Some new respect for Sen. Meeks

I can proudly say that I take a back seat to no one in lambasting politicians that kowtow to teacher’s unions. I’ve raked Sen. Meeks over the coals a few times on this site.

I can now say that, whatever differences we may have, I applaud the fact that he is throwing the Teacher’s Unions under the bus. I will gladly help him if he wants to roll that bus back and forth over their carcass a few times.

Save Children, Crush Teacher’s Unions.

This is what happens when you buck the Teacher’s Unions

Locke High School’s progress

Nearly three months into the school year, the changes at Locke are obvious. Last year, when it was still run by the Los Angeles Unified School District, Locke was known for student brawls, rampant graffiti, ditched classes and a dropout rate so high that the senior class was routinely one-fourth the size of the freshman class.

This year, the halls are virtually empty during class. Teachers and aides say the campus is almost graffiti-free, and fights have diminished from one a day or so to less than one a month. Tardiness and ditching are down, now that both of those bring detention. Student attendance for September and October averaged 92%, close to that at suburban high schools.

Any Illinois legislator that votes against charter school expansion should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. They are voting for evil because they are stopping good things from happening - to their very own constituents!!!

Some one tell the Rev. Meeks his priorities are screwed up. He and the Urban League should be suing for charter schools, not more money for his greedy benefactors – the teacher’s unions. I’d like the fiery Rev. Meeks to debate me on converting every school to an independent charter. I’ll even come to his church on a Sunday, though I reserve the right to bring some chicken wire. By the time I’m done, he may be asking to borrow it. His constituents deserve to know the level of disservice he is doing them.

It’s time some one exposed these charlatans for the Carnival Hawkers they are.

Why “Bureaucracy-Based Education” fails every one except the Bureaucracy

You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats, procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing. – Thomas Sowell

This is why Reverend Meeks’ publicity stunt is being hailed by both Meeks, the New Trier Bureaucracy, and their lapdogs in the Illinois Media as such a success. Procedurally, it went off with out a hitch, and, based upon the solutions promoted by Meeks, will accomplish exactly nothing for the poor kids bused up there as stage props for greedy teacher’s unions and their administrator lackeys.

What next? Will the Tribune Endorse my Education Plan?

OK, so the Chicago Tribune isn’t as rhetorically aggressive as I am on Education, but it’s nice to see that they are cranking up the rhetoric on Sen. Meeks and his clever publicity stunt. It isn’t as if Meek’s stunt isn’t intellectually accurate (Wilmette v. Chicago schools and the “Educational Apartheid” brought about by the “District Model.”

It is that Meek’s is intellectually dishonest, in that he is merely trying to dump cash into the maw of the corrupt and wasteful “public education industry.” (at least the Trib is starting to use some of my rhetoric)


In Return for More Money…

That’s your real problem, Sen. Meeks. Illinoisans have been here before. They’re infuriated by what passes for education in too many of our schools. But they’re deaf to your calls for more state tax money in large part because they don’t trust the public-education industry to concern itself with much beyond bigger paychecks for its workers.

But, Sen. Meeks, if you demand not just more money but also much more accountability, you won’t be so alone.

Not that the headline-hungry governor of this state has done you a favor by calling a special legislative session next week to address school-funding reform. That merely sends the phony message that Illinois’ school funding formula can be fixed in a day.

It can’t, and thus it won’t. Some of your colleagues who demanded action from the governor can pretend they will accomplish something that matters. They won’t.

What might matter, Sen. Meeks, is that you want a new funding formula, and evidently you’re not going away quietly this time. You’re going to make life miserable for a lot of your fellow Democrats who have so little to show for their stewardship in Springfield.

So you have a choice. You can echo the teachers unions and chant “More money for education,” which likely will result in another year without funding reform. Or you can challenge the education establishment to deliver more accountability in return for a jump in the $20 billion it already consumes.

We can’t guarantee that the latter strategy would get you every dollar you want, Sen. Meeks. We can, though, guarantee that it would produce better educations for the schoolkids who now are pawns of Illinois politicians from the governor on down.

If you want to read the Executive Summary of what Meeks SHOULD be promoting, go HERE.

Daily Herald Flubs the 2nd Lesson…

Last week, I complemented the Daily Herald for it’s great start on its series on ‘school finance in Illinois.’ Any time a newspaper exposes BIG EDUCATION for the coddled industry that it is, they are on the right track.

I’m less impressed with this week’s installment. They continue to promote the misrepresentation about the “state’s fair share.”

Chapter 2: Unequal state equalizer

The Illinois Constitution assigns the state the primary responsibility for financing public schools.

The state doesn’t live up to that responsibility.

Not by a long shot.

In the 10 school years from 1996-97 through 2005-06, the state supplied just 29 percent of the money collected by all Illinois public schools. With only three sources of funding — state, federal and local government — 29 percent can hardly meet anyone’s definition of “primary.”

In the property-rich suburbs, the state contribution is particularly paltry.

Over the past decade, the state contributed 16 percent of all the revenue collected by the 94 districts in the Daily Herald coverage area.

And that doesn’t count the bond debt local school districts took on.

Critics of the state’s funding system key in on the discrepancy between the demands of the state Constitution and what the state actually delivers. They say the system creates inequalities among poor and wealthy districts.

The last sentence in certainly true. The current education funding in Illinois creates an educational apartheid that should have blacks and the poor marching in the streets. It’s too bad that the Daily Herald only tells half the story.

The first half is correct. The funding system is horribly inequitable – corrupt even – as the rich districts wallow in property wealth (much of which goes to feather-bedding and waste) as poor districts struggle with ways to pay filthy administrators filthy wages.

Oh! The unfairness of it all!!

The Herald missed a wonderful opportunity to inform their readers of the second part of the funding saga. Ready! Here it is!

The education portion of your property tax is a state authorized tax! This means that every dollar of your education property tax is STATE MONEY.

Is this unfair? Sure, the rich get educated while the poor stay ignorant. But by mis-reporting this simple fact, the Herald continues with the myth that we need to raise taxes on the whole state while keeping the property tax where it is. This would be a travesty.

What this state needs is a REAL PROPERTY TAX SWAP (not Ralph Martiries fake nonsense) that drains the rich districts of their engorgement on property tax dollars. It shocks the conscience that charletans like Meeks and Martirie cynically beating the drums of “inequity” for the poor while promoting a “tax swap” will not lower your property taxes more than a few dollars – and then only for a year or so.

Let us await the next 8 installments to see if the Daily Herald comes up with. But if doesn’t tell the truth about state taxes, how will they arrive at a decent solution?

The Worst Education System Your Property Tax Dollars Can Buy

Test scores sink to new low

Statewide passing scores on the Illinois high school achievement exams dropped to a new low this year, according to data released Wednesday.

High school juniors passed only 52.6 percent of the state math, science and reading exams they took in April. It’s the lowest pass rate since the state began giving the Prairie State Achievement Exam in 2001. The passing rate last year was 54.3 percent.

The biggest drop came in reading, where only 54 percent of students met standards, compared with 58 percent last year.

The decline comes as national, state and local education leaders continue to struggle with how to fix American high schools.

These lying pikers will try everything but what works – School Choice. Meeks, Martire, and the greedy liars of the teacher’s unions, the IASB and IASBO will try every trick in the book to scam you out of more money. But they will not let you choose the school that is best for your child.

They are a class of pathological liars. You live in a world of denial if you continue to support them.

Dismantling the entire system is the only answer, and the longer you deny it, the more you hurt America’s children.

30 Days in the Hole…(thank you John Fritchey)

BIG HAT TIP to John Fritchey!!

I was surfing the IL Blogosphere when I came across John Fritchey’s post on the 30 day budget extension that just passed.

He titled his post (brilliantly, I might add) “30 days in the hole,” bringing to mind one of my favorite rock songs from the 70s.

Well, doing what talk show hosts do, I threw together some lyrics to fit Rep. Fritchey’s great idea.

If you have a copy of “30 Days in the Hole” by Humble Pie, play it along side the words below.


____

30 days in the Hole…

All right, all right, all right

Chicago Greed
Talkin’ bout Senator Meeks
A dirty Guv. and some Golden pensions
Give me my release

I speak Stroger-eze
And I’ll break all your knees
Unless you hire my friends, and my cousins
And give them fat salaries

30 days in the hole…refrain

The State’s in the Red
at $9000 a head
but the greasy whores in the legislature
keep themselves well-fed

They wanna sell our roads
To feather bed the school code
They buy the urban vote
with entitlement poison
and we have less to take home

30 days in the hole…refrain

Voice over – refrain

Pass the tax increase boys – or you’re here for 30 days

G-G-G R T tax, or I’ll cut off your Funds

Blacks and the Liberal Plantation

A few years ago, the Wall Street Journal used the term “Liberal Plantation” to describe the misuse of blacks by liberal white elites. The term isn’t used any more, but the abuse still goes on.

(hat tip – Bros Judd)

Democrat presidential hopefuls shun Fox News debate

WASHINGTON — Four years ago, the leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus began looking for a television outlet to co-sponsor and broadcast a presidential debate to address the concerns of minority voters.

Only one news channel made a proposal acceptable to the caucus, and an unlikely channel at that: Fox News, in what some Democrats viewed as an effort to associate itself with a group that could help it make good on its claim of presenting “fair and balanced” news coverage.

But now that relationship is being shaken by the decision of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina to shun the debate, a move that has exposed fault lines among two major constituencies of the Democratic Party. While the withdrawals frustrated members of the black caucus, it mollified liberals who had objected to the involvement of Fox News, whose programming includes some of the most conservative and pro-Republican commentary on the air.

Like the post below, which illustrates Illinois State Senator Meeks shilling for elite liberal teacher’s unions instead of promoting good policies for “his people,” the story above illustrates just how shallow the liberal elite truly is.

What better place to have “the unconverted” hear your message than to be able to preach in their venue? Fox viewers might learn a thing or two if this debate took place on their channel. But alas, the shallow and obtuse “liberal elite” want to “send a message” to the Evil Fox Empire. How infantile.

Here again, we see the so-called “black leadership” (Obama, Meeks, Jackson) marching to the tune of the Rich White Liberal Elites (Howard Dean comes to mind) of the Democratic Party. We can’t have blacks watching Fox, afterall.

Meeks & Martire – Standing at the Schoolhouse Door, Denying the Poor a Quality Education

Any one who argues that we need to give the existing School Bureaucracy another dime before radical reforms are in place needs to be taken to task.

The story below (Today’s Trib) is about a charter school. Any one who is against the expansion of charters isn’t interested in children, they are interested in lining Teacher Unions’ and Administration Drones’ pockets. It’s time some one told them so.

Rev. Meeks needs to be called to the carpet. Why isn’t he fighting to create 100s of schools like the one below?

School gives boys the key to becoming real men

As the academy completes the first year of its experiment to reverse the abysmal high school graduation rate among black male students — the lowest of any group in the city — administrators say they are getting some traction in the classroom.

But they know that success hinges on expanding notions of what a black man can be: a scholar, a gentleman, a leader.

“It was very important, when we started Urban Prep, to get the culture right, to create a strong, positive sense of community within the school,” said Tim King, 39, who founded the academy with a group of African-American leaders in education, business and civics.

The Urban Prep culture is embodied in the 18-line creed chanted every morning during an assembly known as Community. The creed begins and ends with two powerful words: We believe.

____

As to the argument that these schools ‘take money’ away from the local ‘districts’….Well Duh!!!!

The school choice movement needs to become far more aggressive in its attack on the existing system. Reform plans that capitulate to the “more money” argument will eventually fail, as the costs to maintain both systems rise.

Bad schools should lose money as they lose students, and good schools shouldn’t be prevented from coming into existence. Any one arguing otherwise isn’t using common sense.

The Evidence is Overwhelming…

…and it is time to overwhelm the corruption and waste that is standing in the way of educating our nation’s children. There is one word (maybe two) to describe people who say “school choice doesn’t work.” They are either willfully ignorant, or simply liars.

Free to choose, and learn
New research shows that parental choice raises standards—including for those who stay in public schools

FEW ideas in education are more controversial than vouchers—letting parents choose to educate their children wherever they wish at the taxpayer’s expense. First suggested by Milton Friedman, an economist, in 1955, the principle is compellingly simple. The state pays; parents choose; schools compete; standards rise; everybody gains.

Simple, perhaps, but it has aroused predictable—and often fatal—opposition from the educational establishment. Letting parents choose where to educate their children is a silly idea; professionals know best. Co-operation, not competition, is the way to improve education for all. Vouchers would increase inequality because children who are hardest to teach would be left behind.

But these arguments are now succumbing to sheer weight of evidence. Voucher schemes are running in several different countries without ill-effects for social cohesion; those that use a lottery to hand out vouchers offer proof that recipients get a better education than those that do not.

Given that OUR schools push fake diversity, identity politics, and multi-culti Balkanization, it is clear that “social cohesion” is not on their agenda.

Voucher programmes in several American states have been run along similar lines. Greg Forster, a statistician at the Friedman Foundation, a charity advocating universal vouchers, says there have been eight similar studies in America: seven showed statistically significant positive results for the lucky voucher winners; the eighth also showed positive results but was not designed well enough to count.

The voucher pupils did better even though the state spent less than it would have done had the children been educated in normal state schools. American voucher schemes typically offer private schools around half of what the state would spend if the pupils stayed in public schools. The Colombian programme did not even set out to offer better schooling than was available in the state sector; the aim was simply to raise enrolment rates as quickly and cheaply as possible.

One point that our wimpy school choice movement (face it, they have the facts and the right issue, but they are afraid of attacking the public school monopoly) fails to stress in these comparisons is the fact that all of these voucher “tests” are hobbled out of the gate.

The first state that goes to universal, fully-funded (none of this $500 or $2000 tiddley winks), fully-equalized (per child) school choice will show dramatic and spectacular results. Those results will be even more explosive for Meeks’ “people” than for anyone else.

These results are important because they strip out other influences. Home, neighbourhood and natural ability all affect results more than which school a child attends. If the pupils who received vouchers differ from those who don’t—perhaps simply by coming from the sort of go-getting family that elbows its way to the front of every queue—any effect might simply be the result of any number of other factors. But assigning the vouchers randomly guarded against this risk.

Opponents still argue that those who exercise choice will be the most able and committed, and by clustering themselves together in better schools they will abandon the weak and voiceless to languish in rotten ones. Some cite the example of Chile, where a universal voucher scheme that allows schools to charge top-up fees seems to have improved the education of the best-off most.

The strongest evidence against this criticism comes from Sweden, where parents are freer than those in almost any other country to spend as they wish the money the government allocates to educating their children. Sweeping education reforms in 1992 not only relaxed enrolment rules in the state sector, allowing students to attend schools outside their own municipality, but also let them take their state funding to private schools, including religious ones and those operating for profit. The only real restrictions imposed on private schools were that they must run their admissions on a first-come-first-served basis and promise not to charge top-up fees (most American voucher schemes impose similar conditions).

The result has been burgeoning variety and a breakneck expansion of the private sector. At the time of the reforms only around 1% of Swedish students were educated privately; now 10% are, and growth in private schooling continues unabated.

Sweden, huh? That red state bastion of gay-bashing. The truth is that 100% fully-funded school choice should be the goal of every decent “progressive.” No issue is better at separating the decent and forward thinking progressive from the bureaucracy worshipping political hack than school choice.

Get out the 2 x 4 and start swinging. We’re right. They are wrong. There is no intellectually sound argument against 100% fully-funded school choice.