Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: teachers

When Will the Luddites Ever Learn?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 10, 2017: 

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine

Two Oxford University professors, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, wrote back in 2013 that the robotic revolution would overtake and virtually displace human workers in broad expanses of U.S. industry. Those occupations most at risk include loan officers (98 percent chance of being replaced by a robot), receptionists and information clerks (96 percent), paralegals and legal assistants (94 percent), retail sales people (92 percent), taxi drivers and chauffeurs (89 percent), and fast food cooks (81 percent).

At the bottom of the list are elementary school teachers and physicians and surgeons (0.4 percent chance), lawyers (4 percent), musicians and singers (7 percent), and reporters and correspondents (11 percent).

They found that almost half of those currently employed in the United States were in their “high risk” category, defined as jobs that could be automated “relatively soon, perhaps over the next decade or two.”

Two other college professors, this time from the University of Redlands, California, decided to take the Oxford study and apply it to American cities with more than 250,000 workers. They concluded that

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Illinois Republicans Override Governor’s Vetoes, Stiff Taxpayers in Budget Deal

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 7, 2017:

Lisa Madigan, Illinois state attorney general,...

Lisa Madigan. step-daughter of Michael Madigan, and, not surprisingly, Illinois’ state Attorney General. Just a coincidence.

When House Speaker Michael Madigan finally engineered the override of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of his budget bill on Thursday, he called it a victory:

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Pew Research: Americans Getting More Comfortable With Firearm Ownership

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 23, 2017:  

Pew Research Center’s latest in-depth report on what it calls “America’s Complex Relationship with Guns” is revelatory. According to the report, released on Thursday, Americans are becoming more and more comfortable with guns and gun ownership, and less and less enchanted with more gun laws to fight perceived gun violence.

When 3,390 U.S adults were polled in March and April, they were asked whether it was more important to protect gun rights or to control gun ownership. In the year 2000, two-thirds of those polled then favored more gun control. Today, that has dropped to less than half,

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Illinois Sends “Dear Contractor” Letters Ordering Them to Stop All Road Construction

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 15, 2017: 

English: A photograph of the Springfield Capit...

A photograph of the Springfield Capitol Building

Illinois contractors working on the state’s roads just received a “Dear Contractor” letter from the state ordering them to halt work because the state is out of money to pay them:

At this time appropriate funding is not available after June 30, 2017. Thus, work shall cease effective June 30, 2017.

Please bring all projects to a condition that will provide a clear and safely traveled way….

On July 1, 2017, all work shall cease except for maintenance.… The department will notify you when work may resume.

Right now the state has $14.5 billion in unpaid bills, an increase of nearly $4 billion just since the end of December, with no end in sight. When Republican Governor Bruce Rauner took office in January 2015, he promised he would bring order out of chaos by

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Puerto Rico Headed to Bankruptcy Court, Likely Costing Investors Billions

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 3, 2017: 

English: Map of Peuto Rico, with inset showing...

The federal fiscal oversight board created by Congress last June to fix Puerto Rico gave up on Monday, putting the island country into the hands of a federal bankruptcy judge.

The board, created last June, was designed to help newly elected Governor Ricardo Rossello come to terms with mutual funds and hedge fund owners that own the bulk of the island’s $73 billion debt. Rossello’s first effort, which would have applied a one-third financial “haircut” to them was turned down by the board, which called it too generous.

Rossello’s second effort would have applied a 50-percent haircut, but Franklin Advisers and Oppenheimer Fund, the two largest entities holding the island’s debt, pushed back.

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Union Influence Fades as Right-to-work Gains Momentum

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 21, 2017:  

English: Economic regions of California, as de...

When Rebecca Friedrichs, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the California Teachers Association, learned in June that the Supreme Court denied her petition to rehear her complaint over the union extracting dues from her paycheck without her consent, she declared:

My heart is broken for America’s children and families, as their teachers will continue to be forced to fund policies and highly political collective bargaining processes which place the desires of adults above the rights and needs of children.… I’m optimistic [that] we can continue … to restore First Amendment rights to teachers and other public sector workers. Our kids are worth the fight!

Terry Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights, the public-interest law firm representing Friedrichs, agreed:

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Can the American Dream be Revived?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 9, 2017:

English: Statue of Liberty Gaeilge: Dealbh na ...

The term American Dream was coined by James Trustow Adams in 1931, just as the economy was entering the worst of the Great Depression. In The Epic of America, Adams wrote:

[It is] that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement….

 

It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

In 2012, American cultural historian Lawrence Samuel, author of The American Dream: A Cultural History, echoed Adams:

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Large Pension Plans Adjusting Their Targets Downward

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 21, 2016:  

English: Jerry Brown's official picture as Att...

California Governor Jerry Brown

Heading into negotiations this past weekend between the California governor’s office, teachers’ unions, and pension plan trustees managing the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), Governor Jerry Brown spoke the truth: “There’s no doubt CalPERS needs to start aligning its rate of return expectations with reality.”

Coming out of the meeting, the gap between the plan’s target rate of return and reality remained immense.

The last time CalPERS faced reality and flinched was in 2012 when

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Illinois Governor Vetoes Chicago Bailout Bill

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 5, 2016:  

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/lin...

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill on December 1 that would have provided a $215 million bailout of the Chicago public schools. So certain were school officials that he would sign it — allowing them to make a past-due payment to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund — that they made it a part of their budget for next year.

The original bill passed by Democrat supermajorities in both houses was for $700 million, but during negotiations Rauner, a Republican, agreed to $215 million instead, in exchange for a promise that the Democrats would institute real pension reform. Once the bill hit Rauner’s desk, however, all deals were off: Give us the money, said the Democrats, and forget pension reform.

Rauner’s veto message is instructive in several regards.

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Chicago Dreaming

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 5, 2016:  

Chicago Public School Officials were so sure that they would get another bailout from the state that they actually put it into next years budget. The city is behind on making a $730 million pension payment due its teachers pension plan, and the $215 million they were expecting from the state would allow them to make it.

The bill that passed the state senate unanimously and the house overwhelmingly was headed for Governor Bruce Rauners desk for signing until Rauner (pictured) learned that the Democratic leadership had no intention of keeping their promise to institute significant pension reform in order to get the bailout.

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Vulture Funds Expecting to Profit Handsomely from Puerto Rico’s Problems

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 29, 2016:  

English: Map of Peuto Rico, with inset showing...

Map of Peuto Rico, with inset showing it’s position in relation to American continents.

George W. Plunkitt was not the world’s first dishonest politician, but he might have been one of the first ones to be honest about his dishonesty. Plunkitt was a Tammany Hall pol who served in the New York State Assembly and then in the New York State Senate around the turn of the 20th century. He called what he did – and what made him wealthy – “honest graft.” He defined “dishonest graft” as efforts to work solely for his own interests. “Honest graft,” on the other hand, was graft that worked for the interests of his own party.

He made his money by

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Chicagoans Hit With Massive Tax Increases Over July 4 Weekend

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 11, 2016:  

It Takes Taxes and Bonds - NARA - 534022

The second installment of property taxes due from Chicagoans hit their mailboxes over Independence Day weekend, thus proving the adage that “if one didn’t like taxes without representation, he certainly won’t like taxes with representation.”

William Phillips of Rogers Park (one of 77 communities on the far north side of Chicago) was almost first in line at the assessor’s office on Tuesday, hoping to complain to someone about his bill. “Our taxes increased fivefold,” he stated. “I was expecting [them] to go up maybe twice as much but not four to five times as much.”

Right behind him was Cornes King of Chatham, who told ABC7 News:

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Day of Reckoning for Chicago Taxpayers

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 11, 2016:  

Chicago landsat image

Chicago landsat image

Chicago just experienced a great irony. Its bill for past extravagances run up by its corrupt politicians arrived over the July 4th weekend. It was of course then that Americans were celebrating Independence from British politicians seeking to impose taxes without representation.

With representation, Chicago taxpayers have allowed themselves to be saddled with taxes far exceeding those that triggered the American Revolution. The trouble is that the realization just hit home over that weekend.

The second half of 2016 property taxes was due on July 1st, and on Tuesday unhappy taxpayers were lined up outside the tax assessor’s door to complain. It was a little late. About two decades late.

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Illinois Governor Vetoes Plan to Reduce Chicago’s Pension Contributions

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 30, 2016: 

Chicago’s pension contributions to its four dreadfully underfunded pension plans were supposed to double this year to $1.1 billion, up from $478 billion in 2015. But state legislators passed a bill (which had been bottled up for nearly a year) to cut that back to under $900 million. On Friday Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (above) vetoed the bill, expressing in no uncertain terms that he was tired of politicians kicking the can down the road:

By deferring responsible funding decisions until 2021 and then extending the timeline for reaching responsible funding levels from 2040 to 2055, Chicago is borrowing against its taxpayers to the tune of $18.6 billion.

 

This practice has got to stop. If we continue, we’ve learned nothing from our past mistakes.

Those past “mistakes” have got Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a pickle.

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Detroit Report Card: Students Failing but Teachers “Highly Effective”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 2, 2015:  

Detroit’s public schools have been a tremendous failure. Four emergency managers (one of whom, Roy Roberts, is shown above) have failed to reverse staggering enrollment declines … nor are the students learning what they should. Detroit Public Schools’ students are performing far below the state average in every area measured: math, reading, writing, science and social studies.

But while Detroit’s schools have been failing to give its students even the most basic skills needed just to exist in today’s society, its teachers have supposedly been doing very well. Out of 171 members of the “leadership corps” of the DPS — superintendents, assistant superintendents, administrators, principals, and assistant principals — only one was judged to be “ineffective,” with the others getting grades of “effective” or “highly effective.”

Tom Gantert at Michigan’s Mackinac Center wrote:

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The Upside-Down World of Detroit’s Public Schools

This article was published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 2, 2015:  

Cover of "News from Lake Wobegon: Spring/...

Garrison Keillor has become an icon by reporting the news from Lake Wobegon on his radio show A Prairie Home Companion. He opens with, “Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, my hometown, out there on the edge of the prairie.” He refers to it as “the little town that time forgot, and the decades cannot improve” while he closes his show with “Well, that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

Charming but, of course, impossible. Just like Detroit’s public schools, which just celebrated the latest bad news from the Nation’s Report Card as unadulterated good news.

The Department of Education’s National Center for Education Services (NCES) just released its latest study of how Detroit’s students are performing:

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New Orleans Charter Schools Are Better, Not Perfect

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, August 25, 2015:  

Charter School of Wilmington students. Wilming...

Charter school students

Before Hurricane Katrina damaged or destroyed more than 100 of New Orleans’ 128 public schools in August 2005, Cohen College Prep (CCP) was one of the worst-performing schools in the city, with very few students graduating and fewer still being accepted into college. In the aftermath CCP was turned into a charter school, and now almost 100 percent of its students not only graduate but are accepted into college.

Results like this, appearing all across New Orleans’ charter schools, are leading many to conclude that this is Katrina’s “silver lining.”

Prior to Katrina,

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Politics and Mathematics Collide in Chicago

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 4, 2015:

English: Downtown Chicago, Illinois at night. ...

Downtown Chicago, Illinois at night.

Chicago is a microcosm of Illinois: it has a determined unwillingness to face reality. Even Moody’s, in its latest downgrade of Chicago debt, has failed to grasp the enormity of the shortfalls facing the city and the state.

Moody’s tried to be realistic, using unrealistic numbers:

[Our rating] incorporates expected growth in Chicago’s already highly-elevated unfunded pension liabilities and continued growth in costs to service those liabilities, even if recent pension reforms proceed and are not overturned….

The “expected growth” will likely surprise to the downside even the realists at Moody’s, as the real shortfall in the five pension plans the state is funding is vastly greater than even the $100+ billion the state faces. A “special pension briefing” performed back in November by the state’s Commission on Forecasting and Accountability showed the accrued liabilities on those plans to be

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Moody’s Downgrades Chicago Again

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 3, 2015:

English: in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Downtown Chicago, Illinois

Within hours of Moody’s Investors Service announcing another downgrade to Chicago’s general obligation bonds last Friday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration responded, saying that Moody’s was out of touch with reality:

We strongly disagree with Moody’s decision to reduce the city’s credit rating and would note that Moody’s has been consistently and substantially out of step with the other rating agencies [Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings], ignoring progress that has been achieved.

At the moment those other two agencies rate Chicago’s debt at A-plus or A-minus, each with a negative outlook. But in light of an imminent court ruling that could invalidate efforts to cut pension benefits, along with the crushing and increasing burden of those benefits, observers are just waiting for the next two shoes to drop.

As Moody’s noted, its downgrade will stand even if the court validates those pension modifications: 

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High-school Students Told They Could No Longer Pray During School Free Time

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 14, 2014:

In his sophomore year at Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, young Christian believer Chase Windebank decided to put his free time — formerly called “home room” but now called “seminar” time — to better use than many of his classmates. “Seminar” is an open time available to students on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to do what they wish: play video games, hang out with their friends, consult with their teachers, and so forth. He gathered a few of his Christian friends and, with the permission of the choir teacher, used his empty room to pray, read the Bible, sing, and talk about the world about them from a biblical perspective.

Soon upwards of 90 students were attending these informal meetings without one single word of protest from other students or the administration.

On September 29 that all changed. 

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.