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December 16, 2008

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matt

why not just some plain old accountability? For the kids, the teachers, and the administrators?

I was the finance chair for a parochial school in California for 12 years, and our cost per child, which was covered purely by tuition, was in the range of $3,600 - $4,000/year, including a 10% tithe for an inner city school.

The comparable expenditure per child by the public school system in California at the time was $6,800 - $7,500.

Our students consistently outperformed the local upper middle class school districts by a significant margin every single year. Objectively, the biggest difference was that the parents cared, and thus their children cared.

Thomas Collins

Fun With Dick and Jane is on now. Dick introduces Jane. Jane announces that she is going to discuss the three Bs (Blago, bailout and Bernie Madoff). Jane starts with Blago. Jane says it would be great for her side if Blago fights this. Jane states that Fitzy has a pattern of bringing the complaint first and finding the evidence later. Dick and Jane are now sparring about Scooter Libby.

The interaction between the two is great. Go to Southbridge some Tuesday and listen to this. Fly in from the West Coast. I'm serious. This is a truly great show.

MayBee

matt- I firmly believe it is the parents that make the school district.

We almost moved to Chicago, and we would have moved to the city. Chicago does have some excellent public schools.

I would like Obama to look at Walnut Hills High School. It is a public (magnet) school in Cincinnati- not necessarily in a wealthy neighborhood - that is ranked among the best in the nation. It isn't one of Bill Gates's expensive experiments, and there must be a lot to learn from it.

jorod

Real change should have called for Paul Vallas to be Secretary of Education.

Duncan is unremarkable.

MayBee

Yay! Thomas Collins, keep sharing.

Thomas Collins

Dick is a worthy warrior for Jane. Dick is relentless in trying to tar Scooter Libby and poo-poo Blagorama (Jane's term). But he does it in a lighthearted, respectful way.

Dick-Blago has done nothing wrong yet.

Jane-But look how they are scrambling.

Jane-To impeach Blago, the Illinois legislature may need the evidence from the criminal trial.

Jane-Lisa Madigan wants to be Governor. There are all these entanglements.

Dick-This is Chicago. does the name Richard Daley mean anything to you?

Dick acknowledges that big city Dem politics is not pristine.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Now all he has to worry about is Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton's role in the pardoning of the unrepentant FALN Fraunces Tavern bombers.

I heard the son of a man who was killed there on Dennis Miller this morning, and he's not in a forgiving mood. He said he heard one of the bombers interviewed by Tim Russert on MTP after the pardon, and refused to apologize or renounce violence.

Thomas Collins

Dick agrees with Jane that Obama's energy and environmental appointments are Al Gore clones.

In fifteen minutes of this show, there already has been more substance than a whole Sunday morning's worth of MSM talk shows.

Thomas Collins

Jane on the Office of the President-Elect-"Hubris."

Jane mocks Obama's planned train ride. Jane notes that while the Dems are talking about spending "kajillion dollars," Obama is taking a train ride.

Porter

Ariel Management, hmmm, now we're going up the other pants leg of Chicago politics. Valerie Jarrett is part of this side of the political field of battle.

Very slick group here.

Thomas Collins

Jane-Bush better on substance, Obama better at public relations.

Jane is now discussing the Alamo Bowl.

JM Hanes

TM:

In other good news, Mike Klonsky doesn't like Duncan either. I posted a bunch of links in quick succession in yesterday's thread.

I'm kicking myself, yet again, for putting stuff up late at night, only to find that discussion or the topic has moved on in the morning.

Caro

JMH, you are always worth going back for. I am awed by your writing. Heading there now.

RichatUF

Ariel Management

Obama got them about a $500 million slice of the Illinois Teachers' Pension after Obama got contributions from the founder and Rezko. The firm was fired for poor performance when Ariel came up (though they weren't implicated) during the Rezko trial. Wonder if they have a Chicago muni portfolio and will make a nice reward when Obama "builds 21st century schools"?

Pofarmer

They couldn't find somebody from a school district with a graduation rate of better than 52% when the national average is over 80%?

Yep, they got all the answers in Chicago.

Pofarmer

Oh, Yeah, in 1999 it was 47%, and in 2006 it was 52%. Whoopin progress there folks.

centralcal

TC: Cool . . . thanks for liveblogging Dick and Jane. Our Jane - woo hoo!

Pofarmer

It's also pretty interesting to note, that if you look at the nations 50 largest school districts, only two of them make the national average. So much for all the stupid small town hicks. I know the graduation rate here is around 97%.

Pofarmer

LUN for graduation rates.

Thomas Collins

Dick and Jane are having an extended discussion on what constitutes corruption in the handing out of vanity license plates, the handling of client funds by a lawyer, and horse trading on gubernatorial appointments. Jane points to the lack of transparency in the Illinois Senate situation. Jane is pointedly questioning Obama's (she is referring to him as "Mr. Transparency") initial opaque statement on the Blago situation.

RichatUF

Thomas Collins-

Thanks for the live blog.

Go Jane!!!

Thomas Collins

Dick is singing the praises of Caroline Kennedy as a replacement for Hillary in the US Senate. Jane mocks Kennedy worship. Jane asks for a time out on seats for the Kennedys, Dodds and Barney Franks of the world.

MayBee

Heh heh heh.
From Politico today:

In talks with Emanuel and others, sources say, Pelosi has “set parameters” for what she wants from Barack Obama and his White House staff — no surprises, and no backdoor efforts to go around her and other Democratic leaders by cutting deals with moderate New Democrats or conservative Blue Dogs.

Specifically, Pelosi has told Emanuel that she wants to know when representatives of the incoming administration have any contact with her rank-and-file Democrats — and why, sources say.

Yeah, right.
I'm sure if Nancy complains about officials talking to "her" rank-and-file Democrats, Obama will be happy to launch an internal investigation into it.

Thomas Collins

Jane is criticizing Dem cronyism. Now, Dick and Jane are going back and forth about Dick's Rotary Club involvement.

Gabriel Sutherland

My LSC supporting Obamabot friends are freaking out over this appointment.

MayBee

Gabriel- I'm having a moment. What is "LSC-supporting". Freaking out good or freaking out bad?


I'm taking a train to MA to listen to Jane next week.

Thomas Collins

Jane points out that people not paying attention allows cronyism to flourish. Jane asks Dick to join her in a fight against cronyism. Dick said folks need to get angry.

Huntley and Brinkley. Bogie and Bacall. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Cheech and Chong. All surpassed by Dick and Jane, who are the best duo in the world!

MayBee

I hate the "need to get angry" line. One can be proactive and involved without being angry.

Thomas Collins

Dick actually is agreeing with Jane that union work rules can bleed public organizations. Jane says she is hearing that Toyota may sue the Feds for giving TARP money to other automakers.

Now Dick and Jane are going back and forth on "the Kennedy branch of government" (Jane's comment) and "the Bush branch" (Dick's rejoinder).

Thomas Collins

Final topic-Bernie Madoff

Dick-Bernie played into people's greed.

Jane-Can't believe that Bernie is out on bail.

Jane-Outrage is muted because everyone ripped off by Madoff is rich.

kim

You want some education, Atlas Shrugs has Wafa Sultan dissecting Colin Powell about Islam.
=====================================

MayBee

Please note: Obama did not send his own daughters to Arne Duncan's schools.

kim

Thanks, Thomas, and, of course, Dick and Jane. Can't wait for Santa to bring Jane her big megaphone.
=================================

Ann

Thomas Collins,

Thanks so much! Jane will be blushing when she gets back.
Woot Woot!!!

Thomas Collins

Jane wonders whether regulators didn't look closely at Madoff due to Madoff's being a former NASDAQ head. Jane points out that cronyism may have been at work (giving slack to insiders by not investigating them).

Dick makes fun of my message to the station, in which I pointed out that the Alamo Bowl is in San Antonio. Jane defends the Alamo Bowl.

Thomas Collins

Dick ends by supporting term limits and talking up Caroline Kennedy. Jane says Caroline is not change we can believe in.

Bottom line-This is a great show.

Caro

Cheering for TC's live blog. Thank you, thank you.

Caro

Jane, let's organize a listening party and lunch when I come to your area in April.

MayBee

Thanks, TC!!

Jane wonders whether regulators didn't look closely at Madoff due to Madoff's being a former NASDAQ head. Jane points out that cronyism may have been at work (giving slack to insiders by not investigating them).

Very good point.
I'm surprised HSBC didn't question why Madoff wasn't audited.

Danube of Thought

Who is Dick? And God bless our Jane.

clarice

Bravo,TC..Good work ,Jane.

kim

I think he was investigated for suspicion of 'front-running' and found not guilty.
=====================================

Danube of Thought

I hope Jane pointed out to Dick that the legislature doesn't need any evidence at all to impeach the guy.

MayBee

You know, I'm getting pretty peeved at how many people are kind of laughing off the whole "how shocking there's corruption in Chicago politics" thing.
Just like they shrug off Kwame Kilpatrick because who expects Detroit to have an honest mayor?

Our big cities are cess pools, and everyone seems to think it's ok because it's charming in its way.

Gabriel Sutherland

MayBee: "LSC supporting" would be Local School Councils. Ayers, Klonsky, and company were knee deep in trying to make the LSC model work with the Mr. Chairman Obama through the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

The LSC advocates that still want to use this model are primarily coalitions that would like Marxism to be the guiding principles of education.

The LSC advocate that was on Obama's short list was Linda Darling-Hammond.

kim

If you really get down to it, what they hate about Bush is the absence of corruption. The Dems are so used to it, they thrive in it, and project it onto the innocent. The American body politic is gravely ill.

What can be done? I don't know.
====================================

Jane

TC,

You are too funny. ANd you really should have headed out here for lunch after the show.

I'm glad you liked it. Since I haven't heard it I can't figure out why. But I sure as hell love doing it.

Gabriel Sutherland
Our big cities are cess pools, and everyone seems to think it's ok because it's charming in its way.
The people will excuse corruption if government is still effective. It isn't in Detroit. It barely scratches by in Chicago. New York has so many international mouths to feed it does just fine. Los Angelos is getting worse. Houston, well Houston answers to Texans.
Mrs Whatsit

matt, I think public schools have plenty to learn from successful parochial and private schools like the one you described, and I agree with you that caring parents matter more than almost anything government can do. That said, it's not fair to make a direct comparison of costs-per-child between parochial and public schools unless the per-child cost at the public school has been adjusted to remove the expenses of special education. Parochial schools are not usually under the same mandate to provide these hugely expensive services for students with special needs, nor are they likely to serve many children with the most demanding needs. I spent five years on the board of education of a public school and was amazed at the degree to which special education costs affected overall expenditures -- and allocation of resources -- for all students.

Rick Ballard

"Our big cities are cess pools, and everyone seems to think it's ok because it's charming in its way."

Not quite everyone, MayBee. Just as not quite everyone is relieved because Zero made a payback to the teachers' union rather than going straight commie right off the bat.

I would note that Arne Duncan is just another floater from the same cesspool in which Zero, Rahm, Madigan and Daley practiced synchronized swimming. We're at the 'gosh, we're lucky that it's leprosy instead of cancer' stage wrt Zero appointments.

Jon Burrows

6 out of 100 Chicago students will earn a college degree. That's a 94% failure rate in a high-tech economy.

Really, really great choice for the future, hope, change, etc.

Ann

DoT,

Jane is on a radio show every Tuesday at noon. The owner's name is Dick (don't know his last name). I prefer to call it "Tuesdays with Jane" but I think they call it the "Dick and Jane Show" or something. We hope it will be pod-casted soon, so we can all hear our dear Jane.

bad

Per Wiki, Duncan attended University of Chicago Labratory School and grew up in Hyde Park.

His Harvard degree is in Sociology.

From 1987-1991 he played professional basketball in Australia then worked in Ariel Education Initiative for a few years and became Deputy Chief of Staff for former Schools CEO Paul Vallas in 1999.

This guy moves fast. Obama better watch out.

Ann

Oops,

Sounds like you were great, Jane.

( Help me out with my answer to DoT. :) )

JM Hanes

TM:

You need to look at CAC's successor group, the Chicago Public Education Fund (CPEF) for the connective tissue. This really is a big Ayers loss, I think, and potentially our gain. Yes, it is about educating our children from "the day that child is born" and about providing equal opportunity education and treating schools as social institutions, but it looks to me like the Duncan choice is as much about how you do the funding. Are we surprised? Per Duncan, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to equal education is the tie between schools and local property taxes -- which is where redistribution, bumped up to the federal level, will come into play.

Experience is the usual question mark, and in education particularly, it's hard to judge substantive success or failure in short increments -- even CAC which was an abject failure in short run starts looking different when viewed as the precursor to CPEF.

If you look at CPEF's annual reports, you'll find that there is no such thing as taxpayer funding and charitable giving in the world of education (or, apparently philanthropy itself) any more. It's about portfolios, and investing and leveraging public money with private money and vice versa. That's where ObamaSpeak on education and partnerships comes from. Check out CPEF's "investments." You'll find "social capitalists" like New Leaders for New Schools" and a list of organizations that are all interconnected at both local and national levels.

This is not an isolated trend; it's community organizing from an entirely different angle, and it's writ large. Here's a sample of the new language from New Profit:

New Profit investors are passionate about creating the highest possible social impact with their philanthropy. They bring significant expertise and resources to our pooled investment model, and often seek engagement with social entrepreneurs and their strategic challenges, and with New Profit itself.

Starting from CPEF's beneficiaries, I ended up with a massive spider web of educational initiatives and funding opportunities, that is much, much bigger than Chicago alone and which conceivably represents the future of American education -- Chicago & Duncan are the microcosm. The bright side, however, is a new interest in less traditional training of teachers and principals and an emphasis on improving student performance. It's a perspective that is not entirely driven by the teachers' union, with aims that are also more ambitious, not less, than simply teaching to the test.

I could be posting my round up of related links right now, but unless you can figure out how to lift CAPTCHA's 4 link limit, it's just so time consuming and tedious that it doesn't seem worth the effort.


MayBee

Thanks, Gabriel. That's good news for now.

Not quite everyone, MayBee. Just as not quite everyone is relieved because Zero made a payback to the teachers' union rather than going straight commie right off the bat.

I find myself wishing these not quite everyones had more of a voice the public could hear. Is it just impolite to talk about Detroit? Do national reporters think machine politics is too boring to cover (even when your beloved candidate is a product of them)?

Gabriel Sutherland

Duncan went to the UofC lab school too? We're his parents academics?

Jane

It's called "Fun with Dick & Jane.

bad

Gabriel, this is WIKI:

His father Starkey Duncan was a psychology professor at the University of Chicago, and mother Susan Morton runs The Sue Duncan Children's Center for African American youth on Chicago's South Side. Duncan spent a great deal of his free time at his mother's center tutoring children and sharpening his basketball skills with the neighborhood children. Some of his childhood friends were John W. Rogers, Jr., CEO of Ariel Capital Management (now Ariel Investments) and founder of the Ariel Academy, Illinois Senator Kwame Raoul, actor Michael Clarke Duncan, singer R. Kelly and martial artist Michelle Gordon.

glasater

From Mrs Whatsit:

Parochial schools are not usually under the same mandate to provide these hugely expensive services for students with special needs, nor are they likely to serve many children with the most demanding needs.

I was assigned a job to illustrate a local bond issue two years ago and visited many schools in our area. Special needs children are mainstreamed with the public school population.
Some of the special needs children were basically crumpled up individuals who could barely distinguish daylight from darkness and it was very sad to observe.
ISTM that some sort of triage approach separating the teachable children from those that obviously are not would have been helpful in getting the school district's costs reduced.

Gabriel Sutherland

Kwame Raoul is a dark horse longshot candidate to replace Obama in the US Senate. He can't get elected, but he could be appointed by Lt. Governor Pat Quinn if Blagojevich is removed from office or resigns.

bad

Gabriel, did you notice R.Kelly? That guy is golden. He beat the rap in spite of video tape of he and a 14 year old doing the horizontal mambo.

Johnv2

While I too am happy that Ayers is disappointed, I'd really like to know how our new Education Secretary-Elect managed the climb to the top of a Chicago public institution. I'd like to know what he paid Daley and the machine, presumably using something other than gratitude.

bad

He is a board member of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

I don't know anything about this group.

kim

bad, R. Kelly had Blag's lawyer, Genson.
=======================

bad

Johnv2, it was a fast climb.

bad

It appears the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence is an anti-gun group.

LUN

bad

Kim, it is an incestuous little group isn't it?

JM Hanes

How Many Billionaires Does It Take to Fix a School System?


Jane: "I'm glad you liked it. Since I haven't heard it I can't figure out why. But I sure as hell love doing it."

You've probably answered your own question there. It's the whole smile-even-when-the-other-guy-can't-see-you model. If you're enjoying yourself, chances are your audience will too. If it's like pulling teeth, they'll feel like they're in the dentist chair too.

TCollins: Thanks for the excellent liveblogging! You are clearly joining the Legendary Elliott and Jane of Snark in Mad Skilz Department.

Gabriel Sutherland

ICAHV is the big Brady Bill group in Illinois. They're gun grabbers. I don't know there exact history, but learning about all the slime that exists in Illinois make me think their actual history is a political cover group to take the positions that Illinois gun grabbers at the Federal level need to insulate themselves from gun rights groups in Illinois.

I do know ICAHV has paid a bunch of the Dem lobby shops in Chicago to do their work for them.

Rob

Mr. Barry Soetoro Barak Hussein Obama doesn't understand the actual problems with the education system and, while he may be able to identify the symptoms, he's unable to treat them.

The answer calls for ugly truths that Mr. Barry Soetoro Barak Hussein Obama can't stomach- like getting rid of harmful misconceptions such as "net neutrality" that afford our children the concept of effortless gratification, unearned rewards, and the right to be non-confrontational and carry a "mad at you for being mad at me, questioning me, or trying to tear down my neighborhood of make believe"...

This was the first election in which kids who had grown up using the internet were able to vote- like my own daughter. Given the current misinterpretations of our Constitution, this fact had resonating consequences. If it wasn't for that element, that skewed world view often spawned by technology, Mr. Barry Soetoro Barak Hussein Obama wouldn't have gotten where he is today. Remember back in the day before the internet, when denial of your name was considered a bad thing? I do...

With Duncan on the job, America stands a good chance at finally realizing what it wants when it's neck-deep in what it doesn't want and has no choice.

matt

we have a teenager with Aspergers in the local public school special ed program, so I know what you mean about the costs involved.He's doing great, by the way and his teachers are awesome.

That is a part of it. the other part though is the bureaucratic overhead involved. Before I met my love, I dated a woman who was an auditor for the LA Unified School District, probably one of the most mismanaged in the country. They have over 150 bureaucrats making over $150K/year, each with a car and driver on top. The graft and corruption were endemic. The most notable example was the half billion dollar school built on top of a hazardous waste site. No accountability, 100+ languages, and a large demographic of parents who do not value education do not help the issue either.

Jane

You are clearly joining the Legendary Elliott and Jane of Snark in Mad Skilz Department.

I actually think he did the whole thing from a blackberry, which blows my mind.

JM Hanes

MayBee:

"Is it just impolite to talk about Detroit? Do national reporters think machine politics is too boring to cover (even when your beloved candidate is a product of them)?"

A big part of the problem may be that the only people who know places like Detroit well enough to report on it are local themselves -- with careers that can be affected more easily the more corrupt the environment. I expect it gets more dangerous the deeper you dig.

bad

From JMH's link:

The biggest example was the Annenberg Foundation. In 1993, former Ambassador Walter Annenberg went to the White House and announced a $500 million gift to education. He said, essentially, “We need to drop a bomb on American urban education to shake things up.” Local foundations made matching gifts, so Annenberg’s $500 million was leveraged into more than $1 billion, invested in more than a dozen communities. And generally speaking, it was a substantial disappointment. There was very little change in an ongoing, meaningful way.

Do you think the New York Times would have reported this back in March if they knew PEBO was the Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Foundation?

RichatUF

John-

He's also a retainer for Ariel and firm that Obama got $500 million of pension money to manage. They were fired for "poor performance" when their name came out during the Rezko trial. JM Hanes, in her 1:57 comment, lays out the reason for the appointment:

...it looks to me like the Duncan choice is as much about how you do the funding. Are we surprised? Per Duncan, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to equal education is the tie between schools and local property taxes...

It would also be worth asking her for the link to an informative post she did a few weeks back laying out the sort of "public/private partnership" that Obama envisions as the hallmarks of his administration.

In education that sort of partnership would further entrench federal interference, provide more opportunity for graft in physical plant and curriculum, and lard up another layer of unaccountable bureaucracy, in the form of corporate and government supported tax-free organizations. YMMV.

Roger Sharp

I heard Arne Duncan READ his speach at the press conference today. Even then he couldn't get his grammar right. He confused possessive pronouns, and this from the Secretary of Education. What hope is there?

Rick Ballard

"That's a 94% failure rate in a high-tech economy."

Jon Burrows,

There's an expected outcome fallacy in there that needs some rework. Depending upon how one defines "high-tech", the total percentage of degrees granted against the total number of high-tech degrees granted is no more than 17% and the total number of degrees granted as a percentage of any recent single year cohort is no more than 37%. The raw data can be found here. There were 1,485,242 bachelor degrees granted in '06, only 257,586 were granted in areas which could be elastically defined as high-tech.

The 6% number is more realistically compared to the 37% number, which includes all the underwater basket weaving degrees which make up the vast majority of those granted. It's still spectacularly poor performance but, hey, it's the Chicago Way.

JM Hanes

Here's Arne Duncan, per Gun Guys. A lot of kids die in Chicago schools -- not to mention Chicago Crime sprees too. I think Duncan has a companion in Obama when it comes to assuming that gun control is the answer. Selling it as the emotionally fraught remedy to a crisis in urban schools makes it harder to cast as an assault on gun ownership and the 2nd amendment. I believe at least some restrictions on 1st Amendment free speech in schools have passed Supreme Court muster, so the Department of Education looks like a congenial venue for anti-gun activists.

slow learner

repeat after me ...

there is no connection between educational funding and academic achievement (at least, at any level that taxpayers could withstand).

i send my kids to private school and i don't do it for the teachers or for the facilities. i do it because i know that my kids will be surrounded by kids whose parents value education enough to pay through the nose for it.

the problem with education in this country is not a financial problem. the problem (as it is with most of our problems) is culture. that being the case, there is NO solution. we are doomed.

bad

Leadership Greater Chicago is another tie in with the Chicago crowd.

Arne Duncan was a Fellow in 1995.
Michelle Obama in 1993.
Valerie Jarrett in 1986.

LUN for more connections.

Barney Frank

the problem with education in this country is not a financial problem. the problem (as it is with most of our problems) is culture.

Maybe. Seems to me the problem is primarily freedom vs socialism.
Public schools fail because they are simply a larger version of the DMV.
Force public schools to compete or, better yet, abolish them altogether and the culture will change with them.

It is the socialisation of the urban poor which has created the culture not vice versa. Unfortunately Barry seems ready to expand that recipe to the rest of us.

larryl

"That's a 94% failure rate in a high-tech economy."
We still need plumbers, electricians, mechanics, beauticians, etc. Most of them get along fine without a degree. My foundation endows vo-tech scholarships for just that reason.

PaulL

Pofarmer: ****It's also pretty interesting to note, that if you look at the nations 50 largest school districts, only two of them make the national average. So much for all the stupid small town hicks. I know the graduation rate here is around 97%.****

Interesting. And the big cities are automatically Democrat wins. Can we infer anything here?

Extraneus

Rob: Remember back in the day before the internet, when denial of your name was considered a bad thing?

William Jefferson Blythe III changed his before the Internet. What percentage of men do that?

bad

Fox News from June, 2008:

CHICAGO — It took a Chicago Public Schools student a whole year to win a sleek perfect attendance prize—but she has a few years to go before she can use it.

Ashley Martinez won a new Dodge Caliber for perfect attendance during the last school year, but she's only 12, so driving is out for now.

A Chicago Public Schools spokesman says the school district offered the car as part of an effort to boost attendance, which has hovered around 91 percent the last several years.

Chicago's school system has offered several rewards in recent years, including vacations, laptops and iPods.

Some experts disapprove. Parenting expert Nancy Samalin says the main reason children are sent to school is to learn to love learning.

Chicago Public Schools Chief Arne Duncan says the rewards give parents added incentive to get their kids to class.

One year of perfect attendance earns you a car. Surely that is a misprint.

Does Mr. Duncan operate using bribes in any other areas of his life, or just on the job?

LUN

Fithian

RichatUF:

I think you'll find the discussion you're remembering if you scroll down to "Deconstructing the Challenge in Washington" here: Radical Planks in the Democratic Platform. I also traced the partnership theme through Obama's proposed Democratic Platform as a whole: The Howdy Partner! Platform.

While the Duncan appointment certainly represents a loss for Ayers & the Darling-Hammond crowd -- contra my obvious expectations -- there's no telling how much ex officio influence that contingent might wield with Obama, or how much official influence Ayers, as Vice President for Curriculum at AERA, might bring to bear.

I suspect we're in good news/bad news territory here. Cabinet level appointments may well be the public face of departments staffed with the decidedly more liberal, often controversial, folks that Obama has consistently preferred. His willingness to set Susan Rice up with her own power base just seems like an uncharacteristically overt expression of that inclination -- not necessarily surprising though, given the control Hillary Clinton seems likely to impose at State.

E. Nigma

Unfortunately, I think 'slow learner' is correct.
After many years of interfacing with friends and aquaintances who are teachers, and my own experiences with my children in public schools, it is the CULTURE.
*********
Urban kids coming to school, where it may be the only place they will get a hot meal in the whole day.
Incredibly dedicated teachers trying to reach the 15-20% of the kids in urban high schools that actually WANT to learn.

It goes on and on.

My kids go to a pretty good suburban public school system, and they are getting a good education, and it is largely in part because of the cultural demand of the parents and the fact that most kids HAVE two parents. The suburban school system is racially integrated, and has a broad spectrum of income backgrounds, and yes, there is social and racial strife. My kids see it everyday and are forming their own opinions about people independent of what I have tried to teach them about equality and fairness.
My oldest son has also become a pretty shrewd judge of the teachers, also.

Fithian

bad:

The head honcho of Wash, DC schools has proposed experimenting with a similar rewards system, but with much more modest "prizes," I believe.

It's also my impression Vallas (sp?), and thus Duncan, actually made some measurable progress in Chicago school reform, in pretty direct opposition to the movement represented by Ayers & Co. It seemed to me that Obama actually began distancing himself politically from Ayers when it became apparent who the strong horse in Chicago edu was going to be. The nominal separation of Ayers' working group and CAC itself, probably proved to be an advantage in that regard.

bad

Education Weekly:

The CAC gave staff time and more than $2 million to create the fund. Mr. Obama was among the board members who gave their own money for the startup in 1999; the records at the Daley library did not say how much.

Mr. Rolling said the research project helped shape the agenda for Arne Duncan, the current chief executive officer of the Chicago schools, especially on improving teacher quality.

Gosh that's reassuring...

LUN, the Education Weekly article is about the middle of the post.

Rick Ballard

Uncle Tony signs up for more singing lessons.

Looks like Fitz's critique of his performance to date had some impact.

bad

Rick, maybe it is simply a courtesy to allow Obama to be inaugurated before...

Pofarmer

It is the socialisation of the urban poor which has created the culture not vice versa. Unfortunately Barry seems ready to expand that recipe to the rest of us.

There will be none of that cynicism in the reeducation camps Barney.

Pofarmer

"That's a 94% failure rate in a high-tech economy."
We still need plumbers, electricians, mechanics, beauticians, etc. Most of them get along fine without a degree. My foundation endows vo-tech scholarships for just that reason.

You think the other 94% in Chicago are going into the building trades? I seriously doubt it, especially when you are only talking a 50% graduation rate to start with, although I don't doubt there importance.

Fithian

larryl:

"My foundation endows vo-tech scholarships for just that reason."

Props to you for that! The idea that Bachelor's degrees are the universally desired end and the appropriate measure of American education is one of the two most misguided concepts that plague the body politic. The idea that business is the ideal vehicle for healthcare delivery being the second.

College centered policy derives from abstract egalitarian principles, not the realistic assessment of educational needs. The idea that not everyone is suited for college is cast as an elitist sentiment, and depending where it's applied, a racist sentiment too, of course. My problem with much of what goes under the guise of "teaching to the test" per se is the consequent focus on a narrow range of scholastic achievement which has college enrollment as its ultimate objective.

What gets lost in that blindered approach are not just vocational skills, but basic, applied, survival skills. On the economic front, for example, High School graduates ought to know how insurance and mortgages work and how to shop for them. They should be able to calculate how much that car you pay for in installments is actually going to cost you, and how to read a legal contract, not to mention simply protecting your legal rights by getting promises in writing and insisting on receipts for rent you've paid in cash.

The folks who don't go to college or drop out once they get there are the ones who may actually need those skills the most to navigate on their own. They are the most likely to be victimized for lack of them and least likely to have the resources to find or hire professional help. We all pay for such educational failures in multiple, deleterious, ways over the long run.

Fithian

All is forgiven, TM! You're my favorite!

DrJ

I agree with your comments about the need (or lack thereof) of a college education, JMH. Sadly, there is ever-increasing degree creep that has resulted.

In the "old days" (not that long ago, I should add) one didn't need a degree to be a lab technician or a field sales person, even in technology-heavy areas. These days, you can't even get in the door for these sorts of positions without one.

Indeed, my best lab tech had no college education, but he worked on his car and built his own house. He was superb in the lab, and could get any experiment to work.

I also note that the Saudi students I ran into as an undergrad were truly awful in the lab. Why? That's what the hired help did. They would never get their hand dirty.

Fithian

DrJ:

That reminds me of a young man from Colombian who spent a summer on the farm with us once, long ago. His family had major holdings of all sorts which included several agricultural operations, but they sent their son north to get some on the ground experience under his belt. He couldn't be seen getting his hands dirty at home.

When it comes to vocational training & manual labor here at home, I'm not sure urban/liberal/collegiate attitudes are as categorically different as many might like to think.

Fithian

I should add that at least in the case of our Colombian student, it wasn't a simple matter of snobbery over losing face. It was really a twofold social construct: the loss of face had a functional consequence in an attendant loss of authority in the eyes of the employees he would eventually supervise.

There again, it's not unlike the automatic authority a great many folks here at home were so recently imputing to a degree from Harvard versus some "other" school. While Harvard grads themselves may rank their degrees above all others, they also know that there are plenty of incompetents among their numbers, and I doubt you'd hear any of them genuinely argue that graduating Magna from Harvard -- or running a Law Review -- is sufficient prep for running a nation.

bad

I'm ready to move forward with more objections to Eric Holder's nomination.

Sixteen terrorists of the FALN group were imprisoned for felonies involving bombs, guns, robbery, and sedition. But in 1999, Eric Holder facilitated President Clinton commuting their sentences.

These were unrepentant terrorists. America is now at war with terror, and yet when we imprisoned over a dozen confirmed terrorists involved in bombings and other terrorist acts, the man who would be our top official against acts of terror helped convince the president of the United States to let them go. Whatever the consequences of that act may have been in 1999, in 2008 it should be political suicide.

--------------------------------------------

This nomination might also shed light on the kind of policies Obama will pursue. Despite Obama’s new lip service to the Second Amendment, Holder signed onto a brief earlier this year reaffirming his long-held position that the Second Amendment confers no rights whatsoever to private citizens, and that the Supreme Court should have upheld D.C.’s absolute ban on handguns, even in homes. Holder also has far-left views on unrestricted abortion, and opposes the death penalty. And, in a war on terror, Holder believes that all the rights that U.S. citizens have in civilian courts should be extended to foreign terrorists captured abroad.

But wait, there's more LUN.

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