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madfloridian

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Florida
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 81,330

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

Today I started to post a quote from an article by Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian UK

Before I post I usually do a search to determine the atmosphere on a particular topic. Since I am just starting to post here again after a year, I try not to post stuff to cause anger.

But wow! After so many sentiments effectively saying f*** Greenwald because he criticized the president....I started not to post the segment. I have changed my mind because the statement was made by a Florida blogger and MSNBC contributor. I will take my chances. It should get notice for the snide insult and the ugly tone toward Bradley Manning. Whatever a person's views of what he did, he does not deserve this kind of scorn.

Here's what I twittered about the article.

Retweeting Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald ‏@ggreenwald

Here's an Op-Ed I have in tomorrow's Guardian newspaper on what was revealed by the Bradley Manning hearing this week http://is.gd/WpqAcf


Here's the quote from the Guardian article.

Ever since I first reported the conditions of Manning's detention in December 2010, many of them not only cheered that abuse but grotesquely ridiculed concerns about it. Joy-Ann Reid, a former Obama press aide and now a contributor on the progressive network MSNBC, spouted sadistic mockery in response to the report: "Bradley Manning has no pillow?????" With that, she echoed one of the most extreme rightwing websites, RedState, which identically mocked the report: "Give Bradley Manning his pillow and blankie back."


That statement disturbed me, though I respected her as a blogger and often quoted her. I will remember it whenever I watch her on TV. I will try not to do so, but it will stick with me.

I don't have to agree with all Glenn Greenwald says, but I have read his work for years. I respect that he digs for his research, and that he is brave enough to post unpopular topics. That's how it should be at such a forum as this...we can discuss ideas without condemning someone.

I wrote sort of a good by post last December. A lot of people were having the same feelings. I thought of it today as I was doing more reading here, it stuck in my mind. I post about education mainly, and it often angers people when I say it is both parties involved in privatizing public education. It is the truth. There are many other bloggers here who have researched as well, and there is no doubt that the next four years for education are critical.

I and many others love the fact that education should be equal and free, and that instead of taking funds and resources away from public schools.....we should be giving to them.

Coming to DU in 2002 as more moderate and centrist....now finding that I am too liberal to fit in.

I really felt out of place here then a lot. I came from a Republican background (my parents were the first Democrats in the family). I began to realize how very little I knew of the world beyond my teaching career and raising my family. There wasn't much time for exploration of ideas outside of my re-certification classes, and my eyes were opened here every day.

I would read things and there would be a light bulb going on in my head. I would say to myself hey that is what I believe is true. I would wonder why I never read about any of this stuff in the newspapers. I was often out of my depth and probably thought of as arrogant in topics of tolerance of others. I was learning new things here every day, and my mind was taking it all in. I became less tolerant of who I had been and was more liberal every day.

I now find myself at the opposite end at this forum on the spectrum of opinion and political policies and ideas. I am stunned at how easily we now accept what we would fought hard against here 10 years ago. I find that most will accept ideas that are basically right wing in nature if our party does it as well. That scares me.

...."Over and over there are moves against experienced, tenured teachers by the education reformers. There is no major Democrat speaking out in defense of them. It is the position taken by the Republican party through the years....privatize the schools. We are doing it faster than they ever did, and I hate to say it...but the Bushes never allowed the contempt of public school teachers to take hold like this.


There has been no acknowledgement from any leader in either party that teachers have become fearful about their jobs as the billionaire reformers move in. Not a single word. Arne Duncan has said he will continue on the same path of reforms. That's a scary thought.

So I posted a quote from Greenwald's article because I was stunned to read it. If you want to read the rest of today's article from the Guardian, you might be impressed. You may not agree with all of it, but that's how being informed works.





Jindal's remarks on the voucher ruling. Calls it is travesty.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2012/11/30/la-judge-bobby-jindal-school-voucher-program-unconstitutional/

Jindal (R-La.), who is frequently touted as a potential contender in the 2016 Republican presidential race, pushed the legislation through the state’s legislature in April. Two statewide teachers’ associations and a group of school boards filed legal challenges shortly thereafter.

Jindal said in a statement Friday afternoon that he would appeal the ruling.

In addition to the lawsuits, the program was criticized for letting students attend religious schools that teach Young Earth Creationism — the belief that the universe is no older than 10,000 years.

“Today’s ruling is wrong-headed and a travesty for parents across Louisiana who want nothing more than for their children to have an equal opportunity at receiving a great education,” Jindal said. “This ruling changes nothing for the students currently in the program. All along, we expected this to be decided by the Louisiana Supreme Court.”


Gov. Jindal's private school voucher program ruled unconstitutional.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/la-gov-jindals-private-school-tuition-voucher-program-ruled-unconstitutional-by-state-judge/2012/11/30/403804c2-3b2e-11e2-9258-ac7c78d5c680_story.html

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program that uses tax dollars to send students to private schools was ruled unconstitutional Friday by a state judge who said it’s improperly funded through the public school financing formula.

Judge Tim Kelley sided with arguments presented by teacher unions and school boards seeking to shut down the voucher program and other changes that would funnel more money away from traditional public schools.

More than 4,900 students are enrolled in 117 private schools with taxpayer dollars, in one of the largest voucher programs in the nation.

The judge said the method the Jindal administration, state education leaders and lawmakers used to pay for the voucher program violates state constitutional provisions governing the annual education funding formula, called the Minimum Foundation Program or MFP.


Chicago Teachers Union: School district causing segregation with closings and charter schools.

http://www.wgnradio.com/news/top/wgntv-ctu-report-accuses-school-district-of-segregation-20121130,0,5711519.story

CHICAGO—
The Chicago Teachers Union released a report Friday accusing public schools officials of boosting charter schools, at the expense of African-American public school students.

.."The union report, titled "The Black and White of Education in Chicago's Public Schools," says that CPS under-utilizes schools on purpose, in order to create more opportunities for privately run charter schools.

The report goes on to say that school closings disproportionately hurt African-American students, creating segregation and "educational apartheid."

According to the report, over 80 percent of schools affected by closings had a student body that was overwhelmingly made up by people of color.


Glad to see them speaking out on this. Good for the CTU.

The Orlando Sentinel last year wrote about this same problem going on in Florida.

Orlando Sentinel: Florida charter schools are causing resegregation by race and ethnicity.

Segregation is making a comeback in Florida's public schools with the new wave of charter schools springing up across the state.

One out of eight charter schools has a student body with 90 percent or more of a single race or ethnicity, an Orlando Sentinel analysis of the state's 456 taxpayer-financed charters shows. That compares with one out of 12 traditional public schools.

Those top heavy charters are adding to the list of out-of-balance public schools that have perplexed educators since integration 40 years ago. Educators have worked for decades to reduce the imbalance through rezoning, school-transfer options, magnet schools and other devices to shift students and make schools more diverse.

But the charter trend is toward segregation, and more of the charters with skewed enrollments may be on the way. Charter supporters say they have the best intentions and are following state law. Besides, they argue, students are not being forced to attend schools favoring one race or ethnicity. Parents make that choice, they say.


2004 Grover Norquist, Glory Days? Soul of the New Machine.

In 2004 Mother Jones had an article about Grover Norquist titled The Soul of the New Machine. The article referred back to one by Michael Scherer in the 1990s.

I find myself wondering why and how someone like Michelle Rhee has gained so much power to influence education. Why does media pander to her and never criticize? I have often wondered the same about Grover Norquist. How in the world did he get so many politicians to bow to his no tax pledge. Who was behind their power plays?

I guess the answer in both cases would be money and behind the scenes power brokers. And the lack of a strong opposition hasn't helped. Too much bipartisanship?

From Mother Jones 2004:

Grover Norquist: The Soul of the New Machine

"It's the most powerful, nihilistic movement in Washington today," says Ralph Nader, who recently attended one of Norquist's meetings to give his views on corporate welfare. "It is such a cold-blooded atmosphere it would sustain icicles."

The same spirit that chills Nader warms the heart of Norquist. When he founded his weekly Wednesday meeting in 1993, its numbers rarely brooked a dozen. "It was like a conservative version of Seinfeld," says an attendee of those early meetings, "with people double-dipping into the bagels and cream cheese." But conservatives, with Norquist as one of their pre-eminent strategists, have since overtaken the capital. Once a consigliere to Newt Gingrich, Norquist now has the ear of Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, who has been known to stop in at the Wednesday meetings. In turn, Norquist plays the role of national ward boss, delivering the coalition that has rallied around the president's policy agenda."


Norquist's agenda reeks of rigid libertarianism, even the name of his group.

"Norquist calls it the "Leave-Us-Alone Coalition," a grouping of gun owners, the Christian right, homeschoolers, libertarians, and business leaders that he has almost single-handedly managed to unite. The common vision: an America in which the rich will be taxed at the same rates as the poor, where capital is freed from government constraints, where government services are turned over to the free market, where the minimum wage is repealed, unions are made irrelevant, and law-abiding citizens can pack handguns in every state and town. "My ideal citizen is the self-employed, homeschooling, IRA-owning guy with a concealed-carry permit," says Norquist. "Because that person doesn't need the goddamn government for anything."


The closing paragraph of the article is like a snapshot of today's America. It's amazing how he succeeded in reaching so many of his goals.

"By the age of 12, he already knew that government was bad, that the Soviet Union must be eliminated, that public monopolies were worse than the private sector, that social freedom was more important than social fairness. He isn't about to change his mind now. "We are deadly serious," he declares. "We do intend to have a smaller and less intrusive government, and every time the government gets smaller there are fewer Democratic precinct workers in the world." It is, he says, a virtuous cycle. "We can create our own majorities. We've been doing that for the last 20 years. And I'm cheerful because my team is winning."


It's a full two pages to read, but it is well worth it to see what can happen in just over a decade or so of Democrats using the philosophy of the centrist think tanks like the DLC and the Third Way.

Bipartisanship with extremists has not worked, and it is a truly dangerous game to play.



Friedman: Negotiating with Putin, Netanyahu would be easy compared to Chicago Teachers Union.

Thomas Friedman today seemed to say that Education Secretary Arne Duncan would be a great Secretary of State because he survived negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union.

He claims he is not really serious, but it is so ludicrous to even mention it. It is rather insulting to teachers also.

He implies that Arne Duncan can be considered a leading authority on the world's education. In my mind Arne Duncan is a tool of the Billionaire Boys' Club who are taking over our schools.

I have to assume he is serious, otherwise he would have labeled it satire.

My Secretary of State

Let’s start with the obvious. A big part of the job is negotiating. Well, anyone who has negotiated with the Chicago Teachers Union, as Duncan did when he was superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools before going to Washington, would find negotiating with the Russians and Chinese a day at the beach. A big part of being secretary of education (and secretary of state) is getting allies and adversaries to agree on things they normally wouldn’t — and making them think that it was all their idea. Trust me, if you can cut such deals with Randi Weingarten, who is president of the American Federation of Teachers, you can do them with Vladimir Putin and Bibi Netanyahu.

..." To have a secretary of state who is one of the world’s leading authorities on education, well, everyone would want to talk to him.
For instance, it would be very helpful to have a secretary of state who can start a negotiating session with Hamas leaders (if we ever talk with them) by asking: “Do you know how far behind your kids are?” That might actually work better than: “Why don’t you recognize Israel?”


There is an interesting post in the Comments section

"As we are seeing in Egypt, suddenly creating a mass democracy without improving mass education is highly unstable."

You bought the propaganda line. That's nonsense.

Egypt did vastly improve mass education, and that is where the mass democracy movement came from. That vegetable cart guy in Tunisia who started this by burning himself had a college engineering degree, and no hope of using it. That is true all across the Arab world. What illiteracy there remains is the old generation, whose children and grandchildren we educated because that older generation made a real effort to get them educated.

They don't lack education. That is just what their enemies slime them with.


Whatever Friedman was trying to say, he did not say it very well.

Crossposted at Twitter

FL columnist points out FL absurdities that make our state "unique". Well, weird, really.

Frank Cerabino of the Palm Beach Post managed to fit a lot of the outrageous things that happen here in one post, things that make Florida unique among states. He could not possibly have gotten all of them included, and a few paragraphs do not do his column justice.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/local/snowbirds-youve-missed-a-lot-since-we-saw-you-last/nTFGJ/

Snowbirds, you’ve missed a lot since we saw you last

So while you were gone, we’ve added a 12th public university in Florida while also cutting $300 million to the university system. I know it doesn’t make sense.

Like shutting down the state’s only tuberculosis hospital during a TB outbreak. You may have missed that one, too.

..."Oh, well. Speaking of disappointments, Gov. Voldemort has not been recalled to his home planet yet. But fortunately, he hasn’t been able to probe us to his heart’s content with urine testing and corporate raidering in the form of more prison and school privatization.

And remember George Zimmerman, that neighborhood watch guy in Sanford who shot that unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, and relied on the state’s “stand your ground” law to justify the killing? Yeah, nothing’s happened with that either, unless you count the state’s formation of a panel to give its endorsement to that crazy law.


He also mentions the school prayer law that is "so unconstitutional that the Florida School Boards Association is recommending that all the public schools in the state just ignore the law."

Florida...things are different here.

2010 Ireland's president totally blasts Tea Party type radio host.

Note from You Tube:

This is an edited version of the exchange - you can hear it all here: http://media.newstalk.ie/extra/1602/popup

From May 2010, an exchange between Michael D Higgins (who was elected President of Ireland last year) and Tea Party-loving radio guy Michael Graham on Irish radio station Newstalk 106-108fm.

Apologies for closing the comments on the video, I tried opening them before but was inundated with racist bile from deranged Tea Party supporters (by the way: it's 'Muslim', not 'muslin', and it's 'Kenya', not 'kenyah') .... and life's too short for that. Sorry, haven't the time to be wading through them all, you can comment on any of the sites where the video is appearing. Thanks.


This truly moved me to tears. The video has been posted before, but we should expect our party to listen to this and speak this powerfully. No more wishy washy.

Florida wants to raise property taxes to pay for more charter schools, yet public schools lack funds

Our public schools are greatly in need of resources now. Yet here is a state panel recommending that our taxes go up to fund more charter schools.

If our property taxes go up, the public schools should benefit. I don't want my taxpayer money used for education services that will be turned over to private companies that lack any local control.

http://www.news-press.com/article/20121115/NEWS0104/311150021/1009/NEWS0107/Education-panel-backs-property-tax-hike?odyssey=nav

A state-appointed education task force is recommending increasing property taxes in an attempt to make funding more equitable between charter and traditional schools.

Traditional and charter schools are growing, yet property values have remained low since the recession. The K-12 Public School Facility Funding Task Force, which met this month, would recommend providing more funding for all public schools to meet growth needs.

The proposal asks the Legislature to identify a reliable source of money for charter schools because they do not get any property tax money. It also asks that school boards get the ability to levy an additional 50 cents per $1,000 in taxable property value for building construction and maintenance. Now it’s capped at $1.50. However, the proposal would mandate that 25 cents of that additional 50 cents goes to charter schools.


Even though many call themselves "public charter schools", they are not able to be regulated by local school boards.

The article is correct. It is "siphoning public money to go to private entities".

This is really an unfair push by education "reformers". Many charter schools in Florida are closing for failing grades or financial failure. One charter school in Orange County, FL that was closed put the principal first and the students last.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/11/03/1154823/-FL-failed-charter-school-did-without-computers-library-or-cafeteria-Principal-got-824-000

"While Young was getting a handsome salary, the school, made up of concrete portables, lacked computers, a library or a cafeteria for some 180 mostly at-risk and underprivileged students.

..."The principal in question not only received a $519,000 severance check, but she took home her $305,000 annual salary for a grand total of $824,000 during the 2010-2011 school year. The Orlando Sentinel also reported last week the school only spent $366,000 on teacher salaries and instruction during that school year. Nothing can justify that imbalance, especially for the leader of a charter that failed."


There are other examples, but one is very recent in Lee County, Florida.

http://www.news-press.com/article/20121108/NEWS0104/311080034/Lee-County-School-Board-close-another-charter-school?nclick_check=1

We’re having these situations, it’s almost a regular thing for charter schools,” said board member Jeanne Dozier, referring to Richard Milburn Academy. “We’re talking about kids here, this is not a business. This is not an easy task for us, it’s not something we want to do.”

..."The school hadn’t submitted a financial audit or an approved corrective action plan detailing finances from as early as February. The school initially submitted an action plan, but it wasn’t in compliance with state statute. Currently the corrective action plan is three months overdue and the annual financial audit is two months overdue, said Keith Martin, the board’s attorney.

.."According to the district, as of Jan. 31 the school had an accounts payable balance of $146,637, an operating fund balance of $1,311 and the school’s net loss was $113,788.


Imagine running a public school with such carelessness.

The company that manages the school refuses to respond to the county's queries.

There were two other charter schools closed for questionable financial dealings.

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/8431

I read the word "error" in the article, but that is not an error. It is not just an error when the school reports that 465 students were in a course, yet they can only document 13 students. That's just dishonest and fraudulent.

North Nicholas High and Coronado High schools reported inaccurate numbers of students participating in on-the-job training programs, the state audit shows.

An audit of Coronado High School found there was no documentation to show 465 students participated in an on-the-job course. In a letter from Coronado Principal Arthur Nauss to the Florida auditor general, the school could provide documentation of 13 students in the course.

..."The district’s preliminary estimates show North Nicholas owes $204,236 and Coronado owes $267,543, based on per-student funding from 2011, said Lee County schools Budget Director Ami Desamours.


Claiming 465 students while only proving 13 students? That is no mistake.

That was taxpayer money they owed. And now the state panel is trying to raise our taxes to pay for more shenanigans like this.

It appears only public school teachers have to be accountable. The reformers can get away with anything.

Crossposted at Twitter

Broad Foundation revealed it allied with president of teachers' union from the start.

That is called infiltrating.

From the 2009 annual report of the Broad Foundation, one of the major groups pushing education "reform" and charter schools. They admit they as much as enlisted Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, from their beginning and have allied with her quite often.

This is how the groups that fund the education reforms have infiltrated the unions without anyone noticing.

" Teacher unions have always been a formidable voice in public
education. We decided at the onset of our work to invest in
smart, progressive labor leaders like Randi Weingarten, head of
the United Federation of Teachers in New York City for more
than a decade and now president of the American Federation
of Teachers (AFT).
We partnered with Weingarten to fund two
union-run charter schools in Brooklyn and to fund New York
City’s first incentive-based compensation program for schools,
as well as the AFT’s Innovation Fund. We had previously
helped advance pay for performance programs in Denver and
Houston, but we were particularly encouraged to see New York
City embrace the plan."
Page 11 Broad Report


Not just Randi Weingarten. Andy Stern of the SEIU is a member of the Broad Foundation.

Slick Broad Foundation Roped in Andy Stern -Scoop From Ravitch

Eli Broad and his billionaire buddies Bill Gates and the Waltons can be very good with coloring education deform policies with "liberal" or "civil rights" language.

So it is no surprise that Broad's foundation chose blue dog Democratic congressman Harold Ford (TN) or Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), to shore up the liberal credentials.

But WHY did Andy Stern have to join the Broad Foundation, an organization so antithetical to education workers' interests? He could have turned it down. By signing up he gives the impression that organized labor is fine with collaborating with a foundation that drives the education deform or stand-on-children abuse of school policy, teachers and children.

..."But why couldn't Stern practice some labor solidarity and keep more than a 10 foot pole's distance from the noxious company of the Broad Foundation?


Diana Ravitch's blog from July listed some of the outrageous antics of the Broad Institute grads who make their ways to the schools as superintendents and other leaders. She also lists some of them.

Does the Public Have a Right to Know about Broad Academy?

A Broad-trained superintendent in North Carolina left Michelle Rhee’s team and was hired by a Tea Party majority of the local school board in Wake County, North Carolina that wanted to eliminate the district’s successful desegregation policy, even if it meant resegregation of the schools. That board was ousted last fall. The superintendent has stayed on, and the choice plan now in effect seems likely to undo years of work to avoid resegregation. The schools of Wake County were lauded (before the Tea Party takeover) as a model of desegregation by Gerald Grant in his excellent book, Hope and Despair in the American City: Why There Are No Bad Schools in Raleigh.

Chris Cerf in New Jersey was trained by Broad. So was Deborah Gist in Rhode Island, John White in Louisiana, J.C. Brizard in Chicago, and John Covington in Michigan. when Philadelphia picked a new superintendent recently, the two finalists were both Broadies. And there are many more. Read about them here.

Now that the Broad Foundation “trains” so many new superintendents, doesn’t the public have a right to know what the Broad Academy is teaching its students?



When I once posted that Randi Weingarten was on the faculty of Broad superintendent's academy I caught some flak.

However these superintendents who are trained and sent out with so much money and power behind them will most certainly have their loyalties defined in advance.

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