Posts Tagged ‘Waiting for Superman’

Republicans Care About Children; Democrats Care About Teachers’ Union Boondoggle

June 29, 2011

A tale of two narratives:

Waiting for Superman:

Waiting for the Teachers’ Union
By Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education
Posted: September 24, 2010 04:52 PM

If you do one thing this weekend, go see Davis Guggenheim’s latest documentary, “Waiting for ‘Superman’ “, which opens in theaters across the country today. The film, which has been met with well-deserved critical acclaim, paints a blunt and at times heartbreaking picture of the state of public education in America, told through the stories of families fighting to get their children into safe, high-performing schools.

First, it’s a terrific film.  But more importantly, it has helped catapult the debate on education reform to the national stage.

It’s not surprising that the film is making many people uncomfortable. The truth is harsh. It’s easier to turn away than to watch a crying mom clutch a losing lottery ticket that just cost her child a spot at a top-performing charter school.

What is surprising is that some — including the teachers’ unions — are railing against the film, dismissing it as anti-teacher and pro-charter school propaganda.

‘Superman’ is not anti-teacher; nor does it suggest that charter schools are the answer.  Teachers are the heroes of any education success story, and ‘Superman’ recognizes that. It also recognizes that there are good charters schools and bad charters schools. But it demonstrates that charters are finally providing families in traditionally disadvantaged communities with more choices — something affluent families have always had — thus increasing the chances for better outcomes. And the most successful charters, like the Harlem Children’s Zone schools that are run by Geoff Canada, who stars in the film, or the KIPP schools featured in it, are proving that success doesn’t depend upon where you come from, or the color of your skin, or how much money your family has — because they are getting real results in the poorest communities.

For example, this year, at the Harlem Success Academy, a charter school in New York City, 88 percent of the students passed the state’s reading test and 95 percent passed the math test, while comparable schools have pass rates of 35 percent in reading and 45 percent in math. In fact, Success performed at the same level as the very top gifted and talented schools in the City, all of which have demanding admissions requirements, while Success selects by lottery from primarily African-American and Latino students, three quarters of whom are living in poverty.

So why are they able to get better results? The number one reason is because they are not bound by legions of micro-managing regulations, including those contained in today’s typical teachers’ union contract.

Free from these rules, charter schools in New York can treat their teachers like professionals and reward them for excellence. They embrace an accountability system based on merit.  They understand that, like any other profession, all teachers are not created equal. And, they value the future of the kids above the future of the adults.  Which means if you are teaching in one of Geoff Canada’s schools, and your kids keep failing, you’re out.

It’s been nearly 30 years since President Reagan presented “A Nation at Risk.” In the meantime, our nation has almost doubled its spending (in inflation-adjusted dollars) on K-12 public education, but our gains have been negligible. And, while America’s students are in a ditch, the rest of the world is plowing forward. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development administers English, math and science tests to 13 year olds in its 30 member countries. On the most recent exams, the United States was in the bottom third in all three, and trending in the wrong direction in each one. And, where we once had the highest percentage of high school and college graduates among these 30 countries, today we’re toward the bottom for high school graduates and in the middle for college graduates.

We can’t keep ignoring this problem or thinking it’ll get fixed simply by throwing money at it.

Public education is badly failing far too many of our kids and, ultimately, our nation. We must, as Superman does, talk honestly about this uncomfortable fact and why it persists. And that discussion can only begin in earnest if we are prepared to acknowledge what the iconic teachers’ union head Albert Shanker told us almost two decades ago: “As long as there are no consequences if kids or adults don’t perform, as long as the discussion is not about education and student outcomes, then we’re playing a game as to who has the power.” Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much since then.

Only recently, for example, the General Counsel of the NEA, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, said:

Why is the NEA an effective advocate? Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas; it is not because of the merit of our positions; it is not because we care about children; and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child.The NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of million of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them; the union that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.

I am not naïve enough to think that a movie can change the world. But “Waiting for ‘Superman’ ” does shine a much-needed spotlight on the status quo and the people who benefit from and defend it.

And it reminds us all that our job is to give voice to the voiceless and the powerless kids that are currently being denied the education they need and deserve. Because, let’s face it — they can’t afford union dues.

If you watch this movie and you AREN’T a KoolAid-drinking ideologue, you will be enraged at what the teachers’ unions are doing to our children.

It was featured on Oprah (here and here).  It was utterly devastating to watch as Michelle Rhee stood up for children and said:

“[The problem is terminal right now] because it is incredibly serious.  Children’s lives are hanging in the balance, and we are making all the wrong decisions right now.  Let me give you an example: people say to me all the time, ‘Oh, Chancellor Rhee, you’re so mean; you’re so harsh.  You know, if there is an ineffective teacher, don’t you believe that that person should be given the opportunity, give them some time, give them the resources to professionally develop them.  But I look at this from the vantage point of being a mother, too, because I have two young children.  I can tell you that if I showed up for school on day one and the principal said, ‘Welcome to Olivia’s class, here’s her teacher.  Guess what?  She’s not so good.  But we’re going to give her this year to see if she can get better, and Olivia and her classmates may not learn how to read this year, but we think that’s the right thing to do for this adult.’  There is no way I would put up with that.”

And of course she is out of a job.  And liberals say, “How DARE she talk like that!  She should be dragged into the street and killed.”

Democrats are in an unholy alliance with the teachers’ unions.  And teachers’ unions are in an unholy alliance with bad teachers, because they (and not the children) belong to the unions and pay union dues and are part of the system that funds Democrats so that Democrats can stay in office and reward the teachers’ unions.

Among other relevant facts, more than 95% of teachers’ unions contributions goes to Democrats, who then in turn protect and extend teachers’ unions.  Shennanigans in which teachers’ UNION representatives are paid by the schools rather than by the unions are common.  And teachers are routinely forced to contribute to Democrat Party candidates whether they want to or not.

Compare that to this:

Wisconsin’s Walker Signs Historic School Choice Bill
Monday, 27 Jun 2011 04:17 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker today signed into law the largest expansion to the state’s school choice programs in history. The expansion will benefit thousands of children from the state’s low- and middle-income families and sends a strong signal to the nation that educational equality is possible with strong leadership from state legislators and executives.

The American Federation for Children, which—along with School Choice Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Council of Religious & Independent Schools, Hispanics for School Choice, and Democrats for Education Reform—has invested significantly in outreach and advocacy efforts designed to expand school choice in the Badger State, praised the passage of the landmark school choice program expansions.

In approving the state budget, Walker enacted a significant expansion of the popular Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. The state’s 2011-2013 biennial budget contains language that increases income eligibility for the program and removes the cap on the number of participants. The budget also allows children in Milwaukee to attend the private schools of their parents’ choice—anywhere in Wisconsin.

In addition, the budget creates a new choice program—similar to the one in Milwaukee—for Racine. AFC polling indicates strong, bipartisan support for the creation of this new program. Governor Walker first publicly announced his intention to pursue the expansion to Racine during an address to the American Federation for Children’s National Policy Summit in May 2011.

“Today is a monumental day for children in Milwaukee, Racine, and the State of Wisconsin,” said AFC Chairman Betsy DeVos. “Governor Walker and state legislators pledged to put Wisconsin’s children first, and today that important pledge has become law. We encourage governors and state legislators across the nation to be equally bold in fighting for the creation and expansion of school choice programs.”

In addition to praising Governor Scott Walker’s leadership, AFC today hailed the courage of Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), Representative Robin Vos (R-Burlington), Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon). AFC also praised Representative Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee) for introducing the successful “Once In, Always In” provision that will protect students enrolled in both the Milwaukee and Racine Parental Choice Programs.

You start to feel like there needs to be a Moses who says, “Let my children go.”  Democrats certainly won’t.  They will do everything they can to force every parent to keep their child(ren) in government schools no matter how badly those schools are failing.

Republicans love children and despise unions; Democrats love unions and despise children.  Which also explains why they’ve already murdered more than 53 million of them.

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Just In Case You Don’t Think We Need School Vouchers

April 23, 2011

This incident speaks for itself in one of the most Democrat states in the country:

Fri Apr 22, 4:13 pm ET
Homeless woman prosecuted for enrolling son in Conn. school
By Liz Goodwin
ShareretweetEmailPrintBy Liz Goodwin liz Goodwin – Fri Apr 22, 4:13 pm ET

Connecticut authorities have filed theft charges against Tanya McDowell, a homeless woman, alleging that she used a false address to enroll her son in a higher-income school district, The Stamford Advocate reports. If she’s convicted, McDowell may end up in jail for as many as 20 years and pay a $15,000 fine for the crime.

McDowell is a homeless single mother from Bridgeport who used to work in food services, is now at the center of one of the very few false address cases in the Norwalk, CT, school district that is being handled in criminal court–rather than between the parent and school. Authorities are accusing McDowell of enrolling her 5-year-old son in nearby Norwalk schools by using the address of a friend. (Her friend has also been evicted from public housing for letting McDowell use her address.)

McDowell says she stayed in a Norwalk homeless shelter sometimes–but she didn’t register there, which would have made her son eligible to attend the school.

“I had no idea whatsoever that if you enroll your child in another school district, it becomes a crime,” the 33-year-old told the paper.

An education advocacy group, Connecticut Parents Union, is holding a fundraiser to help McDowell pay the possible fine.

The case is attracting some national attention in the education world, as it’s similar to the headline-making story of Ohio mom Kelley Williams-Bolar, who spent days in jail after using her father’s address to send her kids to a better-performing school. Her story ignited a debate about inequalities in the public school system.

“One woman has been evicted, another could go to jail and all because a little boy went to school in a district where he sometimes lives,” education writer Joanne Jacobs said of the case. The blog DropOut Nation notes that the Norwalk schools are better than those in Bridgeport, where McDowell’s last address was; the case thereby raises larger questions about why poorer families often must send their kids to poorly performing schools, in part because local tax revenues make up so much of school funding.

In Williams-Bolar’s case, private investigators hired by Copley-Fairlawn schools in Ohio found her out and turned her over to the courts. In McDowell’s case, the false address was uncovered by a public housing attorney dealing with the friend who let her use the address.

“I am surprised that this is the case [Norwalk officials] chose to make an example of,” Norwalk attorney Michael Corsello told the Stamford-Advocate.

Parents shouldn’t be criminalized for trying to send their kids to a better school.  Rather, the thug unions at the government school system should be broken and criminalized once for all, and vouchers should be given to any parent that wants to send a child to a better school.

Instead, what we have is union thugs saying, “Our failure is your only option.  And if you try to go somewhere else, we’ll come after you.”

These are just two more cases of parents and children “Waiting for Superman.”  But Superman is powerless against the toxic kryptonite of government schools and criminal unions.

Labor Unions: A Century Of Genuine Evil

October 5, 2010

If you’re like me, you never heard of this evil event that was reported in an Los Angeles Times editorial below.  It has been hidden from you, just as the truth about so much history has been hidden by the teachers and historians who were supposed to teach the truth, but instead have fed us on propaganda and lies.

As terrible, and as evil, as the following event was, which has been deliberately omitted from virtually everyone’s history books, it represents only one of many evil and ugly incidents in the history of labor unions.

The blast that rocked labor: The bombing of the Times Building 100 years ago set off a chain of events that devastated America’s unions.
by Lew Irwin
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Page A27, Los Angeles Times

Shortly after 1 A.M. on Oct. 1, 1910, 100 years ago Friday, a time bomb constructed of 16 sticks of 80% dynamite connected to a cheap windup alarm clock exploded in an alley next to the Los Angeles Times.  It detonated with such violence that for blocks around, people ran panic-stricken into the streets, believing that an intense earthquake had hit the city.

The explosion destroyed the Times building, taking the lives of 20 employees, including the night editor and the principle telegraph operator, and maiming dozens of others.  Two other time bombs – intended to kill Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, the publisher of the newspaper, and Felix J. Zeehandelaar, the head of a Los Angeles business organization – were discovered later that morning hidden in the bushes next to their homes.  Their mechanisms had jammed.

Eventually two brothers, J.B. McNamara, who planted the bombs, and J.J. McNamara, an official of the International Assn. of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers union who ordered the attacks, were arrested, convicted, and imprisoned.

In it’s day, The Times bombing was equivalent to the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center.  It was called “the crime of the century,” and it remains the deadliest crime to go to trial in California history.  It would lead to investigations, arrests and trials of union leaders across the country who, it turned out, funded hundreds of terrorist bombings at mostly nonunion construction projects between 1907 and 1911.  They included officials of the California Building Trades Council in San Fransisco, the ironworkers union and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in Indianapolis, the Machinists Union in Syracuse, N.Y., and the Building Trades Council in Detroit.  Hirelings of the union involved in executing the bombings were also brought to trial – 46 members of the ironworkers union alone.  In addition to the McNamaras, who were sentenced in 1911, 39 men were convicted and sent to prison in 1912; five others received suspended sentences.

The testimony during their trials and their convictions devastated the American labor movement, virtually paralyzing it until the New Deal. […]

The terrorism that gripped America 100 years ago is barely mentioned in California history books today…. The bombing is now regarded as an embarrassment to organized labor, which has never gotten around to an unequivocal denunciation of it.

A 1996 history of the Ironworkers Union says that … “The international officers stretched the limits of zeal in a righteous cause.” […]

Former President Theodore Roosevelt reacted against those “foolish sentimentalists” who urged that the McNamaras be regarded with sympathy because they were struggling in a war on behalf of their class, pointed out that all of their victims had been “laboring people.”  “Murder,” Roosevelt said succinctly, “is murder.”

“Bomb.”  “Violence.”  “Murder.”  “The equivalent to the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center.”  The “the crime of the century.”  “The deadliest crime to go to trial in California history” to this very day.  Labor unions.  All of those words and phrases go hand in hand together.

A century of evil.  That’s the legacy of labor unions.

Interestingly, the article points out that the American labor movement was virtually paralyzed until the New Deal.  So let’s pick up with the New Deal.  From “Why Did FDR’s New Deal Harm Blacks?“:

By giving labor unions the monopoly power to exclusively represent employees in a workplace, the Wagner Act had the effect of excluding blacks, since the dominant unions discriminated against blacks. The Wagner Act had originally been drafted with a provision prohibiting racial discrimination. But the American Federation of Labor successfully lobbied against it, and it was dropped. AFL unions used their new power, granted by the Wagner Act, to exclude blacks on a large scale. Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Marcus Garvey were all critical of compulsory unionism.

From violent terrorist bomber murders who committed the crime of the century equivalent of the 9/11 terrorist attack to racists who hurt poor blacks.

Thirty years later, the unions got a second chance.  And they were still genuinely evil.

Let’s also point out that while labor unions were being violent racists in America, they were in the process of being the source of the greatest evil in human history in Europe.  It was the labor unions that formed the core of Lenin’s violent communist movement.  The Marxists started out in 1898 by forming the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.  Just as labor unions formed the core of Hitler’s National Socialist German WORKERS Party.

From a 1935 German magazine:

A Socialist Workers’ Government has achieved a workers revolution in Germany without resorting to, tho in some respects it approximates, CommunismAdolf Hitler has done it by wiping out all class privileges and class distinction, but the economics foundation of property rights and private capital has been left almost intact – for the present time.”

“The Third Reich, under Hitler, has wiped out corporate trade-unionism by forcing all workers to join one great government union, the National Socialist Union of Employers and Workers…”

While American labor unions were basking in the light of FDR’s pork barrel political favoritism and doing everything they could to keep poor blacks down, their European counterparts were at work preparing to set the world on fire.

So far, I can’t say I’d be proud to be a member of a labor union.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka recently appeared before an audience of fellow socialist travelers and said:

“…we need to fundamentally restructure our economy and re-establish popular control over the private corporations which have distorted our economy and hijacked our government. That’s a long-term job, but one we should start now.

I Hate the Media points out the scary parallels to the ugly history of the past:

“Re-establish”? Wouldn’t that imply that there had once been popular control over private corporations?

Richard. Mr. Trumka. Sir. Pardon our impertinence, but we believe that what you’re talking about here is National Socialism.

As in Adolf Trumka.

Meanwhile, while AFL-CIO head Trumka was flirting with National Socialism, recently retired SEIU president Andy Stern was kissing up to socialism’s more famous sister, communism, saying:

“Workers of the world unite – it’s not just a slogan anymore.  It’s the way we’re gonna have to do our work.”

But let’s get back to Richard Trumka.

Of course, Richard Trumka isn’t just our next budding fuhrer; he’s an incredibly violent and evil man.  Here’s the short version of one story about Trumka:

On the orders of the United Mine Workers (UMW), 16,000 miners went on strike in 1993. One subcontractor, Eddie York (who was not a UMW member), decided it was important to support his wife and three children and crossed picket lines to get to his job. He was shot in the head as he left the job site to go home. UMW President Richard Trumka (now Secretary-Treasurer at the AFL-CIO) told The Washington Times that “if you strike a match and put your finger in, common sense tells you you’re going to burn your finger.” UMW strike captain Jerry Dale Lowe was found guilty of weapons charges and conspiracy in York’s death, and York’s widow Wanda sued the union for her husband’s wrongful death. The UMW fought the lawsuit for four years, but settled with Wanda York only two days after federal prosecutors announced that they would share evidence from the criminal trial with York’s attorneys.

The short version doesn’t include the fact that Richad Trumka’s union thugs – in addition to shooting a good family man in the head and murdering him – threw rocks at the rescue workers who showed up to try to save Eddie York’s life as he lay dying.

As head of the United Mine Workers, Trumka ordered a nationwide strike against Peabody Coal in 1993. On July 22, a non-union worker, Eddie York, was shot in the back of the head and killed as he attempted to pass striking coal workers. Picketers continued to throw rocks after York was shot, preventing his would be rescuers from assisting him.[14]. Trumka and other United Mine Workers officials settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Mr. York’s widow out of court in 1997.

And it was following that vicious display of supremely ugly violence that Richard Trumka delivered his “he got just what he deserved” remark.

The executive summary of a 31-page report titled, “Freedom From Union Violence” states that:

The National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR) has recorded 8,799 incidents of violence from news reports since 1975.

And that report was dated 1998, meaning that we’ve very likely witnessed a lot of violence since.

That report is filled with separate accounts of violence.

I could go on and on and on reporting incidents of union violence.  But I want an article, not a 10-part collection of books.

So let’s move on to the newest form of labor union violence: economic violence.

How does an unfunded gap of $3.23 TRILLION in public sector union pensions sound to you?

From The Hill:

Businesses and unions planning to meet on possible $3 trillion pension disaster
By Jay Heflin – 09/05/10 09:04 PM ET

Labor groups will be invited to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to talk about an alarming shortfall in state employee pension plans that some believe could lead to a new government bailout.

Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits, told The Hill the total shortfall for state pension funds could run as high as $3 trillion.

That doesn’t count the private sector unions, which are so deep in unfunded pension debt it’s unreal.  SEIU’s unfunded liabilities represent more than 80% of the union’s total assets, for just one example.  And that is just part of a bailout movement that could – gulp – top $100 trillion.

And when the system can’t pay the unions, there will be blood.  We’ll see the kind of violence and outright anarchy that has been gripping Europe in recent months.  Only we’ve got a lot more guns in America.

Labor unions have destroyed every single industry they have ever been allowed to contaminate.  From manufacturing (airline, auto, steel, textile, etc.) to teaching.  And Superman aint coming, because labor unions are the strength-sapping, lethal Kryptonite.

Labor unions have represented genuine evil for more than a century.  And if we don’t vote out the Democrats who use public money to keep their voter-turnout apparatus going in a sick game of political patronage, they will murder this country.