Monday, June 23, 2014
Yes, I am pretty good at spelling and signaling new paragraphs but my blogger site now controlled by Google will not permit me to consistently spell-check and it merges all my coppy even though I have indicated a new paragraph. Makes me want to blog less. I spelled copy coppy and spell-check couldn't identify that mis-spelling. At times, I wonder what highlly paid idiots designed these programs. i deliberately mis-spelled highly but spell-check couldn't identify the word. Good grief.
Millions Spent and Hundreds of Millions to be Spent on the Horizon on Removal of Lead From Old Homes in Peoria
With $2.5 million requested by Greg Chance to renovate MAYBE 210 homes at a cost of approximately $13,000+ a home, with 2200 old homes identified as needing untold millions more supported by those who really pay 90% of property taxes, it is past time to look more closely how these millions we don't have is being spent. When the program was first introduced to the Peoria County Board, mistakes were made by County Administration totaling more than $100,000 before one piece of lead was removed. Also, there is no believable estimate made on these homes to see if it would be better to demolish the building before spending $25,000 or more to make changes, all work done by high priced union labor. Even though it will be stated that "qualified" people do make these decisions, I have yet to hear of even one home demolished. Check it out, JS reporters, and give the address of the home, how and to whom was the demolish contract issued, date completed and advise if the home was replaced. Of course, if anyone has the guts to challenge money spent to help the poor, the program across the nation will continue to keep all HUD employees and union laborers employed and collecting their bonuses and pensions. When this problem was first introduced by Democrat Lynn (Pearson has been on the County board for 28 years or more; talk about term limits) and all other Democrat Board members, no Republican could vote no, after all all these people who live in these homes couldn't do the work themselves or afford to have some non-union contractor do it as it would not have been politically correct to do so. I raised numerous questions even stating that all nine Widmer kids were born in lead base painted homes with lead sealed windows, etc. Even asbestos coating on hot water pipes, yet none of use were affected. But today's kids are. Is that because of poor or no parenting? Of course, we didn't need to be told not to eat lead or asbestos. If the windows needed resealed, we did it even though we were poor. We also did our own painting and no one but myself ever drew unemployment (2 months at $30 a month, after I was discharged from serving our nation) I don't blog much anymore because it is so obvious that this great country is headed in the wrong direction and too many people are being subsidized, and more daily, by the government that they will never vote against the hand that feeds them. Or not until they find that those who can work must work and the flow of children from Central America and the flow of all uneducated and usually illegals, is brought to halt so that we have borders under control to stop the illegal flood of future Democrats and future Socialists or worse. Like terrorists. Even some Democrats believe we are in greater danger of terrorists than 3 years ago. So sad that so many people so poorly qualified are making decisions that will someday bankrupt this nation. The qualified people do not run for public office for many of the reasons I have so often stated. Major one is the media finding one fault and blows is out of context and that offsets all the good qualified leaders would do.
Think again. They are going to get worse. Are all the deteriorating bridges going to get repaired? Very few if history is any indication. The bureaucracy called IDOT is dominated by union loving Democrats and the unions are mostly interested in dragging out the work orders to maintain full employment and larger pensions. Ever watch these guys, all most all are men, and their bosses work?? Most of them make me feel bad when I see how poorly are tax dollars are used. The only job I have see recently, was the renovation of Rt. 74 through Peoria and there waa a reason for this project finishing on time. I predict IDOT will be still working on the Morton Interchange in 2018. Last week I noticed a expensive bumper truck parked just below the hill on Rt. 6. I noticed the driver of the safety truck was the only one on the job if you want to call sitting all day in a bumper truck, a job. When I came back that way 2 1/2 hours later, he was still sitting in this truck and still no state employee in the area.I drove past and stopped in front of the bumper truck; got out of my car and so did the bumper truck driver. As I approached him, he ordered me to move over so I wouldn't get hit. I was walking in front of the now unoccupied BUMPER TRUCK. When I asked a civil question as to who he was protecting, he became belligerent; moreso when I pulled my camera and started taking pictures. He pulled a camera and possibly took pictures of me. He then said he was going to "right me up" which I agreed he should do. I would love to appear in court to tell the public why Illinois highways are always going to be the worst in the northern states. I don't need to remind Peoria drivers that so many of our streets are worse than worse. The excuse of a "hard winter" is just that, an excuse. Out road beds, sidewalks and curbs were in bad shape BEFORE this last winter and will be in terrible shape if Peoria has another bad winter which is highly possible. And the bureaucrats want to raise gas taxes and let the Telsa vehicles help wear down the roads and pay NO gas taxes. So sad that most decisions that are made by our elected leaders and bureaucrats, most of who couldn't even run a barber shop, not to put the cosmetology industry down. I know most of you are too busy making a living to notice what the majority of Democrats and a lot of Republicans are doing to this country. So sad.
While the JS reported the news, they left out a key phrase: MICHIGAN IS A RIGHT-TO-WORK state while Democrat controlled (think big generally hostile unions) Illinois is the worst state in the union to expand a business. But the JS, dominated by Democrats in management, has long been one of the reasons Illinois residents who are financially able to move, are moving out surpassing the number that are moving in. Businesses generally move to Illinois when the State and local politicians give them perks that return to most taxpayers are higher taxes. In Peoria, both sales tax and property taxes are higher than almost anywhere in the country. And Lathan and Mike Everett want to raise sales taxes at least 1%. If these business killers make it on the ballot, i highly suggest a no vote.
Even though it totals over 14 full pages total of advertising as it struggles to survive. A commentary by Karrie Alms outlines the ineptness of the PHA, nothing new, they have been mis-managed for 30 years or so. Plus some "make sense" comments on the opinion page. The brilliance of Nationally syndicated Johan Goldberg, the story about Evansville struggling to keep the LST, as well as older history in Luciano's column. Word on the Street is worth about a nickel as usual but Kirk Wessler makes up for it with his usually interesting sports information, a must read for the sport enthusiast. And of course, the obits, where I look daily to see if I am listed.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Evidently not enough people have the guts to rid this nation of the greatest destroyer this country has every encountered. If you are not watcdhing the news, both liberal and conservative, most citizens do not understand the seriousness of the emminent dangers this nation is facing. 40,000 troops in Germany while this man signaled 3 years ago that we would pull almost all fighter trained warriors out of Iraq. Our security along Mesicsn borders is being overrun by illegals, refugees or not, two years of Lerner's emails have disappeared, his appointeee, (most of them incompetent) Hilary Clinton, call Benghasi a "bump in the road", ObamaCare turns out to be what I and others predicted, the national debt is rising faster than ordinary people can comprehend, most of his rhetoric is lies, he is a proven populist Socialist, his militant union friends and his tort corporations are his best buddies, people who benefit from his largees are afraid of him, his major opposition party has proven to be a be a party of self-interest and bodies of wimps, etc., and I could site thousnds of pages of ways he has violated the Constitution and other laws or the land. If you don't read the WSJ, watch Fox TV, read, listen to, and watch both conserative and liberal news for comparisions, don't select candidates who can rally this nation back to sanity or eeven take time to vote, than people like me are only preaching to members of the choir. Many of us have feared dictators and yet we have have one. So terribly sad. My new software has abandoned "Spell-Check" so forgive my mis-pellings. Also, excuse my long absence from emailing and blogging because of illness, declining years sapping my energy and my shared rage over what is happening to this once great nation.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Judge strikes down all 5 teacher protection laws in Vergara lawsuit Inbox x Jerry Becker
Jun 12 (1 day ago)
From EdSource - Highlighting Strategies for Student Success, Tuesday, June 10, 2014. See http://edsource.org/2014/judge-strikes-down-all-5-teacher-protection-laws-in-vergara-lawsuit/63023#.U5ntiygQiS0
There are many reactions and comments to the Vegara v California Decision at the end of the article at the website - Statements from public officials, advocates following Judge Treu's ruling -- Source: Compiled from press releases
Judge strikes down all 5 teacher protection laws in Vergara lawsuit
By John Fensterwald
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu reviews evidence during the Vergara trial in January. Source: Court View Network
In a resounding defeat for the state's teachers unions, today a Superior Court judge in Los Angeles agreed with a lawsuit's claim that teacher employment laws disproportionately hurt poor and minority children, who are saddled with the state's worst-performing teachers. In his ruling, Judge Rolf Treu overturned five state statutes giving California teachers firing protections and rights to tenure and seniority.
The evidence of "the effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students," Treu wrote, "is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience."
Treu's tentative, 16-page page decision in Vergara v. California, which takes effect in 30 days, gives the first-round victory to Students Matter and its benefactor and founder, Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch. He sued the state on behalf of nine students in five school districts, including Beatriz Vergara, a high school student in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the first plaintiff named in the lawsuit. The case has been closely watched nationally as a bellwether that might prompt similar lawsuits in other states.
In a joint defense with the state Attorney General's Office, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers had vigorously defended the workplace protections as critical to recruiting and retaining teachers. The unions charged Welch with scapegoating teachers rather than addressing the true source of the achievement gap: the impacts of poverty and neighborhood violence on the lives of poor children. They promised to appeal the verdict, a process that could take years before the state Supreme Court decides it.
"Like the Vergara lawsuit itself, today's ruling is deeply flawed," they said in a statement. "We will appeal on behalf of students and educators. Circumventing the legislative process to strip teachers of their professional rights hurts our students and our schools."
Lawyers for the students in the Vergara lawsuit argued that the laws shield the lowest-performing teachers from layoffs and create costly, "Byzantine" dismissal procedures. They claimed the laws disproportionately harmed the students and violated their fundamental right under the state Constitution to an opportunity for an equal education.
Treu (pronounced Troy) agreed, and struck down all five laws as unconstitutional, leaving it to the Legislature to create an alternative. In a teleconference, Ted Boutrous, the lead attorney for Students Matter, called Treu's ruling "powerful right down the line on every issue."
"This decision will reverberate powerfully across California and the nation because teacher tenure and dismissal laws touch on the forefront of the debate on how to improve schools to help students learn," Boutrous said. Welch has expressed an interest in challenging similar laws in other states.
Treu agreed to an injunction, keeping the laws in place during the appeals process. Boutrous said that if the ruling is upheld during the appeals process, school districts would have to renegotiate contracts to comply with Treu's decision or at least not enforce provisions of the law ruled unconstitutional.
Voters or the Legislature could act sooner if they choose, and that is what Welch, Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy and Students Matter attorneys urged in the phone call.
"The need for change is now," said the other lead attorney, Marcellus McRae. "We cannot waste another day, cannot waste another child."
Without proposing specific alternatives, Welch said he would talk about the case with legislators and urge them to pass policies "based on common sense and research." The verdict is a call to "seize the moment and move forward," he said. Extending the probationary period, replacing layoffs by seniority with factors based on performance and rewriting dismissal laws all would require more effective ways to evaluate teachers. Until now, the Legislature and the Brown administration have avoided taking on that issue.
The Legislature is poised to pass Assembly Bill 215, sponsored by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, which would make it easier to fire teachers accused of egregious misconduct, such as sexual acts against children. But the bill, which Gov. Jerry Brown said he would sign, would not substantially affect the dismissal process for teachers charged with poor performance, the focus of the Vergara lawsuit. An initiative proposed for the November ballot would substantially rewrite the state's teacher evaluation laws, including the elimination of seniority rights. The sponsor, consultant Matt David, has not spoken publicly about the initiative and has until mid-July to obtain 505,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. (Update: David did not pursue signatures this year; the earliest his initiative could be on the ballot is now November 2016.)
The verdict follows a two-month trial this spring in which about 60 witnesses testified. Both sides agreed that there is a small percentage of awful teachers, and that they can have an outsized impact on students. The decision cited testimony by Thomas Kane, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, that a student taught by one of the worst 5 percent of teachers would fall behind a year in math and nearly a year in reading. Lawyers for the state and teachers unions argued that the fault lies not in the laws but in their implementation. In a battle on the witness stand between disagreeing superintendents, defense experts said well-run districts can effectively fire poor-performing teachers and filter out probationary teachers who won't cut it. And they disputed the assumption that standardized test scores - under any current methodology - can accurately determine which teachers are ineffective.
The five laws include a permanent employment statute, informally known as tenure, giving teachers due-process rights after two years of probation; three statutes that outline complex procedures to dismiss teachers; and the layoff statute, known as LIFO for Last In, First Out, mandating layoffs by seniority with some exceptions for teachers with hard-to-find expertise.
The compounded impact of those laws disproportionately "affects the stability of the learning process to the detriment of high-poverty and minority students," Treu concluded.
Here are some of the key issues in the lawsuit:
Tenure: California is one of a handful of states that grant probationary teachers tenure or permanent status, with due process protections, after two years on the job. Forty-one states require three or more years before granting tenure. Students Matter argued that decisions actually have to be made after only 16 months on job - not enough time to make a credible assessment of a teacher's potential and prevent weak teachers from slipping through. Treu found that a longer probationary period would serve the interests of not only students but also teachers, since some districts are tenure-shy and dismiss probationary teachers, who, with more time, could prove to be fine teachers. There's no rational reason for the current law, he wrote.
Dismissal: Students Matter said that the prohibitive cost of firing the worst teachers - between $50,000 and $450,000 because of the time and expense of litigation - discourages districts from pursuing dismissals. The defense witnesses countered that most poorly performing teachers are counseled out of the profession without the need for litigation; effective districts do this regularly. But the plaintiffs countered that too often, bad teachers are moved around (what Treu referred to as the "Dance of the Lemons") to unsuspecting schools with minority students, perpetuating the problem. Treu questioned whether extra layers of legal protections are needed, since non-teacher employees of school systems aren't entitled to them. "The Court finds that the current system Š to be so complex, time consuming and expensive as to make an effective, efficient yet fair dismissal of a grossly ineffective teacher illusory," Treu wrote.
LIFO: Treu called layoffs strictly based on length of service "a lose-lose situation," in which ineffective veteran teachers stay on the job while effective, newer teachers are let go regardless of their performance. Defense attorneys said that LIFO prevents districts from laying off better-paid veteran teachers in order to cut costs. Treu didn't buy it. Noting that 20 states consider seniority as just one factor in layoffs, and 19 let local districts set the criteria, Treu wrote that the defense of the status quo "is unfathomable and therefore constitutionally unsupportable."
In a statement, Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, responded, "Rather than provide resources or working to create positive environments for students and teachers, this suit asserts that taking away rights from teachers will somehow help students."
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
I've been laid low with bronchitis, allegeries and a cold. Haven't felt like blopging nor not much of anything. Plus I had some Dermatology work done which has'nt helped my disposition. Plus I probably bought the wrong computer, Lenovo, and have struggled to master it. Far too complicated compared to my first 2 computers. Next to impossible to download an informative email to my blog site and a spell-check bar seldom show up. I was instructed by Nerds On Call, where I bought this machine to hit HTML to center a blog for publication. Wrong. Anyway I'm taking this laptop back to Nerds when I feel better and taking my wife to take notes and help learn how to use this expensive and complicated device. Hopefully, I'll be back blogging, etc., shortly. Spell-check bar didn't show up so hope I do not have too many mispelled words.