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All of America’s Problems Are Reflected by the Chicago Public Schools. **UPDATE**

September 10, 2012 1 comment

Satan? No. Just head of Chicago Public Schools.

Chris Christie missed the point.  During his RNC speech, he said, and I’m paraphrasing here, Republicans are for teachers, while Democracts are for teachers’ unions.  I’m not sure that’s the issue.  Instead, it’s whether public school teachers care more about the kids than their union, and whether our opinion matters.  Now, they’ll tell you the answer is obviously the kids.  They’ll tell you that they simply need the proper support to be able to adequtely teach our children.  And as they’re telling you this, your right eye will be gouged by their growing noses.

The Chicago Public School Teachers went on strike today, leaving 400,000 students to do whatever it is students do when they have nothing to do.  Sounds like a great idea.  Why did the teachers go on strike?  I’m not entirely sure, but I think it has something to do with a longer school day or larger class sizes, or something.  Their little “On Strike” signs say they’re looking for a fair contract though.  Hmmm…fair.  Dems LUV that word.  What is fair?  Well, CPS teachers already earn an average of $76,000/year, not counting benefits.  What is the city offering in the new deal that is so “unfair?”  A friggin’ 16% increase in pay!  CPS teachers can say whatever they want, but they can’t legitimately claim this is about “fairness” or students.

We here at Why Not Nashville? don’t hate many things, but we do hate public schools.  We hate that they get so much government money, while failing to succeed in educating kids.  We hate that we have no school choice, unless we want to pay extra for a private school.  We hate the ridiculous amount of money public school teachers make (plus benefits), considering they don’t work roughly four months of the year.  We hate that that they’ve taken God and values out of education, and then whine that the kids simply don’t listen.  Public schools are a gigantic drain on our society and yet they continue.

Not to get off-track here, but you know what amazes me?  The fact that private unions support public employee unions like teachers’ unions.  The private unions were against Scott Walker just as much as the public unions.  Why?  Contrary to what you might think, we like private employee unions, and support a worker’s right to join a union.  That’s called freedom.  Private employee unions have a presumed interest in not bleeding their employers dry, because then their employers go bye-bye.  Employers have an interest in hiring employees from private unions, especially in the construction sector, because the employees are trained.  We also support a private company’s right to hire whomever it wants to though, at whatever salary, because that’s,  you guessed it, freedom.

Public employee unions are not private employee unions.  In reality, the two have virtually nothing in common except the word “union.”  In fact, if I were a member of a private union, I’d run away from supporting a public union.  Public employees are paid by the taxpayer, although the taxpayer never has a seat at the negotiation table.  Also, public employees are supposed to be performing “essential services,” which we can’t go without, right?  If that’s true, why can they simply stop working?  Should the entire police force get to take some time off to strike?  The very thought of it is absurd.  But yet it happens.  Public employee unions also pay the politicians they’re negotiating with in the form of campaign contributions.  How hard to do you think a politician is going to negotiate with the union that just financed his election?

Don’t believe me about that last part?  You think the politician has the best interests of the people in mind?  Just look at the CPS negotiations.  Illinois is in massive debt.  The City of Chicago is in massive debt; the City negotiators admit it.  So what do they do to satiate the greed, er, demand for fairness on the part of the teachers?  Offer a 16% raise, which will have to either be borrowed or stolen from the taxpayer.

A few months ago, the Illinois legislature was trying to figure out how to deal with Illinois’s debt, which has been caused, almost in its entirety, by unfunded public employee pensions.  The Dems’ suggestion?  Force all counties, other than Cook, to raise property taxes.  That’s their answer.  Not, hey, let’s reform the system…or simply face the reality that we can’t pay for everything.  Nope.  It’s “Let’s take more from the people.”  It’s insane.  And you know what?  A majority of this state agrees with the friggin’ teachers!  Is everyone retarded (and I mean that literally)?

Fyi…Charter schools and private schools are open for business though.  ‘Nuf said.

**UPDATE**

Well, now I’m truly astonished.  It seems that the teachers are striking primarily because they don’t want their job performance evaluated, in part, by the results of standardized testing.

Chicago public school teachers went on strike on Monday and one of the major issues behind the strike is a new system Chicago plans to  use for evaluating public school teachers in which student improvement  on standardized tests will count for 40 percent of a teacher’s  evaluation. Until now, the evaluations of Chicago public school  teachers have been based on what a Chicago Sun Times editorial called a  “’meaningless checklist.’”

So, in other words, the teachers don’t want an objective way to be evaluated; they’d rather have the wink and nod method.  This just keeps getting better – or worse – depending on how you look at it.  Of course, if the Chicago Public Schools were actually graduating people that could, you know, read, then maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

With these NAEP test results, only 19 percent of Chicago public school 8th graders rated proficient in reading while another 2 percent rated  advanced—for a total of 21 percent who rated proficient or better.

Let’s face it.  The public school system, especially in the inner city, is so broke, it simply isn’t salvageable.  Here we have teachers striking, while their students are wandering the already crime-riddled streets of Chicago, after they turned down a 16% raise that isn’t “fair”…all because they don’t want to be evaluated.  And yes, I hear you my in-the-closet-liberal friends…”but it isn’t fair to the teachers to be evaluated like this…the kids have such poor home lives…etc.”  Look, these teachers voluntarily sent their resumes to inner city schools.  So no, I don’t care that they have a harder job than a teacher at a public school in the leafy suburbs north of Chicago.

Here’s what should happen.  All of the teachers who are currently on strike should lose their jobs, and then have to apply for them along with all the other teachers that the libs tell me are unemployed because of Scott Walker.  But they won’t.  Because everyone involved in this fiasco is being paid with tax dollars, so they don’t actually have to get anything constructive done.

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Penn State Sanctions: Are They Too Much?

July 23, 2012 2 comments

The Paterno Statue, apparently in its new “See no evil” pose.

I love college football.  More specifically, I love University of Michigan college football.  I know the starting line-ups.  I know the second string.  I know the incoming freshman and I follow recruiting religiously.  My wife knows not to plan anything on game days, and friends know if they want to see me at an event, don’t schedule it on a Saturday in the Fall.  Simply put, college football consumes my every waking minute from September through January 1 (I refuse to watch after that), and by the end of the season, I am emotionally spent.

I didn’t attend the University of Michigan, and to be honest, I never even considered it.  A large public university wasn’t something I had any interest in.  I was born and raised in the State of Michigan, however, and there wasn’t anyone who didn’t have loyalties to either Michigan, Michigan State, or Notre Dame (plus a smattering of the directional schools).  It’s just something you grew up with.  It’s my love for Michigan football, and a lack thereof for the University itself that, I believe, gives me a somewhat unique perspective of the Penn State disaster.

As you all know, former Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky molested a lot of boys for a significant period of time, both as Penn State’s Defensive Coordinator and after.  What you also know is that the people in charge of Penn State’s football program, and athletic department, and the University itself, all knew.  And they did nothing.  And by “nothing,” I mean they actively tried to hide it.  The reason: to protect the football program.

Sandusky has been convicted, and will likely never see the free light of day again.  Several higher-ups at Penn State are no longer employed by the University, and legendary head coach, Joe Paterno, is dead.  All of these gentleman got off easy.  The evidence of what took place, and who knew about it, is astonishingly horrible.

This morning, the NCAA handed down sanctions against Penn State for the Sandusky situation.  $60 million fine, no bowl games for 4 years, a loss of up to 60 scholarships, and Paterno’s wins from 1998-2011 were vacated.

Some are claiming the sanctions are too much.  No one seems to be arguing they’re not enough.  It’ll be difficult for anyone to explain to me how the sanctions are too much.  The facts of what happened almost rise to the level of institutionally sanctioned child rape.  Everyone who was in a position to do something knew about it, and instead of doing something useful, they went out of their way to cover it up.  And make no mistake, there wasn’t one person in that athletic department who didn’t know.  In fact, I’d bet $25 and my lunch that coaches from other schools knew.  Sandusky wasn’t just any defensive coordinator; he was one of, if not the, best defensive coordinators in the game at the time.

And all of it was done to protect the football program.  I’m not sure when sports became such a huge to-do in this country.  And as you can see above, I’m as guilty as anyone else.  Sports shouldn’t matter as much as they do.  And they especially shouldn’t matter as much as they do at our universities.  Many scholarship athletes, especially those that play the big sports, wouldn’t be able to get into their respective schools if they didn’t happen to be big or fast.  And do any of them learn anything when they’re there?  Some probably do, but most probably don’t.

The NCAA is the biggest culprit of all, having sold its academic and moral soul for big money a long time ago.  The most glaring example of this is its perpetual failure to adequately punish big-money institutions who are known by everyone to repeatedly cheat.  The NCAA’s failure to act in the past tells you just how big of a deal the Penn State situation is (in case you are stupid and didn’t already know).

Universities are increasingly becoming professional sports, as opposed to centers of “higher learning,” and a football program’s association with the school begins and ends with the name on the uniform.  Are the sanctions handed down by the NCAA too harsh?  Are you kidding?  They’re not enough.  Penn State’s efforts to cover up the molestation were both coordinated and thoughtful.  And to this day, the Board of Trustees and portions of the student body still don’t seem to think what occurred was that big of deal; certainly not big enough to impact the sacred football program and former head coach Paterno; still an almost Jesus-like figure to many Nittany Lions fans.  Hell, it took an overt threat to compel the school to take down the 900 lb. bronze statue of the man.

The school should have done more.  In fact, all schools should do more in terms of shifting their focus from the money, and related corruption, of major college sports to the reason they opened their doors in the first place.  People would still pay to watch football, even without the five different special edition Nike jerseys, which are all ugly anyway.

Public School To Investigate Intent Behind Groin-Kick

December 5, 2011 2 comments

Stop sexually harassing that pole!

Well, it’s come to this.  Society’s obsession with political-correctness (or is it just the public schools’ obsession with sex…hmmmm…) has turned the Bureaucracy of the Bored and Useless, i.e., public school administrators, on a seven year old kid for defending himself.

A 7-year-old boy is being investigated by his South Boston elementary school for possible sexual harassment after kicking another boy in the crotch.

[…]

Lynch’s son, Mark Curran, said the boy that he kicked had been bullying him on the school bus ride home from Tynan Elementary last week.

Sexual harassment?  For a kick to the  family jewels?  By a seven year old?  Did the kid perform some sort of ninja-cupping action with his foot in the process?  The school’s explanation:

‘Your son kicked a little boy in the testicles. We call that sexual harassment,’ Lynch said the school told her.

I call it an unnatural obsession with testicles.

This is dumb.  What happens if the B.B.S. finds that the seven year old actually acted with the intent of sexually harassing the bully?  What if he was just being insensitive to the bully’s feelings?  Is he then branded a sexual harasser?  And what then?  Does it go in the dreaded permanent file?  Is there a special board in the school where the testicle-kickers are listed for purposes of scorn and mocking?  Are there multiple boards?  What about the “titty-twister” board?  Or the “insensitive rhymes” board?  I used to love the old “Chinese, Japanese, Dirty Knees, Look at These” chant.  I don’t think I sexually harassed anyone.  Of course, I was ten, so I’m not sure I knew what either sexual or harassment were, let alone what constituted sexual harassment.  If I had known though, I wouldn’t have wasted my opportunity on the school bully, if you know what I mean (that was a veiled reference at holding hands.  So calm down mom).

In any event, another wonderful example of your tax dollars at work.

33,000 inmates ordered released in California. I blame public education.

May 23, 2011 1 comment

$578 million. I wonder how many criminals it can fit?

With today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision, I have yet another reason to be thankful for leaving California.  In a 5-4 decision, the Court ordered the release of 33,000 inmates in California, due to continued violations of “inmates’ rights to adequate care for their mental and physical health.”  In other words, the prisons are overcrowded.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to analyze the decision, or give my opinion on whether the Court made the correct ruling.  I’m not going to go into the ideological breakdown of the judges, or the nitty-gritty details of the law at issue.  Finally, I’m not going to respond to the pot-heads who will inevitably argue that there wouldn’t be overcrowding if drugs were legalized.  Instead, I’m going to address this:

California Gov. Jerry Brown said he ‘will take all necessary steps to protect public safety.’

(…Except build a new prison so we aren’t forced to release 33,000 felons).  It goes without saying that “public safety” is certainly a purpose of any government.  In fact, I would imagine everyone would agree that it’s a primary purpose of government.  Unfortunately, this purpose has been diluted in many states because public safety has to increasingly compete with unnecessary human interest projects that are forced down our collective throats by do-gooders and/or liberals.  In other words, California can’t pay to house its criminals because it spends too much friggin’ money on crap.

Gigantic example of the crap: public education.  California is $15.4 billion in debt, and an astonishing one out of every four dollars spent goes to the education system.  Who can forget the $578 million Robert F. Kennedy Community School in Los Angeles?  The Los Angeles Unified School District spends $11,357.00 per pupil!  Keep this cost in your head as you read this statement made by Doug Nielson, a government and economics teacher at Coalinga High School:

‘If we stick to our ideologies, our children are going to suffer. When somebody says well, extending these taxes is a tax increase, you’ve got a mindset there that says the dollars are more important than the kids. And they can’t be. We can’t afford to do that. You can’t have first-class teaching on a Third World budget.’

This is the complete lunacy that we face with the public education system.  “Third World budget?”  The United States spends more per pupil than any other nation in the world.  And for what?  Is there any question that private schools can do a better job, at less cost? While saving money for the government to keep felons off the streets?

It’s in this way that liberals have won.  People no longer seriously question why the government is spending $11,000.00 per student.  Heck, most of the people complaining about the 33,000 inmates being released won’t even remember that $578 million of tax-payer money was used to build a school.

At some point, every community needs to answer a basic question: What is the role of government?  Do you want more cops on the the street and criminals in prison…or do you want your government to spend $11,000.00 per pupil at the public schools?  The government can’t afford to do everything, and if you don’t decide on what our taxes are paying for, somebody else will.  Today in California, the Supreme Court made the decision.

Public Schools Are a Waste of Money.

March 2, 2011 4 comments
Seal of the United States Department of Education

This is not a money tree

On January 13, 2011, an article was published in a local Orland Park, Illinois newspaper, with the following title:

District 135 considering civil suit against district jumping parent.

Read it if you want, but you can probably guess what the article’s about from the title.  Yep, a father wanted his kid to go to school in a district other than the one he lived in.  The father lived in Blue Island, Illinois, and wanted his daughter to go to school in Orland Park.  Both communities are suburbs of Chicago.  The father falsified an affidavit as to his residence, which was eventually discovered, and he was sentenced to six months probation for lying.  That the guy was stuck sending his kid to a school in Blue Island, whether he wanted to or not, isn’t the point of this post…although it certainly could be. 

The newspaper article mentioned that the district was considering suing the man for tuition.  I heard on the radio today that it did so.  Of course, the public school in District 135 doesn’t charge “tuition,” per se.  Like every other school district, it extracts the money at gunpoint in the form of local property taxes.  Because of this, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out exactly how much each kid costs.  Well, the article has it: $10,000.00.  For one kid.  In junior high.  It’s difficult for me to express just how astonishingly high this “tuition” is; but let’s try.

A nearby private Christian school, Liberty Christian Academy, located in more affluent Arlington Heights, Illinois, charges $4,450.00 for a junior high student.  And additional kids from the same family get a discount.  More expensive private schools can approach $6-7,000/student for junior high.  According to Liberty’s website, 90% of the graduating high school seniors go onto college.

There must be a reason for the difference in costs, right?  What is the junior high student in District 135 getting for $10,000.00?  Well, according to the 2009 National National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, not much (I can’t link the actual report…it’s a pdf).  A little over two-thirds of the eighth grade students are considered either below or at the “basic” level of math and reading.  Am I saying that District 135 provides a crappy education, or graduates minimally proficient junior high students?  Not necessarily.  There are lots of different tests used to evaluate the public schools, and it looks like District 135 is doing fine on some of them.  Does scoring well on any of the tests matter?  Who knows.

What I do know is this: the public education system in this country is a complete boondoggle that is totally unnecessary.  It costs an absurd amount of money, and at the very least, doesn’t do any better than private schools in educating the youth.  This is why the Department of Education should be defunded and a voucher system put into place on the local level so that parents can send their kids where they want.  Honestly, can anyone explain to me the point of the public education system?  $10,000 a student?  In-state tuition at a lot of state universities doesn’t cost that much.  And since the families aren’t paying $10,000 in property taxes, the rest comes from the government. 

Some guy called into the liberal talk-radio show that I was listening to today, complaining about how the right was trying to kill public education and force everyone into a private school.  He, obviously, was against this alleged plan.  Why?  Well, according to him, it’s because private school students were having to read Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche instead of Steinbeck.  Well, as a life-time private school matriculator (k-law school), I can say that I’ve had to read Steinbeck, didn’t read Nietzsche until my political philosophy class in college, and read Rand only during free time.  Of course, the caller also claimed that private schools only teach Creationism, as opposed to evolution.  This is also not true…we just don’t buy into the “we all came from monkeys” theory.  Of course, in a private school, if a parent has issues with the curriculum, they can actually get a hold of somebody on the school board.  Good luck with that at a public school.

The public education system is an entitlement program that offers virtually no value, especially for the cost.  Americans demand choice in everything else…why not with their education?  I ask myself almost every day why the people of the United States have so little interest in disbanding this stupid system that literally forces families to send their kids to schools that are terrible.  And then sues them if they try and send them somewhere else.  I just don’t get it. 

Thoughts?  Anyone?

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