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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 79,876

About Me

Retired teacher who sees much harm to public education from the "reforms" being pushed by corporations. Privatizing education is the wrong way to go. Children can not be treated as products, thought of in terms of profit and loss.

Journal Archives

Undermining job security, worker rights, for one union makes it easier to do the same for others.

That is happening now to teachers. It is happening under a Democratic president and his appointed Secretary of Education.

I have noticed there is little concern about this, even from those who are supportive of other unions, other public workers.

It is not popular to say that, but it is true. When teachers who have been guaranteed rights by union negotiation are fired or laid off by outside groups and their influence.....they are being deprived of their worker rights. Talking about it gets little attention.

It was easy for this to happen. When both parties stand together to destroy teachers' unions and their power.....it is considered disloyal to question it.

Why don't other unions speak out on this? I am quoting from a 2012 article in the Washington Post. The column is that of Valerie Strauss, one of the journalists currently residing under that big bus....however the article was written by someone else. She is hosting his article. Guess there is room under the bus for him as well.

The war on teachers: Why the public is watching it happen

From 2012 but true today.

Mass firings of teachers in so-called failing schools have taken place in municipalities throughout the nation and some states have made a public ritual of humiliating teachers. In Los Angeles and New York, teacher ratings based on student standardized test scores — said by many to be inaccurate — have been published by the press. As a result, great teachers have been labeled as incompetent and some are leaving the profession. A new study showed that teachers’ job satisfaction has plummeted in recent years.

Many say to themselves: “Who do teachers think they are? Why should they live so well on my tax dollars when I can barely keep my head above water? At the very least, they should feel some of the insecurity I feel every day and face the kind of performance assessments workers in the private sector deal with all the time.”

That is the same sentiment that America’s unionized blue collar workers faced in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s and ‘90’s when big corporations started closing factories and slashing wages and benefits. The non-unionized work force in big industrial states refused to rally to the defense of their unionized counterparts, and industrial unions lost battles to maintain their wage and benefit levels that allowed them to live a middle-class life style or prevent plants from relocating.

There is another more insidious consequence of the attack on teaching. Every time you undermine the job security, working conditions, and wages of one group of workers, it makes it easier for employers to undermine them for all workers. This is why, during the Depression, many unemployed people organized in support of workers on strike, even though anybody with a job in that era was relatively privileged. They believed in the concept of solidarity — the idea that working people could only progress if they did so together, and if one group of workers improved their conditions, it would ultimately improve conditions for all.

The Christian Science Monitor called this administration out on taking on teachers' unions right before the 2010 election.

Christian Science Monitor: Why is Obama taking on teachers' unions right before midterms?

The teachers' union vote is reliably Democratic. Yet before Election 2010, widely seen as a difficult one for Democrats, teachers feel that Obama is antagonizing them with his reform agenda.

Why is President Obama pushing so hard against teachers right now, weeks before the election?

..."He also pushed for a longer school year and admitted that his daughters would not get as good an education in the Washington, D.C., public schools as they get at Sidwell Friends, the private school they attend.

“I’ll be blunt with you. The answer is ‘no’ right now,” he said, when asked by a Florida woman whether Sasha and Malia could get the same quality education at a Washington school. He added that “there are some terrific individual schools in the D.C. system” but said that it is “struggling.”

And while Obama emphasized the importance of teachers – and announced plans to recruit 10,000 science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM) teachers over the next few years – he clearly seemed prepared to ruffle some union feathers.

“You’ve got to have radical change, and radical change is something that’s in the interest of students,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to identify teachers who are doing well ... and ultimately, if some teachers aren’t doing a good job, they’ve got to go.”

What was really upsetting is that early on Jeb Bush acknowledged the attack on teachers' unions...and in this video with the help of Harold Ford, hard core DLC, he effectively made teachers sound ineffective.

This was heard on Morning Joe.

This is from Morning Joe.

He actually states how pleased he is to see this administration confronting one of their core constituencies, the teachers' unions. Harold Ford, who appears to be part of the panel on Morning Joe seems to agree with Jeb. He asked if Jeb approved of the goals which demand that unions "play by a different set of rules."

I would like to say that Jeb is speaking things that are not true. Trouble is, he is right. Duncan already set up confrontations with teachers' unions and states.

Joe says to Jeb that essentially what we were hearing from Jeb in 1995 and 96 we are starting to hear from Democrats. He asks Jeb if his views will be part of the education bill next year. Jeb thinks that is true....he says that this administration's willingness to tweak the NCLB bill shows that.

When you take on one union and do away with teachers' negotiated rights, it is going to happen to others.

Arne D. lets Pearson, others make and grade tests secretly to publicly grade teachers. Unfair.

Someone at Twitter linked to this post of mine from Daily Kos in January 2012. It really hit me so hard that nothing has changed, not a damn thing. In fact things are worse than they were then.

Pearson is one of just a few companies who are controlling the education agenda, not just in this country, but internationally.

Scrutinize those who write and grade the tests that judge teachers, students, schools.

That is a lot of power given without much scrutiny...to those who formulate and grade the tests that judge so many. One of the biggest of these is Pearson, and they greatly affect many states.

Recently in the New York Times Michael Winerip told of some investigations being done about educators being treated to trips paid for by Pearson Foundation, one of the largest publishers of educational materials. That includes testing packages sold to schools and the grading of the tests as well.

New Questions About Trips Sponsored by Education Publisher

In the summer of 2010, Lu Young, the superintendent of schools in Jessamine County, a Lexington, Ky., suburb, took a trip to Australia paid for by the Pearson Foundation, a nonprofit arm of Pearson, the nation’s largest educational publisher.

Ten school superintendents went on the trip.


Six months later, in Frankfort, Ky., Ms. Young sat on a committee interviewing executives from three companies bidding to run the state’s testing program. While CTB/McGraw-Hill submitted the lowest bid, by $2.5 million, Ms. Young and the other committee members recommended Pearson.

..."For several weeks, New York State’s attorney general has been investigating similar trips involving two dozen education officials from around the country who traveled to Singapore; London; Helsinki, Finland; China and Rio de Janeiro as guests of the Pearson Foundation. The trips, and the fact that most of these officials come from states that have multimillion contracts with Pearson, were the subject of two of my columns this fall.

Last month, the attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, issued subpoenas to the Manhattan offices of the Pearson Foundation and Pearson Education. Mr. Schneiderman is looking into whether the nonprofit, tax-exempt foundation, which is prohibited by state law from undisclosed lobbying, was used to benefit Pearson Education, a profit-making company that publishes standardized tests, curriculums and textbooks, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

Pearson has a lot of influence in states like Texas and Florida. Here is more about Texas from the Texas Observer last September.

How private companies are profiting from Texas public schools.

Pearson, one of the giants of the for-profit industry that looms over public education, produces just about every product a student, teacher or school administrator in Texas might need. From textbooks to data management, professional development programs to testing systems, Pearson has it all—and all of it has a price. For statewide testing in Texas alone, the company holds a five-year contract worth nearly $500 million to create and administer exams. If students should fail those tests, Pearson offers a series of remedial-learning products to help them pass. Meanwhile, kids are likely to use textbooks from Pearson-owned publishing houses like Prentice Hall and Pearson Longman. Students who want to take virtual classes may well find themselves in a course subcontracted to Pearson. And if the student drops out, Pearson partners with the American Council on Education to offer the GED exam for a profit.

“Pearson basically becomes a complete service provider to the education system,” says David Anderson, an Austin education lobbyist whose clients include some of Pearson’s competitors.

With the prevalence of companies like Pearson operating in Texas and many other states, the U.S. education system has become increasingly privatized. In some cases, the only part of education that remains public is the school itself. Nearly every other aspect of educating children—exams, textbooks, online classes, even teacher certification—is now provided by for-profit companies.

Here is the webpage for their North America education interests. Just add the name Pearson in front of the publishing companies you used to know. Almost every textbook we used in the classroom came from one of these companies, but now there is the word Pearson preceding it.

Pearson North American Education

Pearson has the FCAT testing contract for Florida. That is the test that has decided most everything in Florida, though I hope some of that is changing.

From the Orlando Sentinel in December. There is concern about the investigations going on elsewhere, concern that Florida might be linked to some of it.

NY investigating Pearson, testing giant with FCAT contract

New York’s attorney general is looking into whether an educational foundation affiliated with Pearson — the national testing giant that has the FCAT contract — tried to improperly influence state educators by paying for them to take overseas trips, the New York Times reported yesterday.

The paper wrote: ”The office of the attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, issued subpoenas this week to the foundation and to Pearson Education seeking documents and information related to their activities with state education officials, including at least four education conferences — in London, Helsinki, Singapore and Rio de Janeiro — since 2008, according to people familiar with the investigation.

At issue is whether the activities of the tax-exempt Pearson Foundation, which is prohibited by state law from engaging in undisclosed lobbying, were used to benefit Pearson Education, a for-profit company, according to these people.”

Former Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith took a Pearson trip to Finland in 2009, though that was after the company won Florida’s contract. Pearson was one of three companies to initially apply to run Florida’s testing program but one of the applicants was deemed unqualified. A committee of state officials (Smith was not among them) and a few outside appointees (including a parent) selected Pearson over CTB/McGraw-Hill after rating the two proposals.

To sum up such a long post from 2012...Pearson was fined about 15 million in 2010 for late scores on the FCAT.

One more paragraph from the Texas Observer pretty well sums it up.

Anderson compares it to the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned of. Which makes sense, since Pearsonville does have a 1950s feel.

I call it the Educational Industrial Complex.

Accountability should not just be for teachers.

Linked to Twitter

Alex Sink said we should "dust off the Simpson-Bowles." No strong stand on Social Security.

That was enough right there to discourage some Democrats from voting. Of course she is a lot better than David Jolly, but that commission wanted to raise the retirement age to 69 by 2075. Long time off, but then she went on to sound like a deficit hawk. Jolly turned it on her very quickly, and it made for some good sound bytes.

Alex Sink's words about dusting off the Simpson Bowles recommendations:

From the Tampa Bay Times:

Alex Sink would cut Medicare funding, raise Social Security taxes?

UPDATE: The Sink campaign pushed back hard on the NRCC attack, calling it a "gross misrepresentation" to say she fully endorses Simpson Bowles. Based on an audio sent to Buzz, here is what Sink acutally said: "My approach is we have got to bring down the trillion dollar deficits. They are not sustainable. The question is how do we go about doing it. I think we go back and at least dust off the Simpson-Bowles. I’m sure I’m not going to agree with everything that was in it, but it was a bipartisan group of people who said ‘this is one path forward.’ Let’s see which aspects of that we have agreement on...."

She would have been better off not mentioning it. Even seniors in Republican districts don't want the retirement age raised.

She could have said that Social Security and Medicare should not be touched.

Here's how the Republicans used it....the irony was that this was originally their idea. They only opposed it because a Democrat said she wanted to see what parts she might like.

From Mother Jones:

GOP Group Attacks Dem for Holding Social Security Position GOPers Promoted

A few days ago, after Sink blasted her Republican opponent, David Jolly, for being a lobbyist who has worked for clients advocating the privatization of Social Security and Medicare, the NRCC struck back. Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the group, assailed Sink, Florida's former chief financial officer, for supporting the Simpson-Bowles long-term budget plan that was released in late 2010. This centrist blueprint called for raising $1 trillion in revenues via taxes and proposed measures that would squeeze money out of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, including a slow and gradual increase in the retirement age. Prill noted, "Alex Sink supports a plan that raises the retirement age for Social Security recipients, raises Social Security taxes and cuts Medicare, all while making it harder for Pinellas seniors to keep their doctors that they know and love. Sending Alex Sink to Washington guarantees that seniors right here in Pinellas County are in jeopardy of losing the Social Security and Medicare benefits that they have earned and deserve." (The congressional district Sink is vying to represent covers Pinellas County.)

Seniors of both parties remember the careless way the chairs of that commission spoke of the elderly. Here's what the Democratic co-chair said.

Social Security’s Code Words: Erskine Bowles takes the stage

"We’re going to mess with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security because if you take those off the table, you can’t get there. If we don’t make those choices, America is going to be a second-rate power, and I don’t mean in fifty years. I mean in my lifetime."

Boy does that sound dire, since Bowles already sixty-four; Simpson, for what it’s worth, is seventy-eight. A live-blog on the Web site of the Charlotte Business Journal shared more of Bowles’s thinking. “We’re going to come out of this commission not very popular. Everything is on the table,” he said.

And then there are the words of the infamous Alan Simpson, the Republican co-chair.

More on the group that will "reform" Social Security..."enormous unaccountable authority"

Simpson refers to seniors as "old cats."

“These old cats 70 and 80 years old who are not affected in one whiff. People who live in gated communities and drive their Lexus to the Perkins restaurant to get the AARP discount. This is madness.”

Here are some words from Alan Simpson in a recent Newsweek interview:

Try this: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will use up all the taxes—revenue—the government takes in this year. And to do the rest of governing we'll have to borrow, including for massive things like defense, homeland security, education. Those will be paid for by shaking a tin cup in front of the world. And China will probably be throwing more chips in the tin cup than any other country, just waiting patiently for us to expire under the debt. The people who distort the commission and try to scare people into doing nothing, let's say they win the day, and we don't do anything to try to bring down this debt. Well, great. They've got grandchildren, too, and in 40 years they'll be sucking canal water and picking grit with the chickens.

She should not have referred to this commission and its findings. There were so many other important things she could have said.

When Bill Clinton made his last minute rally calls for Alex, there were so many great and powerful issues he could have raised. Instead he said she should be elected because she would work for better cooperation between the two parties. I can't remember if he used the word bipartisan, but that was the point he was making.

That was not a good last-minute rallying call. The low turnout of Democrats probably kept her from winning. But the party and the candidates need to closely examine the reasons for such low turnout. Just blaming the left, which is a popular pastime...is not a solution.

Dean was right. Eskow was right. Dance with the ones who brought you to the dance.

Alex Sink ran a little better campaign this time than she did in the gubernatorial race. But it was still a cautious race, that was understandable. David Jolly threw caution to the winds and he danced with those who got him elected.

Candidates matter, how they speak matters, taking stands matters. Though Alex did better than before, she could not forget all the attacks coming her way. I can understand that, but it is a losing way to campaign.

Candidates' personalities matter. I detested Jolly on the issues, but oh boy did he defend those issues firmly and consistently. He was not wishy washy. Democrats can take a lesson from that.

Right after the 2010 elections Democrats had absolutely nothing to lose at all by taking the liberal stances on issues that mattered to people and affected their lives.

Instead...all we got was preaching about more "bipartisanship", getting along with the other side, even the use of the words "post partisan."

Howard Dean called it right years ago in his book called You Have the Power.

Failure of pseudo centrism? Blurring distinctions in the name of bipartisanship.

Without the involvement and commitment of people at the ground level, you don't really have a party. You have no pool from which to draw future congresspeople, senators, and presidents. And you have no genuine excitement.

..."He says "the truth is when you trade your values for the hope of winning, you end up losing and having no values--so you keep losing.

We have to reconnect to the base.

..."In recent years the Democrats, in our pursuit of big dollars, have neglected the people we're there to serve. We let our connection to our base atrophy and have forgotten, as they say in politics, who brought us to the dance. In service to a falsely named "centrism," we've sidestepped every major request from labor unions, especially on including worker protections in our free-trade agreements.

The quotes are from You Have the Power, 2004.

He was right. Too much listening to the Third Way and other think tanks.

Richard Eskow wrote this right after the 2010 elections.

A President's Choice: Resist Wall Street's 'Shock Doctrine' or Keep Listening to the Usual Suspects

The Failure of Pseudo-Centrism

We're still suffering from the massive failure of a radical, free-market-run-wild ideology that devastated the economy. The public understood that, so they gave the Democrats an enormous mandate to change economic direction. Yet just twenty months later conservatives scored a huge triumph, leaving Democrats with a choice: Continue to blur the distinction between themselves and their opponents, or lay out a clear agenda for job creation and economic growth.

Of course, that's been the choice all along. But the president and many other senior Democrats chose to take the advice of the "centrist" experts within their party by adopting unpopular Republican positions and getting nothing in return. After last night's rout, what are these experts advising? You guessed it: more of the same so-called "Centrism." That's an odd word to use for policies that most Americans oppose, like cutting Social Security or allowing bankers to enrich themselves by endangering the economy, but theirs is an Alice-in-Wonderland world.

Real centrists would defend Social Security and do more to rein in Wall Street, since those positions are popular across the political spectrum. It's a good thing the president said today that he wants to spend more time with the American people. Bankers and the Deficit Commission aren't "centrists" where most Americans live.

If Democrats want to keep passing bills that include unpopular right-wing ideas, Republicans and their Wall Street patrons will be happy to let them do it and suffer the consequences. They've done it before, most notably when they let Dems take the fall for their unconditional bailout of the big banks. We saw the results yesterday. And yet, incredibly, the usual suspects are still pushing the same failed approach.

We worked hard for Alex Sink's husband, Bill McBride, when he ran against Jeb Bush for governor. We worked with Republicans and independents, just as we did during the Dean Campaign.

McBride never did take stands, even though many of us urged him to do so. During the debate I remember that he could not distinguish himself. Was it the ones who were running his campaign and dictating how it would be done? I don't know. Alex did about the same when she ran for governor.

She should have won this time. Trouble is that David Jolly is a handsome guy, he comes across powerfully during TV interviews in spite of his terrible stances on issues. There is a lot of speculation about why Sink lost yesterday. I believe a lot of it is that candidates matter, their personalities matter, the strength of their beliefs matters.

We have tried cautious, centrist, moderate, bipartisan. We have tried being careful not to take strong stands. We have gone along with right wing policies trying to please.

It hasn't worked very well.

So sorry I missed Ed Schultz's coverage of Eva Moskowitz charters...with Diane Ravitch.

Here's the video:

The biggest education problem effecting kids

Very good coverage. Good for him.

Here are more details about Eva's attacks on de Blasio.

Charter school owner Moskowitz, Gov Cuomo battle de Blasio on free space for charters.

She was a darling of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration, given free space to expand her charter schools from a single one in Harlem into a network larger than many New York State school districts. Along the way, her Success Academy empire became a beacon of the country’s charter school movement, its seats coveted by thousands of families as chronicled in the film “Waiting for ‘Superman.’ ”

But eight years into her crusade, Eva S. Moskowitz is locked in combat with a new mayor, Bill de Blasio, who repeatedly singled her out on the campaign trail as the embodiment of what he saw was wrong in schooling, and who last week followed his word with deed, canceling plans for three of her schools in New York City while leaving virtually all other charter proposals untouched.

....Most dramatically, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lent his backing to the charter school rally, standing before cheering crowds outside the State Capitol and saying he would defend charter schools, praising Ms. Moskowitz and implicitly attacking the mayor. “We are here today to tell you that we stand with you,” Mr. Cuomo said. “You are not alone. We will save charter schools.”

de Blasio cancelled 3 of her schools while allowing 5 others to go ahead. The reason? Not one you will hear in the propaganda being spouted.

Pink Hula Hoop owns a Newark public school. Bob Braun asks future of education?

It's complicated. Writing about education reform is hard because it is not an easy read. It's made even harder when it is impossible to write about it without pointing out that it is the policy of our party as well and the GOP. George Bush could never have gotten this "reform" done because Democrats would have opposed it.

Now they don't.

Bob Braun was a reporter with the Star Ledger for nearly 50 years

For nearly 50 years, I didn’t just have a job, I had an adventure. Now it’s time for a new one. I am leaving The Star-Ledger and this is my last column for this newspaper.

When I was hired in 1964, I was 18. Mort Pye was editor. He took chances with young people. My first byline topped a story about a South Orange fundraiser for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, featuring Sammy Davis Jr. Go Google those.

Mort made me the paper’s education writer and editor in 1967. In articles and columns, I wrote about teacher strikes, the decay of urban schools, the expansion of higher education, challenges to school funding. And corruption — exposing the nominee for state schools chief who plagiarized his doctoral dissertation, the assistant commissioner who required vocational schools to buy from a company he owned. Millions in misspent federal funds. I even managed to get arrested in 1993 covering the state takeover of Newark schools.

From Bob Braun's Ledger:

The Pink Hula Hoop–Part 1: Is this the future of public schools?

Keeping public education public and out of the grasp of privatizers won’t be easy. The people behind it all make following the power and the money deliberately complicated. Consider the story of the Pink Hula Hoop, a convoluted tale of big money and insider contacts that could be the future of public education.

Pink Hula Hoop—more correctly “ Pinkhulahoop1, LLC”—is a profit-making company, one of four legal entities created to, among other things, raise money for the Team Academy Charter schools in Newark so it can buy and occupy public schools put on the auction block by the state-appointed school administration in New Jersey’s largest city. The Team Academy is considered a “region” of the better known KIPP charter schools.

....Although it is a separate limited liability company—a cross between a corporation and a partnership—the men and women who run Pink Hula Hoop are really the same people who run the charter schools. Some might call it a front organization; others would probably see it as a complex legal maneuver to help the charter schools raise cash from private and public sources.

....The property (18th Street school in Newark) was assessed by the city at nearly $10 million but, like all municipal assessments, that probably was unrealistically high. An appraisal conducted for the sale valued it at $5.3 million. Cami Anderson, the state-appointed superintendent of schools sold it to the charter school—well, to Pink Hula Hoop–for $4.3 million. She has the power to do that— by herself—under state law, as long as the state education department agrees. Which means if Christoper Cerf, the state education commissioner, agrees.

Here's some info on the Pink Hula Hoop company.


Not much there.

I did find one document that specifically stated that it owned the school in question.

It is in Microsoft Word format

This statement is about halfway down the page:

PinkHulaHoop1, LLC owns 229 18
Th Avenue and is undertaking the renovation of such

Braun yesterday followed up with more on this topic.

Pink Hula Hoop 2: Follow the money.

The Pink Hula Hoop isn’t about education. It’s about money for privatized charter schools. Money and how connections among powerful people beget more money. It starts at the top, with Gov. Chris Christie who, while starving traditional public schools of operating and construction funds, has allocated an unprecedented amount of public money to privately-operated charter schools, including TEAM Academy. Last year alone, in 2013, he allocated $125 million in construction funds to charter schools–$40 million to TEAM. In 2011 and 2012, TEAM projects, directly or indirectly, received some $30 million in public loan funds.

Getting all that public money to TEAM has required the help, not only of the governor, but also of familiar Christie allies—Michele Brown, Christie’s former assistant and mortgagor and now head of the state Economic Development Authority (EDA); the law firm of Wolff and Samson of Bridgegate fame; Christopher Cerf, the recently departed state education commissioner who was both a TEAM trustee and former business partner of Tim Carden, the head of TEAM’s trustees and former EDA board member, and, of course, Anderson, who can now impose her controversial “One Newark” plan with the taxpayer money flowing to TEAM and other charters.

They aren’t the only players, of course. Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker , who brought Anderson to Newark, was heavily involved in funding the privatization of Newark schools. It was, as he told me in an interview years ago, his “greatest passion”—an even greater passion than keeping cops on the street. Booker was rewarded with an easy path, opened by Christie, to the United States Senate where he now represents, well, whoever put him there—but not, certainly, the people of Newark.

Braun then goes on to follow the history of Pink Hula Hoop. It is long and it is complicated.

Just 2 more paragraphs as a example of how it is hard to follow.

Following this will be difficult, but hang on. FOT—Friend of Team Academy—owns buildings in which its tenant, the TEAM Academy charter schools–operates. In 2010, the EDA issues bonds for the Newark Collegiate Academy, one of those tenant charter schools. In February, 2011, FOT buys $30 million of those bonds by borrowing money from Manufacturers and Traders Trust (M&T) and The Prudential Company and by receiving an ”investment” from KIPP. KIPP is the national parent organization of TEAM charter schools. One M&T employees serves on the FOT trustee board but Hill says he recuses himself from votes that deal with M&T.

In December, 2011, FOT’s wholly-owned subsidiary, FOTA Finance 1 LLC, buys $25 million in EDA Bonds and loaned the bonds themselves to Kingston Educational Holdings. To do that, it borrowed the money from Goldman Sachs and received another “investment” from KIPP.

Rural FL town writes $600,000 in traffic tickets. Can't account for money. 1 cop for 25 citizens

Be sure to watch the video. There are many more outrages in the video that are not in the story. One of the officers would get out of his car on a traffic stop with an AR15 strapped on his shoulder and wearing tactical gear.

From CNN

Speed trap city accused of corruption, threatened with extinction

Hampton, Florida (CNN) -- How off-the-charts corrupt do you have to be to capture somebody's attention in the Sunshine State?

You can lay claim to a 1,260-foot stretch of busy highway a mile outside of town and set up one of the nation's most notorious speed traps. You can use the ticket money to build up a mighty police force -- an officer for every 25 people in town -- and, residents say, let drugs run rampant while your cops sit out by the highway on lawn chairs, pointing radar guns at everybody who passes by.

..."It became 'serve and collect' instead of 'serve and protect.' Cash register justice," said Sheriff Gordon Smith. "Do y'all remember the old 'Dukes of Hazzard'? Boss Hogg? They make Boss Hogg look like a Sunday school teacher."

...Hampton cops were a fixture out on U.S. 301. They sat on lawn chairs, pointing radar guns at unsuspecting motorists. They hid behind recycling bins. As more and more money came in, they idled in slick SUVs, trolled the median strips in riot gear and toted state-of-the-art firepower. Locals gave one the nickname "Rambo" because he slung an AR-15 rifle across his chest.

More from The Gawker

Welcome to Hampton, the Most Corrupt Little Town in Florida

A little landlocked city in Florida is so outrageously corrupt that state officials are trying to abolish it.

And critics say the small town exists solely so that its police force can control a 1,260-foot stretch of highway that they've turned into a speed trap, reaping hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

According to the audit, the city racked up around two dozen violations, including:

Failure to track where the ticketing revenue went.
Lax controls and terrible record-keeping led to one clerk getting overpaid nearly $9,000.
Misuse of city credit cards: city employees charged more than $27,000 "with no public purpose" and racked up a $132,000 bill at a convenience store next to City Hall.
Failure to keep records of assigned vehicles for employees.
Uninsured city police cars.
City officials admitted other records were "lost in a swamp."
A crumbling water infrastructure, with nearly half the water supply lost.

"It's like something out of a Southern Gothic novel," state senator Rob Bradley, whose district includes Hampton, told Time.

At Bartcop. From the Bartblog about the pearly gates. Moving.

This is beautiful.

In Memory Of.....

St. Peter was closing the gate when newly arrived Rufus asked, “You let HIM in?”

“Yes, the boss ordered it done.”

“You do realize he ranted all the time about organized religion and called them all kinds of names…”

“So does the boss.”

“I’m pretty sure if he wasn’t an atheist he was at least an agnostic.”

“With all the stuff said, done and claimed in his name, the boss can’t blame him.

Then the post says "the boss" even let him put something on the gates as he entered.

As a recovering Southern Baptist I understand the harm often done by organized religion. I remember when Bartcop and I talked on the phone in the early 2000's. We were discussing the lead up to the Iraq invasion, and I mentioned how my then church was supporting the "holy war" from the pulpit. That got him started. What a conversation.

Yes, I am sure "the boss" understands.

Charter school owner Moskowitz, Gov Cuomo battle de Blasio on free space for charters.

Eva Moskowitz has been moving her charter schools, Success Academies, into public school buildings at no cost to her. She has been pretty much taking over the space she wanted, and pushing the public school students and teachers aside.

Mayor de Blasio is taking steps against this, and she is even considering a lawsuit against him. With Cuomo beside her she is getting great support in the media.

De Blasio and Operator of Charter School Empire Do Battle

Eva S. Moskowitz, left, founder of Success Academy Charter Schools, led a rally Tuesday in Albany, while Mayor Bill de Blasio, who differs with her, led a separate demonstration. Credit Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

She was a darling of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration, given free space to expand her charter schools from a single one in Harlem into a network larger than many New York State school districts. Along the way, her Success Academy empire became a beacon of the country’s charter school movement, its seats coveted by thousands of families as chronicled in the film “Waiting for ‘Superman.’ ”

But eight years into her crusade, Eva S. Moskowitz is locked in combat with a new mayor, Bill de Blasio, who repeatedly singled her out on the campaign trail as the embodiment of what he saw was wrong in schooling, and who last week followed his word with deed, canceling plans for three of her schools in New York City while leaving virtually all other charter proposals untouched.

....Most dramatically, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lent his backing to the charter school rally, standing before cheering crowds outside the State Capitol and saying he would defend charter schools, praising Ms. Moskowitz and implicitly attacking the mayor. “We are here today to tell you that we stand with you,” Mr. Cuomo said. “You are not alone. We will save charter schools.”

de Blasio cancelled 3 of her schools while allowing 5 others to go ahead. The reason? Not one you will hear in the propaganda being spouted.

The mayor’s office noted that while it canceled plans for three Success charter schools last week, it allowed five more to open as planned. It said that it withdrew space from the three not out of animus toward Ms. Moskowitz, but because those schools would have placed elementary school students with high school students or cut programs for students with disabilities.

Moskowitz will keep fighting with the governor by her side for this issue which greatly affects the public school spaces which she takes over. She often gets the choice parts of the building and the public school students are pushed aside.

Moskowitz is on a warpath against de Blasio, exploring all options — including a lawsuit — to keep open three Success Academy schools that serve nearly 200 Harlem kids.

Alfred Giancarli for New York Daily News

Eva Moskowitz will continue to fight for her Success Academy network — even if it means taking the mayor to court.

Embattled education crusader Eva Moskowitz vowed Thursday to do whatever it takes to salvage the education of nearly 200 Harlem kids whose high-performing charter school was booted from public space by Mayor de Blasio.

De Blasio revoked the city’s offer of free classrooms for Success Academy Harlem Central Middle School last week, arguing it would displace crucial programs for disabled students.

Gov. Cuomo, speaking Thursday on public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom,” said he was seeking a “legislative fix” to the thorny issue of co-locations. He wouldn’t say if that means more money in the budget for charters.

Cuomo suggested it may be necessary to make a “technical” change to the state law that gives the mayor control of the city’s schools in order to provide protection to charter schools.

Tim Roske/AP
Gov. Cuomo said he is working on a 'legislative fix' to help charter schools.

Mayoral control has been supported by education reformers for ages. Arne supports it, Rahm supports it....now Cuomo will try to change the policy because the new mayor isn't going to give Eva Moskowitz free rein.

More on Moskowitz.

NY teacher blogger calls out NBC4 News for charter school propaganda.

Eva Moskowitz heads the Success Academy Charter schools. Under Bloomberg this group moved freely into public school buildings, taking over space and pushing the public school students and teachers aside.

Apparently NBC4 News simply spouted out the PR favorable to her academy and did no research at all.

To Whom It May Concern

I just watched what appeared to be a commercial for Eva Moskowitz charter schools, introduced by your anchor as a "war on charters." I saw no mention that de Blasio had closed fewer than one quarter of the colocations Bloomberg pushed through. I saw no mention of the charters, including the Moskowitz charters, that were not closed. Nor was there any mention of attrition at Moskowitz charters, or the fact that they do not take a representative selection of city kids.

Those who rely on your newscast for information are most certainly not getting the full story.

I teach ESL students. My school takes just about every ESL student that walks through our doors, regardless of level. And if they know very little, they end up in my beginning class. How many beginning level ESL students do you suppose attend the Success Academies? Has it even occurred to you to ask? We also take kids with all sorts of special needs, including alternate assessment kids who we do not expect to graduate with Regents diplomas. How many of those kids attend the charters you filmed with such reverence?

When Eva Moskowitz accepts the same kids we do, when they stay for their entire scholastic careers, when she opens her books to the same audits we're subject to, then we'll have something to discuss.

Here's a little bit about what happens when Eva and her academies move into a school. They simply take over. Rent free.

Eva Moskowitz moves charter school into another public school's space, boots them from classrooms.

The "Eva" Empire has expanded to the Bronx, bringing a Harlem turf war for school space into the borough. Eva Moskowitz, the City Council member-turned-charter school CEO, has opened two new academies from her charter school franchise, Success Charter Network, inside Public School 30 in Mott Haven, and PS 146 in Morrisania. And Bronx Success Academies 1 and 2 are already ruffling feathers with district school staffers.

..."Staffers at the district schools say their new neighbors have booted them from classrooms and stairwells, while sharing the libraries, cafeterias and playgrounds.

...."Staffers at PS 30 say Bronx Success 1 sealed off the third floor to its staff and students - even taking over a stairwell - so Success students don't mingle with their district school neighbors.

"We are not allowed there," said one PS 30 teacher, noting the classrooms taken over by Success were formerly used for tutoring children with special needs. Now we have to do therapy sessions in the hallway."

And Eva is not exactly fond of students who are not totally in step with their goals. They have ways of "counseling out" those students who don't conform.

One of their principals had this to say about special education students.

At Harlem Success, disability is a dirty word. “I’m not a big believer in special ed,” Fucaloro says. For many children who arrive with individualized education programs, or IEPs, he goes on, the real issues are “maturity and undoing what the parents allow the kids to do in the house—usually mama—and I reverse that right away.” When remediation falls short, according to sources in and around the network, families are counseled out. “Eva told us that the school is not a social-service agency,” says the Harlem Success teacher. “That was an actual quote.”

That same principal said their goal was to make all the students little "test-taking machines".

Quoting an extra paragraph because it is from a former post of mine, and I give permission to use it. The passages are from different articles.

“We have a gap to close, so I want the kids on edge, constantly,” Fucaloro adds. “By the time test day came, they were like little test-taking machines.”

That is their goal? Turning kids into test-taking machines?

Good for teacher Arthur Goldstein for speaking out about this propaganda.
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