Thursday, 24 July 2014

Initial reaction to the governor's budget

Initial reaction to the governor's budget focused on his ambitious infrastructure program. What many missed was his equally tenacious dedication to rebuilding the shape of California's student bodies. 

For decades, politicians have focused on California's schools, developing and implementing programs to recapture lost academic ground. What Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget recognizes, however, is that those efforts have largely come at the cost of diminishing student fitness. Student weight and fitness levels continue to slip, as schools shift both time and fiscal resources away from physical education to support basic academics. The governor's $85 million allocation to support physical-education instruction in California schools takes a fundamental step in reversing that dangerous trend. 

How bad is the situation? The California Department of Education found in 2014 that 75 percent of the state's fifth-grade students failed to meet the state's physical-fitness standards. We're not talking about super athletes versus average kids; were talking about 3 in 4 students unable to pass the most basic strength, flexibility and stamina tests. The same testing found that more than 28 percent of students were overweight. 

No one should be surprised by the governor's infusion of funds into physical-education programs. His first major foray into politics was an initiative to fund after-school programs. In his State of the State address, he acknowledged his support of legislation to make California schools a model of healthy eating as one of his greatest successes in 2014. This governor realizes that the future of California lies not only in our infrastructure but also in our children. 

California is in dire need of investing in its crumbling physical-education system. The California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance notes that class size for physical education is significantly larger than for other academic subjects. Physical education advocates also note a dearth of funding to support continuing education of teachers in the area of physical education. Clearly, California has left "P.E." behind as an essential component of children's health and education. With the state's growing obesity rates, declining fitness scores and struggling academic scores, it is time for this to change. 

Physical education has the potential to lay the building blocks for physical activity in adulthood. Just as a quality reading program has the potential to instill a lifelong love of reading, so can a quality physical education program foster a lifetime love of physical activity. 

Beyond health concerns, the investment in physical activity is also an investment in student performance. P.E. is an essential component of a comprehensive education. According to a 2014 report in the Journal of School Health, quality physical education reinforces many of the traits we seek in children: strong social skills, improved mental health and reduced risk-taking behaviors. And, of central importance in this era of standardized tests, as the Journal of School Health noted, "physical activity during the school day offers short-term cognitive benefits that adequately compensate for the time spent away from other academic areas." 

Naysayers will challenge the investment of $85 million for physical education as frivolous and misguided. A look at the public ledger, however, argues the opposite. According to the California Department of Health Services, the state spent a whopping $13 billion for the direct and indirect costs of physical inactivity in adults. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Schwarzenegger To Reimburse Schools

More news is coming out about California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's plans for the state in 2006. After announcing plans for a minimum wage hike and cutting college cost hikes, it has now been revealed that Schwarzenegger plans to pay back $1.7 billion to K-12 schools.

This $1.7 billion bonus comes after spending the second half of 2005 capping state spending with Proposition 76 and stating that he didn't owe the school any money at all. However, the California School Boards Association says that the extra money will be heavily spent in Schwarzenegger's "pet projects"- vocational education, art and music, PE, tutoring, and teacher training. Furthermore, the CSBA states that many districts feel another $3.8 billion is owed.

All money is good money for California schools. I am in support of pretty much all of Schwarzenegger's "pet projects" as the article states, except for PE. No more money needs to go into PE, just a change in how it works and some accountability of it somehow. However, if the rest of them are implemented properly, that would shore up some issues plaguing education. Better teachers? Good. Exposing students to things they normally wouldn't experience? Good. Helping students pass required exit exams? Could be avoided without the exit exam, but good if we're going to have the test. Then again, it shouldn't be necessary because classroom teaching should suffice.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Philip Schuyler

Philip Schuyler was born in Albany, New York, on November 20, 1733, to John (Johannes) Schuyler, Jr. (1697–1741) and Cornelia Van Cortlandt (1698–1762).

Prior to his father's death, on the eve of his eighth birthday, Schuyler attended the public school at Albany. Afterward, he was educated by tutors at the Van Cortlandt family estate at New Rochelle. He joined the British forces in 1755 during the French and Indian War, raised a company, and was commissioned as its Captain by his cousin, Lt. Governor James Delancey. Later in that war, he served as a quartermaster, purchasing supplies and organizing equipment.

From 1761 to 1762, Schuyler made a trip to England to settle accounts from his work as quartermaster. During this time his home in Albany, later called Schuyler Mansion, was built. His country estate at Saratoga (which is now Schuylerville, New York) was also begun. After the war he also expanded his estate at Saratoga, expanding his holdings to tens of thousands of acres, adding slaves, tenant farmers, a store, mills for flour, flax, and lumber. His flax mill for the making of linen was the first one in America. He built several schooners on the Hudson River, and named the first Saratoga.

Schuyler began his political career as a member of the New York Assembly in 1768, and served in that body until 1775. During this time his views came to be more opposed to the colonial government. He was particularly outspoken in matters of trade and currency. He was also made a Colonel in the militia for his support of governor Henry Moore.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Acoelorrhaphe is a genus of palms, comprising the single species Acoelorrhaphe wrightii (Paurotis palm, also known as the Everglades palm, Madiera palm and Silver saw palmetto).

It is native to Central America, southeastern Mexico, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and extreme southern Florida where it grows in swamps and periodically flooded forests. It is a small to moderately tall palm that grows in clusters to 5–7 metres (16–23 ft), rarely 9 m (30 ft) tall, with slender stems less than 15 centimetres (5.9 in) diameter. The leaves are palmate (fan-shaped), with segments joined to each other for about half of their length, and are 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) wide, light-green above, and silver underneath. The leaf petiole is 1–1.2 m (3.3–3.9 ft) long, and has orange, curved, sharp teeth along the edges. The flowers are minute, inconspicuous and greenish, with 6 stamens. The trunk is covered with fibrous matting. The fruit is pea-sized, starting orange and turning to black at maturity.

The genus name is often cited as Acoelorraphe, a grammatical error to be corrected under the provisions of the ICBN. The genus name is a combination of three Greek words meaning a- 'without', koilos 'hollow', and rhaphis 'needle', an allusion to the form of the fruit. The species is named after the American botanist Charles Henry Wright.