This summer, fall, and winter I had the privilege of teaching a young adult with autism - to drive. I had never realized how much we take for granted when we drive but I can now identify some skills we just naturally have, and some that people with autism may not. And those skills can make learning to drive pretty easy or horribly hard.
Oregon has hired a new Chief of Education to oversee all k-12 schools and community colleges. I was curious as to who this person is so I ordered his book, Only Connect. My guess is that we have a 50-50 chance of getting our moneys worth from him. If I had to bet money, it would be on the side that he leaves within 2 years and takes a handsome settlement with him. Our system would frustrate the crap out of him and he would leave in the middle of changes that haven't been finished so our costs would be even higher. This has happened before with Goldschmidt, a newly minted child molester, leaving our higher education board in the middle of changes.
From the book I've gleamed some good things and bad.
1. This is a good, honest man. He grew up *exactly* how I want my leaders. He understands the poor but he is firm. He understands race as he is African-American. He understands business as that is his background. He has integrity as his father carefully developed these aspects. He is super smart and doesn't shy from big problems. I can't say enough about him. I truly believe this man is great.
Homeless guys go around and get cans & bottles for money. With the civil war game last weekend, they were busy patrolling the OSU stadium. I had left some bottles outside for a few days and they finally disappeared. Here is an email back & forth on that:
Me: Did you take the bottles and cans yesterday?
Me: Huh, you were right. The guys were too busy with Reeser. They must have just come around…
Change.org wants us to contact our representatives to support an energy efficiency bill:
by requiring that utilities gradually increase energy savings - an average of one percent a year starting in 2012 through 2020.
That's nice but have they read the national building code requirements for newly constructed residential homes? Talk about out of date! It does not give credit for radiant heating (in floor) with a condensing gas water heater. This particular water heater costs $2500-$4500 and is 97% efficient! It has a stand by loss of 1% but that doesn't include about 6 months of the year when the radiant floor heating is in effect - because there is no standby.
Apparently you have an option of a tankless heater (do you have any idea of how much heat is lost through the stainless flu?), and ELECTRIC radiant heating system (expensive, can't fix if broke), or well insulated HVAC forced air ductwork. Yes, we all know a duct heating system is both efficient and gives you clean air (not). Radiant floor heating, on the other hand, can be very efficient and clean and has been around for a long, long time.
I used to get the Oregon Home magazine. At first it was free then about $6 a year. I quit getting them because I hate tearing out the pages and scanning the stuff I like. But now behold, an electronic version that even feels like a real magazine:
Whoo-be-gone! Garrison certainly peeved off (obviously) a bunch of teachers. Whoooeee! Of the first 30 or so responses (letters), not one respondent actually responded to what he wrote. See, we really do need Reading First - but let's start with using it on the teachers. Garrison wrote that although NCLB has flaws - Reading First is the best part of it. Reading First actually works!
But then teachers respond with:
The NCLB test is horrible, long, requires memorization, requires teaching to the test, etc. etc etc.
Really? There is one single NCLB test? Wow, I didn't know that. I thought that each state makes its own test. So whose fault is it?
I saw one lady that posted saying balanced literacy is phonics. Hold on, I have to stop laughing.
OK, I'm back. She is clearly an idiot. Balanced literacy is an outcropping of Whole Language. See, she also needs to go back and learn to read history.
After 3 months, I've just finished my student teaching in a rural town. I was super fortunate in getting a great host teacher, a classroom of wonderful fourth grade students, and a couple of willing principals. The sun and moon must have aligned for me because I really came out of the experience feeling positive with lots of questions - always a good thing to have more questions about how does a teacher do this or that when... Or at least it's better than saying that was an awful experience with no questions :)
I had students from out of my homeroom in reading, math, and science. They were all very accepting and polite. I really think it had to do with the host teacher having high expectations and a school that runs a positive behavior supports (PBS) program. I was, to say the least, very impressed with the professional level of the teachers. They would meet together to discuss direction, hash out standards, and ensure a continuum of behavioral strategies for students that went from class to class. The parents of the students are lucky - I'm not convinced all schools are run that well.
My husband sent a letter to Congressman DeFazio about the 700 BILLION dollar bailout. He got a 3 page letter back stating why the bailout was a horrible thing. As I read through the letter, I can see DeFazio going around from town to town in the desert sand wearing flip flops. He has a message. Some listen but many do not. It ends in a disaster.
I've just sold my mom's house. My husband, brother, sister, and 2 nieces/nephews took several weekends and days to get it in shape to sell. We did all the work ourselves and even listed it on craigslist. Fortunately, our open house was on the same day as other better advertised open houses on the same day. We actually sold the house in 3 days.
In selling by ourselves, we used NW Realty Consultants to do the paperwork after we found the buyer. It turns out my mother bought her Turner home through For-Sale-By-Owner (NW Realty Consultants) and I used their services in purchasing my house 5 years ago. We also used NW Realty Consultants to sell our Albany home. We paid an hourly rate to do the paperwork (correctly). It went very smooth.
And once again it went very smooth. As a bonus, I worked with Ticor Title in both Salem (where the house is located) and Corvallis (where I could drive down the street to sign papers). Talk about handy.
After 2 years of writing lots of papers and 7 tests later, I have come to the point of starting student teaching. I begin the final phase in the quest of gaining elementary teacher licensure. The past 2 days I attended a reading conference by a Reading First speaker which was pretty good overall. At the conference I got to know my host teacher along with the new principal and other grade school level teacher better. They seem like a good bunch and are truly caring and even careful in trying to do right by the kids.
As our health care system is rather broke, I had a thought about the Samaritan Health Care system and the fact that they are sometimes tied to insurance. So what happens if you are a state employee and choose Samaritan Health HMO for your insurance but they end up sending you a "[we] find that we can no longer provide you with health care services" letter. Are you no longer able to get health care due to the fact that your insurance is tied to their services?
I suspect Samaritan Health doesn't do that for several reasons:
1. They have the emergency room and likely can't turn someone away in life and death situations
2. They have ethics
3. They can stand on their good reputation and a blogger won't faze them
The Corvallis Clinic has an Immediate Care and Ambulatory Surgical Center but those aren't really emergency rooms.
I also wonder if they can fire other family members, like my husband or my son. They are no longer treating my son as one of their pediatricians is pretty inept at diagnosing autism so that is not a problem. But I do wonder if they will stop treating my husband.
I've used iggyshouse.com to list a house for sale and get it on the MLS for free. It worked pretty well, although truth be told, I think craigslist.com was really responsible for bringing in the buyers (3 of them).
In the past 2 weeks, I've been trying to list another house on Iggy's House but to no avail. The website is usually down. I did get it listed but now the site has been down for almost a week. This does not bode well. I will be considering owners.com - it might cost $385 and list the house in MLS for only 6 months but they seem to be up.
I had blogged about a medical establishment and thought I was getting a cease and desist letter. After thinking about it for a day, I decided to strip out their name and anything that might be taken as derogatory. The story still holds - and we still need to get rid of blood sucking, for-profit medical establishments that put their profits ahead of their patients. Good thing there is some competition so I could find another doctor.
Well the registered letter was just their official way of terminating me as a client. There needs to be respect between them and their clients and I was not respectful. I wonder if they were respectful to me when one of their doctors didn't know what autism looked like and questioned me as to why I thought my 2 year old had autism. Or the fact that they do not spend the 2 minutes needed to run screenings for some well baby visits. Or the fact that they are incompetent in drawing blood in children who barely move.
Well let me tell you that since I moved to the Mid-Valley Children's Clinic in Albany I've have no billing issues, no problems in drawing blood, and a doctor that not only listens but respects my concerns.