Category Archives: education

Atlanta Public Schools Rocked by Cheating Scandal

Atlanta Public School embroiled in a scandal. An investigation by Georgia Department of Education Found 3/4 of the schools in Atlanta cheating on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT). The tests are mandatory for all Georgia students in the third, fifth and eight grades to move to the next grade.

The scandal start in  2001. Teachers and principals in low performing schools under pressure by  state and federal leaders; began changing the test answers to “improve”  the test scores in powerful  school district in Georgia.

The report found Atlanta Public Schools 178 teachers and principals were involved in the scheme. The investigators found 44 out of 56 schools and among 44 schools 38 principals were either responsible or very involved in cheating. From: WXIA-TV “11   Alive News”

Extensive  cover began in 2008 with Atlanta Journal-Constitution examination of CRCT Test scores were too  high for an urban school district.  Set in motion the wheels to review thousands of test scores over a 10 year period.

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And the losers in all of this the kids in Atlanta Public Schools.

PA Teachers to Sue Told By Principal They Can’t Teach Black Kids

Four Philadelphia school teachers are suing the School District of Philadelphia after a principal said White teachers cannot teach black students. From AP via Yahoo News:

Four white Philadelphia teachers filed federal race-bias lawsuits that accuse a black principal of creating a hostile work environment and suggesting they were unfit to teach black children.

The teachers work at a predominantly black elementary school that has a recent history of racial tension. Their lawsuits say that a former principal had them read an article that said “white teachers do not have the ability to teach African-American students.”

The teachers also allege that the principal, Charles Ray III, and others undermined their work by reprimanding them, randomly changing their room assignments and letting black teachers ignore rules that their white counterparts had to follow. Ray also retaliated when they filed union grievances, they said.

“Charles Ray III consistently stated that he had a relationship with top school officials indicating that his conduct was part of an approved policy or was part of a pattern of practices sanctioned and supported by `higher authority,'” the suits allege.

The teachers — Nicole Boyd, Debra McKibben Marenbach, Colleen Yarnell and Marta Ciccimaro — filed the lawsuits last week, demanding more than $150,000 each. Courthouse News Service first reported on the complaints Tuesday.

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California Democrats Threaten to Reduce Services to GOP Districts

California State Senate President Darrell has lost his mind (IMHO)by threatening to cut services in Republican controlled districts. From Contra Costa Times:

Voicing an idea that has been quietly bandied about in Democratic circles for months, Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg on Wednesday threatened to roll back services in Republican districts if they continue to resist the call for taxes to close the state’s gaping deficit.

“You get the government you pay for,” the Sacramento Democrat told reporters after he addressed the Sacramento Press Club. “It’s basic fairness. You don’t want to pay for government, well, then you get less of it.”

Steinberg wouldn’t specify the kinds of cuts he’s considering other than “convenient services to adults,” though he would exempt services for vulnerable children. He did not make it clear how he’d be able to target individual districts, but past leaders such as former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown have punished certain lawmakers by holding back funding for specific programs.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Over Judge Prosser Wins

The Wisconsin Supreme Court race  is over and the incumbent Justice David Prosser wins reelection. From WISPolitics Blog:

With the Milwaukee County canvass now in, The Associated Press has declared Justice David Prosser the winner in his race against JoAnne Kloppenburg.

The Left including Wisconsin Teachers union and SEIU hung their hopes on  JoAnne Kloppenburg. Kloppenburg  was expected to vote against Governor Scott Walker’s Collective Bargaining  Agreement  Reform Law. Now its  a victory for the GOP.

Hat Tip: Legal Insurrection Blog

The GOP Presidental Field Grows Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty Announce they are Running

Donald Trump, Talk Show Herb Cain;  and President Obama  now have company on Tuesday Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota announces on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight”  From CNN:

Former Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told CNN’s Piers Morgan Tuesday he’s focused on running for the White House. “I’m running for president,” Pawlenty said in an interview Tuesday on “Piers Morgan Tonight.” “I’m not putting my hat in the ring rhetorically or ultimately for vice president. I’m focused on running for president.”

This comes on the heels of former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts  announced on a web video  creating a exploratory campaign a step for President. From The Fix by the Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza:

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney formed a presidential exploratory committee today that will allow him to raise money for a near-certain run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

“It is time that we put America back on a course of greatness with a growing economy, good jobs and fiscal discipline in Washington,” Romney said in a web video announcing his intentions.

It seems its full steam ahead for the 2012 presidential race.

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Wisconsin Governor Does End Run Publishes Collective Barganing Law Takes Affect

Wisconsin Governor  Scott Walker(R) has order the publishing of the new collective bargaining law on Friday so the law would take effect; despite an injunction by a Dane County Judge. From ABC News:

Wisconsin officials couldn’t agree Friday about whether an explosive law taking away nearly all public worker collective bargaining rights was about to take effect after a nonpartisan legislative bureau published it despite a court order blocking implementation.

The head of the Legislative Reference Bureau that made the move Friday afternoon, as well as a nonpartisan attorney for the Legislature, said the action was merely procedural. But Republican legislative leaders, who encouraged the bureau’s action, insisted it meant the law would take effect Saturday.

Gov. Scott Walker’s office, meanwhile, would issue only a vague statement saying simply that the administration planned to carry out the law as required.

Madison,WI Judge Suspends Collectve Barganing Law

A Dane County Judge place a temporary injunction on Wisconsin’s new Collective bargaining law. Judge Maryann Sumi issued the injunction  which was requested by Dane County States Attorney Ismael Ozanne. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order Friday, barring the publication of a controversial new law that would sharply curtail collective bargaining for public employees.

Sumi’s order will prevent Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law until she can rule on the merits of the case. Dane County Ismael Ozanne is seeking to block the law because he says a legislative committee violated the state’s open meetings law.

Sumi said Ozanne was likely to succeed on the merits.

“It seems to me the public policy behind effective enforcement of the open meeting  law is so strong that it does outweigh the interest, at least at this time, which may exist in favor of sustaining the validity of the (law),” she said.

The judge’s finding – at least for now – is a setback to Republican Gov. Scott Walker and a victory for opponents, who have spent weeks in the Capitol to protest the bill.

Asst. Atty. Gen Steven Means, who was part of the state’s legal team, said after the ruling that “we disagree with it.”

“And the reason they have appellate courts is because circuit court judges make errors and they have in this case.”

Means said the state would “entertain an appeal.”

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Obama Gives State of Union Address

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama gave his 2011 State of the Union Speech During a Joint session of Congress. The President focused on Investment on infrastructure. The President also focused on bring the country together after the recent shooting in Tucson which injured Rep. Gabriella Giffords (D-AZ) , 15 other and killed 6 people.

AP provides analysis  the President plans which includes not only infrastructure but freezing spending. From AP via Yahoo News:

The ledger did not appear to be adding up Tuesday night when President Barack Obama urged more spending on one hand and a spending freeze on the other.

Obama spoke ambitiously of putting money into roads, research, education, efficient cars, high-speed rail and other initiatives in his State of the Union speech. He pointed to the transportation and construction projects of the last two years and proposed “we redouble these efforts.” He coupled this with a call to “freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years.”

But Obama offered far more examples of where he would spend than where he would cut, and some of the areas he identified for savings are not certain to yield much if anything.

For example, he said he wants to eliminate “billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies.” Yet he made a similar proposal last year that went nowhere. He sought $36.5 billion in tax increases on oil and gas companies over the next decade, but Congress largely ignored the request, even though Democrats were then in charge of both houses of Congress.

A look at some of Obama’s statements Tuesday night and how they compare with the facts:

OBAMA: Tackling the deficit “means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit.”

THE FACTS: The idea that Obama’s health care law saves money for the government is based on some arguable assumptions.

To be sure, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the law will slightly reduce red ink over 10 years. But the office’s analysis assumes that steep cuts in Medicare spending, as called for in the law, will actually take place. Others in the government have concluded it is unrealistic to expect such savings from Medicare.

In recent years, for example, Congress has repeatedly overridden a law that would save the treasury billions by cutting deeply into Medicare pay for doctors. Just last month, the government once again put off the scheduled cuts for another year, at a cost of $19 billion. That money is being taken out of the health care overhaul. Congress has shown itself sensitive to pressure from seniors and their doctors, and there’s little reason to think that will change.

___

OBAMA: Vowed to veto any bills sent to him that include “earmarks,” pet spending provisions pushed by individual lawmakers. “Both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.”

THE FACTS: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has promised that no bill with earmarks will be sent to Obama in the first place. Republicans have taken the lead in battling earmarks while Obama signed plenty of earmark-laden spending bills when Democrats controlled both houses. As recently as last month, Obama was prepared to sign a catchall spending measure stuffed with earmarks, before it collapsed in the Senate after an outcry from conservatives over the bill’s $8 billion-plus in home-state pet projects.

It’s a turnabout for the president; in early 2009, Obama sounded like an apologist for the practice: “Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts, and that’s why I’ve opposed their outright elimination,” he said then.

Boy,oh boy what a speech. Vague as Hell and its a retread. Oh well maybe next year.

US Eases Travel Restrictions to Cuba

The White House is easing up on travel restrictions to Cuba. The plan has been the works for a while. However, not every on is board the Administration  decision. From The Miami Hearld:

The Obama administration Friday said it will allow for more U.S. travel to Cuba, making it easier for schools, churches and cultural groups to visit the island.

A senior Obama official told The Miami Herald the much-expected move to expand cultural, religious and educational travel to Cuba is part of the administration’s continuing “effort to support the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their own future.

President Barack Obama is also restoring the amount of money ($2,000) that can be sent to nonfamily members to the level they were at during part of the Clinton and Bush administrations. There will be a quarterly limit on the amount that any American can send: $500 per quarter to “support private economic activity.”

The administration also will restore the broader “people-to-people” category of travel, which allows “purposeful” visits to increase contacts between U.S. and Cuban citizens.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, the new chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, assailed the revision, saying they “will not help foster a pro-democracy environment in Cuba.

“These changes will not aid in ushering in respect for human rights,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “And they certainly will not help the Cuban people free themselves from the tyranny that engulfs them. These changes undermine U.S. foreign policy and security objectives and will bring economic benefits to the Cuban regime.”

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The Changing of the Guard in Washington; Republicans now in the Majority; Boehner elected House Speaker

The GOP in charge in Washington,DC  as the 112th session of Congress was gaveled into session. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi(D-CA) made a speech and handed the gavel to the new House Speaker John Boehner(R-OH). From Washington Times:

The 112th Congress gaveled open Wednesday with Republicans taking control of the House and immediately rewriting the chamber’s rules, making it easier to cut spending and taxes, harder to add new spending, and more open to voters who want to keep tabs on what lawmakers are doing.

The rules changes, spearheaded by newly elected Speaker John A. Boehner, mark a sharp departure from recent years, and pave the way for the Republicans to pass bills that extend the Bush-era tax cuts, slash government spending and repeal Democrats’ health care law – at least in the House.

“Hard work and tough decisions will be required of the 112th Congress. No longer can we fall short. No longer can we kick the can down the road. The people voted to end business as usual, and today we begin carrying out their instructions,” said the Ohio Republican, who leads his party’s biggest House majority in decades by a margin of 242-to-193.

Mr. Speaker its time to put up and shut up Everyone is watching, Republican talked about reducing debt and deficit. It won’t be easy but must be done.

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