Skip Bayless duped by fake James Harden ‘manboobs’ tweet

If you forget to look for the blue check mark, you’re going to end up with egg on your face. Skip Bayless was embarrassingly duped by a tweet from a fake Adrian Wojnarowski account that stated Chris Paul making fun of Rockets teammate James Harden for having “manboobs” was a reason Harden reportedly wanted Paul...
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The pandemic is an extraordinary opportunity to reform US education
A teacher sets up her classroom at Freedom Preparatory Academy on August 5 in Provo, Utah. There is a small window of opportunity wedge in education measures in the pandemic that will allow for larger structural changes in the near future. | George Frey/Getty Images We should allow kids to take a gap year and waive standardized testing before it’s too late. As of August 6, the US had more than 4.8 million reported cases of Covid-19 and at least 160,000 deaths. But we know the devastation is far greater: Our testing and contact tracing remain insufficient, and the official numbers don’t capture the indirect death toll, which could be far greater. If there is one bright spot, nearly every sector of society has seized on the opportunity for systemic reform. We have expanded telehealth and temporarily disabled restrictive policies around medications for the treatment of substance use. We halted cash bail in many jurisdictions, and enacted eviction moratoriums. Every sector, that is, except for the educational system, which is not even offering temporary measures such as a gap year for students or a moratorium on standardized testing. As a front-line health care provider and parent who innovated during this pandemic by helping to open temporary hospitals for people experiencing homelessness, and as an educator and parent in the public school system where massive cuts are planned, we find this lack of creative thinking incredibly frustrating. As schools plan for reopening, it seems as though the door has nearly closed for changes to the educational system that would reduce the opportunity gap and promote individualized learning. But there is a small window of opportunity to take advantage of this pandemic and wedge in measures — including ending compulsory education laws, waiving standardized testing, and empowering teachers — that will allow for deeper changes in the near future. It’s essential to pursue them now before the window closes. Why is structural change in the education system necessary? Much of the US educational system is based on outdated institutional policies for standardized testing and student discipline. Even the textbooks that many public schools are forced to use are outdated (because of lack of funding). The landscape of students’ needs has changed over the past 50 years, but the educational system has not. For example, there are more English-language learners and children with individualized education plans than ever before. Families are facing profound economic hardships that are rivaled in this country only by stories of the Great Depression. In the Kansas City Public School district alone, nearly half of students will need to transfer to a different school this year due to eviction. Half! Students who experience eviction can miss weeks of classroom time. Why does this matter? One reason is that students who miss large amounts of class time will, inevitably, “fall behind.” Another reason is that eviction can cause trauma, especially in children. Nevertheless, children who have experienced eviction are still held to the same standards as their stably housed peers, still expected to perform at grade level, and still expected to sit for standardized tests (which, by the way, have also been shown to cause significant harm especially to low-income students, students of the global majority, English-language learners, and students with disabilities). Some of these students (especially Black and brown students) are also likely to have negative encounters with school disciplinarians such as resource officers, be targeted for minor infractions such as dress code violations, and be the victims of zero-tolerance disciplinary policies developed during the Reagan administration. Our educational system largely does not account for the complex social, economic, and dynamic needs of students. And, in some cases, it can actually cause harm. What if, instead, we embraced policies that were not predicated on the need for an uninterrupted linear trajectory from kindergarten to 12th grade? What if students were not penalized and harmed for missing school? What if we changed the system such that educational success meant more than “making it through” and taking a test? Why haven’t schools embraced change in the pandemic? We have no reason to believe that structural change — no matter how temporary or incremental — is impossible in the educational system. The fault in lack of change thus far lies, in part, with the federal government’s response. If anything, there is a sense that many in the Trump administration and its allies across the country want public education to fail. For example, Kansas City Metropolitan charter and private schools received between $19.9 million and $55.9 million from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), program whereas Kansas City Public Schools received nothing. Additionally, Missouri plans to cut $131 million from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The US Department of Education has stayed on the sidelines, allowing these inequities to persist. Any discussion of schools from the federal government has focused solely on “reopening safely.” On July 23, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally released resources and tools intended to help facilitate school openings this fall. Essentially, these guidelines include topics such as how to promote behaviors that prevent the spread of Covid-19, how to make physical modifications to schools, how to restructure school days, and how to keep the school environment healthy through cleaning and proper ventilation. These recommendations came just days after President Trump pressured the CDC to reverse course and after he threatened to withhold federal funding for schools that did not fully reopen. Not surprisingly, the president then flip-flopped on his stance, admitting that some schools may need to delay full reopening. The US Department of Education, again, has been largely silent on the issue and has yet to release any guidance on the topic. Chronic underfunding, inconsistent messaging, and leadership vacuums have put individual schools and school districts in the precarious situation in which they must “go it alone.” But the lack of progress cannot be blamed fully on the federal government; school district leaders have been largely absent on seizing on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remake the system. Aside from groups of individual K-12 educators including “Liberate and Chill” and scholars like Bettina L. Love and the Abolitionist Teaching Network who have mobilized during the pandemic, there have been virtually no district-level attempts to move toward even incremental change, let alone systematic change. More commonly, school districts have simply assembled expert panels, held town hall meetings, and sent out virtual surveys to parents to determine the best approach forward within the established paradigm. The plans that have emerged are predictable and limited to three models: all in-person learning, all virtual learning, or a mixed model of in-person and virtual for all students. We say these models were predictable because they are predicated on an outdated paradigm of learning that deserves to be reevaluated. The current paradigm, reinforced by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, has forced school districts into the impossible predicament of choosing health or equity rather than health and equity. We would even argue that “health” has largely been ignored and “safety” has been used as a stand-in. By entertaining only in-person or virtual learning, school districts are struggling to understand how they can provide a quality education in a safe and equitable way. Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images Teachers and activists join a car caravan hosted by the Chicago Teachers Union in Chicago on August 3, 2020, to demand adequate classroom safety measures as schools debate reopening. Let’s take health first. Schools must grapple with the obvious question of how they protect teachers, staff, and students from Covid-19 — also known as “safety.” This is where the CDC guidance is meant to be useful. Given the confines of the brick buildings, school officials are asking how they can best protect members of our community from Covid-19. But even though Covid-19 is a clear and present threat to our safety, schools must take a holistic view of health when considering reopening plans. Nearly 32 million students in public schools rely on schools as a source of food. At least 22 percent receive mental health counseling through school programs, a number likely to grow as a result of isolation from the pandemic. How do we continue to provide these life-sustaining (and lifesaving) services without reopening in person? Now let’s take on the issue of equity. There is already a profound educational opportunity gap in this country, as Prudence Carter, Gloria Ladson-Billings, and others have helped us understand. What happens to that opportunity gap if private schools, which are filled with affluent white children, are able to reopen for in-person learning while urban public schools, which are populated by majority Black and brown children, are not? What about kids with individualized educational plans and English-language learners? If schools remain virtual, what does this do to children who cannot learn virtually? What about parents who cannot attend to and monitor their children’s virtual learning? Will the opportunity gap not also widen? These all-or-none approaches are, at best, lazy, and at worst, harmful. They are lazy because they admit that there is no “good way” forward so we simply need to pick the least bad option. They pit health and equity against each other. They are harmful for a number of reasons, and they do not account for the unique needs of individual children in a larger societal context. But it raises the question: Why hasn’t the educational system seized on this opportunity to enact permanent or even temporary changes? Time is almost up to make any changes Ultimately, the question is not as simple as who should attend school in person versus virtually, but rather, how we can remake our educational system such that it serves the needs of individuals in our path to achieving equity. The potential to innovate for the future and reduce the opportunity gap are bold objectives. From an equity perspective, both require significant changes to policies and established structures. Sadly, the time appears to be nearly up. Schools in half the country have reopened while the other half are firming up their reopening plans. Unfortunately, these reopening plans only enhance safety by preventing the transmission of Covid-19, but do little else to promote health and virtually nothing to address the opportunity gap. We have done nothing to reimagine space but to move desks further apart and eat lunch in one’s classroom. We have done nothing to address the fact that education and learning mean more than achieving Common Core standards. The incremental steps that can be taken now To salvage this opportunity and leave the door open for structural change, we need to enact incremental or even temporary changes before it is too late. 1) End compulsory education laws First, we propose to end compulsory education laws. In 1852, Massachusetts became the first state to enact a compulsory education law, which required every city and town to offer primary school that focused on grammar and basic arithmetic. Rooted in racism and institutionalized as a way to control minority populations, compulsory education laws became the norm across the US. Currently, with few exceptions, children across the US are required to attend public or state-accredited private schools from age 6 through 16. The most notable exceptions to the law include homeschooling and work release permits offered in many states that allow students to work outside of the school during normal school hours. In this unprecedented time, we need to consider an end to, or at the very least, a temporary moratorium on compulsory education laws. If done on a temporary basis, parents would be given the choice of whether to send their children to school for the 2020-2021 school year, thus creating a “gap year” alternative. In the temporary model, any child who does not attend school this fall will be required to begin again in the fall of 2021, and they will start the grade they are currently slated to start. How would this help? First, this would result in decongested schools and buses that would allow for more physical distancing, thus making it safer from a Covid-19 standpoint for students who attend in person as well as teachers and other staff. Second, it might relieve the anguish many parents across the wealth spectrum feel about the inadequacy of virtual education and our inability to monitor our child’s success. A gap year would unburden parents from having to monitor (and worry about) whether their children are paying attention, whether they have completed all their assignments, or whether they are engaged with their schoolwork. Parents may struggle with other activities to occupy their children, but likely will not experience the same stress of worrying that their child is “falling behind.” Third, it would provide students of all ages with an opportunity to learn outside the traditional classroom. High school-age students may be able to work for the year, helping their families with income and gaining valuable work experience. Younger students may participate in learning pods with other families such that it unburdens individual families with child care responsibilities and children may be exposed to culturally diverse experiences in other households. Finally, there is not a dearth of college-age students who are also taking a gap year or who are unable to find gainful employment and stand ready to provide enrichment activities and other social-emotional learning opportunities to boost their résumés. Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images Community members joined Milton teachers in a March against racism on Juneteenth 2020 in Milton, Massachusetts. 2) Do not reinstate standardized tests When school buildings closed in March and April, the door to structural change for public education seemed wide open. Educators were partnered with families and community organizations knowing that student success was not possible without these relationships. The cancellation of standardized tests was central to this progress. It allowed teachers to engage students in more meaningful learning experiences instead of weeks of test prep, and there was one less barrier to post-secondary education for many students who were no longer required to take a college admission exam. Teachers across the country came together to form grassroots organizations to provide online learning experiences for educators who wanted to develop their understanding of anti-racist and liberatory pedagogy. This was only possible because teachers were no longer bound by standardized tests as a marker of success. As a result, students were able to engage in schoolwork that spoke to them. This, coupled with the absence of routine harmful interactions with school resource officers and oppressive school policies faced by many Black and brown students, meant that some students were engaged like never before. School districts and teachers should seize on the fact that a number of colleges and universities are waiving ACT and SAT requirements for the upcoming year. There is no need to reinstate these problematic and inherently racist tests. A continued moratorium on standardized testing buys us time to reimagine what we consider to be valuable knowledge and skills. 3) Empower teachers While individual teachers have little control over state- and district-wide policies, they can continue to strengthen relationships with parents and students and design curriculums that centers their voices and lived experiences. They can use anti-bias and anti-racist pedagogy not just during back-to-school professional development but for the long haul. They can use resources (such as Liberate & Chill and the Abolitionist Teaching Network) to create teacher and student learning experiences that provide space to imagine new possibilities and the tools to remake the educational system. They can advocate to make schools a place for educators and not police officers. They can push schools to reinvest resources at school level and implement restorative justice policies and practices that will help close the school-to-prison pipeline. They can do this if given the freedom to innovate by districts and unconstrained by the need to “teach to the test.” These ideas are not without problems Inequities will exist between those students in a gap year who can afford enrichment activities or a full-time one-on-one care provider and those who are part of a gap-year family child care pod. We need a systematic way to ensure that children who are on a gap year remain engaged in some activity that captures their attention and imagination, or addresses a need. Schools receive funds based on pupil size, which, in turn, is how teachers are provided salaries. Fewer students means less funds (as the president has implied), which would lead to teacher layoffs. Instead of threatening to withhold funding, public schools should receive federal funds to support innovative approaches and retain teachers during this turbulent time. If the federal government can find ways to provide relief packages to corporations, they can surely find a way to provide financial relief to public school districts. Many people will likely bemoan the lack of standardized testing, as there will be no “objective” way to measure students’ success. But it is clear that standardized tests are not a measure of academic success or intellect and we must resist calls for their reinstatement. Finally, teachers may encounter resistance from school districts, parents, and government officials. Teachers cannot do this alone, and we need a broad coalition of parents and educators who see this as a way forward to address both health and equity. These actions do not fix the problem, but they are necessary steps Do these actions fix all the problems with the educational system? Absolutely not. Based on our own conversations and experiences, educators have gotten wrapped up in the “we must do everything” mentality instead of the “we must do something” mentality that we are missing the opportunity to do anything. With time running out before public schools reconvene the same system that has not changed in the past 50 years, we must be willing to look for unconventional solutions, no matter how temporary they may be. As we have seen in the health care system, even temporary changes such as reimbursement for telehealth visits will be hard to reverse. The educational system would be wise to implement even temporary policies such that they leave the door open for the future. Unfortunately, it will likely take another global pandemic to create a similar window of opportunity for change. Joshua Barocas is an infectious diseases physician at Boston Medical Center and assistant professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Jennifer Lacy received her PhD in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She teaches high school science in Kansas City, Missouri, and is the director of Education for American Daughters.
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What It’s Like to Run a Bookstore With Your Best Friend
Each installment of The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.This week she talks with VaLinda Miller, whose empty-nest syndrome inspired her to buy a bookstore, and Arrylee Satterfield, her best friend, whom she hired to run it. After some hardships, the store changed locations—and VaLinda and Arrylee moved in together. They discuss the joys and pains of running a business, their Odd Couple roommate relationship, and, of course, books: The Friends: VaLinda Miller, 55, the owner of Turning Page Bookshop, in Goose Creek, South CarolinaArrylee Satterfield, 55, the manager of Turning Page Bookshop This interview has been edited for length and clarity.Julie Beck: How did you meet and become friends?Arrylee Satterfield: We’ve been friends since 2004.VaLinda Miller: She and I attended the same church here in Goose Creek. We became close because we were members of the Christian book club at the church. We would meet once a month at different restaurants. Arrylee and I just started talking, I guess because we’re both black women, we’re both divorced, and we both have one child.Beck: What is it about reading that facilitates friendship for you?VaLinda: Me and Arrylee, we will argue or discuss a book for days.Arrylee: We have different opinions on every book we read.VaLinda: I am a big Agatha Christie fan. She likes the Hercule Poirot TV show, and I like it too, but I always say, “Did you ever read any of Agatha Christie’s books?” She goes, "No, I don’t want to read that." But I’ll get her to read an Agatha Christie eventually.Arrylee Satterfield (left) and VaLinda Miller (right) / (Courtesy VaLinda of Miller)Beck: Are there any books that have been particularly important to your friendship?VaLinda: We love V. M Burns. She’s an African American author who writes books about this woman whose husband died and she bought a bookstore. There’s a murder that happens, and she’s solving the murder with her grandmother and the grandmother’s three friends. Reminds you of The Golden Girls. The bookstore they run carries murder mysteries, and we are big murder-mystery fans.Arrylee: The first book is The Plot Is Murder.VaLinda: We loved Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. And we loved the Mark of the Lion series, by the same author. You know we must’ve really loved it, because I took the day off from work because I wanted to read all three books.Arrylee: I stayed up ’til two or three in the morning finishing one of the books. I wanted to get past her, but, of course, she got past me.VaLinda: I would go, “Did you get here?” She’d say, “No. Let me finish.” She’s downstairs and I’m upstairs, and we are screaming at the top of our lungs. I’m sitting there going, “Don't you just hate that bastard? What is he thinking?” She's going, “I haven't got to the bastard yet. Give me a minute.” That's the connection that we have.Beck: How did you come to own a bookstore, VaLinda?VaLinda: After my kid graduated from high school and went to college—you know how you have the empty-nest syndrome? I guess mine was pretty bad, because I sat in the house going, “What am I going to do?”Then I [heard about] a class on how to own and run a bookstore, and I signed up for it. It was in Florida, and when I was down there, the people who were running the class told me about a bookstore [for sale] in Seneca, South Carolina. In 2014, I bought it from the previous owner. A lot of people told me, “Don’t do it.” I said, “But I love books and reading and kids.”Beck: I feel like a lot of people who love books, myself included, have this fantasy of owning a bookstore, thinking it would be like You’ve Got Mail. And you’re running it with your friend, which just makes it even better. But I’m sure I’m romanticizing it too much. How off is that fantasy, in your estimation?VaLinda: You do run into that customer who says, “Oh, I’m looking for this particular book,” and you’re able to have a nice conversation with them. But the reality is, it’s like running any other business. You don’t realize the problems you’ll have until you jump into it.[Read: The major flaw of You’ve Got Mail]Running a bookstore was expensive. I would drive up to the bookstore every other weekend, which was about a four-hour drive. I wanted somebody to run the store since I couldn’t be there every day. Arrylee had lost her job recently, so I said, “Would you be interested?” I think I mentioned it September the 15th.Arrylee: And in October I moved up [to manage the store].VaLinda: I think we got a little bit closer when I was driving back and forth, because we had to have very long conversations on the phone. She had to tell me what was going on there; I was telling her what’s going on here.There were some days I would say, "I don’t think I can do this. I just can’t.” She would be the one to give me a pep talk, sit with me and pray with me. And when she starts having a bad day, I would do the same thing.Arrylee: We can tell if something is bothering each other and we haven’t said anything. It’s almost like sisters.VaLinda: I did feel like that girl in You’ve Got Mail in one way, because in March last year, the landlord said, “We’re not going to renew your lease, so you’ve got 30 days to get out.” Arrylee had been working there for three years.But you know what? It turned out to be the biggest blessing. I got tired of driving up there; I was still trying to climb out of debt from buying the store. It seemed like it was the perfect time, so when the landlord called, I drove up there, got a U-Haul truck, and I said, “That’s it. Sell everything.” I told Arrylee, “I know you’re out of a job, but I’ll help you find a job.”Somebody told me, “You shouldn’t give up your bookstore dreams. There’s a retail space there and there” [in Goose Creek, where I live]. I said, “Well, I'll check them out.” Three days later, the landlord called me up and said, “I do want a bookstore here. Would you mind?” I couldn't believe how fast somebody offered us another space.VaLinda and Arrylee in their Goose Creek store (Courtesy of VaLinda Miller)Arrylee was a little worried. “Where am I going to live? What am I going to do?” I said, “Well, I got this big old house. Ain’t nobody in the house but me and the dog.” [She moved in, and] three days later she had a job. Just that fast.Beck: Oh my goodness. You’re roommates as well?Arrylee: We’re roommates.VaLinda: She drives me insane. Our kids said we should make a YouTube video, because we act like Blanche and Dorothy from The Golden Girls, or like Felix and Oscar from The Odd Couple. I am a nerdy neat freak.Arrylee: I’m all over the place.[Read: When it’s time to sell the family home]Beck: How did your relationship change when you went from being friends and business partners to roommates?Arrylee: I have changed her from a meat-eating person to a vegetarian.VaLinda: That hurt.Arrylee: This happened before the pandemic, but it got serious during the pandemic.VaLinda: Because you can’t go out to eat.Arrylee: She couldn’t order that hamburger. She couldn't get any of the pastrami and stuff that she likes. Now if she gets a bite [of meat], she says, “Oh, I can't eat this.”VaLinda: Which is a good thing. Arrylee is the cook. I’m the one that cleans.Beck: What are her best dishes?VaLinda: She makes this vegetarian lasagna.Arrylee: She did not realize that she was not eating meat. I ground up carrots and onions and all kinds of vegetables, ground it up so it looked like ground beef, and she thought it was ground beef.VaLinda: Oh, it was good.The children’s room at Turning Page Bookshop (Courtesy of VaLinda Miller)Beck: Do you ever feel like you see each other too much while living together and then also working together at the store?Arrylee: No, because she doesn’t come into the store that often. I’ll come home with orders, and we put them in the computer, and that’s it. But if I have to go away for a weekend, then she’ll go into the store. But, of course, I have to leave her notes as to what to do.VaLinda: It’s my store, and she tells me what to do. I never did get that.When the COVID-19 [pandemic hit] in March, we had to shut down for a whole month. We were home every day, and during that time, we did drive each other crazy. She had withdrawal because she wasn’t in the store every day.Arrylee: We did not open back up until the state opened back up, and I believe that was sometime in May.Beck: Has moving in together helped with your empty-nest syndrome? Would you recommend it?VaLinda: You know what? This is 2020, and I would recommend it. When you raise a kid and they leave the house, you look up and you are living in this huge house by yourself with a dog. I was living in this house for quite a few years by myself. It’s okay to come home after work and look at TV or eat dinner, but you’ve got to have that human interaction, whether they’re your roommate or your husband or your wife. And this pandemic just makes it even worse. Having Arrylee here, it has made me feel a lot more comfortable. I think it’s the same for you.Arrylee: My son is in his 30s and married. He did not like the fact that I was by myself, because I’m older. But now that I’m here, he feels secure.VaLinda: You can watch your friends on video, but after a while you get tired of that. Nobody’s created on Earth to be alone.If you or someone you know should be featured on The Friendship Files, get in touch at, and tell us a bit about what makes the friendship unique.
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