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The now famous high stepping Wal*Mart video  mentions that point….

Now, the meme of bashing Wal*mart  and fast foods has gotten a little blaze and to be honest, when I first saw the flash mob at Walmart on the national sites, as a person with little time, I passed.

But on Delaware Liberal, I opened it in another tab, and was listening to it as background and all of a sudden…..  it stopped for a half second and then…

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

The answer in my head was … “no, i didn’t…”

The second answer was… “of course I did.” which made me more intrigued by my original answer.  Why on earth did I think it was bad for these people to interrupt business as usual to demonstrate for something affecting I think, one person?

As this “wow moment” started to dawn on me, I realized I’d been brainwashed’… Over time.  it had really happened.  My gut, had been  over-ruling my head….  it’s a business. They should call the police. They should fire everyone involved…   Demonstrations are really ineffective blowing off of steam…

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

How many others out there would say “no” … How many others out there really don’t know it is their right to form a union?  That anyone can form a union?  It is legally protected.

Oh, they can threaten to fire you if you join… And they can fire you….

But if they do… you can sue… and even better, under current law, you can sue them and win.  Win big!

You can make them pay you for all back wages you lost.  So finacially it is just like you were working but having the entire time off.

You can make them pay all your damages, including late fees on bills you couldn’t pay because the illegally fired you. You can make them pay interest on all loans you took out to live on, even if they came from family.  If you Dad gives you a loan at 1000% interest, they have to pay that… and to your Mom, your brothers, your sisters, your aunts, and uncles…  Your whole family and friends can get rich off them because they fired you for forming a union!

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

The business may respond to the legal judgment ,  “Screw you , we are closing”.  But if they close they will still have to pay you for all the damage they cause you because they fired you for forming a union… You still win! And win BIG!

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

How is it that our newspapers don’t remind us of this.  How is it that Unions are painted to be the bad guys, because they make a business lose money?  Why isn’t the business painted as the bad guy, for stealing potential earnings out of each and every employee working for them…

Some may think forcing a union on a business is unfair.  Racist states often use this argument.  Why should White owned businesses pay more for black people’s labor?   That is why ALEC (in Delaware associated with Patty Blevins) was invented:  to protect White Businesses’ interests.   And still unfortunately, in some states, there were enough white people still agreeing that black people as well as to  those whites who associate with them, should be paid inferior wages,so much so that with ALEC’s help, enough votes were mustered to pass state anti-union laws..

But historically there were laws that once said: slavery was legal. Despite bad law, morally it was still everyone’s right to be free….

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

It is your right to form a union.  Existing law is crystal clear.   Why was this decided?  What is the moral argument behind it?

Simple.  You have to eat.  Bottom line.  If someone says  I have to pay you $6.00 an hour because I’m not making enough money, and you can’t get money anywhere else, you work for $6.00 and hour.  If he counters that he can only pay $5.00 an hour, and you can’t make money anywhere else, you will  do his bidding for $5.00 an hour.  Why not $4 then?  Why not $3 then?  Why not $2 then?  Why not $1 then?  Why not .25 cents then?

You have to eat.

There is no bargaining chip in your favor…  Your employer if legally allowed, would pay the lowest rate possible to still have employees. When there are more employees than positions,  wages could drop very low…. because you have to eat.

America went through the Great Depression primarily because of this… Even business leaders realized from that experience that by making their employees so poor, no one was buying the products they were making…

And so they agreed: “If we make our employers have disposable income, they can buy our products and we can again make money”.  So the legal basis was almost unanimously approved  by both businesses and labor, to make the right to strike just that.  a basic human right protected by the full force of the law…   Simply because paying workers higher wages is good for increasing overall demand. and that is what drives economies forward.

“Hold It! Did You Know? It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

Basically, a union is the answer to this counter argument:   “why should you, the investors, get all the money off our labor, and we get none?” Admittedly both of us should get something decent from our arrangement….

And there you go.  America did do very well… that is, until our media became influenced by investors (who now own them btw) and started painting unions as a scourage…  Missing from all press coverage, was the simple fact that one has to act scouragingly when bargaining with fellow scourages…  Sort of like not realizing that your hero prize fighter has to hurt people.  It’s necessary to stay in the ring…

So I encourage all reading this to now begin talking up unions in your workplace… Because if you get fired for any reason afterwards, you can blame it on the legal right to form a union….  it is like a wonderful vacation in which you still will get paid, probably even more than if you’d put up with the bosses crap the whole damn time….!

Now… you know!   It Is Your Right To Form A Union!”

Yeah.

It really is your “right.” and it is protected by law.  Now, go get them tigers!

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A bill was placed on the docket to change Delaware Law.  It was supposed to slip through the last minute when no one was watching.    That is Blevins SB 151 regarding the Treasury…   Since it was a surprise, a lot of hoopla as been thrown  in the fire by pundits reacting to the impact of first impressions.   In their defense that was all they had to go on…

Due to time constraints this investigation will take a series of small steps, probably spread across Delaware’s official blog circuit, with help from Starkey of the News Journal

But to back up the word coup in my title,  I first want to show you how the original language was written then show you how it looked with the changes after SB 151.  Of course this was stated as necessary to keep the state treasure in line, a ploy that El Som and Cassandra seem to have swallowed hook, line and sinker.

First the original bill:

For those who follow along (you all are great) here is the passage number  Title 29; 2716(a)(2)

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(1) Require as a condition to any deposit of such funds in any state or national bank or savings and loan institution that such deposits be continuously and fully secured by direct general obligations of or obligations the payment of the principal and interest on which are unconditionally guaranteed by the United States of America or other suitable obligations as determined by the Board;

(2) Require that the selection of financial institutions to provide banking and investment services pursuant to this section be conducted on an open and competitive basis; and

(3) Require that temporary clearing accounts as well as major disbursement accounts be established in a bank or banks whose principal office is located within the State.

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That was the original piece of legislation.  Patty’s bill seeks to amend the section 2 of that piece, the embolden area.  From SB 151…

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(2) Require that the selection of financial institutions to provide banking and investment services pursuant to this section be conducted on an open and competitive basis as defined by the Board.; It shall be the responsibility of the Board to approve the selection of each of the said financial institutions by a majority vote of the members of the Board. The Board, by a majority vote of its members, shall be responsible for setting the policy as to the allocation between short and long term investments and the allocation of funds to the respective financial institutions selected through the open and competitive process; and

===

Notice a “lot” of new language. In the synopsis this was sold as a clarification of the responsibilities of the board and the trimming of the responsibilities of the Treasurer. Instead, in what is now typical Markell modus of operandi, this if more of a surreptitious law-change than a clarification.

Previously the directive was this should be done in on an open and competitive basis. The previous directive specifically states this further down: 2716 (e)(1)

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The investment of money belonging to the State shall be made by the State Treasurer in accordance with policies established by the Board and subject to the terms, conditions and other matters, including the designation of permissible investments relating to the investment of the money belonging to the State,

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It is obvious to all that the existing law separates the Treasurer specifically out from all other board members when it comes to the investment of the state’s finances.

And that was really all existing code says in regards to the investment portfolio of the state’s money.

But, the new law, the one proposed by Blevins titled SB 151, makes HUGE changes. Now the board must make that decision. The board which according to Title 29; 2716(c)(4):

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The Board shall meet as often as shall be necessary to properly discharge its duties; provided, however, that the Board shall meet at least 2 times annually; and provided further, that the State Treasurer or the Chairperson of the Board shall be authorized to call special meetings of the Board.

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and 2716 (c)(2)

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a quorum of 5 members shall be necessary to hold a meeting of the Board.

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and 2716 (d)(5)

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The use of teleconferencing or videoconferencing is authorized for use in conducting meetings of the Cash Management Policy Board.

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Even now under existing policy only 3 people out of nine, if they time their conference-call correctly, can decide the future investment strategy of this state. Patty Blevin’s law would now give those three people (whomever they might be) unprecedented power and remove the current oversight of the only elected official responsible to the public.

“Coup” is the proper term for it.

Here is a copy of Markell’s State of the State speech. i wanted to take his speech and break it down, piece by piece, and analyze it.

Bear with me. If your are following along or wrote this speech, I am only concerning myself with the part under the headline: A Great Economy Demands Great Schools

The impetus seems to be on: providing a world class education…. That sounds great and when I heard it first, I cheered it on. But now if you pressed me I couldn’t define it. How does one determine a world class level for education? Especially nations where many different languages are spoken? Some nations require many languages in their curriculum. They succeed but at a cost to high math scores. Some nations do well on math scores. They fail on creativity and ethics. We will soon be competing with the world for jobs. So do we model our education on Finland? On India? On China? or do we stick with Belgium, Netherlands, England, France and Switzerland? Or do we use the methods of Brazil?

Anyone who has traveled globally knows exactly what I’m talking about. There are so many methods being used across the globe, that using the term “world class education”, could describe situations different as the interior of Mali and downtown Sydney….

So then before beginning, we must ask for a clearer definition of “world class”…

Moving on.

Let’s make this about the children, not the adults. For my part, I speak on this issue not only as a governor, but as a father. When it comes to decisions about education, our kids deserve our total focus and commitment.

Now here is the biggest bone of contention right now. Based on feedback from a) parents, b) teachers, c) administrators, and d) students, these new changes we are undertaking are not helping children. They are putting them further behind.

Now I don’t mean to be nasty or put anyone down. There was a lot of evidence presented to us that implied a “get tough” attitude on poor schools improved test scores. But instead, the reality was not what we were told. One of the great examples that led to this program being rolled out nationwide, was the success of Atlanta’s inner city. We were told a miracle had taken place. Inner city children were rapidly learning. Alas, .. we were fooled, there was just widespread cheating going on. They didn’t learn anything after all.

Michelle Rhee has been campaigning for cracking down on inner city schools. But allegations of cheating occurred during her reign as controller of DC’s schools. Test scores that climbed magnificently, while the children have no idea how to do the problems when the meet them again in the next grade.

Texas was the granddaddy of them all. The great scores of Texas’s inner city youth, so great they compelled the “leave no child behind ” mandate across America (look at Texas we were told), whose many parts were reincorporated into Race to The Top.– all those great scores were faked. Texas dropped on knowledge vis a vis with other states despite higher test scores. We were given false results and the whole nation pursued a program that did not work the first time, or the second….

It appears that none of these programs actually do what is wanted: which is to help the children.

And what does work? Human relationships. A love bond between teacher and student. A teacher teaches her best because that is what she was born to do. A child learns his best, because he wants the teacher to be proud of them.

Can we put that into an institutionalized setting? I don’t know. But I think most baby boomers had that growing up. So, it can be done, but how to return to that setting in todays modern time, will take some experimentation…

Moving on.

Built upon four cornerstones that stand on their own:

• Improving student readiness by holding them to high standards.

• Effectively using student data to drive classroom results.

• Ensuring teacher quality.

• Turning around persistently low-performing schools.

Holding students to higher standards. The worst possible thing one can do to a child, is force him to give up. Raising standards without raising the curve, does exactly that. An A student who strives to keep up his grade average, gives up when all he gets are C’s. What’s the point. A C student who dutifully studies to keep a passing grade, gives up when all he gets are F’s… In both cases they were doing all they could do. Society considers them good students. But the same test they took last year, is now graded higher. If one got a 5 at a score of 900, now it takes 950 to get the same. If one got a 3 at the score of 750, now it takes an 800 to achieve the same….
This in no way helps students. All it does is demoralize those who get shuffled downward by the curb.

We just had Delaware Women fall out of the final 16. We are all proud. But what if we arbitrarily changed the rules? What if we said, the final 8 will be determined not by whom was beaten by whom, but by the total number of baskets their team shot across the entire tournament. Suddenly a team that scored in the 80’s instead of the 50’s, goes forward, even though they’d been beaten in the first round by a team with fewer tournament points. Suddenly Delaware’s great run means very little. We are a loser like everyone else. “Oh, you should have tried harder to make baskets” they all say. I wonder who returns back to their home court with their heads high. I wonder who tries harder the next year. I wonder which teams recruit only guards with very high three point kill rates?

Higher standards do not work. They just mean fewer people can reach them. The do nothing for the top few elite who will be above 950 anyways. They ruin lives for everyone else… Higher standards on tests hurt our children. There is nothing wrong with what we are teaching now. The problem is that we are not teaching what we are teaching well enough so those on the bottom get it. Teaching even more, will do nothing to elevate the bottom. It will do nothing to put more into the top. All it will do, is make children think they are failures and give up….

Second. Using student data to drive classroom results. There have been cartoons this year showing students taking tests and the administrators joking that firing the teachers and just testing every school day could save them money. There is some sense to using technology to help students. However, theoretically, if tests are given 2 hours each day, how much instruction does that bite into? 10 hours a week? 40 hours a month? 360 hours a year? That last total is the equivalent at a 6 hour day, of 60 days spent taking tests. Remember, we are only talking about 2 hours a day, which in High School, is pretty accurate. Under which scenario does one learn new things better? During instruction? Or taking tests… ummm a? b? c? or d? On the other hand, the new software integrating parents, students, and teachers on the same page as grades get posted on a daily basis, is a godsend. Putting parents into the mix is rather helpful in creating a positive learning experience for each child.

Third. Ensuring teacher quality. This is a noble goal. But one of the great mysteries of Ancient Greece was that the Spartans who were rigorously disciplined and toughened to the highest order, almost always lost to the Athenians who were dilettantes in comparison. Imposing structure erases creativity. There is a tendency among government types to make all state employees into solders. That means drill Sergent techniques; it means battlefield toughening. In a military application, those techniques are necessary because in battle the mind gets blown; training has to take over. The only equivalent in a class room to such an experience, is if a student puts a gun to a teacher’s head… Our techniques are jeopardizing the sole proven tactic of transferring knowledge. A positive bond between teacher and student…. an understanding that success depends solely on the amount of knowledge downloaded from one to the other.

Here is where our education is facing its biggest problem… We are using the wrong tests to determine if a teacher should stay or go. We are putting teachers into a spot where they must cheat or fail. Since all up the ladder are accountable for the results that teacher brings, they do not insist with too much effort, that cheating does not occur. The best way to have a measurment of a student’s progress, is to remove teacher accountability from the testing. If a teacher keeps her job anyways, she does not have to cheat to get good results. Our results are accurate as to what a student knows or does not know. Of course, once we know exactly what a student does not know, we can rectify it.

Getting rid of all standardized testing is not the answer. Removing job safety concerns from these tests, is the answer. Ontario has done this. The tests are tools, opening a window into the soul of each child, and a teacher can then, fill in the blanks that got missed somewhere down the line…. Ontario, is probably the best in North America, to show real growth in their children across the board.

Turning around low performing schools. This is easy to do… Logically, focus on what works. A loving teacher and student relationship. To achieve that in a higher need school, you need more teachers. The ideal number would be eleven students for one teacher. If using the test scores, we were able to group students based off their scores into groups of eleven, so the average deviation between scores was 50 or 100 points, great headway could be made. For example in a grade of two hundred twenty students, twenty teachers would be needed. Using the bell curve the lowest eleven would be in one class, the second lowest eleven in another, as well as the highest eleven in another class, the second highest eleven in another, and so on. Those in the middle on the cusp of the curve, would probably be within one or two points of each other. But the beauty is that classes would be homogenized around their standard ability. A teacher wouldn’t be answering a top students question, when the person right next to him, had no clue what was even asked. They also wouldn’t cover a basic idea, thirty times until the student gets it, boring the top student next to him into giving up….

Testing is not the answer. Testing is a tool. Teachers are the answer. Teachers are not tools….

A student who can barely read or do math, does not need to be guessing at a physics problem far above his level. Likewise, for a physics student to answer a question of what is 2 +2 =__, is equally a wasted effort…. And this is where we err. Thinking that tests and corporate programs we buy into, can make that low performing student, suddenly get excited by a physics problem far above his grade level, and suddenly decided to become a math whiz. Reality fails to work that way….

Moving on.

But it is not enough to set high standards. Our students have to meet them. To do so, Delaware will use its rich data system and new assessment to support decision-making in the classroom. Good use of the data will make teachers and schools more effective. Parents and students will be able to use this information to demand that schools deliver.

Exactly what I said. But don’t use it to get rid of teachers or all we will get is teaching to the test and more cheating. The kids will learn how to take tests; not learn anything about the subject matter.

To that end, we will work with our institutions of higher education to establish teacher residency programs. We will develop a pipeline for strong principals by establishing leadership preparation programs. And we must better compensate teachers who produce results in our most challenging schools.

This sounds good and I find no fault with it’s aims. However your compensation packages are not effective. Being corporate hounds, monetary incentives are the first motivator one thinks of. I did the same. However, interaction with teachers, students and parents, has led me to believe there are better rewards. Teachers did not sign up to teach as a career for money. In public schools, I don’t think you can find one who is there to get rich. Talk to any teacher, and once they trust you, you understand they are there because they love to teach… THAT is what moves them. THAT is what moved each of our mentors that stick out from our early educational days. They love to teach. So the best way to motivate teachers is not with compensation, but, in making them teach even better by giving them more resources than they have now.

And the best way to get teachers to teach better is to limit their classes to 11 students… Whoever can achieve that goal first, will be the top educator in the world. Business will flock to that location just to absorb the talent of that labor pool…

If we are serious about education, we need to invest in more teachers, more schools, more infrastructure, and get our class sizes down to 11 students per teacher….

Only then, when every student doesn’t want to let either their peers or their teacher down, will we begin the resurrection of our educational system.

But, some people still don’t get it.

“We are requiring that new teachers show appropriate levels of student growth before receiving tenure. In addition, we have adopted a robust evaluation system under which teachers whose students do not show satisfactory levels of growth cannot be rated “effective.” Teachers whose students do show satisfactory levels of growth cannot be rated “ineffective.” We will also improve teacher preparation programs by linking teacher performance to the schools from which they graduated.”

It is still all about the test. This has to change….

But having world class schools does not alone ensure that all our children will get a world-class education. For that, we need an increase in parent’s engagement with their children’s education.

Parents need to realize the tests are hurting their kids. Across America this season, as tests are being rolled out in state after state, it is the parents who vote, who are asking their legislators the tough question. How does this test help my kid? When asked, the legislators agree with them that tests don’t.

Education has gotten worse since we went to standardized testing. Parents in Delaware need to increase their engagement with Delaware’s legislators and appeal to Governor Markell with their concerns.

My concern started because a little girl who loved English last year, who is in Common Core this year, says this year she has learned absolutely nothing… Nothing new.

When you think of the great United States of America and all the hopes, dreams, and visions it once held…. that is just so sad. So sad.

As a parent this article made me angry….

In a kindergarten class in Red Hook, Brooklyn, three children broke down and sobbed on separate days last week, another teacher told The New York Post. When one girl cried, “I can’t do it,” classmates rubbed her back, telling her, “That’s OK.” “This is causing a lot of anxiety,” the teacher said…..

What they were talking about it this….

Children who barely know how to write the alphabet or add 2 and 2 are expected to write topic sentences and use diagrams to illustrate math equations.

“For the most part, it’s way over their heads,” a Brooklyn teacher said. “It’s too much for them. They’re babies!”

We are beginning that in Delaware and it is called…. Common Core.….

It was a policy originally decided by 5 year olds… At the behest of the American government fourteeen five year olds were invited to give their insight on how best to educate their peers… They were shown a video from Singapore and another one from South Korea. The Department of Education spokesperson, then asked them when they thought they should start learning algebra… Of course it took a brief moment to explain to them, what algebra was… Then one of the five year olds asked at what point algebra was started now and was told it was usually started in the seventh grade.

One of the five year olds questioned that. “Why don’t we start it in the sixth grade” she said. There was a lot of buzz around the discussion table, and no reason was given as to why we should NOT start the teaching of algebra now in the sixth grade. The Department of the Education spokesperson was so overjoyed, she rewarded that child a green lollipop….

Suddenly one of the other 5 year olds, spoke up. “I think we should start algebra in the 5th grade.” At first, stunned silence, and then gradually all the same arguments heard before and pretty soon, just as no reason was given against starting algebra in the 6th Grade, the same thing happened for a 5th Grade start. That child, out of extreme joy and happiness from the Department of Education spokesperson, was given a yellow lollipop….

Suddenly one of the fourteen, with nothing in his mouth, blurted out: ” Let’s do it in the 4th Grade.” Yep, he got a lollipop, it was blue and all the “oooh’s” and “ahhh’s” drifted around the group….

“Third Grade” shouted another earning a bright cherry red lollipop. “Second grade!” — a purple one. “First Grade!” shouted the new owner of a pink one.

“Zero Grade!” said one poor 5 year old who each time had politely held his hand up, but each time was overshadowed by those blurting out their answers over top of him….

“Silly kid”, said the Department of Education spokes person. We don’t have a 0 grade. We have kindergarten….”

“Kindergarten!” shouted another… “Very good” said the Department of Education spokesperson… “here is my last one, a caramel colored brown one; it’s my favorite too….”

That miffed 5 year old blurted out “pre-kindergarten!!” and was brushed off with… “We don’t do pre-kindergarten. That is at home. We start formal education at kindergarten…. ”

And that is how it came to pass that algebra became part of the curriculum of kindergarten…. The Department of Education decided to interview a panel of experts who live, die, and breathe kindergarten, and could define the future curriculum for all those attending over the next decade…

Unfortunately none of them had ever had small children. None of them know one thing about raising a child…..
But if that Department of Education spokesperson had possessed more lollipops, I bet we could go all the way back into the womb….

Hey Wait! Theoretically one could go back into the womb, insert a catheter microphone, and parlay algebraic equations to the budding fetus. Gee, no wonder America is behind on education. We are not broadcasting to our fetuses….

What is wrong with us?

In two words, ….. Common Core

In math, kids tackle concepts like “tally chart,” “combination,” and “commutative property,” DOE records show. Their actual big test question on which their entire future rests, is this: “Miguel has two shelves. Miguel has six books . . . How many different ways can Miguel put books on the two shelves? Show and tell how you know.”

An “expert” would draw a diagram with a key, show all five combinations, write number sentences for each equation, and explain his or her conclusions using math terms, the DOE says.

(Would you have done all that on your SAT’s? Really?)

“A child who’s an ‘expert’ is more like a top ranked second-grader,” said Cathleen Vecchione, a kindergarten teacher at PS 257 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

So far in the curriculum, the class had learned counting by 10s and up to 50 — but they have not yet gotten to addition.

Put bluntly, if every child in every school, gives up on learning because of Common Core… our nation is doomed…..

This issues has recently boiled over thanks to this article in the News Journal that showed a huge wedge being forced into the education of our little ones.

Simply put, the Bain Capitals type investors, who have destroyed our economy, are now interested in acquiring the $1 Trillion spent on education across this great country.

They pinpoint areas not working. Create plans (for a cost, mind you, for a cost) which they will implement and do it cheaper, pocketing the difference….

Delaware is one of those areas.

Here is the conundrum. When things are broken, any repairman who stops by is seen as a hero. So I’m not marshaling blame. This is just a work in progress. Like a city in Assassin’s Creed, we must travel down alleys and across rooftops, looking for the object of our quest. We should expect some blind turns.

The bottom line: WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR CHILDREN?

Just in case anyone out there does not have children, here is an example of what we are trying to prevent. (In an effort to toughen up our scores compared to other nations, we’ve made math more difficult. We’ve pushed Galleo Equations to 12th Grade, Integrals and Differentiation to 11th, Modern Algebra to the 10th, Trig and Geometry to the 9th, etc, all the way down to beginning algrebra in the 3rd grade… With todays calculators or Google Math, such a concept is not impossible. But, our children become lost in the first grade, and give up. Society says: I don’t know what’s wrong with kids these days; they won’t learn.” Point is, in trying to help our children, we poured it on too thick, and wound up setting them back irrepairably.)

So, WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR CHILDREN?

Florida has been working the corporate angle on education longer than anyone. It was Jeb Bush’s priority, which incidentally is where “Leave no child behind” got its originating force…..

Here is Florida now.

But as recently as last year, the radical change envisioned by school reformers still seemed far off, even there. With some of the movement’s cherished ideas on the table, Florida Republicans, once known for championing extreme education laws, seemed to recoil from the fight. SB 2262, a bill to allow the creation of private virtual charters, vastly expanding the Florida Virtual School program, languished and died in committee. Charlie Crist, then the Republican governor, vetoed a bill to eliminate teacher tenure. The move, seen as a political offering to the teachers unions, disheartened privatization reform advocates. At one point, the GOP’s budget proposal even suggested a cut for state aid going to virtual school programs

Ok …. if you are riding in the back of a train and you see the lead car slam into the engine as the engine comes to full stop, you had better brace yourself for an impact too, when the shock wave works its way down every car and ends up jerking yours. Delaware should look close at Florida.

So here is what the corporate educational reformers (corporate) did about their setback…..

At a secret conference to which reformers were whisked away, here is what was told to them…. by Patricia Levesque, a top adviser to former Governor Jeb Bush.

a) spread the unions thin by playing offense with decoy legislation.
b) write legislation to fund Religious Schools, to bust union bills, and to force transparency upon Unions.
c) provide insurance to compete with Unions who insure their teachers.
d) do this in order to be able to quietly slip charter bills in without union interference.

Make one point here clear. This trend IS good for business. In 2011, across the country legislation slipped through that allowed vouchers for virtual schooling, either full, or requiring one or two courses in order to graduate.

You may not have heard of Michael Moe. A veteran of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, he now leads an investment group that specializes in raising money for businesses looking to tap into more than $1 trillion in taxpayer money spent annually on primary education. His consortium of wealth management and consulting firms, called Global Silicon Valley Partners, helped K12 Inc. go public and has advised a number of other education companies in finding capital. Moe has worked for almost fifteen years at converting the K-12 education system into a cash cow for Wall Street…

A couple of quotes from Moe regarding education.

“Education is the next big “undercapitalized” sector of the economy, like healthcare in the 1990s..”

Lists the notable venture investment firms that recently completed deals relating to the education-technology sector, including Sequoia and Benchmark Capital. Kleiner Perkins, a major venture capital firm and one of the first to back Amazon.com and Google, is now investing in education technology.

The press release for Moe’s education summit promised attendees a chance to meet a set of experts who have “cracked the code” in overcoming “systemic resistance to change.”

Guest speakers at the forum included DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein…Fenty, still recovering from his loss in the DC Democratic primary, urged attendees to stand up to the teachers union “bully….Jonathan Hage, CEO of Charter Schools USA, likened the conflict to war… “Investors are going to have to support” candidates and “push back against the pushback.”

Just maybe I’m reading to much into this,…. but nowhere did I see any mention of how it helps learning….

It is all about “how much money we can make.” I know, if I were in that business, I’d be trying to maximize my income as well, so I can’t blame them for trying.

But isn’t that like writing the Insulated Windows door to door saleman a really big check, then never seeing him again? Where are the results?

If the results are so fantastic, as the salespeople will lead us to believe, why is there a silence of ringing endorsements from people who have already tried it for years, like Florida?

And why, if the results supposedly are so beneficial they sell themselves, the corporists have to “go into war mode” to get it accomplished? Especially in Florida?

Aren’t our kids something different than just another toothpaste brand?….

Commentary is blaming unions.. Well, isn’t that what you’d expect from a Bain Capital liquidation?

Here is the timeline:

By December 2011 it was reported that Hostess Brands was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy a second time after it suspended payments for union pensions and was struggling to remain current on its $700 million loan.

On January 10, 2012, Hostess Brands filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for the second time. In a statement in its filing, the company said it “is not competitive, primarily due to legacy pension and medical benefit obligations and restrictive work rules.” The company said it employs 19,000 people and carries more than $860 million in debt. The company said it would continue to operate with $75 million debtor-in-possession financing from Monarch Alternative Capital, Silver Point Capital and other investors…

Television talk show hostess Wendy Williams started a “Save The Twinkie” publicity campaign shortly after the bankruptcy filing. The campaign included promotions on The Wendy Williams Show…

In March 2012, Brian Driscoll resigned from his position as CEO. Gregory Rayburn, who had been hired and named Chief Restructuring Officer only nine days earlier, assumed the leadership position. Fortune reported that unions within the organization had been unhappy with Driscoll’s proposed compensation package of $1.5 million, plus cash incentives and a $1.95 million “long term compensation” package. Additionally, the court had discovered that Hostess executives had received raises of up to 80% the year prior. In an effort to restore relations, Rayburn cut the salaries of the four top Hostess executives to $1, to be restored on January 1 the following year…

In July 2012, the New York Post reported that negotiations (lead by Silver Point Capital) with the Teamsters Union were close to a possible agreement that could allow Hostess Brands to cut employee pay and benefits, if the company maintained funding of existing pension plans…

In May, all 19,000 workers had been warned (as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) that they could face a mass layoff. In an email to the Appeal-Democrat Hostess spokesman Erik Halvorson said that the May notices were to alert employees to possible sale or wind down of the company, but that “our goal is still to emerge from bankruptcy as a growing company with a strong future.” These layoff notices listed the dates as July 7–21, but on July 5 another company spokesman told the Financial News & Daily Record that there were no immediate plans to start laying off Hostess employees…

These layoff notices listed the dates as July 7–21, but on July 5 another company spokesman told the Financial News & Daily Record that there were no immediate plans to start laying off Hostess employees…

In November 2012, Hostess employees nationwide went on strike. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union, which represents 6,600 Hostess employees, took the strike action after the latest contract proposal from Hostess Brands was rejected by 92 percent of its members. In response, Hostess Brands issued the following statement: “A widespread strike will cause Hostess brands to liquidate if we are unable to produce or deliver products. If that’s the case, the company will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,300-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders. We urge our employees to remain on the job to rebuild the company…

Today, on November 16, 2012, Hostess announced that it was ceasing plant operations and laying off most of its 18,500 employees. It stated that it intended to sell off all of its assets, including the well known brand names, and liquidate…

The CEO, Gregory F. Rayburn stated, “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders….

There you go. As was typically done by Bain Capital, preditory companies practiced vulture capitlism upon one of America’s icons. Move in, pay yourself highly, saddle the company with debt, declare bankruptcy, and use the employees pension to reward yourself and your investors…..

For this greed, we no longer get Twinkies, (until they come from China)….

There is a solution. Legally make pension plans the first item that gets reimbursed when a company goes bankrupt and gets sold for assets. It is simply arbitrary that our legal system puts investors before employees. The order can easily be changed.

The significance of that change in wording, means that taking over a profitable company, saddling it down with debt, then selling it’s pieces, will cause you a loss. The employees will get the assets. Better to invest your money in building a new company from the ground up…. and hire more people… not fire 18,500….

Perhaps our government can step in and cut out GE Capital and give employees a chance, like we did with GM and Chrysler? After all, the Twinkie is just as great of an American Icon….

It is called Creative Destruction.

Here is how it works.    Delaware Liberal and Wilmington Trust (now gone) make a bid to buy DelawarePolitics. Net.   They get help from the News Journal, WGMD, and WDEL.  Together they come up with $50 which gives them a 51% voting share of Delaware Politics.net….  Once they have voting control over DelawarePolitics.net,  they fan out to banks, investment houses, and borrow money on DelawarePolitics fine name… They get $50 dollars from Hube.  They get $50 dollars from Duffy.   They get $50 dollars from Jack Markell.  They get $50 dollars from Tony DeLuca.  They get $50 from Steve Newton.  They get $50 from the ShopRite manager off Marrow’s Road.  They get $50 from Ernie Lopez.  They get $50 from Rick Jensen.  They get $50 from that guy selling papers on 11th and Market…..   So, how much did they get?   $450 for a company that was only worth $100.

The board then moves $450 to be paid out in dividends.   $450 gets divided by the 5 entities that went in with $10 and each gets $90.   Net profit $80.

Now, Delaware politics (only worth $100) must pay back on a timed schedule the $450 in loans it took out.  Assuming  it pays $1 per month to each entity, it needs to come up with $9 every month.   Before the takeover it was a profitable firm just chugging away at  earnings of $5 a month…  Now, the consortium led by Delaware Liberal, is screaming at Delaware Politics to come up with $5 dollars more every month…  David Anderson lays off Frank Knotts.  $1 dollar saved… David lays off Tennessee Walker; another dollar saved.  David Anderson lays off Pat Fish… Another dollar saved… But .. without those colorful writers, DelwarePolitics slips down in market share… No one reads Delaware Politics.  What used to be a $5 a month company is now a $3 a month company…  A  $3 a month company which has to pay $9 a month back….

It sues for bankruptcy.  As DelawarePolitics gets liquidated, the computers get sold, (worth $10 by now) .  So, all nine lenders, Hube, Duffy, Jack, Tony,  Steve, ShopRite man, Ernie, Rick, paper man, who put in $50, get back $1 from the first payment, and $1.10 from the sell of DelawarePolitics assets…   In other words, they are short $48….

But not the 5 investors.  Since they moved the money to dividends, they are protected and none of that money gets touched by the bankruptcy court.  It is their property and not that of the corporation, and is therefore not acquirable…..

So Delaware Liberal,  gets rich… Just like Mitt Romney….

This is how Bain Capital makes money.  This is not a job grower….

Is there any fairness in a system where a group of people can borrow a bunch of money to buy a company and pay themselves millions of dollars in dividends and fees, while the company itself ends up bankrupt and its employees lose their jobs, health insurance and pensions?   According to Romney in the debate, it is unAmerican…. NOT to do so….

The reason Mitt Romney is going to roll back Obama care is because Bain Capital’s holdings in HCA, have jumped.

HCA’s robust profit growth, has given Bain Capital 3 1/2 times the rate on their original investment.

The financial performance has been so impressive that HCA has become a model for the industry. Its success inspired 35 buyouts of hospitals or chains of facilities in the last two and a half years by private equity firms eager to repeat that windfall.

The rub is exactly how, HCA became successful after it and Bain Capital “hooked up”.

The secret of HCA’s growth and development was simple. It figured out how to get more revenue from private insurance companies, patients and Medicare by billing much more aggressively for its services than ever before; it found ways to reduce emergency room overcrowding and expenses; and it experimented with new ways to reduce the cost of its medical staff, a move that sometimes led to conflicts with doctors and nurses over concerns about patient care.

Ironically, doctors who are pulling plugs on ADA due to anticipated lower revenues, are supporting Romney who is actually responsible for already applying downward pressure to practicing physicians simply to make himself more money.

In a practice bordering on fraud, in 2008, HCA simply changed all its billing codes by elevating them to a higher care level. If a patient came in with indigestion, it was diagnosed as a heart condition, requiring oxygen, IV, and heart monitor… Instead of receivinhg a $65 Medicare reimbursement, they received a $313 Medicare reimbursement. .Overnight, the patients who HCA said must now require more care, often intensive, surged. And Medicare paid for their unneeded services at a much higher rate. Prior to Bain, they just got sent home as an outpatient.

Prior to the Bain Capital buyout, HCA lagged behind its competitors in higher care internments. Suddenly it became number one.

This slight change in determining how much money Medicare was going to pay, increased profits by 100 million during the first quarter of 2009…..

One private insurer questioned the new billing, forcing HCA to returns some of the money it had received. Medicare did not and the fraud continued.

Under Bain Capital, HCA’s emergency rooms, also refused and turned away patients it felt would not pay. They said they would take patients money first, then process them for treatment. 80,000 chose to seek other alternative care. It is illegal to turn people away for medical care. That was no problem for Bain Capital.

HCA then employed Bain Capital tactics towards staffing. Staffing was cut considerably not based on need, but for financial reasons. HCA and its staff have had difficulty agreeing how much staff is needed in triage and medical emergencies.

Nurses interviewed by the New York Times, said they were concerned that the system sometimes had led to inadequate staffing in important areas like critical care. As profits grew, so did the strains between doctors and nurses and management, with doctors and nurses clearly upset that patients were being left to rot due to HCA intentional shorting schedules. Again, it began… with Bain Capital.

Since Bain Capital took over, the prevalence of bedsores in patients bedridden for long periods of time —has clearly been a struggle for HCA. HCA hospitals have fended off lawsuits; and impartial regulators have upbraided HCA for deficient care to patients.

So sure, their profits are going through the roof, but at the expense of the patient’s care….. Insurance and Medicare are being overcharged for what is getting delivered… Sure, profits are higher.

Because of HCA’s rate of return, it’s success has inspired 35 buyouts of hospitals or chains of facilities in the last two and a half years by private equity…

Furthermore, HCA’s tactics are now under scrutiny by the Justice Department. Last week, HCA disclosed that the United States attorney’s office in Miami has requested information about cardiac procedures at 10 of its hospitals in Florida and elsewhere. The Justice Department has requested reviews that HCA conducted that indicate some of the heart procedures at some of its hospitals might not have been necessary and resulted in unjustified reimbursements from Medicare and other insurers.

Is this really the direction we want to go in health care? For profit? It may be too late! Already large numbers of non profit hospitals are being bought up and converted to those socking it to the patients for profit.

This is crony hospitalization at it’s best. Bill Frist the former Senator, as well as his dad, were founders of HCA. It merged with Columbia Healthcare and for a while was run by Rick Scott, now governor of Florida, during whose time, the largest ever award of Medicare Fraud was levied against HCA, and Rick was subsequently removed from his position.

The details behind HCA are very troubling. And this is the first sign of all things to come.

But the biggest take away is that this is Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s ideal of how things should be. Look at the profit they point to. They are successful businessmen.

But people hurt when they make money. Money isn’t everything.

Voters need to send that message this November LOUD AND CLEAR.