Archive for Education

Who In The Next Generation Will Run The Country?

Another way of asking that question is who will be admitted into top Phd programs?

This is a fascinating article about a recently published book about admissions to Phd programs. The author points out that unlike admission to undergrad programs, where there is an admissions department, government mandated goals for “diversity” and some public awareness of the process, Phd. candidates are admitted by small faculty committees who make their decisions quietly. The author was permitted to sit in on meetings with the caveat that she not identify the speakers or the institutions:

Across departments and disciplines, Posselt tracks a strong focus on ratings, a priority on GRE scores that extends beyond what most department would admit (or that creators of the test would advise), and some instances of what could be seen as discrimination. Of the latter, she describes a pattern in which faculty members effectively practice affirmative action for all applicants who are not from East Asia, effectively having one set of GRE standards for the students from China and elsewhere in East Asia and another, lower requirement for everyone else.

Hmm, clearly sucks to be Chinese. Also not great to be Christian:

In most cases Posselt observed, the committee members used banter and “friendly debate” when they disagreed with one another. They didn’t attack one another or get too pointed in criticizing colleagues. She describes one discussion she observed — in which committee members kept to this approach — that left her wondering about issues of fairness.
The applicant, to a linguistics Ph.D. program, was a student at a small religious college unknown to some committee members but whose values were questioned by others.

“Right-wing religious fundamentalists,” one committee member said of the college, while another said, to much laughter, that the college was “supported by the Koch brothers.”

The committee then spent more time discussing details of the applicant’s GRE scores and background — high GRE scores, homeschooled — than it did with some other candidates. The chair of the committee said, “I would like to beat that college out of her,” and, to laughter from committee members asked, “You don’t think she’s a nutcase?”

Other committee members defended her, but didn’t challenge the assumptions made by skeptics. One noted that the college had a good reputation in the humanities. And another said that her personal statement indicated intellectual independence from her college and good critical thinking.

At the end of this discussion, the committee moved the applicant ahead to the next round but rejected her there.

Elitism? Alive and well:

The admissions committee members generally assumed applicants were getting Ph.D.s for careers like theirs — faculty jobs at research universities. So they were looking for signs of research potential. And they were also unabashed elitists.
“This is an elite university and a lot of the people at the university are elitists,” one professor said with a laugh. “So they make a lot of inferences about the quality of someone’s work and their ability based on where they come from.

What can we learn about this process? Sure, we could take the point of view that it is unfair, that the academy is arrogant, biased, filled with liberal snots who have never experienced anything outside of the Ivory Tower – but what does that achieve for our children who wish to receive a PhD? How does it help them? My belief is that the best thing we can do for our young adult kids who want this sort of an education is to explain this to them. Buy them a copy of the book I linked. This is The Birds and the Bees of higher education. And do this while they are still in high school, or possibly in their first year of undergrad. Let them know, honestly, that if they want that doctorate degree, they cannot be loud-mouthed (or even open but quiet) conservatives. That in the classrooms, they must support the Leftist rant du jour, whatever the heck it is at the time. They need to avoid unpopular political positions. This is sad, but this is the truth.

– Aggie

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Graven Images

You can’t draw Jesus, you can’t draw Ganesh, you can’t draw Abraham, and you sure as hell can’t draw you-know-who:


L. Ron Hubbard

An Acton school district superintendent said Wednesday he has banned depicting religious leaders after middle school students drew images on a history worksheet of Muhammad, which is forbidden in Islam.

Following a parent’s complaint and media inquiries, Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District Superintendent Brent Woodard told a reporter Tuesday he would consult with an expert on Islam to determine whether a vocabulary handout given to a 7th-grade history class at High Desert School in Acton was offensive. The worksheet, Vocabulary Pictures: The Rise of Islam, listed words such as Quran, Mecca, Bedouins and Muhammad with spaces for students to draw pictures or images related to those words.

“I have directed all staff to permanently suspend the practice of drawing or depiction of any religious leader,” Woodard said Wednesday afternoon in a text message. “I am certain this teacher did not intend to offend anyone and in fact was simply teaching respect and tolerance for all cultures.”

I could add a few more vocabulary words: jihad, honor killing, shahid, 72 virgins, Aisha, decapitation, blowing up historic treasures, to name a few.

PS: Zarqawi with his 72 virgins:

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What Are The Most Biased Courses On College Campuses? A Hilarious Roundup

The results of a contest

Campus Reform received an outpouring of submissions for its first annual Biased Course Contest, with readers identifying 37 classes currently being offered at U.S. colleges that present a skewed perspective on major political issues.

There could only be three winners, though, and after intense deliberation, the following courses have been selected as the most egregious examples of liberal bias on American campuses today:

First-Place: $500 prize

History 73S: “History of the Police in the United States: Slave Patrols to Ferguson”—submitted by Nick Sovich, Stanford University ‘17

“How did police come to have the power to use violence?” begins the online course description. History 73S purports to explore that question by examining themes such as the “growth of professional policing, creation of private police forces and vigilantism, and public portrayals of police—by Hollywood and the press.”

“The historical relationship between race and the administration of policing is a central question,” the description continues, adding that students will “examine primary sources such as police memoirs, court records, police files, detective novels, music videos, and photographs” to glean insights about that relationship.

History 73S fulfills one of three “Introduction to the Humanities” course requirements included in Stanford’s core curriculum, as well as the “Sources and Methods” requirement for history majors and minors.

Second-Place: $300 prize

Political Science 415: “Taking Marx Seriously”—submitted by Avery Riggs, Amherst College ‘18

This course, which fulfills the advanced seminar requirement for political science majors, examines the question of whether the economic theories of Karl Marx deserve “another chance” despite the repeated failure of efforts to put them into practice.

“Has Marx’s credibility survived the global debacle of those regimes and movements which drew inspiration from his work, however poorly they understood it?” the course description asks. “Or, conversely, have we entered a new era in which post-Marxism has joined a host of other ‘post-’ phenomena?”

Rather than exposing students to independent analyses of Marx’s work, the course relies exclusively on reading material written, either in whole or in part, by Marx himself.

Third-Place: $200 prize

American Studies 3731: “The Refusal to Work”—submitted by Casey Breznick, Cornell University ‘17

This elective course, also listed as Communications 3731 and English 3931 at the Ivy League university, offers a “critical reflection on the refusal of work,” which the course description defines as “attempts to remain human within modernity’s regime of coerced labor.”

The work-avoidance strategies discussed in the class—to judge from the language in the description, they are portrayed as noble rejections of an exploitative economic system—include “non-cooperation with routines of production and/or reproduction (among which, strikes, sexual and otherwise), the right to laziness, malingering, shirking, doggin’ it, ‘not understanding,’ sabotage, pilferage, ‘calling in well,’ [and] desertion (a.k.a. quitting).”

None of those behaviors requires any special training, work avoidance coming quite naturally to most people, but their egregious nature suggests that instruction would certainly be helpful for anyone wishing to employ such tactics without consequence.

Wow. Stanford, Amherst College and Cornell. Three of the most prestigious colleges/universities in the United States. The big award went to the course on shirking, but if I had been a judge, I would have awarded it to the Amherst student for the course on Marx. I think Marxism cost more lives than were lost in WWII in the 20th century. Communism ended up murdering in Cambodia, Russia, China, Vietnam, etc. But I do understand the desire to award 1st prize to the Cornell student because a course on shirking is … well… it’s just quite something, isn’t it? I mean, what can we say?

– Aggie

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Hear, Hear!

As an Ivy League grad myself, I couldn’t agree more:

According to our political and journalistic class, inequality is the single biggest problem facing our nation, with the possible exception of climate change. It is a desperate problem demanding sweeping solutions. President Obama calls it the “defining challenge of our time.” Hillary Clinton says we’re living in a throwback to the elitist age of “robber barons.” Bernie Sanders says inequality is the result of a “rigged economy” that favors those at the top while holding down those at the bottom.

In that spirit, I have a modest proposal: Abolish the Ivy League. Because if you’re worried about inequality among Americans, I can think of no single institution that does more to contribute to the problem.

All Bushes and Clintons—not to mention Obama—broomed, dispatched to the community colleges and trade schools their intellects deserve. What a blessing!

But there’s more!

As former Labor secretary Robert Reich recently noted […] “Private university endowments are now around $550 billion, centered in a handful of prestigious institutions. Harvard’s endowment is over $32 billion, followed by Yale at $20.8 billion, Stanford at $18.6 billion, and Princeton at $18.2 billion. Each of these endowments increased last year by more than $1 billion, and these universities are actively seeking additional support. Last year, Harvard launched a capital campaign for another $6.5 billion. Because of the charitable tax deduction, the amount of government subsidy to these institutions in the form of tax deductions is about one out of every $3 contributed.”

Half a trillion dollars? I can picture Obama drooling like the Bloodthirsty Puppy when I’m eating chicken wings. Of course, $550,000,000,000 would fund the federal government for only about eight weeks. But an eight-week bender is better than no bender at all.

And of course:

Ivy League admissions are mostly tilted toward the upper-middle class and the wealthy. As Ross Douthat wrote in The New York Times, there is “a truth that everyone who’s come up through Ivy League culture knows intuitively — that elite universities are about connecting more than learning, that the social world matters far more than the classroom to undergraduates, and that rather than an escalator elevating the best and brightest from every walk of life, the meritocracy as we know it mostly works to perpetuate the existing upper class.”

Nor does the problem end there. Once you’re out of college, your chances of making it to the top are much, much greater if you’re an Ivy League graduate. Take the Obama administration.

Take Bloodthirstan! You think I earned my status as Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler? As if!

But back to Obama:

A National Journal survey of 250 top decision-makers found that 40% of them were Ivy League graduates. Only a quarter had earned graduate degrees from a public university. In fact, more Obama administration officials had degrees from England’s Oxford University than from any American public university. Worse yet, more than 60 of them — roughly a fourth — had attended a single Ivy League school, Harvard.

If all of this were making America a better place, maybe the elitism would be justified. But a quick survey of the headlines suggests that while we might be governed by the best credentialed, we’re not being governed by the brightest and most competent.

As William F. Buckley, a Yale man, once said, “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.” Who would argue with that? President Aardsma and Secretary of State Aboujian would do a better job these Ivied imbeciles. And they’d work cheaper.

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Is Our Children Learning?

Under Obama, much less so than during the Bush years

Remember how stupid GW was supposed to be? And how terrible his education policies supposedly were? Well, thank god we have Barack Obama to help our kids learn to read and do simple arithmetic.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday soft-pedaled the “not great news” that scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (i.e., the “nation’s report card”) declined this year for the first time since 1990. We once hoped that education would be a bright spot of the Obama Presidency, but it appears that student learning has stalled.

The Administration says the discouraging results on the NAEP exam, which tests a representative sample of students every two years in all 50 states, may be a blip. Perhaps, but the retrogression is troubling. Math proficiency in the fourth and eighth grades slipped two percentage points nationwide to 40% and 33% of students, respectively. Average scores fell across the board save for fourth-grade reading where progress was flat. Since 2007 fourth- and eighth-grade math, and fourth-grade reading, scores have plateaued.

Mr. Duncan says one culprit might be that schools are adjusting to new Common Core standards. Yet in 2013 he attributed modest gains in Michigan and seven other states to early implementation of Common Core. The handful of states that haven’t adopted Common Core have also sunk or are treading water.

Teachers union chief Randi Weingarten used the results to lambaste “high-stakes testing” inaugurated under No Child Left Behind, which aimed for 100% proficiency by 2014. Yet that law long ago became toothless thanks to Mr. Duncan’s waivers.

The recent academic stagnation also stands in marked contrast to the significant progress during the Bush years. Between 2000 and 2007, fourth grade math scores increased by 15 points on a scale of 0 to 500. Fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math scores rose by eight points.
….

Cleveland’s school district has also made modest strides. In 2012 Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a law allowing the district to base teacher layoffs on performance rather than seniority. The law also rewarded highly rated teachers with better pay.

Mr. Duncan, who is leaving in December, last week gave unions a parting gift by proposing to cap standardized testing at 2% of classroom time.

Related to my rant yesterday about the importance of business, in that they pay for everything government does, is today’s rant on education, personal responsibility, and some thoughts about why we seem hell-bent on flushing the nation down the toilet.

A chronically sucky economy is depressing – both in terms of family spending patterns and in terms of parental optimism. I’m talking about all parents here – single, married, stay-at-home moms, working women, the entire gamut. It is just discouraging to feel trapped by a lousy economy. It can produce serious anxiety, and high levels of tension do not bode well for calm learning. That is no excuse for lack of involvement with the kiddie’s homework, but I think it happens.

The belief system that teachers have – that testing is somehow unimportant at best, and detrimental at worst, is communicated to kids and parents. And they are right – if we hadn’t tested, we wouldn’t know that scores are declining in both reading and math.

I’m obviously discussing functioning people here, not drug dealers, etc. Ordinary “folks” don’t seem to value the routine stuff that gets kids through high school and into college, if that’s a goal. What works isn’t mysterious. Parents need to provide structure, regular meals, bedtime, story time, etc. As kids get older, they need to encourage good grades and polite behavior in the classroom. I am not a teacher so cannot comment on their end of the bargain.

Politically, it probably isn’t helpful to have national leaders who are obsessed with Black Lives Matter, raging at the police and at the structure of daily life. A more useful approach would have been to encourage all the nation’s children to attend school regularly, take homework seriously, and to have goals. Instead we’ve raged against one another and taught our kids that some of them (white, middle class) will make it no matter what, whereas others will fail due to skin color and other circumstances beyond their control. Both are untrue. This is a national tragedy, but hey, we voted for it – twice.

– Aggie

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Strange Thoughts

I’m home nursing an intense cold, and wondering about the economy for some reason. I should probably be watching re-runs of The Man From Uncle, but I’m not. And I am getting confused.

It is clear that many Americans despise “business” and feel that “business” is somehow ripping us off. They admire government programs that “help” the underpriviledged. Among the young adults that do not work for Starbucks, most dream of working for non-profits, NGOs, or the government, whether they aspire to teach or to set policy somewhere.

So, what good is business anyway? What does it contribute to the United States? And this is where I’m wondering if my cold is distorting my thinking, because it seems to me that business provides all the money for these noble efforts.

Whether businessmen and women simply hire people (the Starbucks kiddies, for example), or whether they work in one-man shops, they generate income for millions of people, who then pay taxes. And taxes are used to fund all sorts of important programs – like the entire Federal Government! We all love the results of our tax money at work, right? 😉

It is true that government workers pay taxes, but their salaries are provided by taxpayers, and that dough comes from businesses.

Question: Am I missing something here? And if not, why is this so darn hard to communicate to the masses? How can they not comprehend this stuff? Do our schools suck that much?

– Aggie

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Can Donald Win The Nomination? More Importantly, Can Any Republican Win The White House?

After just landing from a grueling four days on the left coast, I think the answers are don’t know and absolutely not.

Let me deal with question 2 first: Can any Republican win the White House? While on the left coast, I was regaled with opinions about how the VA does a poor job because they are underfunded, how protected classes need more protection, (LBGT communities and mental illness communities and women – there are jokes to be had there, BTL, have at it), how we absolutely must pay more in taxes, how changing the language from multiculturalism to something else will help conservatives understand how wrong they are, etc. And most of these conversations were forcibly overheard while waiting in group 3 to board United. My contacts were possibly crazier. Now, you may say, “Aggie, the left coast is nutty, everyone knows that.” OK, but how much of the population do they represent? Is it any different on the right coast? And given the breakdown of our legal system, how close to actual victory must they come in order to “win”?

So I am undermining the importance of this:

In ways large and small, with policy and with personality, billionaire Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is forcing his party’s establishment to confront the vast divide between party leaders and the voters who, according to nearly every poll for months, have wanted him to carry their torch to the White House.

A prevailing narrative is that Trump is leading in the polls by appealing to the far right. That’s an oversimplification. Trump is offering Republicans something no other candidate can: An insider’s knowledge of the elite combined with a mischievous determination to upend it and an unorthodox set of policy prescriptions—running the gamut from immigration to campaign finance to Social Security—that aim to achieve that goal. In this year’s contest for the Republican nomination, that platform has proven to have staying power.
“We’re all out there like little bee workers trying to get these people elected, and then nothing changes!” said Fay Schall, a 63-year-old conservative Republican from O’Brien County, Iowa. A Trump supporter, she said the real estate tycoon articulates the frustration voters feel, in part because he doesn’t worry about being politically correct. “People are tired of it,” she said. “I think that’s the nerve that Trump is hitting. Everybody is tired of being trampled on. I think that’s what’s resonating.”

Yes, true. But what happens next, after he or Carson or Fiorina or Rubio accepts the nomination, is that the media explains, patiently and repeatedly, that said Republican candidate hates women, LGBT, people of color, elderly people, sick people, near-sighted people, people who prefer cats to dogs, people who can’t stand pets, bicyclists, and pre-school tots. No decent human being would ever vote for a Republican. Health care won’t even come up this time. We have solved that pesky problem.

The Republicans will respond: False! I love my mother! I have grandchildren! I ride a bicycle! And the media will point to their anger and irrational outbursts. Democrats will give everyone a free college education and a pony!

And of course, the public is to blame for this, not really the media. We are the ones that can’t recall what happened during Benghazi, or the IRS scandals. We can’t do the basic math that explains that the median income is actually lower in real dollar terms under Obama. We don’t mind that the Middle East has devolved into gangs of head choppers, many of whom have been re-branded as refugees and reside in Europe. All we know is that the Republicans are bad people, and crazy to boot!

Once you have a poorly educated electorate, you’re screwed.

– Aggie

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Try Not to Let This Destroy Your Faith in the Nation’s Third-Largest School District

Out: Do it for the children.

In: Do it to the children.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand-picked former schools CEO, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday, admitting her role in a brazen kickback scheme.

Byrd-Bennett’s arrival at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse was her first public appearance in six months; in April, she had championed strong principals at a downtown event on the same day that federal subpoenas landed at Chicago Public Schools headquarters.

She’s rolling over to give up her accomplices, so they’re going easy on her: 7 1/2 years.

At least the teachers union is looking out for the kids!

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis wants schools to teach social justice, not “consumerism,” she said in a video.

“You want to talk about organizing? You want to talk about social justice?” the Chicago union leader asked. “People always talk about how that there’s no political and values in math, that you can teach math without a place for social justice.”

“Johnny has five pencils and if he spent two cents for the red pencils and eight cents for the green pencils, and he has 47 cents, how many pencils can he buy? We’ve all seen that, right?” Lewis said. ”That’s a very political statement, because it’s all about consumerism — it’s about buying stuff, right?”

Instead, Lewis prefers the approach of one progressive teacher who uses union-approved rhetoric in math problems, instead of the damaging consumerism of two cent pencils.

“Bob Peterson tells them about Jose working in a factory making piecemeal clothes. He uses the same numbers and gets the same answer,” Lewis explained. “Math is political, too.”

“Jameer has two clips holding 17 rounds apiece. His gang boss, Fizzy C, tells him to empty his gun into members of the rival gang, the South Side Slix. Assuming 2.7 bullets per Slix gangbanger, how many hoods can Jameer cap, and how many bullets will be left over, if any?”

No wonder Chicago is a crime-ridden mess. The adult criminals have already stolen all the money. Kids there don’t have a chance.

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Does Our Children Learn?

We don’t write about education choice and charter schools often enough—but enough, I suppose, to be on the email list of an advocacy group.

I expect I’ll be hearing from them about this soon:

Over the past three school years, I unintentionally participated in a tragic educational case study on the west side of Harlem. I worked in the same building as the Wadleigh Secondary School, at which 0% of students in grades six through eight met state standards in math or English. That isn’t a typo: Not a single one of the 33 students passed either exam, though many of the questions are as straightforward as “What is 15% of 60?”

Two floors above Wadleigh, I taught math at Success Academy Harlem West, a public charter school. The students there eat in the same cafeteria, exercise in the same gym and enjoy recess in the same courtyard. They also live on the same blocks and face many of the same challenges. The poverty rate at Wadleigh is 72%; at Harlem West, it is 60%. At both schools, more than 95% of students are black or Hispanic. About the only difference is that families at Harlem West won an admissions lottery.

Yet for our students, the academic year ended in triumph: 96% were proficient in math—compared with 35% citywide—and 80% scored at the advanced level. In reading and writing, 75% of our students were proficient, compared with 30% citywide.

Do the Wadleigh kids at least get to beat up the Harlem West kids? Seems only fair.

I don’t think the proof could be any more solid if the administrators wore white lab coats and wore stethoscopes. They have a control group in the Wadleigh kids: poor, black, and left to the mercilessness of the criminally woeful New York City public school system. Then you have the “clinical trial” of the Harlem West kids: poor, black, and rock stars.

If you are poor and black on the Democrat plantation of New York City, you’re lucky to be born at all (the genocide of black baby abortion being what it is). And even then, your problems are only beginning.

Last month, instead of acknowledging the astounding lack of learning at schools such as Wadleigh, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a hodgepodge of feel-good programs. He will create new Advanced Placement courses that students from Wadleigh won’t be prepared to take. He will enlist “literacy specialists” to try to counter chaotic classrooms and poor instruction. In short, he will do nothing effective.

I often think about those Wadleigh students, navigating unruly hallways and classrooms. They hold the same promise as my students, but of those who move on to high school, fewer than 10% graduate with the skills to complete college-level work. What if those Wadleigh students had attended the public school only two floors above them?

New York City has the resources to create world-class public schools for all students. The Big Apple spends $20,331 per pupil. That ranks No. 2 among the 100 largest school districts in the U.S., according to 2012-13 census data. The problem is that in New York the needs of adults supersede those of children. My colleagues finished summer vacation on Aug. 3, underwent two weeks of professional development and welcomed back students on Aug. 17. The district’s unionized teachers were required to arrive one day before the school year began on Sept. 9.

The Obama stimulus program was blown largely on keeping unionized teachers on the payroll during municipal shortfalls. Mark Zuckerberg made the same “mistake” in 2010 (“The bulk of the funds supported consultants and the salaries and pensions of teachers and administrators…”).

For Democrats, education is not about students, least of all about poor, black students. Education is about the votes and the campaign contributions of their unionized teachers.

QED

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Detroit II

We’ve let Detroit up off the mat because, well, Detroit cried uncle. Bankruptcy has a tendency to focus the mind.

Next!

Chicago Public Schools—with 394,000 students and nearly 21,000 teachers—has closed more than half of a projected $1.1 billion shortfall through cuts, borrowing and other means, but is looking to the state to come up with the rest. The school board warns of deep cuts later this year if Illinois, which faces its own fiscal crisis, doesn’t deliver an additional $480 million in the coming months, representing roughly 8% of annual district spending.

“It is like the board is a desperate gambler at the end of their run,” said Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, in a recent speech.

That’s the pot calling the kettle…b-brushed steel. Who’s the gambler is in the eye of the beholder. What has the school board and the teachers union at such odds?

Chicago’s deepening fiscal problems, driven by fast-growing pension costs and declining state aid, run largely counter to the brightening picture for districts across the country as they open their doors for a new school year.

We’re pretty consistent with our criticism: when a state-run agency serves more as a retirement fund than a service provider—Chicago schools, meet Boston public transportation—the system is out of balance. Teachers were promised lavish benefits (how lavish is in the eye of the beholder) that are now unsustainable. Is that a raw deal? Raw-ish, but nowhere near as raw as sticking the overburdened taxpayer with a bill she never signed on to.

I can’t criticize the teachers as teachers: I don’t know their talents. But I can criticize them as unhelpful partners in solving a crisis. Just as I have criticized the Boston T and the Detroit public sector unions (and the Democrat-dominated local governments) for not giving an inch. The whole idea of a pension is extinct in the private sector. If you want yours to survive, it’s going to have to shrink, like those elephants that evolved differntly on islands:

It’s called insular dwarfism:

Insular dwarfism, a form of phyletic dwarfism, is the process and condition of the reduction in size of large animals over a number of generations when their population’s range is limited to a small environment, primarily islands.

Unless you want to go the way of the dodo, teach, I suggest you be reasonable.

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Chicago Laying Off 500 Teachers!

and 1,000 support staff

Gentle Reader,
Please wipe that schadenfreude-ish smile off your face. Go back to reading Alinsky. – Aggie

It won’t be “back to school” for hundreds of Chicago teachers who are getting layoff notices this week.

The Chicago Public School system is laying off nearly 500 teachers and just over 1,000 support staff as it responds to a budget crisis it says is caused by increasing pension costs and declining state aid.

Many of the affected teachers teach at schools with declining enrollments. That’s why about 60% of the teachers who are being laid off are expected to be rehired before the start of the school year, since the district has to fill 1,450 teacher openings at other schools.

And the carnival peanut shell game that is the progressive left continues, unabated. Reading into the article, we learn that this is the smallest number of layoffs in the past five years. But I am enjoying the fact that those teachers are certainly tense and anxious. I wonder if the good citizens of Illinois will figure out a way to get their pension obligations under control?

– Aggie

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Hey, Sap! You Payed For Your Own College Education, For Your Kid’s Education, Time To Pay For My Kids!!

Suckah!

I had the opportunity to speak with a young man recently who finally, in his early 30’s, managed to pay off his student loans. He thought he was done. Not so fast:

Hillary Clinton on Monday unveiled her plan to ensure any American student can go to a public college and pay for tuition without incurring any student debt, one of the most expansive ideas so far from her campaign and one that would in effect create a new education entitlement.

“I believe one of the single biggest ways we can raise incomes is by making college affordable and available to every American,” the Democratic frontrunner wrote in a post on Medium explaining the proposal.

“Under my plan, tuition will be affordable for every family,” she added. “Students should never have to take out a loan to pay for tuition at their state’s public university.”

Clinton is proposing to send billions of dollars to states to fund their public colleges as long as they agree to a series of steps that would keep tuition low. In participating states, a student’s parents would still be required to contribute some amount of money (dependent on the family’s income) and the student would be expected to work 10 hours a week to help pay for school. Students would also pay for books, housing and other expenses, so Clinton’s proposal falls short of the universal “debt-free” college proposed by many liberal advocates.

Still, the rest of students’ tuition would be state-funded, thereby eliminating the need to take out loans for tuition itself. And under this system, the millions of students who receive Pell Grants could use them to offset some non-tuition expenses, so that bloc of students could graduate with little out-of-pocket college cost and no debt.

Whadya think, BTL? Will recent college grads mind having their paychecks gouged to pay for the neighbor’s kid’s education? Or are they just a selfish, greedy bunch? Are they right-wingers, no different from the mullahs in Iran?

– Aggie

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