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Thread: Can Anyone Play This Game?

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Simple? I can do simple.

    People support things from which they gain.

    I tried but failed to parse your "the politician 'gains' by being the politician while the supporters don’t, and go home." I could with equal validity say, "The politician is wise for being the politician while the supporters aren't and stay home."

    I've always thought people supported political candidates with the idea that at least some aspects of life would be better--that is, that the supporters would gain.

    If I'm not mistaken, you supported Barack Obama. Why? If I'm not mistaken, you supported Jeff Baron and Paul Grasso? Why?
    Wow!


    Yes, I supported Barack Obama. Why? Because, among other things, I believed he was the one candidate that had a prayer of a chance of restoring some of the relationships with our former friends in the world that Bush so callously tossed aside in his “you’re either with us or against us” simplistic view of the world that alienated so many. I believe that eight years of George Bush did tremendous harm to this country and to the world and that Barack Obama stood the best chance of repairing some of that harm and getting us back on track. I also believe that Bush destroyed our economy, turning a surplus into a deficit, spent money on things we didn’t need, shortchanging other things that we did, and then passed the bill on to our children’s children for many generations to come. I felt that Barack Obama would be much more fiscally responsible.
    Do I “gain” by his being in office? Not personally. I suppose that someone like Bush would have continued to hand out tax cuts, while passing the debt on to future generations, so I may have made out better under McCain.

    But let’s cut to the chase.
    You’re telling me that I have something to gain by supporting Baron, Grasso and Wayland Transparency. Spell it out for me. In what ways would I gain?
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    You’re telling me that I have something to gain by supporting Baron, Grasso and Wayland Transparency. Spell it out for me. In what ways would I gain?
    John, think about this: in what ways does Jeff D gain by being in office?

    I think he gains by having a say in how things are run.

    Had Jeff B and/or Paul had won, they would have had that gain. You supported Jeff B and Paul, I assume, because you prefer the way they would have chosen to run things. Therefore, if they had won, they would have gotten that gain, and since you preferred their choices over Jeff D's, you would have gotten it, too.

    Gain doesn't exclusively mean "money". Here's dictionary.com's take on it. I direct you particularly to #5, though #1 is relevant, too.

    gain
    –verb (used with object)
    1. to get (something desired), esp. as a result of one's efforts: to gain possession of an object; to gain permission to enter a country.
    2. to acquire as an increase or addition: to gain weight; to gain speed.
    3. to obtain as a profit: He gained ten dollars by this deal.
    4. to win; get in competition: to gain the prize.
    5. to win (someone) to one's own side or point of view; persuade (sometimes fol. by over): to gain supporters.
    6. (of a watch or clock) to run fast by (a specified amount): My watch gains six minutes a day.
    7. to reach, esp. by effort; get to; arrive at: to gain one's destination.

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    But let’s cut to the chase.
    You’re telling me that I have something to gain by supporting Baron, Grasso and Wayland Transparency. Spell it out for me. In what ways would I gain?
    Just for the record, I didn't say anything about your supporting waylandtransparency.com.

    As for your support for Jeff Baron and Paul Grasso, you might have thought that you would gain a better school system, a less expensive school system, or both. You might also have taken personal gain in seeing incumbent Committee members replaced. I'm of course speculating. Perhaps you could share with us why you supported Mr. Baron and Mr. Grasso?

    I find the question particularly interesting because your choice--by virtue of Malcolm Astley's presence in the race--wasn't simply about supporting challengers over incumbents.

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I'm of course speculating.
    Well, speculate away then.
    You’re the one who has asserted that a candidate’s supporter gains something, so tell us what you mean.

    I’ll go first by outlining specifically what I would call gains and what I would not.

    Here are some things you might gain by being elected to School Committee:
    • power
    • control over a $30+ million dollar budget
    • esteem
    • something for the resume
    • respect
    • influence
    • a pat on the back from your boss & maybe even a raise from your employers, on whose behalf you sold books and software to the town of Wayland (You stated at the League of Women Voters debate that you did not make one dime off of such sales, and I'm not disputing that here. Nonetheless, you clearly gained respect and perhaps more, from your employer for having made them.)

    Here are some ways I might have benefited from a Baron or Grasso win:
    • the satisfaction of knowing that the candidate I supported won

    But here’s the kicker – that same “gain” is not unique to the supporters, as it also applies to the candidate, so it needs to be added to the list above of what the candidate “gains”.

    If you want to call that nebulous satisfaction a “gain” for supporters, feel free to do so. Either way, it is clear that the person who really gains is the candidate. The supporters simply pat themselves on the back and go home and hope that their candidate does what he/she promised.

    Here are some things I might gain by supporting Wayland Transparency:
    • the satisfaction of knowing that The Truth Without The Spin is being preserved and presented for all to see.
    Beyond that, though, I can think of no gain from this. If you can point out something I'm missing I'm all ears.

    Back to my original point, I agree with Don Bustin's statement above in Post #69: "Honestly, I think the citizens of this town might be better served by creating and maintaining their own sources of information than ever expecting the existing town government to provide them with the accurate and unbiased information that we all need to make informed decisions."

    And I would encourage people to visit Wayland Transparency and Concerned School Parents of Wayland for that reason.

    .
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Well, speculate away then.
    You’re the one who has asserted that a candidate’s supporter gains something, so tell us what you mean.
    I did that in my last post: a supporter of a School Committee candidate might hope to gain a better education, a lower cost education, or both. You omit these possible gains--why?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    I’ll go first by outlining specifically what I would call gains and what I would not.

    Here are some things you might gain by being elected to School Committee:
    • power
    • control over a $30+ million dollar budget
    • esteem
    • something for the resume
    • respect
    • influence
    You missed enjoyment and learning.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    • a pat on the back from your boss & maybe even a raise from your employers, on whose behalf you sold books and software to the town of Wayland (You stated at the League of Women Voters debate that you did not make one dime off of such sales, and I'm not disputing that here. Nonetheless, you clearly gained respect and perhaps more, from your employer for having made them.)
    On this point, you are 100% wrong. Not only have I never made a dime selling anything to the Wayland Public Schools, I've never sold or attempted to sell anything to the Wayland Public Schools. My employer may value the educational learning that I gain from serving on the School Committee, but nothing more.

    I don't know what you are insinuating when you say "perhaps more," but its a vile insinuation that displays your complete ignorance of my profession and my service to Wayland.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Here are some ways I might have benefited from a Baron or Grasso win:
    • the satisfaction of knowing that the candidate I supported won
    To reiterate the point I made above, you're missing hoped-for educational gains and/or cost savings.

  6. #96
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    Default Wow!

    Time off was fine, thanks for asking.

    Not to digress, but it seems there’s really not much to “gain”. We all spin in mystery on a wet, sun-bathed, rapidly human-destroyed rock, floating in an immense void, surrounded by imagination-defying energetic events, and soon, leaving our self-deluded images of “success” way behind, we’ll all be dust.

    That said. Seems we all hope to gain from what we do. In some way. And as humans don’t we all “rationalize” beliefs we already hold (particularly about ourselves and our “goodness”), presenting them as truth. To me, that’s why DF has such potential. Tolerant, open-minded folks figuring things out in a cooperative spirit.

    John, I’ve gone to your web sites. Interesting. But now I’m trying to look forward. Do you want to reopen Loker? Sure, but I would like town government to cost less. So it gets complicated.

    I can see that I gain from better town services, more efficiently delivered. I can also see how others gain from it. We all have a lot in common, if only we could see it. And then together find a path leading to tomorrow.

    donBustin@verizon.net

  7. #97
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    Default Political Science and Gain

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    John, think about this: in what ways does Jeff D gain by being in office?

    Gain doesn't exclusively mean "money". Here's dictionary.com's take on it. I direct you particularly to #5, though #1 is relevant, too.

    gain
    –verb (used with object)
    1. to get (something desired), esp. as a result of one's efforts: to gain possession of an object; to gain permission to enter a country.
    2. to acquire as an increase or addition: to gain weight; to gain speed.
    3. to obtain as a profit: He gained ten dollars by this deal.
    4. to win; get in competition: to gain the prize.
    5. to win (someone) to one's own side or point of view; persuade (sometimes fol. by over): to gain supporters.
    6. (of a watch or clock) to run fast by (a specified amount): My watch gains six minutes a day.
    7. to reach, esp. by effort; get to; arrive at: to gain one's destination.
    In electrical engineering Gain is defined something like this...

    Voltage(out) = Gain * Voltage(In)

    Like an amplifier... so if you put in a small voltage and the amplifier has a Gain = 1.5 then the voltage out is 50% greater than the voltage in.

    So Gain is defined (in this case) as

    Gain = Voltage(out) / Voltage(in)

    So what does this have to do with politics?

    Lets say we have a political amplier...

    SocialResults(out) = Gain * SocialDecisions(in) if the politician does no harm but creates no gain then his/her Gain = 1.0

    Now the results part is quite subjective... so if the output of the formula is subjective then the measurement of Gain is also subjective.

    One might say that political Gain is for the benefit of the society that the leader is guiding and if the social results are for the good of society then the decisions that lead to it were also well founded and the Gain > 1.0

    Taking Loker... there were some dramatic SocialResults that were negative (many feel this way) so in this case the decisions that created that could be said to have a net Gain < 1.0

    On the other side, closing Loker 'may' have saved money. Some think so and some think not... and transparency.com presents information to counter the arguments that the decision was justified either socially or monetarily.

    Science and Politics... this is why they call it Political Science.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    On the other side, closing Loker 'may' have saved money. Some think so and some think not... and transparency.com presents information to counter the arguments that the decision was justified either socially or monetarily.
    Not clear if we're off topic here or not, given the potentially broad scope suggested by the thread topic. Alan, your post above doesn't provide a pointer to the School Committee's position regarding the elementary school reconfiguration. As a convenience to DF readers, please note that the Committee's Q&A on the subject can be found here and its estimate of cost savings can be found here.

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    SocialResults(out) = Gain * SocialDecisions(in) if the politician does no harm but creates no gain then his/her Gain = 1.0

    ...

    Taking Loker... there were some dramatic SocialResults that were negative (many feel this way) so in this case the decisions that created that could be said to have a net Gain < 1.0
    Note that a hypothetical net Gain of less than one may still be the best outcome, a smaller negative number being better than a larger one.

  10. #100
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    Default Continuing this Gain model...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Note that a hypothetical net Gain of less than one may still be the best outcome, a smaller negative number being better than a larger one.
    I'm glad you have picked up on this Political Gain model. I've thought about inputs vs. outputs in terms of Gain for quite a while. So for fun lets continue this...

    Outcome = Gain * Stimulus would be the most general way to state it.

    If the Gain = 0 then the stimulus had no effect on the outcome whatsoever.
    If the Gain < 0 then we get 'unintended outcomes' or impossible outcomes
    1. Pass an override and everybody's taxes go down... is a silly example.
    2. Raise minimum wage to help the working poor and reduce the number of jobs available which hurts the poor even more.... might be a more realistic example.
    3. This also means that the Gain and the Stimulus are more intricately tied to each other.
    4. Selecting Palin as a running mate was supposed to have a Gain > 0 for McCain... I think the Gain was < 0 for Palin

    A Gain which is ~0 is the safest type of Stimulus. These are baby steps which have small incremental effects that don't risk drastic changes.

    An interesting example of a financial Gain that we had in Wayland was this...

    $150K in CPA tax was matched by $150K in state matching CPA which had a Gain = 2.

    $300K = (2) * $150K

    Then the $300K was matched by $700K in private donations to get $1M and voila... a turf field. Here the Gain formula was

    $1M = (3 1/3) * $300K

    Continuing with the engineering analogy... all Gain stages can be cascaded or ...

    Gain(net) = Gain1 * Gain2 * Gain3 * ....

    So...

    $1M = (3 1/3) * (2) * $150K
    $1M = (6 2/3) * $150K

    So the net Gain of the $150K Wayland CPA on the turf field was 6.6666..

    Applying this to subjective things are much more difficult.
    OK... I must be bored tonight.

  11. #101
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    Default Science this ain't

    Suppose we “overpay” teachers and administrators by 25%, thereby having some “gain” (gain = .25 ?) of better teachers. Then, for every four positions we could have a “free” fifth position (gain = .20 ?) if we had paid the lesser amount.

    Now, is this all a gain of .25 or .20 (positive or negative), do we add or subtract gains to find some way to decide, or does gain = 1.0 since we'd get a whole extra teacher?

    don

  12. #102
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    Default You said 'overpay'

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Suppose we “overpay” teachers and administrators by 25%, thereby having some “gain” (gain = .25 ?) of better teachers. Then, for every four positions we could have a “free” fifth position (gain = .20 ?) if we had paid the lesser amount.

    Now, is this all a gain of .25 or .20 (positive or negative), do we add or subtract gains to find some way to decide, or does gain = 1.0 since we'd get a whole extra teacher?

    don
    You used the term 'overpay' which is a derrogatory term which means that we are paying more than we should be for equivalent talent and manpower. With this assumption then the Salary Gain is 1.25 (5/4ths) so that we get a net Gain factor of (4/5ths) which does mean that we loose 20% meaning either that we could employ 20% more for that money or could put that 20% into something else or pocket that 20% back to the taxpayers. So your analysis would be correct if we believed the word 'overpay'.

    If we were not overpaying then this would be the cost of doing business to get equivalent talent or manpower and the Gain would be unity (1.0).

    So along with this quantitative analysis on salary you would also have to justify the Gain analysis based on 'overpaying'...

    Thats my take.

  13. #103
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    From an educational standpoint, I'll take the better teacher with a larger class over a less able instructor and a smaller class. Teacher quality certainly doesn't correlate perfectly to salary, but it's long been Wayland's philosophy to pay well to attract and retain top quality educators. In part, we compensate by opting for class sizes somewhat larger than our peers.

  14. #104
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    Default How would you characterize this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    From an educational standpoint, I'll take the better teacher with a larger class over a less able instructor and a smaller class. Teacher quality certainly doesn't correlate perfectly to salary, but it's long been Wayland's philosophy to pay well to attract and retain top quality educators. In part, we compensate by opting for class sizes somewhat larger than our peers.
    Are you saying that you get what you pay for?
    How does Sudbury do it? My understanding is that they pay less and have equivalent class sizes. Do you know this to be true?

    So if you compared Wayland to Sudbury would you say that Sudbury had an inferior educational product?

  15. #105
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    Based on DESE data, the combined L-S "composite" district (Lincoln + Sudbury + Lincoln-Sudbury) has a somewhat lower per pupil expenditure than Wayland: $12,822 vs. $13,214 (FY07). Student:teacher ratios are equivalent at 13.4:1 (FY08). The average L-S salary is lower than Wayland: $60,349 vs. $64,037 (FY07).

    Several factors/comments to keep in mind:

    • I've seen more recent salary numbers from DESE, but can't find them on their profile page. The updated numbers showed a large jump for Wayland (I don't recall if L-S had a similar effect). The jump appeared to be due more to a decrease in head count than an increase in salary per teacher, but I couldn't make sense of the changes.

    • L-S has 2x the student enrollment of Wayland, giving them the potential for economies of scale.

    • A look at number of administrators showed that L-S has 242.9 students per administrator compared with 282 for Wayland.

    • As for comparative quality of education, I can't say anything definitive. I'd guess that the two systems are pretty close. The metrics that are available are at best partial. On 10th grade MCAS, Wayland scored somewhat better. Ditto for FY07 SAT scores (Wayland ranked 11th in the state, L-S 14th). Boston Magazine recently ranked the L-S high school 2nd in academic performance, with Wayland 8th, but in that ranking, Wayland had better MCAS, SAT, and AP data, so it's not at all clear what drove the L-S position other than student teacher ratio.

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