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“There is tremendous support for the priority plan”, said Delaware’s Secretary Mark Murphy.

  • It wasn’t at the press announcement, where all the political speakers qualified their statements afterwards.
  • It isn’t with the teachers inside the schools being prioritized.
  • It isn’t with parents whose children now have intense disruption over the next 4 years.
  • It isn’t with the School Boards that will have to undertake this MOU just when RTTT was done and they could begin their own focus.
  • It isn’t with the News Journal, who since being called out by Nancy and Connie has been more honest in its own pronouncements.
  • It isn’t with bus or other services who have contracts with each of these schools and now will undergo new negotiations with some new dickhead.
  • It isn’t with members of the General Assembly.

In fact…. there is absolute zero support for this initiative… Who are these mysterious shadowy people? What freaky world does Mark Murphy live in?

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Please Riot Here

When riots happen in Wilmington, which i’m sure they will, I hope they will learn from Ferguson Missouri’s mistake.

That mistake is to riot in your own neighborhood… That is just plain silly. Did we attack ourselves when the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor? Or did we wage war with Japan?

Why people would loot and burn in their own neighborhood, is beyond me. I write this now, so when the opportunity to riot does occur, those with above average intelligence will have a plan to move the crowd out of their impoverished neighborhood, and instead riot in neighborhoods where the a) the loot is much better, and b) those responsible for the policy that has kept you down since Clinton left office, are directly affected. If you are going to riot, you should do in on the enemies home turf. Republican Country.

A riot has a purpose. It is to change things. To make things better by creating a situation that is worse than doing nothing, therefore something has to be done. Blacks didn’t protest on the back seat of the bus. They sat in the white section. Black students didn’t do their sit-in at the black counter. They did it at the white. Black students didn’t march into Tuskegee Institute with the National Guard. They marched into the all white University of Alabama. Martin Luther King didn’t do his marches within all black neighborhoods. He marched across the bridge into downtown white Selma….

So battling police in your own neighborhood, looting your own corner store, burning out yours and your neighbor’s houses, kind of double hurts you. Not only are you being oppressed by Republican Policies, but you are also setting those who support you, back even more….

So I’m writing this to tell you where to protest so it will do you some good.

It is called Westover Hills. There aren’t many people living there, but those that do are rich and very old and feeble. They couldn’t stop a crowd breaking into their house if they tried. Plus, when you loot, you could actually get something you could sell. Whose going to buy all the banana flavored Laffy Taffy you stole from the corner market? But you could easily swipe a Bose Stereo, or maybe find a safe with a couple of hundred thousand in it.

And instead of hurting mom and pop, or Uncle Joe and Aunt Alice, you would be hurting those whose money is directly responsible for you not having a good job, a good house, a good future. Those in Westover Hills vote Republican and it is Republicans who have allowed all the money to go to the top 1%… and none to you…

If you remember the Clinton Democratic years, it was different. You, or your mom and dad, did get richer every year and if that had only continued, you would have been doing rather well by now. But you got lazy and enough of you didn’t vote for Democrats in 2000 and now, we are stuck with the rich getting richer, and you and your neighbors, getting poorer…

So take the number 20 bus from 10th and Market side of Rodney Square and in 8 minutes and 15 stops later, you will be just north of the riot zone. Do your peaceful protests there, in the middle of the streets, and shout how Republicans have ruined everyone’s lives but those of themselves… When the riot police arrive with their single tank and tear gas, make them fire it at you so all those rich billionaires have to breath it too. Then when all hell breaks loose, break into the houses and rob yourselves silly. Don’t even worry. Unlike those corner stores, everything you take here is fully insured… Destroying their property, will in days, put all Delaware’s construction workers back to work. These guys are rich. They don’t dilly-dally around.

The main point is this? When you riot in your own neighborhoods which these Republicans never venture into, it only serves to reinforce their notion of you as a sub-human race. “Look at those pathetic people”, they will say over their Maker’s Mark and Hennessey, “they’re tearing up their own neighborhood. Maybe we should keep them doing it so they move and haul their sorry asses elsewhere.”

They will not be in any hurry to lift one finger… “make them suffer more” will be their outcry. But … if you do it in THEIR neighborhood, they will at least wonder why? In their asking around, what’s the real cause of these people rioting, they will come to the conclusion that they, with all the money, need to invest more, need to hire more, need to pay more, and that if they had previously invested more in our people, this riot would never have happened. That is your key… Getting them to call their out-of-pocket legislators and say, “raise my taxes; we can’t afford any more riots like these, even if we are insured. It’s the third time this year. I’m too tired for another round of tax free shopping!”…

You can even walk there. So forget the bus. Just send the coordinates out on social media, and anyone with a phone app can get there…. It is pointless for you to have to bear the cost and trauma of what THEY caused. It makes such great sense for them to bear that cost, and after doing so, quickly create the changes you need to pull yourselves out of poverty…

So pastors and neighborhood watch leaders. Start talking your kids to riot in Westover Hills, instead of your own street. Isn’t it about time, the real criminals get to feel the heat?

They are the ones who put you there…. Make THEM pay, not those who are poor like you. And pick up something nice for me while you are there… A nice oriental carpet would be cool… blue and white if you find one.

A Homework assignment leads to an arrest… “How dare you mother fu<ker question the wisdom of Common Core…?”

Call your legislators now and demand, don’t ask, DEMAND WE GET RID OF COMMON CORE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not tomorrow.

Now.

I wanted to put some thoughts down on this, since it has begun at least locally to become a major thrust of conversation… Has America lost its Exceptionalism?

Be wary,  that is a very general question, and the wisest answer so far to date, has been Rick Jensen’s:  “Which definition of American Exceptionalism are we going to use?”

“If you define American Exceptionalism as Marilyn B. Young does i.e.: Liberals whose beliefs changed toward an exceptionalism that calls for imposing democracy worldwide, then, yes, the theory is likely. If the definition is Jay Lovestone’s (as in Lovestone v Stalin), then most people would likely agree with American Exceptionalism as our natural resources, strength, and capitalism prevents communism from being overwhelmingly popular. If you choose de Tocqueville’s original definition, then to deny American Exceptionalism is to deny the historical facts of a largely Puritanical population taking advantage of their opportunities to engage in commerce, worship as they choose, and live in a country whose government functions as a representation of the people, not of the ruling, royal class.”

So all “Exceptionalism” arguments are circular, because we are comparing bananas with apples and oranges, to see they all are better than watermelons… (they aren’t; watermelons rule; btw)

But,… what if we made up a new definition, one in which America was defined as being its people’s right to self determination?…. Simply put, it steals from our Declaration of Independence and states along Jeffersonian lines, that people have the right to go in the direction in which they want.

If that becomes one’s definition, then not only is our nation non-exceptional, but it is working hard to become as unexceptional as possible.

At the crux of this change, is the probably this facet:  Those rights and values that used to be held up as true for people, have now been usurped by big business, or multi-national corporations…

One could take it one step further, that at one time America was exceptional… With a wide open frontier growing faster than regulating authorities could keep up, best practices could evolve and become powerful, before the squelching counter-force of the status quo could take its effect….

In real life, we are facing the return of the status quo, as being defined as ruled by an elite, in all that has changed over the last 14 years.  I would mark the tipping point (based on my viewing stand) as tipping in 2007… Other’s may use different markers and put their finger before or afterwards, but the playing field has seriously changed based on Conservative principles which originally emerged out of the 1994 Gingrich neo-Conservative movement… Some of the changes occurred through their emphasis on lack of regulation, some through their pro-financial legislation, and some through their Conservative Court decisions…

But all have been enacted to embrace restraints and control over democracy, by those landed class having tremendous amounts of money at their disposal.  Ironically, for them to have the freedoms expressed in the Declaration of Independence, they must suppress yours….

What we are looking at transpiring over just the past few years, is a return to a ruling class, just like in Ireland, where the subjects have no rights at all, and if any amenities are to be given, it is only to keep them alive to keep the profiteering economic engines continuing to spit out money for its owners…

A topic recently discussed here was Wal*mart and speculation that some corporate pressure would now be upcoming to re-invest a bit more of America’s resources back into food stamps because one of its landed-gentry (the Waltons) was now foundering.. in other words, it is deemed to be good landed-gentry policy to put the boot into ones people, but only as far until one feels the effect applied to oneself, and then and only then, does the pressure get let off.

Under old American thinking, that never could have happened.  The majority would revolt through elections and the landed gentry would be forced to pull the idea off the table until another opportunity.

In arguments of this structure and magnitude the future use of adjectives such as “good” and “bad” to describe the two sides, is misleading.  For in any type of disagreement, one always sees oneself as representing the good they wish to represent, and the other with opposing belief, sees them as evil…

Therefore a more thorough distinction must be used.  Rich and poor is too general and too relative.  The most accurate definition I can think of how to delineate the two opposing parties, is that one employed by the Wall Street activists of the 1% versus the 99%…  That is such a convenient piece of language.   Realistically, of course the area between 90-99% would be full of people who had some fingers in some pies on both sides… And quite probably a more accurate delineation would be to draw the line at the 15% mark, at which a very clear line evolves between being either self-sufficient, or a supplicant…  But, for reference primarily due to its common use, it just makes sense to continue using the 1%–99% divide.  That polarization helps illuminate the major discrepancies and make arguing points for each side, .. much easier.  .

What we have seen since the century mark passed us with no Y2K disaster….. is the 1% making giant inroads into our government, our communications, our economy, and our employment….

Money can do that.

If one is wealthy, one can a) hire people to craft legislation,  b) pander it through Congress and state legislatures surreptitiously attached to campaign contributions, and c) hire scholars to invent and trumpet the advantages of each of those bills.   This creates a one-sided argument against which no one is immune… Those too poor to pay cash, those too poor to take off work, those too tied down to drive down to Washington or one’s state capital, have their side eclipsed.  The legislator could be one of the most benign to the principles of the Constitution, but if he is lied to and provided glowing accounts of how his vote will resonate glowingly among all voters, without a contrarian opinion, he is doing whatever they say.

Not to absolve their blame, but it is just as if you, saw me every day and said “how are things going” and I said “not so good”, you’d feel concerned and want to help.  But on the other hand if you stood in a checkout line with a mom and two kids using WIC paper to get necessary nutrients, and asked… ” how are things going”,… their negative answer would roll off your back… Not because you are callous; but because you don’t know them.   Excessive wealth has insulated our Congress, in fact, I would go out on a limb and say it has insulated the entire DC belt-way.  They just don’t know what average America goes through anymore.

When your most pressing problem is that you were invited to two important functions and have to figure out which one to snub and turn down, your prowess of representing your constituents is in question…. You have effectively been insulated from your constituent’s priorities…  As long as big money is allowed to be involved, it will happen to all we send there.

Against this, one would think that our communications industry would be implored to exploit for its own power, the divide between the ruling high gentry and the peasants supporting them.  Truth was, it WAS that way post-WWII. Perhaps their healthily dislike of the government came from seeing up close and personal it’s inefficiencies during the fog of WWII, but clear evaluations did take place inside our major media over the McCarthy Hearings, Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, and Welfare and Poverty. People always got a perspective different from the official government’s opinions.  And newspapers were far more partisan way back then, on both sides.

But big money bought them all. Big money owns them all.  Instead of competition, we have homogenization. with nothing ever wrong being pinned on big money…. We have arguments of why taxes need cut;  no one ever sees arguments of why they should be raised even though the paper receives 9 to 1 letters in favor of raising taxes… Our media no longer represents American thought;  it represents corporate mouthpieces, as was recently evidenced by NBC cutting away from the collapse of the USA to gargle over a troubled Justin Bieber in its networks competition over Neilsen ratings and getting the most “Likes” on Facebook..

When the reality of events shows Big Money in its correct light, the media does everything to discount it.  Whereas the media was once considered a courageous fourth element of government, it is now the house slave, whose whole survival depends upon the whim of his master… When one questions the slave if his master is a nice man, one can certainly pre-guess the only response one will get….

So when a wealthy power grab bill comes up in Congress, every media outlet sugar coats it.  UMMM Sugar Rush!!!! There is some good, there is no bad.  The top wealth has quenched all argument.  Of course the arguments burn inside of us.  Our frustrations grow.  For we see the reality.  But as in Eastern Germany, we tend to keep it too ourselves, since we must assume we are the only ones, and thinking such is dangerous…..

Besides government and communications, big wealth has taken over our economy.  When we sell low, they bought. They own everything.  When one owns everything, what is best for one, is not best for all others.  Hence, bundling securities in 2006-2007 which meant bundling very bad loans and selling them as very safe investments to all the world’s governments, was partaken without anyone having the right to answer, … “um did you say those were … “bad loans?”  

The how to “how this happened”, was that the very wealthy thorough their influence in Congress and through squelching all dissent in the media, were able to remove previous laws that required that risk to be disclosed.  There is a valid reason why such a deep crash never occurred in the interim between itself and the Great Depression.  It was illegal to do so.  But once pursuing those policies known to lead up to a great crash became unregulated and therefore legal,  guess what?  We got exactly the same result as when we tried it the last time….the 1920’s.

Other economic factors are its result of Big Wealth’s interference. Big wealth is the reason our college debt is too high.  Big wealth is the reason no new manufacturing investment is now taking place. Big wealth is the reason our government is cutting jobs instead of growing them.  Big Wealth is why your take home pay has gotten smaller, and now buys much less… Big Wealth is why Unions are less effective, being mostly illegal unless they apply by the tight rules Big Wealth has set for them…

But mostly all three of these came about by your fear of losing your job.  Big Wealth is your boss.  He may be your bosses’ bosses’ boss but Big Wealth controls you in your job.  Don’t believe me?  Just perform this test… Stand up in your next meeting and publicly say… “Occupied Wall Street was right about everything and dead on….”

i’m not going to dare you to do so, because I already know the answer.  You can’t say that, unless you don’t care whether you work there or not.   “Freedom is just another word… for nothing left to loose”…  If you have nothing to lose, only then are you free to speak your mind.  If you stand to lose your job for doing so, face it, you are silent for that reason…  If you are afraid to speak your mind, then essentually all your freedom is gone.  Stripped away. It may exist on paper, but your freedom today is not guaranteed in any way.

Sad thing… is that it used to be.  In my lifetime, one could keep one’s job and be a communist…  whatever…. Son, as long as you doing your work?  Then that’s ok.

But today one can never say that at one’s employment: “I agree with Occupy Wall Street”.  , for it is full of spies.One cannot even rant it on Facebook even jokingly, without being kicked out of ones job.  Our nation has lost its way.  Everything is controlled by the 1%.”

Now I’m sure some people will take issue with this, and do their best to weave it into whatever they want to weave it into.. That’s fine.  That is what the 1% is paying them to do and I am relatively confident that those people will stick out like sore thumbs for being the toadies they are: supplicants to the teats of excessive wealth.

If America is destined to go the way of all other past nations, then let it only speak in one voice and become a mouthpiece for its landed gentry, I can do nothing to stop it.  All I can do is point out, that today, the America we have at our disposal, is no different than that of ancient empires, than that of Roman control,  than that of medieval warlords, then that of imperialistic Europe, then that of Hirohito, than that of Soviet Russia, or even that of our own Guilded Age whose excesses led to the creation of the New Deal….

In fact,  I would go so far to stretch out on a limb that the current public perception of America’s Exceptionalism, was founded  upon the structures first put in place by the New Deal… I know that opens a theory up to a whole battery of counter-arguments, and most of them I have used myself to test out this hypothesis.  But after all the dust has settled, I have still to admit (and you probably will too), that with historical analysis outweighing whatever theoretical arguments get dashed against it,  the New Deal worked for 70 years until we started taking it apart…

With it gone, we are not exceptional anymore. We are just the same as everyone else.  A 1% ruling over the 99% peasant class beneath them…. The same as King George’s Great Britain. The same as Robespierre’s France. The same as Caesar.  The same as Babylon’s king… The same as the ancient Pharaoh….

None whose empires are still around today.  None today hold onto their power they once possessed.  With our expansionist opportunities now dimming, with the advent of a disturbingly stupid but powerful upper class, with our allowing them to usurp our edifices of democracy and force them to rule in their favor, not ours, America is now at a crossroads.  We can either choose to become comfortable slaves, grateful for the shelter, food, and Super-Bowls thrown for our benefit, … or we can choose to become the masters of our own destiny, and accept whatever that may befall.   The latter option worked best in our past. The later option was the Golden time of American Exceptionalism from which we have now removed ourselves…..

Should we go back?  Or accept the incremental slavery slowly wrapping its tentacles around us?

If my words ring hollow, then our time has already passed.  If you feel the same, then time is short.  It must change 2014, and in 2016 must make it even more clear…  After all, 2012 was writing on the wall…  America is only exceptional because its people are exceptional.  Its everyday simple people who wake up every morning and go to bed every night. That theme rolls through all the definitions of Exceptionalism listed above at this article’s very beginning. But when those people no longer own their nation, our fate will be sealed… and it won’t be pleasant….

..

.

I am borrowing heavily from Hunter here, who through an amazing amount of work did what I would have liked to, but never would have found the time…  He slogged through each month in separate installments.  I wanted to have one single visual representation of the year as a whole.

America has cancer.  It is our conservatives.

January.

January 3, 2013: Election of Speaker. Incumbent Speaker John Boehner was re-elected with the largest number of defections in the vote for speaker since at least 1991…

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tells GOP: ‘Stop being the stupid party’. “It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults,”

Republican Stephan King introduces the Repeal of Birthright Citizenship.

Republicans closed party ranks against doing anything at all to prevent another Sandy Hook mass killing.

Republican state legislatures initiated laws to disregard any federal laws on gun legislation that do happen to pass.

The constitutional Sheriffs said putting armed civilian posse’s in schools would be the answer.  Some noted that Sheriff’s Arapao’s own posse was composed of criminal elements.

Republicans threatened to veto Obama’s appointment of conservative Republican Chuck Hagel because he was neither Republican or Conservative enough.

Sequester Legislation gets signed as part of budget deal, and Obama goes on a olive branch dining tour with Congressional Republicans.  He was received well ( they all brought their wives to meet him.)

The government did not shut down, Mitch and Joe made a deal that sailed passed the House, in which the leadership and moderate Republicans all thumbed their noses at the Tea Party contingent who voted it down.  The lesson was short lived.

GOP had a retreat to determine why nobody like them, and discovered it was because they were conservative.  While there they decided they could do nothing without their prime funders, who were all demented Conservatives, and so they chose to remain conservative anyway.

And Glenn Beck announced a Glenn Beck theme park was forthcoming.

February

John Boehner informs America that the Republican House is going to initiate a top secret Immigration Reform Club, that will blow both the Senate and America away with the scope and integrity of their quality legislation.

Disclosure is made that the NRA has a secret enemies list…  topped by Mary Lou Retton. (Not snark; seriously)

The NRA head Wayne “LaKook” LaPierre, felt compelled to give his own rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union address.

Led by a former Vice President who shot his lawyer in the face, a group of likewise gifted riflemen led a movement stating that having any discussion about gun safety was bad for America.

Mississippi Republicans pondered to ban animal-human hybrids. Oklahoma Republicans debated whether students should get marked wrong for stating that climate change or evolution DID NOT EXIST. Missouri Republicans responded with a bill to make it a FELONY for anyone to propose gun legislation laws….

Senator Cruz questions whether Secretary Defense Chuck Hagel is secretly getting money from North Korea or other of America’s enemies.

The Republican’s gentleman’s agreement not to block nominees with a filibuster lasted 15 working days.  Chuck Hagel’s vote did not reach cloture.

March

The Daily Caller was punked by a hoax involving two Dominican Republican prostitutes who after being paid a year’s worth of tricks by a wealthy Republican benefactor, then went and made charges against Bob Menendez.  Although quick to be proven a hoax, the Daily Caller to this date, still insists it was a true story, and the entire world is lying and currently is out to get them…..

After cowing to public pressure to install Chuck Hagel afterall, Senate Republicans next vow to hold up confirmation on the CIA director until Lindsey Graham and John McCain get the answers they want on Benghazi.

Senator Paul Rand of Kentucky stages a filibuster against the CIA confirmation chief’s vote, to protest drone use by America.  After receiving much good press and lots of contributions, he quietly said he really didn’t have a problem with drones being used to kill people at all.

With the exception of Governor Christie who fortunately as a Republican, is completely removed from the antics inside the capitol dome, all the other 2016 Presidential contenders came out against any post-Sandy Hook common sense legislation…. Sens. Marco Rubio, Jim Inhofe, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee…..

The Republican Sequester begins to go into effect, causing Republicans to push legislation to fund all those parts of their sequester which make them look bad.  Long lines at the airports,  White House tours,  immigrants sneaking across the border were all erroneously blamed on Obama.  Like cutting $85 billion overnight wouldn’t affect anyone?…  Duh.

Remember the Acorn scandal of years ago?  It was settled and the full story came out after the trial.  The film was edited by Breitbart to make it look like a prostitution ring was being run out of ACORN, but in fact, the ACORN perpetrators had been suspicious and called the police on the film crew, thinking that they were the ones misusing women for financial gains.  Trusting anything said by a conservative is dangerous.  That organization which re-enfranchised many poor Americans was shut down over a lie.  Can we now have that class action lawsuit against Breitbart and the film’s producer?

Woot!  Woot!  Paul Ryan had a Medicare plan!  Awwww.  The Senate voted it down 96-3.

Sequester kicks cut deeply into Head Start, cancer research, and Meals on Wheels.  Republicans complain loudly about the quality of towels in the heated Congressional swimming pool.  Apparently they weren’t getting cleaned well or fast enough.

April

Republican nominee for Virginia’s governorship advocates for the re-installment of Virginia’s anti-sodomy laws.  (Yeah, seriously!  In 2013!)

Sen. James Inhofe, dismisses the Sandy Hook families who showed up in Congress to witness the vote, by saying the tragedy of Sandy Hook didn’t have anything to do about them. “I think it’s so unfair of the administration to hurt these families, to make them think this has something to do with them when, in fact, it doesn’t.” –Inhofe

After gun control gets defeated, Inhofe in search of another publicity run, makes himself the head of investigating those rumors of whether the federal government is buying up all the ammo so gun owners can’t use any to shoot at rifle ranges.

The new conservative media darling Ben Carson disappears after stating that gay marriage leads to bestiality…

Multiple conservative groups took to the airwaves and blamed the Boston Marathon bombing on the Pill, sexual liberalism and abortion. Obviously they are ignorant of real world terms like backpacks and explosives.

Rep. Louie Gohmert made the claim that the Obama administration was “chock full of Muslim Brotherhood” members…  Because it is?  That was the full extent of evidence behind his outrageous claim.

House issues its report on Benghazi.  It apparently did not know, or listen to any of its witnesses subpoenaed to it’s hearings,  that [By tradition], every cable from an embassy bears the “signature” of the ambassador — and every cable from Washington bears the “signature” of the secretary of state.”   The entire premise of their report, was instantly and publicly deemed invalid.

May

House Republicans admit their own ineptitude at being able to pass any legislation.  Revealing Quote:  “we couldn’t even get agreement to call 911 if House Speaker John Boehner were on fire.” 

Heritage Foundation weighed in on Immigration stating that it would cost trillions of dollars.  When broken down that came to half a million per immigrant, something that laughed Heritage Foundation past the monsters and over the edge of even their square world of reality.  it didn’t help Heritage, that the author of that report, was a known white supremest in charge of his own collection of kooks.

The NRA elects a new president who in video, express his continued anger that the northern states ran off with all of his great-grandfather’s black help…. More alarming was his advocacy for ” “weapons to fight tyranny”  forever dooming the next poor government worker who chooses to knock on the wrong door….

Republicans foundering in a froth over that Obama had the Tea Party scrutinized by the IRS, had a hard time dealing with the fact that democratic leaning groups got the same treatment as well. Could it be policy, that political groups requesting tax exempt status actually get looked at to ensure they were deserving of such before granting it? Completely out-played, Rand Paul stands up to protest, well, that he should even be forced into the position of having to protest anything at all…..

Michelle Bachmann announced she would not run again  and that the cause for which she was bowing out, absolutely had nothing to do with the two separate probes over her criminal misdoings…

It’s now been three months since the Republican National Committee issued its 100-page autopsy report about what went wrong in 2012 and promised to reach out to more non-white voters.

June

Just hours after the Supreme Court nullified parts of the Voting Right’s Act,  Republican state legislatures rush through legislation to purge voter rolls of Blacks and Hispanics.

Remember the IRS scandal?  In June through testimony it was revealed that twice as many conservative groups were approved than were progressive groups…  Remember Darrell Issa’s  charges that Obama was using the IRS to stymie Conservative groups only?   I guess the Congressional Committee actually did what it was supposed to do and got down to the truth of the matter.  Way to go, Darrell….

Snowden erupts… The press goes through a public mitosis.   We get to watch which reporters and organizations are the “real” fourth estate, and which are the self-appointed protectors of the DC bureaucratic elite.

Ultra Conservative foundation Heritage, was originally “for” a bill that eliminated public financing of campaigns, until they discovered the money would go to fund research for sick children… Better to waste it on Republican candidates than sick children they said (in a roundabout way), and switched their support to one of not…

And we heard again that rape does not result in pregnancy, so keeping abortions facilities around to prevent raped impregnations is absolutely unnecessary, and… we need to ban abortion immediately because, heaven forbid, fetuses are masturbating in the uterus!  Apparently this trend seems to occur mostly with Republican ones.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake had to apologize for his 15-year-old son’s unsavory remarks on Twitter.

July

July 16, 2013: The Senate reached a deal to allow some presidential nominations to come to a vote, avoiding the “Nuclear option” for filibuster reform…

Republicans in Missouri wanted their state Supreme Court to hasten forward their convict’s execution days, since access to acquire the drug to be used, was running out.

Conservative plans to put guns in schools hit a major hurdle as private insurance companies say if so, they’ll pull their insurance coverage away.

Republican Governor Rick Scott wonders why his national guard is not prepared for a hurricane, and discovers the sequester was the culprit….  Their funds were cut by his own Tea Party in Congress.

People whom no one takes seriously, on a network no one takes seriously, wasted a lot of air time blaming Obama for making us into a bi-racial nation, after he gave a few remarks about Trayvon Martin.

Congress takes a recess having passed 15 bills by it’s half year mark. A record low.

August

Arizona Senators who had voted against giving FEMA aid to New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, demand FEMA do more to help their state, beset by a few fires.

Liz Cheney gets busted for lying that she was a Wyoming resident.

The Republican National Committee demands that CNN and NBC not show their prime-time programs on Hillary Clinton, or else they will ban those networks from showing their convention in 2016….  Turns out it was only going to be those two network’s Spanish channels who would be banned….

Republicans who castigated Clinton and Obama for not having sufficiently protected embassies across the world, called the unprecedented closing of 22 embassies over a credible intelligence threat, an act of cowardice….  Darn. There went their plan for Congressional hearings all the way up to 2014 elections….

Republicans complained that the re-enactment of Martin Luther King’s Washington speech had no conservative speakers.  It was subsequently revealed that all those Conservatives who were invited, had declined.

September

Buildup to the Shutdown. Republicans do nothing to stop it.

Ted Cruz gives a pre-shutdown standing “non”–filibuster. Topic, Obamacare.  It was just (yawn) a speech, since it delays no vote…

The month of September was preluded by Republican entreaties that the government shutdown would NOT be the Republican’s fault, since neither Obama nor the Democratic Senate was not accepting their unreasonable demands to repeal Obamacare. The entreaties obviously didn’t work.

John McCain continues his push to arm Syrian’s rebels. Creates inter-party confusion, since, aren’t those rebels Al Qaeda? John says arm them nevertheless… (until Israel tells him otherwise).

Lindsey Graham says not bombing Syria immediately, will cause an all-out Israeli-Syrian War by March 2014….

Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, reschedules an execution since it fell on his Attorney General’s re-election campaign fundraiser date.

As more and more Republicans express hope that shutting down the government and defaulting on our debts are preferable to allowing poor people access to insurance coverage, a shut-down appears more and more likely.

October

The United States federal government was shut down as most routine operations were curtailed after Congress failed to enact legislation appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014, or a continuing resolution for the interim authorization of appropriations for fiscal year 2014…

When asked if Republicans gained anything by forcing the closure on many government functions, Republican Senator Ayotte replied “I think the answer is no.”

GOP Congressman Stutzman explains the very coherent clear objective for the stop-payment on 700,000 people’s paychecks by shutting down government.  “We have to get something out of this; and I don’t even know what that IS.”

Rep. Randy Neugebauer  berates a Park Ranger for closing a war monument that Rep. Randy Neugebauer himself voted to close. The best part of the exchange? Multiple bystanders coming to the ranger’s defense.

Republicans found they could get TV time on networks by falsely appearing  outraged over the closing of War Memorials for which they voted.  Unfortunately no TV time was allotted to children awaiting cancer treatments,  people eating unchecked contaminated food,  mothers whose work depended on Head Start classes teaching their children certain hours every day…. Even the Federal employees who had no income for 17 days, were barely mentioned.  Proving to all that there is nothing fair or balanced with any American news organization.

Republican Party head Reince Priebus states the RNC itself will provide funds to keep the war memorials open.  Two things not mentioned.  They would not be closed in the first place but only for Republican’s irrational enthusiasm for shutting down all government; and that more necessary programs  towards the well-being of this nation,  both economic and defense, would of course not be getting any assistance and would continue to do severe harm. Those two omissions making it clear to all observers  that Republicans are not only stupid, but dangerous to have anywhere near real power.

A rolling right wing extremist truckers brigade was planning on shutting down Washington for an entire weekend by choking the Capitol City’s roads and freeways.   5 trucks showed up.  But that didn’t stop Fox News from showing year’s old footage of trucks stranded on a Georgia Interstate due to a traffic mishap, in its selling of the live and current story…

In his ongoing  effort to prove who is the most irrational Republican Rep Gohmert tells an audience that John McCain, due to his criticism of the Republican shutdown, is secretly employed and on the payroll of Al Qaeda..  And to think, if not for Obama in 2008, he (Al Qaeda)  would have been president!  It has a nice ring to it though… John (Al Qaeda) McCain….

And in case you couldn’t tell… Michelle Bachmann held a press moment to declare, we are now in the ….. “End Times”…  (So that’s why the Eagles are champs of the NFC East.)

Even Norquist condemns the Republican Party…. “I think if you make a mistake as big as what they did, you owe your fellow senators and congressmen a big apology — and your constituents, as well, because nothing they did advanced the cause of repealing or dismantling Obamacare.”

Republican North Carolinian precinct captain,  essentially says the Republican’s party’s prime role, is to make non-whites second class citizens again…  He was pushed out after the interview aired, but not before criticizing his own party for not being KKK enough…

Republicans say defaulting on our debt, which means the government not paying at least some of our bills, is no big deal.   Meanwhile, the actual price the government paid to borrow money for a month rose to its highest level since 2008, more than doubling from just a day earlier.

The shutdown cost the Federal Government $4.8 billion. It lost the economy $24 billion. It shaved 0.6% growth off our GDP.

The Republicans caved just in time.  Newsweek revealed the S & P was minutes away from changing our already lowered AA+ to its lowest category, Selective Default.  the lowest of all 20 of S&P’s grades of non-trustworthiness.

‘Tea Party’ Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, insisted “this was worth having the fight,” even as they were conceding absolute defeat.

To a Republican Party which pretends to be concerned about fiscal conservatism — even as these numbers and many others show they clearly are not — any “victory” found amidst this shutstorm will have to do.

Republicans sum up the month by declaring there is a war on Christmas and only they are the last lines of defense in keeping it from being overcome.  Really.  Would that “war on Christmas” spending have anything to do with a self imposed  $24 billion hit to the economy?

Oh, and on the very day the government shut down to deny all funding for Obamacare,  the website for Obamacare opened… and received considerable amounts of traffic.  Perhaps a little too much traffic. But when one is concerned with focusing all September’s efforts on keeping the entire government from shutting down, are the problems of a tiny single untested website going to get that much pre-scrutiny?

November

November 21, 2013: Nuclear option for filibuster reform was enacted.  The new rule will allow just a simple majority vote for all nominees except for the Supreme Court.  Tipping point was the Republicans filibustering of 3 DC Circuit appointments for spite,  finally pissing off 3 cool-to-the-idea Senators and giving him the majority he needed to make it happen.

Rand Paul plagiarizes on a scale that makes Biden’s remarks 25 years ago just a slip of the tongue.  Biden was kicked out for that?  And Paul is still in?  Oh… I see…  two different parties; two different morales…

Boehner comes clean:  “Frankly, I’ll make clear, we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate (Immigration) bill,”  Note: There are enough favorable bipartisan votes to pass the Senate Immigration Bill in the House of Representatives if it ever came up for a vote.

In Colorado, five hard-right counties voted in November to secede from the state…

Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Jim Wright, was almost denied his voting rights under Texas’ newly passed Voter ID law.  Being in a nursing home, he could not get his drivers license renewed in time to vote.  Not to mention, untold numbers of married women were turned away because their married names had not yet been updated on their ID’s.

December

Congress will close 2013 with 58 bills enacted into law. It’s the lowest one-year output since 1947. 6366 bills were introduced by lawmakers.

“You know, you look around the Congress and there are a lot more females in the Democratic caucus than in the Republican caucus, and some of our members just aren’t as sensitive as they ought to be.” John Boehner, Dec 5, 2013.

House Republicans decide we needed a budget after all…  The Paul Ryan deal with Patty Murray sails through with 60 Tea Partiers thinking it was too liberal, and 30 Progressives thinking it was too Conservative but still making it through with a 3-1 margin, showing the entire world, that the House of Representatives can function very well whenever the Republican Hastert rule is  ignored.

We find out from Fox News that Jesus is white, and so is Santa.   Both apparently look like this.

Realizing Obamacare will doom the Republican Party… California Republicans create a spoof site that mimics California’s healthcare website and mails every constituent a pamphlet directing them to that spoofed site, instead of to the actual one.  Much of California’s clamor over the website problems came from trusting people actually steered towards the wrong website by none other than their elected representatives.

Women must now get rape insurance in Michigan. Purchased separately in advanced.  Otherwise, they were asking for it when they got nailed.

Conservatives who praised Mandela were vilified.  How dare you praise anyone of color.  If you were already of color and shook hands with someone also of color, you were again vilified.  You can’t be “our” president they said, because you don’t hate people enough….

Duck Dynasty proved in Conservative America,  you do not have the right to fire someone for speaking hate and bile,  but you do have the right to fire someone who is in love with anyone you don’t approve.

Republicans piled on the US closing the Vatican’s embassy as a war on religion, even though it was reported it was being simply being upgraded to a new location because of logistics…   (They’ve since scrubbed their website.)  Apparently they’ve never heard of Google, which come to think of it, is probably why their embarrassingly overwhelming loss in 2012 was such a surprise….

Finally, now at the end of the year, the Wall Street journal reports that the  Chamber of Commerce is putting up $50 million in combination with Republican power brokers, to weed out the Tea Party crazies throughout the primaries…  Just as a reality check this is a lot of money;  an average Senator’s campaign war chest usually tops out at close to $1 million.

If you need them, all the sources are here…  You can look them up if you wish.  You should visit him and give him a rec for service well done.  Personally I just wanted a reminder for those times when I get tired, see how little has changed,  and wonder what’s the ‘effin’ point… why is it worth anything that I should keep pounding away at them anymore?….

At such points, I can then come back and  look at this post….

I think we can all put aside “Common Core”.  I think we can all put aside “Race To The Top”.  I think we can all put aside “College and Career Ready”….

They’ve all been proven to only be platitudes.  In actuality, they accomplish nothing.

True.  We may have to fight more battles to make that point emphatically clear to those who are smitten by fists of money shoved into their faces, but logic, science, and knowledge, are on the parent’s side that Common Core is nothing more than a Mao Tse Tung slogan, made up for promoting someone’s career further up the bureaucratic ladder.

The problem is poverty.  The numbers are very stark….

At entrance into preschool,….

  • youngsters from well-to-do families have a working vocabulary of 1,116 words.
  • youngsters from working class families have a working vocabulary of 749 words.
  • youngsters from welfare families have a working vocabulary of 525 words.

The Corporate philosophy being mostly generated by Bill Gate’s money is based upon the supposition that firing teachers for not equaling out those word levels will garner significant results.   The teachers have been saying “no” to this ever since it was rolled out.  Thinking such could ever work is ridiculous….

How does one make up a gap of 50%?

It it time for America to stand up and insist that every American citizen has a right to a good education.   That means that starting early with remedial classes is essential if we are going to create a non-dumb society.  The numbers today are staggering!  The top one percent owns 50% of the nation’s assets.  The rest of the top 20% owns everything else, leaving the bottom 80% of the population to fight over 3% of everything that is left….   Last year, Christina School District had 61.7% of its students listed on low income.

This forebodes that 61.7% of our future population will be dumb….  And until the current tax structures are changed, further income equality will make things much worse.

If we truly want to do something about education, and do something realistic that has a possible shot of working,  we need to directly address the problem of how to get children of welfare and working class parents to learn more words….

  • In professional families, children at home heard an average of 2,153 words per hour
  • In working class families, children at home heard an average of 1,251 words per hour
  • In welfare families, children at home heard an average of 616 words per hour

Extrapolated out across their development at age three….

  • Children in professional families heard an average of 11 million words
  • Children in working class families heard an average of 6 million words
  • Children in welfare families heard an average of 3 million words

How can a school system close a gap of 8 million words… particularly if classes are mixed, as they are in American classrooms?

The answer is to break the cycle.  Just giving money to working class families and to welfare families will not cause an increased use of vocabulary in their homes.

Increased vocabulary exposure is the answer.  To do that, children need to be put in a rich vocabulary environment as soon as possible.

There should be a way to evolve into making a vocabulary rich childcare part of the welfare experience.  The cost of providing early childhood childcare across the state, is small compared to the cost exacted by those who have no recourse but live off state handouts for the rest of their lives.

Childhood daycare is usually considered a need and is offered by our social services today.  It would take little effort to insist that books get read  full time in those establishments while they are open.  Instead of the current practice of putting children in pens where they are allowed one plaything each…. reading books, then letting children flip through them afterwards, and then reading them again, would be far more effective in building a child’s vocabulary….

It is time to stop pursuing a misguided policy of giving high bonuses to teachers on the top-end,  to those teachers who are being given the problem child years after the damage has been done. It is time to stop giving grants to teacher development colleges who then will be expected to send their charges in to teach these very students possessing one fourth the vocabulary exposure of those children fortunate enough to have professional parents.  It makes better since to prevent the problem from occurring at all…

Because all research shows that at birth, … provided sufficient nutrition was available during their period of gestation, … there is no difference between a child of professional parents and a child on welfare.  All that vocabulary difference is a result of different environments each child is brought up under….

Maybe one day we can eliminate poverty.  I’m doubtful that will happen.

But we can do something cheap and easy to make sure that all children who came into this world without the protection of the blankets of affluence,  have a decent vocabulary at age 3, age 4, age 5 and beyond…  That is easy, simple, cheap, and a sin if, knowing what we now know, it does not get enacted immediately…..

Common Core is dead.  Let’s do something that will really make a difference.

 

Gun Violence Cost Proportioned

80 percent of the cost of treating victims of gun violence in 2010 was borne in part by taxpayers, according to an analysis of hospital and insurance data.

Hospitals in the U.S. spent $630 million in 2010 treating the victims of gun violence, two dollars for every man woman and child in America. The Medicaid costs of gun violence alone that year amounted to approximately $327 million. Private insurers, and hospitals eating the cost of the uninsured, made up the remaining $403 million.

The average cost of a hospital visit for a gun violence victim is $14,000 more than that of the average hospital stay.

But is the hospital cost the only cost to society? It appears no. Gun violence cost the US $174 billion in 2010. The societal cost per firearm assault injury (includes workloss, medical/mental health care, emergency transportation, police/criminal justice activities, insurance claims processing, employer costs and decreased quality of life) … was $5.1 million for each fatality and $433,000 for each hospital-admitted patient. You as a consumer pay this cost in everything you buy; it is added in. Put in perspective that amounts to $522 dollars for every single man, every single woman, and every single child in America.

How can we save ourselves this money? How can we stop the majority of gun violence? Very simple. Register every gun to an single owner so if a gun is used to kill, someone gets held responsible. Very simple. Registering hurts no one; your car, your house, even your vaccinations are registered for example.

Isn’t it horrible we are having a big battle over something as tiny as registering a fire arm which over a decade has cost every man, woman, and child $5,220 dollars? Over “registering?” We’ve lost our senses.

Americans are paying dearly for the “privilege” to keep a gun that is non-traceable. By registering all firearms and thereby being able to keep guns out of those who would use them in criminal actions, great savings can be saved for all the millions of the American people.

We did, we almost won this with the first wave of the attack; we did far better than we expected; we suffered no causalities. Time to launch again for 2014. The truth, and money, both lie flatly on the side of registering all firearms…

Goal should be: if you are not an upstanding citizen? No Gun. Period.

We know of white/black, white/Hispanic, white/Asian, and male and female achievement gaps.  Is there a gap between the 90th percentile of income and the 10th percentile?  Are those narrowing too?

The short answer is that there is a rich/poor achievement gap; it is widening and therefore is not being considered on the RTTT and Common Core assessments.  The data can be compiled by geeks,  however and has.

IncomeAchievementGapVrsWhiteBlackAchievementGap_zps8a6f93e1

As of 2011 Stanford University’s Sean F. Reardon crunched the information and this is what he found.

First, the income achievement gap (defined here as the income difference between a child  from a family at the 90th percentile of the family income distribution and a child from a family at the 10th percentile) is now nearly twice as large as the black-white achievement gap. Fifty years ago, in contrast, the black-white gap was one and a half to two times as large as the income gap.

Second, as Greg Duncan and Katherine Magnuson note in chapter 3 of this volume, the income achievement gap is large when children enter kindergarten and does not appear to grow (or narrow) appreciably as children progress through school.

Third, although rising income inequality may play a role in the growing income achievement gap, it does not appear to be the dominant factor. The gap appears to have grown at least partly because of an increase in the association between family income and childrens’ academic achievement for families above the median income
level: a given difference in family incomes now corresponds to a 30 to 60 percent larger difference
in achievement than it did for children born in the 1970s.

Finally, the growing income achievement gap does not appear to be a result of a growing achievement gap between children with highly and less-educated parents. Indeed, the  relationship between parental education and children’s achievement has remained relatively stable.  During the last fifty years, whereas the relationship between income and achievement has grown sharply.

Family income is now nearly as strong as parental education in predicting children’s achievement.

The achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families is roughly 30 to 40 percent larger among children born in 2001 than among those born twenty-five years earlier.

This data throws RTTT data and Common Core’s standards out the window.  For if you are going to cut medical care for children, and daily meals for children, no matter what else your corporate consulting firms may sell you, education is going to go backwards….

There is a new gap, and it is not just esoteric.  It is the income gap and it is impacting education in a very big way.  Enough to severely affect our nation’s competitiveness starting as soon as 2025.

Increased Medical and dental care, balanced meals for all those in school, are no longer issues for Democrats and Republicans to argue over incessantly.  We are in a national emergency. They are required items.

“Watching you watching me / It’s so easy to see…/ Watching me watching you / It’s so obviously true”  Lyrics by Bill Withers… 

If there is anything one can gather from the Snowden release, it is that American media is severely compromised.

Here is the news we are constantly being given:

  • Interest and speculation on what Snowden must feel.
  • Speculation on where he might or might not go.
  • Speculation on what it must be like to live in an airport.
  • Breaking news of what Snowden’s father thinks and feels.
  • Reports on who back in Washington, feels he needs or needs not to be punished.
  • Accepting without question, the US Government’s case he is a spy, not a whistle blower.

=====

So here is what is not getting told.

A) Internet freedom is over.  Revelation that the US has the ability to read everything passing through the US, means that this connection is no longer trusted by the Chinese, the Russians, our economically competitive nations, those pirate sympathizers or people like you and me, who don’t want strangers accessing what we like to do when we have stripped off our professional skins and get down to being ourselves.

B) The Chinese have moved to seal off their own system. The Russians will have theirs up and running shortly. There will be soon be private enterprises who will set up secure connections that guarantee that no records will be given out based on the  model of the Swiss system of financial secrecy.

C) What this means, is that we revert back to the library system.  If you want to look up something in China, you will send a query, it will be approved as it leaves the US, it must be approved by the Chinese in order to enter, and it then gets directed to your party.  This requires human oversight, and will slow queries to weeks, instead of nano-seconds.  Same if you wish to find out something in Russia.  Heaven help us if a Chinese satellite breaks off course and drifts towards collision with the International Space station manned by Russians and Americans…  We’d never get the message.

D) We are hoping the US will be one monolithic entity under this, but imagine if it wasn’t.   Imagine if nothing liberal could be searched up in Texas?  Or nothing Conservative in Connecticut?

E) This is being effectively done, right now, and no news service in the US is reporting it.

F) Without Snowden we would not know that the NSA has been able to bend nine US internet companies to its demands for access to their users’ data.

G) Without Snowden we would not know that analysing data was not done by the NSA< but was  turned over to un-vetted private operators, such as employees of Booz Allen Hamilton.  Their employees had access to every email, every phone call,  every facebook account.   We would not know that half a million fellow citizens have high security clearances who shouldn’t.

H) Nor would there be a debate between Europe and the US over where the line between Freedom and security should lie.

i)  Control of the internet is about to get very contentious.  Knowing how the US and its internet corporations abused their control, certainly means the US cannot be counted on to oversea almost all of the junctions upon the net.   Google instead of being world wide, independent of the US government, is now seen as an express arm of that same government.  Yahoo, Verizon, AOL, Time-Warner, Microsoft, Comcast, all certainly cannot be trusted either…

J)  These revelations also damage the Obama administration’s credibility to its core. Proclaiming internet freedom in words, to cover up deeds on this gigantic scale, was an attempt to mislead.  Fully aware of the extent, and arguing for full internet freedom is equivalent of George Bush arguing for gentleness and amnesty towards Iraqi prisoners  to cover the atrocities of Abu Ghraib.

K)  Snowden’s revelations tell us that NO United States- based internet provider can be trusted with your privacy.  Nothing that is stored in their “cloud” services can be guaranteed to be safe from surveillance or from illicit downloading by employees of the consultancies employed by the NSA.  If you are a company thinking of using a US company for servicing your IT needs, you now know that all your trade secrets will be up for sale.

This means the golden years for US internet companies may have come to an end.  If not their end, then at least these companies must now scramble to quickly evolve into different entities if they wish to survive.

Perhaps Swiss law might be tweaked to allow secure servers to set up camp somewhere in the beautiful Alps, who for NO reason, will give out any information….

More jobs going overseas.

Why is this not being mentioned in American media?  Are our reporters really that stupid?  Is our press truly nothing but Luddites who blindly go where authority directs them to go and look for clues?

That could explain why we constantly hear about  speculation about Snowden’s travel plans, asylum requests, state of mind, physical appearance, etc. The “human interest” angle over here, has trumped the real story.

The real story is that the NSA revelations expressly tell us how our networked world actually works and they portend the direction to which it is heading.

I hope you enjoyed your freedom while you had it.  The internet is through,.. Welcome to the Age of Internets…..   That is the real story.

The sub-story is that the NSA lied in March and emphatically said: this program flat-out did not exist.  So when they say they only see phone numbers… ?

cough, cough…

The Washington Post ran an article that slipped under the radar of excitement generated by HB 165.  Correct me if I’m wrong but I didn’t see it in any of the usual places.

This article ponders a blog post by a Teach For America teachers, who are contributing to the pile of teachers who resign after 2 or 3 years.  After using Teach for America to pay down their college loans, they are going to law school.

It really puts the argument over how best to educate in its proper perspective….  Remember the person advocating for the dissolution of Teach For America is one themselves….

The salient points……

“Consider TFA’s two original missions: first to help understaffed school districts fill teaching positions with talented, energized college graduates, and second to create a broader education advocacy and awareness movement. On both counts, TFA has had an impact, but ironically as TFA continues to grow, in many ways its impact is fading.”

Point One:  The Teachers for America (TFA) now is being used to replace veteran teachers who are being let go because of test scores.  Two:  these teachers do not stay in a  school  Everything they learn over two years goes with them out the door as they exit,   Therefore in two years, again, it is all new recruits learning the ropes and using our students as their guinea pigs.  At this point a veteran teacher would be well into her most effective phase…

There is no way TFA’s are better than veteran teachers.  Perhaps they are a little better than a non-educationally trained substitute hired off the street, but against a veteran teacher, no way.

All of Markell’s investments made into Teachers for America”s seminars, training, summer sessions, go right out the door as that teacher leaves.  The routine goes like this.  A TFA is hired right out of graduation.  They do a 5 week course and get plopped into the most neediest school.  After the first year they do seminars over the summer.  They actually might be rather decent their second year, but too bad, they are gone…  It’s really a waste of money.  Especially when its the veteran teachers are being fired, creating these positions.

TFA’s are thrown into classes far less prepared than current Delaware graduates of Delaware’s teaching schools.  Their five week training program teaches 4 days a week (its summer school), not 5.  The classes are well behaved, and have 10 students per class.  There is no teaching done in the first week.  In all, 16 hours are spent before a class room teaching, with as many adults in the room as children.

Not a typical class experience.

TFA’s follow-up coaching and development of teachers is non existent. Managers of Teacher Leadership and Development (MTLDs)  of first year teacher’s stop by once a month for a half hour pep talk and are out the door as fast as they came in.   Second year it is down to 15 minute observations with  the pep talk being left on a post-it note…. “keep up the good work”…

There IS a lot of development though.  It comes from regular union tenured teachers with pension plans working along side them in the same school, who actually have the knowledge, tools and time to help these teachers survive being thrown to the wolves.

If it was your money…. would you invest in TFA ?     No.

TFA is now massive, with annual expenses (pdf) at $220 million in fiscal year 2011. According to the charity site Give Well, TFA’s budget 2009 budget came to a stunning $38,046 spent per corps member who started teaching; this was a more than twofold increase from 2005. (Corps member spending by TFA does not include corps members’ salaries, which are paid for by their respective school district. School districts also pay TFA a fee for each corps member hired.)

Consider some of the main items in TFA’s budget recruiting and selecting corps members (18%), management and general (9%), alumni support (8%). None of these makes corps members effective teachers. “Corps member development” (39%) and institute training (17%), on the other hand, purportedly do. Reality, as is its wont, is not so simple.

All that said ,the TFA has reached a critical mass on this point. With an “alumni network” of nearly 28,000 it’s difficult to see how pumping in several thousand additional corps members each year won’t lead to diminishing returns. Indeed, when among jobs in education policy, large numbers of TFA alumni are interviewed for a single spot. In the educational world, TFA alumni have become a dime a dozen.

Educational dollars are scarce… It the TFA the best investment we can be doing with what little we have?