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Mike Bergin
Works at 10,000 Birds
Attended Stony Brook University
Lives in Rochester, NY
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Mike Bergin

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What is your favorite eraser?
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I like a kneaded eraser. It is the closest thing to the eraser in a digital drawing program; customizable to fit the space to be cleared & the number of strokes needed to clear it.
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Mike Bergin

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What a jarring depiction of national priorities.
This Is How Much the US Spends on Imprisoning vs. Educating People, in One Startling GIF

Hardly a day goes by without a member of the media or policy world pronouncing that America's education system is in dire straits.

There are constant laments over how poorly the U.S. fares by international standards, its failure to produce literate students and its unsightly levels of racial segregation. There's a massive debate over how to overcome these problems, but there's no doubt that at least one factor would help: more money. 

But where would the money come from? America's broken and bloated prison system might be a good start.

Keeping someone alive in prison is expensive — much more so than educating them. The GIF below uses data from the Vera Institute of Justice's 2012 "Price of Prisons" report and 2012 U.S. Census data on public school costs. You can see that average resources devoted to prisoners annually easily outpace resources for students:

Housing a prisoner costs roughly five times as much as educating a student in California, Washington and Utah. In dozens of other states, the cost of imprisoning someone is far more than double or triple the cost of educating a student.

Mass incarceration is costly — and it doesn't work: Comparing the housing of prisoners to the education of students might seem like comparing apples and oranges. After all, a student is spending about a third of a day at school, while a prisoner is being kept alive 24/7. 

In light of that fact, there are two points worth noting:

First, the U.S. should simply not be spending any money on incarcerating many of the millions in prison all over the country. Since the 1970s, the U.S. has built a system of mass incarceration that is unrivaled the world over: About 25% of the world's prisoners are incarcerated in America, even though it hosts only 5% of the world's population. Brutal sentencing practices — lengthy minimum sentences, harsh penalties for minor drug possession, three strikes laws — have filled up our prisons at rates that outpace Russia and China. In other words, every state is spending huge sums of money on people who should either not be incarcerated in the first place or should at least be serving far shorter sentences. 

Second, the U.S. incarceration system is basically an inversion of its education system. As flawed as the public school system is in this country, children routinely emerge with knowledge and skills that allow them to contribute more effectively to society. By contrast, the voracious prison system systematically fails to rehabilitate its inmates. Nearly two-thirds of the inmates released every year return to prison. Those that manage to remain outside of it are often far worse off than before they were incarcerated, as they endure discrimination in housing, employment and political participation. 

Perhaps if more money were spent on creating and sustaining an education system that met all of its students' needs, we wouldn't need to spend so much money on putting people behind bars.

By Zeeshan Aleem January 28, 2015
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Did you know that willpower runs on sugar? That must explain why it's so hard to resist dessert ;)
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Randall Lee Reetz's profile photoBill McGarvey's profile photo
Keep an eye out for the sign that says,

NO Exit

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I wish it was that simple.
The term “Polar Vortex” was thrown around a lot last year, in reference to the persistent mass of very cold air that enveloped much of southern Canada and the US. As you will remember, Rush Limbaugh accused climate scientists and librul meteorologists of making up the polar vortex to scare everyone into thinking climate change…
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There are a lot of common SAT & ACT vocabulary words here!
Sometimes it's hard to explain exactly how you feel. This handy vocabulary wheel helps you narrow down exactly what word best expresses your current emotional state.
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Loving the World All Over Again

That's what it takes to be a hero. Happy Valentine's Day to all the lovers!
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Coming in the next issue of Further: How to think like Einstein. Join us here -
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I remain with problems for YEARS!!! Another sign of genius!
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Am I right?
Mike Bergin's profile photoJeremy Stark's profile photo
There are true and valuable statements in the article. What I am focusing on is how they role up to the chosen title "Testing IS Learning" which is, ipso facto, the conclusion or intended take away. Noting that learning IS broader than testing seems relevant to the post here. But perhaps you see it differently?

How an author titles their article often reveals their attitude towards the subject matter preceding the writing of it. Given the present controversy over testing in American schools I think it is highly topical. Unless this article is the final word on the subject perhaps my perspective is still valid?
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Via +Stacy Zemke in the Twitterverse this morning. I snorted my coffee: not just because of the great graphic but also because of someone else's tweet (who shall remain nameless) that was right before this one in my stream. Ah, the ironies of life!!!
What if I told you that reading a PowerPoint aloud is not the same as teaching.
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On the other hand, using PowerPoint to highlight main points may be appropriate, if not part of a lecture-memorization philosophy.
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If you're wondering what all the Christmas Bird Count fuss is about, check out just how many awesome freaking species can be found on one rainy December day in Costa Rica's Caribbean lowlands...
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Educational Entrepreneur - Nature Publisher - Bon Vivant
I'm a Bronx boy who actually enjoys living in Rochester, NY (upstate!!) In the moments not devoted to my son and daughter's social lives, I focus my energies on two primary areas:

Having learned a thing or two over a long history in the test prep industry, I founded Chariot Learning in 2009 to provide expert 1-1 SAT & ACT instruction in the Rochester area. While test prep is our core focus -- and something we're frankly outstanding at -- we also build the language and productivity skills that provide a powerful foundation for college and career success. And in 2012, we added a phenomenal e-mail-based vocabulary program in Roots2Words!

Since 2003, I've worked to make the world safe for birding and nature blogging. Thanks to the tireless efforts of my site partner Corey Finger and our murderer's row of brilliant writers and contributors, 10,000 Birds has become a place readers around the world turn to for birding, nature, conservation, and commentary.

Another site I created to promote nature writing on the web is the Nature Blog Network. With more than 2300 members and growing every day, this is the place to find whatever brand of nature blogging you crave.
  • Stony Brook University
    Psychology/Social Sciences, 1987 - 1991
Basic Information
April 9
Educational Entrepreneur & Nature Writer
  • 10,000 Birds
    Nature Writer & Publisher, 2003 - present
  • Chariot Learning
    Founder and President, 2009 - present
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Rochester, NY
Bronx, NY - Austin, TX - Laguna Niguel, CA - Boston, MA - Stony Brook, NY - Chico, CA
Mike Bergin's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Chariot Learning

Superior SAT & ACT prep and much more!

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Birding 8500ft above Thailand (Doi Inthanon National Park)

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Eclectic menu and great atmosphere, especially if you appreciate Doctor Who.
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I've used Slocum-Lauder for insurance for the last four years and have found every member of the staff to be tremendously helpful and professional. They really are a pleasure to work with!
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Consistently the best Chinese food in Rochester.
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