Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Local 649 of the International Union of Operating Engineers

The JS reported that this union had ended their 2 day strike of various building projects underway but terms of the contract will not be disclosed until each organization's membership has voted.

The total package hourly wage before the strike is $49.69 per hour. This organization was offered a 3.4% wage increase for each year of a two year contract. This union turned this offer down because this union claimed that other unions received higher increases. I have seen nothing in the JS or from a call to Paul Gordon as to the increase this union received.

Do people understand why businesses are leaving this area and the State of Illinois who recently had their bond rating reduced again?

How do we think people who were fired or laid off permanently in the private sector feel about continued raises in the public sector while the country heads for a double dip in the economy? Don't believe me, just wait or observe what is happening in this state, city, county, the country and the world.

Some say i don't have solutions. Yes I do and I've voiced them many times in my 1200 blogs. My theme? The public sector cannot spend more for non-priority enhancements than they can pay for without raising taxes and fees.

I said there would be more shoes dropping in Peoria this year or over the next 12 months. They are falling but the JS decided to no longer put business bankruptcies in their rag.

The Peoria cheerleaders had better raise their podiums and increase the volume on their loudspeakers. I've written a couple of blogs on "Wake up, Peoria". I am increasingly becoming aware that it may be too late.

It's been suggested that look around a enjoy what Peoria offers. I do and I'd like to keep them affordable and maintained.

And still open.

POUS - Obama - This is the Man to Lead Us?

Subject: Dr. Charles Krauthammer

"It's better to be paralyzed from the neck down, than to be paralyzed from the neck up!"

Dr. Charles Krauthammer

Forwarded to me by a friend. I have great respect for Dr. Krauthammer. Please study the background of anyone you vote for in November. If the candidate has any positive connections with Obama, VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE.


Dr. Krauthammer is on Fox News. He is an M.D. and a lawyer and is paralyzed from the neck down. Not only is he a M.D., he is a world renowned psychiatrist. A friend went to hear Charles Krauthammer. He listened with 25 others in a closed room. What he says here, is NOT 2nd-hand but 1st. The ramifications are staggering for us, our children and their children.

Last Monday was a profound evening, Dr. Charles Krauthammer spoke to the Center for the American Experiment. He is a brilliant intellectual, seasoned & articulate. He is forthright and careful in his analysis, and never resorts to emotions or personal insults. He is NOT a fear monger nor an extremist in his comments and views. He is a fiscal conservative, and has received a Pulitzer Prize for writing. He is a frequent contributor to Fox News and writes weekly for the Washington Post.

The entire room was held spellbound during his talk. I have summarized his comments, as we are living in uncharted waters economically and internationally.

If you feel like forwarding this to those who are open minded and have not drunk the Kool-Aid, feel free.

Summary of his comments:

1. Mr. Obama is a very intellectual, charming individual. He is not to be underestimated. He is a cool customer who doesn't show his emotions. It's very hard to know what's behind the mask. The taking down of the Clinton dynasty was an amazing accomplishment. The Clintons still do not understand what hit them. Obama was in the perfect place at the perfect time.

2 Obama has political skills comparable to Reagan and Clinton. He has a way of making you think he's on your side, agreeing with your position, while doing the opposite. Pay no attention to what he SAYS; rather, watch what he DOES!

3. Obama has a ruthless quest for power. He did not come to Washington to make something out of himself, but rather to change everything, including dismantling capitalism. He can't be straightforward on his ambitions, as the public would not go along. He has a heavy hand, and wants to level the playing field with income redistribution and punishment to the achievers of society. He would like to model the USA to Great Britain or Canada ..

4. His three main goals are to control ENERGY, PUBLIC EDUCATION, and NATIONAL HEALTH CARE by the Federal government. He doesn't care about the auto or financial services industries, but got them as an early bonus. The cap and trade will add costs to everything and stifle growth Paying for FREE college education is his goal. Most scary is his healthcare program, because if you make it FREE and add 46,000,000 people to a Medicare-type single-payer system, the costs will go through the roof. The only way to control costs is with massive RATIONING of services, like in Canada . God forbid!

5. He has surrounded himself with mostly far-left academic types. No one around him has ever even run a candy store. But they are going to try and run the auto, financial, banking and other industries. This obviously can't work in the long run. Obama is not a socialist; rather he's a far-left secular progressive bent on nothing short of revolution. He ran as a moderate, but will govern from the hard left. Again, watch what he does, not what he says.

6. Obama doesn't really see himself as President of the United States , but more as a ruler over the world. He sees himself above it all, trying to orchestrate & coordinate various countries and their agendas. He sees moral equivalency in all cultures. His apology tour in Germany and England was a prime example of how he sees America , as an imperialist nation that has been arrogant, rather than a great noble nation that has at times made errors. This is the first President ever who has chastised our allies and appeased our enemies!

7. He is now handing out goodies. He hopes that the bill (and pain) will not come due until after he is reelected in 2012. He would like to blame all problems on Bush from the past, and hopefully his successor in the future. He has a huge ego, and Dr. Krauthammer believes he is a narcissist

8. Republicans are in the wilderness for a while, but will emerge strong. Republicans are pining for another Reagan, but there will never be another like him. Krauthammer believes Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty & Bobby Jindahl (except for his terrible speech in February) are the future of the party. Newt Gingrich is brilliant, but has baggage. Sarah Palin is sincere and intelligent, but needs to really be seriously boning up on facts and info if she is to be a serious candidate in the future. We need to return to the party of lower taxes, smaller government, personal responsibility, strong national defense, and state's rights.

9. The current level of spending is irresponsible and outrageous. We are spending trillions that we don't have. This could lead to hyperinflation, depression or worse. No country has ever spent themselves into prosperity. The media is giving Obama, Reid and Pelosi a pass because they love their agenda. But eventually the bill will come due and people will realize the huge bailouts didn't work, nor will the stimulus package. These were trillion-dollar payoffs to Obama's allies, unions and the Congress to placate the left, so he can get support for #4 above.

10. The election was over in mid-September when Lehman brothers failed, fear and panic swept in, we had an unpopular President, and the war was grinding on indefinitely without a clear outcome. The people are in pain, and the mantra of change caused people to act emotionally. Any Dem would have won this election; it was surprising it was as close as it was.

11. In 2012, if the unemployment rate is over 10%, Republicans will be swept back into power. If it's under 8%, the Dems continue to roll. If it's between 8-10%, it will be a dogfight. It will all be about the economy. I hope this gets you really thinking about what̢۪s happening in Washington and Congress. There is a left-wing revolution going on, according to Krauthammer, and he encourages us to keep the faith and join the loyal resistance. The work will be hard, but we're right on most issues and can reclaim our country, before it's far too late.

Do yourself a long term favor, send this to all who will listen to an intelligent assessment of the big picture. All our futures and children's futures depend on our good understanding of what is really going on in DC, and our action pursuant to that understanding!! It really IS up to each of us to take individual action!! Start with educating your friends and neighbors!!!

A Teacher's Message to All of Us

A message for all of us because everyone is a teacher. It's the quality of teaching and the quality of a teacher's leadership that have the greatest impact on the kids, the system, and the community.

I still believe in incentives or some type of merit pay similar to the private work sector.


From Teacher Magazine, Monday, June 21, 2010. See
Teaching Secrets: Hang on to the Magic

By Gail Tillery

It was a Monday last spring in the middle of testing season. At the lunch time "venting" session, people were whining and complaining about the testing schedule, which was indeed an indescribable disaster. I totally understood why people were so angry and frustrated, and I didn't blame them for getting their frustrations out among friends. However, as we were leaving, one of the young teachers in the room said something that really resonated with me: "Twenty-six years and four days."

It took us a moment to get what she was saying. What did that random time period have to do with anything? Then it hit me: She was pointing out how long it would be until she could retire. The other teachers and I kind of giggled nervously. But it got me thinking. What kind of a profession are we in where people count down the days and years to retirement? How could such an amazing young teacher become so disheartened in her fourth year of teaching?

When I thought more about these questions, I understood the reason for her despair. She would absolutely tell you that her unhappiness has nothing to do with the kids, and everything to do with the forces outside of her control. They're the same things that drive every teacher crazy. Politicians. Testing. Merit pay. Budget cuts and teacher furloughs. Parents who don't care. Parents who care too much and hover. People in charge of our work who are clueless and don't know what they're doing. All the extraneous forces that combine to suck the life out of even the most positive teachers in the profession.

As I thought about this wonderful young woman who is like the daughter I never had. As I thought about future novice teachers who will face the same issues, I asked myself, "How can I be part of the solution? How can I help young teachers see that, despite the current insanity around our work, this job is still the most magical one there is? I offer the following to the novice teachers out there who are about to embark on their careers.

Lesson one: Acceptance. One of the best prayers ever is the Serenity Prayer, which teaches us to accept the things we cannot change. The way education is set up in this country, teachers do not control their own work. Until legislators get out of the middle of it all, we will continue to struggle with top-down decisions that aren't good for kids. We can rant and whine and cry about it all we want, but we still have to get on with the business of teaching the kids who come to us every day. (Although I firmly believe that if enough legislators had to be in a building for even one day, standardized tests would end tomorrow.) Thus, we must take a deep breath, remind ourselves to control the things we can control, and go from there.

Lesson two: Holiness. No, I don't really mean this in the religious sense. What I mean is, what we do with kids is holy and sacred because it changes lives. We provide lifelines to kids who have no one. We turn kids on to knowledge. We listen to their dramas, let them cry themselves out, help them work through their problems....I could go on and on about what millions of teachers do for millions of kids every day. The excellent teachers in the world are not in the classroom to deliver knowledge and skills alone; they are also there to provide life lessons to children whose futures will be brighter because a teacher cared for them.

I was watching M*A*S*H the other day (my favorite show, ever, forever) and thinking of all the lives that were saved by units like these in the last few wars. I was also thinking, "What must it feel like to know you saved a life?" And then I realized I've done the same thing many times in my classroom. Not literally, of course, but just as importantly. When I help a kid learn a new skill, when I help him or her try one more time instead of giving up and quitting school or making life-altering negative decisions, I am saving lives, too.

Lesson three: Don't take it personally. This lesson is especially important for high school teachers. When we pour our time, energy, and hearts into planning lessons for students, and then they grouse and complain and aren't engaged, we get our feelings hurt. Let go of that. The students' lack of interest and snarky attitudes are not about you as a person. The flip side of this, of course, is to spend the time and energy to create the most engaging lessons possible, but we have to understand that we can't reach every kid every day.

Lesson four: Understand that there are people out there who are content to be mediocre. When I first came to a public school after 12 years of teaching in a private school, I jumped in with both feet and got involved in as many leadership positions as I could. While many of my new colleagues were supportive, others were a little judgmental and critical. I went to a trusted administrator about it, and she told me, "If you step out in front, there will always be people who try to shoot you down." Step out anyway.

Lesson five: Stay away from the Dark Side. You will learn quickly who the positive people are. Gravitate to them in your department and in your building. Stay away from the people who hate their job and are counting down the days until school ends. They will pull you down with them if you let them.

Lesson six (a corollary to lesson five): Don't let the turkeys get you down. College in the 80's was all about how many buttons you could display on your clothing or your bag. One button I still have in my classroom is a picture of an elephant who is lying on his stomach with his legs spread everywhere. He is covered in turkeys. Enough said.

Lesson seven: Be in balance. Remember that your job is not your life. Your life is your life. When you leave the building, leave everything in it: the kids you can't reach, the kids who are hurting, the Eeyorish colleagues, the insane demands, all the negative stuff. Do not burden your spirit with it. After all, it will all still be there when you come back. Work out, be quiet, worship, sleep, read, laugh. You'll be suicidal by Thanksgiving if you don't.

Lesson eight: Own your power. I have written in other places about how to take charge of your classroom. This version of owning your power is about realizing that every day of your life, you have the power to make a child's life better or worse. You will interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of children through your career, and you will not remember them all. But they will remember you and how you made them feel-whether it was good or bad. Choose your words carefully, take deep breaths, and understand the impact you can have on a child.

Teaching is an art and a science. It is hard every day and challenging every day. But every day something akin to miracles happen in teachers' rooms. Use these lessons to make your room miraculous.
Gail Tillery teaches at North Forsyth High School in Cumming GA, where she was teacher of the year for 2009-10. Among her many roles are British literature lead teacher, literary coordinator, and mentoring coordinator. She earned National Board Certification in 2002. Tillery is also the author of a Teaching Secrets article for new high school teachers, Take Charge of Your Classroom.

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Luciano Roundtable Starring Maloof, Vonachen and Shadid

"Maloof doesn't regret passing on Par-A-Dice". Wow, neither does East Peoria where the almost landbound boat is raking in big bucks for EP while Peoria gets the left-overs. Maloof and his Christian friends opposed video gambling that the Peoria County Board had the common sense to approve. Hey, Jim if you want to stop gambling have the 85% of the population that gamble on something eliminated. Start with the lottery, the biggest ripoff by government ever before Obama, then the Casinos, then the racetracks, Vegas, Atlantic City and Jimmy Lock Shop. Opps, the local boys don't gamble there anymore replaced by all the local boys and the school kids playing hold-em at their parents homes.

Vonachen says the $37 million hotel project is a gamble but he thinks we gotta do something Downtown. "It's just something we gotta do". Pete did do something for downtown quite a few years ago. He moved the ballpark from Meinen to the mid-south end. Pete doesn't mention the unpaid ballpark he and Rocky, Caterpillar, a stock broker and a couple of developers brought downtown. As a stockholder since 1994 and an an opponent of building such an expensive edifice in THAT area, I have yet to see one dime of profit and by the looks of attendance figures, I doubt I'll see one next year. Just as a reminder, the Vonachen's didn't put more money in than the rest of us stockholders but some of the Vonachen family made out quite well in salaries, benefits and expenses.

If you recall, the ballpark was to start a renansience of new building in that are but the renascience has appeared to have moved closer to Bradley and away from the river.

Shadid says the city and the county could save money by combining city and county election commissions. Really? Perhaps George forgot that the City Council voted unanimously to oppose consolidation while the County Board voted 16-2 to combine. I worked hard to pass this referendum but I had the proof of the savings but the City Council continued on their path of mistakes, still making them today, and George did not endorse this money saving consolidation.

Maloof espoused again on "uni-gov" which Shadid scoffed at the notion of too much, too fast. My own opinion, if asked, would be, we will have and Indianapolis style uni-gov when pigs fly. We have combined about as much as we can combine including the City/County Landfill, still in litigation with the methane miners, largely because of failure of the City Council back a decade or so to agree to settle this case out of court. Chicago attorneys keep racking in $445 an hour. ( I asked to removed from this committee after 5-6 years of my floundering to get this case settled so we can stop burning off the valuable methane that we had been selling for a tidy profit to the taxpayers)

Combine the County with the City when the City is already deeply in debt and committed to back a lot more debt? I'll admit few people, other than myself on the County Board are trying to prevent the same thing happening to the County.

Shadid says the city should not be making cuts in public safety. Any citizen, you would think, would say that but they don't and didn't. The City Council voted to cut public safety costs while supporting $50 plus millions for new libraries and a new $150 million downtown museum (Cat plans to kick in about $50 million) but most all other costs will be borrowed money on which taxpayers will pay interest for 20 years. (Approx. $12 million of the $14 million raised in CASH for the museum has been spent yet not a spade of dirt has been turned. Yes, Cat stockholders paid for the mostly fenced in demolished site you now see.

Shadid says about combining safety forces, "People will not care what the color of uniform is, as long as they're treated properly and get good services." What about the different unions combining? Ho, ho, ho. The only thing growing is Peoria now is the medical community and big egos. In case you haven't noticed, Peoria has returned to a union dominated city, the same unions that drove the distillers and other producers of a 'product' out of Peoria years ago turning this city into a service and entertainment center with the exception of the domination by "big yellow" and big medical centers.

As to East Peoria? While this Roundtable didn't say it, EP let's Peoria build circuses with Peoria taxpayer dollars and then they drive across the river and gladly pay the price of admission. Vonachen says EP does a better job of working with developers needs. "They cut deals". Pete should know about cutting deals as Peoria poured anywhere from $5-8 million into Vonachen's f-----y ball park. Deals? When Pete and Rocky were on the Peoria Park District Board, the Laura Bradley trust that denied liquor sales at the formerly owned Meinen Field was broken. Now the PPD has ex hanged this field back to Bradley for exactly what? Even some board members aren't sure what they got in exchange. But that is another story I've blogged on before.

Anyway, Luciano adds a little of the old vaudeville for Peoria was once famous.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Will a Compassionate America Eventually Lead to our Downfall?

Forwarded to me by a friend. Yes, I would help build a scaffold but a firing squad would be cheaper. However, a lot of so-called Americans would disagree. Start with Obama, Holder, Pelosi, Feinstein, and a lot of compassionate Republicans. Most Tea Party people would NOT disagree.

Oh, I forgot, we are a country of laws who pride itself for keeping a person on death row for up to 20 years. We are not cruel like those who would kill us if given an opportunity. Or another opportunity as the terrorists released from our Cuban baby-sitting site who are back killing or plotting to kill us.

While we build more entertainment circuses and let Hollywood, MTV and our over liberal media portray us as druggies and "live for the moment" people.


How can any American disagree ...why do we need a trial....can I help build the scaffold.......??

Faisal Shahzad
The failed Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, testified in court about his motivations and plans to kill Americans. He was open, even proud, of his actions. It's a free lesson for anyone willing to listen.

Faisal Shahzad was born in Pakistan, but had sought and received American citizenship. He was married, had two children, had a job as a financial analyst. To be come a citizen in this country, among other things, he took the following oath:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

What was his oath worth? Three months after taking it, he went to Pakistan to train with the Taliban. He took money, built the device, and tried to detonate it in Times Square. Why did he do these things? We don't have to wonder. He spelled it out.

One has to understand where I'm coming from. I consider myself a Muslim soldier...I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people. And, on behalf of that, I'm avenging the attack. Living in the United States, Americans only care about their own people, but they don't care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die.

What I find interesting about that quote is I agree with him. I, too, consider him a Muslim soldier. I see his motivations as reasonable to him. He is right about me only caring about my own people. That's the way the world works. If it meant killing him and everyone who thinks like him to protect the United States, I would be in favor of it.

If he wanted to be a soldier in a foreign army, he should have done so. Since I am truly an American citizen, and freely take the oath he fraudulently took, I consider him a traitor. Since he came dressed as a civilian, not in the uniform of a soldier, when he made his attack, I consider him a spy and a saboteur. If we, as a nation, could grasp the true nature of the threat, this trial would not be taking place. He would have been taken as a military prisoner, interrogated, and then hung.

They know they are at war, do we?

The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.
--Ulysses S. Grant

Aaron Schock - A Voice of Reason in Congress

From: Congressman Aaron Schock
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2010 12:38 PM
Subject: Reply from Congressman Aaron Schock

June 24, 2010

Mr. David H. McWilliams

910 Kevin Court

South Pekin, IL 61564-0471

Dear Mr. McWilliams,

Thank you for contacting me regarding financial regulatory reform legislation moving through the U.S. House and Senate. I greatly appreciated hearing your views, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

At the outset of the debate, I believe it is imperative that our government implement carefully designed strict regulation to ensure that "too big to fail" never ever again causes our government to have to bail out large financial institutions because of reckless actions that defy sound banking practices. We cannot have a situation of private gain with public risk. That is the opposite of what I call a free market or capitalism. Credit default swaps, unregulated derivatives and securitized bundles of profoundly unsound mortgages need federal rules and vigilant oversight.

With that said, we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater by going overboard with new regulations--particularly with regard to sound banks, that did nothing to cause the crisis of the last few years. If we do so, we could unwisely damage economic recovery by adopting radical measures that would definitely lead to cutting off credit for businesses large and small.

As a member of the minority party in the House of Representatives, I am frustrated that despite wanting to rein in abuses and reform the system to prevent more bailouts, the Democratic leadership in Congress has gone way overboard with the magnitude of new regulation and am convinced that adoption of their overreach will cause a significant drying up of credit, astronomical new costs for small and medium sized financial institutions that will be passed on to consumers, and quite possibly a double-dip recession.

As you probably know, on December 11, 2009, H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a close margin of 223-202. Due to the significant exposure of taxpayer dollars, and burdens placed on small businesses, I opposed this legislation. I found it unacceptable to include in this legislation the diversion of $4 billion of TARP funds for more government spending. I oppose the actions of the Democrats in Congress turning TARP into a permanent bailout agency. I voted for a motion to recommit to end TARP and direct any unused funds to pay down the national debt. Unfortunately, the motion was defeated 190-232.

Under H.R. 4173, every bank will be forced to offer federally approved "standard financial products and services." Essentially, this means that all banks, big and small, must offer uniform products; any deviations from these federal mandates would open up banks, in particular community banks, to frivolous lawsuits. As you can imagine, these uniform products could put smaller banks at a serious disadvantage when it comes to competing with much larger financial institutions.

Additionally, the creation of a new multibillion dollar federal agency controlled by one politically appointed Czar, who can then make the ultimate decision on what services and products all financial institutions can offer, was not something that I could support. While the goal of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) is to lead to improvements in the marketplace for the American people, in reality, it does nothing more than create a billion dollar agency, add to our national debt, tax businesses, restrict lending, and result in small businesses shedding millions of jobs. At a time when the economy is still struggling to recover, the last thing Congress ought to consider is an additional layer of regulation that will discourage new job creation. In fact, according to a University of Chicago study, the CFPA would increase consumer interest rates by more than 1.6%, and consumer borrowing would be reduced by at least 2.1%. Additionally, net new job creation would fall 4.3%.

As an alternative, I offered a bi-partisan amendment on the House Floor to change CFPA to a powerful council of regulators called the Consumer Financial Protection Council (CFPC) charged with establishing tough, new consumer regulations for all financial firms.

A powerful "Council of Regulators" would standardize consumer regulations and ensure that all state and federal regulators give consumer protection the same priority as is given to maintaining the safety and stability of the institutions themselves. Consumers would be better protected if we had fewer agencies with broader responsibilities, and a strict mandate for reform. By empowering and demanding that the existing state and federal financial regulators take on the critical task of protecting consumers from abuse and fraud, this amendment would have improved the proposed bill by better protecting consumers. It would also have reduced the regulatory burden on small community banks and other financial businesses that are now struggling to lend to businesses and consumers in central Illinois. Consumers don't need a massive new agency to pick and choose the products and services available to them. Unfortunately, the amendment failed by a vote of 208-223 with 33 Democrats joining all Republicans to support this initiative.

The Senate passed their version of H.R. 4173, on May 20, 2010 by a vote of 59-39. The bill now goes to Conference committee with the similar legislation the House of Representatives passed last December. The Conference committee will negotiate the differences between the bills to produce one bill that the House and Senate will then vote on and presumably send to the President.

The recent economic downturn and collapse of the subprime mortgage lending system has led to a call for an expansion of federal regulations on the financial sector. In making bailout policies permanent through this legislation, more government sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be created to implement these bailouts by designating firms as "too big to fail," and as a result, increase this hazard.

The legislation in both the Senate and House bills further institutionalize the notion of "too big to fail", by setting up special regulatory regimes for the largest firms. By authorizing the Federal Reserve to regulate all non-bank financial institutions that are "systemically important" or might cause instability in the U.S. financial system if they failed, means that the companies designated for Federal Reserve regulation are thus too big to fail. Since these firms would be "too big to fail," they will be seen in the market as ultimately backed by the government and thus safer firms to lend to than small firms. This will permanently distort the financial market, favoring large companies over small ones.

Also, the House bill includes a $150 billion "bailout fund" that places the federal government solidly in a position to determine which firms fail or succeed. Additionally, it would make permanent the policies used to bailout AIG, Citigroup, GM, Fannie Mae and others. This fee will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher interest rates and increased fees. These are increases for consumers at a time when they can least afford it.

President Obama has taken it upon himself to wield a great deal of power in the private sector, and I firmly believe the less government intervention in the markets and less irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars the better. Being a strong free-market supporter, I am very concerned with what is included in this legislation, such as the creation of the CFPA - an entity that would have sweeping authority to regulate financial products, money markets, hedge funds, and insurance funds, and issue guidelines on executive compensation at financial firms. Additionally, this bill would institute new government powers to take over failed companies and permanently distort the marketplace.

Congress should consider an overhaul of our financial regulatory system, but not at the risk of creating more hazards, crippling the free market, and hurting small businesses.

Please know that I oppose any effort to create duplicative and unnecessary bureaucracy that will do more to stall economic growth than it will to protect consumers.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future regarding this, or any other issue. Also, to stay informed on what is happening in Washington, please sign up for my electronic newsletter, The Schock Report, at


Aaron Schock
Member of Congress

Please do not reply to this email address. Instead, please send all e-mail messages (including replies) through the web link: Email Aaron. I cannot guarantee the integrity of the text of this letter if it was not sent to you directly from my Congressional Email Account. If you have questions about the validity of this message, please email me through my website at or call my Washington, DC office at: 202-225-6201.

Welcome to Our Country

Forwarded to me by a friend. Exactly how I feel.


My great-grandfather watched as his friends died in the Civil War,

My grandfather watched as his friends died in WW I,

And uncles watched as their friends died in WW II and I watched as my friends died in Korea .

None of them died for the Mexican Flag. Everyone died for the American flag.

Texas high school students raised a Mexican flag on a school flag pole, other students took it down. Guess who was expelled...the students who took it down.

California high school students were sent home on Cinco de Mayo, because they wore T-shirts with the American flag printed on them.

Enough is enough.

This message needs to be viewed by every American; and every American needs to stand up for America .

We've bent over to appease the America-haters long enough.

I'm taking a stand.

I'm standing up because the hundreds of thousands who died fighting in wars for this country, and for the American flag.

If you agree, stand up with me. If you disagree, please let me know. I will gladly remove you from my e-mail list.

And shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message.

AMERICANS, stop giving away Your RIGHTS!

Let me make this clear - THIS IS MY COUNTRY!

This statement DOES NOT mean I'm against immigration!

YOU ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY, welcome to come legally:

Democrats Control Congress Since 2007

A good read passed on to me by a friend. Bush did have some hand in it as he could have vetoed some of the spending.


Subject: Fw: Obama inherited debt from Bush

The next time you hear the South Chicago "community organizer" and his minions whining yhat "Bush did it", here are some facts on what really happened. Be informed, the libbies do not like that.

The Washington Post babbled again today about Obama inheriting a huge deficit from Bush. Amazingly enough... a lot of people swallow this nonsense.

So once more, a short civics lesson.

Budgets do not come from the White House.

They come from Congress, and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democratic Party. They controlled the budget process for FY 2008 and FY 2009, as well as FY 2010 and FY 2011. In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.

For FY 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the FY 2009 budgets.

And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete FY 2009.

If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the FY 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets. If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.

In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th.

There is no way this will be widely publicized,
Unless each of us sends it on!
This is your chance to make a difference., milt

My e-mail Address

It appears someone may be sending out false information using my email address. Please advise me if you receive an email over my name that appears to be advertising something.

I am not the sender.



Supreme Court Gun Decision - Three Cheers for 5 Judges

Those of you that believe in the right to keep arms in your homes and are pushing for the right to bear arms should be pleased that the vote was 5-4 in our favor with the newest "judge" Sotamayor voting no. When Kagan gets on the court, Sotamayor will have another bleeding liberal conspirator.

Beware, in fact, be very aware of the direction this country is heading especially after the Democrats and a few Republicans vote her on the court.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

John Stossell - More Guns Means Less Crime

John is saying what most people with common sense and a belief in government by the people. Much of Mainstream media is so out of touch with reality. Hollywood's appeal to peoples lack of much moral structure to their lives; people who spend hours watching sitcoms, violence, using drugs, watching overpaid athletes "performing" (think Chicago Cubs) and having little idea how our "best and the brightest" are following the "Pied Pipers", (Obama, Daley, Frank, Pelosi, Holder, Waters, Dodd and their ilk) into a type of subservience still practiced by Chavez, Castro, and their ilk, plus some Republicans.

Even the National CEO Roundtable is trying to apologize for supporting ObamaCare, already called "disastrous ObamaCare", in hopes that Obama would throw the financial and business world a bone to that part of our society still paying living wages and above; those who still pay taxes on profits, only to be betrayed.

How could they be so greedy and naive?

Those elected and appointed officials who would deny private ownership of guns are in on the master plan to to take this country away from those people paying attention and put the federal government in charge of our lives. Either that or they are so naive and too busy to really read, see, and hear what is covertly and openly happening.

Then again, polls show that at least 30% of our citizenry would prefer to have the government run their lives.

The long-range future of this country and for those that believe in the original Constitution has seldom looked more bleak.

Please read.

Merle Widmer

More Guns Means Less Crime
By John Stossel

You know what the mainstream media think about guns and our freedom to carry them.

Pierre Thomas of ABC: "When someone gets angry or when they snap, they are going to be able to have access to weapons."

Chris Matthews of MSNBC: "I wonder if in a free society violence is always going to be a part of it if guns are available."

Keith Olbermann, who usually can't be topped for absurdity: "Organizations like the NRA ... are trying to increase deaths by gun in this country."

"Trying to?" Well, I admit that I bought that nonsense for years. Living in Manhattan, working at ABC, everyone agreed that guns are evil. And that the NRA is evil. (Now that the NRA has agreed to a sleazy deal with congressional Democrats on political speech censorship, maybe some of its leaders are evil, but that's for another column.)

Now I know that I was totally wrong about guns. Now I know that more guns means -- hold onto your seat -- less crime.

How can that be, when guns kill almost 30,000 Americans a year? Because while we hear about the murders and accidents, we don't often hear about the crimes stopped because would-be victims showed a gun and scared criminals away. Those thwarted crimes and lives saved usually aren't reported to police (sometimes for fear the gun will be confiscated), and when they are reported, the media tend to ignore them. No bang, no news.

This state of affairs produces a distorted public impression of guns. If you only hear about the crimes and accidents, and never about lives saved, you might think gun ownership is folly.

But, hey, if guns save lives, it logically follows that gun laws cost lives.

Suzanna Hupp and her parents were having lunch at Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, when a man began shooting diners with his handgun, even stopping to reload. Suzanna's parents were two of the 23 people killed. (Twenty more were wounded.)

Suzanna owned a handgun, but because Texas law at the time did not permit her to carry it with her, she left it in her car. She's confident that she could have stopped the shooting spree if she had her gun. (Texas has since changed its law.)

Today, 40 states issue permits to competent, law-abiding adults to carry concealed handguns (Vermont and Alaska have the most libertarian approach: no permit needed. Arizona is about to join that exclusive club.) Every time a carry law was debated, anti-gun activists predicted outbreaks of gun violence after fender-benders, card games and domestic quarrels.

What happened?

John Lott, in "More Guns, Less Crime," explains that crime fell by 10 percent in the year after the laws were passed. A reason for the drop in crime may have been that criminals suddenly worried that their next victim might be armed. Indeed, criminals in states with high civilian gun ownership were the most worried about encountering armed victims.

In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, almost half of all burglaries occur when residents are home. But in the United States, where many households contain guns, only 13 percent of burglaries happen when someone_s at home.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in the Heller case that Washington, D.C.'s ban on handgun ownership was unconstitutional. District politicians then loosened the law but still have so many restrictions that there are no gun shops in the city and just 800 people have received permits. Nevertheless, contrary to the mayor's prediction, robbery and other violent crime are down.

Because Heller applied only to Washington, that case was not the big one. McDonald v. Chicago is the big one, and the Supreme Court is expected to rule on that next week. Otis McDonald is a 76-year-old man who lives in a dangerous neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. He wants to buy a handgun, but Chicago forbids it.

If the Supremes say McDonald has that right, then restrictive gun laws will fall throughout America.

Despite my earlier bias, I now understand that striking down those laws will probably save lives.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Unemployed? Offer Gulf Cleanup Jobs

The government should use left-over Stimulus Act jobs instead of spending it on museums, trails and welfare. Put the private sector in charge with the government using funds from various emergency sources but mainly from the $20 billion BP fund. Or the government will still be organizing this in June, 2012. Pay maybe $20 a hour plus bus fare to the selected hiring sites. Supervisors? Pay them maybe $25 an hour and a weekly bonus of say $300 for excellent performance. For those who work, pay bus fare back from their start point when no longer needed. For those who come and then decided not to work, let them find their own way back.

Strike a special room rate deal with the motel owners who should be glad for help and might offset some costs. Starting points would be local unemployment offices determining how many unemployed the gulf can handle at each selected need arrival points. Those not hired could be asked to stay on stand-by. Government employment offices or the places the unemployed go to file or pick up their checks. They have lists of unemployed and should know who to call.

All unemployed must be U.S. citizens with a letter of recommendation from their last employer.

Lot of details that can be worked out such as accident insurance, etc.

A system similar to this should have been set up years ago and could have been used at Katrina and been in place for this catastrophe. And when we have a massive terrorist attack worse than 9/11.

Don't think this plan as any merit? Do you think the government had much of a plan? Were government regulators doing their job or weren't their enough of them in this crowded drilling area? And on such a risky proposition as drilling in water a couple of miles below sea level??

This whole mess was poorly handled by both big business and big government. Obama is using this disaster to further his agenda of populism and socialism by putting the entire blame on the private sector. He looks more like Chavez every day in every way.

Please don't waste your time criticizing me. Just come up with a better plan to employ the un-employed on an environment saving project. Maybe even consider reviving the CCC of the 1930's?

Monday, June 14, 2010

BelWood Update

My LTE was featured in the Sunday edition of the Journal Star. Find it under Spotlight on the editorial page with my picture. One of the many things I called attention too was the printed statements last week that the total cost of the new B-W had reached $54.6 million not $45 million as twice reported by the JS.

Questions? You can attend committee of board meeting or ask me for current info. I was probably wrong about BelWood having $5 million on hand. It appears to be less.

Thanks to the JSEB for printing my editorial. If you pay property taxes in Peoria County you should be concerned.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Rise of Muslim Power in Our Large Cities

I have a folder full of clippings to back up most of what is stated here. The only way businesses do move back into Detroit is through heavy government subsidies.

Then again, subsidies are nothing new in this area but as yet we are no where near like most of the big cities in this country.



Multiculturalism in full view - yet the lame street media totally ignores it.

This is a powerful message about the failure of the Great Society.

How in the world do we get out of this mess? This is a perfect example of how good intentions without good foresight can produce an absolute nightmare. Never underestimate the downside of human nature. The author of the following piece is a U.S. journalist who writes for seventeen national and two international magazines.

By Frosty Wooldridge

For 15 years, from the mid 1970s to 1990, I worked in Detroit , Michigan . I watched it descend into the abyss of crime, debauchery, gun play, drugs, school truancy, car-jacking, gangs and human depravity. I watched entire city blocks burned out. I watched graffiti explode on buildings, cars, trucks, buses and school yards. Trash was everywhere! Detroiters walked through it, tossed more into it and just ignored it.

Tens of thousands and then, hundreds of thousands today exist on federal welfare, free housing and food stamps! With Aid to Dependent Children, minority women birthed eight to 10 and, in one case, one woman birthed 24 kids as reported by the Detroit Free Press-all on American taxpayer dollars. A new child meant a new car payment, new TV and whatever mom wanted. I saw Lyndon Baines Johnson's "Great Society" flourish in Detroit . If you give money for doing nothing, you will get more hands out to take money for doing nothing.

Mayor Coleman Young, perhaps the most corrupt mayor in America , outside of Richard Daley in Chicago , rode Detroit down to its knees. He set the benchmark for cronyism, incompetence and arrogance. As a black man, he said, "I am the MFIC." The IC meant 'in charge'. You can figure out the rest. Detroit became a majority black city with 67 percent

As a United Van Lines truck driver for my summer job from teaching math and science, I loaded hundreds of American families into my van for a new life in another city or state. Detroit plummeted from 1.8 million citizens to 912,000 today. At the same time, legal and illegal immigrants converged on the city, so much so, that Muslims number over 300,000. Mexicans number 400,000 throughout Michigan, but most work in Detroit .

As the whites moved out, the Muslims moved in. As the crimes became more violent, the whites fled. Finally, unlawful Mexicans moved in at a torrid pace. Detroit suffers so much shoplifting that grocery stores no longer operate in many inner city locations.

You could cut the racial tension in the air with a knife! Detroit may be one our best (extreme) examples of multiculturalism: pure dislike and total separation from America !
Today, you hear Muslim calls to worship over the city like a new American Baghdad with hundreds of Islamic mosques in Michigan , paid for by Saudi Arabia oil money. High school flunk out rates reached 76 percent last June according to NBC's Brian Williams. Classrooms resemble more foreign countries than America . English? Few speak it! The city features a 50 percent illiteracy rate and growing. Unemployment hit 28.9 percent in 2009 as the auto industry vacated the city.
In Time Magazine October 4, 2009, "The Tragedy of Detroit : How a great city fell and how it can rise again," I choked on the writer's description of what happened.

"If Detroit had been savaged by a hurricane and submerged by a ravenous flood, we'd know a lot more about it," said Daniel Okrent. "If drought and carelessness had spread brush fires across the city, we'd see it on the evening news every night. Earthquake, tornadoes, you name it - if natural disaster had devastated the city that was once the living proof of American prosperity, the rest of the country might take notice.

But Detroit , once our fourth largest city, now 11th and slipping rapidly, has had no such luck. Its disaster has long been a slow unwinding that seemed to remove it from the rest of the country. Even the death rattle that in the past year emanated from its signature industry brought more attention to the auto executives than to the people of the city, who had for so long been victimized by their dreadful decision-making."

As Coleman Young's corruption brought the city to its knees, no amount of federal dollars could save the incredible payoffs, kick backs and illegality permeating his administration. I witnessed the city's death from the seat of my 18-wheeler tractor trailer because I moved people out of every sector of decaying Detroit .

"By any quantifiable standard, the city is on life support. Detroit 's treasury is $300 million short of the funds needed to provide the barest municipal services," Okrent said. "The school system, which six years ago was compelled by the teachers' union to reject a philanthropist's offer of $200 million to build 15 small, independent charter high schools, is in receivership. The murder rate is soaring, and 7 out of 10 remain unsolved. Three years after Katrina devastated New Orleans , unemployment in that city hit a peak of 11%. In Detroit , the unemployment rate is 28.9% That's worth spelling out: twenty-eight point nine percent."

At the end of Okrent's report, and he will write a dozen more about Detroit , he said, "That's because the story of Detroit is not simply one of a great city's collapse. It's also about the erosion of the industries that helped build the country we know today. The ultimate fate of Detroit will reveal much about the character of America in the 21st century. If what was once the most prosperous manufacturing city in the nation has been brought to its knees, what does that say about our recent past? And if it can't find a way to get up, what does that say about our future?"

As you read in my book review of Chris Steiner's book, $20 Per Gallon, the auto industry won't come back (to Detroit ). Immigration will keep pouring more and more uneducated third world immigrants from the Middle East into Detroit -thus creating a beachhead for Islamic hegemony in America . If the 50 percent illiteracy continues, we will see more homegrown terrorists spawned out of the Muslim ghettos of Detroit . Illiteracy plus Islam equals walking human bombs. You have already seen it in Madrid , Spain ; London , England and Paris , France with train bombings, subway bombings and riots. As their numbers grow, so will their power to enact their barbaric Sharia Law that negates republican forms of government, first amendment rights and subjugates women to the lowest rungs on the human ladder. We will see more honor killings by upset husbands, fathers and brothers that demand subjugation by their daughters, sisters and wives. Muslims prefer to use beheadings of women to scare the hell out of any other members of their sect from straying.

Multiculturalism: what a perfect method to kill our language, culture, country and way of life.


Frosty Wooldridge

Friday, June 11, 2010

Teachers Tamper With Test Scores

With all the comments about Valda Shipp, I am most interested about the conduct of teachers under her principalship and the quality of the students who were present under her leadership and the quality of the student who moved on to other schools, either by regular promotion or for other reasons.

I doubt whether this article fits her philosophy of education.

I am still looking for an article I have filed that talks about the substantial increase of cheating in our public school systems most of it blamed on the NCLB, which in my research, says the act failed to accomplish what it set out to do. I doubt whether cheating was condoned while Mrs. Shipp was principal.

I have never judged a persons accomplishments totally on scores. I was in business, one way or another, and no one ever asked to see my grade scores nor did I ask for grade scores when I hired. Whoever I promoted to lead, was usually subject to criticism by a few. As long as this person was my selected leader, I listened and acted ONLY when I had all the facts. The "anonymous" comments to my blog have never touched on the key issue, results in the progress through life of her students.

I never fired a leader by trying "to walk he or she out of the building".

Merle Widmer

This article below comes from Dr. Jerry Becker, SIU and he is recommended to be read by all in education and concerned parents.

"Under Pressure, Teachers Tamper With Test Scores"

By Trip Gabriel

The staff of Normandy Crossing Elementary School outside Houston eagerly awaited the results of state achievement tests this spring. For the principal and assistant principal, high scores could buoy their careers at a time when success is increasingly measured by such tests. For fifth-grade math and science teachers, the rewards were more tangible: a bonus of $2,850.

But when the results came back, some seemed too good to be true. Indeed, after an investigation by the Galena Park Independent School District, the principal, assistant principal and three teachers resigned May 24 in a scandal over test tampering.

The district said the educators had distributed a detailed study guide after stealing a look at the state science test by "tubing" it - squeezing a test booklet, without breaking its paper seal, to form an open tube so that questions inside could be seen and used in the guide. The district invalidated students' scores.

Of all the forms of academic cheating, none may be as startling as educators tampering with children's standardized tests. But investigations in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Virginia and elsewhere this year have pointed to cheating by educators. Experts say the phenomenon is increasing as the stakes over standardized testing ratchet higher - including, most recently, taking student progress on tests into consideration in teachers' performance reviews.

Colorado passed a sweeping law last month making teachers' tenure dependent on test results, and nearly a dozen other states have introduced plans to evaluate teachers partly on scores. Many school districts already link teachers' bonuses to student improvement on state assessments. Houston decided this year to use the data to identify experienced teachers for dismissal, and New York City will use it to make tenure decisions on novice teachers.

The federal No Child Left Behind law is a further source of pressure. Like a high jump bar set intentionally low in the beginning, the law - which mandates that public schools bring all students up to grade level in reading and math by 2014 - was easy to satisfy early on. But the bar is notched higher annually, and the penalties for schools that fail to get over it also rise: teachers and administrators can lose jobs and see their school taken over.

No national data is collected on educator cheating. Experts who consult with school systems estimated that 1 percent to 3 percent of teachers - thousands annually - cross the line between accepted ways of boosting scores, like using old tests to prep students, and actual cheating.

"Educators feel that their schools' reputation, their livelihoods, their psychic meaning in life is at stake," said Robert Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest, a nonprofit group critical of standardized testing. "That ends up pushing more and more of them over the line."

Others say that every profession has some bad apples, and that high-stakes testing is not to blame. Gregory J. Cizek, an education professor at the University of North Carolina who studies cheating, said infractions were often kept quiet. "One of the real problems is states have no incentive to pursue this kind of problem," he said.

Recent scandals illustrate the many ways, some subtle, that educators improperly boost scores:

¶ At a charter school in Springfield, Mass., the principal told teachers to look over students' shoulders and point out wrong answers as they took the 2009 state tests, according to a state investigation. The state revoked the charter for the school, Robert M. Hughes Academy, in May.

¶ In Norfolk, Va., an independent panel detailed in March how a principal - whose job evaluations had faulted the poor test results of special education students - pressured teachers to use an overhead projector to show those students answers for state reading assessments, according to The Virginian-Pilot, citing a leaked copy of the report.

¶ In Georgia, the state school board ordered investigations of 191 schools in February after an analysis of 2009 reading and math tests suggested that educators had erased students' answers and penciled in correct responses. Computer scanners detected the erasures, and classrooms in which wrong-to-right erasures were far outside the statistical norm were flagged as suspicious.

The Georgia scandal is the most far-reaching in the country. It has already led to the referral of 11 teachers and administrators to a state agency with the power to revoke their licenses. More disciplinary referrals, including from a dozen Atlanta schools, are expected.

John Fremer, a specialist in data forensics who was hired by an independent panel to dig deeper into the Atlanta schools, and who investigated earlier scandals in Texas and elsewhere, said educator cheating was rising. "Every time you increase the stakes associated with any testing program, you get more cheating," he said.

That was also the conclusion of the economist Steven D. Levitt, of "Freakonomics" fame and a blogger for The New York Times, who with a colleague studied answer sheets from Chicago public schools after the introduction of high-stakes testing in the 1990s concluded that 4 percent to 5 percent of elementary school teachers cheat.

Not everyone agrees. Beverly L. Hall, who, as the superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools has won national recognition for elevating test scores, said dishonesty was relatively low in education. "Teachers over all are principled people in terms of wanting to be sure what they teach is what students are learning," she said.

Educators ensnared in cheating scandals rarely admit to wrongdoing. But at one Georgia school last year, a principal and an assistant principal acknowledged their roles in a test-erasure scandal.

For seven years, their school, Atherton Elementary in suburban Atlanta, had met the standards known in federal law as Adequate Yearly Progress - A.Y.P. in educators' jargon - by demonstrating that a rising share of students performed at grade level.

Then, in 2008, the bar went up again and Atherton stumbled. In June, the school's assistant principal for instruction, reviewing student answer sheets from the state tests, told her principal, "We cannot make A.Y.P.," according to an affidavit the principal signed.

"We didn't discuss it any further," the principal, James L. Berry, told school district investigators. "We both understood what we meant."

Pulling a pencil from a cup on the desk of Doretha Alexander, the assistant principal, Dr. Berry said to her, "I want you to call the answers to me," according to an account Ms. Alexander gave to investigators.

The principal erased bubbles on the multiple-choice answer sheets and filled in the right answers.

Any celebrations over the results were short-lived. Suspicions were raised in December 2008 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which noted that improvements on state tests at Atherton and a handful of other Georgia schools were so spectacular that they approached a statistical impossibility. The state conducted an analysis of the answer sheets and found "overwhelming evidence" of test tampering at Atherton.

Crawford Lewis, the district superintendent at the time, summoned Dr. Berry and Ms. Alexander to separate meetings. During four hours of questioning - "back and forth, back and forth, back and forth," Dr. Lewis said - principal and assistant principal admitted to cheating.

"They both broke down" in tears, Dr. Lewis said.

Dr. Lewis said that Dr. Berry, whom he had appointed in 2005, had buckled under the pressure of making yearly progress goals. Dr. Berry was a former music teacher and leader of celebrated marching bands who, Dr, Lewis said, had transferred some of that spirit to passing the state tests in a district where schools hold pep rallies to get ready.

Dr. Berry, who declined interview requests, resigned and was arrested in June 2009 on charges of falsifying a state document. In December, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation. The state suspended him from education for two years and Ms. Alexander for one year.

Dr. Lewis, now retired as superintendent, called for refocusing education away from high-stakes testing because of the distorted incentives it introduces for teachers. "When you add in performance pay and your evaluation could possibly be predicated on how well your kids do testing-wise, it's just an enormous amount of pressure," he said.

"I don't say there's any excuse for doing what was done, but I believe this problem is going to intensify before it gets better."
PHOTO SIDEBAR: Karren Bailey, center, and Joan Anderson, right, Norfolk, Va., school officials, discuss an inquiry.
PHOTO SIDEBAR: Cheat Sheet -- Articles in this series will examine cheating in education and efforts to stop it. Dianne Edwards, top, and Tonia Bush, principal and assistant principal of a school near Houston, resigned in a scandal.

Jerry P. Becker

Valda Shipp

Allegedly, Mrs. Lathan purposely came to the building late in the afternoon to remove Mrs. Shipp from her position, I find that quite interesting and believe proper protocol would have been to meet with her after hours. I understand that Mrs. Shipp has two weeks before any termination would come into effect.

I confused schools where Valda taught. It was of course at Franklin and I did visit her and was welcomed to come back at any time. Valda has two boys from a previous marriage. One just graduated from college and one just graduated from high school.

It is easy to take pot shots at someone on a blog site without letting readers know who you are. I will no longer accept "anonymous attacks". Give your name or your comment will not appear on my site.

Thanks you and I stand behind Mrs. Shipp for the same reason I voted for Jeff Lickiss for #150 school board. I know Jeff to "stand up and be counted" While Mr. Crawford is a nice person, so was my mother and I would have wanted her to sit on this school board. The system needs people who can tell it like it is. Why do you think the perception and reality of administration and of the #150 system causes so many kids to line up for Charter Schools while others move out?

The community at large does not want to pay 54% of their property taxes to baby sit kids. Some speak of "compassion" which has become an over-used term in a society threatened by outside threats that are real.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Collapse of Discipline and Respect

It's general, not just in the schools and streets but in the homes of rich, middle income and poor. I blogged on this subject before, "You Can do What you Want to do" 6/20/07; "Spanking in Schools", 8/20/08; "Disrespect Revisited", 11/20/07; "Bad Decisions Have Created Bad Schools", 8/02/06; "Strictness Isn't the Same as Being Mean", 8/02/06; "Why We're Reluctant to Reprimand Other People's Children", 7/27/06; "Shift the Blame", 2/28/06; "What's Ahead for Your County (Peoria)", 3/04/06 and other blogs on disrespect and lack of discipline enforcement.

I write this article because I know Mrs. Valda Shipp believed that schools and classrooms get quickly out of hand once the "kids" figure out the teacher, principal administration and boards weaknesses. As far as I know, she never let that happen to the kids under her care and education.

Ever since Dr. Harry Whittaker left the Superintendents job and retired, discipline at #150 has gone down hill in a hurry in too large a % of the school.If the firing of Mrs. Shipp was over discipline problems expect the new @27 million new Glen Oak School to be one of the most costly mistakes made by Ken Hinton and the school board.

Failure to enforce discipline problems have been THE major reason for the decline of the American Public School System. Under any circumstance the district will lose another disciplinarian Principal.

Both Valda and Mark's two daughter work for Mark in his successful insurance business. Both are courteous and friendly.

Valda Shipp Terminated

The former successful Principal at Harrison School and former Glen Oak Principal was terminated today by the new District #150 Superintendent. When I visited Harrison while Valda was Principal, I noted the way the kids respectfully presented themselves. I know that Glen Oak was a challenge and that it had gone downhill before Valda arrived.

I consider Valda and her husband Mark, long time friends of mine. Mark indicated that no written reason was given for her dismissal. I can only hope and pray on behalf of the family that outcomes will not appear so bleak for Valda in the future.

Where is Everybody Going?

This front page header appeared in the Journal Star on June 18, 2009. "Census report show Peoria County loses population, while Tazewell and Woodford (Counties) experience increases." "Peoria County population decreased by about 500 people between 2000 and 2007", said the writer. The article quoted reasons (excuses?) by public officials but if you are a consistent reader of my blogs over the past years, I have spelled out the real reasons. Inconsistent leadership, big egos sparking a wave of spending on enhancements people living in other areas can visit without paying what can only be rapidly rising Peoria County and City property taxes. Taxes to pay for what is being built, or has recently been built or is on the "to be built" horizon like the Marriott, the PRM, the new County Nursing Home (you do not need to live in Peoria County to live in the Peoria County Nursing Home), the new $100 to $300 million in mandated new sewer systems, a failing and aged public water system infrastructure, a new Peoria Park District Headquarters, a possible jail expansion and a couple dozen new projects on all public officials wish list such as a Minority Opportunity Center, Eagle Point, redesign of our downtown, interest and principal and interest payments on failed tax-supported projects like Midtown Cub Food and FireFly.

Not to mention the real or perceived reputation of Peoria Public School District #150. And millions for trails that NO DOUBT will cause people to move to Peoria by the hundreds - thousands? While our streets, curbs, highways, sidewalks, etc. are in the worst condition of my memory. And certainly more empty business buildings that I have seen in Peoria in my memory. And City pensions moving out of sight with other public body pensions and health benefits catching up.

The JS writer gathered this information from the U.S. Census Bureau. The new census will give more data but my observations are what growth there is in Peoria is on shrinking farm land in the Northwest sections of the City of Peoria.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Do More Degrees Make Teachers More Effective?

From Dr. Jerry Becker comes this missile. From my own experience many of the people I met in my life had far more degrees and education than I had. Too many lacked a major attribute.

Common sense.


Will the Real Effective Teacher Please Stand Up?

By Anthony Rebora

What makes some teachers better than others? A new study from the Rand Corp. concludes that, well, it's tough to know [see ]

Abstract: Teacher effectiveness is typically measured by traditional teacher qualification standards, such as experience, education, and scores on licensure examinations. RAND researchers found no evidence that these standards have a substantial effect on student achievement in Los Angeles public elementary, middle, and high schools. Alternative measures of teacher qualifications and different kinds of reward systems might be more effective at improving teacher quality.

The study, which examined data from the Los Angeles Unified School District over a five year period, found that there was little correlation between teacher effectiveness (as measured by student test-score progress) and any particular qualifications or credentials. That includes years of experience, education level attained, or licensure test scores. Even initially failing a licensure exam showed no "statistically significant link" to a teacher's future effectiveness.

So what now? The study suggests that "education experts" may need to "develop alternative measures that will more accurately predict classroom performance." (Better be on the lookout for those.) In the meantime, there's always performance pay: "[I]t might be promising to reward teachers for their performance rather than for qualifications that are not associated with their ability to improve student achievement," the study notes.