Obama hurts black children to help Unions

The headline below fails to point out that Obama is effectively killing the voucher program that is helping to better educate DC’s poor black kids.

Now that his kids go to Sidwell Friends, maybe he’s working to keep out the “riff raff.” Perhaps this qualifies as “acting white,” like so many of the soccer moms who supported him. Regardless, this exposes Obama for what he always was, a tool of the greedy interests behind the “Government Education Complex.”

Obama Offers D.C. Voucher Program Extension for Existing Students

The voucher program was created in 2003 and is a Republican favorite, providing low-income students with a maximum $7,500 grant to attend a private or parochial school. All students come from households with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty line, and 8,000 students entered a lottery to participate. But liberal education groups, including the National Education Association, have argued that the experimental program is poorly administered and that voucher recipients have not performed measurably better in their new schools.

In a March 6, 2009 letter to Obama, the NEA president Dennis Van Roekel called the D.C. program “an ongoing threat to public education in the District of Columbia” and urged Obama to “use your voice to help eliminate this threat” by opposing “any efforts to extend this ineffective program.”

As usual, the union hack lies, as the program was/is very effective at “public education” by removing kids from ineffective “Union controlled schools.”

More and more seeing Teachers Unions for what they are.

Keeping the existing system is unsustainable.

Even if pension is cut, teachers get good deal

Look, I don’t really like picking a fight with all the current and retired teachers in the state, not even on the eve of taking my first two of eight unpaid furlough days over the next few months.

(By the way, does anybody remember when the word furlough was only used by military people — and it was a good thing?)

I respect teachers. I value teachers. I don’t think teachers are overpaid (well-paid in many instances, but not overpaid.) I even support a tax increase for schools. Teachers were some of the best influences in my life, and most important, I don’t want my lovely teacher sister-in-law to disinvite me from holiday dinners.

But teachers and the rest of the public employees in Illinois must come to understand the rest of us can’t afford to support their pensions at the current levels. Public pensions are bankrupting our governments, driving the need to raise taxes and are way out of line with the private sector.

To clarify, I’m not talking about reducing one dime of benefits to any current retiree or current teacher — as either would be illegal under Illinois’ Constitution.

Raising the retirement age is NOT a benefit cut. We need a phased in retirement age increase that goes up to 67 years old. They can retire anytime they want, but they can’t collect a dime until they hit 67.

Next, every single percentage of “end-of-career” bonuses needs to be cut. You get your pay, and no fake “raises.”

Edgar and Daley, Sittin’ in a tree

When these two are co-authoring an Op-Ed, you KNOW there is REAL MONEY to be made. Yet again, we are being sold a bill of goods under the rubric of reform. When either of these two Bozos calls for the complete de-Unionization of education, I may start taking them seriously.

Forcing public schools in Illinois to measure up

But the risk of losing new funding pales in comparison to what’s at stake if Illinois fails to change how it approaches education. Illinois has fallen behind the country on virtually all educational measures, and this at a time when the U.S. itself increasingly lags the rest of the industrialized world.

Fewer than 30 percent of Illinois students demonstrate proficiency on national tests, placing the state at or below national averages in all subjects and all grade levels.

Research by the college-testing organization ACT determined that less than a quarter of Illinois high school graduates are ready for college; that drops to 7 percent and 3 percent for Latino and African-American students respectively. Put together, the picture is bleak: For every four freshmen who enter high school, one will drop out, two will graduate unprepared for work or further education and one — just one — will graduate ready for whatever comes next.

So how do we think very, very differently in Illinois? As we gather information and hear from experts, teachers, students and families from across the state and country, a few answers emerge.

Teacher quality and performance are critical factors for student success. A 2006 paper by the Brookings Institution concluded, “If the effects were to accumulate, having a top-quartile teacher rather than a bottom-quartile teacher four years in a row would be enough to close the black-white test score gap.” At the same time, research by the Illinois Education Research Council tells us just the opposite happens in Illinois. According to the IERC, just two schools in the state with high concentrations of poor, minority children have a top-quartile teaching staff, compared with 420 schools serving a more affluent white population. It is time to get serious about recruiting, training and supporting effective teachers to ensure they are serving our most vulnerable students, then evaluating them rigorously and based on student outcomes.

In focusing on teacher quality, we should not minimize the central role played by principals. Research confirms what common sense tells us: Great teachers will not stay long at a poorly run school. If we are serious about employing the most effective teachers, then we must invest in strong leadership. That includes tougher certification, more relevant preparation and more autonomy at the school level.

Thin Gruel from 2 has beens.

The idea that any of this equals reform is laughable. Fund the Child, not the bureaucracy, break the backs of the awful unions, and abolish the school district while converting every school into an independent charter. It’s easy once you throw the greedy off the bus and put the child in the center of the equation.

The Vileness of Teacher’s Unions continues…

If you don’t like my language regarding Teachers’ Unions, you can stinking BILL ME!

Union Greed

I make no apologies. If there is a teacher reading this who thinks I hate them, they too can BILL ME! I don’t hate teachers, but I do admit to a seething disdain for their disgusting unions. Every teacher in America needs to ask themselves if they are professionals concerned with educating a nation’s children, or whether they are lazy, greedy union drones bent on making education more expensive and less effective.

The truth hurts, but so far, all of them have been too cowardly to debate the issue. (here or on the radio show I used to have)

So what brings on this rant? Read on.

Teach for (Some of) America

Here’s a quiz: Which of the following rejected more than 30,000 of the nation’s top college seniors this month and put hundreds more on a waitlist? a) Harvard Law School; b) Goldman Sachs; or c) Teach for America.

If you’ve spent time on university campuses lately, you probably know the answer. Teach for America — the privately funded program that sends college grads into America’s poorest school districts for two years — received 35,000 applications this year, up 42% from 2008. More than 11% of Ivy League seniors applied, including 35% of African-American seniors at Harvard. Teach for America has been gaining applicants since it was founded in 1990, but its popularity has exploded this year amid a tight job market.

So poor urban and rural school districts must be rejoicing, right? Hardly. Union and bureaucratic opposition is so strong that Teach for America is allotted a mere 3,800 teaching slots nationwide, or a little more than one in 10 of this year’s applicants. Districts place a cap on the number of Teach for America teachers they will accept, typically between 10% and 30% of new hires. In the Washington area, that number is about 25% to 30%, but in Chicago, former home of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, it is an embarrassing 10%.

Unions claim the recent grads lack the proper experience and commitment to a teaching career. But the Urban Institute has studied the program and found that “TFA status more than offsets any experience effects. Disadvantaged secondary students would be better off with TFA teachers, especially in math and science, than with fully licensed in-field teachers with three or more years of experience.”

If you support teacher’s unions, you support keeping poor Black and Mexican Children (not to mention poor white kids) uneducated. You have no shame. You disgust me. You are beneath contempt.

Stand up to?!…

Forget “standing up” to them, and just crush them mercilessly.

Obama and the Schools

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said last week that poor children receiving federally financed vouchers to attend private schools in Washington, D.C., shouldn’t be forced out of those schools. Bully for Mr. Duncan. But the voice that matters most is President Obama’s, and so far he’s been shouting at zero decibels.

His silence is an all-clear for Democrats in Congress who have put language in the omnibus spending bill that would effectively end the program after next year. Should they succeed, 1,700 mostly black and Hispanic students who use the vouchers would return to the notoriously violent and underperforming D.C. public school system, which spends more money per pupil than almost any city in the nation yet graduates only about half of its students.

The D.C. voucher program has more than four applicants for every available slot. Parental satisfaction is sky high. And independent evaluations — another is scheduled for release later this month — show that children in the program perform better academically than their peers who do not receive vouchers. This is the kind of school reform that the federal government should encourage and expand.

I doubt Obama has any interest in better educated kids or standing up to teacher’s unions. He’s too much of a creature of collectivization and the dependency on government that comes with it. But one hopes the people of the nation take the lead, and drive the corrupt money changers out of the temple of our education system.

Illinois Blue in more ways than one

The folks at “State and Local Policy Index of the United States” have just released their latest study.

They compare state and local policies across the US to create a measure called Freedom in the 50 States: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom

Talk about a picture being worth 1000 (more like 10,000) words.

A decent Midwestern state, dragged into the same abyss once reserved for corrupt states run by public employee unions.

Save Children, Crush Teacher’s Unions

Being an ideological supporter of school choice, I’m not even sure I want a Michelle Rhee “saving” public schools. As a system, it doesn’t deserve “salvation.” That said, it is good to see some one who understands that the failure of American Public Education is a result of teacher’s unions, and the edifice of greed they have constructed out of our wish to provide our children with a good education.

Michelle Rhee Threatens End-Run Around Teachers’ Union

Michelle Rhee, education chancellor of the District of Columbia — in charge of the worst performing public school system in the nation — has laid down the gauntlet before the Washington Teachers Union (WTU), declaring that she will unilaterally impose a new teacher evaluation system that will result in widespread dismissals of teachers who fail to meet minimum standards.

It’s about time.

Rhee’s comments stunned union officials. “I’m dumbfounded,” said a top American Federation of Teachers (AFT) official involved in the negotiations, declining to publicly identify himself.

“She is correct to say she has the power to unilaterally impose a teacher evaluation system,” the AFT official said, but “all you have to do to get her real agenda is to look at the language she used with you. Words like ‘impose,’ ‘unilaterally,’ ‘regardless,’ and ‘power.’ They all say the same thing. She wants to do it to teachers, not work with them.”

This is the same treatment that the thuggish and corrupt teacher’s unions have imposed upon districts, parents, and legislators for decades. I must admit to that I’m enjoying the spectacle of seeing unions getting a taste of their own bilious medicine.

Teacher’s Unions don’t educate your children, they just make educating them more expensive.

Union Hijinx in District 15

If you know some one in Palatine district 215, forward this video to them.

If you aren’t for school choice…

…Then you can’t call yourself a “progressive.”

I may never see the it, but I live for the day when everybody understands just how much human potential has been destroyed by Teacher’s Unions and the rest of the greedy people who make up America’s public education bureaucracy.

School Superintendent’s Cavalcade of Greed

The greed of the people in question here is palpable. The corruption behind their secretive contract negotiations is rampant. The only question is whether Illinois’ jaundiced and cynical electorate has the decency to get angry about any of this.

Sadly, WIND’s John and Cisco Show covered this issue as only a toady apologist for public education greed can, with Big John comparing useless Superintendents to private CEOs (who frankly have their own issues with greed and opacity), and Cisco playing the outraged taxpayer as tepidly as one could.

‘A platinum parachute’

A Niles Township school superintendent made $411,500 last year — a record in a year that saw top public elementary and high school administrators’ pay climb past $400,000 for the first time.

But the taxpayer tab for Neil Codell, 56, didn’t stop after he left his post June 30.

Codell continued to receive his superintendent’s salary — even while in a lesser job — for an additional six months. Niles Township High School District 219 now faces a potential penalty of well over $100,000 from the Teachers’ Retirement System because of Codell’s early retirement and large spike in pay, state officials say.

“This may turn out to be a platinum parachute by the time all the bills are paid,” said the agency’s executive director, Jon Bauman.

Codell topped the list of a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of teacher and administrator compensation at every public school in Illinois last school year, based on records kept by the state Board of Education. As in years past, the analysis found that most of the highest-paid administrators were at or near retirement and saw their final compensation swollen by annuities, bonuses and pension-fattening perks.

Codell, who oversaw Niles North and Niles West high schools, was no exception.

His contract, signed in January 2005, set his base salary at $182,500 with the option of two 20 percent raises before he retired.

Another contract option, for both Codell and his family, committed the district to cover 100 percent of hospitalization and major medical premiums for 10 years after Codell’s retirement. The deal also included, while he was employed, a $500-a-month auto allowance and a term life insurance policy for twice his salary.

These people are beneath contempt.