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NEA: Poverty Pimp #1

May 19, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, Education, Larry Sand, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

The teachers union not only plays the poverty card, but by battling reforms, ensures that the impoverished will remain that way

No Education Reform Without Tackling Poverty, Experts Say,” is the title of an article on the National Education Association website. Experts? A trip into the weeds leads to something called the Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy at Georgetown University. Its main benefactor is none other than the Open Society Foundations run by former Nazi sympathizer, rabid America hater and megalomaniac, George Soros, a man who once said he saw himself as “some kind of god, the creator of everything.” Expecting anything without an agenda from this bunch would be foolish.

The NEA’s “experts” claim that pouring money into education will eradicate poverty is wrong on all counts. For example, they state that children would be better educated by attending a “high quality pre-school.” Yet Head Start, according to Reason’s Lisa Snell, U. of Arkansas Professor Jay Greene and others, has been a bust. In 2010, Lindsey Burke at the Heritage Foundation wrote,

Taxpayers have been on the hook for more than $100 billion for the Head Start program since 1965. This federal evaluation, which effectively shows no lasting impact on children after first grade and no difference between those children who attended Head Start and those who did not, should call into question the merits of increasing funding for the program, which the Obama administration recently did as part of the so-called “stimulus” bill.

So, $100 billion later, children are no better off attending a preschool, but what’s important to the unions is that more adults are employed. And that means more dues for them to spend on their progressive political agenda which favors causes that have nothing to do with education – e.g. abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, income redistribution, and nationalized health care. In 2010-2011, NEA spent $133 million in lobbying and gifts to further its progressive agenda.
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Stand Up To Bullying Day

May 11, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, California, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

The NEA says that May 4th should be devoted to anti-bullying. Okay, and to be fair, I suggest that we start with the biggest organized bullies in the country – the teachers unions themselves.

The National Education Association celebrated “Stand Up To Bullying Day” on May 4th. Its website is full of advice about how to deal with what it calls “everyone’s problem.” With a solemnity ordinarily reserved for a Sunday morning sermon, NEA has created a pledge

I agree to be identified as a caring adult who pledges to help bullied students. I will listen carefully to all students who seek my help and act on their behalf to put an immediate stop to the bullying. I will work with other caring adults to create a safe learning environment for all the students in my school.

Please note, the union talks only about children bullying other children; there is nothing about adults bullying other adults.
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The Tragic Consequences of Social Justice Education

May 7, 2012 | Filed Under California, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Ethics, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

The president of the National Education Association continues to promote ideas that are anti-American and are turning our kids into progressive, anti-wealth, equality-obsessed robots.

Last week, the drone-like National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel gave a talk at the annual gathering of the Nebraska State Education Association. He unleashed the same tired old class warfare hogwash that teacher union leaders have been yammering about for years. The latest version of this old whine stresses closing corporate tax loopholes. As I wrote last week, the NEA claims the U.S. can recoup $1.5 trillion in taxes if those greedy corporate types would just pay their “fair share.” Van Roekel conveniently omits the fact that NEA took in $400,000,000 in 2010-2011, mostly in dues forcibly taken from its members, and didn’t pay one red cent in taxes.

Van Roekel then reprised another union mantra – claiming that NEA must pursue “social justice.” He said,
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The Second American Revolution

May 6, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, Children, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Ethics, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

If education reformers stick to principle and don’t back down, all other obstacles to victory can be overcome.

Recently, Andrew Rotherham wrote a short piece in The Atlantic in which he describes “The 3 Main Obstacles in the Way of Education Reform.” The first obstacle he mentions is that currently “We buy reform.”

Or at least we try to. Some politicians really think that throwing money at the problem will help and the less principled ones do it because they are trying to pay back certain political allies. The result is that untold billions are taken from taxpayers to support giant bureaucracies on the federal and state levels and to prop up programs that do little or nothing to help the students who desperately need it. Rotherham writes:
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NEA Greed Machine is in Overdrive

April 29, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, California, Children, Democrats/Leftists, Ethics, Government, Larry Sand, Liberals, Los Angeles, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Tax Freedom Day is April 17th. Freedom from teacher union extortion? To be announced.

The National Education Association has thrown itself full force into the “corporate loophole” demagoguery campaign. According to the NEA, children are being victimized by avaricious corporate types who don’t pay their fair share of taxes. The NEA exhorts the American people to “stand up for the middle class and support closing corporate tax loopholes at the federal and state level, so that additional resources can be invested in public education and other services that build our communities.” In a message oozing with class warfare, we learn that “Corporate tax loopholes are costing our schools and communities resources that would help the next generation achieve the American Dream.” (Cue the violins.)

They then post a list of programs that would thrive if the greedy corporate bastards would just pay their fair share – Title 1, Pre-K education, etc. NEA of course fails to mention that these programs, though popular, are essentially federal boondoggles. They don’t really do what they purport to do. They do make work for unionized adults, however, which if you haven’t been paying attention, is all NEA really cares about. But I digress….

Using Citizens for Tax Justice as their source, NEA claims that closing the seven largest corporate tax loopholes would provide an estimated $1.487 trillion in additional revenues over the next ten years. Coincidentally, CTJ just happens to be the union founded and funded lobbying wing of something called the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
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Perverts Prevail in Public Schools

April 19, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, California, Children, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Ethics, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

With teacher union enabling, child abuse goes on unabated.

A male business owner joking about life for homosexuals in prison, forced a junior accountant to bend over a desk, lined up behind him to simulate a sex act, then quipped, “I’ll show you what’s gay.”

An insurance company middle manager who had been warned about touching secretaries brushed his lower body against a new employee, coming so close that she told company investigators she could feel his genitals through his pants.

A corporate vice-president sent text messages to and called one of his female underlings nearly 50 times in a four-week period and, over the winter holidays, parked himself near her home.
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Publishing Teacher Value Added Rankings: Shame on Whom?

April 7, 2012 | Filed Under California, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Ethics, Larry Sand, Liberals | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

The release of teachers’ VA rankings should not be viewed as an attack on teachers, but as a wake-up call for the rest of us.

The recent release of teachers’ value added (VA) rankings by the New York Times reignited a controversy which began when the Los Angeles Times did the same thing in 2010. The value added technique of rating teachers is “based on their students’ progress on standardized tests year after year. The difference between a student’s expected growth and actual performance is the ‘value’ a teacher adds or subtracts during the year.”

The imbroglio has two facets – the first being whether or not teachers can be accurately evaluated by how well their students do on a standardized test. As I wrote in January,

In perhaps the most in-depth study on the subject to date, three Ivy League economists studied how much the quality of individual teachers matters to their students over the long term. The paper, by Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia, tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years, and using a value added approach, found that teachers who help students raise their standardized test scores have a lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates, greater college matriculation and higher adult earnings. (The authors of the study define “value added” as the average test-score gain for a teacher’s students “…adjusted for differences across classrooms in student characteristics such as prior scores.”)

The second and more contentious element of VA concerns itself with who should get to see the teacher’s ranking. Some think it should be just the principal who can use the data to help low performing teachers. Others think that parents should also be allowed to learn about the effectiveness of their child’s teacher. And finally there are those who demand that all people — especially taxpayers — should have access to them. The reasoning, of course, is that since taxpayers are shelling out for the teachers’ salaries, they have a right to know what they are getting for their money.
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Good Teachers: Beware The Ides of March

March 31, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, California, Children, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Government, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | 2 Comments

-By Larry Sand

Julius Caesar came to a bad end on March 15th, the same date many good teachers were warned that they may be unemployed in June.

“Nearly 20,000 Teacher Pink Slips Statewide Show Drastic Need for More Education Funding” screamed the headline on the California Teachers Association website.

First, let’s straighten out the union spin. Typically when a person receives a “pink slip,” it means that they are fired. What some teachers actually received is a Reduction in Force (RIF) notice, which according to state law, must be sent to teachers by March 15th if there is the slightest chance that they will be laid off in June. School districts really don’t know in March what their budget will be for the next school year so they plan for the worst case scenario. It’s unheard of for all teachers who get the notices to actually be laid off, but some will, and they must be notified if there is any chance they will lose their jobs.

As a young teacher in New York City in 1975, I lost my 6th grade teaching because the city was in the midst of a fiscal swoon. A few thousand of us were laid off because we were the newest hires, not because we were the worst teachers. The union contract did not make any provision for getting rid of the poorest performers, just the newly employed. Fast forward 37 years and we are still doing the same stupid thing.
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Seattle Teachers Union Seeks to Ban Teach For America

March 14, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, California, Children, Education, Larry Sand, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions | 1 Comment

-By Larry Sand

Teachers unions, known for fighting to keep pedophiles in the classroom, try to get rid of good teachers in Seattle.

Last week, I wrote about the particularly egregious case of a teacher in Rochester, NY who sent sexually charged emails to her principal and was subsequently jailed for ignoring a restraining order. Upon her release, she returned to the classroom, and in short order was accused of fondling her middle school students. But due to her union’s pressure tactics, the school board cannot get rid of this tenured teacher.

Across the country in Seattle, we now have a situation where it would appear that the local teachers union may have success in getting six teachers removed from the district.

Pedophiles? Of course not. They are talented Teach For America teachers who have received good reviews from their principals. In what could be a new low for teachers unions – and that’s really saying something – it would appear that through heavy pressure from the Seattle Education Association, the Seattle School Board may terminate the contracts of the six teachers for absolutely no good reason.
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School Choice: Time to Move Forward

March 9, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, California, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Ethics, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

As evidence mounts that the government/union education monopoly is failing our children, 2012 should see ramped up efforts to advance school choice.

Last week, Education Week published “What Research Says About School Choice,” in which nine scholars analyze the results of various studies concerning “school choice” – the quaint notion that parents should be able to choose where to send their kids to school. The report boasts no ecstatic claims, nothing about lions and lambs, no Hallelujah moments – just a sober look at the 20 year-old movement to end mandatory zip code school assignments. Some of the findings:

Among voucher programs, random-assignment studies generally find modest improvements in reading or math scores, or both. Achievement gains are typically small in each year, but cumulative over time. Graduation rates have been studied less often, but the available evidence indicates a substantial positive impact.

Among voucher programs, these studies consistently find that vouchers are associated with improved test scores in the affected public schools. The size of the effect in these studies varies from modest to large. No study has found a negative impact.

A third area of study has been the fiscal impact of school choice. Even under conservative assumptions about such questions as state and local budget sensitivity to enrollment changes, the net impact of school choice on public finances is usually positive and has never been found to be negative.

Also last week, the California Charter School Association released its second annual “Portrait of the Movement: How Charters are Transforming California Education.” Not a sales pitch or compilation of cherry-picked data data, the CCSA report is an honest look at California’s 900 plus charter schools which educate about 400,000 students. A few of its many findings:
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Adults’ Rights Come Before Children’s Health and Welfare in Public Schools

March 8, 2012 | Filed Under Children, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Ethics, Government, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Parents send their children to school assuming that kids are its number one priority. But as recent events have shown, public schools are Ground Zero for a culture that puts children last and doesn’t hold adults accountable.

In Waiting For Superman, Michelle Rhee stated that it took her a while, but she finally realized that public education is really about the adults, not the kids. No truer words have ever been spoken. In too many cases, a small group of inept and corrupt adults – district administrators, school boards and teachers unions – is in charge of what has become an increasingly incompetent public education system. Recently, several scandalous events point to deep-seated problems.

First and foremost, we have the Mark Berndt case in Los Angeles. This man sexually abused children for years at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles. For many reasons — including careless dismissal of children’s claims, missing teacher files and operating in a culture of non-accountability — Berndt got away with doing unspeakable things to his students for over 20 years. The system is so perverse that the school district couldn’t get rid of Berndt without going through a lengthy appeals process costing over $300,000. So, when his crimes were exposed, Berndt gamed the system by accepting a $40,000 bribe and retired – but only after racking up another year of credit toward his pension.
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CTA in Bed with the Occupy Crowd? LOL!

February 27, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, California, Democrats/Leftists, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

The California Teachers Association is seeking cover in the Occupy Wall Street movement. The OWS crowd doesn’t understand that CTA and other public employee unions are a major part of the problem.

Last week, part of my post concerned itself with the March 5th “Occupy the Capitol” protest being promoted by the California Teachers Association. I wrote,

“Not only is CTA inviting the OWS rabble, they are calling for teachers to attend, even though it is a school day, thus costing taxpayers all over the state untold thousands in costs for subs and robbing children of a productive school day.”

Little did I know, March 5th was just the tip of the iceberg. The CTA website is now touting a “Week of Action” covering the first seven days of March. Many activities are planned and will be led by various “Occupy” groups that have sprung up like weeds. The result is a grand mishmash of radical organizations coming together to vent their spleen over various and sundry issues, and all links to their activities are available through the CTA website.
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The Brazen Hypocrisy of the Teachers Unions

February 26, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, California, Democrats/Leftists, Ethics, Government, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

When teachers unions wear their duplicity like a bright red bandana, it shows the whole world what they really are about.

Last week, New Jersey Education Association Executive Director Vincent Giordano, who makes over $500,000 a year in salary and assorted perks, shoved his foot in his mouth big time. Appearing on “New Jersey Capitol Report,” he and the host were discussing Governor Chris Christie’s plan to install a voucher system in New Jersey. Such a plan would enable students in the state’s worst performing schools to escape them with a voucher that they could use to attend a private school.

Host: The issue of fairness, I mean this is the argument that a lot of voucher supporters make. People who are well off have options. Somebody who is not well off and whose child is in a failing school, why shouldn’t those parents have the same options to get the kid out of the failing school and into one that works with the help of the state?
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CTA Sponsored Legislation Could Cripple Charter School Growth

February 8, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, California, Democrats/Leftists, Ethics, Government, Larry Sand, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

The California Teachers Association can’t realistically unionize all charter schools, so it promotes laws that limit their numbers.

In Golden Missed Opportunity, recently published in City Journal, I examined the options that families in California have if they want to remove their children from failing public schools. The pickings in the Golden State are rather slim, and those options we do have — charter schools, homeschooling and the Parent Trigger — are constantly imperiled by a governor and state legislators who typically do the bidding of the California Teachers Association, the largest state affiliate of the National Education Association.

Charter schools are public schools which aren’t bound by the bloated union contracts that stifle so many traditional public schools. California has over 900 charter schools that currently educate about 400,000 students. To the union’s consternation, only about 15 percent of these schools are unionized. Of course, the union would like to see a 100 percent rate, but accomplishing that would take too much effort and money. Additionally, the flexibility that non-unionization offers is one of the attractions of charter schools for many teachers.

So instead of unionizing, CTA tries to eviscerate current charter laws or get caps on the allowable number of charters. At this time, there are three pieces of CTA sponsored legislation working their way around Sacramento. In fact, just last week the state assembly voted 45-28 to approve one of them, AB 1172. The bill, now in the Senate Rules Committee, was authored by State Assemblyman and former teacher and union activist Tony Mendoza. If AB 1172 becomes law, it would allow a school board to block the creation of a new charter school if it would have a “negative fiscal impact” on the school district. However, “negative fiscal impact” is never really defined, and California charter law already has clearly defined reasons why new petitions can be denied.
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Jerry Brown and CTA: Testphobic Twins

February 1, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, California, Children, Democrats/Leftists, Larry Sand, Liberals, Los Angeles, Taxes, Teachers Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Children in the Golden State will get a better education when teacher quality becomes a priority

In perhaps the most in-depth study on the subject to date, three Ivy League economists studied how much the quality of individual teachers matters to their students over the long term. The paper, by Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia, tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years, and using a value added approach, found that teachers who help students raise their standardized test scores have a lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates, greater college matriculation and higher adult earnings. (The authors of the study define “value added” as the average test-score gain for a teacher’s students “…adjusted for differences across classrooms in student characteristics such as prior scores.”)

The only caveat from the authors is that using test scores in teachers’ evaluations could lead to “teaching to the test or cheating.” Nothing new here. Some people, when involved in any kind of competition, will try to gain unfair advantage or cheat outright. Typically, it’s a small part of the population and those who do should lose their jobs and face criminal charges.

The lesson is clear: test scores can give us a great deal of information about who the really good teachers are. But California Governor Jerry Brown, unfazed by the blockbuster study, actually called for less testing in his recent State of the State address.
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Exposing a 40-Year Education Crime: Why California Needs School Choice

January 28, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, Business, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Ethics, Jobs, Larry Sand, Liberals, Los Angeles, Public Employees Unions, School Choice, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Busting LAUSD and every other school district in the state for negligence should help kids, but it’s anyone’s guess as to when. In the meantime, giving families more educational options would be a great help, but don’t hold your breath, California.

With National School Choice Week underway, we see many positive things happening across the country. In states like New Jersey and Louisiana, governors are taking the lead in proposing ways to break the devastating monopoly that government run schools – their educrat leaders, corrupt and/or inept school boards and the powerful teachers unions — have held for far too long.

As an example of Big Education gone bad, I write in City Journal about a crime that has been perpetrated on the children of California for 40 years and the lawsuit that addresses it:
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More Pension Truths and Why You Should be Very Angry

January 16, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Larry Sand, Liberals, Pensions, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

How much is that sweet retired teacher who lives down the street draining from your bank account? As the public employee pension mess worsens in California, little Rhode Island shows a way out.

In last week’s post, I focused on “air time,” a little known scheme in California and 20 other states that allows teachers and other public employees to pad their pensions at taxpayers’ expense. Also, not very well known is just how many of Joe and Jill Taxpayer’s tax dollars are going into the pockets of retired teachers.

In California, teachers contribute 8 percent of their pay to their retirement system. Where do the rest of the contributions come from? The current rates include 8.25 percent from the teacher’s employer and 2 percent from the state. But wait a minute. Who is the teacher’s employer? It’s the school district. In Los Angeles, for example, most school district money comes from the state, some from the federal government and the rest is local revenue. Hence, the employer’s contribution is all really the taxpayer’s burden, as the state, city and feds generate no money on their own. So it would be much more honest to say that 10.25 percent comes from the taxpayer.

Let’s look at the taxpayer’s responsibility another way. Sandy, a teacher I know, worked for 24 years in CA and retired at age 61. The amount of money she contributed into the system at retirement (including interest accrued along the way) was about $150,000. Sandy started collecting a pension of about $40,000 year (plus a yearly 2 percent COLA increase) for life. Whatever interest this money accrues over the next few years, Sandy’s contribution will have evaporated in about four years. So, at age 65 she will start living off other people’s money – whatever the “employer” (i.e. taxpayers) kicked in, whatever the “government” (i.e. taxpayers) kicked in and whatever is left, the taxpayers will have to fork over.
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State Sponsored Thievery Continues in Plain Sight

January 7, 2012 | Filed Under Budget, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Ethics, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Teachers and other public employees use “air time” to pick your pocket. The California State Teachers Retirement System tries calming words. David Crane tells the truth and loses yet another job.

Saying that the state teachers’ retirement system is underfunded is the understatement of this or any year and now, CalSTRS is giving us specifics. On December 27th, it said,

“Recent media reports have suggested that to solve the unfunded liability the state will have to increase CalSTRS funding by $3.8 billion a year for 30 years for a total of more than $114 billion. Although this is an accurate statement based on current projections, achieving adequate funding can occur several ways that would be phased in over time. The CalSTRS $56 billion funding shortfall can be managed, but it will require gradual and predictable increases in contributions.”

In fact, saying that the shortfall has to be “managed” is like saying that World War II had to be managed. No, the reality is that there has to be major destruction and rebuilding, no matter how unpopular this will be with the beneficiaries of the theft, their unions and their kick-the-can-down-the-road buddies in Sacramento who are occasionally known as legislators. Tinkering around the edges and “managing” the problem will do little.
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Visitors from Outer Space and Their Strange Ideas About Education Reform

December 30, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, Children, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Larry Sand, Liberals, Los Angeles, Pensions, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

There are those among us who think that teachers unions, collective bargaining and peer assistance review are the way to a better education for kids. They look like earthlings, but in fact are extraterrestrials.

As the year draws to a close, newspapers, magazines and blogs are filled with best of and worst of lists that deal with everything imaginable. The Hoover Institution’s Koret Task Force got on the bandwagon early and posted Best and Worst in American Education, 2011 in November. All solid stuff. Can a reformer not be happy about the Parent Trigger being raked over the coals, yet surviving, or that many of Michelle Rhee’s reforms are still in place despite leaving her post as D.C. Schools Chancellor after a major push from the American Federation of Teachers? On the worst list, the Task Force includes the Atlanta teacher cheating scandal and the union-orchestrated overturn of Ohio’s recent anti-collective bargaining law.

Then lo and behold, we received a dispatch from Planet Ravitch on December 23rd. (Most people are not aware that shortly after astronomers ruled that Pluto was not a planet in 2006, a new planet would be identified. And it is inhabited!) The people who live on this celestial body (named after Diane Ravitch, a former reformer who turned into a champion of the failing status quo) are afflicted with a dyslexic-like condition: they have the entire education reform picture exactly backwards. The way to true reform is to hold their ideas up to a mirror with the resulting image revealing the best way to proceed.
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The ‘Let’s Brainwash American Children Club’ Has a New Member

December 26, 2011 | Filed Under Larry Sand, Public Employees Unions, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Venerable Scholastic has joined progressive educators and teachers unions in an effort to indoctrinate and radicalize American school children.

Scholastic, a student magazine that has been in business for over 90 years, has caught the progressive fever. (H/T Mary Grabar.) This malady affects common sense and good judgment and leads the afflicted to report news from a biased, progressive viewpoint.

In its December issue, Scholastic, which purports to “believe that all sides of the issues of our times should be fairly discussed — with deep respect for facts and logical thinking,” gets all gooey-eyed about the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon, mentioning that OWS concerns itself with “protesters,” “voicing concerns,” “Americans wanting more opportunity to share in company’s prosperity,” and “workers that they feel that they can never get ahead.” To be sure, some of these types are present at OWS events.

But, Scholastic omits a few inconvenient details, like the fact that the OWS camps have been a magnet for Communists, anarchists, street hustlers, and common criminals and have been breeding grounds for murder, rape, vandalism, robbery and anti-Jewish sentiment. The filth left by many of these criminals — I mean protesters — has taxed municipal sanitation systems at great cost to taxpayers. As of December 9th, there were 417 incidents in all. You would think that Scholastic could have managed to mention that all is not sweetness and light in OWSland.
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Tenure for Teachers: Enough is Enough

December 18, 2011 | Filed Under California, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Larry Sand, Liberals, Los Angeles, Public Employees Unions, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Every year untold thousands of school kids are harmed by teachers who shouldn’t be allowed in a classroom. Parents must be given an opportunity to send their children elsewhere.

A teacher arrives at work high on drugs…daily.

A teacher regularly flies into rages, terrifying kids and coworkers.

A teacher talks in explicit terms about sex to the students.

A teacher makes constant sexual advances to other teachers.

A teacher doesn’t teach her students anything.

These are a few of the teachers that new Perth Amboy schools superintendent Janine Caffrey has to deal with on a daily basis. She is quick to point out that most teachers are committed and talented, but there are a few….

The evil here is tenure or permanence, which in New Jersey bestows a position for life on teachers after just three years on the job. (It’s even worse in other states – in California, for example, a teacher can get into the untouchables club after only two years.) Tenure for teachers would be nothing more than a bad joke if it didn’t destroy the education experience for tens of thousands of children who are subjected to incompetent/cruel/perverted people on a daily basis.
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The Route to Teacher Union Extinction: Is the Other Shoe Dropping?

December 13, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, California, Children, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Larry Sand, Liberals, Los Angeles, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

In addition to online learning, Democrat’s abandonment of their traditional union allies could put an end to the educational status quo and decimate the teachers unions

In my October 18th post, I wrote about Terry Moe’s book Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools. I specifically addressed that part of the book in which he builds a scenario for the eventual undoing of the teachers unions. One of the two ways he claims this will happen is via technology, in the form of online learning. The other route to marginalization is the realization by Democrats that education is really a civil rights issue and that they are morally bound to get on board with reform and choice. By adopting this position, they will be abandoning their longtime political allies – the teachers unions.

As with the rapid ascent of online learning, Moe’s second nail in the unions’ coffin is picking up speed. In a recent Huffington Post entry, Joy Resmovits addresses the “new education lobby.
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Indoctrination: A Must Read For Parents, Taxpayers and Everyone Else

December 6, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, California, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Larry Sand, Liberals, Los Angeles, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

To a large extent, the progressives have taken over American education, are transforming it and are doing it in plain sight

Indoctrination: How ‘Useful Idiots’ Are Using Our Schools to Subvert American Exceptionalism is an invaluable book written by Kyle Olson, founder and CEO of the Education Action Group, an organization that is on the frontline of education reform and a champion of school choice.

In this brief and very readable book, Olson describes the ways that the progressives in our society have taken over K-12 education. They have been running most of our elite colleges and schools of education for years now and this step is in keeping with their plan to transform America.

As a public school teacher whose career spanned four decades, I have seen the long march first hand. Perverting the traditional purpose of American education (which has been to make better and more educated citizens), progressives have been inspired by the theories of Paolo Freire, a Brazilian socialist who saw everything through a Marxist class warfare lens.
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California’s Looming Fiscal Disaster: Sunlight and an Informed Public are the Best Disinfectants

November 29, 2011 | Filed Under Anti-Americanism, Budget, California, Democrats/Leftists, Economy/Finances, Ethics, Larry Sand, Liberals, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

With the state and various cities on the brink of insolvency, it’s imperative that the electorate become more informed and demand that school districts and teachers unions do their negotiating in public.

This past Sunday’s Los Angeles Times above-the-fold headline screamed “Voters back tax hikes for schools.” It was déja-vu all over again. As I wrote in September,

“… a poll which is biased and does not take into account the knowledge of the people being polled is misleading and dangerous. The public is led to believe that the responders are perceptive and knowledgeable, when in reality so many are not.”

(And I could have added that a poll that misleads or misinforms its respondents is the most dangerous of all; I’ll address that shortly.)

The Times article reported that a USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Frequency Questionnaire released last week showed that 61 percent of those surveyed said they would pay higher taxes to boost school funding.

As I read those words, I wondered,
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Teachers are Overpaid and Underpaid

November 21, 2011 | Filed Under California, Education, Larry Sand, Los Angeles, Public Employees Unions, Teachers Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

A new study claims that public school teachers are overpaid. Are they? Depends.

An ongoing whine from teachers unions and their fellow travelers is that public school teachers don’t earn enough money. But according to Andrew Biggs, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute scholar and Jason Richwine, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, it is just not true. In fact, in a recently released study, they find that teachers are overpaid. Typically teachers have many perks like excellent healthcare and pension packages which aren’t counted as “income.” Armed with facts, charts and a bevy of footnotes, the authors make a very good case for their thesis. For example, they claim,

“Workers who switch from non-teaching jobs to teaching jobs receive a wage increase of roughly 9 percent, while teachers who change to non-teaching jobs see their wages decrease by approximately 3 percent.
“When retiree health coverage for teachers is included, it is worth roughly an additional 10 percent of wages, whereas private sector employees often do not receive this benefit at all.
“Teachers benefit strongly from job security benefits, which are worth about an extra 1 percent of wages, rising to 8.6 percent when considering that extra job security protects a premium paid in terms of salaries and benefits.
“Taking all of this into account, teachers actually receive salary and benefits that are 52 percent greater than fair market levels.”

Needless to say, the usual suspects are none too pleased with the report. A teacher-blogger going by New York City Educator calls his piece, “‘That’s Just Mean’: Bullies at the Heritage Foundation.” Okay, whatever.
Read more


Fake Teacher Evaluation Racket is Busted in Los Angeles

November 14, 2011 | Filed Under Anti-Americanism, California, Children, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Ethics, Larry Sand, Liberals, Los Angeles, Public Employees Unions, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Parents sue the LA school board and teachers union, forcing them to obey a law that they have ignored for 40 years.

There is nothing new about unions bullying weak-kneed school districts, but this may be the mother of all abuses– for forty years, school districts and unions have collaborated to break the law in California. According to the Stull Act (Section 44660 of the state’s education code), part of a teacher’s evaluation is required to include a student achievement component, but this has not happened anywhere in the state. Last week, after consulting with EdVoice, a reform advocacy group in Sacramento, parents of some students in Los Angeles Unified School District sued the school district and teachers union for what amounts to a dereliction of duty. While the lawsuit is aimed at LA, it will have state-wide ramifications.

Originally enacted in 1971, the Stull Act, named after State Senator John Stull, was amended in 1999 to include,

“The governing board of each school district shall evaluate and assess certificated employee performance as it reasonably relates to:

The progress of pupils toward the standards established pursuant to subdivision (a) and, if applicable, the state adopted academic content standards as measured by state adopted criterion referenced assessments….”

In other words, a part of a teacher’s evaluation is supposed to be contingent on how well his students do on state mandated tests. This is hardly a radical notion, as half the states in the rest of the country now evaluate teachers in part by student performance on these tests.
Read more


Unions Continue to Swindle the Public

November 8, 2011 | Filed Under Illinois, Larry Sand, Pensions, Public Employees Unions, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Unions are still treacherous, but with a generous helping of legislative malfeasance, their tactics are more subtle.

“On the Waterfront” portrayed union power at its rawest. In the 1950s, the unions typically got their way with nothing less than brute force. But today the tactics are different. In “Pretty Boy Floyd,” Woody Guthrie sang, “Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen.” The unions are well entrenched in the “fountain pen” camp and recently, Illinois has been in their crosshairs.

In September, the Chicago Tribune broke a story about Dennis Gannon, a former sanitation worker who became a president of the Chicago Federation of Labor. He went back to work for the city for one day, then took a leave of absence and was legally allowed to collect a $158,000 pension, about five times the average sanitation worker.
Read more


CTA Dons Victim Guise and Joins OWS Crowd

October 31, 2011 | Filed Under Budget, California, Children, Education, Larry Sand, Public Employees Unions, Taxes, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

It’s almost Halloween and the California Teachers Association, a rich and powerful outfit, is in costume as one of the “99%ers” – protesters who claim to be have-nots

A couple of weeks ago United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten made sympathetic statements about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Now the California Teachers Association has jumped in with a full endorsement and suggestions on its website as to how teachers and others can get involved in OWS activities.

Stunning in its mendacity, CTA issued a press release (H/T Mike Antonucci) which announced its “support of the nationwide ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement for tax fairness and against corporate greed.” It goes on to say, “…a stable tax structure begins with everyone paying their fair share.”
Read more


Teachers Unions: On the Road to Extinction?

October 23, 2011 | Filed Under California, Children, Democrats/Leftists, Education, Larry Sand, Public Employees Unions, Teachers Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Online learning is the wave of the future, but teachers unions still have a Paleocene mentality

In his extraordinary book Special Interest, Terry Moe writes about the massive power of the teachers unions. After much gloom and doom, in the final chapter of the book, he manages to convey some hope about the future. Emerging technology-based education, he asserts, is the “long-term trend…, and the unions cannot stop it from happening.” Online teachers from different states and countries will be much harder for the unions to corral and control.

However, according to a post on hotair.com by Tina Korbe, the University of California chapter of the American Federation of Teachers hasn’t gotten the message yet. University of California schools, which are in dire financial straits, have begun using online education programs as a way to save money. As a result, some lecturers’ jobs could be done away with. However, their union is using its collective bargaining power to ensure that every job, no matter how unnecessary, will be saved.

“… the California lecturers, who make up nearly half of the system’s undergraduate teaching teachers, believe they have used … bargaining power to score a rare coup. The University of California last week tentatively agreed to a deal with UC-AFT that included a new provision barring the system and its campuses from creating online courses or programs that would result in ‘a change to a term or condition of employment’ of any lecturer without first dealing with the union.”

In other words, the union is determined to keep all its dues-paying members on the payroll whether they are needed or not, whether we can afford them or not. The fact that there are some excellent online classes and that their use would save the beleaguered taxpayers of California bushels


Steve Jobs vs. Wall St. Whiners and Teachers Unions

October 17, 2011 | Filed Under Business, California, Capitalism, Economy/Finances, Larry Sand, Public Employees Unions, Teachers Unions, Unions | Comments Off

-By Larry Sand

Steve Jobs knew how to create wealth. The parasitic Wall Street protesters and teachers unions want to destroy it

There are many theories as to who is orchestrating the “Occupy Wall Street” protests – known in some circles as “Kamp Alinsky” and “Kamp Kvetch” – in lower Manhattan and elsewhere throughout our country. George Soros? President Obama? Could they possibly be spontaneous?

No matter. The protesters and their message of social justice, socialism and general hatred of all things corporate will not affect the great majority of Americans. The average Joe and Jill are just trying to pay their bills, raise a family and live a decent life. Hence the Wall Street rabble, a motley combination of bored teenagers, old guard lefties and hard core partiers, many armed with iPhones, digital cameras and many other luxuries produced by corporations, are badly missing the mark. As usual, the protesters’ signs tell the story – none more so than the one that says, “A job is a right. Capitalism doesn’t work.” Could any serious types associate with this fringe mentality?

Enter Michael Mulgrew – the United Federation of Teachers president. Speaking “truth to power,” his tax-the-rich talk at a Wall St. rally fit right in with the angry mob that thinks wealth is evil and that if A has more money than B, A owes B some of it. It’s the mentality that thinks that there is no moral difference between Bernie Madoff and Bill Gates.
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