Archive for the 'Versailles Villagers' Category



Webb, Warner, Mikulski, Cardin EPIC FAIL

Matt Stoller

Obama has put forward a proposed pay freeze on non-security state Federal government workers, and Senate Democrats want to extent that for at least five years. That’s their starting position negotiating against the GOP. You can’t have a good regulatory state when you don’t pay regulators good wages. Instead, what you have when government is expansive and poorly run is big government corruption.

Why elect Democrats if they can’t or won’t protect federal workers? Or any workers?

Michelle Rhee’s declining expectations

Fast Company January 12, 2011: Michelle Rhee Wants to Spend $1 Billion Fixing Education

Politico January 27, 2011:

Now Rhee is in the process of shifting from political naif to full-fledged power broker. She has created an emphatically political new organization, StudentsFirst, and she told POLITICO she hopes to raise and spend an astonishing $200 million annually — a large sum, even in the deep-pocketed world of education philanthropists

Maybe making yourself politically radioactive wasn’t such a bright idea. And maybe the billionaire union busting movement wants a new face for their work.

Obama’s speech

Avedon Carol

The revolution has not been in technology. The revolution has been that the immorally rich have finally rebelled against the very possibility of democracy and equality and are making sure to nail down any hole in their walls against the rabble, eliminate any possibility of clever “little people” being able to better themselves with hard work or clever ideas. It has become increasingly difficult for any small business to emerge or survive, for poor kids to work their way up to a decent living. And it’s not an accident.

A government’s policies determine who lives and who dies, who earns and who starves. Government makes the money and decides where to spend it. It can give to rich people and buy nothing in return, or it can give it to the rest of us and give us roads and jobs and a stable base of government-employed public servants whose steady income results in steady spending in the real economy and thus creates the private sector jobs. A government can set policies that protect its workers, or one that forces them to compete with the worst, most corrupt slave economies.

Obama has chosen to give our money to the Malefactors of Great Wealth and make up excuses about technology and international competition to convince us that we should survive on subsistence wages in order to “compete” with China and India. Compete for what? Why, compete to make our rich people richer than their rich people. Whoever’s behalf we are working for, it won’t be for us.

The news media’s war on teachers

FAIR: First, Bash the Teachers
Media find a scapegoat for educational failure
No evidence required

What goes mostly if not entirely unexplained amid these anti-teacher assaults is any coherent explanation of what it is that teachers unions have done or failed to do to promote excellence in schools. A survey by Robert M. Carini of Indiana University (School Reform Proposals: The Research Evidence, 2002) of the available research comparing achievement in unionized versus non-unionized schools found that “teacher unionism favorably influences achievement for most students.” Such findings are not the final word, of course. But given corporate media’s relentless message that unions are the enemy of “reform,” it is worth noting that this is based largely on the media’s elevation to scientific truths of a set of mostly unproven strategies for improving schools—from charters to “merit pay”—and their suggestion that the implementation of said truths is made impossible by teachers unions.

Take “merit pay,” which would mostly use test score data to identify effective teachers and pay them more for their success—a “no-brainer,” according to Newsweek (3/15/10). As Diane Ravitch recounts in her recent book The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, much research suggests that teachers judged excellent or effective one year often fall out of the category the next, and vice versa. Either the teachers themselves are practicing wildly different methods from year to year, or the attempts to link test scores to teacher performance are not actually a “no-brainer” at all, no matter what the media might think.

And as journalist Barbara Miner pointed out in Rethinking Schools (Fall/09), the idea that unions are opposed to differential pay as a matter of principle is simply wrong: “Although the media promotes the view that teacher unions are inflexibly opposed to modifying the traditional pay structure, both the AFT and NEA [unions] have been involved in local initiatives that differentiate teacher pay.” Miner noted that surveys of teachers find some openness to different pay structures, but that merit-pay schemes in some places saw most of the benefits flowing to teachers in upper-income schools.

The superiority of charter schools, touted by many of the media’s most prominent education “reformers” as an obvious and necessary element of their schools agenda, is likewise more based in faith than in empirical research. One of the most exhaustive studies of charter performance, from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, found 37 percent of charter schools “deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their students would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.” About half produced similar outcomes to public schools, with just 17 percent outperforming public schools (Extra!, 8/09).

Charters should be controversial for other reasons as well. A report from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project (2/4/10) found that they are more racially segregated than traditional public schools. Another long-standing criticism of charters is that they tend to educate lower numbers of English language learners. The UCLA study noted that gaps in data collection make it difficult to offer any definitive national assessments—which is a problem in itself. The data available for California, though, showed the number of English learners attending charter schools was minuscule.

Phillip Anschutz

Finally there’s Phillip Anschutz, the owner of the Examiner, which is nothing but filthy little right-wing tabloid, disguised as a newspaper.  But Anshutz also bankrolled the hot propaganda film, Waiting for Superman. Just in case you thought this film was made only by a group of well-intentioned, but misguided liberals.

Anschutz is a far right-wing, evangelical billionaire who inherited his fortune from his father’s oil business and who has become a media mogul, publisher of the Weekly Standard, the S.F. Examiner,  and owner of  L.A.’s Staples Center. He was also the force behind California’s anti-gay initiative

The US today

comment at Unqualified Offerings:

The country I grew up in, the one that went to the moon, passed the Civil Rights Bills, and created the Great Society looks to be on life support to me.

Answering KevinK’s question

KevinK

I know this question will make heads explode on both the right and the left, but can you ever remember a time in your life when the Congress worked harder than they have since the beginning of 2009 (when they weren’t, you know, intently examining the Clenis)? Pretty good for the underrated Pelosi/Reid combo and the inexperienced, lazy-ass Kenyan.

Yes, the 88th Congress

Between Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, she is the best of a bad lot; but that is not saying much. However, should she be replaced by Steny Hoyer (D-MBNA) it would mean the end of the Democratic party, women really would walk out if the first female speaker was replaced for a crony capitalist.

However, should the Republicans retake Congress, Obama, Reid, and Pelosi would have no one but themselves to blame.


Categories


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.