Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

This LTE was written by a DFL union propagandist. Here’s the proof:

The plans proposed this year by the House Republicans may be the worst, most damaging proposals I have seen. Instead of continuing the work begun two years ago to rebuild our schools after a decade of divestment, the plans call for a giant $2.2 billion dollar tax giveaway for the rich and corporations. It gets bigger over time and will create a gaping budget deficit, while offering an increase in education that is so low it would result in cuts to our schools.

First, it’s dishonest to call the Republican tax cut a “tax giveaway for the rich and corporations.” I can’t dispute the fact that the Republican tax bill includes tax relief for small businesses. Next, there aren’t any tax cuts for big corporations just like there aren’t big tax cuts for the Mark Daytons or Alida Messengers of the world.

Here’s more progressive BS from the DFL:

This is a doubling down on the dark days of the 2000s, when we paid for tax breaks for the rich by balancing our budget on the backs of our kids.

The only tax cuts over the last 15+ years are the infamous Jesse Checks from Jesse Ventura’s administration. It’s noteworthy that the DFL controlled the Senate from 1972-2011, meaning that the DFL signed off on those supposedly evil tax cuts. Another thing that’s important to debunk is that the Jesse Checks were “tax breaks for the rich”, as the DFL propagandist insists. That isn’t difficult. This article will expose the truth about those “tax breaks for the rich”:

“In late summer, I get to stand here and say, the checks are in the mail.”

Ventura pushed for returning surplus money in the form of a sales tax rebate, which some Minnesotans have come to call “Jesse checks.” This year, the average check is $512 for a married couple or head of household, and $232 for a single filer. State officials say all eligible taxpayers should receive their checks by Labor Day. But Ventura cautions that this may be the last year of rebate checks, since the state has cut taxes and the economy has slowed. “We are not bringing in the money that we used to bring in prior to my administration, and in light of that, and the economy, there may not be a fourth,” says Ventura.

In other words, this DFL propagandist is lying through her teeth. This LTE was written by a professional propagandist. Here’s more:

Two years ago, we finally made real investments in our schools. This gave many hope for our children’s future and the future of Minnesota. We saw free, all-day kindergarten, schools previously relegated to four days able to go back to five-day weeks, and health care and services for families expanded so all can succeed.

Despite the “historic investment in education”, property taxes in many school districts skyrocketed. What’s worse is that the achievement gap isn’t improving. That isn’t reason for celebration. That’s justification for worry.

Whenever the DFL uses terms like “tax giveaway for the rich and corporations”, that’s proof that they’re spinning. It’s proof that they aren’t telling the truth.

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You know nanny statism has spun off the rails when you see notes like this:

I hope Leeza Pearson tells this moron to stick that note where the sun doesn’t shine. Here’s what happened:

Leeza Pearson was out of fruit and vegetables one day last week, so she tucked a pack of Oreos in her daughter Natalee’s lunch and sent her off to school at the Children’s Academy in Aurora, Colorado. Pearson said she was stunned when her 4-year-old came home later in the day with the cookies untouched and a sternly worded note from the school.

Here’s the text of the note:

Dear Parents, it is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch. This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable and a healthy snack from home, along with a milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone’s participation.

That’s chilling words:

We need everyone’s participation.

Schools aren’t the final arbiter of what children eat. If health departments want to address childhood obesity, that’s one thing. It’s another when the government tells parents what to do.

Pearson said she is baffled by how the school handled the situation. “I think it is definitely over the top, especially because they told her she can’t eat what is in her lunch,” Pearson told ABC News. “They should have at least allowed to eat her food and contacted me to explain the policy and tell me not to pack them again.”

Officials at the Children’s Academy said they have no comment when contacted by ABC News. However, Patty Moon, a spokeswoman for the Aurora Public Schools, which provides funding for some of the children to attend the private pre-school, said a note in the lunchbox is not supposed to be standard practice. “From our end we want to inform parents but never want it to be anything punitive,” Moon said.

Moon’s statement is BS. The note sent home wasn’t hand-written. It was pre-printed. The school’s intentions are exceptionally clear. It’s clear that the school wants to dictate policy to parents. It’s time to pull the plug on this school.

Parents should decide what their children eat. Nanny staters shouldn’t have a say in the matter. Period.

This editorial highlights how Education and the DFL have consistently failed students:

In evaluating candidates, delegates should clearly understand where advocacy for grown-ups stops and willingness to put students first begins. As we have noted, the school district is unionized wall to wall; of 7,000 employees, only a couple of dozen are not represented by a union. Our system of checks and balances goes out of balance if the board and superintendent are essentially chosen by, and hence unduly beholden to, one constituency.

Minnesota’s achievement gap hasn’t narrowed, much less closed, recently. Most of the DFL-Education Minnesota’s ‘reforms’ have focused mostly on funding, not innovation. Clearly, that’s failed. Minnesota’s achievement gap still exists. The DFL and Education Minnesota insist that the solution is better funding.

Apparently, Education Minnesota and the DFL either don’t know or they don’t care that this recipe is working. Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. I’d assumed that the DFL and Education Minnesota were crazy. It’s possible, however, that they aren’t insane. It’s quite possible that they don’t care as long as Education Minnesota gets their cut.

Until the money attaches to the student, not the school, Education Minnesota won’t have an incentive for changing their methods. As long as Education Minnesota gets funding increases whether they do a terrible job or a fantastic job, they won’t have an incentive for improving educational outcomes.

Giving students the option of learning at a better school is a step in the right direction. Similarly, giving parents the option of sending their kids to schools where the teachers’ first priority is responding to the students’ needs is also a step in the right direction.

Sitting silent while the status quo continues isn’t acceptable. It’s immoral.

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During Gov. Dayton’s State of the State Address, he insisted that the state of the State was good:

For right now, we have a rare moment of great opportunity. The state of our state is good. Not everywhere. Not for everyone. But overall, Minnesota is doing better than it has for some time, and Minnesota is doing better than most other states.

That’s spin. This is reality:

According to the Getting Prepared report by the Office of Higher Education, 28 percent of Minnesota’s 2011 high school graduates were required to take remedial courses when entering college. Together these students spent $9 million in tuition just on remedial classes – covering K-12 material that taxpayers already funded. The problem affects students from across the state, from affluent suburbs to rural communities to the Twin Cities’ largest districts, but students of color and low-income students are most deeply affected.

When 1-in-4 high school graduates take remedial classes upon entering community college, that says K-12 schools have failed these students. What’s worst is that, according to the Office of Higher Education’s report, these problems affect “students from across the state, from affluent suburbs to rural communities to the Twin Cities’ largest districts.”

That means this problem isn’t confined to students languishing in impoverished inner city schools. It’s happening across the state. Rep. Thissen said that the DFL had made “historic investments” in education. That’s proof that the DFL’s education motto is still intact. FYI- DFL’s education motto is ‘more money, bigger achievement gap, less accountability.’

When one-fourth of MnSCU’s community college students need to take remedial courses, the state of Minnesota’s K-12 program isn’t good. It’s bleak. It need to improve. That won’t happen without a change in policies and leadership.

Thursday night, Gov. Dayton delivered his annual State of the State Address. True to the DFL’s creed, there’s something in there for each of the DFL’s special interest groups. True to the DFL’s creed, there’s a ton of spin in Gov. Dayton’s speech. Here’s a perfect example of that spin:

At the other end of the education continuum, higher education: the University of Minnesota, the MnSCU colleges, and universities, and state financial aid for students are equally deserving of increased support. In 2013, the legislature approved a $249 million increase in higher education funding for the current biennium. That increase, however, only replaced the $246 million reduction enacted in 2011.

In real, inflation-adjusted dollars, state support for higher education in FY 2012 dropped to its lowest level in over thirty years. No wonder tuitions have been forced higher and higher in both systems, causing Minnesota students to graduate with the fifth highest average debt loads in the country.

That’s just dishonest. One of the reasons why tuitions “have been forced higher” is because MnSCU presidents and the MnSCU Central Office have spent outrageously on consultants and administrators. Couple that with the reckless fiscal mismanagement in years past, mostly in the name of pursuing lofty-sounding visions or outright legacy-building and it isn’t surprising why tuitions have skyrocketed.

Pitting students and parents’ budgets against university presidents’ and MnSCU administrators’ wish lists isn’t the best way to build a better Minnesota, though it’s the fastest way to pay off one of the DFL’s strongest special interest allies.

To show how misguided Gov. Dayton’s policies are and how blindly the DFL will follow Education Minnesota’s instructions, check out how Gov. Dayton, the DFL and Education Minnesota are cheating Jazmyne McGill:

Despite meeting all of the requirements for a diploma, I had to take a class in college that covered material I had already passed in high school. Worse, this class wouldn’t earn me any credit toward a degree, although I had to pay full tuition for it.

Coming from a low-income family, I did not have the extra money to take a class that wouldn’t count toward my degree. Minnesota’s college graduates already carry one of the nation’s highest student debt loads and repay their loans at an above average rate. Yet remedial classes saddle students with additional debt, don’t earn them degrees, and deter them from completed their degrees – at a time when an increasing number of Minnesota jobs require post-secondary education.

Jazmyne paid hundreds of additional dollars for a class Education Minnesota told her she’d satisfactorily passed. That’s the definition of educational theft.

Rather than verifying whether the K-12 or higher ed money is producing excellent educational outcomes, the DFL just keeps returning for more money for a system that’s failing Minnesota’s youth. Cheating Minnesota’s students isn’t acceptable — except if it’s Education Minnesota cheating students while the DFL are running things. Then it’s apparently fine.

Finally, check out the transcript. It’s traditional Dayton in that it’s filled with terrible punctuation and grammar. Thank God he hired the best speechwriters, then gave them big raises. Spending lots of money, then not paying attention to whether it’s being spent wisely isn’t proof that government is treating its taxpayers wisely. It’s proof that the DFL cares more about their big government allies than they care about the taxpayers.

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This article is breathtaking in that it talks about how the DFL is scamming students attending public high schools, then scamming them by forcing to pay for remedial classes in junior college that they should’ve learned in high school. Here’s the DFL’s latest scam:

College students who take remedial classes at state-run colleges and universities could soon find themselves in regular college-level courses instead under a proposal being considered at the Capitol.

Weaker students would do better if they took classes with the rest of the student body while getting some extra help on the side, some lawmakers say. And they’d save money by avoiding remedial classes, which cost as much as standard courses but don’t offer students credit toward a degree. “We’re trying to develop a system that is more student-focused,” said Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley, a former high school principal who wrote the bill.

Here’s something else that’s offensive:

One in six Minnesota students is in remedial education, usually at a two-year college, according to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Almost two-thirds of those take one or two classes, data from the state Office of Higher Education shows.

When I wrote this post, I said that Jazmyne McGill was “the face of educational theft in Minnesota.” I said that because Education Minnesota ripped her off by not providing Jazmyne with the education she deserved:

Despite meeting all of the requirements for a diploma, I had to take a class in college that covered material I had already passed in high school. Worse, this class wouldn’t earn me any credit toward a degree, although I had to pay full tuition for it.

Making matters worse is the fact that Sen. Clausen is attempting to provide a Band-Aid solution to a problem that requires stitches or surgery. Sen. Clausen’s legislation treats a symptom. It doesn’t eliminate the root cause.

Until Minnesota legislators require public schools to improve educational outcomes, students will continue getting cheated by Education Minnesota and the DFL. If things don’t change dramatically, the Jazmyne McGills of the world will continue getting ripped off — and that’s unacceptable.

Part of that change is demanding that legislators like Sen. Clausen start solving problems instead of treating symptoms. That means training great teachers and getting them into classrooms. That means letting only the best candidates into teaching schools. That means telling EdMinn to that they’ll be kicked to the sidelines if they aren’t part of the solution.

Ripping high school students off by not teaching them what they’re required to learn for college costs these students, or their parents, money. That money doesn’t grow on trees. It’s frequently ‘found’ by taking out a student loan. Whichever way you look at it from, it’s a rip-off.

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When I read this article, I was furious. This story should never be told, in Minnesota or elsewhere:

Despite meeting all of the requirements for a diploma, I had to take a class in college that covered material I had already passed in high school. Worse, this class wouldn’t earn me any credit toward a degree, although I had to pay full tuition for it.

Coming from a low-income family, I did not have the extra money to take a class that wouldn’t count toward my degree. Minnesota’s college graduates already carry one of the nation’s highest student debt loads and repay their loans at an above average rate. Yet remedial classes saddle students with additional debt, don’t earn them degrees, and deter them from completed their degrees – at a time when an increasing number of Minnesota jobs require post-secondary education.

Jazmyne McGill is the face of educational theft in Minnesota. What’s happened to her has happened to other students:

In fact, fewer than one in 10 students enrolled in remedial classes graduate from community college within three years. About a third complete a bachelor’s degrees in six years. Thirty percent of students who complete their remedial courses don’t even attempt entry-level college courses within 2 years, according to Complete College America.

Education Minnesota has been in the business of trapping students in failing schools for years. What they’re doing is unforgiveable. The thought that these students have to pay a price because Education Minnesota’s lobbyists are close friends with DFL politicians is infuriating.

What Education Minnesota and the DFL have stolen from Jazmyne McGill isn’t just time:

Burden is financial and emotional
These classes not only place a financial burden on our students but an emotional one as well. I can attest to the self-doubt that comes along with hearing I needed to take a remedial course. I felt defeated and as though I did not belong.

The fact that Jazmyne McGill had to doubt her abilities is appalling. Any educational system that instills that type of doubt in students needs to be torn down. Reform isn’t possible, at least not in the short term:

While many efforts are under way to strengthen the K-12 system long-term, there’s a solution available that can give Minnesota’s college students immediate relief: co-requisite classes. Co-requisites are an alternative approach to remedial education that alleviates the financial burden of remedial courses. Co-requisites are entry-level credit-bearing classes that provide supplemental academic instruction including individual assistance and on-line support, in areas where students have demonstrated skill gaps.

Co-requisite courses allow students to enter their desired programs of study within the first academic year and give them the opportunity to graduate on time. Rather than eliminate remedial instruction, they embed it into college-level, credit-bearing courses. They help students succeed, lead to higher graduation rates and show them the education system is on their side and wants them to graduate and become productive citizens and workers.

The first step in fixing this problem is to close failing schools. Any system that deprives students of the ability to learn is immoral. Leaving those schools open is immoral, too. Architects of an education system that tells students that they’re trapped in failing schools without a viable option is a system that’s corrupted. Those systems must be eliminated ASAP.

Finally, anyone caught defending the status quo should be fired, too. FYI- People who say all that’s needed is more funding are defending the status quo. That isn’t a solution. It’s a con game that’s played out too long.

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Last night, Gov. Scott Walker, (R-WI), went ‘on the record’ with Fox’s Greta van Susteren:

One of the first things that Gov. Walker touted was the positive impact Act 10 has had on education:

GOV. WALKER: People claimed that public education would fall apart. Instead, by getting rid of seniority and tenure, we empowered school districts to put their best and their brightest in the classrooms by hiring based on merit and pay … Today, our schools are better. Our graduation rates are up. Our third-grade reading scores are up. Our ACT scores are the second best in the nation.

Thus far, we’ve watched DC pundits and British blowhards ask trivial questions of Gov. Walker about such non-pressing importance like whether he believes in evolution or whether he thinks President Obama is a Christian.

When Gov. Walker didn’t play their gotcha games, the media acted like they’d been scandalized. What’d happened was that Gov. Walker essentially told them, politely, was that he wanted to talk about important things, not the gotcha stuff they wanted to talk about. Thank God for that.

Other than the DC blowhards, nobody gives a rip about Gov. Walker’s thoughts on evolution or President Obama’s faith. What they care most about is what he’ll do to fix the messes that President Obama has created. The people understand that the next president will have to deal with a defiant Vladimir Putin, a terrorist nation that’s expanding its reach and a regulatory regime that’s crippling innovation and job creation.

GOV. WALKER: You’ll appreciate this, Greta. I was in Green Bay, WI, this afternoon. I was at 2 of the leading job creators talking about opportunities for people with disabilities and somebody in the press at the end of the event asked a question about this very subject and I said “I challenge you to go out and walk with me down the streets of Green Bay, WI, and ask 100 people on the street what they really care about. I’m certain not a one of them will talk about the issues we heard about in Washington.

That’s a perfect way to deal with the Gotcha Media. Gov. Walker didn’t respond this aggressively initially but he’s catching on quick. The thing he already understands that Jeb Bush never will is that the press will back down a bit (not a lot but a little) if they’re worried about some timely sharp elbows to keep them on the straight-and-narrow.

Think of it like a Bob Gibson fastball past your head or into your ribs if you showboated after hitting a home run off of him.

The thing that Gov. Walker now understands is that the Gotcha Media that cover the campaigns need him more than he needs any one of them. It isn’t that he needs to constantly pick fights with the reporters covering his campaign. It’s that he needs to remind them that he’ll give preferential treatment to people who don’t ask gotcha questions. If reporters ask tough, policy-oriented questions, he should answer respectfully.

It won’t take long for the reporters to figure out, and adapt to, the ground rules.

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God bless John McCormack for highlighting the lie in Gail Collins’ column. Check this out from Collins’ column:

Mainly, though, The Speech was about waging war on public employee unions, particularly the ones for teachers. “In 2010, there was a young woman named Megan Sampson who was honored as the outstanding teacher of the year in my state. And not long after she got that distinction, she was laid off by her school district,” said Walker, lacing into teacher contracts that require layoffs be done by seniority.

All of that came as a distinct surprise to Claudia Felske, a member of the faculty at East Troy High School who actually was named a Wisconsin Teacher of the Year in 2010. In a phone interview, Felske said she still remembers when she got the news at a “surprise pep assembly at my school.” As well as the fact that those layoffs happened because Walker cut state aid to education.

The title of Collins’ article is “Scott Walker Needs an Eraser”. I’d argue that it’s Ms. Collins that needs either an eraser or an editor. Ms. Sampson didn’t lose her job in 2010 because Gov. Walker “cut state aid to education.”

The reason McCormack highlighted that part of the paragraph is because Scott Walker didn’t take the oath of office as Wisconsin’s 45th governor until January, 2011, which means that Ms. Sampson lost her job because of Democrat Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget cuts to education.

McCormack’s article actually highlights this:

Emily Koczela had been anxiously waiting for months for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget repair bill to take effect. Koczela, the finance director for the Brown Deer school district, had been negotiating with the local union, trying to get it to accept concessions in order to make up for a $1 million budget shortfall. But the union wouldn’t budge.

“We laid off 27 [teachers] as a precautionary measure,” Koczela told me. “They were crying. Some of these people are my friends.”

On June 29 at 12:01 a.m., Koczela could finally breathe a sigh of relief. The budget repair bill?—?delayed for months by protests, runaway state senators, and a legal challenge that made its way to the state’s supreme court?—?was law. The 27 teachers on the chopping block were spared.

With “collective bargaining rights” limited to wages, Koczela was able to change the teachers’ benefits package to fill the budget gap. Requiring teachers to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary toward pensions saved $600,000. Changes to their health care plan?—?such as a $10 office visit co-pay (up from nothing)?—?saved $200,000. Upping the workload from five classes, a study hall, and two prep periods to six classes and two prep periods saved another $200,000. The budget was balanced.

Here’s the difference between Jim Doyle, who supposedly supports teachers, and Scott Walker, who supposedly hates union workers: Scott Walker’s reforms saved jobs, Jim Doyle’s status quo policies would’ve led to teacher layoffs or major property tax increases.

Gail Collins’ editors either don’t give a shit about the truth or Gail Collins doesn’t give a shit about the truth. Either that or liberal ‘journalists’ are only interested in pushing the progressives’ agenda. Either that or it’s all of the above.

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There’s only one conclusion that can be drawn after reading this article. Milwaukee will soon experience a substantial outmigration in population because the tyrants running the Milwaukee Public Schools are a) running failing schools and b) doing everything possible to prevent the opening or expansion of charter schools. First, here’s some foundational information:

In 2013, St. Marcus, a highly regarded school that accepts voucher students through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, needed to add a second campus.

Its classrooms, from the K3 program serving 3 year olds through those for its oldest students in eighth grade, were full. The school had a waiting list of more than 300 students whose parents were eager for them to attend. There were plenty of vacant MPS school buildings available. There still are, as a new report from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty documents.

The Democrats’ attempts to stifle school choice are breathtaking:

Tyson set his sights on the building that previously housed the Malcolm X Academy. The 170,000-square-foot property would provide St. Marcus with plenty of room to grow. Tyson contacted then MPS Superintendent Greg Thornton about the building. “He expressed an interest in selling and told me to write to the school board,” Tyson said. “I did.”

Then he waited.

After three months of waiting, Tyson finally received a response. “I got a single line response that said they weren’t willing to sell us the building,” Tyson said.

Get yourself a cup of hot chocolate or a cup of coffee because we’re just getting started with the Democrats’ chicanery:

“Milwaukee officials have chosen to block the expansion of choice and charter schools into unused and underutilized buildings. This hostility comes in many forms: local administrative policies that ban sales of facilities to certain non-MPS schools, the failure of MPS to keep a public list of what buildings are empty and underutilized, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s insistence of charging a ‘school choice tax’ as a condition on selling or leasing empty buildings, and the creation of last-minute ‘deals’ done solely to thwart the sale of facilities to schools in the choice program in high demand by Milwaukee families,” the report asserts.

First, Tom Barrett was the Democrats’ candidate against Scott Walker in the recall election in 2012. There’s more to the Democrats’ chicanery:

School board president Michael Barnes unveiled an ambitious and convoluted plan for the building. Malcolm X would be sold to a real estate developer who would convert part of it into apartments and the rest into a community resource center. MPS would then lease and eventually buy the community resource center.

The WILL report describes this deal as “a sham transaction done solely to prevent St. Marcus from obtaining the building.” This was an opinion held by many at the time, particularly after it was revealed the developer had not secured the financing needed for the project.

Calling this a “sham transaction” is an insult to scam artists. Still, we aren’t done with the Democrats’ corruption:

Tyson continued his talks with city officials. A price of $880,000 for the building was agreed to and St. Marcus was also set to pay a PILOT — payment in lieu of taxes — for the property, since as a private school it would be exempt from property taxes. “We agreed to that because we understand that any property in the city, even one owned by a nonprofit, uses city services,” Tyson explained.

The PILOT was expected to be $204,151.

The next obstacle appeared at what Tyson thought was going to be the final meeting with the city officials to set the terms of the sale. “This second obstacle was hilariously tragic,” Tyson recalled with a rueful laugh. “The mayor’s assistant gave me a piece of paper with a second PILOT on it. They wanted us to pay an additional $1.3 million to cover what they said the city would lose by students using vouchers to go to our school,” he said.

That the unions and other Democrats are doing everything possible to undermine charter schools isn’t surprising. Likewise, it won’t be surprising when people start voting with their mortgages and start leaving Milwaukee. In fact, it’s inevitable.

Frankly, I’d love to hear that the Republican majority do something to entice Milwaukee charter school parents to leave Milwaukee for cities with lots of charter schools.

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