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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
Number of posts: 39,405

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Michelle Rhee's "StudentsFirst" backs candidates who CUT education funding

You know someone is the product of a conservative think tank and a corporate shill when they call their astroturf group "StudentsFirst" then use it to back candidates who support cutting education spending.

Michelle Rhee, darling of the media and the public face of corporate centric education reform, also backed the opponent of a former teacher of the year because that teacher vowed to fight for real public education and against the privatization agenda.

It goes on to say that one privatized online charter is doing worse than public schools under threat of closure (the for profit charter gets no such threat of course).

This is one issue where we must pry Democratic politicians away from the corporate teat and make it more painful to latch back on than to stay away.

Michelle Rhee is endorsing and funding rightwing candidates across the nation, showering cash on those who are opposed to teachers' rights and unions and support privatization of public education.

In Ohio, she is using her StudentsFirst millions--collected from anonymous billionaires, millionaires and corporations--to support opponents of public education.

An Ohio blogger writes:

Now, here in Ohio, Michelle Rhee’s true colors simply cannot be ignored. Rhee has chosen to fund multiple candidates in Ohio who are running for the Ohio House this year, citing their individual votes to support the Kasich budget that cut public education funding by $1.8 billion as a reason for StudentsFirst’s support. Let me restate that: StudentsFirst supports these candidates because they supported Kasich’s budget that cut $1.8 billion from school funding.
PlunderBund (http://s.tt/1rpCF)

Of all her endorsements in Ohio, the most disgusting is that Rhee is supporting a candidate with no education experience running against Maureen Reedy, an experienced and admired teacher. The two are candidates for an open seat in the 29th district.


PIC: Celebrity lookalike for Romney son who gave Obama death stare

If Romney wins, maybe this son could design the real Hunger Games.

Five reasons why Chicago should have an elected School Board not a Rahm appointed one

I have never been too happy with the elected board that overseas my community college district, but reading this, it sound like a board appointed by a corporate boot lick like Rahm Emanuel is not only more corrupt, but incompetent at even things you would expect business people to be good at like keeping up their credit rating.

Is it going to take a million teacher march on Washington to get Obama and the corporate wing of the Democratic Party to stop implementing right wing education "reform that" is ultimately about turning our kids education (and our tax dollars) over to the Wall Street hedge fund managers who broke the world economy?

If they can't do finance right, which is their actual job, why should we trust them with our kids?

  1. The CPS board members are appointed by the Mayor and not elected by the people. They answer to the mayor and ignore the community.

  2. Some members of the board voted to raise the CPS property taxes to the highest amounts allowed by the law. At the same time, they have lobbied to lower property taxes for themselves.

  3. Some residents of communities like North Lawndale have seen their property taxes increase at a faster rate than people from other parts of the city, in spite of the fact that property values are decreasing and many home owners are on fixed incomes.

  4. North Lawndale is the target area for school closings, turnarounds and other educational experiments that can distract our students. Yet, there is not one person on the CPS board from the West Side.

  5. Even though the board is made up of business people, Chicago Public Schools just proposed a budget that will spend all the cash reserves for next year. As a result, their credit score was lowered. CPS must now pay higher interest rates. The more money they spend on interest, the less money will be available for the classroom.


Do the Wealthy Need Segregated Charter Schools?

Supporting links at original.

Heilig wrote a post recently about Great Hearts, the charter chain that has been trying to locate in an affluent neighborhood in Nashville, thus far without success. As readers of this blog may recall, the Metro Nashville school board has turned Great Hearts down four times. For exercising discretion, the district has been punished by TFA Commissioner Kevin Huffman, who has withheld $3.4 million in state aid from the district. Huffman, of course, believes he must be obeyed because he is the all-powerful commissioner and how dare they reject his order.

Now Great Hearts want to bring multiple charters to San Antonio, and you can guess where they want to locate. As Heilig says in his title, "Hey! The Wealthy Need Segregated Charters Too!?"


Tennessee Commissioner of Ed cuts a district's funding for board vetoing charter school in rich area

A local school board refuses to approve a new

If we had a truly independent Justice Department, this would be cause for a corruption investigation and indictment.

Tennessee's TFA Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman ordered the Metro Nashville school board to grant a charter to a school run by Arizona-based Great Hearts. The School board voted no. It voted no four times. It said the school wanted to locate in a neighborhood where it would draw mainly from well-to-do white families; the board wanted assurance that the school would serve a diverse enrollment. Great Hearts expects families to make a "voluntary" contribution of $1200-1500 upfront.

Huffman retaliated by cutting state funding to the Nashville schools by $3.4 million in the middle of the term. It's his way or the highway. What a lesson for the children of Tennessee.

Part of the district's response:

We were disappointed to learn around noon today that the Tennessee Department of Education has refused to reconsider its decision to withhold nearly $3.4 million in taxpayer funding designated for the education of more than 81,000 students in Metro Nashville Public Schools. The funding is 10 percent of the state’s annual “non-instructional” funding for Nashville’s children.

The $3.4 million reduction is significant and raises concerns about how the amount was determined and whether it is consistent with other penalties assessed by the state. Tennessee law does not address penalties in this situation.


What questions should be asked in the foreign policy debate?

I've got a couple, that I don't have particular answers for and that aren't meant as "gotchas" for either candidate (but maybe for both).

  • In the last debate, President Obama mentioned in passing a "bipartisan consensus" on foreign policy. If such a consensus exists, how can voters have a say in foreign policy? Or do they?

  • We say that we support democracy and human rights, but in the last decade or so alone, we have supported the violent overthrow and attempted overthrow of democratically elected governments in Venezuela, Haiti, and Honduras to name a few. What priorities are trumping democracy in situations like that?

  • What is the United States policy toward access to and hegemony over oil and natural gas and its transport in the Middle East and Caspian Sea Basin?

  • If we are fighting a war on terror, when there is a conflict between the people in various oil rich countries and our oil companies, shouldn't we side with the people to reduce the animosity toward the United States?

  • The United States fought two wars after 9/11, one in Afghanistan that was peripherally involved in the attacks and another in Iraq that wasn't involved in the attacks at all. Yet Saudi Arabia remained untouched despite the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 finding substantial evidence of Saudi government involvement, such as the declassified FBI report on a Saudi agent who picked up two of the hijackers at LAX, set them up in an apartment, and funneled money to them from the Saudi ambassador's wife until the time of the attacks. Why did that involvement in the greatest loss of civilian life on American soil not merit a military or even diplomatic response? Or were those other wars about something else altogether?

  • The international banking order seems to be causing more instability and suffering and the concentration of wealth at the top. Should supporting that order continue to be a top priority of the United States, or should it be seen as a national security threat?

There's probably a lot more. I'd like to hear yours.

Why does media treats Michelle Rhee as education "reformer" when she's really a corporate lobbyist?

The tide is turning on the education "reform" movement that isn't so much about "reform" as "removing" our tax dollars from public schools and putting them in the pockets of the already wealthy.

This article cites polls showing the public backed the teachers in the recent Chicago strike as opposed to the corrupt corporate agenda of Rahm Emanuel.

It also mentions that 49 Democrats have recently dropped their affiliation with ALEC, who has crafted the corporate education "reform" bills, and that Obama and Arne Duncan largely remaining on the sidelines in the strike was likely because Obama finally saw how unpopular those ideas really were.

What passes for education reform in Washington and the MSM is really
"a brie-and-chablis 'reform' movement" that is "portraying teachers as villains"
as Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson put it. After outsourcing our jobs, and playing craps with our mortgages, now they want to do the moral equivalent of pulling out our fillings and melting them down for the gold by stealing our children's education.

Democrats need to drop this corrupt right wing shit NOW.

Obama, we can forgive you.

America forgave JFK when he admitted he was wrong to initially back the Bay of Pigs invasion, and changing course here and putting education policy in the hands of educators instead of hedge fund managers and trust fund babies is a much smaller reversal.

You already gave Wall Street a big present by not breaking up their banks and prosecuting their execs. You don't need to sacrifice our kids to them too.

First, let's be clear about Rhee's role in this debate. Although Rhee heads an organization called Students First, most of what she actually does is to advocate for specific types of legislation, i.e. lobby. In Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and numerous state capitals, Students First has focused its considerable resources—including many hundreds of thousands in donations to candidates for public office—on passing laws and promoting politicians that advance policies which restrict teachers' collective bargaining rights, tie their job security and pay to scores on students' standardized tests, and allow more public taxpayer money to be redirected to privately run entities such as charter schools.

As reported by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the source of many of the bills Rhee campaigns for is the American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC), a corporately backed nonprofit that drafts "model bills" that favor the interests of the organization's funders, which include many of the largest corporations in the U.S. as well as conservative think tanks like The Heritage Foundation. For every piece of legislation Students First backs, ALEC has a model bill.

So Rhee is essentially a lobbyist working principally for the interests of conservative Republicans and corporations. Although colluding with conservative Republicans on public policy could be an example of "crossing the aisle," not very many Democrats have chosen to make that crossing. In fact, according to the website of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, 49 Democratic state lawmakers who did belong to ALEC recently dropped their memberships due to ALECs controversial model bills.


Another poll found that 66 percent of parents of Chicago Public School students supported the strike, with 55.5 percent of Chicagoans in general supporting the strike and 40 percent opposed. Interestingly, that second poll was conducted by We Ask America, "a generally Republican pollster," according to Laura Clawson, labor editor at the blogsite Daily Kos.


Third party candidates ought to moderate the debates

Get the Greens and Libertarians and even next largest party after that (or two) to agree on some questions.

They would likely not be the softballs and turds the MSM comes up with.

I know this would never fly with the commission on presidential debates, which is set up to limit the participants and the questions to what the beltway elite is comfortable with, but it would be worth it to see the top candidates get such an invitation, and have to explain why they refuse it.

Will Candy Crowley be fired or ostracized for daring to fact check Romney on the spot?

It is so rare for the MSM to do that, let alone to a pol's face (unless the happen to be wrong AND bucking the conventional inside-the-beltway wisdom...or just the bucking part).

I wonder if she is going to be moved to the progressive ghetto at MSNBC or CNN will stand by her.

It would have also been nice if she had interrupted Romney and said, "Even if he DIDN'T say 'act of terror' for two weeks, SO THE FUCK WHAT? Why do those magic words matter so much to you? If he doesn't invoke the terrorist boogeyman, are you worried people won't be adequately terrorized here?"

But that really would cost her her job.

What, if any, will be the consequences for her daring to do real time fact-checking?

The Republican catchphrase that needs a knife in it quick: "trickle down government"

Obviously, they've done some work on that one, focused grouped it and all that and now they're as proud as a baby who figured out he can make an ashtray out of his own poop.

Democrats should have hammered that as soon as it came out of a Republican candidates mouth:

"That's a funny phrase you use, because it connects a failed Republican idea, 'trickle down economics' that gives to the rich and hoping it benefits the rest (which it doesn't) that people have realized is a failure, with 'government' that since the New Deal people have realized CAN work when our private sector falters, and not by 'trickling down' but directly helping the people who need it most."

Obama could have done this himself with his grandfather and the GI Bill, himself and student loans, unemployment insurance, Social Security, and other programs, in all those cases, we didn't give money to the rich or some remote part of the government hoping it would somehow trickle down to those who need it. We gave it directly to them. And it worked. And continues to work. Unless you build yachts, train dressage horses, or answer the phone at a bank in the Cayman Islands, REPUBLICAN TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS is not going to help you.
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