Our Basketball season up to now.

I knew we were in for a difficult season. We had about 5 practices before the season and zero preseason conditioning. It was our schools second year fielding a team and my first year coaching basketball.Our head coach has coached for awhile but it was only younger kids.

Our school had a combined budget of $5,000 for the girls and boys programs. We do not have our own gym, so we had to practice elsewhere. Between that and transportation our budget was gouged. We had 2 hour and half practices a week. I worked in as much fundamentals as I could. The head coach wants constant scrimmage. We get nothing out of them because there was nothing in place to work with.

The head coach wanted her kid to be the star. I had to inform her that she was not our best player. We also have a child who refuses coaching. If anything is said to her, she immediately takes it as a personal attack. When we took measures to curb her attitude and lax practice habits, her mother went on the attack. When she didnt get the right answer from the head coach, she went to the athletic director, when he didnt givec the right answer she went to the principal, who entertained her thereby undermining any other authority. It was a major issue, that was eventually ironed out.

We were not competitive. We were playing a 2-3, which we played solidly but our transition defense was atrocious. Despite drilling them to at least get one back, only one kid bought into it. Our perimeter defense was stout. Inside our girls didnt jump for rebounds or shift quick enough. At least 70% of the points we gave up were in transitions. The head coach switched us to a 1-3-1 and that got tore up, but she refused to switch out of it.

Offensively we are a complete mess. I wanted install an offense, coach was against it. I wanted to have plays, coach thought they would take up to much time. 6 games into the season she bought into the plays. We had 2 plays put in based around picks and motion. First game we ran it we had 27 shots, many of them wide open. The next day we played, the kids couldnt run the plays. We are running a 1-3-1 against the zone. It works well when they play it. It has been frustrating up to now. I give them simple assignments and then refused to do them.

I have begun installing a 3-2 motion offense. High and low post, overloading the ball side, with weak side backdoor cutting. The motion is there, they are setting picks and are now being more unselfish. The motion alone is an improvement, they do not move or come to the ball. We are not a good shooting team. I have done alot of work with their shots, they are not pushing off their chest anymore. We are hitting the rim more, not as many airbags. They know how to do a layup now.

We have seen incremental progress. I have kids crossing over, driving the lane when its there, taking smarter shots and there is more teamwork. The head coach and I are working way better together now and it shows. I am not a good coach, I am an improving coach, as is our head coach. Repetition is the key here. More practice time is also key. All I can hooe for is that they continue to improve. Hopefully we get more time next year.

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Governor Corbett has to defend another pro-business law.

                Governor Tom Corbett is yet again defending another of his Bills. Several of his Bills, which helped make up his conservative agenda, have been found unconstitutional or dismissed by the Commonwealth Court. This time it is his Gas Royalty Bill. Another pro-business Bill from a man who refuses to tax Natural Gas Drilling Companies and gave businesses another $310 million tax break in his new budget. While at the same time cutting funds from Education and Health Care.

Critics of the Bill contend that it undermines landowners negotiating rights. It gives an unfair advantage to Natural Gas Drilling Companies. Many landowners in Pennsylvania have negotiated drilling contracts so companies can get at the Marcellus Shale.

The Bill enjoyed overwhelming support from the Republicans who control the Pennsylvania legislature. Democrats fought against, but like many issues they have fought against the Republican majority will dismiss Constitutional rules to get what they want. Corbett signed the Bill without public comment. Corbett believes the law enhances the efficiency of oil and gad drilling. He also says the Bill will limit environmental damage and protect landowner rights. Governor Corbett said fracking doesn’t cause pollution, in fact the EPA stopped investigating it. That is odd he mentions pollution.

This law like most of Corbett’s other proposed laws, is pro-business. Corbett uses rhetoric to disguise them as helping people. This is designed specifically to help drilling companies get at all of the Marcellus Shale natural gas. The Fracking process which is used to bore horizontally underground that extend thousands of feet from the vertical well bore. This law allows them to cross property lines as well. Fracking is widely known for causing environmental pollution, as well as making people sick. There are at least 23 known carcinogens in the fluid used to Frack. Why isn’t the EPA investigating Fracking Companies and chemicals? Could it be lobbying companies have bought off the top levels of government?

Governor Corbett’s education budget is preferential treatment masquerading as broad based supplements.

             Recently Pennsylvania gave an extra $1 million in state money to a school district through an unusually specific supplement. Only one district, Hazleton Area School District, recieved the $1 million. As much as that cash strapped district can use the money, so can almost every other School District in Pennsylvania.

There was a bit more than $30 million handed out to a few schools under titles like Small School District Supplement, Small Rural School District Supplement and Third Class County School District Supplement. There are 154 districts in the states 12 third class counties, designation is determined by population. But to qualify for the piece of the $1 million supplement, a district had to have a stare calculated “Aid Ratio” that fell in a very narrow range, leaving only 24 qualified districts. 6 of those districts were in Luzerne County, 5 of them, as well as 18 out of the 24 did not meet the last requirement based on enrollment for the supplement. It seems as if the supplement was tailor made for the full $1 million to go to Hazleton.

There were 12 supplements, 6 went to single districts. With the rest divided by 2 and 3 to 5 districts. The $500,000 Rural School District Supplement went to Phillipsburg-Osceola School District in Clearfield County. The $500,000 Small School District Supplement went entirely to Penns Valley Area School District in Centre County. If size was the only consideration, requirement was 1,600 students or fewer, it could have been divided between 166 districts, 152 of which were smaller.

This is not a reflection on the School Districts who recieved these supplements. With all the cuts Corbett and his Republican supporters made to the Education Budget, any and all schools needs this money. This is a direct reflection on Governor Corbett and his ludicrous policies. All of the School Districts are suffering with him as Governor. Instead of focusing on Education, he has focused on Privatizing Liquor Sales, Privatizing the Pennsylvania Lottery and another Anti-Abortion lawmaker. He has Pennsylvania ranked 49th in the country in job creation. Good job Governor.

A recent poll shows how Pennsylvanians feel about Governor Corbett. 43% of Republicans believe he will be reelected. 25% of Independents believe he should be reelected. Democrats just plain want him outvof office. He is as much as 10% behind his probable Democrat challenger for Governor. Things are not looking peachy for Corbett and it is his own doing. To sacrafice Education and Seniors to give large Tax Breaks to corporations does not endear you to the people.

ALEC, corporate evil that is losing its strangle hold on government.

                   ALEC is a group of corporations that gather together write bills and convince Congress to pass them for them. They are one of the stronger lobbying arms in our country. Several Senators sit on the ALEC board. They supported the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida and similar laws in other states.

                   It is a symptom of the corporate government we have. Corporations pour money into government through lobbyist groups in attempt to influence votes and bills that are written. What do corporations have to do with government? Does anyone believe that corporations have the country or the peoples best interests in mind? Private corporations are only concerned with profits, at all costs. A little boy being shot or 20 first graders being shot cannot affect profits.

A corporation has more input into the laws that govern us then we the people do. It is all about money and a conglomerate like ALEC has more than enough. Although many corporations have been leaving ALEC because of their extreme right wing agenda. They are involved in Gun Control, Abortion, Privatization of Public Schools, Tax Reform and Bank Reform, just to name a few. What interest do they have in any of these things? MONEY? It runs our politicians and helps create the bills that affect everyday life.

We the people need to take the power back from greedy politicians and corporations. If we can do that President Obama and Democrats have a chance at fixing our messed up system. Republicans like it this way, it gums up the works and stops progress, making the party in charge look worse. That is their main objective, to hurt the Democrats at all expenses. It needs to be stopped, bringing sanity to our government.

How do you tell your daughter her friends suck.

           I have a 9 year old and a 11 year old daughter. Everything up until this year was easy, no dramas, no fights and basically a group that got along. They go to a Charter School that goes from Kindergarten to 8th grade. There are 50 kids in each grade except Kindergarten, which has 40 kids. Most of these kids have been together since Kindergarten and more have been together since 1st grade.

My oldest is in 6th grade and got a couple of new girls this year. My daughter has been friends with the same group of kids since 1st grade. Most of the girls got along, of course there were occaisonal issues, but nothing big. Her best friend left for another school at the end of last year. She continued to hang out with the other girls. As this school year went on the group got smaller and smaller. One of the new girls got in with the group and within a week they started splitting apart.

My daughter remained with the new girl and her other friend. Everyday a different girl would have a problem with my daughter’s 2 friends. We were only getting information from one side, so we were kind of biased in our opinion. Others kids parents were freaking out on my daughters 2 friends. As the school year went on this continued to happen. My daughter was friends with these 2 girls but started hanging out with different girls. Even the attitude of the 2 girls changed.

It took the whole school year but they finally hurt my kid. My wife was warning my daughter that it would happen and it did. They screwed her good for a kid that they hate. This was the first time my daughter has ever yelled at one of her friends in anger. She wanted to hit her in the mouth. This is a girl she has been friends with since she was 5. My daughter ripped into the girl. The girl called my wife crying and my wife asked if she did what upset my daughter and she said she did. Then why are you crying she asked her.

The next day the girl asked my daughter if she was ok, but wouldnt talk to her. Since then my daughter has branched out and started talking with other kids. Quite a few girls asked if she was ok and said that the girl did the same thing to them. Girls that my daughter didn’t talk to because of her loyalty to her friend. It turns out my daughter gets along with all of them. We told her to branch out, make some new friends and move on.

As a parent you hate to see your kid hurt. But to say don’t hang out with that kid will only make her wantb that friend more. We always try to protect our kids but we can only do so much. I am proud of my daughter, I know she us hurting inside, but she just kept moving on. It takes a person with strong character to do that. She will find her way, now I just have to stay out of hers.

Social Media and todays pre-teens.

             Social Media for an adult is a wonderful thing, Twitter is my social media vice. If you are into politics, sports, religion, photography and whatever else you are interested in, it is right there. My live for politics has grown since joining Twitter. My wife is on Facebook and Instagram quite a bit.

              But for our pre-teen kids it is a little much. If you come from the bullying point of view, there is no escape. You are bullied in school, they find you online and keep up the attack, basically destroying any chance for friendly contact. The people that abuse this are generally not good people. But the kids that do it, are usually quite a bit like their parents. The only way to stop this is to keep your kids away from social media, that in turn will make them a pariah in school.

              The next ill of social media is how it is causing our kids to grow up alarmingly fast. These pre-teen girls know quite a bit more than they should. If you were to look at some of this kids Instagram pages you find some very shocking things there. Sexual innuendo, pictures describing sex and things about sex I know nothing about. How do we keep them away from this? Yes, I understand that they will eventually learn these things, but lets wait until then.

                I know kids today are maturing faster, I have 2. But I honestly believe social media is a tool best left to adults. These kids do not have the common sense or street smarts to use these things. Parents are getting into trouble because their 12 year old is writing that they want to kill themselves. It is nit enough that a parent has to worry about everything else, but also worry about a world that doesn’t make sense to us. It will only get worse, any step we take to change this will be met with heated resistance. Good luck to all parents out there.

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Governor Jindal’s attempts to government subsidize private and religious schools dealt a blow.

             Governor Bobby Jindal’s push to overhaul the state education system was dealt a major blow recently. The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled the state cannot fund it’s landmark voucher initiative with money allocated for Public schools. Governor Jindal, a Republican, vowed his scholarship program will move forward, despite the Supreme Court decision. He pledged to find another revenue source to pay for it.

                It is one of the most ambitious voucher efforts ever in the U.S. It has been set up to take money from student state allocations and use that to cover the cost of attending private or religious schools. In its ruling, the court said Louisiana’s minimum foundation program- the states per student allocation for each student to attend a public school-  cannot be used for anything else. The court made it clear it wasn’t passing judgement on the program itself. The decision dealt only with the diversion of dollars meant for the public schools that the court struck down 6-1.

                Louisiana Association of Educators, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana School Boards Association brought the case to the court. Justice John Weimer wrote ” the clear, specific and unambiguous language of the Constitution” doesn’t allow the government to divert funds for public schools to pay for private or parochial schools. Critics say that this is an attempt to have taxpayers subsidize private and religious schools. Roughly 8,000 students have been approved to receive school vouchers in the coming academic year.

              Jindal said ‘We’re disappointed the funding mechanism was rejected, but we are committed to making sure this program continues and we will fund it through the budget. The bottom line is that our kids only get one chance to grow up and we are committed to making sure choice is alive and families can send their kids to a school of their choice.” Jindal has been a vocal critic of the American Public School System and Teachers Unions. He claims they give students no alternatives to failing schools. Critics have noted that schools accepting vouchers teach to different standards. In many cases, schools were teaching creationism, which is in direct violation of the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In other they were teaching of the existence of the Lochness Monster, is that really important. Others offered no services for special needs children or children with disabilities.

             Jindal’s voucher schools teacher lessons such as slaveholder owners weren’t bad to their slaves. That the KKK wad concerned with morality. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife beaters and unmoral movies. This is another Republican attempt to privatise public schools and break up another union. Private and religious schools are not held up to the same educational standards as public schools. Their curriculum is not approved by anyone other than the church or staff and they do not have to meet the same levels of reading and math scores because they are not required to report them.

               The problem with our public school system is socio-economic. The poorer the district, the lower the test scores and grades and the lower the funding they recieve. Democrats and Republicans have been going back and forth over this for at least a decade. Privatization is not the answer, privatizing education makes it about profit not education. A good example is the Kids for Cash scheme in Luzerne County, Pa. Juvenile facilities were privatised and 2 judges were convicted for receiving money for illegally placing children in these facilities.

        The answer lies in better teachers, smaller class sizes and even funding per school. But with the state of our current government nothing will get done. Anything President Obama tries to do is immediately met with Republican resistance. Maybe if he told them that he and the Democrats hate public school and Teachers Unions Republicans would throw their support behind them. It might be worth a shot.

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