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Old 03-02-2013, 06:36 AM   #16
Sundae
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Originally Posted by Aliantha View Post
Don't worry about sexo. He's just being his usual self. What else can you expect of anyone?
Niceness?
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:38 AM   #17
DanaC
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umm...from Sexobon?
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If I had a pound for every time Torys have said they are going to sort out the country's problems then I'd be rich enough to live under one of their governments.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:42 AM   #18
Aliantha
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I think he thinks he's being nice in his own way. I don't agree that he is, but I believe it's what he thinks none the less.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:45 AM   #19
DanaC
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No. I'd say he thinks he's being helpful, open and straightforward, which he considers to be more useful than nice in this context.
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If I had a pound for every time Torys have said they are going to sort out the country's problems then I'd be rich enough to live under one of their governments.
http://sites.google.com/site/danispoetry/
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:47 AM   #20
Aliantha
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You're probably right Dana. Either way, I don't think he's trying to be nasty on purpose. I actually like his persona on here most of the time, except when he's being like that.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:52 AM   #21
Sundae
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If it was addressed to someone else I'd probably agree.
Still not great at the whole accepting criticism thing, constructive or otherwise.
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:53 AM   #22
Aliantha
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No one likes criticism Sundae. Even if it is constructive.

On a side note, Aden just farted. He's so filthy.

He has no class!
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:07 AM   #23
Sundae
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Diz farted on my lap the other night.
He was stood up and everything.
His little hole just pooted out.
Smelled like... well, not Teen Spirit I tell you!

Dirty Botty Boy (well, his bot was clean, but it smelled dirty.)

Having used a Harry Hill phrase may I change the subject please?
No more TV Burp.
I might have mentioned it before. But it breaks my heart.
Harry says no more, no way, nothing. I give up the booze, Harry (real name Matthew) gives up the Burp. One is healthy, one tragic. I need to trawl eBay for DVDs. Not of me drinking.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:32 AM   #24
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Alongside all the changes to benefits and tax credits are largescale cuts and changes in funding models for local councils. More and more is being put under the remit of local councils (they will now directly administer and fund council tax benefits for example - meaning some councils will have to reduce those benefits. Suddenly people who were totally exempt will find themselves partially exempt, with a 'small' contribution to pay out of their increasingly low benefits).

So, the councils are being expected to cover more resopnsibilities and areas of provision, with the central element of their funding slashed, under orders from central government to find upwards of 20% budget cuts and also under massive central pressure (under pain of losing elements of funding) to reduce the council tax burden on its residents. So...can't recoup lost funding by increasing tax.

The net result is that a lot of services and avenues of support are collapsing. At exactly the time when they are needed. A lot of the results of austerity are detrimental to our ability to grow our economy.

Here's one example of this:

Quote:
Two out of three local authorities in England and Wales are failing to provide enough childcare to support parents who work, according to figures to be published this week.

For families with disabled children the picture is even bleaker, with only one in seven local authorities meeting their statutory duties to ensure they have enough childcare provision.

In the Childcare Costs Survey 2013, the newly merged charities the Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute say the situation is increasing pressure on already struggling families and preventing parents who want to work staying in their jobs.

The group said the failure by local authorities to meet their responsibilities under the 2006 Childcare Act – designed to encourage parents back into the workplace – was almost entirely due to funding shortages. Anand Shukla, chief executive of the organisation, said: "At a time when one in five children lives in poverty, the failure to provide this essential service for parents who want to provide for their families is a national scandal."
Quote:
The figures show that only one in five local authorities in England reports having enough provision for parents with children under two and only one in seven – 14% – say there is enough care for disabled children. Research by the Department for Work and Pensions has shown that a third of parents who do not currently work say it is because of the unaffordability of childcare.

Quote:
Childcare providers in many less wealthy areas rely on funding from local authorities and many point to the financial squeeze as exacerbating differences in quality and availability of care for parents in different areas across Britain. Childcare costs are already rising at above inflation rates while there have been deep cuts in tax credits and child benefit.
So...what's the solution? Well, you might think directing some funding towards childcare for low income families might be an excellent start. Thankfully, we have very clever men and women writing these policies and theyhave the solution: allow childminders to look after more children per adult. Bear in mind these are mainly pre-kindergarten infants.

Quote:
Amid much controversy, the government has indicated it plans to reduce the adult-to-child ratios to ease the pressure on nurseries, child-minders and after-school clubs, but the Daycare Trust and the Family and Parenting Institute argues that there will be little or no impact on costs for parents.

"Staffing costs are just one part of a complex picture, so allowing adults to look after more children at once is not only a risky idea but doesn't seem to provide any cost savings," Shukla said. "With private and non-profit childcare providers struggling, I doubt whether parents will ever see any of the money saved by increasing the numbers of children per staff member."
And here's the clincher, here's how the central government gets away with it:

Quote:
The Childcare Act 2006 obliges all English and Welsh local authorities to ensure there is enough childcare for working parents and those undertaking training and education with a view to returning to work.
Really? That's their responsibility? How are they supposed to pay for that, with fucking monopoly money?

If it's truly all about local needs and local responsibility, then free up the local councils to raise the money through other means. No, though, we don't do that. All the responsibility and budgeting is local, and all the funding models, ringfences and constraints applied from the centre. More and more gets loaded onto councils and then they are lambasted if they raise tax by more than 1 per cent.

They are breaking councils and then blaming them for being broken.

Not just this government. The Labour government was shoddy on local councils. And back further too. The power devolves to the centre as the responsibility settles on local councils. It's the same with everything at a local level. Under Thatcher, local authorities were required to allow and facilitate people to buy their council houses whilst also banning them from using any o fthat money to build new stock. And then when councils started to experience serious housing problems they got the blame, and they were pushed into handing over control of the housing stock to third party arms length housing associations. Not for profit, but you should see the golden handshakes and hellos. The council is still ultimately responsible for the housing situation though. Thye're the ones with the legal responsibilities.

Even schools. They used to be controlled by local authorities. Now local authorities have to commission education provision. They have no real power in this: there are strict rules over which tender mjst be accepted in a given circumstance and in the event of a decision not being made or being challenged, it goes to the Sec of State to decide. They have very little power once the school is set up and running.

But they are held responsible for the performance of all those schools. In ways that impact on funding. Only if a school has had to go into special measures through utter failure do councils really get any sway and by then it's crisis time and the damage has been done.

It's all sold to us on the grounds of localism. Schools 'freed up' from council control (nowadays controlled by whoever wants to put the money in) and council tax benefits locally decided to take account of specific local needs. But all of it, all of it, makes the whole less accountable to local voters. If the council is genuinely responsible for all of these things, down to funding and management decisions then failure results in councillors losing their seats. Success means them keeping their seats.

Unfortunately that also gives local councils a lot of power and, historically, the capacity to stand up to central government when its policies were highly unpopular and detrimental locally. And that is something successive governments have sought to limit.
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Originally Posted by Rhianne View Post
If I had a pound for every time Torys have said they are going to sort out the country's problems then I'd be rich enough to live under one of their governments.
http://sites.google.com/site/danispoetry/

Last edited by DanaC; 03-03-2013 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:21 PM   #25
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Well, lookie here, the day after that post another piece about schools being forced down the academy route (with private 'sponsors').

Bit of a side step from austerity, but it ties in with the above. It's not enough now that schools are generally no longer directly managed by local authorities, even the arms length relationship between councils and schools is too close.

Academies were touted, first by the labour government and now (in a different form) by the current tory led coalition government. as a way of freeing up schools to be more dynamic and responsive, and to bring in expertise and skills from dynamic go-getter types from outside the education scene.

Quote:
This is a story about England's schools, but it could just as well describe the razing of state provision throughout the world. In the name of freedom, public assets are being forcibly removed from popular control and handed to unelected oligarchs.

All over England, schools are being obliged to become academies: supposedly autonomous bodies which are often "sponsored" (the government's euphemism for controlled) by foundations established by exceedingly rich people. The break-up of the education system in this country, like the dismantling of the NHS, reflects no widespread public demand. It is imposed, through threats, bribes and fake consultations, from on high.

The published rules looked straightforward: schools will be forced to become academies only when they are "below the floor standard ... seriously failing, or unable to improve their results". All others would be given a choice. But in many parts of the country, schools which suffer from none of these problems are being prised out of the control of elected councils and into the hands of central government and private sponsors.

Quote:
For five years, until 2012, Roke primary school in Croydon, south London, was rated as "outstanding" by the government's inspection service, Ofsted. Then two temporary problems arose. Several of the senior staff retired, leading to a short period of disruption, and a computer failure caused a delay in giving the inspectors the data they wanted. The school was handed the black spot: a Notice to Improve. It worked furiously to meet the necessary standards – and it has now succeeded. But before the inspection service returned to see whether progress had been made, the governors were instructed by the Department for Education to turn it into an academy.
OK. So, a series of unfortunate things, badly timed, set the school onto the path for academy status consideration.

But here's where it gets a bit murky.

Quote:
In September last year the Department for Education held a closed meeting with the school's governors, in which they were told (according to the chair of the governors) that if they did not immediately accept its demand, "we will get the local authority to fire you, all of you ... if the local authority don't do it, we will. And we will put in our own interim board of governors, who will do what we say". The governors were instructed not to tell the parents about the meeting and their decision.

They did as they were told, partly because they had a sponsor in mind: the local secondary school, which had been helping Roke to raise its standards. They informed the department that this was their choice. It waited until the last day of term – 12 December – then let them know that it had rejected their proposal. The sponsor would be the Harris Federation. It was founded by Lord Harris, the chairman of the retail chain Carpetright. He is a friend of David Cameron's and one of the Conservative party's biggest donors. Roke will be the Harris Federation's 21st acquisition.

It gets worse:

Quote:
The parents knew nothing of this until 7 January, when 200 of them were informed at a meeting with the governors. They rejected the Harris Federation's sponsorship almost unanimously, in favour of a partnership with the local secondary school.

The local MP appealed to the schools minister Lord Nash, who happens to be another very rich businessman, major Tory donor and sponsor of academies. He replied last month: the decision is irreversible – Harris will run the school. But there will now be a "formal consultation" about it. He did not explain what the parents would be consulted about: the colour of the lampshades? Oh, and the body which will conduct the "consultation" is ... the Harris Federation. There is no mechanism for appeal. The parents feel they have been carpet-bombed.
Now, I should point out that Academies aren't private schools. They are state funded. The money brought in by the sponsors is a tiny proportion of the actual cost. And the per pupil cost is met by the tax payer.


Quote:
Where threats don't work, the department resorts to bribery. Schools are being offered sweeteners of up to £65,000 of state money to convert. Vast resources are being poured by the education secretary, Michael Gove, into the academies programme, which has exceeded its budget by £1bn over the last two years. We are being pushed towards the policy buried on page 52 of the department's white paper: "it is our ambition that academy status should be the norm for all state schools".
Is this a prelude to privatisation? A leaked memo from the department recommends "reclassifying academies to the private sector".
So...first convert them all to academies, then 'reclassify academies to the provate sector'.

Hey presto, with the wave of a wand they would privatise the vast majority of education provision in England. Oh, it will still be funded largely through taxation...but with an extra layer of profit built in, as is increasingly the case with healthcare.


Shameless, devious and absolutely deliberate.

Rest of the article here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...ommand-economy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhianne View Post
If I had a pound for every time Torys have said they are going to sort out the country's problems then I'd be rich enough to live under one of their governments.
http://sites.google.com/site/danispoetry/

Last edited by DanaC; 03-04-2013 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:27 PM   #26
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I am too outraged for rational comment.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:45 PM   #27
DanaC
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This bit makes me want to retch, given the impact of benefits cuts right now:

Quote:
the academies programme, which has exceeded its budget by £1bn over the last two years


Meanwhile, here's what the Defence Secretary has to say about further budget cuts to his department:

Quote:
The defence secretary, Philip Hammond, has warned that he will resist further cuts to the armed forces in George Osborne's forthcoming spending review.

He told the Daily Telegraph that other Tory cabinet ministers believed the greatest burden of any cuts should fall on the welfare budget.

There was, he said, a "body of opinion within cabinet who believes that we have to look at the welfare budget again" and "we should be seeing welfare spending falling" as a result of rising employment levels. He said a 0.5% saving from the benefit bill would be enough to protect the armed forces.
Fuck me. They want more cuts. The biggest overhaul of the welfare system in decades and swingeing cuts just starting to bite, changes to housing benefit about to take effect, and changes to tax credits and a bunch of other ancillary stuff all kicking off with the new tax year (April), and still they want more. Warnings coming from all the charities, the oversight committees, the various committes looking at the possible impact region to region, despite the explosion of food banks and soup kitchens, which in some areas have become a regular resource for the working poor, never mind those unlucky enough to to find themselves out of work in this climate. Despite report after report showing sky rocketing levels of child hunger, with a majority of teachers in state schools reporting that more children are arriving hungry and without having eaten breakfast.

The support systems are creaking. Those of them that have survived the funding cuts or the drop in donations are reducing what they attempt to do.

And still it's not enough. Still they want more of the burden to fall on those with nothing, or on those working ridiculous hours for minimum wage that still isn't enough, or who work through agencies and don't have regular work (the majority of the much touted rise in employment), or have cancer or went suddenly blind, or care 24/7 for their severely disabled adult children, or were made redundant and at 57 nobody is hiring in their field, and competition for jobs generally is high.

I'm going to bed now. I'm tired of feeling angry.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhianne View Post
If I had a pound for every time Torys have said they are going to sort out the country's problems then I'd be rich enough to live under one of their governments.
http://sites.google.com/site/danispoetry/

Last edited by DanaC; 03-04-2013 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:14 PM   #28
IamSam
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“I'm going to bed now. I'm tired of feeling angry.”

Indeed.

Americans and Brits sometimes refer to one another as “cousins”, and cousins we are – members of the same dysfunctional family. On both sides of the pond, government is cutting funding for education on every level from pre-school to college. And the bottom line is that kids and society pay the price.

From the results of a national survey conducted by the American Association of School Administrators:

Quote:
The cuts of sequestration are estimated to between eight and nine percent, which would reduce funding for the US Education department by an additional $4 billion and affect millions of students, classrooms and teachers by increasing class size, reducing programs and services and eliminating educator jobs.

State/ local governments and school districts have very limited capacity to soften the cuts of sequestration: When asked if their state or local school district have the ability to soften the impact of sequestration, nearly all respondents replied ‘no’. Nine in ten (90 percent) replied that their state would be unable to absorb or offset the cuts of sequestration, equal to the 89.5 percent indicating that their district would be unable to absorb the cuts.
Hmmm… Just as in the UK, local authorities across the US are unable to offset the loss of funding from the federal government. The individual states are barely able to balance their budgets now, never mind come up with the extra funds to offset the effects of the sequester. Again from the AASA:

Quote:
The cuts of sequestration will translate into reductions in and eliminations to personnel, curriculum, facilities and operations. Respondents reported that the cuts of sequestration would mean reducing professional development (69.4 percent), reducing academic programs (58.1 percent), eliminating personnel (56.6 percent) and increasing class size (54.9 percent).
And just as in the UK, the central government is keeping the bad news under wraps. Wouldn’t want to let parents and communities know what’s coming down the road, in case the ensuing outcry might throw a wrench in their plans:

Quote:
School administrators, by a large margin, describe the sequestration‐related information provided by the federal government as ‘non‐existent’. For those reporting some type of information from the federal government (the administration or Congress), respondents describe the quality of information as poor/very poor. Information from the state—whether the legislature, chief school officer, governor, or state board of education‐‐didn’t fare much better
Let the bastards freeze in the dark of ignorance. Our so-called representative government has decided that children and teachers should be sacrificed in order for federal and state government to fawn over special interests and the upper 1%. Who loves you, baby? Not the kindergartner who can send you two quarters taped inside an envelope. No, our representatives are saving themselves for a torrid affair with Goldman Sachs and the resulting millions of dollars deposited into an off shore account.

Quote:
Survey respondents identified dozens of federal education programs whose funding is critical to their district. Four programs were voiced across almost all responses: ESEA Title I, IDEA, ESEA Title II and the Rural Education Achievement Program. Sequestration would slash these critical federal funds and the local academic programs they support:

• Title I funds would be cut by $1.2 billion, dropping to 2007 levels, impacting 1.8 million students and eliminating 16,100 jobs.

• IDEA funds would be cut by $973 million, dropping to 2006 levels, impacting 495,000 students and eliminating 12,600 jobs.

• Title II Grants for Teacher Quality funds would be cut by $207 million, dropping to its lowest level since its creation in 2002, eliminating 2,800 jobs and reducing funding for class size reduction by $77 million.

• Rural Education Achievement Program funds would be cut by $15 million, dropping to 2002 levels, and impacting 400,000 students, even though rural schools have absorbed 70 percent of the growth in the nation’s school enrollment.
I’m tired of feeling angry myself.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:52 PM   #29
Aliantha
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We have very similar issues in education here. It makes me despair when I think of it.

As I have mentioned on this board over the years, we have supported the public system by keeping our kids in it and tried to add our little bit of 'social capital' along the way, but it's a losing battle. Even if Aden gets straight A's at the end of this year, he'll be lucky to get the score he needs to get straight into the course he wants simply because he's at a public school. The system is gearing more and more towards the privately educated kids going on to university and professional careers, while public schools are producing the masses of blue and low level white collar workers required to keep the country running.

It's heartbreaking to watch your kids try so hard to achieve the goals they've set for themselves, knowing in your educated, adult mind that it's unlikely they'll succeed no matter how hard they try.

eta: They can still achieve their goals, but it just means they have to work harder for longer. Some would say that will just make them stronger and wiser. I say it's just unfair. Plain and simple.
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