Monday, September 28, 2009

Quick News Takes on Smoking, Mandated Kindergarten and Your Wage v Health Insurance Premiums

Shocker: Smoking ban Saves lives
Remember how pro business, anti-government, anti-regulation Republican lawmakers cried about nanny state laws when it came to public smoking bans? These death panel politicians would much rather have their freedom, and see people die from second hand smoke, than save all the lives due to the ban. Boston Globe:

Pooling results from 13 studies in Canada, Europe, and the United States - including one done in Massachusetts - James M. Lightwood and his colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, found that one year after smoking bans went into effect, heart attack rates were an average of 17 percent lower than would be expected. In the Massachusetts study, the rate was 18 percent lower. After three years, the heart attack rate for smoking-ban communities was 36 percent lower.
Having it both ways, the GOP also thinks health care costs could be reduced if people stopped smoking and took responsibility for their life style.

KIndergarten Mandate

Beloit Daily News: Most 5-year-olds in Wisconsin attend kindergarten, but a bill passed by the Assembly could make it mandatory. Kindergarten teaches kids what older students take for granted: what school is about and the behaviors expected there, such as how to sit in a circle and line up to walk down the hallway, Brandenburg said. Additionally, she said, students receive the social and emotional aspect.

Opponents say it doesn't make sense to mandate good attendance for children who may not go to school because of poor choices by their parents.

What, poor choices by parents! I thought parents knew what was best for their kids, no question. And guess what, the bill passed on a party line 17-15 vote, with Democrats for the mandate, troglodytes against.

With all the benefits that kindergarten has to offer, an actual public school administrator doesn't get it. I have two young boys, and paid a lot of money out of pocket for pre-school so my kids could get a head start on working with other children and developing a little discipline. I did all of that so they would be ready for kindergarten. But it looks like irresponsible clueless parents, who don't know what's best for their children, would oppose the basic premise of pre-school, not to mention the value of kindergarten.

The politics contained in the vote prove ideology transcends common sense and a childs actual developement. And if they aren't prepared properly, Republicans can always blame public education. How convenient.

Health Insurance Premiums Nearly Half Take Home Pay For family health insurance coverage provided at work in Wisconsin, the average annual health insurance premium (employer and worker’s share together) rose from $7,112 in 2000 to $13,772 in 2009 (while worker median earnings was $29,395). For family health coverage, the worker’s portion of annual premiums rose from $1,458 to $3,512, an increase of 141 percent.

Bottom line: Health insurance premiums are now nearly half the cost of an employees pay. And that's nearly a third of the value you have as an employee to your business. A huge added cost to employers.

Yet, town hall protesters are clueless about their nearly invisible benefits, the ones they take for granted from their employers. They don't mind losing a third of their pay to insurance company profits.


  1. Early childhood education is what we need to fund (I agree K is good for everybody) instead of war and bank bailouts.

    If we could replace the parents of those unfortunate enough to have crappy ones, we could actually help with an out-of-school factor.

    Most problems in education come from the home, as you know. The biggest out-of-school factor, again as you already know, is bad parents' lack of engagement with their toddlers when their kids are young.

    Early childhood education would give kids the early interactions they need to form proper neural connections that will allow them to do better as they move up in school (Yes, physical brain growth is stunted in many homes where language and engagement with the little ones are left to the TV).

    NCLB destroys kids and teachers.

    Bad parenting destroys kids and puts too much of the burden of raising the kids on teachers.

    Early childhood education would help both problems.

    What say you?

    And thanks for blogging. I visit all the time!

  2. I agree with early childhood education.

    I don't believe testing kids and teaching them math or reading in pre-school is a great idea.

    Subject matter is less important than bringing some order to their lives.

    Introducing an authority figure other than a parent is also incredibly helpful. In both pre and K, the teachers were helpful solving some of the concerns we had, issues we could not have solved on our own. We were involved, and isn't that part of the real solution? The other half of the equation is economic status.

    We have to stop blaming schools and admit the poor and now poorer middle class will feel the impact of the Great Recession. This will create more challenges for students.

    But these are my own observations. Great feedback.

  3. I agree that testing the really young kids is ridiculous. But beginning literacy and math skills can be taught to the young ones; simple stuff like letters, colors, and counting. The things we taught our own children that many kids never get due to poor parenting.

    I think we are on the same page?

  4. I just have to say that my word verification for the last post was "fortip", another way of saying foreskin?

  5. We are on the same page.

    In our pre-school, they did teach colors, letters, shapes and words, but without the stress of testing. It was fun. Heck, as a family, we did all that anyway, but the important difference was learning around their peers and a respected adult. With parents, the kids know how to manipulate the situation.

    When the Republicans responded that we should shape kindergarten around bad parents and their part-time kids, I was pretty much in a state of stunned amazement. What responsible adult would try to get away with that kind of answer?

    That's why I refer to them as bullies on the playground, because they act like mean spirited kids trying to pull a fast on the adults.

    Without a critical media and opposition to rein in the their bizarre list of issues, is it any surprise things have become so extreme.