California Will Give Free High School Diplomas To Kids Who Flunked Out

Posted on September 15th, 2015

WAIMH Red ArrowEDITOR’S COMMENT: It seems like almost every day brings another example of the political correctness in our society gone wild. It now seems like California will just give out high school diplomas for simply participating in the classes. This is a classic example of the liberal progressive agenda, where the schools keep the students uninformed and dumb, keep them on government welfare programs, and knowing that if they are most likely to vote, if they vote at all, for those will continue or increase their government entitlements. This is an abdication of responsibility on the part of the school boards and the Democratic political leaders. Frankly, I would not be surprised, if President Obama’s Secretary of Education notices this, likes the concept, and suggests extending this policy to cover the entire country.

By Blake Neff

The state of California is poised to award thousands of high school degrees to dropouts by passing a new law retroactively removing the requirement to pass a high school exit exam.

The California High School Exit Exam (CASHEE) was created in 2004, and is intended to make sure that students have a rudimentary grasp of English and mathematics before being awarded a high school diploma, and to counter the phenomenon of students receiving passing grades while learning almost nothing. Read More..

Dumb and Getting Dumber

Posted on September 15th, 2015

Stupid voters Obamacare by Eric Allie, Caglecartoons.comBy Monty Pelerin

Americans know the disgraceful performance of the VA in honoring commitments to our veterans. But are they smart enough to understand an even bigger problem? The populace is dumb and getting dumber.

From the movie Dumb and Dumber comes this line from character Harry Dunne:

     According to the map, we’ve only gone 4 inches.

Dumb and dumberIf this progress were in regard to the educational system, the progress would be measured in miles and preceded by a negative sign. The educational system has been in serious decline for at least forty years. Most Americans are dumb and getting dumber.

Ignorance is the greatest threat to freedom and we are creating it overtime! Ignorance is also the best friend of the political class. Are Americans deliberately being made dumber? How better to use them for political fodder? The political class looks at the masses as votes to be mined and wallets to be picked. Keep them stupid to assist in the plunder. Read More..

Common Core: Continuing the Lies That Divide America

Posted on May 21st, 2015

Common Core ChalkboardBy Mary Anne Marcella

If you look at the “peaceful protestors” talking part in the recent demonstrations across America, what do you see?  Young people who are products of the public school system. If you listen to the “peaceful protestors” what do you hear? Lies about America that were “taught” in the public schools. There is no doubt that our schools are places where a leftist agenda is being pushed but it gets even more sinister. Are we deliberately encouraging these protests and the resulting civil unrest?

The unrest and the “change” we are seeing in the attitudes of the young is the result of several different factors, one being what is taught in the public schools. For example, History used to teach civics and love of country. Nowadays, history isn’t even considered an important subject. History teachers and the history curriculum do not show America positively. Children used to learn about the history of America in a way that instilled pride. These children grew up to build America, the most desirable country ever to exist.  Instead of continuing the lessons which made America the envy of the world, we are presenting a picture of America that causes our children to question its’ goodness. Read More..

Common Core Follies: California Report Cards to Include Grades for ‘Grit’, ‘Gratitude’, ‘Sensitivity to Others’

Posted on February 2nd, 2015

RedArrowWAIMHlargerEDITOR’S COMMENT: Another major step along the progressive path by the government schools towards ‘celebrating’ mediocrity in our education system. What a total waste of time, talent and resources! Remember the old United Negro College Fund ads that correctly reminded us that “A Mind Is A Terrible Thing to Waste”. Well, apparently the folks in charge in California didn’t get that message!

By Thomas Lifson

The entire state of California pubic education system is to begin grading students on matters a teacher cannot possibly know or evaluate objectively. In a sign of descent into full indoctrination camp mode, the Common Cores standards adopted by the state are calling on teachers to grade students on their “grit, gratitude, and sensitivity to others.” Loretta Kalb reports in the Sacramento Bee:

Across the state, report cards are undergoing a sea change in how students are measured for academic performance. Where teachers once graded students on traditional math or English skills, they now judge attributes such as grit, gratitude or being sensitive to others.

Districts are changing their report cards to reflect the new Common Core State Standards, which are intended to move students away from rote learning and memorization. Rather, critical thinking and analysis geared toward deeper understanding of academic subjects are the goals.

In English language arts, third-grade teachers evaluate students in at least a half-dozen areas including complexity of text, story structure, types of writing and presentation of knowledge. In math, teachers grade for algebraic thinking, problem solving and geometric measurement, among other categories.

For those traditional academic subjects, teachers grade students on a 1-to-4 scale. But when it comes to attributes such as grit or being sensitive to others, they give students one of four marks: A for almost always, O for often, S for sometimes and R for rarely.

Obviously, there are no objective standards possible, so teachers will subjectively evaluate students on these qualities. And human nature being what it is, the degree to which a child conforms to the teacher’s own vision of human nature and the correct viewpoint. Education schools and teachers unions are both strongholds of left wing thinking, so it is fully predictable that children from conservative households will be regarded as uncooperative, insensitive, and ungrateful.

The American public education system is hopeless, consuming more resources per student than almost every other nation on the planet, and producing results excelled by a score or more nations. It is in the grip of progressive ideologues, who have made unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers a superstar. And now it is explicitly beginning to grade attitudes instead of knowledge. It is ineffective, wasteful, and poltiicized. Time to privatize education, save money, and improve results.     (my emphasis)

Hat tip: Armstrong & Getty

By Thomas Lifson for American Thinker

By permission American Thinker

GOP Rout May Not Deter Obama’s Amnesty

Posted on November 7th, 2014

Immigration bill by Sean Delonas,

By Joe Guzzardi

During the 1968 presidential election, Richard Nixon urged the “great silent majority” to turn up at the polling place to cast their vote for him. That’s what happened Tuesday night when a higher than average number of voters for a mid-term election showed up to repudiate President Obama and his policies.

Imagine today’s stunned silent majority watching the evening news night after night for the last two years and seeing Obamacare, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, Central Americans flooding into the United States unchecked, ISIS and Ebola with occasional cut aways to Obama playing golf or lavishly vacationing, and it’s easy to imagine why they renounced Democrats aligned with the president.

Defeated candidates unsuccessfully tried to distance themselves from Obama. Races that pollsters had predicted would be tight weren’t close at all: Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, David Purdue in Georgia, Joni Ernst in Iowa, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Corey Gardner in Colorado and Pat Roberts in Kansas. In Montana, Steve Daines became the state’s first Republican in 100 years to retake a Democratic-held Senate seat. With results still pending in Alaska, Virginia and a January Louisiana run off scheduled, Senate Republicans have picked up seven seats for a total of 52. In the House, the GOP added at least 12 seats and is set to reach or exceed the historic 246 achieved in 1946 during Harry S. Truman’s administration 60 years ago.

The GOP also showed strength in state gubernatorial elections. Candidates in Maryland, Arkansas, Massachusetts and Obama’s Illinois took control of governor’s seats that were previously held by Democrats

One of the consistently hot button domestic issues during the Obama administration has been immigration. Since his 2009 inauguration Obama has pushed amnesty for unlawful immigrants already living in the U.S. and expanding legal immigration from its existing one million annual total even though working and unemployed Americans would be harmed.

During an October Town Hall meeting, Obama said it would be political “suicide” for Republicans to reject his mass amnesty. But voters responded differently. Republicans who oppose Obama’s legalization earned victories nationwide. Tellingly, voters in deep blue Oregon defeated by a 2-1 margin a referendum that would have granted driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

Republicans said the election results should serve as a warning to President Obama, who has said he plans to take unilateral action to grant legal status to millions of illegal immigrants before December. Senator Jeff Sessions who ran unopposed said that the immediate emergency for the new majority will be to fight Obama’s disastrous planned amnesty actions.

But Hispanic lobbyists urged Obama not to let the election results deter him. Luis Gutierrez, the House’s leading amnesty advocate, promised that when the polls close at 9:00 PM, his conversations with the president about immigration reform will begin at 10:00.

Should Obama proclaim amnesty for millions of aliens despite voters overwhelming rejection of his immigration agenda, it would represent one of the most defiant acts in political history, but would also be consistent with what many see as his imperial government style.     (my emphasis)

By Joe Guzzardi

By permission Cagle, Inc.

©2014 Joe Guzzardi and – Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986.

Happy Anniversary to Obamacare – the Gift That Keeps on Giving!

Posted on November 3rd, 2014

GOP sues Obama Obamacare

By Wayne Allyn Root

Last week was the anniversary of Obamacare. Obamacare is like marriage. One year seems like decades. As FDR said of Pearl Harbor, this anniversary is a date that will live in infamy. 

But the GOP shouldn’t run away from Obamacare, they should embrace it.

Obamacare is their ticket to a landslide victory in 2014 and 2016. Scream about it day and night from the highest mountains! Celebrate the anniversary. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Republican politicians and strategists need to get out of Washington DC and stop listening to the mainstream media. The Kool Aid-drinking mainstream media is either delusional, or lying to cover-up for the massive failure of Obama’s one and only “signature achievement.” The truth is middle America is steaming mad. Angry. Depressed. Feeling ripped off. The reason why is simple- because they have now lived with Obamacare for a year. They now know the truth, first hand.

We don’t need the media to tell us Obamacare is a failure and a rip-off. We are living it. We are witness to the scene of the crime. In 2012 everyone was debating the pros and cons of Obamacare based on guesses. Today Obamacare is in effect. No one needs to guess.

Millions of Americans have lost their health insurance. Millions more have seen massive unaffordable increases. Millions more have seen their jobs cut from full-time to part-time. Funny how none of these facts have made it into the mainstream media.

Take this author and small businessman for example. My family’s health insurance has gone from $500 per month to $1,700 per month thanks to Obamacare. But my fun was just beginning. Because the tripling of my rates wasn’t the worst part. In July we received a notice from Aetna that our insurance was being cancelled. The reason? Because of the mandates of Obamacare Aetna can no longer afford to insure my family for $1,700 per month.

What will the new rate be? $2000 per month? $2500 per month? Will they charge me $30,000 per year (before taxes) to provide health coverage for a family that has never experienced a major illness?

Think about this for a moment. Aetna is a faceless bureaucracy. The 3rd biggest insurance company in America. They don’t “know me from Adam.” They don’t know my income. They have no idea if I’m rich or poor. Health insurance rates aren’t based on income. That means across America millions of insurance customers are getting massive premium increases and cancellation notices.

The lives of average middle class Americans are being ruined by Obamacare. Since the average income in America is about $50,000 per year, how will anyone afford $20,000 or $25,000 or $30,000 insurance bills? You think people are panicking across America? You’re damn right they are.

So far it’s only small business owners and independent contractors getting these cancellations and dramatic price increases. They always come first. But soon it will be large corporations. They will have no choice but to either layoff employees by the millions, or drop health insurance for employees. A disaster is about to befall America and the U.S. economy- most of it will come after the election.

Think I’m wrong? Just this morning one of the shoes dropped. Fox News reported hundreds of thousands of Americans are receiving cancellation notices from 13 states and the District of Columbia in the next few days. 

But I’m not done with the bad news yet. One of my dearest friends is a lifelong liberal Democrat who voted twice for Obama. He called days ago to tell me a story everyone needs to hear. He said, “Wayne you were right. Obamacare is a disaster.” I almost feinted. I asked him what made him “see the light?” He told me the story of the checkout gals at his favorite grocery store.

He has shopped at the same supermarket story for many years. The checkout gals are all Hispanic single mothers. After years of shopping twice a week in that same store, my friend has become old friends with these supermarket checkout gals. They always ask each other, “How’s life? How’s your family?” This time they told him a sad story.

Because of Obamacare they’ve all been cut from full-time employees to part-time. They are frightened. They have no idea how they’ll pay their bills. They have no idea how they’ll pay the rent.

Worse, WalMart just announced they are ending healthcare benefits for part-time employees. WalMart employees over 1.3 million Americans.

This is the future of America under Obamacare. Nothing but low-wage part-time jobs…and no healthcare benefits. Good luck. You are all now dependent on government for survival.

Obamacare is a tragedy for middle class Americans. Like the title of my new book, it is “The Murder of the Middle Class.” If you’re a small business owner you are being ripped-off (ie sacrificed) to pay the bill for 30 million new patients who are getting it for free. If you’re working class (like those supermarket checkout gals, or Wal*Mart employees) there’s a good chance you’re about to lose your job, or be downgraded to part-time hours, or have all or part of the health insurance bill dumped on you.

It’s a bloodbath. Yes, it’s true some people are happy. Millions of poor people have gotten something for nothing. But those are lifelong loyal Democratic voters. Obama and his socialist cabal don’t gain one vote from that group.

But the lives of millions of middle class Americans- many of them independent voters, or blue dog Democrats- have been damaged badly by Obamacare. They are angry and they will take it out on Obama and the Democratic Party this November…

If Republicans use Obamacare as a hammer…

If Republicans tie the tragic consequences of Obamacare to Obama and the Democratic Party. 

So my message to the GOP is simple: Don’t run from Obamacare. Embrace it. Obamacare is the anniversary gift that keeps on giving.

If played right, if we scream about it from the highest mountains, Obamacare’s anniversary is the gift that will lead to a GOP landslide in November…and for many years to come   (my emphasis)

Happy Anniversary!

By Wayne Allyn Root for Root for America

By permission Wayne Allyn Root

Why Didn’t the Government Prioritize an Ebola Vaccine? Lack of Money Wasn’t the Issue

Posted on October 23rd, 2014

National Institutes of Health logoBy Paul J. Larkin, Jr.

Francis Collins, chief of the National Institute of Health, recently blamed the lack of any cure for, or vaccine against, Ebola on budget cuts, stating,

Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready,” Collins said in a statement to The Huffington Post.

Well, there is more to the story. As the Washington Post explained, “[g]enerally, Congress gave the NIH about what the president requested — sometimes more, sometimes less. In 2013, for instance, Congress gave the NIH more than what the White House had requested, but then $1.5 billion was taken away by sequestration.”

With reference to the NIH program on infectious diseases, the Washington Post noted that funding went from $1.8 billion in 2000 to $4.3 billion in 2004. According to government budget documents, from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2015, NIH received between $29.1 billion and $40.5 billion in discretionary spending appropriations.

The bottom line is that funding has been relatively flat since 2004, having grown rapidly during the early 2000s and having fallen slightly over the last four years. But what Collins didn’t say was this: fighting infectious diseases like Ebola was his lowest priority.

How is that? Well, unless Congress tied Collins’ hands by statute about how he could spend his appropriated funds and then refused to let him reallocate money when he asked for that authority, Collins had the power to use his appropriations to find a cure for or vaccine against Ebola. He could have done so by reallocating funds from a different project to that one.

Instead, he decided to use his money for other purposes, and he had too little left over to fight Ebola. That is what he meant when he said that he had too little money. He paid for everything according to his order of priority, everything else came ahead of Ebola and he didn’t have enough money left to fight that disease after paying his other bills. So if you read between the lines of what Collins said, he treated the risk of an Ebola epidemic as being so small that he put it last in his list of priorities.

Mind you, Collins has a tough job. Whoever is responsible for deciding which diseases to fight certainly has difficult decisions to make. Different diseases cause different harms. Some are fatal; others not. Some take forever to eliminate; others, even longer.

In the meantime, it is unavoidable that people will die because some diseases receive less funding than others. That is sad, but unavoidable. Those are the arguments to make when someone like Collins is asked why there is no current treatment for Ebola—not the complaint that, “If we only had more money we wouldn’t be in this pickle, so don’t blame me, blame Congress.” That is just buck-passing.

How to allocate discretionary funds is a matter of choice. Collins said that with more funding “we probably would have had a vaccine in time.” Collins did not reallocate funds to that task, and he should explain why he didn’t use other funds available to him for that purpose.

Perhaps his decision was reasonable because he thought that the risk of an epidemic was slight and that the protocols in place to respond to a case of Ebola on our soil were adequate to the task. A decision that was reasonable when it was made does not become unreasonable just because events did not turn out as anticipated. But if Collins had the authority to shift funds from other uses to fighting Ebola, blaming Congress for not giving him unlimited funds is not a reasonable response.

If federal law prohibited such a reallocation, let’s identify the law and fix it. If Collins chose not to reallocate funds, let’s hear his explanation for that decision. If one of Collins’ supervisors prohibited him from reallocating funds, let’s identify the supervisor ultimately responsible and ask why that decision was made.

Unfortunately, if no one is willing to explain why we did not allocate more funds to Ebola, we may not learn how we can fix this problem and prevent its reoccurrence. We don’t need someone to fall on his sword to protect the responsible party. We need to identify that person and ask him or her why more funds were not used to fight this disease.

By Paul J. Larkin, Jr. for The Daily Signal

By permission The Daily Signal

Paul J. Larkin Jr. directs The Heritage Foundation’s project to counter abuse of the criminal law, particularly at the federal level, as senior legal research fellow in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

Wall Street Admits That A Cyberattack Could Crash Our Banking System At Any Time

Posted on September 5th, 2014

CyberattackBy Michael Snyder

Wall Street banks are getting hit by cyber attacks every single minute of every single day.  It is a massive onslaught that is not highly publicized because the bankers do not want to alarm the public.  But as you will see below, one big Wall Street bank is spending 250 million dollars a year just by themselves to combat this growing problem.  The truth is that our financial system is not nearly as stable as most Americans think that it is.  We have become more dependent on technology than ever before, and that comes with a potentially huge downsideAn electromagnetic pulse weapon or an incredibly massive cyberattack could conceivably take down part or all of our banking system at any time.

This week, the mainstream news is reporting on an attack on our major banks that was so massive that the FBI and the Secret Service have decided to get involved.  The following is how Forbes described what is going on…

The FBI and the Secret Service are investigating a huge wave of cyber attacks on Wall Street banks, reportedly including JP Morgan Chase, that took place in recent weeks.

The attacks may have involved the theft of multiple gigabytes of sensitive data, according to reports. Joshua Campbell, supervisory special agent at the FBI, tells Forbes: “We are working with the United States Secret Service to determine the scope of recently reported cyber attacks against several American financial institutions.”

When most people think of “cyber attacks”, they think of a handful of hackers working out of lonely apartments or the basements of their parents.  But that is not primarily what we are dealing with anymore.  Today, big banks are dealing with cyberattackers that are extremely organized and that are incredibly sophisticated.

The threat grows with each passing day, and that is why JPMorgan Chase says that “not every battle will be won” even though it is spending 250 million dollars a year in a relentless fight against cyberattacks…

JPMorgan Chase this year will spend $250 million and dedicate 1,000 people to protecting itself from cybercrime — and it still might not be completely successful, CEO Jamie Dimon warned in April.

Cyberattacks are growing every day in strength and velocity across the globe. It is going to be continual and likely never-ending battle to stay ahead of it — and, unfortunately, not every battle will be won,” Dimon said in his annual letter to shareholders.

Other big Wall Street banks have a similar perspective.  Just consider the following two quotes from a recent USA Today article

Bank of America: “Although to date we have not experienced any material losses relating to cyber attacks or other information security breaches, there can be no assurance that we will not suffer such losses in the future.”

Citigroup: “Citi has been subject to intentional cyber incidents from external sources, including (i) denial of service attacks, which attempted to interrupt service to clients and customers; (ii) data breaches, which aimed to obtain unauthorized access to customer account data; and (iii) malicious software attacks on client systems, which attempted to allow unauthorized entrance to Citi’s systems under the guise of a client and the extraction of client data. For example, in 2013 Citi and other U.S. financial institutions experienced distributed denial of service attacks which were intended to disrupt consumer online banking services. …

“… because the methods used to cause cyber attacks change frequently or, in some cases, are not recognized until launched, Citi may be unable to implement effective preventive measures or proactively address these methods.”

I don’t know about you, but those quotes do not exactly fill me with confidence.

Another potential threat that banking executives lose sleep over is the threat of electromagnetic pulse weapons.  The technology of these weapons has advanced so much that they can fit inside a briefcase now.  Just consider the following excerpt from an article that was posted on an engineering website entitled “Electromagnetic Warfare Is Here“…

The problem is growing because the technology available to attackers has improved even as the technology being attacked has become more vulnerable. Our infrastructure increasingly depends on closely integrated, high-speed electronic systems operating at low internal voltages. That means they can be laid low by short, sharp pulses high in voltage but low in energy—output that can now be generated by a machine the size of a suitcase, batteries included.

Electromagnetic (EM) attacks are not only possible—they are happening. One may be under way as you read this. Even so, you would probably never hear of it: These stories are typically hushed up, for the sake of security or the victims’ reputation.

That same article described how an attack might possibly happen…

An attack might be staged as follows. A larger electromagnetic weapon could be hidden in a small van with side panels made of fiberglass, which is transparent to EM radiation. If the van is parked about 5 to 10 meters away from the target, the EM fields propagating to the wall of the building can be very high. If, as is usually the case, the walls are mere masonry, without metal shielding, the fields will attenuate only slightly. You can tell just how well shielded a building is by a simple test: If your cellphone works well when you’re inside, then you are probably wide open to attack.

And with electromagnetic pulse weapons, terrorists or cyberattackers can try again and again until they finally get it right

And, unlike other means of attack, EM weapons can be used without much risk. A terrorist gang can be caught at the gates, and a hacker may raise alarms while attempting to slip through the firewalls, but an EM attacker can try and try again, and no one will notice until computer systems begin to fail (and even then the victims may still not know why).

Never before have our financial institutions faced potential threats on this scale.

According to the Telegraph, our banks are under assault from cyberattacks “every minute of every day”, and these attacks are continually growing in size and scope…

Every minute, of every hour, of every day, a major financial institution is under attack.

Threats range from teenagers in their bedrooms engaging in adolescent “hacktivism”, to sophisticated criminal gangs and state-sponsored terrorists attempting everything from extortion to industrial espionage. Though the details of these crimes remain scant, cyber security experts are clear that behind-the-scenes online attacks have already had far reaching consequences for banks and the financial markets.

In the end, it is probably only a matter of time until we experience a technological 9/11.

When that day arrives, will your money be safe?    (my emphasis)

By Michael Snyder for Economic Collapse

By permission Economic Collapse Blog

Maybe Johnny Can’t Read Because These Workers Crowd Out Teachers

Posted on August 26th, 2014

Public School EmployeesBy Kelsey Harkness

Half of America’s public school employees aren’t classroom teachers, according to a new study. Instead, they’re non-teaching personnel such as instructional aides, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries, and librarians.

It hasn’t always been this way.

The study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a nonprofit think tank specializing in education policy, found that the number of non-teaching staff grew by 130 percent from 1970 to 2010. Their salaries and benefits account for one-quarter of current education spending.

To show where each state is on the spectrum between least and most non-teaching personnel per 1,000 students, Fordham created this map:Non Teaching Staff Graph

Chart: Thomas B. Fordham Institute

So why are non-teachers on the rise? The Fordham Institute left that up to school district and state education officials to explain.

By using national, state, and local data, though, “The Hidden Half: School Employees Who Don’t Teach” attempts to draw attention to what some education experts consider an alarming trend.

By a wide margin, Nevada and South Carolina public schools had the fewest non-teaching workers per 1,000 students, at 26 and 28 respectively, the study found. Virginia, Vermont, and Wyoming had the most at 104, as the chart below shows.

Lindsey Burke, the Will Skillman Fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation, argues for reducing the number of non-instructional and administrative positions in public schools:

States should consider cutting costs in areas that are long overdue for reform and pursue systemic reform to improve student achievement. Specifically, states should refrain from continuing to increase the number of non-teaching staff in public schools.

Michael Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute, told The Daily Signal that the results of the study should encourage policymakers to “raise tough questions about whether these trends are helping or hurting children.”

Among the most significant findings of  “The Hidden Half’,” the authors say in a release on the study:

  • Since 1950, school staffing has increased nearly 400 percent, and non-teaching personnel played a major part in that growth. Passage of several pieces of federal legislation — Section 504, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, and Title IX (Equal Opportunity in Education Act) — likely were instrumental in changing the makeup of schools.
  • America spends far more on non-teaching staff (as a percentage of education spending) than do most of the nation’s economic peers in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The U.S. spends more than double what Korea, Mexico, Finland, Portugal, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, and Spain do. Only Denmark spends more.
  • States vary in staffing their schools, but much of the variation is because of differences within their borders. States with a large proportion of the population living in cities tend to have fewer workers per student. (See chart below.)
  • The category of teacher aides has been the largest gainer over the past 40 years. From 1970 to 2010, aides went from nearly non-existent to the largest group of workers other than teachers.
  • School districts vary greatly in number of employees, but the differences likely stem from staffing decisions made by leaders. Although factors such as location (rural, suburban, urban) and number of students in special education matter, they don’t explain most of the variation across school districts.

Non Teaching Staff RationsChart: Thomas B. Fordham Institute

By Kelsey Harkness for The Daily Signal

By permission The Daily Signal

FOLLOW-UP: Bill Gates Advocates Hitting the Brakes on Consequences Associated with Common Core

Posted on August 15th, 2014

Common Core by Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

By Brittany Corona

Even Bill Gates is starting to have second thoughts about the consequences associated with Common Core.

Recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation— the second-largest financial backer of Common Core after the federal government— issued a letter calling for a two-year delay of the full implementation of Common Core, which is set to take effect this 2014-15 school year.

In the letter, Vicki Phillips, the director of education for the Gates Foundation, writes:

“[The] Gates Foundation agrees with those who’ve decided that assessment results should not be taken into account in high-stakes decisions on teacher evaluation or student promotion for the next two years, during this transition [into Common Core]…. It’s valuable for students to take the Common Core-aligned tests without consequences during this period, so that teachers can get familiar with the tests, have a chance to offer their feedback, and get a feel for the students’ successes and challenges.”

The Gates Foundation has financed and promoted Common Core from day one. As the Washington Post’s Lyndsey Layton points out, “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.”

But the hasty roll-out of Common Core has given even its staunchest proponents pause.

With this letter, the Gates Foundation now joins the American Federation for Teachers, the National Education Association and the United Federation for Teachers in calling for a moratorium on the consequences attached to test scores and teacher evaluations in Common Core.

You think Obamacare implementation is bad. The implementation of Common Core is far worse,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten last November after AFT called for a pause on Common Core implementation.

Although Gates and the teachers unions are not opposed to national standards, their pushback against the stakes associated with the Common Core national tests reveals the natural result of such centralization: it further distances the most important stakeholders—parents and teachers— from the educational decision-making process.

As University of Arkansas Professor Jay Greene argues:

“Supporters say states, districts and individual schools would be free to surpass the national standards, just not fall below them. But testing would constrain what was taught and when…. States would be penalized with lower scores on the national test if they taught subjects at a different time and in a different manner than what Common Core requires.”

Children are unique, with unique learning needs. It’s why one size does not fit all in education.

A moratorium will do nothing to solve the problem of teacher-preparedness with Common Core. The problem lies with the push for centralized educational standards.

But there is good news. Opposition to this centralization of education continues to mount as the consequences of adopting Common Core become more evident. To date, 17 states have either withdrawn from the testing consortia or paused implementation—including three that have exited Common Core fully.    (my emphasis)

By Brittany Corona for The Daily Signal for The Heritage Foundation

By permission The Daily Signal

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