What We’re Reading: Monday, October 13th

Welcome to What We’re Reading, a weekly rundown of the articles that caught our eye related to investing in our community or the things that make Athens great. Check out what we’re reading this week.

First, a reminder that today, Monday, October 13th, is the first day of early voting.  You can visit the Board of Elections at 155 East Washington Street in downtown to vote early.  Between October 13th and October 31st, you can vote from 8:00am-5:00pm on weekdays.  You can also vote on the weekend of October 25th and 26th.  The polls are open from 9:00am-4:00pm on Saturday the 25th and 1:00pm-5:00pm on Sunday the 26th.  You can find more voting information at the Secretary of State’s website.

Education was at the center of the AJC opinions section last Sunday.  Jay Bookman writes on the role Common Core is playing in the race for State Schools Superintendent.  This was juxtaposed by Kyle Wingfield, who flips the script on school choice with a hypothetical on admitting students to colleges based on where they live.  For more context, check out our Square One from early October on Georgia’s education system.

Also in education, Maureen Downey at the AJC reprints this post from UGA professor Peter Smagorinsky.  He argues that the Student Growth Model introduced to judge teachers in conjunction with the new teacher evaluation systems is flawed.  He concludes, “I oppose the standardization of diverse people, and believe that teachers should be entrusted to know their disciplines and how to teach them. I think that standardization is conceived especially poorly when it is measured by people who have never taught. I think that factory-style schooling is more likely to set back authentic human growth than to promote it in ways that lead to satisfying and productive lives.”

Smagorinksi also shared his archive of op-eds going back to 2012, including a series of essays profiling great teaching across the state.

Local Athens columnist Myra Blackmon also discussed testing in her latest op-ed for the Athens Banner Herald.

Lastly, Georgia Health News reports that two-thirds of Georgia hospitals are facing Medicare fines for high readmissions rates.  Nationally, a record number of hospitals are being penalized for too many patients returning within a month of a previous hospital visit.  The fines are meant to incentivize hospitals to properly educate and follow up with patients to avoid them having to come back to the hospital for further treatment.  However, the penalties can be tough to handle for rural Georgia hospitals who are struggling financially.  St. Mary’s is among the third of Georgia hospitals with no penalties.

Basketball Bonus: As football hits midseason and baseball playoffs heat up, there was news in America’s sport reserved for those of us who grew up awkwardly taller than everyone else.  The NBA signed a nine-year, $24 billion deal with ESPN and TNT to continue broadcast rights.  See Vox for what that means regarding policy issues like net neutrality, big contracts for NBA superstars, and the competitiveness of Major League Soccer.

What else should we be reading?

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