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we have managed to transfer religious belief into gullibility for whatever can masquerade as science.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Whither The Children

Sometimes, we all lose sight of the most important part of public education: the children. Housatonic Valley Regional High School is not there to provide jobs to the community. The school’s only function is the public education of children. If it was closed at the end of the year, the children could be bussed to other nearby schools, and get a better education. The towns in Region 1 would reap a financial benefit of over $1,000,000 even with the increased bussing costs. And the administrators could concentrate on improving the education in the elementary schools. Of course, many children would spend longer on a bus, except for Kent where the ride would be shorter. And some alumni would mourn its loss. But Housatonic is our school, even with all the failure.

Yet seemingly every proposed change to improve the education is met with resistance. With that in mind, please listen to the following conversation with a concerned parent on the problem of scheduling of classes. And thanks to the parent, Dennis Fallon, for reaching out with his student centered concerns.

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Enter The Burrow

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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The Round Robin

Spring is here and so are the harbingers of fall, the new schedules for the next school year. And this year, Housatonic Valley Regional High School is changing its schedule to accommodate the implementation of personalized learning. However, it is always good practice to look at what exists now. The current schedule at Housatonic is a four day cyclical schedule with special periods specially inserted on Monday and Wednesday. The extra periods are used for activities or monthly for the meeting of learning teams, or socialization. The subjects in each class move about during the week. Good learning is habit forming and nothing could be so far from good habits than this schedule.

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The Benefits of CO2

Craig Idso, Arizona State University

by Craig Idso

We on Earth benefit from the rise of atmospheric CO2. But we seldom hear this important fact and its critical implications. Studying the biological impacts of rising atmospheric CO2 has occupied my professional life for nearly three decades now. Time and again, governments, non- governmental organizations, international agencies, societal think tanks, and even respectable scientific organizations undertake to spend multiple millions of dollars writing and promoting large reports about climate change. Yet in nearly all of these endeavors they have failed by not properly evaluating, or even acknowledging, the manifold real and measurable benefits of the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content. As a result, the positive impacts of atmospheric CO2 enrichment remain largely ignored.

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The Broken Rung

During the last month, the administration at Housatonic has moved to revamp the class schedule to implement personalized learning. The new schedule must necessarily be an extended period schedule (block schedule) in order to provide time for extended instruction. Parent complaints about this change are mounting. I believe that the community should be aware of some aspects of the situation that may not be obvious, to the parents or to the boards of education.

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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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