Archive for May, 2012

May 30, 2012

CTA: Politically Correct, Clueless and Shameless

Recently dubbed “the worst union in America,” the California Teachers Association does its best to live down to its new moniker.

Larry Sand President California Teachers Empowerment Network

Troy Senik’s “The Worst Union in America,” is a deadly accurate piece which appears in the Spring 2012 edition of City Journal. Not surprisingly, the author was referring to the California Teachers Association, the state affiliate of the National Education Association. It wasn’t too hard for Senik to make his case because the evidence is, well, overwhelming. With its ever ready cash on hand (forcibly taken from teachers who have no choice but to fork it over), CTA has stopped every meaningful education reform measure that has been proposed, ensured that meaningless reforms like small class size in early grades are mandated, protects underperforming and criminal teachers, bullies political opponents and encourages lawbreaking when it is to their political advantage.

But all the mean and nasty behind-the-scenes stuff is done in the name of the children and for the good of society, don’t ya know. On its website, CTA does its best to show us how caring and beneficent it is. For example, as serious, politically correct environmentalists, it touts green energy on its website. You don’t have to dig too deep before you see, “GREEN keeps district out of the red….” Yup, they actually believe (or want us to believe) that becoming an enviro-fetishist is going to save us money. The United Nations, hardly a shill for the evil corporations which as we all know are trying to kill off trees and bunnies in the name of the almighty buck, says that going green will cost us a mere $76 trillion over the next 40 years. Others have the dollar amount even higher.

The point here is that CTA is best at extorting and then spending other people’s money. To that end, along with California Governor Brown, the union is backing a tax hike which will be on this November’s ballot. Those caring CTA folks, who are of course doing it for the children, want the public to pay a higher sales tax and high income earners to pay up to 25 percent more taxes on their income than they are now. California is already ranked #50 of all the states when it comes to business climate. If this initiative flies, it will put us on par with North Korea.

In another attempt at getting its sticky fingers on other people’s money, last Tuesday, teachers from all over the state took a day off from work (courtesy of the taxpayer) and went to Sacramento to lobby the legislature to pass an on-time budget. Clueless CTA President Dean Vogel said,This makes it all the more crucial that voters pass the governor’s tax measure in November to put California back on the road to recovery.” Yes, Mr. Vogel, this will put Californians on the road all right to Texas where they are smart enough not to tax their most productive citizens to the point where they want to flee the state.

It was interesting to note that CTA picked May 22nd for Lobby Day. For those of you who are not on board with teacher union political correctness, May 22nd is a holiday that, at the urging of CTA, is celebrated in many schools in California. As the CTA website tells us, it is Harvey Milk Day and we are told that,

Harvey Milk gave his life for what he believed in, and with that courage and sacrifice he gave hope to an entire generation of gay and lesbian people whose basic humanity and freedom had been denied and dishonored.

Gave his life for what he believed in? A martyr? Oh, please. The truth is just a tad different than that. As I wrote two years ago,

He in fact was a San Francisco city supervisor who was murdered along with heterosexual SF Mayor George Moscone by an unstable Dan White – one of your basic psychos who felt that the two people he murdered had wronged him politically.

Milk was no more murdered because he was gay than Moscone was because he was straight. But hey, why let that get in the way of a good story that activists can use to their advantage. Hence, CTA is mentioning Milk in the same breath as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, which is somewhat beyond reprehensible.  And even worse than the fabrications is the truth about Harvey Milk.

Milk led an undistinguished life at best. At worst, he was a supporter of criminal guru Jim Jones who orchestrated the deaths of over 900 of his followers, most of whom he cajoled into drinking Kool-Aid laced with poison.  For the rest of the real story about Harvey Milk, please read this article by Daniel Flynn.

If the CTA hagiography of Milk is what many in the teaching profession will be using as source material, your children will be getting a wretchedly sanitized and bowdlerized view of an undistinguished and possibly evil man. Parents, you might want to investigate what kind of Kool-Aid your child’s school is planning for this “holiday.”

Just to show how deplorable its priorities are, CTA did not have one word on its website about the courage and sacrifice of our veterans on Memorial Day, just its paean to Milk along with “suggested activities” to help children to celebrate that “holiday.”

Then there is a snippet from the May Issue of CTA’s magazine, California Educator, the hard copy of which is mailed to all its members. For the rest of us, it is now available online. (HT Darren Miller.) On page 20-21 of the current issue there is a two page spread in which CTA excoriates Stop Special Interest Money Now (SSIMN), an initiative that will be on the ballot in November. CTA commits two sins here. First it shamelessly lies about the details of the initiative. As Union Watch points out, CTA attempts to portray this prop as a corporate power grab (Goliath) with unions (David) being bullied. Of course this is union newspeak; the reverse is actually true.

The second and worse sin is on page 22 where CTA suggests that teachers tear out the poster on the previous pages and hang it in their classrooms:

This disgusting attempt to indoctrinate children is done in the name of “opposition to the Corporate Power Grab.” In fact, CTA is suggesting that teachers break the law. According to the California Education Code, school employees are expressly forbidden from engaging in partisan politics on school grounds, during school time using school funds unless,

The information provided constitutes a fair and impartial presentation of relevant facts to aid the electorate in reaching an informed judgment regarding the bond issue or ballot measure.

“Fair and impartial?”  What a joke.

Parents, it’s important to protect your children from CTA’s chicanery. Please visit your child’s class on a regular basis. If you see any signs of CTA’s attempts to indoctrinate your kids, speak up. Voice your disapproval to the teacher, the principal, the school board, the local press, your legislator – whoever will listen and act to counter the proselytizing, political correctness and blatant indoctrination produced on a regular basis by the “worst union in America.”

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

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May 26, 2012

Why Keynesianism is so Popular

WHY KEYNES CONQUERED

John Maynard Keynes

The reason why Keynesianism is so popular is because it appeals to envy (destroy the rich) and jealousy (steal from the rich). It appeals to the deep-seated desire of a man who is not highly productive to vote into office someone who will send out officials with badges and guns to steal the wealth of the most productive members of society. Keynes offered the voters what they wanted, and he offered the politicians what they wanted.

This is why it is virtually impossible today for the conservative movement to triumph over the Keynesians. Keynesian envy is in the hearts and minds of virtually all the voters, and that includes the Tea Party people. Keynesianism is almost universal, and Keynesian Tea Party members who think they are free marketers are in fact defenders of people with guns and badges who are out to steal from the productive members of society.

I have no idea how this is going to be reversed, other than the preaching of pastors against envy and jealousy, which pastors do not have the courage to do, because they have pro-Keynesian members of the congregation. We rarely hear sermons on the great evil of envy: the desire to pull down a superior. I cannot remember even one. We do hear sermons against covetousness, but never in the context of the welfare state.

Keynesianism has burdened the conservative movement ever since the mid-1940s. It is why there are so few Austrian economists. The built-in Keynesianism of modern social philosophy is almost universal: “Blame the rich!” That is why a reform of the present system, apart from complete bankruptcy of the federal government, is unlikely.

John Maynard Keynes gave the public what it wanted. Voters want a justification for stealing the wealth of rich people who got rich through their own productivity.

The envy and jealousy of the masses against the productive members of society who have given society most of its wealth is so widespread that we cannot reverse the modern welfare state. The voters want their goodies, and they are going to elect politicians who promise to give them these goodies at somebody else’s expense. The voters will be disappointed. They are going to get what they deserve good and hard.

This is a matter of ethics. There are rival laws at stake. One is this: “Thou shalt not steal.” The other is this: “Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.” Keynes is the premier economist of the second position.

via Krugmans Clones: Conservatives Who Hate the Free Market and Hate the Rich Even More.

May 25, 2012

Obama Foreign Policy our enemies can count on.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
Charles Krauthammer on Obama’s foreign policy failures and
how he has politicized them at the expense of U.S. security.

Medvede, Obama, Putin, Ahmadinejad – Global Government

Obama Foreign Policy: Anyone out there who helps us on the war on terror will be sacrificed for political purposes.

Obama Foreign Policy: Any CIA undercover agent will be sacrificed for political purposes.

Obama Foreign Policy: If a freedom movement rises up against an oppressive tyrannical government, Obama will say nothing in order to score points with the regim with whom he is negotiating.

Obama Foreign Policy: Reset relationships with archenemies and give them everything they want at the expense of burgeoning constitutional governments.

Obama Foreign Policy: Get ride of Billionaire Dictators that can interfere with his global domination plans. i.e. Mubarak, Gaddafi, Osama & Ben Ali of Tunisia.

May 24, 2012

Barocky Road Ice Cream Cone

Barocky Road Ice Cream Cone

In honor of the 44th President of the United States , Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream has introduced a new flavor: Barocky Road.

Barocky Road is a blend of half vanilla, half chocolate, and surrounded by nuts and flakes. The vanilla portion of the mix is not openly advertised and usually denied as an ingredient. The nuts and flakes are all plentiful.

The cost is $92.84 per scoop…so out of a hundred dollar bill you are at least promised some CHANGE..!

When purchased it will be presented to you in a large beautiful cone, but after you pay for it, the ice cream is taken out of the cone and given to the person in line behind you at no charge.

You are left with an almost empty wallet, staring at an empty cone and wondering what just happened. Then you realize this is what “redistribution of wealth” is all about.

Aren’t you just stimulated?

May 22, 2012

Earthquake Could Alter Education Landscape in California

Latest temblor to hit the Golden State is a lawsuit that could result in a major tectonic shift in education.

Larry Sand President California Teachers Empowerment Network

In September of 1975, due to New York City’s dire fiscal situation, I was laid off from my teaching position at P.S. 125 in Harlem. I lost my job not because I was a bad teacher, but because I was hired a few months after the teacher in the room next to mine…who was a lousy teacher.  Using seniority, or last in/first out (LIFO), as a way to determine who keeps their job is wrong. It stank 37 years ago in New York and it’s no better in California in 2012.

Thirty-three other states leave these kinds of staffing decisions to local education agencies, but in California, LIFO is written into the state education code. However, this and more may be about to change. If successful, a lawsuit filed last week in Los Angeles by Students Matter would shake up the way California conducts much of its educational business. John Fensterwald writes,

Students Matter is the creation of David Welch, co-founder of Infinera, a manufacturer of optical telecommunications systems in Sunnyvale. The new nonprofit filed its lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday on behalf of eight students who attend four school districts. A spokesperson for the organization told the Los Angeles Times that Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad and a few other individuals are underwriting the lawsuit. They have hired two top-gun attorneys to lead the case: Ted Boutrous, a partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and Ted Olsen, former solicitor general for President George W. Bush.

The lawsuit asserts that five “outdated statutes” prevent administrators from making employment decisions in students’ interest. The tenure statute forces districts to decide after teachers are on the job only 18 months whether to grant them permanent job status. Once granted tenure, they gain due-process rights that make it expensive and difficult to fire them even if they’re “grossly ineffective.” And then, when an economic downturn comes – witness the last four years – a Last In/First Out (LIFO) requirement leads to layoffs based strictly on seniority, not competency.

Organizations that have signed up for the suit as advisors are major players in the educational reform world. They include:

Of course California shouldn’t need a lawsuit to end such an onerous system. But the sad fact is that it does for the simple reason that too many people in power have become way too comfy and have too much invested in the abysmal status quo. The teachers unions’ raison d’être will suffer if teachers started being treated as professionals and not interchangeable widgets. School boards will have to stop being doormats for their local teachers unions, take more initiative and come up with evaluation systems for teachers that have teeth. And school administrators will have to conduct teacher evaluations that ensure the best ones keep their jobs and the bottom performers are shown the door. Principals need to know that if they don’t accurately assess teachers, they could be out of a job. In short, there will be real accountability for all the players.

So far, very little has come out of the teachers’ and principals’ unions about the Students Matter lawsuit and the California School Board Association has also been mum. At this point, the only recorded comment on the lawsuit has come from the California Teachers Association president who in typical union fashion tried to redirect the conversation and duck any responsibility for the educational mess we find ourselves in. Dean Vogel said,

…the debate about teacher tenure and dismissal is being driven by the state’s economic crisis, which has drained education funding and resulted in waves of layoffs.

No Mr. Vogel, the debate has been brought to a head by the economic crisis, but is driven by people who actually care about how children are educated and miseducated in California.

In addition to LIFO, the suit attacks tenure which can be attained in California after just two years, essentially guaranteeing a 23 year-old teacher a job for life. Over ninety-eight percent of teachers in California get tenure, and once it’s granted, getting rid of a teacher is just about impossible. Fensterwald again,

The protection of ineffective teachers “creates arbitrary and unjustifiable inequality among students,” especially low-income children in low-performing schools, where less experienced teachers are hired and inept veteran teachers are shunted off, under a familiar “dance of the lemons” since they can’t be fired. Because education is a “fundamental interest” under the state Constitution, the five statutes that “dictate this unequal, arbitrary result violate the equal protection provisions of the California Constitution” and should be overturned. 

According to Troy Senik in the Los Angeles Times,

… teachers in California — even terrible ones — are virtually never fired. A tiny 0.03% of California teachers are dismissed after three or more years on the job. In the last decade, the L.A. Unified School District, home to 33,000 teachers, has fired only four. Even when teachers are fired, it’s seldom because of their classroom performance: A 2009 expose by this newspaper found that only 20% of successful dismissals in the state had anything to do with teaching ability. Most involved teachers behaving either obscenely or criminally.

The lawsuit includes a chart which shows the ridiculous lengths that a school district must go through to get rid of an underperformer or a teacher involved in criminality once they have attained tenure.

Interestingly, another lawsuit, filed last year, has a court date in a few weeks. If successful, this litigation, which concerns itself with the state’s 40 year-old Stull Act, would be something of a companion to the Students Matter case. While the Los Angeles Unified School District is targeted in the Stull suit, if it flies, there would be statewide ramifications. As I wrote in January,

For nearly 40 years, the Los Angeles Unified School District has broken the law—and nobody seemed to notice. Now a group of parents and students are taking the district to court. On November 1, a half-dozen anonymous families working with EdVoice, a reform advocacy group in Sacramento, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the LAUSD, district superintendent John Deasy, and United Teachers Los Angeles. The lawsuit in essence accuses the district and the union of a gross dereliction of duty. According to the parents’ complaint, the district and the union have violated the children’s “fundamental right to basic educational equality and opportunity” by failing to comply with a section of the California Education Code known as the Stull Act. Under the 1971 law, a school district must include student achievement as part of a teacher’s evaluation. Los Angeles Unified has never done so: the teachers union wouldn’t allow it.

Thus, if the Stull lawsuit is successful, each school district in the state will be required to come up with its own method of evaluating teachers, but they all must use evidence of student learning via a standardized test as a component. If the Students Matter case then succeeds, there will already be evaluation systems in place to supplant LIFO. Incidentally, none of this is exactly revolutionary. At this time, 23 states currently use student performance on standardized tests as part of a teacher’s evaluation.

While the Students Matter case would go a long way toward getting California up to speed, even more would need to be done to restore the Golden State’s once great public education system. But as RiShawn Biddle says, there can be no denying that this lawsuit “is another important step in developing new strategies for advancing systemic reform.” This suit will bring up issues that the entrenched special interests don’t want to discuss. But their tired old spin will give way to the shakes as the earth begins to realign itself and the educational landscape changes.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

May 21, 2012

Europe finally awakes from its utopian dream

A defiant Angela Merkel is doing no more than defending the interests of her own electorate.

And would Mr Obama reverse the fundamental principles of the United States Constitution for the sake of a short-term solution to a global economic problem? (Well, actually, maybe he would. Given his egomaniacal tendency to regard the Supreme Court as a turbulent nuisance when it obstructs his plans, he might not be the best exemplar of constitutional probity.)

By Janet Daley,  19 May 2012

Let’s say this again, just in case a single sentient being on the planet has missed it: Germany cannot simply decide to bail Greece (or Spain, or Italy, etc) out of its debts. OK? However much Angela Merkel is nagged, berated, bullied and patronised by Barack Obama, David Cameron, or the BBC/Guardian axis that regard the preservation of the euro project as critical to their own interests, she cannot just revoke, in a unilateral act, the rules of German government or of the Bundesbank.

Her persistent refusal to “take decisive action” of the kind that would suit the purposes of all those clamorous voices at the G8, is not “dithering”, as it is so often described. In fact, it is not (or not entirely) to be explained in any of the mildly contemptuous ways that her tormentors suggest. It does not arise from an unthinking, superstitious terror instilled in her by the Weimar nightmare of hyper-inflation. Nor is it a narrow-minded expression of the German hausfrau’s values of thrift and self-discipline. What Mrs Merkel is doing, quite appropriately, is defending the integrity of her national constitution, the economic principles on which her country’s economic success has been built, and the interests of her own electorate.

As the leader of a democratic state, what else should she be expected to do? Would Mr Cameron, who is busily assuring us that he will always put the needs of this country first, be chivvied into throwing over the interests of his own citizens for the sake of another national population that has come to grief largely as a consequence of its own misjudgments? Last week, he called for the “pooling [of] fiscal sovereignty” among the eurozone countries. Would he be willing to give up his Government’s right to determine its own tax and spending policy?

And would Mr Obama reverse the fundamental principles of the United States Constitution for the sake of a short-term solution to a global economic problem? (Well, actually, maybe he would. Given his egomaniacal tendency to regard the Supreme Court as a turbulent nuisance when it obstructs his plans, he might not be the best exemplar of constitutional probity.)

In truth, if Mrs Merkel’s reluctance to churn out euros on the Bundesbank printing presses is based on anything other than the straightforward illegality of such a step in German terms, it is probably rooted in more recent associations than Weimar. East Germany is the spectre that hovers over this debacle: the Soviet model of a phoney currency that is manufactured to meet political requirements and which – at the point of national collapse – may simply be exchanged, as the Ostmark was, at an arbitrary nonsense rate in order to avoid pauperising an entire people. That is where Mrs Merkel (and the rest of us) might well see the euro heading if the “decisive action” merchants get their way: not just toward dangerously inflationary levels, but to the status of a fictional currency that can be expanded at will to prop up an ideological delusion.

via Europe finally awakes from its utopian dream – Telegraph.

May 18, 2012

Obama’s Justic Department is threatening to disrupt summer concerts by seizing musicians instruments made of wood.

Lawmakers are scrambling to save the summer concert season from federal agents poised to seize the instruments of rock and country stars because the wood used to make them may have been illegally harvested–and without their knowledge.

“I don’t want the musicians from Nashville who are flying to Canada to perform this summer to worry about the government seizing their guitars,” said Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Alexander, whose state is home to famed Gibson Guitars used by bands and stars like Van Halen, the Allman Brothers, Sheryl Crow, Ted Nugent and Paul McCartney, said Friday that he and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden are working to protect the artists, their instruments and makers and eventually change the law governing illegal wood harvesting.

“Senator Wyden and I are going to write the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a letter in the next couple of weeks and try to make it clear that wood harvested before 2008 to make musical instruments can’t be seized by the federal government,” Alexander said in a statement. “The Justice Department and Fish and Wildlife have said they have no intention of doing that, but Sen. Wyden and I are going to make it absolutely clear. We hope to get a clear ruling within a few weeks, and if we can’t get a clear ruling, we’ll introduce legislation to change the Lacey Act.”

The 112-year-old Lacey Act regulates the trade in bird feathers for hats and was amended in 2008 to cover wood and plants. The goal: make sure the woods used were not exported in violation of another country’s laws.

Their goal is to protect wooden instruments built with materials imported before 2008, when the Act was expanded. “This law was never intended to apply to those instruments,” said Alexander.

They are also working to help companies like Gibson–raided by the Feds recently–figure out what imports are legal.

Wyden and Alexander met with representatives from the music industry, wood import business and environmental and conservation groups Thursday to settle on a solution.

“We held this roundtable because instrument makers like Gibson Guitars in Tennessee are an important part of our music industry, and if the Lacey Act as written is keeping them from being able to get the wood they need to make instruments, we need to make every effort to fix the regulation,” said Alexander.

“The law was intended to prevent illegal logging and protect U.S. job that are threatened by illegal logging, it was never intended to seize instruments or wood products that were obtained prior to the passage of the Lacey Act amendments in May 2008 because they were made from imported wood—and when laws have unintended consequences, Congress has a responsibility to promptly make changes,” he added.

via Feds threaten to disrupt summer concerts | Washington Examiner.

May 17, 2012

Obama’s Bio: “Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii” Well, are you or aren’t you telling the truth Mr. President?

EDITOR”S NOTE: We at PopModal Videos do not ascribe to the notion that Obama is not a U.S. citizen. However, this evidence should go to Obama’s character in regards to his ability to lie without remorse and for political manipulation of the New York Time, LA Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, ABC, NBC, and CBS.
Jeffers M. Dodge – Editor

 

Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obamas then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” The booklet, which was distributed to “business colleagues” in the publishing industry, includes a brief biography of Obama among the biographies of eighty-nine other authors represented by Acton & Dystel. It also promotes Obamas anticipated first book, Journeys in Black and White–which Obama abandoned, later publishing Dreams from My Father instead.

via The Vetting – Exclusive – Obamas Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.

May 17, 2012

NEA: Poverty Pimp #1

The teachers union not only plays the poverty card, but by battling reforms, ensures that the impoverished will remain that way.

Larry Sand President California Teachers Empowerment Network

No Education Reform Without Tackling Poverty, Experts Say,” is the title of an article on the National Education Association website. Experts? A trip into the weeds leads to something called the Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy at Georgetown University. Its main benefactor is none other than the Open Society Foundations run by former Nazi sympathizer, rabid America hater and megalomaniac, George Soros, a man who once said he saw himself as “some kind of god, the creator of everything.” Expecting anything without an agenda from this bunch would be foolish.

The NEA’s “experts” claim that pouring money into education will eradicate poverty is wrong on all counts. For example, they state that children would be better educated by attending a “high quality pre-school.” Yet Head Start, according to Reason’s Lisa Snell, U. of Arkansas Professor Jay Greene and others, has been a bust.  In 2010, Lindsey Burke at the Heritage Foundation wrote,

Taxpayers have been on the hook for more than $100 billion for the Head Start program since 1965. This federal evaluation, which effectively shows no lasting impact on children after first grade and no difference between those children who attended Head Start and those who did not, should call into question the merits of increasing funding for the program, which the Obama administration recently did as part of the so-called “stimulus” bill.

So, $100 billion later, children are no better off attending a preschool, but what’s important to the unions is that more adults are employed. And that means more dues for them to spend on their progressive political agenda which favors causes that have nothing to do with education – e.g. abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, income redistribution, and nationalized health care. In 2010-2011, NEA spent $133 million in lobbying and gifts to further its progressive agenda.

Also, with all the union kvetching, one might assume that we stint on education spending. In fact, in the U.S. since 1970, education spending has increased 150 percent. Compared to other countries around the world, we are number four in spending after Luxembourg, Switzerland and Norway. Yet,

The three-yearly OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.

Thus the problem is not the amount of money we spend, but how it’s spent. Charter schools typically lead to better educated kids and save us money at the same time. Inner city charter school operators like Eva Moskowitz and Geoffrey Canada and the KIPP schools do a far better job – with fewer tax dollars – than traditional public schools. Even taking the superstars of the movement out of the mix, charter schools outperform traditional public schools. As Jay Greene writes, “Charter Benefits Are Proven by the Best Evidence.”

But no, the NEA doesn’t back charters. And the reason it doesn’t has nothing to do with education; it’s because charters are individually run and therefore very hard to unionize. In fact, only 12 percent of the nation’s 5,500 or so charters are unionized.

If the teachers unions were really serious about improving education and eradicating poverty, they would support the ultimate in school choice – voucher systems. A voucher would give a kid a chance to opt out of a failing public school and use his education dollars to pay for a private school of his choice. This would level the playing field for poorer families. However, the unions can’t abide vouchers because public schools would lose students to private schools, which are not unionized.

Eliminating the twin evils of tenure and seniority would go a long way to improving the current teaching force, by ceding more power to individual school districts. Bad teachers should be fired and the good ones should get raises. Better teachers can also handle slightly larger classes, thereby reducing the overall number of teachers we need.

But saving the taxpayers money, leveling the playing field for the poor, ceding power to local education agencies and thus having fewer dues-paying members are solutions nowhere to be found in the union playbook.

The nation’s education woes began about forty years ago – right at the time the NEA became a major force in education. Certainly other social trends have contributed to the educational morass we find ourselves in, but the National Education Association, the nation’s #1 poverty pimp, is the main reason for it – all the time using young children as pawns while vigorously pursuing its political agenda. Despite all the warm and fuzzy platitudes they spew, it is obvious that the teachers unions are not terribly interested in the education of our children or helping them get out of poverty.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

May 12, 2012

Congressional Progressive (Marxist) Caucus Members List

Caucus Members Co-Chairs
Keith Ellison (Islamist)
Raúl Grijalva

Vice Chairs
Tammy Baldwin
Judy Chu
William “Lacy” Clay
Sheila Jackson-Lee
Chellie Pingree

Whip
Hank Johnson
Senate Member
Bernie Sanders

House Members
Karen Bass
Xavier Becerra
Earl Blumenauer
Corrine Brown
Michael Capuano
Andre Carson
Donna Christensen
Yvette Clarke
Emanuel Cleaver
David Cicilline
Steve Cohen
John Conyers
Elijah Cummings
Danny Davis
Peter DeFazio
Rosa DeLauro
Donna Edwards
Sam Farr
Chaka Fattah
Bob Filner
Barney Frank
Marcia Fudge
Luis Gutierrez
Janice Hahn
Maurice Hinchey
Mazie Hirono
Rush Holt
Michael Honda
Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Marcy Kaptur
Dennis Kucinich
Barbara Lee
John Lewis
David Loebsack
Ben Ray Lujan
Carolyn Maloney
Ed Markey
Jim McDermott
James McGovern
Brad Miller
George Miller
Gwen Moore
Jim Moran
Jerrold Nadler
Eleanor Holmes Norton
John Olver
Frank Pallone
Ed Pastor
Jared Polis
Charles Rangel
Laura Richardson
Lucille Roybal-Allard
Bobby Rush
Linda Sanchez
Jan Schakowsky
Jose Serrano
Louise Slaughter
Pete Stark
Bennie Thompson
John Tierney
Nydia Velazquez
Maxine Waters
Mel Watt
Peter Welch
Frederica Wilson
Lynn Woolsey

via Congressional Progressive Caucus : Caucus Members.

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