You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘ethics’ category.

smarter balanced math

Mark Murphy’s Quote here:

“It is an academic checkup.  I think that’s incredibly important for our parents to remember is that at the end of the day we want to make sure as parents that our children are making adequate progress.  That progress that they need to make so that they are ready after high school to be successful.  And the Smarter Balanced Assessment that we will administer once a year provides an academic checkup for parents, for kids, for educators.   Is that child on track?  It’s nothing more than that.”

“But that aside, the information is powerful.  It provides all of us with an understanding about how our children are doing.  First and foremost, the kids themselves, but right on through us policy makers.  And if we do not have the ability to measure the progress our kids are making, then we do not have the ability to make great educational decisions, from the classrooms right through to the Legislature.”

“But let’s not overdo it here, cause some of this nonsensical test prep work that has gone on over recent decades does not help kids.  What we need to do is make sure that kids have great, real, authentic problems to solve in school and that they are demonstrating their knowledge in real life kind of ways”…

Just paging all scientists and engineers:  Does anyone out there use fractionated exponents?   This one never has…. There are far simpler ways to express the above problem…

x divided by the square root of x, (which obviously would be another square root of x since it is it’s own square root.

What the above question does is hand a child a rubiks cube…  with multiple sides requiring manipulation simultaneously on which any block gets misplaced, the entire question is marked wrong…

The concept or Common Core standard being herein expressed is:  does the child know that two similar square roots multiplied back together will give him the original number?

Yes. but even though the child knows that standard, this test will not allow him to express that since he will most likely make a mistake on one of this question’s seven complicated steps….

If the Smarter Balanced Assessment simply asked… what happens when you multiply two square roots of the same number together….. some of what Mark Murphy may have said would ring true….

But it is this test.  This test which does the opposite of what Mark Murphy, Jack Markell, Dave Sokola, Greg Lavelle, Penny Schwinn, Earl Jacques say it is supposed to do…

All this test does is hand your child a messed up rubiks cube and say “here: figure this out and if you don’t WE WILL FAIL YOU; FIRE YOUR TEACHER; AND CLOSE YOUR WHOLE SCHOOL”…….

This test and philosophy have got to go, and only you can eradicate it by exerting your God given will to control your child’s education….. You must opt out to save your child…..

(and this was the easiest question on the test….)

Advertisements

Spying on YOU

Courtesy of Watchung Hills Regional High School District

I borrowed them from a song… I once saw Martin Luther King walking down the street singing it….  Jump to the 4th verse……

4.
We are not afraid
We are not afraid
We are not afraid some day

CHORUS

5.
We are not alone
We are not alone
We are not alone some day

CHORUS

6.
The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around some day

CHORUS

7.
We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day

Nuff said.

First:  it is an executive’s prerogative to hire or fire anyone he wants…

Second:  Usually such firings are done to intimidate others not to challenge authority… Like putting thieves on crosses, it says, here is what happens to those who don’t lick my ass.

Third:   It means some real shit is coming down the pipe and anything clogging the upcoming flow will create a huge stinky mess.

My first reaction was that my, this was a blow to parents to have one of the few people who is not a slave to the corporate entities,” removed from looking over these bills in detail.

My second reaction a moment later, was that my, now we can really get things done…

Let me explain.  Committees are the black hole of government.  Bills go in there and very few people report on what happens while there but we cheer if they come out and boo if they don’t.  John was on the committee that sent SB 51 to the House floor; he was on the committee that sent HB 165 to the House floor.  He was on that committee that sent  HB 334 to the House Floor.  He voted against every single one.  Point is: what good did it do? They are all laws now.

But while out of legislature this year John has been instrumental in helping parents of Christina bring their concerns before the general public… Even the News Journal has turned against Jack Markell. John has been everywhere he needs to be, even on WDEL.   Last spring, John was the prime legislator mover getting Newark citizens involved in TDC’s annulment.  One can, just by making the simple comparison between his advocacy for Newark’s citizens compared to that of Baumbach’s, who seemed to pull back as the threats began to mount, is enough to convey the idea of how fearless john is, when he takes the concerns of his constituents to heart.

We need John’s voice now more than ever.  Having it bottled up in a committee where he is the lone dissenting vote, thereby silencing him for months from the public’s eye, would bode ill for all Delaware’s children… He is now free, (with no strings to hold him back) to plaster the Markell administration with tons of truth sticky-notes  Truths which will tie Markell up as he is forced to defend; something that has not happened yet in his six years.

This removal is probably the best thing that could have happened.  What will happen in the committee will still get relayed to John, he will continue to be on top of it, who can then relay it to Allan at noon and night… A much smarter move for Schwartzkoph would have been to have kept him on that committee, Tied down, bedazzled, and worn thin….

As far as its intimidative effect, that depends on what John accomplishes now as Delaware’s children’s advocate.  If he (and we), can make it so unacceptable to be viewed Schwartzkoph’s butt- clone, very few legislators will fall in line for fear of being voted out of office next election, This can easily happen  (No legislator votes for something he knows will get him fired in the next election)  now that children in Delaware finally have a advocate.

I’m looking forward to this legislative session.  it won’t be the first where the Delaware Way (not Nancy) gets its way on stacking committees in its favor. It could, however, be the last….

I will be brief which I know is a change from the way we have our “nice discussions”.

As a proud product of Christina School district, a graduate of Glasgow High School, and a graduate of Stubbs Elementary, I just want to express today that I urge you to vote to reject the proposed Memorandum of Understanding.  i think there is no doubt that we need to do a much better job of serving the students in all of our schools.

I think there is a lot to discuss in regards to how these schools were identified and the validity of the various tests that we subject our students to, but for the purpose of  tonight I’m not looking into getting into that, because I think it is  important that elected officials do a much better job of what I think was not done here, which is to listen to folks in the schools, listen to the lay leaders, listen to the parents, listen to the teachers, dare I say listen to even the students perhaps?

Because that has not seemed to be done here, this plan seems to have been announced (perhaps with the best intentions), I think in that way this falls short of engagement in a very direct way with the teachers, the school leaders, the parents, the students, and I believe the only way we are going to get where we should go as a school system, is to have that kind of collaboration.

I wholeheartedly urge the board to reject the MOU and to reach out of hand to the Department of Education with an offer to meet and collaborate on a plan that is very nuanced and very targeted for our schools on what is actually happening in our schools, and I can think of no better point to illustrate that than to note that of the  three principals of the three Christina Schools that are now priority schools, One is in his first year, his very first year, a few weeks in the building now. One is in his second year, and one is in his third year now, as I understand it.

And to announce a plan that would basically say to these new three leaders, without explaining in any way, shape, or form what these leaders have or have not done, that are currently in these schools, at the very least shows, an unwillingness, an inability , or perhaps just forgetting to engage with the schools about what is actually going on.

So I think there are a lot of good questions that will come of this process, but I think that it needs to start with a real conversation and dialogue, and not agree to an MOU which in my mind would certainly impose restrictions and requirements on the district,  in a way, which doesn’t seem narrated by individual, targeted investigation analysis of what’s going on

As always, I’m happy to take questions, but I’m also happy too to sit down and listen to what others have to say, and to be a resource for the board and for the schools, students, parents, teachers as we try to have more effective ideas come out of Dover.

{Applause:  (quick, turn down volume}

Board: Thank you very much Senator.

Although the darling of Wall Street, there are issues in given K12 control of our schools.

The breakneck speed at which these privitized schools have taken off, often with little oversight, has led to scandals. Since 2013, the FBI has investigated more than five charter schools in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and beyond on suspicion that management has misplaced or stolen funds. In Florida, a state with famously lenient rules for operating charters and among the highest concentration for-profit K through 12 schools, the Miami Herald has reported on a continuing laundry list of poorly run charters: students going weeks without textbooks, class attendance sheets faked, and children charged illegal fees for standard courses. In a growing phenomenon, another Florida for-profit company, Academica, earned over $19 million a year by charging leasing fees to public school land already owned by its charter schools.

Does free market competition ensure accountability in education by turning bad operators into economic losers? That’s what privatizers claim, but the record so far suggests otherwise.

K12 Inc., the for-profit charter behemoth that enrolls 123,259 students, went public in 2007 with the help of Moe’s previous investment firm, and has since been a darling of Wall Street. In January of this year, students from Newark Prep Charter School, which is K12 Inc.-operated, joined executives from the company to ring in the bell of the New York Stock Stock Exchange. In Moe’s revolutionary manifesto, K12 Inc. is listed as among the businesses he considers the “special forces” that will remake the education landscape.

The rising revenues of K12 Inc. have been matched by poor performance. In the 2010-2011 school year, only 27.7 percent of K12 Inc.-operated schools met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standard, far below the 52 percent average of brick and mortar public schools. An investigation in Colorado, where K12 Inc. has been ejected from several school districts, found that nearly half of online students left within a year, and when those students returned to brick and mortar schools, they were further behind academically than when they started. Similar investigations in Florida and Ohio found K12 Inc. teachers instructing classes without certification and instructing online classes of over 250 students.

Part of K12’s problem seems to be that it skimps on special education spending and employs few instructors, despite having lower overhead than brick-and-mortar schools,

In several states, K12 Inc.-operated virtual charter schools have faced a backlash because of poor performance and high drop-out rates. In July, Tennessee’s education commissioner announced the closure of the Tennessee Virtual Academy, K12 Inc.’s affiliate school, at the end of the 2014-2015 school year because of the charter’s failure to score above the state’s lowest level of academic achievement. Last month, Pennsylvania’s Agora Cyber Charter School, the largest school managed by K12 Inc., voted to consider ending its relationship with the company after revelations that the school allegedly manipulated attendance sheets and performance data in an attempt to conceal incredibly high rates of student turnover.

Still, despite wave after wave of negative press, K12 Inc. figures as a solid investment opportunity to many. Baird Equity Research, in a giddy note to investors this year about the potential growth of K12 Inc., noted, “capturing just two million (3.5%) of the addressable market yields a market opportunity of approximately $12 billion … Over the next three years, we believe that the company is capable of 7%+ organic revenue growth with modest margin expansion.” How will it achieve this growth? According to Baird, K12 Inc.’s “competency in lobbying in new states” is “another key point of differentiation.” The analyst note describes “K12’s success in working closely with state policymakers and school districts to enable the expansion of virtual schools into new states or districts” as a key asset. “The company has years of experience in successfully lobbying to get legislation passed to allow virtual schools to operate,” Baird concludes.

So basically Wall Street gloats,  privatized education will achieve it’s profits the old fashioned American way; lying, stealing, and public graft.

K12 Inc.’s spectactular growth over the years stems largely from the extraordinary amount the company spends on lobbying ($447,850 in 2012) , as well as on marketing and advertising, with promises in some areas that enrollment comes with a free computer. USA Today found that the company spent $21.5 million on advertising in the first eight months of 2012. The company sponsors billboards, radio advertisements, and spots on children’s cable television.

That is $21.5 million NOT BEING SPENT ON KIDS!

K12 Inc.’s lobbyists helped author model legislation to develop sweeping voucher laws through the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that provides state lawmakers with template legislation. Though state by state lobbying figures are difficult to come by, given the patchwork of varying laws, K12 Inc. has hired dozens of local officials to ensure that these voucher laws are quickly passed with few amendments. “We have incurred significant lobbying costs ($1,265,143) in several states,” K12 Inc. noted in a filing with the SEC. “The stockholders benefit from those students’ enrollments, but the students get stuck with a lousy education that will follow them the rest of their lives,” says Jeff Bryant, the director of the Education Opportunity Network.

Upcoming will be talk of organizing a bipartisan campaign to persuade 2016 presidential candidates to sign onto a statement of principles endorsing charters and other education innovations. The pledge also calls for the federal government to create new tax incentives for spending on education companies akin to a health savings accounts.

The scheme works like this:  you will pay much more for charters than you currently pay for public education, but the Federal Government will eat that extra cost and give you a rebate back for the difference.  Your overall costs stay the same; private companies grow, and the Federal Government borrows more debt money that one day we must tighten our belts tighter when forced to pay it back.  And for their largess, you get below substandard results for your higher investment.

The results are not there.  Charter Schools are only better than their public school counterparts 17% of the time… They are worse than their public school counterparts, 37% of the time.  The balance, 44%, are exactly the same as what we now have with public schools…  Privatization means paying a lot more… for nothing. (except making someone rich off your public money.)

So as we get told of the rosy picture which privatization will give our students at Warner, Shortlidge, Highlands, Stubbs, Bancroft, and Bayard, let us remember that is exactly what a used car salesman says when he is selling you a Hurricane Sandy underwater car…….

Self promoters are the absolutely very last people you can ever, ever trust…. 

Every objective eye put to privatization of public entities, has showed that privatization only benefits the investor.  It does nothing for the customer; it does nothing for “We, the people”, it does nothing for society at large, and it always, always, always, comes back to hurt our wallet….

This will be a brief teaser for labor day… Why, is the middle class (labor) suffering so much today…..

US Corporations get around the US’s high tax rate of 35% by stashing money offshore.  The average corporation pays 12.6% according to the GAO in 2010….  This means that half of America’s corporations pay higher, and half of America’s corporations pay lower…  HALF OF AMERICA’S CORPORATIONS PAY LOWER THAN 12.6%?  REALLY?

During America’s boom times, when the middle class was almost guaranteed a job for life with a pension plan and a gold watch, corporate taxes were set as high as 52.8 percent. Later rates were lowered to 48 percent and then 46 percent.  It was only after 1986 when they were lowered to 35% that the middle class problem begin to emerge….

Across history there is a direct relationship between higher taxes and higher wages… When tax rates are high, wage rates are high. When tax rates are low, wage rates are low.  (As an additional benefit, the higher the taxes, the higher the employment level goes as well.) In fact there is such public good in charging the wealthy higher taxes with no downside, that is is literally amazing we aren’t doing it. Everyone benefits out the gazoo!)

The way America’s corporations get around this 35% rate, is by stashing cash abroad.  There is $2 trillion of America’s money kept overseas, and not brought home to keep it from being taxed… You pay taxes. I pay taxes, yet corporations think they shouldn’t… How fair is that?

Keep in mind.  This is by their own volition. They are not forced to keep that money offshore. They could bring it back anytime they wished.  They choose not to do so… And that money is what funds campaigns for cutting taxes.  That money is what buys both Democrat and Republican allegiance to no-tax pledges.  I would bet that some of that foreign money is in Tom Carper’s, Chris Coons’, and John Carney’s campaign slush funds right now..

$2 trillion at 35% is $700 billion that should have already been in our treasury… That is money we borrowed unnecessarily to cover our expenses which if a proper administration had been in the executive branch would have already been there, from corporations…  The balance, $1.3 trillion would have then been available here and could have been invested in our nation in the form of jobs…

There was some discussion, primarily from Michelle Bachmann, as to give a blanket amnesty on these taxes to get this money back,  But that is like saying you won’t prosecute a bank robber if he comes back and spends his money in your home town…  What bank will he rob next?  And what about all those people who had their money stolen from them?  Michelle and her Republican cohorts seem not to care.

So why are corporations really renouncing their “citizenship?” Simple answer, is they are doing this so they can pocket hoards of “deferred” offshore profits without ever paying the taxes they owe on these profits….

A (different) tax loophole called “deferral” allows companies to avoid being taxed on their non-U.S. profits until they “bring the money home.” Because of this loophole, corporations have been taking steps to make it look as if their profits are made outside of the U.S., and have piled up about $2 trillion in cash that they are keeping out of the country.

Dave Johnson explains. “Here is how the deferral scam works. An American company sets up a non-U.S. “subsidiary” in a tax haven. That non-U.S. company gets or produces goods, services, patents, whatever, at a low price. (This often involves shifting paper (and copyrights, patents) around to make it look like profits are not made in the U.S., but in too many cases this means the U.S. company actually moves U.S. jobs, factories, production, call centers and other assets out of the country.) The subsidiary sells to the U.S. company at a high price. Most or all of the profit is therefore made by the non-U.S. subsidiary, so the profits are considered to be non-U.S. and taxes on those profits are “deferred.” This still counts as profits for the U.S. owner of that subsidiary, but the U.S. company does not have to pay taxes (they are “deferred”) until they “bring the profit home.””

These corporations see that if they renounce their citizenship before the U.S. fixes this loophole, they can just keep the money….

But does this money REALLY stay offshore???  As you would certainly expect, of course not….  The non-U.S. subsidiary company “loans” money to the U.S. parent. So all of the non-U.S. cash actually is available to the U.S. parent. But wait, there’s more. The U.S. parent pays interest to the subsidiary, which is deducted from taxes and reduces the U.S. tax bill even more. ..

If complicated, it isn’t.  I hire you as my buddy in crime.  I give you all my money… I say, look, I’m broke, I can’t pay any taxes!  You lend me my money back to me… I spend it tax free and the money I do make, I write off as interest I give back to you… So I keep everything I make here … No taxes…

Ways to fight this… very important on this Labor Day…

A.  Hold Democrats accountable.  Don’t let them (Tom Carper, Chris Coons, John Carney) get away with helping corporations rob the American workers, who do pay all their taxes and who are subsidizing these corporations money-making schemes.

B.  Support proposals by President Obama to use executive action to stop “income stripping” and to keep “inverted” companies from getting government contracts

C.  Support the Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2014 in the Congress… Obviously obstructed by Republicans.

D. Support a proposal to tax companies based on their percentage of sales that occur in the U.S.,..

One must wonder, why is this even in the tax code?  The reason is so U.S. companies can use “offshore” profits to invest in growth. This is a win-win because we want U.S. companies to do well, and because the U.S. is supposed to benefit when profits are brought home and taxes are paid….

A very simple way to fight abuse of deferral is to charge a fee of, say, 7 percent a year on all deferred profits. The full amount of taxes is to still be paid when profits are finally brought home, but we collect an additional 7 percent a year until they are….

So enjoy your Labor Day.  We’ve got some real work to begin tomorrow…..

 

 

 

There’s a Hard Rain That’s Gonna Fall.

Times now are very similar to the sentiments floating around in the early 60’s. There was great dissatisfaction with what the US had become (capitalism) and quite a few people, both American’s and otherwise, were seriously looking to other models to fall upon… 

What had happened was stagnation.  The old aristocracy was sitting on the top; and the new, was boiling underneath….

This hit home these past two weeks when we saw Michael Brown gunned down in Ferguson.  Those old enough to remember the South of the 60’s are scratching their heads… They seen it all before.  The shooting. The whitewash. The legal maneuvering. All of it blatant.  All of it obvious.  All of it for public consumption… 

It is saying… Blacks… You stay where you are….

We also saw it in the frenzy as self-formed militias stormed buses carrying children, (the wrong ones btw) to stop them from being assimilated into our country.  We see it in the completely illogical venomous anti-amnesty movement, when some type of amnesty is the only thing that makes logical excellent sense.

It is saying…. Immigrants… You can’t stay here… You go back now…

And we see it in the numbers of Americans, British, and Europeans flocking to ISIS to carry on the revolution.  One can not say it is all for religion.  it is because people have to survive, and cannot do it in their home lands. Out there, they can be gods. 

The signs are all there.  A hard rain is going to fall… Just as the signs were there in the 60’s when Dylan penned those now famous words.   He could see the signs…  We knowing almost all of Dylan’s lyrics by now, should be able to see the signs as well…..

It is about hope. There isn’t any.

The Republicans chide Obama as being the “hope” candidate who delivers everything else… They have a point. Just as Kennedy was elected with amazing expectations, and things still remained the same… under Obama, the amazing expectations by now are fizzled…

There were successes… but compared a majority of Americans making less now than before the crash,  those successes seem rather distant.  Of course we know that the Republican blockage in Congress is to blame, but that is way, way back in the background.  What we sense is that not even the greatest American president in our lifetimes can defeat the monetary powers controlling everything, so, it is indeed hopeless….

Of course, we know that it could all change for the better instantly, with the passage of higher marginal rates on the 1% and modifying that hike by giving them a tax break, dollar per dollar, for every amount put directly into American capital development (a long way of saying “building things”) each year.

But we know, that without a majority of Democrats in the House, and without 60 moderate or better Democrats in the Senate, that won’t happen… 

We also know that due to gerrymandering, many Republicans are returning with no real competition to throw them out. 

So those who feel under-represented in the world, and that includes in the United States, sees violence as their only option… The only way left to better themselves…. There comes a point, where those radicals with guns stop being the bad guys, and the system that created them, takes their place…. 

WE are very close to there.  

There’s a hard rain that’s gonna’ fall…. 

Opt your child out of taking the Standard Balanced Assessments

Doing so teaches him/her:

  • Civic responsibility
  • Patriotism
  • His parents really do love him.
  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • Real learning is important enough to fight over
  • Sometimes one has to take risks, when the payout can be so good.
  • Your government is not always right; but its collective people are.
  • The right of authority has to be earned.  It should never be given.
  • Just because someone says so; doesn’t make it right.
  • Some things are just too stupid to get caught up in.
  • When people insist on doing wrong, that is when it most counts that you stand up and do what is right.
  • God put America on this planet.  We are not going to let Common Core dismantle it and take it away.
  • We do not believe in torture, especially for young children. Common Core is child abuse.
  • Never, ever, trust a corporation to do things for your benefit. 
  • Common Core is the stupidest thing we’ve ever seen… Who designed it?  David Coleman?  Oh

It is time to heed to battle cry. or at least acknowledge that there is a battle for your child’s future and that if you don’t decide today on which side you will take, there will come a time where you will have to make that choice.  That is a given. You had better drop your blinders, and start looking hard at facts… You have a lot to lose,… or gain.

 

 

 

 

 

In 2011, 46.2 million people in the US were living in poverty and the nation’s official poverty rate was 15 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009, according to the US Census Bureau. That figure appears to be the highest number seen in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been recorded…

The predominant face of the poor is white.

Economic insecurity among whites is said to be more common than is shown in the government’s poverty data, engulfing over 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60..

Economic  insecurity approaching 76%….. How does this end the middle class designation?

Let us review what is the middle class.  It is the class in the middle… Start and stop points and change depending on who want to show what, but for the most part, the middle class would have a center point around the 50% margin… Hence: middle class….

10%     20%     30%     40%     50%     60%     70%     80%     90%      

                            XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 

Sort of what you’d expect… the area above the poverty line and just below the rich……But based on current data now released from the Census Bureau, (and this is no secret to people in public schools) over 80% of America has been at or below poverty levels in its lifetime… It really doesn’t matter when.  You could be financially stable through your whole life and then get termed at age 60.  The effect is the same. You could face 50% age group unemployment right out of college and use odd jobs and part time jobs to stay alive. The effect is the same.  The mark today is that 80% face economic insecurity.  Can we just call that poor?  Isn’t that the definition of poor?  Someone who doesn’t have enough to be secure in today’s society?

Therefore if we take the middle of those from where the poor end at 80%, then we get a middle class graphic looking like this:

10%     20%     30%     40%     50%     60%     70%     80%     90%                                                                                                            XXX

This is the official version of today’s America rendered by the US Census bureau…. Times have changed…

Compare that to where it was under Bill Clinton in 1999 before Republicans took over….

10%     20%     30%     40%     50%     60%     70%     80%     90%     

                             XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 

No offense to my Republican friends but this (which sad to say is exactly what I predicted in 2000), is what you get when you don’t tax progressively. We now have only 2 classes; The 1%  and the 99%.

The fix? Is to tax the top 1% who can well afford even a purely theoretical 100% taxation without hardship, and use that money for jobs…. Just jobs. More government contracts.  This is America’s quick answer… and it must be decided in this election 2014 that we will take it.  Against all odds, we need both chambers in Democrats’ hands., not for Democrats, but for America. It’s the only way is to defeat Republicanism… We are not talking individual candidates.  We are talking about a philosophy that stresses the lazy poor 80% must continue to suffer even more to pay for the one percent’s excesses, and not as it should be, … the other way around…