutively or, in rare cases, even more.

The “minimal risk” designation by the University of Pennsylvania’s Institutional Review Board was critical to the decision to waive the usual requirement to inform patients and doctors that they would be participating in an experiment. “We did a pretty intensive review just because the design of the study is a little bit different,” said Tracy Ziolek, the director for human research protection for the university panel.

She said she also determined that it would be impractical to notify every internal medicine patient at all the participating hospitals.

Adam Zion, Libby Zion’s brother, said in an interview that he views any attempt to lengthen young doctors’ hours with caution. “Let’s see what their data shows on the back end of it all. The simple reality of it is that there continues to be significant problems” with patient safety for many reasons, he said.

Long before the study’s results are available, data from the 2014 trial among 4,400 surgical residents at 119 programs will shed light on these issues. The data will not be available until February, but Karl Bilimoria, the principal investigator, said some residents in general surgery have worked 30 hours or more to finish long operations and stabilize patients. General surgeons train for seven years.

Bilimoria, director of the Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, said that if the study shows no impact on patient health and safety, his group will ask the accreditation association to loosen its work-hour restrictions.







Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Quandary

I only have ever seen a Police Officer in one public school. This school really does need to change its name to School for Scandal, from rape charges, to sexual harassment to sex with teachers, to testing riots, to selective teaching and privileges for athletes, this school has it all. It professes to be the school where Jimi Hendrix went, what is neglected is that he went for barely a year and when presented with an honorary degree he rejected it and the city of his birth.

This school that goes without some 'incident' is well unusual and the Police on site are utterly a waste of time but they are there.

So how did Police become a presence in our schools - thank Bill Clinton and his role in the prison complex and thank Obama for continuing the practice.

But what I find odd is that we arrest parents for letting kids walk home alone, play in a park alone, for being truant, for sitting in the car or whatever strange arbitrary reason yet we never arrest parents when their children commit crimes including school related ones. Why is that? (I know why, money and time and those are two valued resources schools have little of)

I am a great believer that kids are just reflections and that much of their behavior in schools are just that. So while there is this move to have restorative justice as a means of resolution and that schools are trying to teach mood and behavior management a la "Inside Out,"  I rarely see or read how parents are involved and engaged. I believe that learning contracts are necessary and that both children and their parents should sign them as they are minors and these are contracts which are legal documents indicating understanding and acceptance to terms of agreement. Funny kids do that with cell phones and social media sites but no schools have students and their parents comply with what is expected. for them to continue to be enrolled and attend the school.  And the school should have just as many expectations and follow thru on their end to ensure that all parties are working together.  Why not?

But in the meantime we evoke zero tolerance and well we have the schoolyard to prison pipeline. This may be why.

'Good guys' with guns: how police officers became fixtures in US schools

The 1990s-era ‘tough on crime’ movement that encouraged police inside schools has expanded under Obama, despite the lack of consensus it improves safety
police schools

Jessica Glenza
The Guardian
Wednesday 28 October 2015  
Richland County sheriff Leon Lott announced on Wednesday he would fire senior deputy sheriff Ben Fields for yanking a high school girl from her desk and dragging her across the floor in a South Carolina classroom, and that video of the incident gave him “heartburn”.

“He picked a student up, and he threw a student across the room,” Lott said. “That’s what caused me my heartburn, and my issues with this.”
South Carolina sheriff fires deputy seen manhandling teenage girl in video
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But Lott directed criticism not just at Fields, but at a South Carolina law that he said empowers cops to mete out too much discipline in classrooms.

“Maybe that’s something that should have been handled by the administrator, without ever calling the deputy,” Lott said. “I didn’t pass the law. It’s something that’s been put on us, and I’ll be one of the first ones to say that it’s been abused in the past.”

South Carolina is far from alone in intermingling policing and education.

In the last 25 years, sworn police officers have become a fixture of the US’s public education system, the vast majority armed with the power to arrest and interrogate students, often, advocates say, without the constitutional protections that children might be afforded on the street.

“The two most significant factors in a decision to include heavy security measures – which includes police – is the race of the students and the poverty level,” said Harold Jordan, the senior policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, who has worked extensively on issues involving law enforcement in schools. “So we know that there is a problem, and the problem is not just located in South Carolina.”

The 1990s-era “tough on crime” movement that encouraged educators to place local police inside schools has been under increasing scrutiny in the last five years, as these policies disproportionately impact students of color and allegedly criminalize adolescent behavior. But an uneasy expansion of the programs has taken place even under the Obama administration, despite the lack of consensus that they improve school safety.

Concerns about such programs have raised enough concern for the nation’s highest education authority, the US Department of Education, to investigate.

Statistics culled by investigators at the Office of Civil Rights found black students were disproportionately arrested or referred to law enforcement at school. In 2014, the department found 260,000 students of America’s 49 million were referred to police. Black students represented 27% of law enforcement referrals, despite making up only 16% of enrollment. White students, meanwhile, comprised 41% of referrals, but 51% of enrollment.

Even the Justice Department has taken notice, suing a few school districts that routinely used police to enforce disciplinary infractions. “A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct,” attorney general Eric Holder said last January.

In just the last 12 months, school resource officers have been involved in several high-profile use-of-force incidents.

In Colorado Springs, an officer punched a 15-year-old girl in the face when trying to break up a fight. Police said the force was justified and returned the officer to his job at the high school. The two students involved were ticketed and suspended.
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An officer in Kentucky punched a 13-year-old student in the face in the cafeteria in front a large portion of the school (including teachers) for allegedly cutting the lunch line. The officer arrested the student on menacing and resisting arrest charges. The next day the officer returned, placed a different 13-year-old in a chokehold until he lost consciousness, handcuffed the student, kept him out of class and then drove him home.

School district officials said the punching incident was, “in front of everyone. It was in the cafeteria, so we were aware of it.” Asked by local reporters why the school resource officer wasn’t immediately removed, the spokesman refused to comment, and said he didn’t know how such incidents were investigated. The officer’s supervisor was also apparently shown a video of the incident, but did nothing to prevent the officer’s return the next day.

Even before the officer punched the student in the face, community members criticized his behavior. He was named in a civil lawsuit alleging he and three other police officers physically and verbally abused children at a summer camp program called the Gentleman’s Academy, according to WLKY.

“I worked with, I think, five SROs, and I would say four of the five were effective, and one in particular had that very quick trigger,” said Spencer Weiler, an education professor at Northern Colorado University. He was a middle school administrator and teacher for more than 14 years before becoming a researcher who studied school resource officers. Weiler described an incident where a student got “belligerent” with an officer.

“Within seconds, the SRO had this student face down in the countertop in the front office, and in handcuffs, and I was like, ‘What is going on? Why is this person reacting this way?’” said Weiler. “We had a conversation with him after the fact.”

The Education Department’s study counting arrests is one of the most comprehensive. Research into the effectiveness of SROs has been criticized as “limited”, both by the small number of studies and for lack of rigor, according to a 2013 Congressional Research Service report.

Meanwhile, millions in federal grants have flowed to the programs.

“Nobody knows exactly how many officers are in schools,” said Jordan. The best estimates of roughly 19,000 is from an eight-year-old Bureau of Justice Statistics report.

Over the last two decades, Democrats have been ardent pushers of SRO programs.

After shooters at Columbine high school in Colorado killed 13 people and injured 20, president Bill Clinton and congressional lawmakers quickly dedicated an initial round of funding to Cops in Schools, or Cops grants.

The number of positions that program created is a best guess – in 2004 the National Association of School Resource Officers polled attendees of its national conference and found 45% of about 19,900 had their positions funded with the help of federal grants. That program handed out $753m before it was defunded in 2005, under Republican president George W Bush. The Richland County sheriff’s department is a beneficiary of these funds, according to Lott, helping pay for 87 student resource officers in the county.

Before it was cut, Democrats came to the defense of Cops grants, including gun control advocates such as New York Democratic senator Chuck Schumer.

“Thanks to Cops, people feel safer with their children on the streets today,” Schumer said in a press release in May 2004, the National Review reported. “But now the Administration has proposed ending the program and taking away funding to hire thousands of police officers just when they are needed most. Why the Administration would want to rip a hole in that sense of security by slashing Cops funding is beyond me.”

Even the Obama administration provided millions to place cops in schools. In the wake of the massacre of 20 people in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, the Justice Department pledged $45m to fund 356 new school resource officer positions, fulfilling a call by the National Rifle Association to put more “good guys” with guns in schools.

Many have cited Columbine as the beginning of the SRO era. While funding tied to the event undoubtedly expanded the ranks, it appears the movement was well underway before the massacre. In fact, an armed deputy sheriff was already assigned to Columbine high school when the shooting happened.

By 1991, enough school resource officers were in the field that a specialized police association was founded, the National Association of School Resource Officers. By 1997 (two years before Columbine), there were already an estimated 12,300 school resource officers on campus, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The time was one of a confluence of concerns about criminal justice, when many of the nation’s “tough on crime” laws were written. Crime peaked in the US in 1993. Just three years later, in 1996, a Princeton professor would issue the guiding document for politicians looking to strengthen juvenile sentences – the theory of the juvenile “superpredator”.

Professor John DiIulio Jr zealously warned that juvenile crime would sweep the nation, even though his analysis was debunked at the time (the Los Angeles Times called the study “hogwash”).

Even descriptions for the best possible school resource officers raise constitutional concerns, advocates said. NASRO describes the best school resource officers as those that adhere to the “triad” of teacher, law enforcement officer and counselor. But police are not trained as teachers, and students who confide in school resource officers have none of the privacy protections guaranteed by trained counselors and psychologists.

“I maintain that that’s punting the issue,” Jordan said about the “triad” theory. “Ultimately, you need to reduce the rolls of police in school and restrict it to only the most serious and violent situations.”

At a press conference on Wednesday, members of the Richland County sheriff’s citizens advisory council described a program that, most of the time, worked well.

“As parents and a community, nobody from the sheriff’s department, or anybody else, just dumped this on our heads. There was an outcry,” for more law enforcement, Bishop C L Lorick Junior told reporters. “We made certain laws, and we also made certain polcies called ‘zero tolerance’. As someone eloquently said some time ago, the chickens have come home to roost.”

And while we decry Teacher's Unions they were not the ones demanding the Police presence so why we decry their union for keeping "bad" Teachers, at least we don't actually kill anyone.

Police officers and their unions should face the same scrutiny as teachers
Jason Nichols
The Guardian UK
October 28 2015

It is not acceptable to demand that teachers bear the burden of fixing the education system and yet allow our police departments to remain as they are
police

When will anti-union forces hold the police to the same standards that they hold teachers? Teachers’ unions have been demonized by Republicans for allegedly not putting students’ interests first, but police unions have gone largely uncriticized. Teachers and police are both public servants – if demands for police reform were as rigorous and intense as they have been for teachers that would help overcome the impasse on reining in police brutality.

While highly effective teachers in places like Washington DC can earn $25,000 bonuses for excellence in their craft; the starting salary of a DC metropolitan police officer is a humble $52,148. Similar bonuses should be available for highly effective policing. An officer who has gained the trust of his community, treats citizens (and non-citizens) with respect and de-escalates potentially volatile situations should not be paid on the same scale as officers whose records are full of demerits and complaints.

The latter should be subject to more training and be given the tools to improve before they hit the streets. If they do not progress, their employment should be terminated. The monetary incentive will encourage good conduct and safe behavior. For those who argue policing is a difficult job, our society should be able to counter that it is a difficult job that they are compensated well for.
South Carolina sheriff's deputy on leave after dragging student from her desk
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Education reformers have made it so that teachers are subject to consistent observation and evaluation. Police sergeants should do the same things that principals and instructional supervisors do in schools: follow officers and evaluate them based on their performance.

Contrary to popular belief, teachers are evaluated based on some criteria that seem intangible, not just test scores of students. Some of the benchmarks include parent/teacher surveys and reviews of lesson plans. Guidelines need to be developed to gauge respect, communication and cultural competency, which are fundamental to good policing.

Police unions also need to be stripped of some of their power as well. They, even more so than teacher’s unions, have often put careers and reputation over lives. In New York City, they declared they were a “wartime department” and blamed critics of the NYPD for this. In Baltimore, the Fraternal Order of Police union claimed innocence for the officers implicated in the death of Freddie Gray, while at the same time admitting that the investigation was not complete. It is this kind of rhetoric that ultimately makes the environment unsafe for all, including officers.

Teachers are subject to community oversight in the form of parent-teacher conferences, parent teacher association meetings and open-house events with the school leadership. Officers, from leadership to rank and file should have to face the communities they police.

Police need to be obligated to use the training they have and there need to be serious repercussions when they do not. All school resource officers (SRO) need to have Therapeutic Aggression Control Techniques training. Teachers are required to be certified in teaching, so SROs also need to be certified in policing that special population.

Ben Fields, the officer accused of forcefully arresting a young student in South Carolina on camera, should be terminated for not using his training on how to properly deal with the student. If he was not trained, he and other school administrators should be held accountable for not enlisting the assistance of a social worker. Policing youth is certainly different than working with adults.

It is not acceptable to demand that teachers bear the burden of fixing the education system and yet allow our police departments to remain as they are. This is not about endorsing current education reform. It’s about rejecting the idea that demanding reform is the same as being anti-police. It is about advocating for citizens and communities – and that is something that both sides of the aisle should be able to get behind.