August 14, 2014

Barely News: Teachers Union Head’s Promise to ‘Punch’ Common Core Opponents ‘in the Face’

Give the New York Daily News credit for surfacing a video which originally appeared at Ed Notes Online, a publication whose “about” page says it opposes “the education corporate-based reforms … undermining the public school system” and exposes “the motives behind the education deformers.”

The video shows Michael Mulgrew, the president of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers, threatening to “punch you in the face and push you in the dirt” if you oppose the nationally imposed and controlled Common Core standards, and from all appearances laying claim to America’s children as the property of its teachers. Give the rest of the establishment press — which routinely pounces on inflammatory statements coming from the right and distorts others into making them appear to be — demerits for almost completely failing to expose an education tyrant. Video and excerpts from the Daily News’s coverage follow the jump.

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August 13, 2014

Positivity: Advocates advise that First Amendment protects school choice

Filed under: Education,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Denver:

Aug 11, 2014 / 02:07 pm

Faith-based schools should not be excluded from Colorado’s educational choice programs, according to a brief filed by attorneys in a case which is due to be heard by the state supreme court.

“School districts have a responsibility to provide the best educational choices for parents and their children without discriminating against religious options,” commented Gregory Baylor, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, in an Aug. 5 statement.

Baylor affirmed that religious schools in Colorado “provide an excellent education that meets all state standards. They should continue to be welcomed into programs like this one so that students, the community, and the government will all benefit.”

Taxpayers for Public Educations v. Douglas County was filed by those who maintain that the acceptance of religious schools in the county’s Choice Scholarship Program breaches the state constitution, violating provisions governing the church-state relationship.

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against the lawsuit, supporting Douglas County’s decision that religious options in education do not oppose the state constitution.

However, opponents filed for an appeal against this decision which will be reviewed by the Colorado Supreme Court.

The attorneys of Alliance Defending Freedom filed a brief with the Colorado Supreme Court in defense of the appellate court’s decision, stating that the “Court of Appeals affirmed that the Choice Scholarship Program respects the first amendment and the private religious choices of Colorado families.”

“The Colorado Supreme Court has every reason to reach the same conclusion.” …}

Go here for the rest of the story.

August 11, 2014

Cinti. Enquirer Keeps Michelle Obama’s Name Out of Story on District Ending Federal School Lunches

Fort Thomas Independent Schools in Northern Kentucky have decided to get out of the federal school lunch program, specifically because of the requirements imposed in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Simply put, the district is tired of being forced to give kids food they won’t eat.

Until it ran into problems, HHFA was seen as Mrs. Obama’s signature achievement, and the press fawned over its alleged awesomeness. Now that the program has encountered fierce real-world resistance, her association with it seems to have vanished from many press reports. One such report was filed by the Associated Press last month from the School Nutrition Association’s annual convention in Boston. A local example appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer Saturday evening. Excerpts from that report by Jessica Brown follow the jump (bolds are mine):

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July 31, 2014

Very Funny: Evan Sayet

Filed under: Education,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:42 pm

I argue that the modern liberal is the stupidest human being to have ever lived.” (HT Eagle Rising via Instapundit):

Some may take offense at Sayet going after “teachers.” I think it’s clear that he’s going after college professors, whose mission all too often seems to be to undo all the good things elementary and secondary ed teachers do.

June 25, 2014

Ridiculous: NYT, Brookings Spin Student-Loan Debt as a Non-Problem — Using 2010 Data

On Tuesday, the Brookings Institution, with a David Leonhardt column at the New York Times serving as its de facto press release, published a study (full PDF here) entitled, “Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?” Unsurprisingly, their finding, in one word, was “No.” Their more qualifed finding: “[I]n reality, the impact of student loans may not be as dire as many commentators fear.” Their underlying “logic”: “typical borrowers are no worse off now than they were a generation ago.”

It’s bad enough that much of the data presented by Beth Akers and Matthew M. Chingos, the study’s authors, directly contradicts the sunshine they’re trying blow up our keisters. What’s even worse is that you don’t even need to dig into the detail once you learn which year’s data they used — 2010. For heaven’s sake, guys, total student loan debt has grown by between 50 percent and 60 percent since then.

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June 19, 2014

NBC/WSJ Poll Cooks Its Common Core Questions, Fabricates Claim of Strong Majority Support

Yesterday’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll garnered a great deal of attention, primarily because of its findings about President Barack Obama, particularly the one showing showing that “54 percent – believe the term-limited president is no longer able to lead the country.”

The poll also asked respondents a series of three questions on the Common Core standards which were clearly designed to elicit majority support for them and to then mislead the public into believing that those who the standards them are a noisy, anti-Obama minority which should be ignored. Stories covering the poll at both NBC and the Wall Street Journal indicated as much.

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June 17, 2014

AP (‘Struggled’ For ‘Traction’) and Delusional Bloomberg (‘Industry Stabilized’) Completely Disagree in Reporting on Today’s Homebuilding Declines

There must have been a double delivery of Obama administration koolaid over at Bloomberg News this morning.

The business wire service, which ordinarily is slightly less imbalanced in its business and economics reporting than the Associated Press, somehow interpreted a 6.5 percent seasonally adjusted decline in housing starts during May and a nearly identical percentage drop in building permits — with both figures lower than May 2013 — as evidence that “the homebuilding industry stabilized after a first-quarter swoon.” That’s ridiculous. The first quarter was supposedly as bad as it was because of bad winter weather; so there should have been an overcompensating bounceback. It hasn’t happened. Meanwhile, that second Bloomberg koolaid delivery must have been the one meant for AP, whose Josh Boak turned in a report noteworthy for its unusual sobriety (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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May 23, 2014

FT’s Giles Finds Piketty’s ‘Wealth Inequality’ Work Riddled With ‘Data Problems’ — And Wrong

French economist Thomas Piketty has become a darling of the left for allegedly “proving” that, as paraphrased by Chris Giles at the Financial Times, “wealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war.” The Media Research Center’s Julia Seymour has described Piketty as a “‘rock star’ of the far-left,” an accurate assessment given praises heaped upon his book and especially his public policy prescriptions by the likes of Alternet and Vox’s especially gullible Matthew Yglesias. Seymour also notes that Piketty’s work has received a great deal of favorable notice in the establishment press, and that he has met “with the Treasury Secretary” and “(President) Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.”

Of course these “oligarch groupies,” as Jeffrey Lord describes them, love him. Piketty favors an 80 percent tax on incomes above $500,000 and a progressive global tax on real wealth (i.e., after subtracting debt). The problem is that FT’s Giles, having done a deep dive into the economist’s data and spreadsheets, has found serious problems in the professor’s work which nullify his conclusions.

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Comment of the Day: On Common Core

From a NewsBusters commenter:

I have a bachelor’s degree in Math. I read some of the common core math instruction. If you wanted to turn students off to math, if you wanted to make them hate it with all their being, if you wanted to make math so incomprehensible that few American students will ever be able to master it, you could not have done a better job than coming up with Common Core.

Addition and subtraction are simple concepts. Multiplication and Division are simple variations on the theme of addition and subtraction. By using a “new” and contrived language to teach basic math concepts you are promising American illiteracy in the subject.

As I wrote ten days ago (BizzyBlog mirror):

This garbage has got to go.

The default assumption has to be that anyone who still supports Common Core is uninformed, bought and sold, or an unapologetic statist.

May 21, 2014

Teacher Involved With Common Core Development: My White Privilege Motivated Me

At a website called Girard at Large in Manchester, New Hampshire, proprietor Richard Girard videotaped and reported on the proceedings of a debate held at St. Anselm’s College on the Common Core educational standards — something you’ll almost never see anyone in the establishment press deign to do.

Girard appropriately described proponents’ descriptions of and arguments in favor of the standards “revealing,” “enlightening,” and “well, frightening.” Perhaps no statement made during the two-hour event Monday contained more of all three adjectives than one made by Dr. David Pook, a teacher at The Derryfield School in Manchester, about what motivated him to get involved with having input into the English Language Arts standards. Brace yourself (HT BizPac Review; specific audio segment is at this link; bolds are mine throughout this post; May 22 Update: Mr. Pook’s comment was slightly revised at the original link for accuracy; that revision is now reflected below):

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May 15, 2014

Common Core: 2014′s Bipartisan Wedge Issue

Tuesday’s primaries unmasked intense opposition.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Tuesday.

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Establishment Republicans and their pals in the press – at least until the general election campaigns begin (RINOs never learn) — are celebrating their defeats of tea party-sympathetic challengers in last Tuesday’s Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio primaries.

They would be well advised to hold the champagne. At least a half-dozen victorious candidates in GOP state legislative contests in those three states, including several who defeated party-supported incumbents, discovered that the key to motivating voters on their behalf was expressing genuine and vocal opposition to the federal government’s stealth imposition of the Common Core standards and testing regime in their schools.

Their success has national implications. You can rest assured that party leaders who have been doing all they can to hide from the issue, as well as all-in “Fed ed” proponent and current Republican establishment fave Jeb Bush, have noticed.

Nowhere was the anti-Common Core momentum more clear than in the Buckeye State. The entity I have dubbed ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) and its legislative leaders are visibly shaken.

Although the state’s press will only acknowledge Common Core’s relevance in one of Tuesday’s state rep race results, a reliable longtime activist told me on Thursday that candidates’ opposition to Common Core tipped the balance in their favor in four instances. My review of Stop Common Core Ohio’s endorsements against actual election results confirms that contention.

The result that’s impossible to ignore is Tom Brinkman’s triumph over incumbent Peter Stautberg in Southwestern Ohio.

ORPINO thought they had ended “Tax Killer Tom’s” political career two years ago when he lost in a comeback attempt after being term-limited from the legislature four years earlier. Heavily aided by ORPINO, two-term incumbent Stautberg dished out a 22-point drubbing.

This time around, it was different, principally because Brinkman sincerely and strongly aligned himself with anti-Common Core activists. ORPINO doubled down on its smear campaign, spending huge sums on a radio blitz and baldly false campaign literature which, among other things, hysterically implied that the supposedly “radical” Brinkman sided with Democrats on critical matters. ORPINO also claimed that he opposed a 2005 “tax cut” that was really an initially revenue-neutral restructuring which gave birth to an ugly new gross receipts tax.

Brinkman’s trump card over the wishy-washy incumbent was his vocal opposition to Common Core. Stautberg claims to have not taken a position. My source calls BS on that; but in any event, convenient neutrality doesn’t cut it. It instead allows force-fed “Fed ed” to become a permanent fixture of the educational landscape.

In winning by seven points on Tuesday, Brinkman engineered a 29-point turnaround from 2012, inducing palpable fear and loathing at ORPINO and among GOP legislative leaders.

Suddenly, the same people who have spent well over a year blowing off, marginalizing, and in some cases insulting concerned parents and teachers feel that they must commission a poll to see if the rest of the state is as opposed to Common Core as voters in Southwestern Ohio.

I can save them the trouble. A late-April University of Connecticut poll showed that thanks to its undemocratic imposition, only 39 percent of Americans have heard of Common Core. But of those who have, only 38 percent across all ideologies support it, while 44 percent oppose. A scant 24 percent of conservatives favor it. In the Buckeye State, Common Core polled as the number one issue of concern in the GOP primaries, even ahead of Governor John Kasich’s authoritarian expansion of Medicaid.

Why oppose Common Core? Five videos posted at my home blog in March of 2013 take only 33 minutes to fully explain why. Here’s a quick boil-down:

  • These are standards which have been furtively pushed onto the states — i.e., not developed by the states, as proponents claim — through de facto federal government bribes contained in the 2009 stimulus bill and through the conditional granting of No Child Left Behind waivers. State legislatures had virtually no input into Common Core’s initial adoption.
  • Costly and rigid standardized national tests will force reluctant private schools, charter schools, and homeschooling parents to conform their curricula to Common Core to ensure that their students perform well on them.
  • One “feature” of Common Core is a national student data tracking system involving a reported 400-plus “data points” from pre-school through the workforce which will strip away students’ and families’ personal privacy. Personally identifiable and sensitive student and family data can and will be shared among government and private entities.
  • The bottom line is that Common Core strips the states of their constitutional authority over education, will end parents’ ability to influence what their children are taught, and will ultimately and illegally accomplish the far left’s long-time dream of giving the federal government full control over the nation’s school curricula.

In the intervening year, it has become dreadfully obvious that Common Core’s “standards” are a watered-down muddle of incoherence backing a curriculum which is frustrating the nation’s children, infuriating their parents, and driving down test scores.

As would be expected of a “progressive” contraption conceived in back rooms, it virtually “eliminate(s) American children’s core knowledge base in English, language arts and history.”

No radical-driven “reform” would be complete without heavy doses of deconstructive indoctrination. Examples of horrid items which have surfaced include Holocaust denial, portrayals of Barack Obama’s opponents as racistspresumptive submission to the state, and the “clear” human-caused “impacts” of “climate change,” now known as “climate disruption,” which yours truly prefers to call “globaloney.”

Several Common Core-approved texts subject high school students to pornographic passages which are so graphic and offensive that government officials have prevented outraged parents from reciting them aloud at public meetings, and newspapers have refused to publish them. But they’re okay for 14 and 15 year olds to read and discuss?

Common Core supporters who thought they had their fixed game in the bag but now find themselves losing are responding as arrogant people who have run out of arguments invariably do — with demonization and brute force.

Those like Education Secretary Arne Duncan who believe that the opposition is just a bunch of “white suburban moms” who are upset that “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were” can’t explain why Huntsville, Alabama, which has the highest concentration of degreed engineers in the country, is a hotbed of anti-Common Core activism.

Fever-swamp leftists who characterize Common Core’s center-right opposition as a “wingnut … plot to destroy public schools” have failed to reconcile that assertion with the fact that “wingnuts” like the Chicago Teachers Union and two-thirds of Parent Teacher Association survey respondents in New York oppose it, largely because of the same federal intrusions to which the liberty movement objects.

Over their parent’s objections, school officials are routinely forcing kids to take standardized tests which are supposed to be optional. Teachers who refuse to sign agreements not to share test contents with parents, i.e., their customers, are being suspended or fired. Officials are treating parents who dare to speak out at public meetings like common criminals.

This garbage has got to go. The default assumption has to be that anyone who still supports Common Core is uninformed, bought and sold, or an unapologetic statist. The road to improved school standards is through decentralizing education so that parents and localities once again have control over what and how their children are taught. That worked quite well 50 years ago, when the average high school graduate was measurably more knowledgeable than today’s grads, three-quarters of whom are not ready for college.

In Ohio, that will mean a sea change in the go-along, Kasich-subservient legislature, which appears at long last to be heading in that direction. Kasich is a friend of Jeb Bush who nominally supports Common Core, but he also has 2016 presidential aspirations. Lawmakers need to pass repeal and force Kasich to unequivocally commit.

Mr. “Stand for Something,” who has surely noted that Common Core has become 2014′s bipartisan wedge issue, just might be cynical enough to do a 180. If so, we’ll take it.

May 12, 2014

Richard Dreyfuss Defends the Constitution and American Exceptionalism

In what many may see as a “pigs fly” moment, actor Richard Dreyfuss, long known for his involvement in leftist causes up to and including efforts to impeach George W. Bush, appeared on Mike Huckabee’s weekend Fox News program to promote the importance of U.S. citizens knowing “our constitution or our history.” He went further, noting that “the constitution is the most single greatest step toward humans improving civilization since the beginning of man’s sojourn on earth.” Those aren’t exactly the typical messages we  see delivered by the Hollywood or media elites these days. Instead, those groups seem to be doing all they can to ignore very significant encroachments on our fundamental freedoms originating in Washington.

Given the history seen at Dreyfuss’s NewsBusters tag, it would be wise to remain in “trust but verify” mode regarding his positions and activities. With that caveat, the goal of his Dreyfuss Initiative is to ensure that “Civics will be taught in America’s classrooms, starting in the elementary levels up through grade 12.”

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May 2, 2014

‘May Day’ …

Filed under: Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:36 pm

… as Ilya Somin reminds us, is better remembered as “Victims of Communism Day.”

Communism has the blood of over 100 million on its hands — yet it’s disgracefully still the professed system of choice in much of U.S. academia.

 

April 22, 2014

USAT Initially Fails to Identify 6-2 Majority in Supremes’ Mich. Racial Preferences Decision

In his story (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes — and in case it gets edited later today; Update: It did) on the Supreme Court’s decision this morning upholding Michigan voters’ 2006 approval of a ban on race-, ethic- and gender-based preferences in university admissions, USA Today’s Richard Wolf failed to identify the size of the court majority, which was 6-2. Justice Elana Kagan recused herself because she was previously the U.S. solicitor general before being named to the high court. The court’s decision effectively upholds such bans in seven other states.

Additionally, by focusing on Justice Anthony Kennedy as “the man to watch,” Wolf initially left many readers with the impression that only five justices, Kennedy and the four others usually describe as “conservative” (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito) made the ruling. The fact is that they were also joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the supposedly reliable “liberals.” Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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Positivity: A Tough Teacher’s Alter Ego

Filed under: Education,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From near Los Angeles (HT Daryn Kagan):

FEBRUARY 14, 2014, 6:54 PM

As part of our continuing series “On the Road,” Steve Hartman meets the students of St. Francis High School near Los Angeles who thought they knew everything about their math teacher, Jim O’Connor. But what they found out at a local hospital taught them a life lesson.