A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Food

Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.

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The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

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From preschool to kindergarten — so far

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Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles in Girl Gone Wonk

Take my kids’ dessert, Michelle. Please.
Wednesday, 29 Dec, 2010 – 18:00 | One Comment
Take my kids’ dessert, Michelle. Please.

Note to Sara Palin: Michelle Obama is free to stop by my house any evening and tell my kids they can’t have dessert. After seven-plus years of this war, I’m battle fatigued. Michelle would probably …

Let’s keep hating on health care through November
Tuesday, 23 Mar, 2010 – 16:47 | Comments Off
Let’s keep hating on health care through November

A couple of salient points in the hoo-ha coming today from those who lost the health care fight:
Not all Americans hate the new law. More people think it will help than think it will hurt. …

We are the world; we are the soda companies
Tuesday, 9 Mar, 2010 – 21:41 | Comments Off
We are the world; we are the soda companies

It’s not quite the east coast and west coast rappers sitting down over tea and crumpets, but when three manufacturing rivals get together for a joint project, it’s big news.
Except in the case of the …

Part of the digital divide will never be bridged – so be it
Wednesday, 24 Feb, 2010 – 19:26 | Comments Off
Part of the digital divide will never be bridged – so be it

Two contradictory tidbits from a CNet story this morning about an Federal Communications Commission report on expanding broadband Internet access to more parts of the country:

A third of adults who don’t have broadband at home …

Nickels and dimes add up to $400m we don’t need to spend on schools
Tuesday, 2 Feb, 2010 – 19:54 | Comments Off
Nickels and dimes add up to $400m we don’t need to spend on schools

Every time a kid in California misses more than three days of school, the district spits out a form letter notifying parents that the student’s a truant.
Because the state requires districts to send that letter …

Universities v. prisons is not a real choice
Friday, 29 Jan, 2010 – 19:28 | Comments Off
Universities v. prisons is not a real choice

You have to wonder if the fumes from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous cigar patio are starting to affect his thinking.
Why else would someone who for years has battled California’s wacky budget process suggest making the …

It’s dangerous. Stop doing it. No bribes necessary
Monday, 19 Oct, 2009 – 22:42 | Comments Off
It’s dangerous. Stop doing it. No bribes necessary

Recent studies show that texting behind the wheel is more dangerous than driving drunk. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia already ban texting while driving. Federal employees can’t do it, and there already was …

Develop a national test before deciding what to teach is backward
Monday, 22 Jun, 2009 – 20:01 | 2 Comments
Develop a national test before deciding what to teach is backward

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s plan to start developing a national test before anyone’s even come up with national standards is far worse that putting the cart before the horse.
It’s more like hitching up Secretariat …

Another charter school “success” story
Sunday, 31 May, 2009 – 20:49 | Comments Off
Another charter school “success” story

American Indian Public charter school in Oakland has a history of students with high poverty rates who achieve some of the highest standardized test scores in the California.
It also has a history that includes shaving  …

Intel chairman’s right about one thing: We need to talk about education
Wednesday, 13 May, 2009 – 0:37 | Comments Off
Intel chairman’s right about one thing: We need to talk about education

Give Intel Chairman Craig Barrett credit for two things: He’s no Johnny Come Lately to the issue of education reform, and he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is sometimes.
Make that three things: …

Many good reasons why ‘no excuses’ charter schools are not a solution
Wednesday, 25 Mar, 2009 – 1:24 | 5 Comments
Many good reasons why ‘no excuses’ charter schools are not a solution

Here’s a sucker bet:
Within the next year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will go to Boston to trumpet its charter schools as one of his “islands of excellence” where children can blossom and principals can take …

Welcome to the era of the national standardized test – for real this time
Wednesday, 18 Feb, 2009 – 3:28 | Comments Off
Welcome to the era of the national standardized test – for real this time

Did Education Secretary Arne Duncan just accomplish in mere weeks what the past two presidents couldn’t pull off in 16 years?
Look deep into a Tuesday New York Times article, far below all the “gee, isn’t …

Economic stimulus is in the eye of the beholder
Monday, 9 Feb, 2009 – 1:07 | Comments Off
Economic stimulus is in the eye of the beholder

Trying to define what is and isn’t economic stimulus is beginning to look like that classic judicial struggle to nail down pornography: “I know it when I see it.”
The problem is, too many are seeing …

With this ring, I get out of a big medical bill
Monday, 19 Jan, 2009 – 23:53 | One Comment
With this ring, I get out of a big medical bill

Gary Johnson and Rebecca Witt are making it, but barely, on his $8-an-hour job while she uses grants to pay for college in between raising three children.
But because they aren’t married, the state of Michigan …

Everything I need to know about SCHIP I learned from a mechanic
Thursday, 15 Jan, 2009 – 0:36 | Comments Off
Everything I need to know about SCHIP I learned from a mechanic

I don’t know which scared me more the day I swerved my Ford Escort off the freeway just in time to see the engine ignite: The flames shooting from the hood or my stepdad’s predictable …

Here’s hoping the new FDA head has bigger worries than cold medicine
Tuesday, 13 Jan, 2009 – 0:58 | 4 Comments
Here’s hoping the new FDA head has bigger worries than cold medicine

I was one of those parents today. The kind the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gets verklempt about every autumn as it considers, yet again, banning kiddie cold medicine. The kind of heartless momma who …

Giving COBRA some fangs would help ease the bite of unemployment
Friday, 9 Jan, 2009 – 0:49 | 4 Comments
Giving COBRA some fangs would help ease the bite of unemployment

I took a gamble and won, which is odd for me. I’m usually so unlucky I haven’t come out ahead on so much as a lottery ticket in close to a decade.
We decided in November …

NCLB, seven years and still bullying strong
Thursday, 8 Jan, 2009 – 0:48 | 2 Comments
NCLB, seven years and still bullying strong

Happy Birthday, No Child Left Behind.
You were born seven years ago today as the federal government’s first major foray into education reform. Through testing and bludgeoning, you were supposed to be the solution to the …

If ISPs want to play, there need to be rules
Monday, 22 Dec, 2008 – 0:37 | Comments Off
If ISPs want to play, there need to be rules

Dead technophobes can rest in peace: The Recording Industry Association of America says it’s no longer going to head straight to court in instances such the case where it accused a West Virginia granny who’d …

A wish for the new education secretary
Wednesday, 17 Dec, 2008 – 1:10 | One Comment
A wish for the new education secretary

If the chief knock against Arne Duncan is that the education secretary-designate is not an educator, there’s little cause for worry.
The last time the party changed in the White House the education secretary’s resume included …

Call automaker bailout rejection what it is — worker bashing
Friday, 12 Dec, 2008 – 1:27 | Comments Off
Call automaker bailout rejection what it is — worker bashing

It’s been a bad week to be a worker — if you still even have a job.

In Chicago, workers staged a sit-in after their plant closed and they were told they wouldn’t receive even as …

A $1b a year failure, courtesy of NCLB
Thursday, 20 Nov, 2008 – 14:11 | 2 Comments
A $1b a year failure, courtesy of NCLB

I’ve done a fantastic job showing Big Guy how to tie his shoes. He knows everything he needs to know to tie his shoes. But he still can’t tie his stinking shoes.
And there are accusations …

There has to be a way to continue insuring children
Monday, 17 Nov, 2008 – 13:54 | Comments Off
There has to be a way to continue insuring children

A flier in Big Guy’s backpack when he came home from school this afternoon asks, “Does your child have health insurance?”
It includes basic information about California’s Health Families program, which insures children whose parents …

Health care crisis not anywhere near the bottom
Friday, 7 Nov, 2008 – 13:22 | Comments Off
Health care crisis not anywhere near the bottom

“I used to complain about having no shoes until I met a man with no feet” was my parents’ favorite “quit your whining” cliche when I was a kid.
I learned the truth of it last …

Just what we need — another standardized test
Thursday, 23 Oct, 2008 – 11:28 | Comments Off
Just what we need — another standardized test

I love Gaston Caperton. I really do.
When he said he was going to be an education governor, he meant it. He’s had a life-long commitment to improving schools, not only in the rich districts — …

Election Issues: Spread around the wealth — you bet
Wednesday, 22 Oct, 2008 – 0:58 | 3 Comments
Election Issues: Spread around the wealth — you bet

I am comfortably middle class. Though that assumes that there’s still comfort in a middle class where the day-care bill is higher than a pre-housing boom mortgage and climbing at twice the rate of inflation.
Not …

Si se puede writ local
Friday, 10 Oct, 2008 – 11:07 | One Comment
Si se puede writ local

I’m grumpy in the morning to begin with, plus you can’t be involved in political reporting for as long as I was without developing at least a veneer of cynicism.
Which is why I’ve snarled at …

The demerits of teacher merit pay
Thursday, 9 Oct, 2008 – 11:14 | Comments Off
The demerits of teacher merit pay

In theory, merit pay for teachers has a lot going for it.
Reward the best. Truly inspiring classroom leaders such as Big Guy’s kindergarten teacher, who alternately inspires him with caterpillars and saves his life. Or …