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It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

Upton Sinclair

the height of irony

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The Teaching Hook

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The Skating Rink

In the last few years, The Connecticut State Department of Education created a new system of accountability for the state’s schools. This system includes measurement of academic performance for each school in the state. Their intention appeared to be an expansion of simple measures of student achievement to a broader set of indices to include student growth. However, the change to using SAT scores at the high school level appears to have defeated part of that purpose; individual students are harder to track. Still, if high school test results are combined with the entrance of graduates into post-secondary education, the results are informative. Housatonic Valley Regional High School appears to be in the lower third when compared to other area schools. And the academic performance at Housatonic is getting worse.

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Lindzen Petition

Prof. Richard Lindzen, MIT

Dear Mr. President:

Citizens of the USA and America’s admirers everywhere support of your campaign promises to place a common-sense focus on international environmental agreements, either enacted or proposed. In just a few weeks, more than 300 eminent scientists and other qualified individuals from around the world have signed the petition below, urging you to withdraw from the ill-advised United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). More are signing on every day.

We petition the American and other governments to change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases, primarily Carbon Dioxide, CO2 for harsh regulation. Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm—with no environmental benefits. While we support effective, affordable, reasonable and direct controls on conventional environmental pollutants, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. To the contrary, there is clear evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful to food crops and other plants that nourish all life. It is plant food, not poison.

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Apoplectic

What does Housatonic Valley Regional High School have in common with the high schools in Hartford, Waterbury, Derby, Meriden, and Westbrook? Really really poor performance on the Advanced Placement (AP) tests for the class of 2016. Even hyperbola cannot cover these results.

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Shoulder The Burden

Governor Malloy

Earlier this year, Governor Malloy presented a proposed budget to the state legislature that includes passing on part of the cost of teacher retirements to the towns. That proposal would expect each town to pay one third of the cost of the state’s retirement allocation based on the actual number of teachers currently employed in that town. For Regional school systems, each town would also accrue costs proportional to the number of students enrolled multiplied by the number of regional teachers. Thus, the cost for the high school and special education teachers employed by Region 1 would pass to each town by the appropriate average daily enrollments.

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The Wind in the Willows

Andrea Downs, Chairman, Region 1 Board of Education

Subject: March 6th BOE meeting

Dear Parents and Students,

I am writing to you today as the Chair of the Region 1 Board of Education. I think it is important to share some thoughts and procedural issues with all of you prior to our monthly business meeting on March 6th, 2017.

The BOE is educating themselves about the many concerns parents, students and staff have in relation to the proposed schedule changes for the 2017/2018 school year. We were not at the meeting on February 23rd because it was a parent meeting and not a board meeting. The link to the video has been sent to all of us for our review. Each of us has also spoken to a number of parents, students and staff on a one on one basis and we will continue to do so.

Unfortunately, it would appear that a lot of misinformation was disseminated throughout our broader community in a way that is causing all stakeholders to feel fearful and anxious about this change. We can understand this when parents and students do not feel that they have all of the information, or if no venue has been proposed in which to ask their questions.

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Toboggan Run

The projections for the enrollment of students in Region 1 continue to decrease. The projections by NESDEC show the result of net aging and migration. They said, “K-8 enrollments in Region #1 are forecast to decrease by 110 students; and the high school level to decrease by about 36 pupils…all within the next three years – as the smaller classes move up the grades.” For Housatonic Valley Regional High School, this means that the enrollment will drop to 377 students next year, and 349 by 2020. However, having six towns in the Region does make a difference compared to Region 12 and Shepaug.

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Region 1 Assistant Superintendent of Schools

LisaCarter@carterteach111

On Thursday, February 16, 2017, the Region 1 Board of Education formally selected Lisa B. Carter as its new Assistant Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1, 2017.  Carter, an educator in Region 1 for more than 14 years, has served as Principal of Salisbury Central School since 2011. She began her education career as a Social Studies teacher at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, where, in addition to being an exceptional teacher, she collaborated with her colleagues to initiate the student exchange with China and the Civic Life Project.

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Climate Models Reviewed

The use of climate models is difficult for many people to understand, yet the results are important to the economy. Using these models, politicians make demands on energy restrictions and cost. In Connecticut, we pay a premium on electricity to install “clean” energy. Recently, Professor Judith Curry released a paper at the Global Warming Policy Foundation discussing the formation and use of climate models. Professor Curry is the author of over 180 scientific papers on weather and climate who recently retired from the Georgia Institute of Technology after numerous attacks on her scientific work as she has discussed here.

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Through The Looking Glass

One aspect of the science of global warming is the measurement of ground temperature on a local basis. This is followed by placing the data on a worldwide grid and extrapolating to areas that don’t have data. The local measurement site in the northwest corner of Connecticut is in Falls Village, near the old powerhouse. The data from that site appears to start in 1916 according to NASA records; it shows intermittent warming of about 0.5 degrees C over the last 100 years. However, NASA recently decided to modify that data in a direct display of political convenience to exaggerate the current rate of warming. What follows is a look at the data record as given on the site for NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), a look at alternate facts.

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