Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Does Equalizing Access to Effective Teachers Affect the Achievement Gap?

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Tenure makes firing ineffective teachers expensive and difficult and has sparked controversy for years now, particularly since Vergara v. California started making its way through the courts in May, 2012. Back then, nine public school students took tenure to to task for protecting ineffective teachers at their expense and blaming it for school inequity. Their bottom line: Poor and minority children get stuck with the worst teachers.

The Superior Court asserted that “every child has the constitutional right to learn from effective teachers and have an equal opportunity to succeed in school.” But in 2013, the California Teachers Association and the California  Federation of Teachers added their voices to the State’s and appealed that decision. Ultimately, on April 14, 2016, a three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal ruled against the nine students, and on August 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court declined to review the case–a win for

So are poor and minority kids really in classrooms with the worst teachers? A team of researchers at Mathematica Policy Research decided to find out by studying  students’ standardized test scores over five years in 26 school districts across the country and found… (more…)

Scholastic’s Survey of Teachers’ Classroom Spending

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

The education publishing company Scholastic surveyed 3,694 teachers (including 76 school librarians) and 1,027 principals this past summer and found that a majority feel their students, both low- and high-poverty, face barriers to learning outside of the classroom. To help make a difference, the surveyed teachers:

  • On average, spent $530 of their own money on classroom items.
  • On average, spent $672 in high-poverty schools

Moreover,

  • 70% indicated they’d bought food and snacks for their students.
  • 65% purchased cleaning supplies.
  • 26% bought clothing for their students.
  • 56% purchased classroom books.

Plus, on average, the surveyed principals spent $683 for classroom or student supplies over the past year, with those in high-poverty schools averaging $1,014.  79% indicated they’d bought food and snacks for students.

Another interesting finding: While most teachers have classroom libraries, 31% have fewer than 50 books. Those in elementary schools have, on average, 362 books; middle school teachers average 189 books, and those at the high school level have just 93.

And so it goes…

 

Pre-K For All Is No Cure-All

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

fotosearch-kindergarteners-paa186000022So is universal pre-school the great equalizer politicians claim, the silver bullet that ensures academic success for at-risk children? That certainly has been the hope and the justification for schooling our youngest learners and spending a whole lot of money in the process.

Indeed, as reported by Lilliam Mongeau for Education Week, “The 42 states with public preschool programs and the District of Columbia spent $6.2 billion to serve 1.4 million 3- and 4-year-olds in the 2014-15 school year.” And that bears repeating: In just one school year, taxpayers shelled out some $6.2 billion on pre-K education alone.

So, how much bang are we getting for our bucks? Certainly not nearly as much as Obama and his Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. would have us believe.

As pointed out in an article by Esther J. Cepeda, a 2013 study of 3,000 Tennessee children randomly assigned to either attend pre-K or not, found that, short-term, those attending were more prepared for kindergarten, had better work skills, and enjoyed more positive attitudes toward school than the non-attenders. However, 2015 data showed that…

  1. By year’s end, their first grade teachers rated them as possessing “weaker work skills, less prepared for and more negative about school.”
  2. Moreover, at the end of both 2nd and 3rd grade, they did not perform as well on academic tests as those who never attended pre-K.

Concludes Cepeda, “Maybe for the youngsters in question, two extra years of high-stakes education and testing cast school as a drag to be endured rather than experienced happily.”

A better bet, she suggests: effective anti-poverty programs and parenting classes for their moms and dads. Oh, yes, a whole lot less screen time, too. Maybe throw in more book reading and family time, as well.

School Backpack Alert: Risks, Recommendation, & Tips

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

bookbag2September 20th slipped by pretty much unnoted by most of us, as we settled into the post-back-to-school rush. With recently purchased supplies, paper, pencils and tech devices firmly secured in our kids’ backpacks-right there along with textbooks, lunch bags, and probably water bottles, too-by then we’d we all gotten back to the business of our lives.

But, in truth, we parents should have paused that day and taken a better look at the loads our kids haul back and forth to school; better late than never, though, for sure. It matters so much that the American Occupational Therapy Association actually set aside a National School Backpack Day-September 20..

Have your doubts? The next time you’re stuck behind a school bus, watch the kids as they either get on or off. You’re quite likely to see too-heavy backpacks slung over just one shoulder or hanging low down on backs. The posture effect: Kids listing to one side or with head and back pressed forward, nothing upright about it…

As for that weight factor, Simmons College professor Shelly Goodgold explains that, “When you carry something that is really heavy, your head goes forward, and you lean forward. This can produce strains in the neck and strains in the back… ”

The problem, Karen Jacobs, a clinical professor in occupational therapy at Boston University, says is that, “Backpacks become a portable life support system, filled with supplies and goodies students probably won’t need that day but feel they must carry.”

Or as one eighth grader put it, “Everything that matters to me is in my bag; you never know when you’re gonna need something, and this way I’ve it’s right there with me, not stuck in my locker or at home.”

No wonder, then, that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission finds that some 14,000 kids are treated with related injuries every year. That, in turn, should be sending out all sorts of warning bells, but what’s a parent to do?

For starters, take heed if you hear your child grunt when either shouldering or removing the backpack. Ditto for complaints of tingling shoulders, arms and/or fingers; another red flag is shoulder redness or “dents.”

Then follow the American Academy of Pediatrics warning that a backpack, at most, should weigh between 10% and 20% of your child’s body weight; better yet, says the organization, aim for between 10% and 15%. In other words, put it on a scale.

For that matter, the American Occupational Therapy Association goes one better recommending 15% max!

Makes sense, and yet, according to University of Michigan researchers, the average middle schooler lugs around a backpack weighing in close to 14 pounds, thus easily hitting that 15% mark. More alarming is that for 23% of the kids, that figure came in at least 20%.

And all that can end up as aches, pains, and injury from the neck down to the hips and knees.

And don’t think a rolling pack is the perfect solution. Not only are they unwieldy on stairs, ice, and snow, they constitute a tripping hazard both in classroom aisles and school hallways, so many districts ban them.

So, if your kid weighs…

50 pounds go for no more than 7.5 pounds;
80 pounds go for no more than 12 pounds;
100 pounds go for no more than 15 pounds, and so on.

And then, check to make sure your child’s backpack: (more…)

TeamChildren: Making a Difference One Child at a Time

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

teamchildren1 teamchildren2When it comes to computers and all things electronic, schools have jumped in big-time, with education tech spending estimated to hit $60 billion by 2018. That commitment promises to continue the transformation of classroom instruction-and, in turn, homework, too. Already, many assignments require a home computer; problem is, not everyone has one, and that’s given rise to what’s commonly known as “the digital divide.”

Enter TeamChildren. Based in Audubon, Pennsylvania, this IRS-approved nonprofit’s mission is “to ensure that every child has the technology tools and the opportunities to learn lots and learn early.” And they accomplish that feat by refurbishing and distributing countless computers to families throughout Pennsylvania, the country and the world.

Thank goodness…

Just one glance at the 2013 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey Report of Computer and Internet Use in the U.S. tells the story:

Percentages of households with computers led by:

  • White alone, non-Hispanic: 85.4%
  • Black alone, non-Hispanic: 75.8%
  • Asian alone, non-Hispanic: 92.5%
  • Hispanic (of any race): 79.7%

In those with incomes:

  • Less than $25,000: 62.4%
  • $25,000 to $49,999: 81.1%
  • $50,000 to $99,999: 92.6%

Educational attainment of householder:

  • Less than high school graduate: 47.2%
  • High school graduate (includes equivalency): 66.9%
  • Some college or associate’s degree: 83.9%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 93.5%

As noted, race is part of the equation in that “digital divide,” but the gap widens even more when education and income are factored in. And it’s the have-nots that is the heart of TeamChildren.Thanks to help from some thousands of donors, including IBM, QVC, and Acme, as well as a number of local school districts, the organization has already refurbished and given more than 14,000 low-cost computers new homes, thus changing the lives of more than 50,000 kids in the Philadelphia area and well beyond.

While most of the recipients are single moms raising kids on their own, about 33% are children with severe health or developmental challenges.

But that’s just part of the story. The organization also sponsors a summer youth program, hiring and instructing a number of teens/college students how “to refurbish computers, work as a team, set goals, provide customer service, marketing, public relations and more.” That also involves mastering TeamChildren’s early learning math and literacy software, and then teaching parents how best to use them with their children and boost achievement.

Many also work on Saturdays and during school holidays, and, thanks to their hard work and commitment, an additional 1,000 computers are distributed to local families, schools, and various other organizations every year.

Such largesse harkens all the way back to October 22, 1966 in Vietnam’s Phu Cong Province.

On that day, a hand grenade lobbed at a squad of American soldiers was grabbed by one Private 1st Class Milton Olive. By throwing himself on it, he saved all the men in his platoon, including Robert Toporek. Carrying Private Olive’s body out of the jungle, he promised to dedicate his life honoring his friend’s heroism and memory.

That promise took shape in 1975 when he founded TeamChildren, and, ever since, Toporek has been paying if forward, “making a difference worldwide, one child at a time.” To learn more and donate to this noble effort, just click here.

 

Universal Pre-K: Benefits and Downsides

Friday, September 9th, 2016

fotosearch-kindergarteners-paa186000022The push for universal pre-K echoes from the White House on down and nowadays is the talk all about town. As Education Secretary John B. King put it, “Because of historic investments from the Obama administration, states and cities, more children-particularly those who have been historically under-served–now have access to high-quality early learning. We must continue our collective work so that all children have the foundation they need to thrive in school and beyond.”

Those efforts have, of course, come with a price tag, which includes:

  • $1 billion in federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grants to 20 states and jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services;
  • 18 grants totaling $226 million to states;
  • $75 billion over 10 years in Obama’s proposed 2017 budget for the “Preschool for All” initiative providing preschool for all 4-year-olds from moderate and low-income families via a $0.94 cigarette/tobacco taxes. Overall, about $90 billion is spent on the program, along with an expansion of home visits for children.

As for the results, along with information being more accessible to parents and an enhanced rating system, promoted benefits include improved:

  • Quality of learning
  • Chances for future education achievement
  • Childhood experiences
  • Odds of social and economic success
  • Higher test scores

But it’s that last item that seems to get most of the headlines.

Take for example the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) given in math, reading, and science. As the Huffington Post‘s Rebecca Klein has reported, on the whole, [OECD] students who attended preschool performed, on average, more than 20 points better on the PISA than those who did not, even after accounting for socioeconomic differences.

And that, for many, makes the case for universal pre-K, but not everyone’s on board, including Nancy Carlsson-Paige.

This early childhood development expert and author of Taking Back Childhood is a professor emerita of education at Lesley University where she’s taught teachers for more than 30 years. She’s also the founder of the university’s Center for Peaceable Schools and helped start the Defending the Early Years nonprofit which commissions early childhood research and advocates for kid-appropriate policies.

Moreover, this mother of two has earned the Legacy Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps and most recently the Deborah Meier (a renowned educator) award from the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, aka FairTest.

In other words, she knows what she’s talking about and is distressed by the current push to get all of our youngest kids well-schooled.

Indeed, she started off her FairTest acceptance speech by saying, “Never in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen the situation we find ourselves in today. Where education policies that do not reflect what we know about how young children learn could be mandated and followed. We have decades of research in child development and neuroscience that tell us that young children learn actively-they have to move, use their senses, get their hands on things, interact with other kids and teachers, create, invent. But in this twisted time, young children starting public pre-K at the age of four are expected to learn through ‘rigorous instruction.'”

Moreover, she “never thought she’d see a time when we would…

  • Have to defend children’s right to play… ;
  • Fight for classrooms for youngsters that are developmentally appropriate… ;
  • Be up against pressure to test and assess young kids throughout the year, often in great excess and often administering multiple tests in kindergarten and even pre-K… “

Her bottom line about these test- and data-driven times: “Some people call this abuse, and I can’t disagree.”

What say you?

Reasons for the Current Teacher Shortage

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

Reasons for the Current Teacher Shortage By Carol Josel  |   Submitted On August 19, 2016

America has a teacher shortage problem, and there’s plenty of blame to go around, especially since the Obama administration took over and the federal government doubled-down on its education policies. Just think how things stand right now with such glaring issues as tight budgets, relentless standardized testing, performance-based teacher evaluations, hastily designed and implemented Common Core Standards, exploding poverty numbers, turn-around school mandates, charter school growth, and tenure in the short hairs, right there along with teachers’ pay.

Even current Secretary of Education John B. King waxed somewhat apologetically by suggesting that, “Despite the best of intentions, teachers and principals have felt attacked and unfairly blamed for challenges our nation faces as we strive to improve outcomes for all students.”

Indeed…

Stockton University’s dean of education put it more bluntly by contending that it’s the result of “terribly horrible, negative rhetoric we’re hearing from public officials.”

Similarly, Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, recently declared that, along with everything else that’s going against them, “Teachers have also been subjected to demonization.”

The result: A MetLife survey finds that teacher satisfaction is at its lowest level in 25 years, which comes as no surprise to Dulce-Marie Flecha who is quitting after five years in the classroom.

When asked why, she said, “I’m trying to think of a good summarizing reason, but, honestly, there are more reasons to leave than there are to stay in education right now. At a certain (more…)

School-Wise Update: Making It Harder to Fail in School

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

School districts across the country, such as those in Fairfax County, Virginia, and Prince George County, Maryland, are taking a second look at grades and opting for “no zero policies” for middle and high school students. The result: It’s impossible for kids to garner any grades below 50%, not even for a flat-out fail, or, for that matter, cheating–as long, that is, “a reasonable attempt” was made.

Moreover, now, before high school teachers can fail students, they must first reevaluate them using “quality points,” thereby making an F less damaging to a final grade.

Remember that quality points refer to the cumulative points used to calculate a student’s end-of-year grade point average, or GPA. When calculating, an A = 4 points; a B = 3 points; a C = 2 points; a D = one point; with none for an F. So, for example, if a student gets an A (4 points) in a 3-credit course, he ends up with a total of 12. By the same token, a B (3 points) in a 4-credit course also comes out to 12, while a C (2 points) in a 2-credit course comes out to 4, and so on.

Needless to say, controversy swirls around “no zero” policies, with educators on both sides of the argument. Those in favor, say they…

  1.  Give more chances to make up tests and hand in missing work;
  2. Improve the drop-out rate;
  3. Help struggling students stay motivated;
  4. Allow schools to focus on learning instead of behavior;
  5. Increase classroom focus;
  6. Are fairer than typical grading systems;
  7. Promote learning;
  8. Encourage students to catch up when they fall behind instead of giving up;
  9. Increase a students’ chances of bringing their grades up, an impossible feat with a zero.

All noble sounding, but not everyone is buying into it. As a 9th grade English teacher put it, (more…)

Pew Research Center Poll on News Consumption Trends

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Recently released results of a two-part Pew Research Center survey conducted early this year queried 4,654 adults about their favorite national and international news sources and viewing habits. The findings reflect a number of age-related trends. For instance:

  • 20% said they often rely on print newspapers, adding up to just 5% of 18- to 29-year-olds vs. 48% of those 65 and older.
  • 38% said they get their news online: 28% on news websites/apps and 18% from social media or both.
  • 57% reported often getting TV-based news: 46% from local TV; 31% from cable; and 30% from networks or some combination of the three.
  • Of those turning to TV, 85% were 65+; 72% were 50 to 54; 45% were 30 to 49; and just 27% were between 18 to 29.
  • Among those going digital, 56% preferred their mobile devices vs. 42% their desktops.
  • 70% of the 18- to 29-year-olds indicated they favor or only use a mobile device; 53% of those 30 to 49 do, along with 29% of those 50 to 64 and just 16% of those 65+.
  • 63% of those surveyed said family and friends are important sources of news for them.

P.S. 75% said they believe news organizations are politically biased, yet, at the same time, asserted that they “keep political leaders in check.”

Click here for more information on this survey and its results.

NOTE: Avatar-Driven Teacher Licensing Program

Monday, August 1st, 2016

The powers that be keep taking their education reform agenda to new lows, even as they speak at the same time about raising standards, a la the ever-controversial Common Core State Standards. In reality, most teachers held their students to high account well before the government and business folks like Bill Gates decided they needed fixing and nationalizing.

Other Obama administration reforms include: Growing numbers of charter schools–both brick and mortar as well as virtual–online Common Core-based standardized assessments, education data collection, teacher evaluations based on value added measures, handwriting replaced with keyboarding instruction, and on and on.

And now comes their latest “innovation,” the ETS® The National Observational Teaching Exam, aka NOTE. Its mission: Student teacher evaluation and certification.

It’s the brainchild of TeachingWorks, which received a $6.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish a Teacher Preparation Transformation Center, and ETS, the Education Testing Service.

The former describes NOTE as “a comprehensive suite of innovative measures designed for use in making the initial licensure decision for teacher candidates… and provide important insights into the knowledge, skills, and competencies required to enhance student learning.”

ETS sees it as “truly ground breaking” and “an innovative assessment program designed to evaluate a prospective teacher’s ability to translate their knowledge of content and of teaching into effective practice in the classroom”

What exactly does all that high-minded rhetoric translate into? That’s the question Michigan State University’s Dr. Mitchell Robinson posed when attending a presentation/informational session on the assessment. Among her discoveries:

1.      The system can generate no more than 5 “student” avatars at a time (more…)

Chronic Student Absenteeism: Stats, Underlying Factors, and the Federal Response

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

MyCloudSome time before schools had shut their doors on the 2015-16 school year, the U.S. Department of Education’s 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2016 update reported that over 6.5 million kids had been “chronically absent.” In other words, they missed 15 or more days of school, translating to some 13% of all students nationwide.

And of those more than 6.5 million kids …

  • More 3.5 million were in elementary school—or 11% of the total.
  • 10% were kindergartners and first graders, and, in some cases, their numbers hit 25%.
  • More than 3 million were high schoolers, representing 18% of the total.

Even our very youngest are missing out. In Chicago, for instance, almost 50% of 3-year-olds and more than 33% of 4-year-olds missed school 15 or more days last year.

As to the why, the underlying factors include: (more…)

The Federal Government’s Push for Restorative Justice Puts Teachers at Risk

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Obama and KingThere’s been a lot of talk over the years about unfairness and inequity in our schools from Obama, his former education secretary Arne Duncan, and the current one, John B. King, Jr. In fact, the latter’s photo just happened to top the recent USA Today article, “Black pupils 4 times more likely to be suspended,” with the added, “Education chief cites ‘systemic failure.’

That statement is backed by such 2014 data from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights as:

  • Black preschoolers represent 18% of enrollment but 48% of preschoolers receiving more than one out-of-school suspension.
  • 5% of white students are suspended vs. 16% of black students—a rate three not four times more likely as headlined.
  • 12% of black girls are suspended vs. 2% of white girls.
  • While black students represent 16% of the total, 27% of them were referred to law enforcement and 31% of them were subjected to school-related arrests. Whites represent 51% of enrollment with 41% of them referred to law enforcement and 39% arrested.

In light of such reported discrimination, the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights have partnered up and given schools notice that they must increase data collection on the “inequitable treatment in schools” and see to their ongoing responsibilities.

The result reports Education Week: Civil rights complaints have exploded during Obama’s reign. Indeed, back in 1990 under President H.W. Bush’s watch, 3,384 such complaints were received and 3,130 were processed. Under the current administration, those figures stand at 9,950 received and 10,128 processed.

However, says Michael J. Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, “I think this has been a very aggressive OCR [Office of Civil Rights], and I don’t say that in an admiring way… Especially on the issue of school discipline, they have gotten into the daily routines of schools in a way (more…)

Peter Greene on a Tech Fix for Teacher Prep Programs

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

As a student teacher supervisor working out of two colleges, I just had to include this excerpt from a piece by Peter Greene, a veteran high school teacher in Pennsylvania who also happens to author the Curmudgucation blog. In it he tackles tech-based teacher prep programs that rely on videos and sets of standard behaviors viewed from afar to “educate” our student teachers.

“Teachers have to be educated by other teachers. That is why student teaching works–daily constant supervision and feedback by a master teacher who knows what she’s doing. That experience is best when it rests on a foundation of subject matter, child development, and pedagogical knowledge. It also works best when the student teacher is helped to find her own teacher voice; co-operating teachers who try to mold mini-me’s is not helpful.

The computer era has led to the resurrection of CBE because computing capacities promise the capability of an enormously complicated Choose Your Own Adventure individualized approach to learning–but that capacity is still not enough for any sort of learning that goes beyond fairly simple, tightly focused tasks. Sure–creating a CBE teacher prep program would be super easy–all you have to do is write out a response for every possible combination of teacher, students, and content in the world. And then link it all together in a tagged and sequenced program. And then come up wit a clear, objective way to measure every conceivable competency, from ‘Teacher makes six-year-old who’s sad about his sick dog comfortable with solving a two-digit addition problem when he didn’t actually raise his hand’ to ‘Teacher is able to engage two burly sixteen-year-old males who are close to having a fist fight over the one guy’s sister to discuss tonal implications of Shakespeare’s use of prose interludes in Romeo and Juliet.'”

Hard to Swallow College & Career Readiness Facts & Figures

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Countless billions, countless corporate & politically-motivated reforms, countless standardized tests and the result: According to a recent Education Trust study, just 8% of our high school students actually complete a curriculum that prepares them well for college and/or the workplace–and even fewer end up with grades that suggest mastery of those courses. On top of all that…

  • Just 31% of students completed a college-ready curriculum of 4 years of English, 3 years each of math, science, and social studies, and two years of a foreign language.
  • 13% completed a career-ready sequence of three one-year courses that focus on one particular field, such as health science.
  • 8%, as said, completed both requirements.
  • 47% completed none or “no cohesive curriculum.”

(more…)

The Data Monster that Devours Privacy

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Laura Chapman, a retired teacher and curriculum advisor in the arts, recently posted a piece for education historian Diane Ravitch on this brave new data-obsessed world of ours. What it suggests/reveals should give us all pause, even those without school-aged kids.

Apparently, the National PTA has partnered up with the Data Quality Campaign. Chapman’s advice to that organization and others: “Stay away from these data monsters. They drown everyone in data points.” Meanwhile, she also cites the fact that the Gates Foundation has invested $75 million in a data gathering campaign called the Teacher Student Data Link (TSDL), which, in turn, is backed by such groups as the National Governors Association.

It also awarded $390,493,545 in grants for the purpose of more data gathering, along with the reporting of the effectiveness of teachers, teacher preparatory programs, non-traditional teacher prep programs like Teach for America, teacher professional development, and the like.

Moreover, it enabled the tracking of teachers and students every day, period by period, on everything from quizzes, homework, and projects to classroom participation. In other words, surveillance! And, as if all this weren’t enough, the United States Department of Education has thrown in nearly $900 million for the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program (SLDS).

Its purpose, Chapman reports, is “to enhance the ability of States to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data, including student records… to help States, districts, schools, and teachers make data-driven decisions to improve student learning, as well as to facilitate research to increase student achievement and close achievement gaps.”

And that’s not all.

The U.S. Department of Education has also put out a bunch of online School Climate Surveys (EDSCLS) offering up 73 questions for students, 82 questions for instructional staff, 103 questions for non-instructional staff, and 43 questions for parents covering engagement, safety, and environment issues. Apparently, it was all very hastily thrown together (anyone surprised?), with flaws left in place due to “budgetary constraints,” right there along with some questions so poorly designed that they provide no context whatsoever, such as these presented to students:

  1. “Students respect one another.”
  2. “Students like one another.”

And here are two examples come from the parents’ survey:

  1. “This school communicates how important it is to respect students of all sexual orientations.”
  2. “School rules are applied equally to all students.”

Like Ms. Chapman, I thought you should know how we’re not only under the eye of Big Brother–and no one more than our children–but also how intrusive the federal government has become in our lives, with much of it all online. She has my thanks and hopefully yours.