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May 25, 2013

Charter schools are basically child abuse

It's our job as a society to educate our kids to the best we are able. Charter schools routinely underperform public schools. A new study in Louisiana--where they have been incredibly aggressive about embracing charters in an effort to destroy the teachers' union--shows that charters are failing to educate our kids. Louisiana voucher students score almost 30 points below average on LEAP tests | NOLA.com
As Gov. Bobby Jindal tries again to fund his controversial school voucher program, new test scores indicate that many of the current students educated with public money in private schools are not thriving. Or at least they aren't yet. Released Wednesday, LEAP scores for third- through eighth-graders show only 40 percent of voucher students scored at or above grade level this past spring. The state average for all students was 69 percent. For accountability purposes, students attending private schools at taxpayer expense take the same standardized tests as their peers in public schools. In 2011, when the voucher program operated only in New Orleans, students averaged 33 percent proficiency. Now seven schools in Jefferson and Orleans parishes have results so low -- less than 25 percent of voucher students proficient for three years running -- that they have been barred from accepting new voucher students in the fall, as per state policy. In Orleans, the schools are Life of Christ Academy, the Upperroom Bible Church Academy, Bishop McManus, Conquering Word Christian Academy Eastbank and Holy Rosary Academy. In Jefferson, they are Faith Christian Academy and Conquering Word Christian Academy. . . .

May 24, 2013

It looks like Barnes & Noble manipulates its rankings

It looks like that no matter how much a book sells, if it is erotica or self-published romance then B&N does not let it become a listed bestseller. B&N is also purging romance and erotica books with no explanation. This is only happening to independently published books, not to erotica published by the big six. Does B&N Manipulate its Rankings? | Hugh Howey
A bold question, but it isn’t the first I’ve heard of this happening. Several erotica and romance authors on KBoards have complained that their ranking on the Nook bestseller list does not reflect their actual sales. The most recent victim is Maya Cross. Maya reported on KBoards that her new release LOCKOUT was sitting at #5 in the Nook store. Her first book, LOCKED, soon began to shoot up the lists. But when it hit #126, it stopped. It didn’t go any higher. Even though it was selling very well. This was only mildly suspicious until she woke up the next morning to find the former #5 bestseller, LOCKOUT, sitting at #126. LOCKED, meanwhile, had dropped to #127. The two books sat side by side, pinned, selling more than the ranking would indicate. And poor Maya watched as her sales gradually diminished due to the lower visibility. I should point out here that many indie authors are expert at reading sales numbers from sales rank. We’ve shared enough data and collected our own as we move through the lists, so that even as the numbers required to hit certain rankings grows over time with the growth of e-books in general, you can tell when something is amiss. At this point, it was cause for alarm. But then a pattern emerged. It turns out that two other authors have experienced the same thing and with the same number! Gail McHugh saw her book rise to #126 and go no higher. It appears that any flagged book, whether due to racy cover or racy content, is given a hard ceiling. Couple this with allegations that erotica books have been deleted from NOOK UK with no explanation and no recourse. Folks, this ain’t right.

May 23, 2013

Recommended Reading/Listening: "LizardFoot" by John Jasper Owens

A cappella Zoo 3: "LizardFoot," by John Jasper Owens -...