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Week In Review: House Passes Budget, Brown And Warren Release Taxes

Democrat Elizabeth Warren speaks at her campaign headquarters in Somerville, Mass. in February. Sen. Scott Brown responds to reporters after voting on the JOBS acting in March. (AP Photos)

Democrat Elizabeth Warren speaks at her campaign headquarters in Somerville, Mass. in February. Sen. Scott Brown responds to reporters after voting on the JOBS acting in March. (AP Photos)

This week the state House of Representatives passed its $32 billion version of the budget. In education news, a state-commissioned study showed more poor students are receiving special education, and Friday afternoon in Washington D.C. the House voted to keep interest rates on federal student loans low – but paid for it by carving money out of the federal health care law.

And on Friday, Senator Scott Brown and likely Democratic Senate opponent Elizabeth Warren released their tax records. And the records have something in common: a lot of money.

Sen. Scott Brown said despite bringing in six figures over the past half decade, that he’s stil a “normal guy.”

“Gail and I are very blessed to have opportunities. We’ve been together for 25 years and have been saving and working hard. And I want those opportunities for everyone.”

Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren also responded to allegations she’s out of touch.

“Great opportunities were afforded to me. I’m in this race right now because I worry that those opportunities are being taken away.”

Guest:


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  • Walker B. Carroll

    If you don’t want government grants to drive up the overall cost of college, just require that you must use these grants in a college that has a tuition of less than the median tuition nation wide.  IF the college happens to be above the median tuition, then the college itself must reduce the tuition for you (not with loans, but actually reduce the price), before you can use the PEL grants at that institution. 

  • Teacher

    In regards to comments made this afternoon about students in
    Special Education:

    Today your guests Ken Cooper and Jeff Jacoby made several appalling comments
    about the quality of teachers in Massachusetts and the quality of the Special
    Education Programs being run in the state.

    Their comments were both demeaning and demoralizing for a
    teacher who works with students on Special Education Plans every day in a regular
    classroom with no extra help and thus no extra expense to the tax payer. Some of
    their comments were just flat out wrong. Students with special needs are not
    sent to a classroom in the basement anymore. They are more often than not
    placed in inclusion classrooms with other students who are not on education
    plans and with teachers who have been trained to tailor their instruction to suit
    the needs of these students. We don’t cast students out if they can’t read at
    grade level or have a short attention span. We teach them. That is our job.

    This attitude that students do poorly in school because of
    terrible teachers that hold on to their jobs like vampires supping from the
    vein of the taxpayer is a myth as false as vampires.  This demeaning attitude is exactly one of the
    toughest issues teachers have to face each day. We are treated like unskilled
    laborers when most of us have Masters level degrees and higher. To keep our
    jobs, we constantly educate ourselves on the best and most affect ways to teach
    the students that come to us from varied backgrounds, home lives, cultures,
    socioeconomic groups, and more.

    Your two guests have obviously never stepped in front of a
    classroom and tried to teach a room of students whose average reading level is
    3 or 4 grades below average. These students are not dumb but many of them were
    never read to before the age they entered Kindergarten. Many of our students
    don’t get the support they need at home to make them strong academically. So if
    we need to put them on Special Education plans to get them the support they
    need to make them stronger students, then so be it.

    I have heard the diatribe before that one of your guests
    made that says; since I’m white I can’t teach my students like a teacher that
    looks more like them. Truthfully, I believe that that kind of attitude is as
    racist as saying that my students can’t learn because they are Hispanic or Black
    or Arab.

    This country is facing so many crises right now and people
    are always looking for someone to blame. The US has one of the highest obesity
    rates in the country but are we blaming Doctors for it? Would you blame a
    dentist who worked in a poor community for having too many patients with
    cavities?  In both of these cases, we
    place blame on the individual making the decisions to eat or to brush their teeth,
    not the Professional whose job it is to help them make better decisions. Why
    then do we blame teachers for the achievement of their students? Why don’t we
    look at the fact that Massachusetts is leading the country in English and Math
    scores? Why don’t we take into consideration the hard work that teachers and administrators
    do every day to close the achievement gaps on MCAS scores? I have looked at the
    hard data of some of these schools and I have seen students on SPED plans
    achieve passing scores when they hadn’t before because of targeted education
    from hardworking teachers.

    Your guests’ beliefs about public education in this state are
    fundamentally flawed and grossly under-informed. I would hope your guests would
    reconsider their opinions and do their research. Their data is invalid.

    ~A Massachusetts Middle
    School Science Teacher from an Urban District

     

  • FrijolesFresco

    In Friday’s Week in Review section your invited guests displayed complete ignorance about a subject they somehow felt qualified to comment on anyway.  Regarding the Special Ed conversation; teachers do not identify students as requiring Special Ed services. A diagnosis from a licensed professional is always cited in a student’s Special Ed plan. In affluent high schools at least these diagnoses come from MDs that the parents have found.
    Schools also have clinical staff that can be involved at various points; however it is decidedly not the classroom teacher. In fact, in many schools classroom teachers are prohibited from even making any suggestions pointing toward a need for special Ed services.I’m so disheartened to hear your guests freely provide their uninformed personal reactions to this news story on your show, but I guess it will make me a wiser consumer of what I hear on Radio Boston in the future.

    • Meghna Chakrabarti

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I’m grateful that both you, and “Teacher” who commented below, brought your experiences to this conversation online. 

      Our week in review segment is just that: a digest of opinion on the week’s news. We aim to revisit major news stories that we’ve talked about previously that week on Radio Boston. Those earlier stories are almost always with newsmakers, analysts, and real people who are much closer to the story, while week in review is, as mentioned, often commentary/opinion driven.As such, I encourage you to listen to the more in depth conversation we had regarding special education earlier in the week. We spoke with Jerry Mogul, executive director of Massachusetts Advocates for Children, a venerable, deeply knowledgeable educational advocacy group.  http://radioboston.wbur.org/2012/04/23/low-income-special-ed 

Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

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