The MGH Report

Michael G. Haran, Proprietor

CLIMATE PRIMER

Posted by on Feb 26, 2014

COMMENTARY

Since I have recently been dragged into the climate debate I decided to do some of my own research on the subject. I came across this amazing website called www.scepticalscience.com. The site lists climate 172 “denier” statements like “climate’s changed before;” “It’s the sun;” and “Climategate CRU emails suggest conspiracy.” The neat thing about the site is that each “denier” comment has a rebuttal that links to the source of that rebuttal.Global Warming #1

I clicked on “There’s no correlation between CO2 and temperature” and here’s some of the info that came up:

Water vapor constitutes about 95% of the earth’s greenhouse gases, 3% is CO2 and 2% is methane. The question is what percentage of that 3% is man-made and is that man-made portion really effecting climate change or is there a natural cycle at play here? 

The amount of CO2 is increasing all the time – we just passed a landmark 400 parts per million concentration of atmospheric CO2, up from around 280ppm before the industrial revolution. That’s a 42.8% increase. Greenhouse gases keep the Earth’s surface 54°F warmer than it would be without them. We have added 42% more CO2 but that doesn’t mean the temperature will go up by 42% too?

There are several reasons why. Doubling the amount of CO2 does not double the greenhouse effect. The way the climate reacts is also complex, and it is difficult to separate the effects of natural changes from man-made ones over short periods of time. As the amount of man-made CO2 goes up, temperatures do not rise at the same rate. In fact, although estimates vary the last IPCC report (AR4) described the likely range as between 35.6 and 40.1°Fahrenheit, for double the amount of CO2 compared to pre-industrial levels.

“According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 1.4°Fahrenheit since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975.”

Climate change is happening very quickly compared to changes that occurred in the past: “As the Earth moved out of ice ages over the past million years, the global temperature rose a total of 39.2 to 44.6°Fahrenheit over about 5,000 years. In the past century alone, the temperature climb of 1.4°Fahrenheit is roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.”

Much has been made of the fact that the rate of surface warming has slowed in the past decade. Yet the physical properties of CO2 and other greenhouse gases cannot change. But if that’s true, where is this heat going? The answer is into the deep oceans.

Before the industrial revolution, the CO2 content in the air remained quite steady for thousands of years. Natural CO2 is not static, however. It is generated by natural processes, and absorbed by others. Natural land and ocean carbon remains roughly in balance and have done so for a long time – and we know this because we can measure historic levels of CO2 in the atmosphere directly in ice cores.

Global Warming Pic #5Although our output of 29 gigatons of CO2 is tiny compared to the 750 gigatons moving through the carbon cycle each year, it adds up when more CO2 is released from outside of the natural carbon cycle by burning fossil fuels because the land and ocean cannot absorb the extra CO2. About 40% of this additional CO2 is absorbed. The rest remains in the atmosphere, and as a consequence, atmospheric CO2 is at its highest level in 15 to 20 million years (Tripati 2009). A natural change of 100ppm normally takes 5,000 to 20,000 years. The recent increase of 100ppm has taken just 120 years).

Human CO2 emissions upset the natural balance of the carbon cycle. Man-made CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by a third since the pre-industrial era, creating an artificial forcing of global temperatures which is warming the planet. While fossil-fuel derived CO2 is a very small component of the global carbon cycle, the extra CO2 is cumulative because the natural carbon exchange cannot absorb all the additional CO2.

The level of atmospheric CO2 is building up, the additional CO2 is being produced by burning fossil fuels, and that build up is accelerating.

 

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MISSING THE POINT

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014

Letter to the Editor

Progressive pedagogy

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

February 10, 2014
EDITOR: Understandably, an official of the Institute of Progressive Education and Learning, Michael Haran, believes that progressive pedagogy should play a strong role in schooling (“The value of common core standards in school,” Close to Home, Thursday). Less clear is why he would insist Common Core should impose progressive pedagogy on all children, despite individual differences that leave some children more in need of structured instruction than others.

Perhaps Haran really believes that governors of the 50 states gathered under the aegis of the National Governors Association and voted for progressive uniformity via Common Core. But that did not happen. The National Governor’s Association’s permanent bureaucracy, the Center for Best Practices, selectively gathered theorists to draft the Common Core curricular guides, drawing on heavy funding from the federal government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. No record exists of governors voting collectively for Common Core. Indeed, some states neither pay dues to the association nor participate in its proceedings.
Progress in education comes when state and local officials, and especially parents and teachers, are free to exercise choices and implement what is best for each child, as opposed to following a onesizefits-all scheme.

ROBERT HOLLAND

Senior fellow, the Heartland Institute Chicago

Response

Letter to the Editor

2/10/2014

Missing the point

Editor: The letter to the Editor “Progressive pedagogy” (Robert Holland of the conservative think tank the Heartland Institute) totally misses the point of my article but this selective commentary is typical of the far right. It doesn’t matter who initiated the new Common Core Standards the point is that because we have a common culture in the U.S. we need to have a standard education system of core subjects such as math, English, history, technology and science for each K-12 grade. Beyond that each school district is free to include other course such as art, music, P.E., local history and social studies even if it includes creationism and the denial of climate change. Regardless of whether a child goes on to college or not we owe our children a decent education. It’s imperative to each child and it is imperative to American and no 19th century mentality is going to change that.

Michael Haran

Healdsburg

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ABOUT WOMEN

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014

In this year’s State of the Union speech it sounded like women’s issues are going to be a big part of the Democratic 2014 campaign strategy. In 2013 we saw an unprecedented number of women in the U.S. Senate and a lot has been written about the assentation of women. Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” has described the evolution of the modern American women and the roll they must play to get ahead in the corporate boardroom.

During WWII women had good jobs. They were contributing to the war effort and had a high self-worth. After the war many of their jobs were eliminated and the jobs created by the post-war economic boom were filled by the men returning from the war. Millions of women had no choice but to become stay-at-home mothers or house wives. Now that in its self is not bad. Given the option many women would choose that life style in a heartbeat but that’s the point – it’s about options. on-women

When I was growing up I felt a frustration in the women that were raising me. My mother was fear based and there was little joy in the Catholic nuns that taught me. At a young age I thought that that was just the way things were and then along came the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and with it the sexual revolution of the American women. Women wanted to be able to have sex like a man but soon realized that that wasn’t in their best interest and human nature soon reasserted itself. But what did come from it was the beginning of the liberation of the American women which is still going on.

What many people don’t recognize is that the equality of women is just as important to men as it is to women. Women are born multitaskers. They had to be because of the uncertainties of raising a child not knowing whether the father was going to be around. The four Cs that we are trying to instill in our K-12 student for the most part come natural to women. Women have for years used collaboration, critical thinking, cooperation and creativity to survive in a male dominated world.  A single mother who has to work while raising a child needs a very exact skill set to not only to function but also to put the child’s development first. Evolution has given women a natural tenancy to run things driven by this subconscious, or conscious, desire for survival. Any man who has cohabitated with a woman knows who runs the household.

Not long ago I was talking with a young Saudi man who was raised in London. We were talking about the station of women in Saudi Arabia particularly about the right to drive a car. I will never forget his remark about why women should be treated as equals in any society. “Women get it in a way men don’t” he said. That just about sums it up.

When a young couple gets married and has a child it’s the mother who is first up to bat. Nature has equipped the mother both physically and emotionally to be the infant’s primary care giver. As the child grows the mother and father both share care for the toddler and around five years old either parent can participate in the child’s activities.

Now let’s say that the mother is career oriented and the father would rather earn a living working from home in say woodwork or writing but he can’t quit his job because the wife can’t earn as much as he can. If women were completely equal in the work place this would not be a problem. Society would benefit, the economy would benefit and the family would benefit.

The bottom line is equality would allow women to not only do what they do best but also get paid for it. Equality is good for everyone.

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THE VALUE OF COMMON CORE STANDARDS IN SCHOOL

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014

By Michael Haran

 Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Ca.

February 6, 2014

George F. Will’s article (The Common Core is Worth Opposing 1/17/2014) is amazing in its “conservative” mentality. He bashes the Common Core Standards as a continuation of “Fifty years of increasing WashingtonCommon Core #1 inputs into K-12 education that has coincided with disappointing cognitive outputs from schools.” Hello? This is exactly why the Standards were enacted.

Will’s reminds us that the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the 1970 General Education Provisions Act and the 1979 law that  created the Department of Education are all federal intrusions into what he calls, “state and local responsibility for curriculum control.” He complains that “what begins with national standards must breed ineluctable pressure to standardized educational content.”

He notes that, “Washington already is encouraging the alignment of the GED, SAT and ACT tests with Common Core. By a feedback loop, these tests will beget more curriculum conformity. All this, he contends, will take a toll on parental empowerment.”

Common Core #2What Will fails to recognize, or admit, is that all his criticisms are why the standards were initiated. He says that “it is more likely there will be a half a dozen innovative governors than one creative federal education bureaucracy.” With this remark Will is right. The Common Core Initiative was established by the National Governors Association, many of which are Republicans, and the Council of Chief State School Officers based on a 2004 report titled, “Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts.” It found that both employers and colleges are demanding more of high school graduates and that current high-school exit expectations fall well short of demands.

In his article “Why Our Nation Needs Common Standards,” (Hechinger Report, July 18, 2013) Jonah Edelman said “The Common Core Standards are clear and high standards for what every child in the United States should know by the end of each grade and are a practical and effective solution for a system that now dooms some students to learn far less than their peers who happen to live in other states.

They benefit students in states with weak academic standards. They benefit teachers who want to access and share the best possible lesson plans. They benefit parents who have a right to know that an “A” in school or a “proficient” on the state test actually means their child is on track.

Will insinuates that Common Core roll out is experiencing the same “federal touch” that has given us HealthCare.gov. What he doesn’t say is that all new government programs experience roll-out problems. Social Security did, Medicare Part B did and Common Core will.

The biggest problems are cost and technology. Georgia spends 8-9 dollars per student to administer five-subject tests compared to the Common Core’s new per-student cost estimate of $29.50 for just two tests. Only 28 percent of Oklahoma school districts have the infrastructure necessary for the new exams. Both of these problems will be addressed as the $4.35 billion Race to the Top money is released to states when the Common Core Standards are initiated in the 2014-15 school year.Common Core #3

People like George Will look at progressive education as a bad thing. They don’t like change even though change is inevitable.  Technology has made the U.S., like the world, a smaller place. Education conformity makes America’s workforce more efficient which allow people to move to where the jobs are. Will calls Bill Gate’s remark: “It’s ludicrous to think that multiplication in Alabama and multiplication in New York are really different,” flippancy. I call it common sense – I call it Common Core.

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