A School Board Doing Its Job

MetroWest Daily News (Massachusetts) posted an article today about the Lincoln-Sudbury School Board‘s decision to decline a chance to offer the PARCC to students next spring, sharply criticizing the standardized test that could end up replacing the MCAS in the state. The PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) is the testing that is part of the Common Core standards.

The article reports:

One board member equated the trial run of the exam as making “guinea pigs” out of students, whom he said wouldn’t see any worthwhile benefit from the dozens of hours they would put into practicing for and taking the test.

Lincoln-Sudbury, like all public high schools in Massachusetts, had a choice to administer the PARCC, short for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, in ninth and 11th grade later this year. The new test, which was introduced in a small pilot roll-out this past spring, was developed by a consortium of states to closely conform to the new Common Core standards adopted by most schools in the nation.

…Several committee members also bemoaned the PARCC’s potential effect of putting increased emphasis on standardized testing, arguing Lincoln-Sudbury on its own is able to come up with much more effective measures of students’ grasp of learning standards.

According to greatschools.org, Lincoln-Sudbury schools are rated a 9 out of 10. The School Board in Lincoln-Sudbury is obviously doing a good job. The median income in the town is $142,614, the median home price is $625,000, and the population is 17,673.

The School Board in the town understands that the Common Core standards have not been tested and there is no proof that they will improve the academic performance of our students. MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) testing is a proven product that has brought up the level of academic achievement of Massachusetts students. There is no reason to swap something that has proven to be effective for something that is totally untested.

Some Changes To RomneyCare You Might Have Missed

As the presidential campaign continues, there will be much discussion about the differences between RomneyCare and ObamaCare. The major difference, of course, is that the state has the power to try to deal with its healthcare challenges as it sees fit. It becomes a different issue when the government tries to take over the healthcare section of the American economy. However, there have been some subtle changes in RomneyCare that have occurred since Governor Patrick took office in Massachusetts.

On Monday night, I had a chance to see a presentation by Mike Stopa in Northborough on the subject of ObamaCare and the impact it will have on healthcare in America if it is not repealed. Mike Stopa is a Physicist specializing in computation and nanoscience in the Physics Department at Harvard University. He is the director of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network Computation Project and a recognized expert on nanoscale electronics and computation. He has over 75 publications and over a thousand citations to his work in the physics literature. His homepage at Harvard can be found here. Mike is a life-long, fiscally conservative Republican, which is not a popular ideology at Harvard. He was recently a first-time candidate for Congress in the third district of Massachusetts.

In the course of his discussion he repeated some aspects of the Massachusetts healthcare law that he had discussed in an article at the MetroWest Daily News in April of 2011.

This is a direct quote from his article:

“…because the terminally ill often are hospitalized and may be candidates for the intensive care unit (ICU), and because the ICU is particularly resource-intensive, reducing use of the ICU among such patients appears to present unique opportunities for cost reduction.”

Nevertheless, a recently released report by the Expert Panel on End of Life Care organized under Governor Patrick’s Health Care Quality and Cost Control Council emphasizes that many more of us would rather die at home; that we want that familiar view out our bedroom window instead of those cold, faceless hospital rooms with all those complicated machines. Many of us are willing, nay eager to let slip the mortal coil if we can only do so in a more caring, dignified environment. In short, in the words of panel co-chair Lachlan Forrow: “our expert commission actually wanted people not to think about cost. That’s not the point.”

The report by the End of Life Experts suggests many carrots to entice the terminally ill to get out of the hospital, but it also contains one simple, all-encompassing stick. Specifically, the Experts recommend that “any Commonwealth payment reform initiative should be designed to ensure that, for all patients with serious advancing illness…payment for medical services requires adequate documentation that they are based on the well-informed wishes of patients (or appropriate surrogates), including understanding of life-prolonging and palliative care or hospice alternatives.”

As ObamaCare is implemented, one of the things that will occur is that younger Americans will be asked to subsidize the healthcare costs of older Americans. It is a pretty safe bet that once they figure out what is going on, younger Americans are not going to be thrilled with that concept. Add to that the fact that a large part of the generation they will be asked to subsidize will be the generation that legalized abortion–the killing of their generation. Because of legalized abortion, there will not be enough of the younger generation to shoulder comfortably the burden of caring for their elderly parents. The irony of this is amazing. At some point, our younger generation will become the first generation to kill their parents legally (euthanasia) just as their parents were the first generation to kill their children legally (abortion).

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