Thursday, April 1, 2010

While Millions are out of Work, State Employees Get Raises

While millions are out of work, State employees get raises. Taxpayers are losing their jobs these raises will only cause them to lose their jobs in the future. Once the taxpayers run out of money they will not be able to afford to pay the state workers.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

The following piece appeared on

New York State Workers to Receive $478 Million in Raises

Gannett Albany Bureau

ALBANY-Despite its fiscal woes, the state is scheduled to pay $478 million in raises to state employees in mid-April, records show.

Union workers are set to receive a 4 percent raise that totals more than half of the $478 million cost to taxpayers in the 2010-11 fiscal year, which starts April 1. The raise is part of the fourth and final year of contracts approved in 2007.

The rest comes through so-called step or performance increases that employees can receive for longevity in a position or advancement, records from the state Comptroller's Office show.

Federal aid covers almost half of the salary increases, state officials said, but the state's cost will total about $250 million, up 39 percent from the roughly $180 million the state paid in raises in the current fiscal year.

The raises for public employees and teachers, which some groups and legislators estimate will total $1 billion this year, have prompted some lawmakers to call for a wage freeze as the state grapples with a $9.2 billion budget deficit.

"I think New York state is in a state of emergency. This is the worst period of economic downturn since the Depression," said Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, D-Ossining, Westchester County. "So I think it would be something we should absolutely consider that there be a freeze on all salaries for all public employees."

Galef was one of four Democratic Assembly members who wrote a letter Wednesday to the teachers' union asking for the wage freeze, saying it would save money and jobs. School groups said schools face about 14,000 layoffs if $1.4 billion in education cuts are adopted in the coming fiscal year.

Some unions have rejected calls for a wage freeze, saying the sides lawfully negotiated the contracts in 2007 with then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

"The point is it was all negotiated in good faith," said CSEA spokesman Stephen Madarasz said. "The whole concept of negotiating is that you enter into an agreement that both sides are able to live up to."

The 4 percent bump follows 3 percent increases the prior three years. About 150,000 employees are scheduled to receive a 4 percent raise, and 45,000 employees are slated to receive a performance advance, with some getting both.

It's unclear, state officials said, whether a late state budget, which is due April 1 but not expected to be adopted on time, will impact the raises.

Instead of a wage freeze, unions and school groups said they have offered ways the state could raise revenue and save money, such as limiting the use of private contractors.

One recommendation calls for the state to collect taxes on Wall Street stock transfers, which are now rebated back to the brokers. The groups said the state could collect more than $3 billion if the state collected 20 percent of the rebate.

"We've been giving very solid, doable ways for the state to save money," said Darcy Wells, spokeswoman for the Public Employees Federation.

Lawmakers are rejecting a proposal by Gov. David Paterson to suspend property-tax rebates for homes worth more than $1.5 million. Last year, Paterson and lawmakers increased income taxes on the wealthy.

Richard Iannuzzi, president of the New York State United Teachers union, said lawmakers continue to seek sacrifices from working families, but there are a "lot of breaks given to or continued for the wealthy."

In a response letter to the Democratic assembly members Friday, Iannuzzi said unions have made concessions and are fighting for state aid, guaranteed in a prior lawsuit against the state, for schools.

Some teachers' unions this week, in fact, agreed to freeze salaries or renegotiate contracts. In Nyack, Rockland County, the union agreed to a salary freeze, while in Eastchester, Westchester County, the union reopened its contract and agreed to lower raises.

Paterson is seeking $250 million in concessions from unions in the coming fiscal year. For the past two years, he has frozen wages for non-union employees in executive branch agencies.
But some managerial positions are getting step raises, totaling about $10 million, in the coming fiscal year, records show. Those increases had been frozen last year.

E.J. McMahon, executive director of the conservative Empire Center for New York State Policy, criticized Paterson for not doing enough to get concessions from unions amid the state's economic downturn.

He said raises create an "inequitable picture" when private-sector wages are generally stagnant and the state's unemployment is at record levels.


If it is not Good Enough for Them it is not Good Enough for Me

The following piece appeared in the Washington Times.

Liar, liar pants on fire.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

EDITORIAL: No Obamacare for ObamaDemocrats exempt themselves from socialist medicine


President Obama declared that the new health care law "is going to be affecting every American family." Except his own, of course.

The new health care law exempts the president from having to participate in it. Leadership and committee staffers in the House and Senate who wrote the bill are exempted as well. A weasel-worded definition of "staff" includes only the members' personal staff in the new system; the committee staff that drafted the legislation opted themselves out. Because they were more familiar with the contents of the law than anyone in the country, it says a lot that they carved out their own special loophole. Anyway, the law is intended to affect "ordinary Americans," according to Vice President Joe Biden (who - being a heartbeat away from the presidency - also is not covered), not Washington insiders.

Mr. Obama frequently tossed around the talking point that the new law gave people the same type of coverage as Congress enjoyed. In his March 20 health care pep talk to wavering Democrats on Capitol Hill, the president said one of the advantages of the health care legislation was that "people will have choice and competition just like members of Congress have choice and competition." At yesterday's signing ceremony, Mr. Obama said Americans will be "part of a big pool, just like federal employees are part of a big pool. They'll have the same choice of private health insurance that members of Congress get for themselves." But the American people will have a public pool; the executive branch and congressional staffers kept their country-club pool private.

Last year, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, spearheaded efforts to have all Americans included in the plan, but he ran into heavy opposition from unions representing federal workers - the same unions that were pro-Obamacare stalwarts. In September, the Senate approved a scaled-down amendment that covered members of Congress and their staff. When this provision later emerged from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office, the leadership and committee staff loophole had appeared. A move in December by Mr. Grassley and Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, to close this loophole and to extend the law to senior members of the executive branch - including the president, vice president and Cabinet members - was blocked by Senate Democratic leaders.

Mr. Grassley has introduced an amendment to the Senate health care reconciliation bill that also will apply the law to the upper tier of the executive branch and all Capitol Hill staffers, but it remains to be seen whether Democrats will let this measure move forward.

The special exemptions slipped into the health care law are another example of how those statists who rule consider themselves a privileged class, imposing burdens on the country that they will not accept themselves. Candidates for office in 2010 should pledge to close these and other loopholes in the law that impose unequal burdens and create exclusive privileged classes in America. Meanwhile, we await Mr. Obama's explanation why if his "historic" health care law is so great for America, it's not good enough for him and his family.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

America Lost It's Best Teacher in America Yesterday

RIP Jaime Escanlante. If you get a chance watch Stand And Deliver this weekend.

The following piece was taken directly from Michelle Malkin's website.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Jaime Escalante, R.I.P.
By Michelle Malkin • March 30, 2010 08:23 PM

It is with great sadness, heavy heart, and moist eyes that I pass on the news to you that Jaime Escalante died today in Reno, Nevada while undergoing cancer treatment. Escalante has been one of my heroes since my days covering education in Los Angeles at the LA Daily News in the early 1990s. He was 79.

Jaime Escalante cared about kids. Not about teachers’ unions or partisan politics or educrat ass-covering or racial grievance-mongering. The Bolivian-born physics and math teacher demanded excellence and hard work, raised standards and expectations, and defied critics and naysayers by teaching algebra and calculus to East L.A. high school students whom the government school system had abandoned and written off. Escalante’s amazing results were made famous by education reporter Jay Matthews’ book, Escalante: The Best Teacher in America, and the biopic, Stand and Deliver, starring Edward James Olmos. He and his students were baselessly accused of cheating. Jealous colleagues undermined him at every step. Success always breeds such ill will. Success without apology breeds even deeper-seated destructive tendencies.

Just as minority students who excel in the inner cities are subjected to “Crab in the Bucket” syndrome, Escalante’s opponents did their best to bring him down and he endured retribution for his achievements, as Reason Magazine reported several years ago:

Death of a Dynasty
Escalante’s open admission policy, a major reason for his success, also paved the way for his departure. Calculus grew so popular at Garfield that classes grew beyond the 35-student limit set by the union contract. Some had more than 50 students. Escalante would have preferred to keep the classes below the limit had he been able to do so without either denying calculus to willing students or using teachers who were not up to his high standards. Neither was possible, and the teachers union complained about Garfield’s class sizes. Rather than compromise, Escalante moved on.

Other problems had been brewing as well. After Stand and Deliver was released, Escalante became an overnight celebrity. Teachers and other interested observers asked to sit in on his classes, and he received visits from political leaders and celebrities, including President George H.W. Bush and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This attention aroused feelings of jealousy. In his last few years at Garfield, Escalante even received threats and hate mail. In 1990 he lost the math department chairmanship, the position that had enabled him to direct the pipeline.

A number of people at Garfield still have unkind words for the school’s most famous instructor. One administrator tells me Escalante wanted too much power. Some teachers complained that he was creating two math departments, one for his students and another for everyone else. When Escalante quit his job at Garfield, John Perez, a vice president of the teachers union, said, “Jaime didn’t get along with some of the teachers at his school. He pretty much was a loner.”

After being pushed out and moving on to another program, Escalante finally retired to Bolivia, but returned to the U.S. often to visit his children. In a recent interview with the L.A. Times from his sickbed, he summed up his philosophy:

“Determination. Plus discipline. Plus hard work. That is the path.”

Escalante’s death comes at a time when California education faddists are once again threatening a new front in the old Math Wars and clamoring to lower already degraded academic standards (see my work on the crap known as Everyday Math). We need more of the real deal Jaime Escalantes now more than ever. Instead, far too many teachers have abandoned their roles as imparters of knowledge for the lazy hackery of social justice activists.

In an age of dumbed-down schools and victimhood indoctrination, the fierce, demanding, no-excuses doctrine of Jaime Escalante will be sorely missed and never forgotten. R.I.P.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bullying Ignored! Why?

Bullying Ignored! Why? I believe bullying is ignored because they teachers don't see it as bullying. The teachers's unions exist because of bullying they bully and threaten legislators to get their agendas passed, the bully taxpayers with the "It's for the kids" line and they bully their own members if they go against the majority.

The following piece appeared on Lew View their website to see the associated links.

Quote of the Day - "“When school children start paying union dues, that 's when I'll start representing the interests of school children.” Albert Shanker - Former Teacher

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

‘Socialization’ in Government Schools
Posted by Bill Anderson on March 30, 2010 04:02 PM
One of the criticisms we homeschooling families receive is that our keeping children at home does not give them the opportunity to “develop socializing skills.” Well, we can see just how wonderful government schools do at “socializing” young people, as this terrible case in Massachusetts recently has revealed. No doubt, our children are “deprived” because they don’t have the opportunity to engage in the kind of behavior that led to this tragedy.

Don’t kid yourselves. Modern teen culture in the USA is toxic, and government schools only make things more poisonous with their political correctness and “zero tolerance” nonsense.

Wow on NPR

The following piece appeared on the Michigan Capitol Confidential, I am so surprised to hear this was on NPR.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Debating Failing Schools
By MICHAEL VAN BEEK | March 30, 2010
Are teachers unions to blame for failing schools?
This was the question debated last week on NPR's Intelligence Squared. At the beginning of the debate, less than half the audience believed teachers unions should be faulted for poor-performing schools, but by the close of the program, an astonishing 68 percent believed school employee unions contributed to the problem.

In Michigan, with the drama surrounding the federal Race to the Top competitive grant program, the role of teachers unions has been scrutinized. The Michigan Education Association refused to sign on to the reforms passed by the Legislature early this year, and many believe this was one of the reasons why the state wasn't selected to be one of the finalists for the first round of grant money.

The Intelligence Squared debate featured six panelists, three critical and three supportive of unions. The debate became heated at times, especially when the audience began asking questions. One pro-union participant, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, insinuated that the audience was packed by groups presupposed to be anti-union.

To view the rest of the story go to the Michigan Capitol

Monday, March 29, 2010

Education Graduates will face Tough Jobs Market

Education majors will face tough jobs market. All across America Teachers are being laid off. Two things come to mind stop encouraging children to get abortions and teaching about birth control more children will be born and enrollments will start to grow. If Unions were not so greedy they would not be facing a budget crisis.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers

The following piece appeared on

U.S. schools in ‘category 5’ budget crisis
Thousands of teachers face layoffs as recession meets falling enrollments

By Alex Johnson
updated 8:48 a.m. ET, Thurs., March. 18, 2010
At the center of the country’s school funding crisis are little boys and girls like Kyle Wolfe, a 3-year-old pupil in Rising Stars, a pre-kindergarten program for at-risk children in communities near Rockford, Ill.

“I can’t even begin to describe the way Kyle has grown since starting this program,” said his mother, Carolyn.

Last week, the Harlem School District Board of Education, which serves the communities of Loves Park, Machesney Park and southern Roscoe, voted to eliminate Rising Stars because the state of Illinois hasn’t made good on the grants that support it. The vote means the nearly 400 youngsters the program serves “will be entering kindergarten delayed academically and socially,” said Lynn Wade, a pre-K teacher at the Donald C. Parker Early Education Center in Machesney Park.

No one disputes that Rising Stars is “an excellent program,” said Julie M. Morris, the school district’s superintendent. The decision to kill it “has nothing to do with how the program is run or what it provides to our students.” It’s just money.

Thousands of administrators and school board members across the country are making similar agonizing choices. While the recession has put a squeeze on all types of government programs, none has felt its impact more than education — the largest item in most states’ budgets.

Now, many states have nearly exhausted their windfalls from the federal economic stimulus plan, and with falling housing values shrinking property tax revenue — the largest source of public school funding — the question for state and local officials planning budgets for the next school year is: Will it be bad — or horribly bad?

For schools, historic decisions
The retrenchment is coming as the Obama administration seeks to overhaul education law in a way that makes schools compete for federal grants. But critics say the focus should be on expanding funding for all schools, not imposing even higher standards while redistributing less money.

“Resources must be adequate and equalized across schools,” Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, said last week in congressional testimony on the plan.

Citing research by the NEA, the nation’s largest teachers union, he said that “almost no states are currently funding their educational systems adequately, and most states are around 25 percent short of funding their systems at a level adequate.”

Cuts that have been announced this year are staggering:

The Kansas City, Mo., School District is closing nearly half its 61 schools, with almost 300 teachers among those losing their jobs once 29 campuses go dark.
The Montgomery, Ala., Public School Board voted last week to lay off more than 600 employees, including 415 teachers, in what it said was just the first phase of staff reductions.
In the northwest suburbs of Chicago, the Illinois 46th District school board this week approved a proposal to lay off more than 1,000 employees — about 25 percent of the district’s staff — to help make up a projected deficit of $44 million. More than 700 teachers would lose their jobs, including all first-, second- and third-year instructors.
Statewide, Illinois schools face budget cuts as high as 17 percent to make up a $1.3 billion education deficit, Gov. Pat Quinn warned last week.

In Atlanta, Superintendent Beverly L. Hall said this week that after years of cutbacks, her district’s 2010-11 budget will be almost 11 percent below its level of seven years ago.

Calling the impact a “category 5” crisis, Georgia’s state superintendent, Kathy Cox, said, “It’s going to be very tough next year. The stimulus came in and helped, but the cliff is coming."

To view the rest of the story visit the MSNBC website.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Homeschooling in the US, how long will it be legal?

With the socialist and progressives in charge of the House and Senate I just wonder how long homeschooling will be legal in the US. The following piece appeared on the Life Site website.

Quote of the Day- "The sad truth is that public education has destroyed the American dream for countless numbers of young people by preventing them from acquiring those academic skills needed to achieve success." Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld, educator, author:

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Brazilian Couple Receive Criminal Conviction for Homeschooling
Verdict given despite sons passing law school entrance exams -- at ages 13 and 14

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

MINAS GERAIS, BRAZIL, March 26, 2010 ( - Despite the fact that his children passed difficult government imposed tests, and even qualified for law school at the ages of 13 and 14, homeschooler Cleber Nunes and his wife Bernadeth have been slapped with fines equivalent to a total of $3,200 for refusing to submit their children to the Brazilian school system.

However, Nunes told (LSN) that he has no intention to pay the fine, although he says that he might have to spend 15-30 days in jail if he does not.

Although homeschooling is common in many countries, including the United States, and is associated with higher levels of academic achievement, it is completely prohibited in Brazil, the government of which has become increasingly intrusive in recent decades following the establishment of a socialist regime in the 1990s.

Since Nunes began to homeschool his two oldest children four years ago, his family has been subject to repeated threats of fines, imprisonment, and loss of custody. However, he has resisted steadfastly and his case has gained national attention.

The guilty verdict in the criminal case against Nunes, which follows two negative verdicts in a parallel civil case that ended over a year ago, was given despite the fact that David and Jonatas Nunes had passed a difficult set of tests imposed by the criminal court.

"They had asked the kids to do the tests to check their level of knowledge, and also psychological tests to check their mental health," Nunes told LifeSiteNews (LSN). "It seems that the only valid result they expected was the failure of the kids."

The tests imposed by the court on Nunes' children were so difficult that one of the teachers who had designed it reportedly admitted that she herself could not pass it. However, David and Jonatas Nunes both passed the exams by margins of five and eight percentage points.

Despite his sons' performance, however, the government has again ruled against Nunes, this time in criminal court, and ordered a fine. The total amount in fines owed by Nunes as a result of the decisions against him has mounted to over $3,200 in US dollars.

"If they impose tests it means that two possibilities should be considered. They could be suffering intellectual abandonment, or not," Nunes told LSN. "In other words, they were trying to prove they were victims. But they passed and they kept saying we were criminal."

Nunes says that despite his success, the judge ruled against him because of his style of home schooling, in which the children direct their own learning, with Nunes overseeing the process.

"The judge said we left the children to learn by themselves," said Nunes. "He recognized that they passed the university entrance examination and the tests, but said that it was by their own efforts," he added, calling that a "joke."

"They want to take control of them, of their minds"

Nunes says he has decided not to appeal the ruling, because Brazil's Supreme Court has already refused to hear the appeal of his civil case. Although he has paid his wife's fine to spare her jail time, he says he will not pay his own fine.

"The natural thing to do is appeal, but I don't trust the Brazilian judges," Nunes told LSN. "They already showed who they are and what they want. They are not interested in protecting our kids....They want to take control of them, of their minds, they want them out of their home."

Although he has refused to comply with the rulings against him, Nunes currently faces no more legal difficulties stemming from the homeschooling of David and Jonatas, because they are now beyond the age of mandatory schooling.

However, his daughter could soon be subject to compulsory schooling in Brazil. She will soon turn four, the age at which compulsory schooling begins in Brazil.