Mar 10: Don’t know much about…education!
Mar 13th, 2012 by Sam

In case you missed the show:

Part 1: Samantha commentary on education 2012-03-10-samantha-clemens-p1.mp3

Part 2: James Burnett, Boston Globe 2012-03-10-samantha-clemens-p2-james-burnett-globe.mp3

Do American Schools need help? (yes)

Is college for snobs? (No)

Should all who want higher education have the opportunity to advance themselves? (yes)

Do Republicans want an educated populace? (Apparently not)

Join Samantha this Saturday, March 10, 2012 as she discusses the Republicans’ war on education.

“But what about people like Mr. Romney? Don’t they have a stake in America’s future economic success, which is endangered by the crusade against education? Maybe not as much as you think.

“After all, over the past 30 years, there has been a stunning disconnect between huge income gains at the top and the struggles of ordinary workers. You can make the case that the self-interest of America’s elite is best served by making sure that this disconnect continues, which means keeping taxes on high incomes low at all costs, never mind the consequences in terms of poor infrastructure and an undertrained work force.

“And if underfunding public education leaves many children of the less affluent shut out from upward mobility, well, did you really believe that stuff about creating equality of opportunity?

“So whenever you hear Republicans say that they are the party of traditional values, bear in mind that they have actually made a radical break with America’s tradition of valuing education. And they have made this break because they believe that what you don’t know can’t hurt them. “
Ignorance Is Strength, Paul Krugman


“Consider the fact that SAT scores (a big factor in college admissions) correlate closely with family wealth. The total average SAT score of students from families earning more than $100,000 per year is more than 100 points higher than for students in the income range of $50,000 to $60,000. Or consider that a mere 3 percent of students in the top 150 colleges, as defined by The Chronicle of Higher Education, come from families in the bottom income quartile of American society. Only a very dogmatic Social Darwinist would conclude from these facts that intelligence closely tracks how much money one’s parents make. A better explanation is that students from affluent families have many advantages — test-prep tutors, high schools with good college counseling, parents with college savvy and so on.”
Colleges and Elitism, Andrew Delblanco


“What’s more, Mr. Santorum’s family background shows the profound value of education in lifting the disadvantaged into the middle class and beyond. The campaign likes to leave the impression that he grew up in the coal fields of Pennsylvania, but young Rick actually came of age in a home where the father earned a doctorate and worked as a clinical psychologist while the mother toiled outside the house as a well-credentialed administrative nurse; it was his immigrant grandfather who worked the coal mines.”
Michael Medved: Meet the Republicans, Education Bashers

Samantha also welcomes James Burnett, writer for The Boston Globe. The two will discuss the Somerville Music Progam…a program that brings the wonders of music to low income children.

“Gee whiz! Poor kids learning how to play music – discipline, teamwork, and beauty – what’s not to love?”
In era of cuts, students in Somerville play on – The Boston Globe

Apr 16: English as a 2nd Language: For it or against it?
Apr 16th, 2011 by Sam



  • Wayne K. Johnson, Director of Community Education, Bunker Hill Community College
  • Claudia Green, Executive Director, English for New Bostonians (ENB)

Should we require everyone who is resident in America to speak English? What about citizens? What services should we offer to make that happen?

Why are some communities less likely to learn/speak English than others? Why are Americans less likely to learn/speak multiple languages than other nationalities? Is it possible that both are true for the same reasons???

Should taxes pay for English as a Second Language (ESL) classes? Should legal documents be translated? Should we have ESL charter schools?

Will facilitating the learning of English make America stronger or waste precious resources?

You tell me…

Feb 20: Does walking away from a mortgage = ‘restructuring debt’?
Feb 19th, 2010 by Sam

On my mind….

  • Is it wrong for a corporation to ‘restructure’ (default) their debt?  They do it all the time.  If not, why can’t people walk away from their mortgages?
  • How Christian Were the Founders? – Texas, textbooks, religion, power, separation of church and state
  • Abstinence education – recent research sez that it works – the more abstinence is emphasized, the less likely kids are to report they had sex within two years of the education.  You suppose some kids aren’t reporting accurately?  You think some kids accurately report more than others?
  • Right-wing Tea Partiers – fact-based?  not so much.  getting bigger?  yep.  problem or distraction?  you tell me…


Jeff Dorchen and his segment, Not to be rude, but…


How Christian Were the Founders?
Feb 11th, 2010 by Sam

So Texas gets to decide for the ENTIRE COUNTRY what our children are going to learn?  Because a small group of very determined people with a religious agenda influences the state that buys the most books?  Seriously?

Can’t a few states that want children to learn critical thinking (and that have correspondingly high achievement ratings) band together to buy a bunch of books so at least it’s a fair fight…  and the book companies can afford to print what everyone else wants the children to learn?

Following the appeals from the public, the members of what is the most influential state board of education in the country, and one of the most politically conservative, submitted their own proposed changes to the new social-studies curriculum guidelines, whose adoption was the subject of all the attention — guidelines that will affect students around the country, from kindergarten to 12th grade, for the next 10 years. Gail Lowe — who publishes a twice-a-week newspaper when she is not grappling with divisive education issues — is the official chairwoman, but the meeting was dominated by another member. Don McLeroy, a small, vigorous man with a shiny pate and bristling mustache, proposed amendment after amendment on social issues to the document that teams of professional educators had drawn up over 12 months, in what would have to be described as a single-handed display of archconservative political strong-arming.  Sunday Magazine, NYT, February 11, 2010

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