Saturday, May 1, 2010

Why Do Al Gore and Barack Obama Continue to Push Global Warming?

There is 10 trillion dollars annually up for grabs. The following piece appeared on IBD editorials.

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

The $10 Trillion Climate Fraud

Posted 04/28/2010 07:11 PM ET

Al Gore is co-founder of an investment management firm that is now the fifth-largest shareholder in the Chicago Climate Exchange.

Cap-And-Trade: While senators froth over Goldman Sachs and derivatives, a climate trading scheme being run out of the Chicago Climate Exchange would make Bernie Madoff blush. Its trail leads to the White House.

Lost in the recent headlines was Al Gore's appearance Monday in Denver at the annual meeting of the Council of Foundations, an association of the nation's philanthropic leaders.

"Time's running out (on climate change)," Gore told them. "We have to get our act together. You have a unique role in getting our act together."

Gore was right that foundations will play a key role in keeping the climate scam alive as evidence of outright climate fraud grows, just as they were critical in the beginning when the Joyce Foundation in 2000 and 2001 provided the seed money to start the Chicago Climate Exchange. It started trading in 2003, and what it trades is, essentially, air. More specifically perhaps, hot air.

The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) advertises itself as "North America's only cap-and-trade system for all six greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide." Barack Obama served on the board of the Joyce Foundation from 1994 to 2002 when the CCX startup grants were issued. As president, pushing cap-and-trade is one of his highest priorities. Now isn't that special?

Few Americans have heard of either entity. The Joyce Foundation was originally the financial nest egg of a widow whose family had made millions in the now out-of-favor lumber industry.

After her death, the foundation was run by philanthropists who increasingly dedicated their giving to liberal causes, including gun control, environmentalism and school changes.

Currently, CCX members agree to a voluntary but legally binding agreement to regulate greenhouse gases.

The CCX provides the mechanism in trading the very pollution permits and carbon offsets the administration's cap-and-trade proposals would impose by government mandate.

Thanks to Fox News' Glenn Beck, we have learned a lot about CCX, not the least of which is that its founder, Richard Sandor, says he knew Obama well back in the day when the Joyce Foundation awarded money to the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, where Sandor was a research professor.

Sandor estimates that climate trading could be "a $10 trillion dollar market." It could very well be, if cap-and-trade measures like Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Boxer are signed into law, making energy prices skyrocket, and as companies buy and sell permits to emit those six "greenhouse" gases.

So lucrative does this market appear, it attracted the attention of London-based Generation Investment Management, which purchased a stake in CCX and is now the fifth-largest shareholder.

As we noted last year, Gore is co-founder of Generation Investment Management, which sells carbon offsets of dubious value that let rich polluters continue to pollute with a clear conscience.

Other founders include former Goldman Sachs partner David Blood, as well as Mark Ferguson and Peter Harris, also of Goldman Sachs. In 2006, CCX received a big boost when another investor bought a 10% stake on the prospect of making a great deal of money for itself. That investor was Goldman Sachs, now under the gun for selling financial instruments it knew were doomed to fail.

The actual mechanism for trading on the exchange was purchased and patented by none other than Franklin Raines, who was CEO of Fannie Mae at the time.

Raines profited handsomely to the tune of some $90 million by buying and bundling bad mortgages that led to the collapse of the American economy. His interest in climate trading is curious until one realizes cap-and-trade would make housing costlier as well.

Amazingly, none of these facts came up at Senate hearings on Goldman Sachs' activities, which may be nothing more than Ross Perot's famous "gorilla dust," meant to distract us from the real issues.

The climate trading scheme being stitched together here will do more damage than Goldman Sachs, AIG and Fannie Mae combined. But it will bring power and money to its architects.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wow Hard to Believe this Came from NPR

Jim and I championed for years to get rid of tenure in the K-12 system. It is hard to believe that this post appeared on NPR.

Quote of the Day -" Far too many people in America, both in and out of education, look upon the elementary school as a place to learn reading, writing and arithmetic. " - Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Education Association Yearbook, 1947

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

Is Teacher Tenure Still Necessary?

Critics say that providing tenure for teachers is an outdated idea.
April 29, 2010

Tenure is under attack. The century-old system of protecting experienced teachers from arbitrary dismissal — long viewed as sacred — has triggered hot political debates in several states.

"Teacher effectiveness" has emerged as the biggest buzz phrase in education policy circles. Because teachers have such potential for affecting the quality of children's education, some people are starting to argue that it must become easier to get bad teachers out of the classroom.

"There seems to be a lot of drive to do away with tenure," says Sandy Kress, who helped write federal and state education laws as an adviser to George W. Bush and other policymakers. "Tenure has proved to be just a horrible barrier to getting rid of that small percentage of teachers who are just not effective."

Action All Over

This is not merely an academic debate. A bill in Colorado that would change tenure rules and tie them to student performance passed out of a Senate committee last week and has the support of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter. A Florida bill to abolish tenure was vetoed this month by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, but a similar bill is pending in Louisiana.

Debates about tenure rules are happening at the local level as well, notably in Washington, D.C., where a proposal to eliminate tenure and seniority rules in exchange for higher pay led to protracted arguments over the local teachers' contract.

Washington state, meanwhile, along with Maryland and Ohio, has recently lengthened the number of years teachers have to wait before becoming eligible for tenure. Elementary and secondary school teachers can become eligible for tenure after as little as two years on the job, although the time frame varies by state.

"What's become so problematic about tenure is that it's awarded almost automatically, without regard to performance in student learning," says Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, which advocates changes to the teaching profession.

A Matter Of Due Process

Unlike tenure for university professors, tenure for K-12 teachers does not, in theory, shield them from dismissal. Instead, it's simply a guarantee of due process — that if a teacher is fired, it will be for cause.

The advent of tenure, which coincided roughly with World War I and the suffragist movement, was meant to protect teachers, who, in olden days, were often fired for reasons that had nothing to do with their work, including race.

Teachers were often let go when a new political party came to power locally, or if the principal wanted to hand out jobs to his friends, or even if a teacher got pregnant.

"These laws were passed in state after state to protect good teachers from arbitrary actions," says Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, which is the country's largest teachers union.

"Due process is necessary in order to avoid the type of abuses of the past," he says. "It's very upsetting that in 2010, under the guise of improving schools, we suddenly get rid of protections from firing teachers for inadequate or wrong reasons."

Are Protections Still Needed?

Advocates of overhauling tenure say they favor due process. But they point out that tenure predates subsequent labor laws that guard against discrimination or other employer abuses. "So much has changed about our larger legal framework," says Tim Daly, president of The New Teacher Project, which helps place teachers in urban schools. "A law about teacher tenure, by far, is not the only thing that would protect you."

This point now is commonly made, but Susan Moore Johnson, who teaches at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, says, "I'm not really convinced there are more protections now. You continue to hear stories about how favoritism is alive and well in public schools."

For his part, Daly doesn't advocate the abolition of tenure, but he does believe it needs to be changed. Dismissals should be job related, he says. But the problem he sees is that there are so many legal and managerial hurdles involved in dismissing a teacher that tenure has become a de facto shield against firing even the worst teachers.

"Tenure says you can't be dismissed unless you are shown to be incompetent through the evaluation process," Daly says. "But the evaluation process doesn't work at all, so tenure is seen as an ironclad guarantee of a job."

Change May Be Coming

That's where policy advocates have spotted an opening. It's clear that the way teachers are evaluated will undergo change. The federal Race to the Top program, a $4 billion pot of money meant to encourage states to pursue innovative educational strategies, insists on tying teacher evaluation to student performance.

The ins and outs of how student scores on standardized tests are weighted in evaluating teachers can quickly turn into a topic of interest only to insiders. In contrast, the public can understand and respond to the idea that a lifetime job guarantee has become anachronistic in today's economy.

Getting rid of tenure is still going to be a tough sell. Teachers unions are generally considered among the strongest lobbies in most states, and job protection for their members goes to the heart of their mission.

Johnson, the Harvard professor, says that unions make convenient targets for blame in such matters, noting that even teachers without tenure are rarely dismissed. She has studied some of the few districts where teachers are regularly let go — which are those where joint panels set up by unions and administrators sit together in judgment.

"Principals will say, 'The reason I don't dismiss anyone is because the union will stand in the way,' " Johnson says. "But where teachers are dismissed, it's through a peer review that guarantees due process."

Less Than 1 Percent Fired

Firing teachers is hard. New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have each fired fewer than 1 out of 1,000 of their tenured teachers in recent years. Those numbers are not unusual.

Administrators complain that the process is too draining. Reviews of dismissal cases can take years to make their way through the system, costing tens of thousands of dollars each.

Teachers say that administrators are themselves at fault for performing perfunctory, "drive-by" evaluations. One study of selected districts in four states found that 99 percent of teachers receive "satisfactory" ratings.

Sometimes, bad publicity can curb the worst abuses on either side. The Los Angeles Times found last December that L.A. schools deny tenure to fewer than 2 percent of probationary hires, with evaluations often amounting to nothing more than a single, pre-announced classroom visit lasting 30 minutes or less.

Following the report, Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines pledged greater scrutiny. In February, the district announced it would fire more than 110 nontenured teachers for performance -— three times the annual rate in recent years.

Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers announced the city would close the district's "rubber rooms," where teachers are paid to sit and do no work, often for years, while awaiting the outcome of dismissal hearings.

Newspaper and magazine articles about the rubber rooms — which Bloomberg labeled "study hall for teachers" — had embarrassed both the city and the union. Now, teachers will be assigned to administrative or nonclassroom duties while cases are pending, with the city hiring more arbitrators to speed up the process.
— Alan Greenblatt

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Legislators Must Stop Pandering and Put Students First

When legislators start to put students before the teachers' unions public schools will improve and we will see a return to personal responsibility. JIm and I championed for years to get programs like this passed in Illinois. The following piece appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

Joyce said some "Chicago Democrats remain reluctant to support the bill, worried about a backlash from teachers unions." If this is the case these legislators need to be replaced students must come before the unions.

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

More kids, more choices

How about this? Suddenly everybody wants in on the act.

In late March, the Illinois Senate passed a bill to give vouchers for private school tuition to as many as 22,000 children who go to the academically weakest Chicago public schools.

That bill is now in the House, and it's being rewritten to cover even more kids. The lead sponsor, Democratic Rep. Kevin Joyce of Chicago, is drafting an amendment to offer vouchers to kids in the most severely overcrowded Chicago schools. The Senate sponsor, Chicago Democrat James Meeks, is on board with the change.

Best of all: Chicago school officials aren't fighting this. They're working closely with the sponsors. They would administer the voucher program.

This program holds tremendous promise for thousands of kids and wouldn't add a dime of cost to the state or any greater burden on the Chicago Public Schools. The tuition covered by the voucher would come from money the state provides to CPS. The bill is being redrawn to guarantee that the state won't spend more than it does now.

Yes, school vouchers are still controversial. Joyce said some Chicago Democrats remain reluctant to support the bill, worried about a backlash from teachers unions.

But it has been wonderful to see so many lawmakers set such political concerns aside. The bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support. It came out of the House Executive Committee on a 10-1 vote.

"I've been 1,000 percent supportive of the teachers unions, and I probably have as many teachers in my district as anybody. This goes beyond teachers," Joyce told us Monday.

Yes, it does. It goes directly to helping children find good schools.

We like the idea of taking on the issue of overcrowding. Latino legislators have been searching for years for an answer to overcrowding because their constituents' kids bear most of the brunt of jam-packed schools.

Here's a ready answer to that. It doesn't require spending big bucks to build new schools. It lets kids go to existing schools, private schools, good schools, schools of their choice.

This is all far from a done deal. Opponents may have been caught by surprise by the strong approval in the Senate. We expect a tight vote in the House. And, unfortunately, an amended bill will have to go back to the Senate for another vote. That opens the door for more politicking. It makes this program vulnerable to getting lost in the rush to finish the legislative session. That can't be allowed to happen.

All in all, we're encouraged by the progress and momentum of this bill, by the growing and diverse list of co-sponsors, and now by the prospect of broadening it to help even more Chicago kids get a chance to choose their own school.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wow from a College Newspaper

I was surprise to see this come from a College paper called the Collegian. The writer appears to be from the department of education. I wonder if he took heat for this article. Around of applause for this piece.

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

Unions protect bad teachers, not students

By: Shane Cronin | April 26, 2010 |

During the early 20th century, when working conditions were appalling, employers were ruthless and labor laws didn’t exist in
the United States, vulnerable workers formed unions to protect themselves.
Many unions, however, have outlived their usefulness. Today, they stifle innovation and bully or bribe legislators into getting their ways at enormous taxpayer cost. Teachers unions are a perfect example of this.

The teachers unions are possibly the biggest hurdle a student must overcome to receive a high school diploma. To meet every educational innovation is a union leader with a billy club. They are analogous to legalized mafia.

Across the country merit pay, school choice, policy reform and scholarships for low-income children were vigorously opposed by the unions. This keeps well-paid union higher-ups rich and low-income underperforming students poor.

Teachers usually don’t have a choice on whether or not to join the unions in their districts. This is why unions hate non-unionized charter schools: especially the successful ones.

Teachers unions in Massachusetts have fought tooth and nail to keep the charter school caps low. They fought to keep Teach for America out of Boston last year despite the program’s accomplishments. The union argued new educators shouldn’t be hired in a recession which threatened teacher layoffs.

Ostensibly that seems fair. But, my guess is even in the best economic climate the union would reject Teach for America.

Termination is virtually non-existent among tenured teachers in the U. S. In New Jersey, about one in 20,000 teachers are fired annually. In Los Angeles, between 1995 and 2005 only 112 tenured teachers were fired. In 2003, the city graduated only half its high school seniors. Less than one percent of tenured teachers are fired each year in Dallas, Texas.

This is largely due to legal expenses firing tenured educators incurs, which can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 depending on the district. Furthermore, unions (particularly in urban districts) have diluted the teacher evaluation system making it almost impossible for a teacher to receive an “unsatisfactory” review.

Union leaders, like mafia bosses, are all about dough. Teachers shell out hundreds of dollars per year to feed the hungry union hierarchy. Union leaders earn six-figure salaries, which is exponentially more than many of the teachers they claim to represent. The fewer unionized teachers there are, the fewer dues these leaders can collect.

Essentially, tenure ensures contract-renewal for mediocre educators year after year. The ability principals have to remove these teachers from classrooms is extremely limited. Principles often cite union power for not firing teachers.

In 2007, the National Education Association contributed more than $80 million (20 percent of its budget) to largely left wing, non-education-related causes. That’s $80 million that could have benefited students. But why waste money on them with a blooming money tree growing in their backyard known as the taxpayers?

The gangster-like teachers union in New Jersey, for example, has suggested Gov. Chris Christie raise the nine percent state income tax rather than agree to a one year teacher pay freeze.

Another favorite target of the unions is The No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by President Bush in 2002. NCLB essentially mandated standardized testing in every state. It also requires every student to be proficient in math and reading by 2014. The bill has its flaws. However, it is a major step in the right direction: standardization. It fails in the sense that it gives states wide latitude in determining what “basic skills” means.

President Obama, who originally pledged to strengthen education standards, seems to have changed course. The New York Times recently reported President Obama wants to revise NCLB. His proposed revisions, however, are more in line with the union agenda than student achievement.

The President’s changes include factoring “pupil attendance, graduation rates, and learning climate” into a teacher’s/school’s level of success. In other words, the edited version of NCLB will require less measurable accountability.

What happens to mediocre or outright incompetent employees in the private sector? They aren’t awarded raises. They are fired because it would be bad business practice to keep them on the payroll. It is just as bad for students when mediocre teachers are kept on the payroll.

In addition, unions largely oppose merit pay also known as extra pay for teachers who produce high-achieving students. The Florida legislature passed a bill that would have enacted merit pay statewide. Gov. Charlie Crist caved to union pressure, however, and vetoed the legislation earlier this month.

Teachers are America’s human capital. The role they play is critical in educating our youth so they can become analytical, high-functioning, hard-working members of an increasingly high-tech economy. Many teachers are overworked and underpaid. Starting salaries for new teachers deter many qualified applicants – especially in the math and science fields.
The private sector compensates math and science majors much more generously than a career in public education does. Unions, with near unilateral authority over policy, can change this. But they won’t if politicians continue to give in to their self-serving, anti-innovation agenda.
Shane Cronin is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at

Monday, April 26, 2010

These Were the Ones that were Caught.

Okay they caught these ones, what about those that are not caught? This is just one of the many reasons why New Hampshire needs a homeschooling freedom law. Parents should not have to endanger their children by being forced to send their children to public schools where people like this exist.

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

New Hampshire Union Leader Staff
Sunday, Apr. 25, 2010

The state has revoked credentials from 44 educators since 2000 for reasons including sexually assaulting children, possessing child pornography and stealing student funds, according to state records.

On average, 138 cases of alleged misconduct in schools are investigated each year, said Judith Fillion, director of the division of program support in the state Department of Education.

In an average year, about five state credentials -- required for teaching in New Hampshire -- are pulled, some immediately after teachers voluntarily surrender them rather than face revocation hearings.

Teacher behavior has been in the news recently, with at least four high-profile cases of alleged teacher misdeeds in Manchester, Merrimack and Londonderry involving drugs, alcohol or nude pictures e-mailed to a student.

Fillion said about 70 percent of the misconduct allegations are resolved at the local level, with the remainder probed by a state education investigator.

"There's quite a range, from something that can be handled easily that might be something like a misunderstanding and some, even though the local investigation does identify issues, we determine it doesn't rise to the level where we would revoke or suspend the credential," Fillion said.

Superintendents are required to report all allegations of misconduct to state education officials, Fillion said.

"There's been times we've (first) seen it in the newspaper, but most times superintendents are very good at reporting misconduct," she said.

The revocation list of educators includes teachers, guidance counselors and principals.

"Most revocations are due to inappropriate sexual conduct or improper use of technology," Fillion said in an e-mail.
Increasing vigilance

Since 1981, 100 educators, mostly teachers, have had their right to teach in New Hampshire taken away.

The list cites 36 revocations for alleged inappropriate and/or illegal sexual acts. Another 15 state a "lack of good moral character," phrasing allowed until education department rules pushed for more specific disclosures.

Fillion said the names of those whose credentials are revoked are entered into a national database to inform school districts in other states.

"When we get an application from another state, that's the first thing we look at," she said.

Last school year, New Hampshire had nearly 22,000 workers in public and private schools holding education credentials, Fillion said.

Mark Joyce, executive director of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association, said very few credentials are revoked each year compared to the large number of educators.

"One is too many, but it's still a pretty low incidence and (education) as a profession is becoming ever more vigilant with that," Joyce said.

Rhonda Wesolowski, president of the National Education Association-New Hampshire, said the safety and well-being of students "is of paramount importance" in schools.

"We believe that the misconduct of a relative few should not detract from the efforts of so many others of the nearly 20,000 teachers that do the right things every day," she said in an e-mail.
Range of cases

In the most recent case on the list, last updated Dec. 29, Christopher J. Cieto surrendered his teaching credential on Dec. 11.

Cieto, an English teacher at Hollis/Brookline High School, pleaded guilty to stalking for sending sexually explicit e-mails and instant messages to the mother of one of his students last year, according to Hollis police Sgt. Richard Mello.

"Whatever his potential as a teacher, he made some mistakes, some grave mistakes," Mello said last week.

Cieto was placed on probation for a year and will avoid jail if he exhibits good behavior for two years, Mello said.

One of the list's oldest cases involved Timothy A. Froncek, who taught at what was then Newfound Memorial High School in Bristol.

According to the revocation list, his credential was revoked on Jan. 12, 1982, for pleading guilty to second-degree murder. But Froncek didn't kill his wife until October 1983, and he didn't plead guilty to the murder until June 1984, according to a New Hampshire Union Leader story at the time.

According to another newspaper story, Froncek on Jan. 12, 1981, had his credential suspended for a year at the request of the Newfound Area School District. The district said Froncek gave only 24-hours notice for resigning his job, a breach of his contract.

Fillion said the credential wouldn't have been yanked until the second-degree murder plea was official. She planned to have
Froncek's entry amended.

Froncek received a 21-year prison sentence. Now 62, he has been out of prison since October 2001 and remains on lifetime parole, supervised out of the Nashua office, said state Corrections spokesman Jeff Lyons. Froncek couldn't be reached for comment.

Recent incidents
When a teacher voluntarily surrenders his credential, that teacher and the state education department enter a "negotiation" over the wording of why the credential was surrendered, Fillion said. A surrender automatically leads to a revocation, she said.

No teacher has asked for his education credential to be reinstated, but a few have inquired, Fillion said.

Recent cases of troubled teachers include two at Manchester's Hillside Middle School. The school board last Thursday fired Lynn Manning three weeks after police charged her with smuggling methadone pills into the state prison. Jennifer Boldwin resigned this month after wine was found in her classroom.

Also this month, Merrimack teacher Lisa Dinucci was charged with making her daughter twice start her car by blowing into the tube of an installed ignition-locking device, which was one of the requirements in Dinucci's sentence for a 2008 conviction for aggravated driving while intoxicated.

Last month, Londonderry High teacher Melinda Dennehy resigned after she was charged with indecent exposure and lewdness for allegedly sending nude photos of herself to a 15-year-old student at the school.

Fillion said she couldn't identify anyone under state investigation but said drugs and alcohol are instances that the state would look at to see if revocation was appropriate.