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Now that we’ve started growing our economy, it has become a persistent theme… “We need money for this”; “we need money for that”; “we need money for both and for other things too”.  “We need money”, pure and simple.. Am I not right? Pick up any paper. Listen to any radio newscast; read any internet news source…. (did you notice I completely ignored television entirely? You should ignore them too if you don’t already ).

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but (and this is a theoretical question…):  when you want something that you don’t have….a)  do you go asking for it among people who don’t have any themselves, or b) among people who have lots of it to spare?

Hmmm. I wonder…. (finger on chin; one eye looking at the sky)  Should I ask those who have, … or those who don’t have….

Which makes Markell’s asking our Seniors to forgo their credit on school taxes allegedly to balance the budget, nonsensical..  Especially when the top 1% of Delawareans by simply adding a few lines to the tax code. can cough up $70 million a year… (enough to roughly fund 3 years of casino shortfalls) and not experience any loss of spendable cash,

So why would someone ignore those who COULD give, and threaten those who have NOTHING to give?  There are probably many reasons, but none meet the level of good straight forward reasoning… For if you truly want something, asking someone who doesn’t have it is absolutely pointless….

What Seniors don’t have, the 1% does have;  (that is why they are in the one percent.)

So, being theoretical again, wouldn’t it make great sense to turn the tables on Markell and actually go forward and spitefully raise the taxes on HIS friends, those in the top one percent, oh… let us say…. about the same percent that his tax hike would have hit Seniors pinching pennies on limited incomes… to around the percentage of a 100% increase….

So it would come out that on incomes over let us say, $100 million dollars, instead of the 6% they are currently assessed, (the exact same percent as someone earning $60,000) we would hit them with a 100% increase (another 6%)  and bump that owed amount to 12%…  We could then graduate the layers from 6% to 9% over a range of income levels.. and except for the rates on the top echelons, the percentages would still be lower than neighboring New Jersey.

This gives us $70 million in new revenue. Each and every year… We can even blow it on the casino’s if we want….

We need the General Assembly to respond to Markell’s challenge with a tax increase of this nature.   Now, the point is really not so much of whether it passes or not..  But the point is that by having a progressive coalition sponsor and at the very least, put it on the floor, (especially those who hail from districts where doing such would make them a cult hero for life, and cost them zero switched votes since no millionaire would ever vote for them anyway), it becomes a bone of contention, and a topic of conversation in letters-to-the-editor pages across this state; on Al Mascitti and Rick Jensen; on WDDE and other WGMD down south, and gets talked about on both sides…

Because there is a funny thing that always happens when good ideas get talked about in the open, and one can hear both sides.  They start to get followers.  And as more and more followers pile on, as more and more support for this bill becomes apparent..  as more people start supporting what appears to be a very common sensical means of pulling our society back together, of fixing the broken door jambs that have been stepped over too long, of repairing leaking cracks too long ignored across our aged infrastructure (in both physical and human capital), then Jack will rue the day he ever threatened Senior with tax hikes they could never pay…. while ignoring those who can easily pay 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 times the amounts we will be asking of them.

And the idea that we have to cut back now on very essential stuff in what is now a richly growing economy,  all because we don’t have money when it is there, right in front of us, dangling for us to take it: is plain stupid.  Really…  Would YOU not cash in a winning Powerball ticket because you didn’t want Powerball LLC. to lose any money over you?   Somethings are smart. Some things are really dumb… Not cashing in a winning Powerball, or not raising the tax rates on the top one percent, are both…. about as equally dumb.

The point of placing this bill on the table, is that if we generate significant conversation and make a run at passing a 12% top state tax rate, or even just get that conversation out there, and get 500,000 Delawarean voter’s hopes up that yes, this legislature might finally do something responsible, and still fail by being one or two votes short… the very fact we did so helps it become far easier to have the General Assembly slip in and vote on the last day of session, a bill that raises the wealthy’s rates by 1%, or 2%, or 3%, or 4%…. And that, would be a godsend to Seniors…..

Society across the board has simply outgrown all this “cut taxes to grow” hype.  We tried it; it failed; now we remember the good years back when taxes were a tiny bit higher and we were all, everyone of us, far much happier, far better off, and all of us facing what looked to be a very, very bright future. …

This is what the Smarter Balance Assessment is designed to do.. This is what is hidden in the sadistic term:  “rigor”

(Have you STILL not taken these tests?  Scared to see the truth?)

And it is what the DOE, Jack Markell, and advocates of Charter School money into their own pockets, will never say…

The sole purpose of this test is to Measure, Pressure, and Punish…

As any parent knows, that does not work for children… They stop learning completely in that environment.  Instead their minds focus on what THEY find interesting, which may be sideline misbehavior going on under teacher’s noses.

Review:  The Smarter Balanced Test will redefine levels of academic acceptability.  Instead of having a child jump a three foot bar, they will be asked to jump a 5 foot high jump bar.  Those who succeed will be rewarded.  Those who fail will be humiliated and punished.  Some children of wealthy intellectual parents are already two grades ahead of their peers.  They will pass because the standards are jumped ahead two grades ahead of where they were previously.

Review:  Those who fail to beat the higher expectations will be held back. The teachers will be fired.  New principals will take over the schools. Public school money will be diverted to investors. (I believe with that last sentence the motive for continuing this charade is obvious to all who read it.)  This puts great pressure on all those involved.  So much that cheating is rampant, (Michelle Rhee) in order to fake the results more positively.  In this environment, only the test matters… education is not about learning; it is about your test score, test score, test score, test score.

Review:  The priority schools debacle provides the first glimpse of the punishment.  A.  Disrupt schools to which the University of Delaware gave an A+ rating…  (What did the DOE say?  We won’t accept their rating… ha, ha,ha. Can anything be more transparent?)  B. Fire 50% of teachers and hire educational thugs (TFA) to take their place. C. Bring in friends of the administration at exorbitant salaries to run these schools into the ground. D.  Have schools answerable only to the DOE and not to the local boards hand-picked by citizens of whose children are in those schools. Then hopefully all these parents get so fed up, they send their children over into charter schools and the landlords of those charters get wealthy beyond their wildest wet dreams.

Measure, Pressure, Punish.

Now, as a parent, do you see how it all hinges on the first word…. “measure”?

If they can’t measure,  then it becomes very hard to pressure… Pressure against what?   You can’t push people against a wall, because there is no wall.  Instead you have the spectacle of pushing people down a long avenue with no end… To the laughing of spectators obviously glimpsing your futility.

And if they can’t pressure because they can’t measure… how can they punish?  Your child?  and YOU?  Your teachers.  Your school.  Your district?

There is currently even controversy over whether there is even an educational problem. As mentioned above, independent experts rated two of the schools slated for charterization with A+ ratings…   Seriously, how can an A+ be a problem?

Therefore they have to change the grading method… Instead of saying A’s are great, they have arbitrarily taken the A’s and divide that select group into sections slated as A, B, C, D, and F…  These new grades are what will be used and all those B’s, C’s, D’s, and F’s of before, now automatically become…. F’s…

Now they can say… Look at all these F’s… You must be punished by becoming a charter school…

To those few who were top of the old A’s category, there will be no change.  They will still reign on top… Those in the middle of the A’s, will be deemed mediocre.  And those who used to be considered A- students, will now be F’s…..

And be punished…..

As all can plainly see, this punishment is not over anything your child has or has not done… This punishment is fabricated to create a situation from which those perpetuating it, can prosper.   It is all for them… not for you, or your child.

“Whoopee!… Our charter school we got for free is now full of students each paying us with money that used to go to their public schools,”

“Yay!  Lots and lots of money that came from people who thought they were being assessed for schools in their neighborhoods, which if better funded, actually helps increase the value of their homes…  ”

“Hooray! Instead, their school assessment goes into the deep pockets of 20 Greenville natives… How about that?”

it’s done… Greg Lavelle sealed the deal last June 30th… Nothing your government can do about it….

Measure, Pressure, Punish.

But you say…. what if  no kids show up to take the test?  What if parents revolt so they can’t measure?  Would it not follow that they then can’t pressure?? They then can’t punish??  Like… how could they, if they don’t have measurements backing up their premise, even if they skewed those few results to show what they want to show, if they don’t have anything to skew, how can they go forward?  Right?

Exactly. 

If you want to stop the Measure, Pressure, Punish Madness, opt your child out from the test… Join the opt out movement and keep your child home on the days your child is scheduled for the Smarter Balanced assessment.  We only need 7000 of Delaware’s students to opt out, in order to throw the test results into the rubbish bin… We anticipate across the state of Delaware, there are more then 7000 parents out there who truly love their children….

Because if you love your child, you have really been given no other choice by this DOE, other than opting out.

Yesterday, the first day of the Republican Congress, a bill was rushed through the House and passed:  requiring the Congressional Budget Office to use dynamic scoring when figuring out future budgets…

Republicans have been saying lower taxes cause the economy to grow and that growth generates more revenue. They’ve said that for years… We’ve tried it for the past 15 but things got worse for all of us, instead of better…

Last couple of years, under Paul Ryan (that little whiz-boy from Wisconsin), they tried writing budgets for their first time and found, that everything they have been saying, was indeed wrong…  The math would not work out…

The reason the math would not work out, is because of a simple fact that when you don’t pay your bills and instead splurge and waste that bill-money, at some future point there will be a reckoning.   Like if you choose spend your mortgage, electricity bill, water bill, gas bill money on big-ticket orgies, there comes a point where you are left dry, cold, in the dark, and have no domicile.

This is terrible they said… What can we do… ..

The answer obvious to any 5 year old, is to pretend.    We can pretend that we will get tons of money later and pay our debts off then…

So we convince ourselves that IF we spend $10,000 over budget, we will soon be making $100,000 more so we can pay it back then.  IF we get a $10,000 raise every year, then next year we just run the same as this, and have $10,000 extra dollars with which to pay it back.

Now this does work if you are indeed guaranteed to get $10,000 increases every year… What dynamic scoring does is make the assumption we will set-in-stone increases to our salary by $10,000 every year for ten years straight.  So your yearly income will climb like this:

  • Base rate:  $40,000 per year
  • After Year One:  $50,000 per year
  • After Year Two   $60,000 per year
  • After Year Three  $70,000 per year
  • After Year Four   $ 80,000 per year
  • After Year Five   $90,000 per year
  • After Year Six   $100,000 per year
  • After Year Seven $110,000 per year
  • After Year Eight $120,000 per year
  • After Year Nine $130,000 per year
  • After Year Ten:  $140,000 per year

Then what they do is add all these together and come up with an argument like this…  We can easily afford this orgy and hire Taylor Swift to sing for it because look, over ten years we are going to earn $990,000 so we can easily pay back the $10,000 we blow on ourselves right now… ( Now if you’ve been a Republican shut out from parties for a long while, not being invited to do the bump with Jerry Jones) just hearing this may make you decide to jump in, no clothes and all.

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But here is reality… You probably are not going to get a $10,000 (25%) raise… Let us look at this logically.. How long have you been working?  How many $10,000 raises have you ever gotten before?  Did any of your costs also rise with that raise, so you really didn’t have all that money to spend?  Across history, was there ever a time when $10,000 raises per year were the norm?  If not, why would they suddenly start now?

So what usually happens in households that pursue false dreams, is that if they do not tie expenses to actual income, they usually come up short and that shorted gap grows bigger and bigger.

Here is what to expect in reality… The first year we spend $10,000 over what we make.  It is either loaned to us, or we simply just skip paying our bills for one year… The next year we not only again spend $10,000 more than we make, but we still make the same $40,000… So that year on our $40,000 income we owe $10,000 from year one, and $10,000 from year two. We can’t live on just $20,000 in order to pay it all back… So, assuming we will get much more income the following year, we stretch the loan a little further…  But again, no raise comes that year.

Where we pretended that we would be making $60,000 by that year (year 3) {and over the three year span would have accumulated $150,000 (40,000 + 50,000 + 60,000), enabling us to pay back three years ($30,000) of $10,000 overdrafts having $120,000 left over}… Instead due to a lack of “pretended raise” amounts,  we only got $120,000 over those three years, and borrowed $10,000 each year, so our net balance is $90, 000, which as you see divided by 3, equals $30,000 per year, whereas our regular living expenses continued at the original $40,000 per year.Yet we live like we are making $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 each subsequent year due to our over-extended loans….

This is dynamic scoring…. It should be illegal, and until yesterday, it was.

It is possible, it can work if the assumptions work out… So one must look at the assumptions very carefully to see if they are realistic… Dynamic scoring has only one reason for existence.  To convince people who don’t want to spend that hard earned money of theirs on a risky venture, to go ahead and spend it on that risky venture by consoling them it will be painless when looked back upon from the future.

And the” risky venture” this time, is again take the bulk of your money and hand it over to the top one percent, giving them even more power over you… If you do that these people say, money will just grow for them and everyone will be rich…. give them your money; give it to them now.

Alas we’ve tried that already… We didn’t get rich. For it, we got a very deep recession, We got the 1% owning more than ever; the 99% owning less. We got 80% of our population living day to day, week to week, just a little above subsistence…  We went backward.  Now with this Congress we are about to have a new battle of inequality on a level unseen in America, And this time: it will all take place up within the top 1%… Who among them will win the final championship monopoly game?.. Who will lose?… It matters little to most of us, Most of us were eliminated long time ago.

But first, for all of this to occur, they first have to change the way we do math itself in order to justify it, because it doesn’t work out their way using real numbers.  And that, my friends,… is what was done yesterday.

The top 0.1% (consisting of 160,000 families worth $73m on average) hold 22% of America’s wealth, just shy of the 1929 peak—and almost the same share as the bottom 90% of the population.

A tidbit upon which historians will agree, was ultimately why the Democrats were not able to capitalize on the phenomenal results of today’s thriving booming American economy.

Republican policies created this imbalance.  But it is Obama who as CEO, gets the blame for its residual effects.

How to fix it?  A marginally accurate 73% tax on incomes over $73 million would turn the tables nicely with no residual effect to the other 99.9% of the population…..

Last week I was overjoyed to pay $2.88 a gallon for gas.  This week I was overjoyed to pay $2.78.   But it shows exactly how little 10 cents a gallon really was.

Now, we don’t have new roads.  Now we have congestion.  Now our potholes take way too long to fix….

Now we won’t have 2,500 highway construction jobs we could have had… And you would never even know you were paying for them….

It is sad… just sad that the betterment of all Delaware’s men, women, and children, was put on the back burner so people could “pretend” they didn’t like “taxes”.

One wheel alignment because one hit one pothole, costs more than the invisible cost of 10 cents a gallon on gas under $3.00…..

Came across an amazing chart from the Paris School of Economic’s database.  It allows you to customize your search for any time or place over the world.

My area of expertise is within the US and here is what I wanted to see:  the percentage of national income earned by the top 0.01%…. not just the top 1%, but the top-tip 0.01%.

Tax rate impact firsttax rate impact secondtax rate impact thirdtax rate impact fourthtax rate impact fifth

This shows the past 100 years of national income percentage earned by the top 0.01%. There are some very striking facts noticed by those looking at this data for the first time.

1) The year 2012 was one of the record highest, beaten only by two years during WWI when the rest of the world was embroiled in war, and our top echelon were selling to both sides…. If one extracts that exception, then in 2012 we gave the top 0.01% (one hundredth of one percent) more of our national income than at any time previously recorded.

2) The Great Depression did little to affect the income percentages (1928-1932);  Roosevelt however (1933-onward), did a lot.

3) During America’s most prosperous times ever, after WWII made us the sole global economy, the incomes of the top 0.01% stayed under 1% of national income across the next 43 years. (1943-1986)

4) The Reagan Tax Cut of 1986 caused a doubling of the top 1%’s income in just 2 years. from 1% in 1986 to 1.99% in 1988.

5) The percentage again dropped under 2% after Clinton’s tax hike in 1992 causing a robust expansion, but passed that 2% mark in 1997 never to return.

6) During the “w” Bush years, the percentage continuously climbed peaking in 2007 and would have peaked higher in 2008 but the recession clipped the last two months off that year. Despite that, 2008 was the 2nd highest grossing percentage up to that time (discounting the WWI anomaly) across almost 100 years of data.

7) The Great Recession (2008-9)  as did the Great Depression (1929-32), had little effect on the top 0.01% percentage of national income. At no point did their yearly take dip below 3%, a mark first crossed in 2005 (if one continues disregarding the anomaly of the First World War).

8) The rebound ability of an economy at large is hampered when more money collects at the top and is not returned as investment to the bottom. Though small in percentage points, those difference of those 3 percentage points ( from under 1.0 to 4.0) translates to $500 billion that did not impact our economy because it went to less than 31,000 Americans.  Considering our TARP was passed only for $800 billion, we only saw $300 billion net running through our economy. because $500 billion of the $800 billion was handed over to less than 31,000 people then quickly whisked away to foreign bank accounts beyond the reach of the IRS.

9) Although difficult to state through all the multiple influences that impact economies daily, the extensive overview shown by this chart makes it clear that were we to have another great recession, we should first use the incomes of our top 0.01% to first rebuild our national economy as did Roosevelt, and not assume that those wealthy will do so voluntarily as did our creators and negotiators behind this current rebound.

10)  Data from 2013 will be most interesting.  The Bush Tax Cuts for the top 0.05% were rescinded that year, and at that point, our economy took off ( at least when Republicans weren’t threatening to shut it all down).  If it does indeed show a drop in the top 1%’s income, then we will know that in order to have robust recoveries, those at the top need to be taxed more, not less.

As for politics, this needs to be taken to heart.  Anyone who argues for less taxes on the top 1%, be they Democrat or Republican, needs to be shown the door…. We now have sufficient data to know with certainty, and from it, we can see all evidence points that higher marginal tax rates do benefit the middle class and subsequently the economy at large…..

This historical chart rings that out, clear as a bell at the end of a day’s trading…..

Two springs ago, Hefferman did an op-ed piece in the Delaware Voice citing educator Louisa Moats as proof we needed to pass SB51….  I completely destructed his argument back then.

However just like Diane Ravitch who was once pro-Common Core in its inception and now is one of the biggest alarmists to how much damage it has and will do, I was surprised to read in the Washington Post that the educator into whose basket Hefferman completely put all his eggs, has now defected to our side, (the good side, the side calling for the elimination of Common Core and a return to common sense.)

Common Core is ineffective and dangerous to children… Here are some of the new claims…

A) The “Language” standards pertain almost exclusively to written, not oral, language. The language standards at each grade level presume oral language competence and mastery of foundational reading and writing skills. There is no category for “Writing Foundations” to parallel “Reading Foundations” and thus the foundational skills of writing, including handwriting, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, usage, and sentence composition, are either overlooked, underestimated in importance, or awkwardly forced into other categories with no explicit link to composition.  (This is true.  It is like David Coleman had a brain fart and completely forgot about writing…  )

B)  The CCSS document reflects the influence of widely ranging opinions from all collaborators who submitted critiques and comments, The CCSS was purported to be consistent with research on learning to read, write, and do math, but actually reflected “current and popular ideas” (and misunderstandings) about learning that were acceptable to a wide range of non-educator stakeholders in 2010…

C)  The CCSS, unfortunately, embodies assumptions  and old wive’s tales that have not been validated through research or that may even contradict the findings of research.  The requirement that first-graders read as much informational text as narrative does not make sense for students learning to decode, who need to take baby steps through our complex phonics system.

D)  In the area of written composition, the act of dictating or illustrating as allowed by the CCSS in kindergarten, is not writing. Writing requires mastery of written symbol production (handwriting, spelling, punctuation) – which requires systematic instruction and practice before written composition is possible.

E)  Of most concern for students who struggle with language, reading, or writing, the CCSS states that all students should read text at grade level or above. This aspirational goal, while admirable, may lead to destructive consequences for that 40% who will fail simply because they are below grade level and who will be deemed “at risk” for reading failure.

F)   Of relevance to the community concerned with dyslexia and other learning disorders, the standards provide no guidance and no links to research on individual variation and avoid recommending any interventions for students who are functioning below grade level.  The implication that these students will magically learn to read better if they are simply handed more complex and difficult texts, and if asked to function like students who learn to read easily, is wishful – and harmful – thinking. (Did I just hear echoes of Patty Schwinn??)

G)  The lofty goals of the CCSS versus the realities of student learning, cannot easily be reconciled.  Students with dyslexia comprise at least 30% of the population. 34% of the population as a whole is “below basic” on the National Assessment of Academic Progress in fourth grade.  70–80% of students in high poverty areas enter school at risk for reading failure due to a bare minimum vocabulary. Mixed in as “poor readers” are all those who simply have not been taught how to read or who do not speak English. Yet, as if disabilities were an after-thought, Common Core expects these to perform equal to a normal child of affluence.

H) Raising standards and expectations without sufficient attention to the known causes and remedies for reading and academic failure, and without a substantial influx of new resources to educate and support teachers, is not likely to benefit students with mild, moderate, or severe learning difficulties which at minimum is over one third of the American student population.

I) Instead of being college and career ready, the stage is set for those disadvantaged students to suffer adverse consequences, such as forced grade repetitions, denial of promotion or diplomas, and irrelevant requirements that do not, in fact, enable students to be more ready for college or career.  In fact, Common Core will make them become less so.

J) Common Core Standards were formed devoid of any input from psychologists or medical professionals having experience in teaching those with disabilities on how to learn…. What we do know of teaching those with disabilities and of teaching Common Core are exact opposites, seeming to preclude an entire third of our population to become dysfunctional solely because of Common Core implementation.   Check out what we know so far on reading disabilities.

=====1) Reducing reading failure includes systematic instruction in phoneme awareness, phonics (with spelling), passage reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

=====2) Students must spend time reading – not simply being read to – from text of the appropriate level of difficulty.

=====3) if we do not catch students early (by second grade at the latest), improvement in their relative standing is much less likely and costs much more. Although many reading disabilities can be remediated or ameliorated by the end of first grade with systematic, explicit, phonics-emphasis instruction intensive effort on the part of teachers and students is required to achieve modest gains once students are beyond kindergarten and first grade.

=====4)  Aspects of reading instruction promoted by the CCSS (reading of harder, complex texts; reading aloud; reading in the content areas; writing arguments) may be appropriate for older students who already know how to read and write, but may serve only to frustrate less-skilled students if the text is impossible for them to read independently and if insufficient attention is devoted to building the requisite language skills that enable improvement.

K) Curriculum and instructional design is in the hands of publishers, professional interpreters, and state department officials. Not highly trained special ed teachers. The door is wide open for interpretations that are not optimal for students with learning difficulties. If early efforts to implement the CCSS are any indication, research-based instruction appropriate for poorer readers is getting short shrift.

L) The widely used Common Core Curriculum Maps (www.commoncore.org), for example, offer holistic, theme-oriented lessons organized around the reading of high quality texts, not around the systematic instruction of reading and writing skills.

M) Common Core [standards] often results in a checklist of discrete skills and in a fostering of skill-and-drill instruction that can fragment and isolate student learning in such a way that conceptual understanding, higher order thinking, cohesion, and synergy are made more difficult.

N) “Holistic, integrated learning” is said to be the goal of standards-based instruction. No exception is made for the novice or unskilled learner, no reference is made to the changing nature of reading over time, and no research base is invoked to explain the presumed dangers of a component-skills approach. It is to be taken as a matter of faith or philosophy that instruction in the component skills of literacy detracts from the real business of reading.

O)   No single series of model lessons and no single curriculum guide can describe the variations in content and methodology necessary to reach all students.

P)  With the CCSS’s emphasis on informational text, complex text, reading aloud, and inquiry-based learning, more of the nation’s attention is currently focused on higher-level comprehension, leaving almost no room for discussion of beginning reading and the needs of students with reading difficulties.  Air is being sucked from the room.

Q)  The teacher-directed, systematic, sequential, explicit approaches that work best are receiving much less discussion than they deserve. The risk, of course, is that even larger numbers of students will soon fail to become independent readers and writers.

R)  From the Common Core standards document, a reader cannot learn that speech sound blending supports word recognition, that spelling supports vocabulary, that understanding of morphology speeds word recognition, or that oral language capacities are the underpinning for written language. One would not realize that handwriting, spelling, and sentence composition support higher level composition. They do. They are how one learns, and they are all absent from Common Core.

S) In pilot Common Core programs, students with poor reading and writing skills, including those with dyslexia, were more likely to be subjected to instruction that was inappropriate in pacing, emphasis, and design. These unrealistic and Idealistic visions of student potential, coupled with unattainable standards, a “one size fits all” approach, and a purposefully complete disregard for decades of research on reading acquisition and individual differences, can only exacerbate student failure and suffering in our accountability-driven systems.

T) Current interpretations of the CCSS standards and curriculum create more obstacles for students than already exist. Advocates for students with dyslexia and related difficulties are encouraged to be vocal supporters of meaningful, research-based education that safeguards students’ self-esteem and enables optimal progress. The CCSS may play some role in guiding that process, but should not be the overriding or dominant influence on the content or methods of education for students with reading difficulties…

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As this makes quite clear, all students with disabilities need to be shielded from Common Core, not embraced by it. At this point, all must remember that Common Core was not created by educational experts, but was guided by businessmen. Common Core puts out a product that only a businessman could approve…. Businessmen don’t have time or the inclination required to deal with anomalies like real children,  who through no fault of their own, suffer from a disability.

What is more important, is that with Common Core, the overall ability of our average children to read and do math is going to deteriorate as this program goes forward.  There may be some redeeming factors to redeem the money invested, but as for now, they are buried deep beneath all the problems Common Core has wrought upon us….

In essence Common Core was specifically designed to teach geniuses, those children who upon entering a grade, are already proficient… It fails to recognize that not everyone comes into life with the same opportunities and therefore needs different approaches.

And, by its catastrophic failure,Common Core has opened one’s eyes that in order to actually close the achievement gaps in our high poverty areas, we need to teach those students as we do those with special disabilities.  They are disabled, just not physically.  They are disabled by circumstance. Therefore as we do with special education, we will need more man power, more individual instruction, more resources, then proceed on a trial and error method with each student until we can find what works best individually for each one…

It can be done, but it must be done through the public system (no charters) and it must be done without Common Core.

On Thursday Delaware’s Governor Jack Markell will force charter-ship on these 6 schools.  Never mind that the only charters not serving a student body of almost all white students, are, have, or will be slated to be shut down as failures: Pencaderand Moyer 

Here are the words of Kendall Massett

“Charter schools have gotten a lot of bad press over the last year. School closings. Teacher videos. Investigations about school leader qualifications. Financial crises. Governance issues.

It hasn’t been good….

Charter schools always under-perform public schools.  Furthermore, charter schools depress an entire district’s scores even further, as was shown last year by a study of Philadelphia’s school system, which showed a 50% reduction in the proficiency of all of Philadelphia’s students from before and after charters were allowed in. 

These schools will be told they failed….  “you failed the students” will be the News Journal quote in the early Friday morning hours… If you don’t know these schools, let me introduce you to them…..

Warner:  Is a Red Clay school and is located on 8 and 18th in Wilmington. It has 559 students. 73% Afro American, 18% Hispanic. of which 85.1% are low income. 15% are special ed. 60% of its budget is spent on instructional services. Warner continues to receive Instructional Support with a Literacy Coach, and IST facilitator, and family Interventionist. This federally funded reform provides for a reading coach, extensive teacher training in reading instruction, and the purchase of reading materials for kindergarten through third grade. During the 2008/2009 school year Warner celebrated the fact that they were above the state percentages at each grade level (K-3) and 82% of our students remained at Benchmark Status… Warner has 14 students per teacher. It has 186 students per administrator. 67%of its teachers have over 5 years of experience. 79% of its budget goes to instructional and 21% goes to support. 48% of third graders, 32% of 4th graders, and 57% of 5th graders are proficient in reading. 38%, 19%, 34% respectively were proficient in math.

Stubbs:  Is a Christina school and is located on 11 and North Pine in Wilmington. It has 325 students. 87% Afro American, 9% Hispanic. of which 89.2 are low income. 9.5% are special ed. 57% of its budget is spent on instructional services.  As Delaware’s first STEM model school, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are integrated across content areas. In addition, Stubbs has dynamic partnerships that include, but are not limited to NorthBay STEM Adventure Connection, Big Brother’s and Big Sister’s of America and EastSide Community School… Stubbs has 13 students per teacher. It has 163 students per administrator. 36% of its teachers have over 5 years of experience. 78% of its budget goes to instructional and 22% goes to support. 40% of third graders, 37% of 4th graders, and 31% of 5th graders are proficient in reading. 28%, 38%, 39% respectively were proficient in math.

Highlands:  Is a Red Clay school and is located on 21 and Gilpin Ave. in Wilmington. It has 383 students. 54,3% Afro American, 30.3% Hispanic. of which 68.1% are low income. 11.5% are special ed. 60% of its budget is spent on instructional services.  During the school day, students can participate in TAG (Talented and Gifted), be a part of the Creative Mentoring Program, work in the school Safety Patrol program, play in the band or strings, sing in the school show, and attend a variety of field trips and assemblies. After school, students may participate in extracurricular activities, such as the coed RBA (Reading Basketball Association), cheerleading, Girls on the Run, ASAP (After School Academic Program), Saturday School, Chess Club, and karate. All students must maintain behavior and academic standards to participate. The Boys and Girls Club of Delaware offers a before and after school program on-site at Highlands. Finally, the PTA is actively involved in the school, offering parents a chance to be active participants in their child’s education.. Highland has 16 students per teacher. It has 192 students per administrator. 58% of its teachers have over 5 years of experience. 83% of its budget goes to instructional and 17% goes to support. 38% of third graders, 43% of 4th graders, and 58% of 5th graders are proficient in reading. 34%, 35%, 35% respectively were proficient in math.

Bancroft:  Is a Christina school and is located on 7 and N Lombard in Wilmington. It has 415 students. 78.6% Afro American, 7.5% Hispanic. of which 79.0% are low income. 14.7% are special ed. 57% of its budget is spent on instructional services.  In addition to the exemplary academic programs, Bancroft has established a variety of community partnerships. J. P. Morgan Chase and Children and Families First, our lead partners, have joined together to establish the East Side Community School Partnership. With this partnership, Bancroft has been able to strengthen the community ties resulting in postive community relations that have a direct effect on student achievement. In addition they have sought resources and support from many other businesses and community organizations. Bancroft has also gained much support in obtaining mentors from the community resulting in close to 100 mentors volunteering their time to and for the students of the school.. Bancroft has 10 students per teacher. It has 208 students per administrator. 42% of its teachers have over 5 years of experience. 80% of its budget goes to instructional and 20% goes to support. 28% of third graders, 26% of 4th graders, and 34% of 5th graders are proficient in reading. 29%, 24%, 28% respectively were proficient in math.

Shortlidge:  Is a Red Clay school and is located at 100 W. 18th Street in Wilmington. It has 329 students. 93.3% Afro American, 4.9% Hispanic. of which 85.4% are low income. 14.0% are special ed. 60% of its budget is spent on instructional services. There are many exceptional programs that enhance and support student learning at Evan G. Shortlidge Academy. Project CHANCE; Mentor Me; Early Intervention K-3 Unit; Safety Patrol Squad. Partnerships with the following businesses, institutions, and organizations have helped to provide these programs: Delaware Division of Social Services; Wilmington Trust; Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Project CHANCE offers one hour of before and two hours of after school care support. In addition to providing students with homework assistance, the program offers a balanced program of enrichment activities beneficial to both parents and students. The Mentor Me Program and the Early Intervention K-3 Unit are programs that meet regularly with selected students who demonstrate need for additional social, emotional, and/or academic support in order to help them improve their academic performance at school. The AAA Mid-Atlantic Safety Patrol Squad is a peer leadership program for 4th and 5th grades students… Shortlidge has 13 students per teacher. It has 165 students per administrator. 81% of its teachers have over 5 years of experience. 82% of its budget goes to instructional and 18% goes to support. 28% of third graders, 42% of 4th graders, and 53% of 5th graders are proficient in reading. 29%, 36%, 54% respectively were proficient in math.

Bayard:  Is a Christina school and is located at 200 S Dupont Street in Wilmington. It has 463 students. 71.1% Afro American, 23.8% Hispanic. of which 79.0% are low income. 19.0% are special ed. 57% of its budget is spent on instructional services. Bayard Middle School has an excellent array of daytime and evening programs that showcased their students’ talents and academic skills. Their evening programs focused on highlighting their students’ academic successes and bringing the school and community together. Their students demonstrated their Bulldog Pride while putting together Bayard’s Annual Talent and Fashion shows. The efforts of their students, staff, community partners and parents were applauded in their daytime Awards and Move-up Ceremonies where they celebrated over 125 individuals for their academic achievements and commitments to Bayard. They also commended over 90 students in our growing A.V.I.D program which allows our students to get the tools necessary to be successful in rigorous course loads as they prepare for college. Bayard has an excellent PBS (Positive Behavior Support) program that gives our students and staff incentives for positive behavior in and out of school. Programs include BPA, AVID.. Bayard has 13 students per teacher. It has 232 students per administrator. 75% of its teachers have over 5 years of experience. 79% of its budget goes to instructional and 21% goes to support. 35% of sixth graders, 41% of 7th graders, and 44% of 8th graders are proficient in reading. 31%, 26%, 20% respectively were proficient in math.

Now that you’ve been introduced to these schools, you probably saw that they were well run, all the numbers are good, quality of teachers is superior, low student teacher ratios, not too much being spent on administration, in fact, everything looks good on paper, except for the scores… 

Children in poverty are environmentally behind. At age 3, a child of welfare parents only knows 500 words.  A suburban child of affluent parents knows 1100.  IQ’s closely correlate with vocabulary. averages in the 70 IQ’s for poverty raised children; averages of 117 for affluent children, By age 3, the average child of a professional heard about 500,000 encouragements and 80,000 discouragements. For the welfare children, the situation was reversed: they heard, on average, about 75,000 encouragements and 200,000 discouragements.  It is not rocket science that these two will not test the same. A child of affluent parents comes home to a family that provides its basic needs. 70 -80% of Inner-city poverty children don’t have that luxury. Often their only meals are at school, breakfast and lunch. This corresponds to 80-90% of these school’s student population. At these schools only 50% have one or more parents. The other half is kept entirely by relatives.  As early as 2010, we knew that inner city children do not learn the same as affluent suburban ones. This is some basic background required to push back when jack Markell tries to blame these failures on the staff and teachers… Just say ain’t no way.

Another question:  Low scores do not only dwell in Wilminton.

Take N. Laural Elementary.  53% White. 59% Low Income. 18 students per teacher of which 82% have over 5 years experience.  Math in fourth grade at a 56%., Shortledge was at a 54% in one grade….

Woodbridge Middle has a 45 reading in 7th Grade. Bayard had a 41% in 7th Grade.

East Dover:  32 and 50 (3-4th) in reading.  40 and 64 in math.

And replace them with what, Charters?  Charter schools?  Charters which cannot compete with public schools when weighted equally based on poverty, special education, and minorities?  

Majority of U.S. charter schools perform equal or worse than traditional schools….

Nationwide, just 25 percent of charter schools show significantly stronger learning gains in reading than their traditional school counterparts. The remaining 75 percent of charter schools showed either no significant difference or were significantly weaker than traditional schools.  There remain worrying numbers of charter schools whose learning gains are either substantially worse than the local alternative or are insufficient to give their students the academic preparation they need to continue their education or be successful in the workforce,” the study’s executive summary states.

Scores in Delaware…

Moyer:  Is a Charter school and is located at 610 East 17th Street in Wilmington. It has 227 students. 88.5% Afro American, 7.5% Hispanic. of which 78.4% are low income. 31.3% are special ed. 40% of its budget is spent on instructional services. Moyer Academy continues to grow its academic and extracurricular programs. We have our National Honor Society (HS/MS), College Opportunities (college assistance programs) Student Assistant Program and Success Program (for older students). Moyer Academy has partnered with Del-Tech College, where students who qualify will be able to take college courses during their 11th and 12th grade years with financial assistance from Moyer Academy. We direct students to Del-State University’s Early Bird Program. We are partnering with local medical service provider for career pathway opportunities..  Moyer has 16 students per teacher. It has 57 students per administrator. 36% of its teachers have over 5 years of experience. 74% of its budget goes to instructional and 26% goes to support. 22% of sixth graders, 22% of 7th graders, and 33% of 8th graders are proficient in reading. 6%, 3%, 15% respectively were proficient in math.

This is the problem with Charter’s taking over public schools…  The students are the same, yet they perform worse than do public schools.  It’s not about effort.  It is about design.  Notice the 20% fewer resources allotted to instructional use, and more towards administration. Notice the fewer teachers who have experience. and finally notice the scores… These are the same type of students who are in the schools being closed or switched to charters by Markell..  Charters don’t have the resources that public schools do and it is impossible for them to do as good a job, as do public schools.  Replacing a public school with a charter, is like replacing scores of 30% proficient, with scores of 5% proficient. 

Reach has the same problems.  Less money than public schools is spent on instructional.  Only 36% of teachers with more than 5 years.  Higher student teacher ratios, and math scores in the 20’s and 30’s.  It is the structure of charter schools that cause them to be weaker; not the people running it.  When you siphon off 20% of expenses for profit, you have less to teach.

So how can someone with less money, teach better than public schools?

They can’t. 

These public schools did not fail. They held ground in the most extraordinary of situations.  Those who failed are the ones who flinched at raising taxes on the wealthy which would have brought prosperity to all, and by reducing poverty by finally putting people back to work, it would do a lot to alleviate the underlying problems that poverty forces on education…..

They failed. not the schools.  What this is really about, is trying to get people who don’t want to sign up for Copeland’s Charter World, to finally sign up…  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is about hope. There isn’t any.

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

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

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

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

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

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

WE are very close to there.  

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