On the other hand if the issue is viability then measuring the age from the (apparent) developmental stage of the foetus (or stage of pregnancy in the earliest days) makes more sense. After all, it's that development that makes it viable, not the arbitrary age we assign it.
It's the absurdity in the context of an abortion law where the problems come about though. By mandating that as the date instead of any other method that could be used, they limit the timeframe in which a woman can choose to have an abortion. That's their whole goal, of course, but it's not right.
But take a minute and think this through.
The way the bill reads it imposes punishment on doctors. Suppose a doctor performs an abortion and the state wants to file criminal charges against him on the basis that the fetus was over 20 weeks old.
What other method can be used?
Can you force the doctor to admit that he knew the age of the fetus? that violates the 5th amedment, if he's smart he'll say "I'm invoking my right to remain silent and I would like to speak with my attorney."
Can you force the woman to testify she told the doctor the precise date of the fetus? it's questionable.
If the law provided that the doctor should do a transvaginal ultrasound before all abortions and sign a sworn statement that in his professional opinion and on criminal penalties, the age of the fetus was less than 20 weeks, would you be more or less outraged?
Again, working from the premise that underlies this bill, the language of measuring gestational age the way they do is probably the best option. All it really ends up meaning is that it might prohibit most abortions where the actual gestational age is 18 weeks as opposed to 20 weeks.
Nothing you just said convinces me that it's still a good idea. Punishing doctors certainly doesn't help women because it just makes the doctors less likely to want ot perform abortions. I'm not getting where any of that is a good idea.
Balls. I was actually trying to link that article but my tablet kept not wanting to copy-pasta it and I guess I wasn't paying attention. But yeah, it really is difficult to say where the hell she's coming from based on those remarks.
Also the image of Ryan below the story is priceless given the headline "Ryan Budget Whacks Pell Grants, Makes Federal Student Loans More Expensive":
Under Gov. Bobby Jindal's voucher program, considered the most sweeping in the country, Louisiana is poised to spend tens of millions of dollars to help poor and middle-class students from the state's notoriously terrible public schools receive a private education. While the governor's plan sounds great in the glittery parlance of the state's PR machine, the program is rife with accountability problems that actually haven't been solved by the new standards the Louisiana Department of Education adopted two weeks ago.
Many of these schools, Kopplin notes, rely on Pensacola-based A Beka Book curriculum or Bob Jones University Press textbooks to teach their pupils Bible-based "facts," such as the existence of Nessie the Loch Ness Monster and all sorts of pseudoscience that researcher Rachel Tabachnick and writer Thomas Vinciguerra have thankfully pored over so the rest of world doesn't have to.
Obviously, this is a poor reflection on our education system, but I think it's inaccurate to completely blame it on the states' rights to educate its citizens. To say that the states do not, or should not, have the right to educate is an argument that flies in the face of the U.S. Constitution (link to US Dept. of Education - [link=http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/10facts/index.html])
If you want the federal government to do something about this, push for No Child Left Behind reform.
Not only punishes them, it encourages the falsification of documents to make milestones towards standardized testing that doesn't test learning capacity, intellect, or knowledge, but does test how well students can desperately fly by the seat of their pants.
Of course the implementation of state set goals was a horrid idea, but the intentions are in the right place. More importantly, NCLB improved education accountability with 3 elements: explicit and publicized standards, regular testing against said standards, and consequences linked to performance. On the final point, these consequences are just as important given that they could be helpful. No doubt that turning a failing school into a charter school, replacing staff and/or contracting a private management company are all good moves (all provisions of NCLB). These are the aspects that can be built upon if NCLB is reformed.
I hear you, there's a lot of debate over standardized testing. But what's the alternative? And, not to lose the thread of NCLB, I think one of the best ways it can be reformed is for there to be a national standardized test, but that brings up a lot of issues over jurisdiction.
I didn't notice it until I typed out the headline, but my reaction was part "duh?"
But the tone the article takes is what caught my attention.
And while colleges should establish more structures to keep those students above the minimum G.P.A. required for scholarship retention, the study’s author says, the students need to step up their game.
“It’s not the institutions’ fault, per se,” said Charles E. Menifield, a professor of public and non-profit administration at the University of Missouri at Columbia. “If I had to singularly blame somebody, I would have to blame the African American male, because ultimately they have control of their G.P.A.s. And I have no issue going on record as saying that they should seriously prioritize why they are in college.”
“This research strongly suggests that colleges and universities that desire to maintain diversity should at minimum target minority students, particularly African American males, and determine how best to improve academic success,” Menifield writes in the study. “This may require a survey simply asking, how can we help you to be successful? This could also include work groups led by high performing students, commitments by professors to facilitate work groups, community learning environments in dormitories, additional funding to ensure that students can focus on academic issues rather than working to make a living, and a culture that would indicate that the institution is concerned with the retention of all students.”
“The question of how much you intervene is a really, really big decision,” Menifield said. “The onus is on the student to say, ‘I need to go [to office hours].' But nine times out of 10, [the at-risk students are] not the ones to show up. And that’s where the problem starts.”
The author basically admits that the universities aren't doing anything wrong, but suggests the universities should devote extra resources specifically to helping minority students that would otherwise fail out.
That makes me wonder at what point we cross over into chasing equality of results rather than equality of opportunity.
I guess I could see how having the university provide additional resources if the student comes in under prepared compared to classmates simply due to the high school they went to, or something. To make sure they have the chance to get up on to a level field. But at some point, personal responsibility does come into play and we can't just discount that no matter how good our intentions.
As I said on the 'Religion in schools thread' ( I thought this was a more appropriate place for it):
"I think year round school would be worth it. It's proven fact that students perform better, especially students that struggle with specific topics such as math, or learning English as a second language. The performance is by an average of 9.5- 13.3% in a Californian study on year round school Link
One year round school plan from the Oregon Dept of Education said this is what a year round school schedule would look like:
Start in early August. 4 weeks of school for 2 1/2 weeks of break. This would continue all the way through June, where you would have 4 weeks where you only go 1/2 the week. Finally, you would have all of july off. ( I don't have a link for this, one of my teachers explained this schedule to me during one of my classes in highs school).
Overall, you would get more breaks, meaning that children could do more summer activities over the year, without risk of losing some of the skills that they learned during the year."
That is some of my argument for year round school. More sources, or clarification will be provided if asked.