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Hello, hello, is anyone in there?

Nod if you can hear me… is there anybody home?

Get this… tonight as I speak… (or write)  there are at the behest of Nancy Pelosi 174 Democratic Representatives who have signed the letter in support of adding unemployment benefits extensions to the new budget about to be voted in….

Without them, everyone who is on extended unemployment, roughly 4.1 million do not receive an unemployment check in two weeks.  They are destitute.

29 have at this point, not signed….   Here they are…..

Ron Barber (AZ-02)
Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Jared Polis (CO-02)
John Carney (DE)
Joe Garcia (FL-26)
John Barrow (GA-12)
David Scott (GA-13)
Robin Kelly (IL-02)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Peter Visclosky (IN-01)
Andre Carson (IN-07)
Timothy Walz (MN-01)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Bill Owens (NY-21)
Dan Maffei (NY-24)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Mike Doyle (PA-14)
Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Eddie Johnson (TX-30)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Jim Matheson (UT-04)
Adam Smith (WA-09)

Time for your Democratic Nominee for next year’s Congressional election to have a “Come To Jesus Meeting” with his party’s faithful……

https://forms.house.gov/carney/webforms/email-me.shtml

Address

233 N King Street, Suite 200
Wilmington, DE 19801
Phone: (302) 691-7333
Fax: (302) 428-1950

Toll-free (877) 899-7872

Address

1406 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4165

“John Carney…. You are receding…. A distant ship’s smoke on the horizon….  You are only coming through in waves…..

You’re lips move…. But we can’t hear what you say!…….”

You have become……….

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Award For Delaware's Most Influental P/P/or T of The Year
The Golden Flush Award
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Usually this is an after thought…” Oh, wow, year’s over, let’s get a person of the year”…  And then once we elect one,  we go… “holy crap… we totally forgot so and so….”

So to try to stir up some old simmering coals of memory, both mine and others, and perhaps even to (heaven forbid) get some debate going in the blog sphere, I thought I’d make an initial run on Thanksgiving Week, and then add people into the nominating category as others mention various ones I should kick myself for forgetting.

It will also force me to review the year which is something I rarely do… because face it, as a human being, I am slave of the moment….  If I did this last year, come December 14th the entire world would have been turned upside down and all the old priorities of 2012,  would in one day become trivial….

And so starting early gives me the chance to make the argument for each of those I decide to enroll with your kind recommendations included….

Julius Cephus:  Particularly this one man organized and stopped an end run around the Port of Wilmington.  The Kinder Morgan deal did not go through, and the Wilmington Port is bustling like never before…   Kinder Morgan was to strip the union of power, and drop the rates of pay, further dampening the economy of Wilmington proper.  It was also the first defeat of a Lavine-Markell development project, .. Fisker and Bloom had gone forward without a hitch.  Julius and other’s push back resulted in a General Assembly motion that stated they, not the governor, had final approval. It was the first time we were exposed to the current Governor’s manipulations.  They were to play a significant part across this year’s tapestry.

Steve Newton:  A blogger who has written infrequently, but effectively. His piece on SB 51  is what alerted us to the end run being performed by Dave Sokola on lowering the current standards being used for educating teachers.  It is brilliant.  It took an evening of reading the legislation line by line and cross referencing  it with Steve’s analysis, to understand the huge negative impact this bill would cause.  By the time this was done, the Bill had already passed the Senate unanimously without comment, and with an friendly amendment added that was voted upon without even being read.  Some public outcry was mustered within the House, both in committee and on the floor, but under the Governor’s direction, the Speaker of the House, pushed the bill to the floor before significant outcry could be mustered.  Only 4 House members were not on record for it’s passing.  Our educational schools now have to water down their teaching standards to meet the new law.  Steve also has brought the Highmark story to Delaware.  His research in the increase of medical costs in Western PA as a result of knocking out competition by unfair practices, leads one with a cold chill of what to expect in Delaware’s future.  We are already there.  As an insurer, Highmark is only paying medical claims in its own affiliated clinics.  As the new Blue Cross/Blue Shield owner, that is a huge percentage of Delaware’s residents.  None can go to any other hospital.  He has properly fingered Karen Weldham Stuart for not catching this prior to implementation.  Without Steve, this would have passed unnoticed.  The News Journal still has not once mentioned the takeover of Delaware’s health field under one owner.

Ernest Lopez.  If Kennedy were still writing Profiles of Courage, he should include this man.  Ernest Lopez is a conservative, and voted with Libertarian values to pass the gun legislation recommended by Markell and Biden.  Reflecting the views of his district, instead of taking the threatening message sent to him down from the NRA, he voted for his district.  A very vocal minority, who is always vocal, and always in the minority, swore they would unseat him.  He disregarded their idle threat, and voted both his and his constituents conscious.  A major billboard was put up to call him out.   His vote caused the passage of us now requiring background checks at public gun sales.  Now a certifiably insane person cannot slap cash and get a gun.  It is a no-brainer, and Ernie was the only Republican with brain enough to even know what a no-brainer is….

Cathy Cloutier:  her vote allowed gays to marry.  Again, she is a Republican who said enough is enough… Tired of voting against her conscious just so Sussex County would not flip over to the Democrats, she finally did not toe the line and voted along the lines of her own constituents, all overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage.  In doing so, she went against the entire grain of her party, who firmly feel that gays are second class citizens, even though most Republicans in office are closeted gays.

Bethany Hall Long:  on the same vote, made a viable personal decision, and also voted for the legalization of gay marriage. Unlike Cathy’s vote, this was accomplished at great personal sacrifice, for all of those in her personal life, were solidly against this policy from taking effect.  In voting for what was morally right, she had to contend against those whose influence she could not escape.  She went with the correct vote, over the easy one.   As a result, Gay marriage is now legal in Delaware.

Paul Baumbach:  gave great ammunition against the fight for SB51, and later against HB 165. Both bills which will damage Delaware’s education for years to come.  He was one of the four who put up a fight on the House floor.  Paul also arranged for the meetings in Newark to discuss the new Power plant that figured in this past week’s election.

John Kowalko:  also was against SB51, HB 165, as well, being against the power plant.  In fact, John was the first person to sound the alarm over how big the power plant would be.  Without his big voice, it may have slid through unnoticed.  The power plant has defined northern Delaware politics since September.

Kim Williams;  responsible for HB 40 which investigates Charter School’s meddling into our educational systems.  She was as an acting state representative, allegedly refused entrance into a committee hearing on education, for fear she might say something damaging to the bill being rushed through….  She brought to the public’s knowledge, that the Charter School bill was drafted illegally without public input, and the charter group constructing it, was also under FOIA, to which the private group denied.  The Attorney General backed up her assertion, that the bill was formulated illegally but their decision was moot, because the bill was passed both houses anyways.  Kim Williams also in the HB 40 task force, led the group to realize that charter schools unlike public schools, do indeed filter those entering charters to weed out those who might lower their test scores….

Mark Murphy, Rodel, Sweeney, Hefferman, and the Fake Educational Reform Establishment:  I almost purposefully did not post this.  Although the first person’s name is usually followed by explicatives whenever mentioned, it is unlike Voldermort’s, still getting mentioned.  Mark Murphy was not put in his position based on his ability. He was placed there for his loyalty to the cause of  corporatizing public education.  Markell pulls the strings, Murphy figures how to get it done…  It is hard to make a puppet the most influential person of the year… So I was going to skip him… But at the last minute, remembered that every time  he or anyone of these make an op-ed, it resonates as gigantic news. The entire community rises up to counteract each op-ed, usually with the word “lies” thrown liberally about…. So, they do exert an influence.  I looped all of them together, as the group of liars in a Greek play, who stand on the stair steps and taunt the protagonists.  Well,… they are part of the play…….

Dan Short:  Sometimes villains get noticed too.  Primarily a single issue candidate, who personally supports the NRA, he actively campaigned and organized to create enough backlash so Markell’s gun laws could not get enough votes…  Without him, there is a possibility that all four of Markell’s gun control pieces of legislation would have passed both houses of Delaware’s legislature. Dan Short should be given the credit for stopping them.

John Sigler: Single handedly by his very brief tenure as the re-elected head of the Republican Party, he pointed out through his pigeon shooting, just how inept the Republican Party was at everything else.  With his leaving, all fissures cracking the Republican bedrock, were impossible to ignore.  Blogs split. The IPOD’s split. Former candidates of the same party just months earlier, now not talking to each other. The Delaware Republican Party is dead; no it is past dead.  More dead than a pigeon shot inside a box by John Sigler, former head of the Delaware Republican Party.

Nancy Willing: Her blog, the Delaware Way, is the go-to site for local information. Whether about Dover, about New Castle County, about any of New Castle County’s associations, Nancy combs all sources and puts them down in aggregate form. Heavily involved in the Power Plant controversy, The Delaware City Rail Yard controversy, Barley Mill controversy, the Woodlawan controversy, the Kinder Morgan controversy, the Charter School Controversy, the Common Core Controversy, Nancy has who is saying “what”, and links to “why”. One can expend less energy by using her blog to follow all the stuff the News Journal neglects, in a few quick empty steps.

Amy Roe:  a head of the Sierra Club, who emerged from nowhere to lead the fight against the power plant, and give quite a run against the establishment candidate.  Becoming the face the anti- power movement could coalase behind, she gave the anti power plant movement both dignity and grace.  Coming up short only 115 votes, she has awakened Newark now politically as never before…  The power plant if it goes forward, now has a strong group of Newarkeans against it.  Hopefully they will be monitoring it regularly and helping authorities keep in in compliance with all local law.

Tom Gorden; although much quieter than his first term in office, Tom Gorden is rapidly rolling back the privileges the previous Clark administration handed over to our state’s top developers. The Barley Mill plaza which had a green light, is now parked at a red. In a big sea change, though handled quietly, community groups are now no longer persona non grata in county government. It is no longer accepted as a matter of course that the Woodlawn Trust will be gobbled up by developers. If enough fight can be mustered, it can be stopped. Furthermore, with Tom there is closer coordination with the City of Wilmington, than we have experienced anytime in our lifetimes. In the county, local policing has been stepped up, particularly in neighborhoods prone to crime…

Dennis Williams: Came in with grand expectations, which looked deliverable for a while. The tide is turning and his relevance on this list, is because every day, the headline reality in Wilmington’s streets, brings his electioneering boasts back to haunt him, like a sizzling hot branding iron.  Time, Dennis, to say “Damn the torpedoes… Their punk asses are going in jail no matter which blowhard on City Council spouts off,before mine gets tossed in jail for impersonating a mayor..”

Alan Levin:  Jack Markell’s second in command, he was instrumental in defending Markell’s position on Kinder Morgan and the port, as well as the new power plant for the data center. He also had a hand in keeping Dole in Delaware, and worked to slip the power plant past a slew of unsuspecting Newark City officials.

Jack Markell: had his hand in everything.  He was behind Kinder Morgan’s takeover.  He was behind SB 51 and HB 165.  He was behind the illegal charter group, requiring HB 40. He also was the driving force for the four rational steps to gun legislation, 2 of which were passed. He was also the driving force behind the passage of gay marriage, signing the bill in the chambers just moments after its passage. He also supported the transgender bill in its travels through the labyrinth of Legislative Hall. He as behind keeping Dole in Delaware. He was behind changing an icon in Millsboro away from pickles, over to poultry. He pushed the bill to curtail Flowers. Despite your opinion over whether these were good or bad, they still showed a ubiquitous and wide reach across the state of Delaware. Seems like nothing got done that didn’t have his fingerprints all over it.

John Young: As head of Christina board, John Young led the board in standing up to Mark Murphy and Jack Markell, by refusing the RTTT funds slated for his district. Although some hired fools, (Jea Street) tried to paint Young into a corner, it served the opposite purpose and gave Young a platform. For the fist time, Common Core was getting publicly bashed. For the first time, many were finding that aligning themselves blindly to this sham of improving standards, was probably going to hurt them politically in the next couple of years. It was the fist salvo back, so the damage estimates were not high, but it did open eyes of many who had been on the sidelines of all educational issues, making them also become vocal in fighting Common Core. His blog Transparent Christina has channelled a lot of detailed information into the Delaware market, and had made Common Core an apprehension, instead of the savior it was supposed to be….

Kilroy: Kilroy has always been haranguing over education. In fact he was doing such a good job I left that issue alone for years, because other issues for me, like the economy and elimination of guns from the hands of the mentally ill, were more important. But as the issue has shifted back into the limelight, Kilroy’s hard hitting is making its mark… Kilroy is blunt, and right now, that is the language that needs to happen. Blunt descriptions of what takes place in the stratosphere of he academic field…. Kilroy often breaks stories before the News Journal, especially ones embarrassing to the Murphy/Markell cartel of education. If you have read Kilroy over the past couple of years, you would already know that Common Core is not the panacea we have been promised. It is a power grab for taxpayer dollars, financed by Wall Street itself…. If you think otherwise, you haven’t been reading a balanced reading list….
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That is what I have so far. In retrospect I am surprised that education has played so much, as even I have only come to that topic lately… But if one looks over the News Journal op eds, education really did dominate the discussion in the 2nd smallest state this year….

I may have forgotten some big ones. To reiterate, that is why I am posting this early, to catch those big mistakes as they get brought to my attention….

Occasionally something that you looked at many times, but have never seen, suddenly jumps out and changes your whole perspective. For example, I had always thought that as far as the Revolutionary War went, Delaware’s only claim to fame was that the new flag was first flown in battle on Delaware’s soil…….

Not so! Two hundred thirty-six years ago today, things were really jumping in these parts. It may seem like a long time ago to most of us, but in reality it is only a string of three ten year olds who each knew someone who was ninety. In the vernacular, that means that most of us know someone, who themselves knew someone who actually had spoken to someone, who was alive during the Revolutionary War!…… Whoa…….

August 25, 1777 close to 300 ships sailed up the Chesapeake Bay, anchored off off Elk Neck, Maryland, and began disembarking. That has been called the largest fleet ever assembled off either of the America’s coasts. To put that number into perspective, the famous Spanish Armada, consisted of a meager 130 Spanish ships. The most-oft talked about Battle of Trafalger, consisted of a combined total of some 60 ships. Modern historians can get a perspective by comparing those 300 ships to the 700 off of Dunkirk or the 900 off of Normandy…….

It must have been quite a sight to stand on the top Iron Hill and see over 300 tall masts sailing to defeat you. And on board those ships, were 15,000 solders disembarking to begin marching towards your capital city….That’s close to the total number of women living across Greater Newark in 2010.

Were we living 236 years ago, we would all be on edge! Anticipating a major battle on Delaware soil, 11,000 continental troops were moved into Delaware and bivouacked at what used to be known as Red Mill Neck, and now is near the Marshalltown bridge over top of Red Clay Creek.

The British moved in steps, out of Elkton to Gray’s hill, then up the road to Newark. One account said their line stretched from Glasgow to the bridge across the Christiana, where the I 95 and 896 interchange is today. They marched through the village of Newark, and then advanced parallel to today’s Kirkwood highway and camped at Milltown, just two miles from the American Camp in Newport. For one day, they stared each other down. The potential existed for a pitched battle to have occurred on Delaware soil. When no attempt was made by the British, Washington got scared that he was to be flanked to the north. Had General Howe chosen to do so, Washington and the Continental Army would have suffered a catastrophic defeat. At 2 am, the Continentals forced marched north to Chadd’s Ford, thereby occupying the high ground, and then on the following day, occurred the Battle of the Brandywine, the second to last major battle to be fought by Washington until Yorktown, four years latter.

Just a small footnote:  it was in Delaware  where General Pulaski, from Poland, met Washington while in Wilmington and was placed in charge of developing the calvary.

Although only a small skirmish actually occurred in this small state, with just a few things happening differently, a major conflagration could have happened that could have ended the war for the Americans.

Needless to say, it was relatively scary “in these parts” just 11 score and sixteen years ago.

Delaware's Engagement 1777 August 25
Full Resolution

Common Core took quite a few arrows into the heart with the release of New York’s Test Scores.   One of the huge questions being asked, is how did the Commissioner John King, know what the drop would be before the tests were given?

We are learning; new reports popping up every hour on how those scores were derived.  To understand the process, you must first be familiar with how regular grading scores are determined.  Most teachers when they score their tests assume that if a student can show that they understand 65% of the material, they can pass the class.  It is reality based.  Here is the material, you know this much, you shall pass because it is above the 65% threshold.  If you have a good class, you can pass all of them.

I hope you are sitting down.  The Pearson tests were taken, then graded.  After that was done,  they were then scored.  They were not scored on whether a person got the answer right or wrong.  They were scored on where the benchmarks should be.  A benchmark is that spot where a score of 1 then becomes a 2, or a score of 2 becomes a 3 and so on.

This is the story of how those bench marks were determined.  Close coordination was done with the College Board SAT’s.   The tests were going to determine which students were… or were not, college and career ready.

So how was the level where one is college-ready determined?.  It was decided to be at that level where there was a 75% chance that a student would receive a B- or above in ELA,  and writing, and a 65% chance that he would receive a C+ in math, in his first college course in those two subjects… Got that?  “That” is college ready.

Once that arbitrary level is set, and it is arbitrary.  Is a B- the same at Harvard as it would be in Michigan State?  is a B- the same if given by Professor X or Professor Y?   Anyone who has ever picked their college classes over the alleged difficulties of certain college professors, certainly knows that this method is very suspect.  But regardless of whether it makes sense, once the threshold is set, one can compare the SAT scores of those students and come up with a correlation.  The correlation  between these grades  and those SAT scores that would determine if one was college ready, happened at the score of 1550.

Now that you know how this score was determined, you can forever dismiss its validity.  That is not being snippy. That is a real assessment of the credibility these scores now have.

From the score of 1550, the next step was to determine how that works downward to the test scores of 8th graders who still have 3 years before they take the SAT. The Breakdown of that score was 560 Reading, 530 Writing, and 540 Math.

To those teachers gathered for the opportunity to cut the scores, the Pearson executives showed them all the data, then told them where the bookmark should be for a 3.  From there the groups determined where to draw the lines for a 1,2,3 and a 4. Then they went and did the 7th grade, then the 6th.  Each grade was determined by the previous one, all of which went back to comparing the 8th Grade to the SAT to be taken 3 years into the future.

They returned to the 8th grade, and re-walked through that process then, that was the cut turned into the commissioner.  Because he had given them the rubric  or guidelines upon which to make their judgment, he already knew ahead of time how the results would turn out.   Does that make sense?

Here is an first person account of what went on inside those cutting rooms…  and here is a humorous account with diagrams, which help a lot in understanding the twists and turns taken to determine this result.

Your test question now. Did you add the three individual scores I posted up above? Had you done so, you would have noticed that they came up to 1630 instead of 1550. It is 1630, significantly higher than the 2011 College Board’s index associated with a B- in college.

The above illustrates how one can manipulate the percentage of college readiness by hopping between the columns and changing the definition of “college ready” to suit oneself. If the State Education Department had increased or decreased the grade and/or the probability, the college readiness indicator would move up or down. In the end, they chose values that are extraordinarily high, producing an index that exceeds the College Board’s index for achieving a B- average.New Yorks score was already higher than the national average. 

From this assessment, comes the criteria that permanently classify a student, that fire a teacher, that close down a school, that wreak havoc in a district.  An assessment that has no basis in reality…

What does have a basis in reality?

Decades of research have shown that the SAT test can be an accurate indicator of IQ. Which is why, test prep classes rarely move the needle on the actual scores themselves.

According to the College Board’s own research, the SAT is not such a great predictor of college grades. The correlation between the SAT and college grades is about .48, which means that its predictive power (r squared) is only 23 percent. High school grades are a better predictor of how students will do in college courses (nearly 30 percent). In addition, other research has found that high school GPA is three to five times more important in predicting college graduation than an SAT or ACT score. Even with all of that known, the State Education Department aligned students 3-8 scores with later performance on the SAT to create cut scores that give the illusion of being on the road to college readiness.

They created this report to justify their methodology.

If you connect the dots and read all of these links you will see that these scores were supposed to be low for a reason, a reason of politics,  They had the data and knew that the results would be scored low, that was their plan.

As they even state here, education did not fall apart; the students are not dumber; the teachers are not derelict; the schools are not failing.  They were just graded on a different curve, that’s all.

It was all done politically to show that large numbers of students did not meet the arbitrarily decided new standard of being college and career ready…

Yes, in even those in Third Grade.,

Eli Broad — the CPA-trained-billionaire-businessman-turned-public-education-reformer — informed Diane Ravitch, a distinguished education expert, about what needs to be done to education in America.  . According to Ravitch, “We talked about school reform for an hour or more, and he told me that what was needed to fix the schools was not all that complicated: A tough manager surrounded by smart graduates of business schools and law schools.

According to Slate quoting Vanity Fair, Eli Broad boasted back in 2006 that he  “plans to virtually take over the Delaware school system in 2007, pending approval from that state’s legislature.” He backed the winning slate of candidates for the local board of education in 1999 and helped hire the superintendent.

Eli Broad trains Superintendents.  Christina School District has been the unfortunate beneficiary of his largess.  Joe Wise, followed by Lillian Lowery, followed by  Marcia Lyles, all are from Eli’s School of Superintendencies….Dr. Joe Wise was selected as a Broad Fellow by Eli Broad Institute for School Boards (2005), was appointed to the Eli Broad Urban Superintendents Academy as a Fellow (2003), and serves on the Broad Academy’s adjunct faculty and advisory committee. Although Broad Superintendents come in highly qualified, they often leave disgracefully. Joe Wise, may have been one of the first. Recently, across this nation many Broad Superintendents have been let go. All trained by the Broad Superintendents Academy: Maria Goodloe-Johnson (class of 2003) of the Seattle school district, LaVonne Sheffield (class of 2002) of the Rockford, Illinois school district, and Jean-Claude Brizard (class of 2008) of the Rochester New York school district. Brizard resigned to take the job as CEO of Chicago schools, but his superintendency in Rochester had been mired in controversy. Another Broad-trained Superintendent recently announced his resignation: Tom Brady (class of 2004) of Providence, Rhode Island, as well as these others from before: Arnold “Woody” Carter (class or 2002), formerly of the Capistrano Unified School District; Thandiwee Peebles,( class of 2002), formerly of the Minneapolis Public School District; and John Q. Porter (class of 2006), formerly of the Oklahoma City Public School District.

Ms. Lillian Lowery (class of 2004), Wise's replacement after supposedly cleaning up Joe Wise's disaster, was put in charge of all Delaware's schools, and now, is in charge of Maryland's. Broad's influence has touched every Delaware Student… and is about to touch all those of Maryland.

Our current head of the Department of Education, Mark Murphy, hails from a group NLNS funded by Eli Broad

If this was a good thing, it would be good.

So, what is the Broad influence?

Here is one take. It is one of the three influencers of education. Along with the Gates Foundation and the Walton's, it exerts a powerful influence, good or bad. It calls itself a venture philanthropy, as in venture capitalist. Meaning it invests in philanthropy expecting to yield a return on its investment. As an example, it can fund a study that says computers will help inner city kids learn, then sell those recommended computers to that school district.

Here is how it infiltrates a school district. Christina School District to be exact…

The Broad Foundation plants one of its elements in a school district, it is then highly likely they will plant another one along with it, so their influence is maximized.

For instance, an element might be:
– The presence of a Broad-trained superintendent
– The placement of Broad Residents into important central office positions
– An "invitation" to participate in a program spawned by the Foundation (such as CRSS's Reform Governance in Action program)
– Offering to provide the district with a free "Performance Management Diagnostic and Planning" experience

The Broad Foundation likes to infiltrate its targets on multiple levels so it can manipulate a wider field and cause the greatest amount of disruption. Venture edu-philanthropists like Gates and Broad proudly call this invasive and destabilizing strategy “investing in a disruptive force.” To these billionaires and their henchmen, causing massive disruption in communities across the nation is not a big deal.

The Broad Foundation has spent nearly $400 million on its mission of “transforming urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition.”

That sounds nice. So let us look closer….

The signature effort of the Broad Foundation is its investment in its training programs…The Broad Superintendents Academy runs a training program held during six weekends over ten months, after which graduates are placed in large districts as superintendents. Those accepted into the program (“Broad Fellows”) are not required to have a background in-education; many come instead from careers in the military, business, or government. Tuition and travel expenses for participants are paid for by the Broad Center, which also sometimes covers a share of the graduates’ salaries when they are appointed into district leadership positions. The foundation’s website boasts that 43 percent of all large urban superintendent openings were filled by Broad Academy graduates in 2009.

The Broad Superintendents Academy’s weekend training course provides an “alternative” certification process which has come to supplant or override the typical regulations in many states that require that individuals have years of experience as a teacher and principal before being installed as a school district superintendents….

The Broad Residency in Urban Education is a two-year program, during which individuals with MBAs, JDs, etc. in the early stages of their careers are placed in high-level managerial positions in school districts, charter management organizations, or state and federal departments of education. The Broad Center subsidizes approximately 33 percent of each Resident’s salary.

The Broad Foundation founded the New York City Leadership Academy, which trains individuals to serve as principals in the city public schools, several of whose graduates have been accused of financial misconduct, as well as arbitrary and dictatorial treatment of teachers, students and parents. This was recently featured by Delaware’s WDDE reporting on Reshid Walker who is training in Cape Henelopen under the Delaware Leadership Project. DLP is an alternate certification program that this year is preparing six candidates to work as principals or assistant principals at public schools serving high-risk students in Delaware. Alternate Certification means it sidesteps requirements that a principal has to have stepped foot inside a school before. Through four days a week of on-the-job training, and no certification from an accredited college or university, he will soon be in command of your child’s education.

The Broad Institute for School Boards provides three training programs for elected school board members and non-Broad-trained superintendents conducted in partnership with the Center for Reform of School Systems (CRSS). The Institute trains new board members at a one-week summer residential setting…The Broad Foundation underwrites 80 percent of all program costs through a grant to CRSS.

The Broad Foundation also supports a broad range of pro-charter school advocacy groups, as well as alternative training programs for non-educators who want to work as teachers and principals (Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools). In addition, the foundation offers free diagnostic “audits” to school districts, along with recommendations aligned with its policy preferences. It produces a number of guides and toolkits for school districts, including a “School Closure Guide,” based on the experiences of Broad-trained administrators involved in closing schools in Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Miami-Dade County, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Seattle…..

Closing public schools to open opportunities for charters seems to be it’s prime directive. Although not officially enshrined as such, it does seem to be the consistent pattern of each of its graduates.

The foundation provided start-up funding for Parent Revolution (formerly the Los Angeles Parent Union), the group which developed the “Parent Trigger” legislation, designed to encourage the conversion of public schools to charter schools. Broad has also has given large amounts of money to Education Reform Now, a pro-charter school advocacy organization…

Eli Broad has said he “expects to be a major contributor” to Students First, former D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s organization that advocates for the expansion of charters, vouchers, and an end to seniority protections for teachers. The pro-Rhee biography, The Bee Eater, was subsidized by the Broad Foundation as is mentioned on the book jacket.

Of course, there are campaign contributions (you will need to type in Broad, Eli) to facilitate the corporatizing of education… A quick look certifies that his coverage is a who’s who across party lines in Congress. Obviously there will be support for Charters streaming down from the top lines of government.

Ok, so how does all of this affect Delaware’s public school’s families?….
One of the tenets of his philosophy taught to his graduates, is to produce system change by “investing in a disruptive force.” Continual reorganizations, firings of staff, and experimentation to create chaos or “churn” is believed to be productive and beneficial, as it weakens the ability of communities to resist change.

A hallmark of the Broad-style leadership is closing existing schools rather than attempting to improve them, increasing class size, opening charter schools, imposing high-stakes test-based accountability systems on teachers and students, and implementing of pay for performance schemes. The brusque and often punitive management style of Broad-trained leaders has frequently alienated parents and teachers and sparked protests. A long laundry list of Broad Supertendants run out of town can be found here, near the bottom. But you can get an idea of what to expect, from just this one: Robert Bobb (class of 2005), the Emergency Financial Manager of the Detroit Public Schools, recently sent layoff notices to every one of the district’s 5,466 salaried employees, including all its teachers, and said that nearly a third of the district’s schools would be closed or turned over to private charter operators. At a recent town hall which Bobb had called so he could go over his plan, angry students, parents, and teachers drove him from the meeting. He was escorted out by his six bodyguards….

Disruption and chaos indeed…..

Delaware is fortunate to have a large parenting network of watch dogs who communicate well with legislators. Whereas the Christina District has had a rough go with Broad graduates, the rest of the state has so far been unscathed…..
Without the oversight being provided by parents and teachers watchdog organizations, the fate of Delaware’s students might be that of Philadelphia, Chicago, or Detroit.

if you are a parent or know one, you probably feel this way as well. Parents Across America considers Broad’s influence to be inherently undemocratic, as it disenfranchises parents and other stakeholders in an effort to privatize our public schools and imposes corporate-style policies without our consent. We strongly oppose allowing our nation’s education policy to be driven by billionaires who have no education expertise, who do not send their own children to public schools, and whose particular biases and policy preferences are damaging our children’s ability to receive a quality education.

In fact, this entire philosophy of forcing change upon children, strikes every parent as coming from those types of people we all run across, … who hate children…. “Someone smack that kid who’s crying.”

Amen And Amen.

I just spent some time reading through the NRA’s list on how to make schools safer…..

Obviously a lot of time and effort went into this project to deflect the real cause away from guns. I appreciate their effort.  In 2010, there were 132,656 public schools.

Here are the costs per school as portrayed by the NRA.

Consulting assessment per school  $10,000

Camera systems per school   $50,000

Making outer doors secure per school   $10,000

Making Classroom doors secure per school  $50,000

Hiring 2 armed guards at $20/hour per school  $40,000

Training those 2 guards at NRA run camps  $40,000

That was for starters.  Let us go with just those basics….  The NRA says as a society we need to spend $200,000 per school to keep our kids safe.  The cost for Christina District would be $5,000,000. The cost for Red Clay District would be $6,400,000.  Brandywine would cost $3,000,000.

To fortify every school across  the entire country would cost  $25.6 Billion…

Bluntly put.  it would cost $25.6 billion to fortify each school, when we could simply make not only school kids, but every citizen safer for a zero added cost.  Yes, just pass the Delaware state laws which will keep fewer guns out of the hands of criminals while not curtailing the rights of legal gun owners, and we can have the safety in our schools we all grew up under, with zero cost…..

$26,500,000,000, or zero…….

Call your legislators today and tell them, especially the Republicans, they are going to be out of a job if they don’t pass the Governor’s rational regulations on weapons of school kids destruction…..

Oh, and did anyone else catch that the NRA’s plan nets themselves $5.3 billion from training all those guards?

Whatever your opinion may be of charters, there’s no question that the District has failed to explain its inconsistent approach of allowing charter expansion without regard to expense or academic quality while insisting on draconian and widespread sacrifice among District schools. This despite the fact that many of the District schools targeted for closure outperform some of the charters that the SRC renewed and expanded last spring.

Is this a “Damn The Public” boondoggle in the making? Are we running roughshod over evidence, children, teachers, structures, reality, in order to promote Charter Schools?

When something like this usually happens, it is the result of someone being on the take.

The Charters countered with this…. “The closings are inevitable for a district that must manage within the framework of a harsh fiscal reality. Given this scenario, the good news is that not only are charters educating children at a fraction of the cost, but they in turn are able to channel more money to children remaining at district schools.”

A student who leaves Philly schools for charters takes $10,170, leaving $5,879 with the district.

Philadelphia charters have more than 40,000 students on waiting lists. It is tragic that only a very small percentage of families ultimately “win” a seat. It is especially disheartening to turn away thousands of children and families seeking a quality education.

Recently I documented a comparison between 2005 and now, and illustrated that now there were only 950 fewer students (both public and charter) in Philadelphia less than the public school’s seating capacity, and that half as many graduates today were as college prepared as were those back when public school supplied over 88% of Philadelphia’s educational needs.

If using the criteria of judging education by how well it educates students, the Charter experiment has failed in Philadelphia.

In the bi-partisan Senate(sic) negotiations broke down today on figuring out how to accomplish background checks for hand held weapons…. By an overwhelming majority, Americans support the notion that every gun be registered to a single owner, and if a crime occurs, that owner can be charged with a conspiracy to that crime, provided he had not reported that weapon stolen….

A reader has brought up the major fear all gun owners have on getting their guns registered.  They hide behind the Constitutionality that registering guns with the Government, is the first step to confiscation.   This is not their real reason.

Their guns are illegal.  Not to them, But at some point in the past, they bought a gun in a shady private deal that did not require a background check, and the possibility lurks that their weapon they’ve had for years, probably in all fairness, was actually the stolen property of another gun owner….and with a registry, that fact will be found out.!!!

As soon as a registry goes into effect, computers will begin matching the numbers….

And, it is not these law abiding gun owner’s fault.  They performed their transactions legally, and the seller of the weapon probably in good faith, performed the transaction legally…. But with the ability to trace weapons, a gun registered in 2013 can be  found to have been stolen in 1989…..

Obviously this is a real fear.  I think all of us would feel the same.  I know I would.  Likewise, for us to move forward in taking effective action to prevent future tragedies like Newtown, we need to solve this issue.

The reality is that these once-stolen guns, are now in new homes, and those new owners are law abiding citizens… Without a registering of firearms, this criminality, possession of stolen merchandise, would never have been determined…

So by declaring no one will be prosecuted for having stolen merchandise, would go a long way to make sure fixing one injustice, does not create another…

We need amnesty against any legal action taken to retrieve ownership of a long lost gun. In most cases a statue of limitations would be long in effect, but we need a blanket Federal amnesty protection given priority over state an local laws on criminal prosecution….

We need this amnesty because we need universal background checks.

That accountability is key to holding criminals responsible..  As we go forward into the future, we will  need that clear accountability to control which guns confiscated from criminal belong to law abiding citizens who can then get return of their stolen possession, and which guns confiscated can lead us to more criminals who are using the current holes in our system to funnel guns to 7-11 and convenience store robbers….

We need oversight and accountability to accomplish this….

And putting law abiding citizens at risk for crimes of the past of which they were unaware,  gets in our way of doing what an overwhelming number of Americans want….  closing the ability of criminals to get possession of guns…..

I think tacking amnesty for gun owners covering any issues a gun registry may illuminate,  needs to be in any gun legislation bill put forward….  It is no different from granting immunity, which across this nation prosecutors do every single day……..

So let’s get it done.

NRA Has Plan To Eliminate Courthouse Shootings Across America

Photo Courtesy of newshopper.sulekha.com

NRA Says Having Piles Like These Outside Every Courthouse Door Would Have Prevented Today’s Shooting

When I was young, and thought I ruled the world, I went car shopping. it was about time for a new car, I wasn’t really in the market, but repairs were due and perhaps I could leap into a new car, and let the dealer fix up the old one on his dime…. I walked into the Honda dealer on Cleveland Avenue 15 minutes before closing , way back when Honda Accords were listed for $12,000….

I test drove then sat down with the salesman/manager (he negotiated back and forth with himself), and I said, it’s a nice car, but I can’t go over $8000. He got all exasperated, and flustered about, and said, .. “if you sign it tonight, I can give it to you for $8500…. Right here. Right now…” That scared me. I began to wonder what on earth was wrong with the car; still, I could have sold it the next day for $9000. But, it was too fast for me, and I said so. “I can’t sign tonight, I have to look at all the options including finances.”

I spent all night trying to find a way I’d lose money on that deal.. I couldn’t find one. So at 10:00 am I drove to Cleveland Ave, … the car was gone! I approached the manager I’d had the conversation the night before, and thinking they were prepping it up for me, I said … I decided to take that offer now…”

“Sorry, kid. That was for last night. It is gone. Would you like another vehicle?” I didn’t want to pay more than $8500. so i said “no:….

As a caveat 7 years later I saw that same model, same year, on the used car lot with a price tag for a used car, of $14,800…. My left shin was black from all the kicks I gave it…

To this day, I’ve always wondered why he went so low that one night? It has definitely been the best deal ever on a vehicle I’ve seen, and I haven’t figured out any rational reason why he would do such a thing…. Being the sales manager, the man in charge, it obviously had some import….

This relates to the fiscal cliff in this way. Just because an offer was made… doesn’t mean it has to stand. It was made for a limited time only.. That time frame is at the discretion of the seller.

Did you ever try to use a coupon that has expired? What happens? It doesn’t work.

If Republicans do not act on this in a timely way, the price goes back up… That way, they will have more respect, as did that young car buyer, of in the future, acting in a timely fashion…

If they don’t accept now and firm a deal, it is time to pull the offer. Later on, we can settle for keeping the tax cuts on those under $250,000 and Republicans will sit out in the cold…..

We wanted to sell it today, we gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse, they refused and the offer got pulled…

It was for a limited time … only.