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The problem with education…

February 28, 2011 1 comment

…is three-fold. First, unionized teachers. Second, administrators. Third, the politicians who employ them.

OK, got the message on the sign?

We don’t pay teachers enough.  At least according to this American Federation of Teachers picket. I’m sure the larger and leftier National Education Association agrees. As does every Democrat elected official or wanna-be-elected-official in the country, given that the NEA and the AFT fund Democrats and in the 2007-08 cycle,

The National Education Association has earned a reputation for using campaign contributions to purchase the loyalty of lawmakers at the federal and state levels. 

In the 2007-08 election cycle, for instance, the union, through its political action committees, spent a whopping $56 million on various candidates and state ballot proposals. That ranked the NEA as the largest political contributor in the nation, outspending the second-place donor by more than $12 million.

The smaller American Federation of Teachers doesn’t give as much, but it’s still a major player in the purchase-a-politician game. In 2007-08 the AFT spent about $12 million on candidates and ballot proposals. The two teachers unions even combined to form a third PAC, “NEA AFT,” which spent more than $3.3 million on campaign contributions.

As one writer recently put it, “America’s two teachers unions outspent AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, General Electric, Chevron, Pfizer, Morgan Stanley, Lockheed Martin, FedEx, Boeing, Merrill Lynch, Exxon Mobil, Lehman Brothers and the Walt Disney Corporation – combined.”

 

OK, you got that? More than fifteen of the largest corporations in the world, evil corporations that the Democrats are constantly railing about, give to political parties. Oh, and virtually every dollar of the NEA/AFT money goes to Democrats. I didn’t look, but I’d be willing to bet the money given by corporations is closer to 50/50. And just where do you think the money comes from? Well, that would be from dues the unions collect – for the most part on a mandatory basis – from teachers who are required to join the union and pay the dues. Bottom line, unions launder taxpayers money through teachers to Democrats so Democrats will pay teachers more and hire more administrators.

So, what’s all that got to do with “education”? Thanks for asking. From the New York Post

The Department of Education pays about 1,500 teachers for time they spend on union activities — and pays other teachers to replace them in the classroom. 

It’s a sweetheart deal that costs taxpayers an extra $9 million a year to pay fill-ins for instructors who are sprung — at full pay — to carry out responsibilities for the United Federation of Teachers.

With Mayor Bloomberg calling for thousands of teacher layoffs to balance the 2012 budget, critics say it’s time to halt the extravagant benefit.
[…]
That $9 million would cover the salaries of 198 new teachers at the current annual $45,530 starting pay

The DOE lets 40 experienced teachers collect top pay and fringe benefits, but work just one class period a day.
[…]
English teacher Tom Dromgoole, for instance, collects top teacher pay, $100,049 a year, from the DOE for his slot at Leadership and Public Service HS in downtown Manhattan. But he is relieved for most of the day to serve as a UFT high school rep. The UFT supplements his salary by $50,461…

Read the whole article if you’ve got a strong stomach or access to lots of alcohol.

And then there’s the Central Falls High School in Central Falls RI. Last year the school district announced they would close the HS because it was a complete failure and had been for a long, long time. Graduation rate was less than 50% and 93% of students scored below “proficient” on standardized tests. There was great howling and gnashing of teeth by the teachers – who average $76K in a blue collar town where the average Vinnie makes $22K – and the district negotiated a plan to make everything nice-nice. The teachers all got raises. You can read about the initial announcement here.

Well, last week the district announced that CFHS had risen from the ashes and was a transformed school. Here’s what a five-year transformation plan looks like:

The percentage of students scoring proficient or above in math was 12 percent in 2010, but the 2011 target is 25 percent and the 2012 target is 40 percent. in reading, 65 percent of students were proficient or above in 2010, while the 2011 target is 75 percent and the 2012 target is 85 percent. The district committed to improving the school culture created a Parent-Teacher-Student Organization. 

Got THAT? Instead of firing the idiots who are being paid three times the average wage in the town to teach kids and move the kids to a currently successful school or open a charter school, they keep kids in this pit for another five years. And instead of the 88% who couldn’t add a column of numbers last year, only 75% will be unable to this year. According to the plan. No report on reality yet.

Posting guidelines for a family site prevent me from expressing how I really feel. But I will note that Florida Governor Scott has the right idea – shut down public schools entirely, provide parents with vouchers and use them in private/charter schools.

Governor Walker, in a side note, don’t back down in Wisconsin.

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Immigration Laws That Work

February 27, 2011 4 comments

Mexican Invasion

The Mexican Invasion

I live in Phoenix, Arizona.  We have a problem here with illegal immigration and because the Feds steadfastly refuse to even try to seal our border with Mexico we’ve take some steps internally to address the problem.  We wrote about the problem at 908 Straight St! in December.  The bottom line is that in states with the biggest budgetary problems – California and Arizona being numbers one and two when you look at deficit as a percentage of total budget – the cost of the Mexican invasion just happens to equal the state budget deficit.

Here in Arizona, and in Virgina – the story highlighted in December – and now in New Mexico, Republicans are doing things at the state level that are reducing the immigration cost.  Unfortunately for some, we’re reducing our cost by exporting it, along with the illegal aliens driving the cost, to states that are more illegal friendly.  My guess is that they won’t be so friendly for long given that the states do not have the ability to print money and are beginning to make, in the words of those who created the problem, “draconian cuts”.  Here’s a quick update of some stuff that works.

From the 908SS! December article about Prince William County, they cracked down on illegals and they fled to the surrounding region or somewhere, but they left PWC.  The result was striking:

Every area of PWC has made reductions and, as of today, the county has cut more than $140 million from the cost of government, and is employing the lowest number of full-time government workers in the D.C. region. Indeed, residents of the county pay tax bills nearly 30% lower than in neighboring counties.

The business community has responded, PWC is now the number one job growth county in Virginia and the D.C. region and number two in terms of job growth on the East Coast.

In addition, the article notes a 32% drop in violent crime.

Here in Phoenix, we have another example.  We are cutting the amount of money going to K-12 from the State.  An article in the Arizona Republic rightly notes that there are a laundry list of reason for the reductions when you look at individual school districts, but let’s look at one specific district, the Alhambra Elementary School District.

[the Alhambra District] is 70 percent Latino, has lost 1,000 students, 6.5 percent of its enrollment, since 2007. Superintendent Karen Williams doesn’t blame the recession. She blames a 2007 state law that permits fining businesses for hiring illegal immigrants and the subsequent rancorous debate over immigration around the state. Williams says many parents moved out of Arizona.

It’s an interesting article and there are some specifically non-immigration things that the Alhambra district is doing that you’ll find interesting.

Bottom line, once again, crack down on illegal immigration and illegals will run like cockroaches exposed to the light.

Let’s take a look at our neighboring state, New Mexico.  The good folks of New Mexico elected a Republican Governor last November.  She also happens to be Hispanic.

(Reuters) – The nation’s first female Hispanic governor has angered many Latinos with a proposal to repeal a New Mexico state law allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

Newly-elected Governor Susana Martinez, a Republican who ran on a promise to get tough on illegal immigration, this week added fuel to the fire by using leftover campaign funds to pay for a radio ad urging support for her repeal efforts.

Needless to say, the Left is going bonkers. I mean hey, this woman doesn’t know her place. Just who does she think she is? I think they’ll find out and I also think they won’t like the answer. Heh.

I’m hoping the next shot fired across the bow in illegals floating into our country – note: OUR country – will be a combined effort by Republican States Attorneys General going after voter fraud. Kansas new Secretary of State, who happens to be the same guy who wrote Arizona’s SB1070, has vowed to pass tough voter fraud laws in Kansas. Those can be used as a model for other states just like SB1070 is being modeled in about a dozen other states today.

The bottom line of all this is that there are a wide variety of things that states can do, and do without challenge even from the Obama Justice Department, that will have a major impact on the cost of illegal aliens in their states. True, we’re exporting the problem across state lines to places like California, but tough. If you want ’em you can have ’em and I’m willing to charter a bus to transport ’em to LA and San Francisco. Our goal should be to make our states a hospitable and welcoming place for legal immigrants and we should view illegal aliens with the same disdain we view child molesters.