Teacher’s unions earn ‘F’ for Wisconsin recall abuse – Michelle Malkin:

Post-secondary educational organizations

Teacher’s unions earn ‘F’ for Wisconsin recall abuse. – Michelle Malkin

They really outdid themselves. In Wisconsin and across the nation, public school employee unions spared no kiddie human shields in their battle against GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s budget and pension reforms. Students were the first and last casualties of the ruthless Big Labor war against fiscal discipline.

To kick off the yearlong protest festivities, the Wisconsin Education Association Council led a massive “sickout” of educators and other government school personnel. The coordinated truancy action — tantamount to an illegal strike — cost taxpayers an estimated $6 million. Left-wing doctors assisted the campaign by supplying fake medical excuse notes to teachers who ditched their public school classrooms to protest Walker’s modest package of belt-tightening measures.

When they weren’t ditching their students, radical teachers steeped in the social justice ethos of National Education Association-approved community organizer Saul Alinsky were shamelessly using other people’s children as their own political junior lobbyists and pawns. A Milwaukee Fox News affiliate caught one fourth-grade teacher dragging his students on a “field trip” to demonstrate against Walker at the state Capitol building.

The pupils clapped along with a group of “solidarity singers” as they warbled: “Scott Walker will never push us out, this house was made for you and me.”
Hundreds of high school students from Madison were dragooned into marches. When asked on camera why they had skipped school, one told a reporter from the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute: “I don’t know. I guess we’re protesting today.” Happy for the supply of warm young bodies, AFSCME Local 2412 President Gary Mitchell gloated: “The students have been so energized.”

“Energized”? How about educated, enlightened and intellectually stimulated? Silly parents. Remember: “A” isn’t for academics. It’s for “agitation” and “advocacy.” Former National Education Association official John Lloyd’s words must not be forgotten: “You cannot possibly understand NEA without understanding Saul Alinsky. If you want to understand NEA, go to the library and get ‘Rules for Radicals.’”

Against a rising tide of rank-and-file teachers who oppose their leaders’ extremist politics, the national offices of the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers shoveled millions in forced union dues into astroturfed, anti-Walker coffers. According the WisconsinReporter.com, strapped state affiliates also coughed up major sums to beat back Wisconsin’s efforts to bring American union workers into the 21st century in line with the rest of the workforce:
“The Ohio Education Association made a $58,000 in-kind contribution May 30, followed a day later by a $21,000 contribution from the Pennsylvania State Education Association. New York State United Teachers gave $23,000 on June 1, the Massachusetts Education Association gave $17,000 on May 31, and a group of unions based in Washington, D.C., poured in $922,000 during the past week.” Even the Alaska NEA affiliate pitched in $4,000.

Back in the Badger State, the Education Action Group Foundation caught Milwaukee teacher’s union head Bob Peterson on tape this week bragging about how his school district organized bus runs and stuffed flyers into every K-8 student’s backpack urging them to vote in the recall election. No, this wasn’t a civic, nonpartisan get-out-the-vote effort. It was a purely partisan self-preservation campaign. Peterson preaches that educators must be “teachers of unionism. We need to create a generation of students who support teachers and the movement for workers rights, oppressed peoples’ rights.” Because, you know, asking teachers to contribute more to their pension plans is just like the crushing of freedom fighters in Iran, Egypt and China.

The progressives’ blatant exploitation of bureaucratic authority over the nation’s schoolchildren — at the expense of classroom achievement and fiscal sanity — isn’t sitting well with the public. A new Marquette University Law School poll released on the eve of the Wisconsin recall election showed that “only 40 percent of those surveyed said they had a favorable view of public-sector unions, while 45 percent viewed them unfavorably.” In addition, “three-quarters of respondents said they approved of the law Walker signed requiring public employees to contribute to their own pensions and pay more for health insurance, while 55 percent approved of the new limits on collective bargaining for state employees that Walker signed into law.”

Uncertainty reigned over Wisconsin as both sides braced for a possible recount on Tuesday night. But from their first unhinged salvos 16 months ago in the state Capitol and right up until Election Day, the union bosses have made one thing clear as a playground whistle: It’s not about the children. It’s never about the children. It’s about protecting the power, perks and profligacy of public employee union monopolies.

A Failing Grade for America’s Educational System – Tea Party Nation

A Failing Grade for America’s Educational System – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

Back in 2001 I wrote a four-part series on “The Subversion of Education in America” and more than a decade later not much has improved. The causes are easily identified. One is federal control and the other is the National Education Association (NEA) which, despite its name, is a union.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey became a nationally known figure when he took on the teacher’s union for the way contracts with generous pension and health benefits were bankrupting the State. Other civil service contracts also came under review for the same reason.

A recent headline in The Wall Street Journal caught my eye. “No-Child Law Faces Wave of Opt-Outs” reported that “Twenty-six more states asked to be excused from key requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, an exemption that would curb the education law’s impact considerably.” If the Obama administration grants waivers to all the new applicants, three quarters of the states would be exempt.

The federal Department of Education is a legacy of the failed Carter administration, signed into law on October 17, 1979 and given Cabinet level status. Generally speaking, the NEA made sure it was run to suit its purposes, not that of parents and students.

The best thing a new President and Congress could do for America would be to eliminate the DOE, returning the oversight of educational systems to the States. Clearly, when three quarters of them want out from the No Child program, something is very wrong with it.

Indeed, what is wrong is the notion that education is a one-size-fits-all proposition. Any parent and any teacher can tell you that children individually learn at different rates, have individual strengths and weaknesses that require something other than a federal straight-jacket. No Child is a legacy of the Bush43 administration; proof that no matter who’s in charge, education should not be a federal department.

What the federal government does is redistribute money and at a time when it is broke the notion of spending billions it does not have begs the question of who gets to waste it.

In 2010, the government “invested” $3.5 billion “in an effort to fix the nation’s bottom five percent of public schools and in 2011 it spent another $546 million through the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. The funds were available to schools that were “eligible for up to an unprecedented $6 million per school over a three-year period to implement one of four reform models.”

Don’t expect much. It has been known for decades that schools in highly segregated, low-income, urban areas; those with more than half of their students representing African-American and Latino populations are the ones in trouble. Their problems are, as often as not, related to cultural attitudes and language difficulties. The student’s problems begin in their homes and transfer into the classrooms.

Minimum Security Prisons

Our schools have been turned into minimum security prisons with increasingly intrusive policies regarding every aspect of student’s lives, from the lunch they bring to school to proposed intervention in their lives off campus. Pre-school programs, often mandatory, have a long history of failure. Parents are under pressure to transfer their control over the lives of their children to schools. It is authoritarian. It is un-American.

So what was deemed an important DOE priority in 2011? Last year it was crowing about its “Green Ribbon Schools” program “to recognize schools that have taken great strides in greening their curricula, buildings, school grounds and overall building operations.” Slapping some solar panels on the roofs of schools does nothing to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the classrooms below.

As for curricula, it just means more indoctrination regarding phony environmental claims about global warming, melting ice caps, endangered species and other specious science. In April, new so-called science standards from the National Research Council will require students be taught the usual Al Gore version of climate change.

The NEA wants you to know that “the teaching profession has changed dramatically over the past fifty years.” That’s why it is sponsoring National Teacher Day on May 3rd. Astonishingly, the NEA admits that “45% of new teachers abandon the profession in their first five years”; apparently without understanding why.

Part of the answer is the poor quality of education they receive at the university level to prepare them to teach. Part of the answer, as the NEA notes, has to do with the “nearly one-quarter of school districts (that) do not require new teachers to have certification for what they are teaching.” Part of the answer is the union requirement involving tenure, making it nearly impossible to fire an incompetant teacher.

How bad are our nation’s schools despite the federal largess and their “greening”? In a report issued in February, the National Center for Policy Analysis, “Restructuring Public Education for the 21st Century”, noted that “Students in dozens of other countries, including China, South Korea, Germany and Finland, outperformed American students in reading, math, and science, according to the Program for International Student Assessment in 2010.

“The United States ranked 23rd in science, 17th in reading, and—worst of all—31st in math.” The dropout rate nationwide wavers between 30 percent and 40 percent with urban center dropout rates as high as 80 percent.

As for those who do graduate, some 76 percent, those who go onto a college education as often as not must first take remedial courses to bring them to a level where they can begin to acquire a higher education.

What happens then? According to the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, “61 percent of folks with a student loan are not paying” whether they are in school or have graduated. That adds up to an $870 billion outstanding balance, akin in ways to the nation’s mortgage crisis. Will public funds be tapped to “bail out” colleges and universities? Probably.

The nation’s educational systems are imploding from pre-school to kindergarten, elementary to middle to high school. Entire generations are either dropping out or graduating without the skill levels to compete in a world where students in other nations are learning how to run circles around their American counterparts.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

Solar Energy School Propaganda 101 – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative

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Solar Energy School Propaganda 101 – Michelle Malkin – Townhall Conservative.

The Obama administration’s crony green subsidy scandal is erupting like a solar flare in Washington. But do you know what your kids are learning in their environmental education classes about this red-hot taxpayer eco-scam? Chances are: not much.

Instead, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Democratic apparatchiks at the National Education Association are disseminating solar power propaganda masquerading as math and science curricula.

Titled “Solar Power and Me: The Inherent Advantages,” the lesson plan for middle-school and high-school students directs them to “take note of how solar energy is incorporated into the infrastructure of various cities nationwide and write a short essay about how they would encourage solar energy use in their own town.”

A worksheet labeled “All About Solar!” makes the blanket assertion that solar technologies are “a sound economical choice as they can reduce or eliminate exposure to rising electricity rates, or even eliminate one’s need to pay an electrical bill! In addition, solar panels can be a smart long-term investment, with many solar vendors offering 20-30 year warranties on their products.”

The only warranties worth anything from bankrupt, half-billion-dollar solar company Solyndra Inc. are the warranties on the Disney whistling robots and saunas that adorned its Taj Mahal headquarters. But I digress.

Another worksheet cheerleads the “financial savings” of “solar power and me” and coaches students to “imagine you live in amazing and sunny Anaheim, CA, where the combination of local and federal rebates covers 74 percent of your total cost of a solar panel system!” The exercise then entices the student to take out a 20-year loan on a new solar panel system to produce even greater illusory savings.

Yet another question-and-answer key reads: “How would switching to solar energy affect energy use at your home and school?” Answer: “In general, switching to solar energy would lower your home’s electrical costs and reduce your emissions, thus saving money and improving the environment.”

But as Brian McGraw of the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute points out: “There might be a small niche market, but solar energy is still largely incapable of producing reliable electricity at rates that are even in the ballpark of cost competitiveness compared to coal or natural gas.” Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the force behind billions of dollars’ worth of rushed green energy loans overseen by deep-pocketed Obama bundlers, himself acknowledged that solar tech will need to improve five-fold before it even begins to have a cost-competitive shot.

After examining decades’ worth of failed subsidized solar efforts at home and around the world, the Institute for Energy Research concludes: “Although stand-alone solar power has a certain free-market niche and does not need government favor, using solar power for grid electricity has been and will be an economic loser for ratepayers and a burden to taxpayers.”

The DOE/NEA curriculum encourages students to pressure politicians to pour more money into supposedly underfunded green energy schemes. But the House Budget Committee reported last week: “The president’s stimulus law alone included tens of billions in new government subsidies for politically favored renewable-energy interests: $6 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy investments; $17 billion for the Department of Energy’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programs; $2 billion for energy-efficient battery manufacturing; and billions more on other ‘clean-energy’ programs for a total of $80 billion. Two years later, the president’s promise of millions of jobs stands in stark contrast with reality.”

A more useful homework assignment would be to have these future taxpayers calculate how much their moms and dads are spending to prop up Obama’s green jobs industry and its elite Democratic campaign finance donors/investors. The White House projected 65,000 new jobs from nearly $40 billion in green job stimulus spending. Instead, fewer than 3,600 jobs were created. Get out your calculators, kids: That’s $4.85 million per job. Investor’s Business Daily crunches the numbers further on the taxpayers’ return on its DOE green loan guarantee “investments” and finds that the program will cost a whopping $23 million per job.

A separate NEA solar energy lesson plan marketed with Dow Corning teaches 5th- through 8th-graders “how solar panels work.” A more apt, real-world lesson would teach them how they don’t work. The myth that this alternative energy source “pays for itself” is busted with just a cursory glance at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature.

President Obama staged a photo-op on the facility’s solar panel roof in 2009 when he signed the green jobs goodie-stuffed stimulus law. The museum refused to disclose electric bills before and after installation of the solar array. But after digging into the lavishly taxpayer-funded project, the Colorado-based Independence Institute discovered that the panels — which only last 25 years — wouldn’t “pay for themselves” until the year 2118, more than a century from now.

It’s elementary. The government shouldn’t be in the business of picking any eco-winners or losers. “Too Green To Fail” redistributes wealth from viable private projects to pipe dreams, forces higher taxes and energy costs on everyone, and rewards partisan funders at public expense. Teach your children well. They’re inheriting the bill.

NUGENT: NEA – master of disaster – Washington Times

NUGENT: NEA – master of disaster – Washington Times.

Teacher cheating scandal is symptom of public schools’ failure

If the disturbing documentary “Waiting for Superman” didn’t convince you that a massive overhaul of the public education system is necessary, maybe the massive cheating scandal erupting in the Atlanta public school system will.

First off, there is no argument that public education in America is a complete and total disaster. Our children routinely score at the bottom of the barrel in math, science and geography, while more than 50 percent of other children drop out of high school in some districts.

It’s not that our children are dumb, but rather that they are tossed into a dumb, antiquated system that is controlled by one of the largest and most powerful unions in the nation, the National Education Association (NEA).

Instead of using their bully pulpit to demand educational upgrades across the board, the NEA works hard to ensure that teachers get tenure, more sick days, pensions supported by taxpayers and more and more benefits. The NEA couldn’t give a damn about children, and the test scores prove it. Shame on the NEA.

Regardless the reasons for the cheating, almost 200 teachers and administrators in the Atlanta public school system cheated by inflating the test scores of children taking the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. The cheaters probably were all NEA members. They should all be fired immediately and have their teaching certificates burned.

Of course, Democrats will rally to the NEA’s aid, as the teachers union is their largest cash contributor. If the National Rifle Association (NRA), a powerful pro-gun organization, though not a union, was found to be complicit in a gun-running operation for Mexican drug cartels instead of the brain-dead dimwits at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, you can bet President Obama would rain down fire on the NRA and demand their demise.

But there are no such powerful or condemning words from the president or any other Democrat who benefits from NEA dollars. Their silence tells you where their allegiance is, and it’s not to ensure our children get a solid education.

It’s more of the same Liberalism 101 curse.

The systematic cheating scandal in Atlanta will be swept under the rug by Democrats and the NEA. You won’t hear a word about it in the next couple weeks. In fact, the story is already old news, even though it’s more hurtful than President Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

If we truly cared about providing our children with a quality, world-class, proper education as we once did, we would start by busting up the NEA and then completely dismantling the public-education system, which, like the U.S. Postal Service and the penny, has outlived its usefulness.

Instead of having our tax dollars confiscated and funneled to a union-controlled system that produces unclean, slovenly, fat dunces and dropouts, educating our children should be left up to the free market. Parents could then decide which school their child would attend. Bad schools would close, and good ones would prosper. Perfect.

Under the current system, bad teachers, bad administrators and bad schools continue producing children who are largely illiterate and unable to compete in an ever-changing, technical and global marketplace. Something must change, and it must change now.

Let’s use the Atlanta cheating scandal as the impetus to bust up the NEA. No organization, system or union that impacts the public should be rewarded for consistently producing dismal results.

Our children deserve better, and parents should demand better.

Hey dropout, pull up your pants.

Ted Nugent is an American rock ‘n’ roll, sporting and political activist icon. He is the author of “Ted, White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto” and “God, Guns & Rock ‘N’ Roll” (Regnery Publishing).

Lipstick on a Union Pig – Kyle Olson – Townhall Conservative

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Lipstick on a Union Pig – Kyle Olson – Townhall Conservative.

For some strange reason, some union activists prefer their organizations be referred to as “associations,” as opposed to unions. That’s odd, given that the National Education Association has grabbed the union mantle with both hands, and the American Federation of Teachers adopted the slogan “A union of professionals.” That seems like an oxymoron, but I suppose it makes them feel good when they run the letterhead through their laser printer.

So color me humored when Marc Severson, blogging as the “Tired Tucson Teacher” (that inspires parents to request him for their kids, I’m sure…) attempted to explain, “It’s an association, not a union.”

“Let me start by saying I have been a member of AEA/NEA and my local association since the first hour of my student teaching. I refused to walk into the classroom without being a member. You might say I bleed association red.

“My reasons for belonging are numerous but suffice to say, the most important one is that as a professional I believe it is concomitant upon me to belong to my professional organization.”

http://tucsoncitizen.com/tired-tucson-teacher/2011/07/17/its-not-a-union-its-an-association/

It goes on from there. Strangely, he never actually defines the difference between a union and an association, and I hate to break it to Marc, but he belongs to a brass-tacks, take-no-prisoners union. He can put as much lipstick and perfume on that pig as he wants, but the thing still oinks and jumps in the mud.

There’s nothing professional about the NEA or AFT. They have never cared much about teacher quality until recently, when they realized that politicians from both parties are demanding it. And they haven’t cared much about the quality of the educational system, or responsiveness to parents’ and students’ needs, until recently. And that’s only because more Americans are waking up to the fact that we have islands of public education success in a sea of failure.

What they have cared about, of course, is keeping health insurance deductibles low, premium co-pays low and pension systems funded with scant little teacher buy-in. And they have always been concerned about tenured teachers having a job for life, and teachers being judged by length of service rather than quality of work.

Those aren’t the actions of a professional organization or a voluntary association. Those are the actions of a union looking out for its members. Severson would be wise to acknowledge that fact and seek to do something about that, before the lipstick wears off and even he sees the pig for what it is.

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