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Alvin Brinson
Attended Stehen F. Austin State University
Lives in Houston, TX
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Alvin Brinson

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When Teaching Becomes a Felony

Did the Atlanta teachers cheat? According to a court, they did. What is the appropriate punishment? Time in prison? According to a court, it is.

This is a travesty. The conditions that led to these teachers involvement in this "racketeering" as the court called it are something most people have NO clue about.

I was at a "failing" school my first year of teaching. The pressure from administration was INTENSE. There were constant meetings with peers, supervisors and outsiders where the importance of raising scores was hammered home. If you were not on board with "the program" which involved very nebulous yet somehow specific things you had to do (read that: impossible), then it would be reflected in your appraisal. It was made clear constantly that a "needs improvement" appraisal would result in contract non-renewal, which in the teacher world, is "being fired". 

There was no "tenure" like people believe. The Union said lots of things but could do nothing. Teachers were running scared. Three quarters of the English department were first-year teachers - because they were well known to push you out if you didn't meet their expectations. Those who managed to "meet expectations" were coincidentally those who taught either Pre-AP or AP classes, where they have a pre-selected set of students more likely to be successful regardless of teacher. Yet those teachers were rewarded. Teachers teaching "average" students had no hope of meeting the standards. 

I was never asked to cheat. Schools are smart enough (mostly) to keep English teachers a mile away from testing since English is a core subject that is being tested. I can certainly understand the climate in which someone asked to do something out of line with the law might do so.

One could say that "business" works the same way - that results are rewarded and those who don't perform are punished. That's not exactly true. I worked in retail for years. We had regular sales reports, true. In some cases, store managers were given the "opportunity" to resign in light of years of decreasing sales. Yet the employees were never put on the kind of pressure I experienced as a teacher in a failing school. The closest job I can think of that had the same kind of pressure to perform was being a car salesman. The pressure there is so great, that nobody trusts a car salesman not to cheat! Even then, the goals are attainable for those who are good at their job. 

In teaching, the goals set are often unattainable, no matter who you put in the classroom. If you have difficult goals, but they're realistic, then it is fair that it be on you if you fail to meet those goals. But given unattainable goals, what is a person to do? 

I resigned from that school and applied at a school that's not a failing school. So did most of the English department, more than the year before. 

That's of course a real disservice to the students of that school. Experienced teachers are essential in a school that's struggling with low student performance. Yet the climate created ensures that those very best teachers will leave and go somewhere that they're appreciated. It leaves the students most in need with the least experienced teachers - those who haven't learned their lesson about working in a failing school. 

Should the Atlanta teachers be punished? Yes. Should that punishment include years in prison? Hell no! The punishment does not fit the crime. I guarantee you that every one of these wanted the best for their students - but the system of intimidation and fear that's been created by our shortsighted focus on improving test scores at any cost put them up against the wall.
It's not surprising that educators would cheat in order to meet goals that are impossible to achieve.
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Alvin Brinson

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Hate the Most Visited thumbnails on Chrome's New Tab Page? Don't want a bothersome redirect for your homepage?

Here ya go. Just found this - wish I'd known it existed sooner. There are no screenshots, but it works fine for me as of today. 
Hide the "most visited" section from the new New Tab Page. Note that this does not work on the local fallback.
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My #Fiat500  purchase earned me a free case of #JonesSoda   . Yay. Thanks +FIAT USA and +Jones Soda .

My 500 Sport looks just like the one on the Cherry bottle. 
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How funny!
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Not using 2 Step Authentication? You Should Be!

Google does a lot of things to protect your account from hackers. Thankfully!

About a week ago, my tablet died and I was out of town. I needed to log onto my Google Account on a work computer. That's a problem because I use Google 2 Step Authentication, and the Authenticator App was on my now dead tablet. So I did what any desperate person would do, and I disabled Google Authenticator. Sure I had backup codes, but they were 80 miles away. So I had an SMS sent to my phone, verified info, and disabled it. 

I planned to turn it back on, I really did.

Well, I got a nasty reminder tonight. Someone tried to login to my Google account from China! Thankfully, Google's second line defenses caught it, noticing that I normally do not log in from China and prevented access. 

Having had my account stolen and ransomed by russian hackers (yes!) back in '06 or so, I'm pretty picky about this stuff. I managed to get my account back without paying the ransom, but just barely. I don't want that to happen again! Can't believe I neglected to reactivate 2 step.

If you aren't using 2 step authentication on your accounts, especially your primary account, you SHOULD be. There ARE people out there hacking accounts, even if you're nobody special. 
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There's your problem right there, I bet. I'm kind of dreading, from a digital perspective, my upcoming return to university computers. 
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Hey +Google Just another another quick note. It's awfully nice that you notice whenever I'm driving and give me traffic update notifications. One problem. I can't actually safely read them while driving. So basically I hear an alert, have no idea what it is, and have to clear the traffic alerts off - after I get where I'm going.

Get my point? Notifications about driving WHILE driving aren't very useful. Maybe if it read them aloud... 
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Sensible.
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Aw, Snap!

Anyone else found that Chrome has been VERY unstable recently? It's been crashing like this multiple times per hour, on multiple different websites.

I'm on Beta Channel and have been for years. I don't think Chrome has crashed this often since the very early days of Chrome when it was still a rather new experiment. 
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Hey Google, Did You Forget

That you made an LTE version of the Nexus 7 2013?

First, you don't bother releasing the latest Android update to a current Nexus device.

Now you're releasing apps to the Play Store that specifically are not compatible with the device. What's with that +Android guys?
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+黒い楓 it's not installing the update that bugs me, it's the fact that Google is not setting a great example when they can't even keep their own premium devices up to date on software. 
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Have him in circles
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Alvin Brinson

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Some Days You're the Bug

So...... .... caught on my #dashcam  today.  Have to view it high res and/or zoom. Check "dead" center in the view. 

All of those black specks are some kind of bug I drove through a swarm of suddenly. Sounded like raindrops hitting the car. No idea what they were, but they were big. Several other frames caught "large bodies" but none with as clear a shape as this one. This is one of those moments when I wish I had the camera set to 60fps. 
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Just another reminder - the 4th Ammendment of the US Constitution does not apply to the 2/3rds of the US population who live within 100 miles of any "border zone", Canada, Mexico or any coastline. 

I have personally, several years ago, had my car stopped and illegally searched without any probable cause at one of these "border checkpoints" while I was well within the United States. At the time nobody seemed to believe that this is done even when you are not crossing a border. Just because of where you are inside the United States.
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All cleaned up and nowhere to go.
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It goes well. Second rock chip already and this one is a doozy.
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So.... this happened.
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That will teach you to wash it on hot with the girlfriend's smalls!
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Speakers

Anyone got recommendations for good full-range speakers that I can replace my current Creative setup with? I'd like to spend no more than $100, I know that's being demanding. However, the Creatives I've got are 10 years old and still working fine. I just wish they had slightly better range. 5.1 is not a necessity as most of the time the rear speakers aren't even used anyway. 

I currently have Creative SBS 5.1 560 which was discontinued back when Bush was in his first term.
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i gave up on computer speaker sets and pony'd up for a really damn nice set of headphones. Sennheiser HD590s, but you sure could be happy with some other maker's studio headphones in that price range.
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Have him in circles
2,291 people
Sir Gordon White's profile photo
Carlo “Kappa” Piana's profile photo
Sarah Hassan's profile photo
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Yekda Tanış's profile photo
Angga Apriyadi's profile photo
Nora Dechant's profile photo
Arturo Garcia Fiesco's profile photo
Menina Invísivel's profile photo
Work
Occupation
ESL Teacher
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Houston, TX
Previously
Beaumont, TX - Tarkington, TX - Houston, TX - Salt Lake City, UT - Nacogdoches, TX - Huntsville, TX - Cleveland, TX
Links
Story
Tagline
Smarter than I look.
Introduction
I'm a middle-aged guy in Texas. I'm college-educated, free-thinker. I'm fascinated by so many things that I've become a tinkerer of all trades.

I am primarily of Native American / Scottish / Random English descent (Osage tribe). I am not a member of the tribe due to details about the Dawes act that would bore most of you, and the tribe apparently doesn't have any interest in helping people with that issue. Toss in a little bit of Irish & English as well, and there ya go.

I post on whatever I feel like. Follow me if you like. Don't if you don't.

Caveat Lector: I know nobody will read this but here goes: I am not here to play word games and debate trivialities. If you have something constructive to add to my more political posts, then great. If you can only make personal attacks or repeat nonsense, I can and will delete comments and/or ban. I have that editorial control over my personal space.
Education
  • Stehen F. Austin State University
    BA in History & English, 2003 - 2004
  • University of Houston
    2000 - 2002
  • San Jacinto College
    1994 - 1999
  • North Shore H.S.
    1991 - 1992
  • Tarkington H.S.
    1989 - 1991
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Apps with Google+ Sign-in
Alvin Brinson's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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chrome.google.com

Hide the "most visited" section from the new New Tab Page. Note that this does not work on the local fallback.

Invisible Widget
market.android.com

This is a widget-only application. Its unique purpose is to offer a resizable transparent widget. It can be placed on some launchers to acti

Waze Social GPS Maps & Traffic
market.android.com

Waze es la app de tráfico y navegación basada en la comunidad más grande del mundo. Únete a los conductores de tu zona que comparten informa

Japanese I
ocw.mit.edu

Course FeaturesAssignments and solutionsCourse DescriptionThis course is an introduction to modern standard Japanese with an emphasis on dev

YouTube Creator Studio
market.android.com

The official YouTube Creator Studio app makes it faster and easier to manage your channel on the go. Check out your latest stats, respond to

Google Authenticator
market.android.com

Google Authenticator generates 2-step verification codes on your phone.Enable 2-step verification to protect your account from hijacking by

3G/4G/WiFi Maps & Speedtest
market.android.com

With OpenSignal you can map cellular coverage, find Wi-Fi hotspots, test and improve your reception & get faster data. ✓ Signal compass poin

read Japanese
market.android.com

read any Japanese text offline with an integrated dictionary and download thousands of free Japanese novels from the Aozora Bunko library. E

Activity Launcher
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This Android App launches hidden activities and creates home screen shortcuts for installed apps.This project still lacks a few features and

Google Sheets
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Create, edit & collaborate with others on spreadsheets from your Android phone or tablet with the free Google Sheets app.With Google Sheets

Google เอกสาร
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สร้าง แก้ไข และทำงานร่วมกันกับคนอื่นๆ ในเอกสารจากโทรศัพท์และแท็บเล็ตแอนดรอยด์ของคุณด้วยแอป Google เอกสารที่ให้บริการฟรีคุณสามารถใช้ Google เ

Chromebook Central - The Official Community for Chromebooks! - Google Gr...
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Chromebook Central - The Official Community for Chromebooks! The Chromebook Central and Chromecast forums have moved. Join in with ongoing C

Invisible Widget
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Provides a transparent widget that does nothing so Android 4.4 users with the new GEL (Google Experience Launcher) can have a blank/empty ho

Lux Auto Brightness
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The original custom auto brightness solution for Android. "To put it simply, Lux kicks the pants off of Android’s stock brightness manager,

Woot Check - Daily Deals
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Woot is a awesome website, specializing in great new deals every day. They encourage (almost) unfiltered community discussion about that che

Android Device Manager
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Ever misplaced or lost your phone? Android Device Manager locates lost devices and helps you keep your device – and the data inside it – saf

The Death Of Expertise
thefederalist.com

To reject the notion of expertise, and to replace it with a sanctimonious insistence that every person has a right to his or her own opinion

Edmodo
market.android.com

Edmodo takes learning beyond the classroom by providing a free, safe place for teachers and students to connect and collaborate—anytime, any

セブンスワールド
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Shop Google Play on the web. Purchase and enjoy instantly on your Android phone or tablet without the hassle of syncing.

Terrible. Service is extremely slow. Employees are lethargic and rude. Food is delivered with no thought to appearance, just slopped on the plate. Stingy with ingredients. Second time I've been here and it was the same both times. Next time I'll make a run for the border.
Public - 3 months ago
reviewed 3 months ago
Dirty, staff is rude, and constantly out of things. They don't tell you they're out of something until you receive your order and notice it missing. Pickles? Sauce? They laugh if you complain when these are out. Several times they've even been out of fountain drinks and expect you'll be happy with tea. Telling a customer that they're out of something before taking the order doesn't cross their minds. I only kept trying this place because I love Arby's and there isn't another one nearby. Not anymore. This place should be shut down.
• • •
Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago
5 reviews
Map
Map
Map
Whoever is using this number as a spammer... is a spam caller... and is in violation of the Federal Do Not Call list.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago