Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gingrich: Changing Child Labor Laws Would Improve Schools

Gingrich: Changing Child Labor Laws Would Improve Schools
By Alyson Klein
Education Week
November 22, 2011

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, now a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has risen fast in the polls lately.

So how does he want to address the problems of poor students stuck in underperforming schools? At least, in part, by changing child labor laws.

In a speech at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Gingrich said that society is "crippling [disdvantaged kids] by putting them in schools that fail. [This] has done more to create income inequality in the United States than any other single policy."

His solution: Overhaul child labor laws which are "truly stupid. We say to someone, you shouldn't go to work before you're what, 14, 16 years of age? Fine. You're totally poor. You're in a school that's failing, with a teacher that's failing. I tried for years to have a very simple model. Most of these schools oughta get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor, and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work. They would have cash. They'd have pride in the schools. They'd begin the process of rising. ... Get any job that teaches you to show up on Monday."

Questions abound: Is having students do janitorial work—before they turn 14— the best way to improve foundering schools? Could students really handle being near so many cleaning products? What about those mop and soap fights in the hallway?

Gingrich clarified his comments to the Washington Post, saying, "I'm not suggesting that they drop out of school and become janitors, I'm talking about working 20 hours a week and being empowered to succeed."

That begs another question: Do the high school teachers out there think their kids would be able to balance 20 hours of work with school?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Democrats at DNC convention say education is more important than NEA/teachers unions
by Michele McNeil
Education Week

The education event that followed the NEA luncheon showed the growing tensions within the Democratic Party over school reform, and the role of teachers’ unions.

Though it’s no surprise an event sponsored by the Democrats for Education Reform would have a slight anti-union message; many of the speakers at the event took several shots at unions during the press conference announcing the Education Equality Project in June.

Today, the sentiment was strong and persistent at standing-room-only, three-hour forum called Ed Challenge for Change. In fact, some of the big-city mayors who participated predicted that had such a forum been held four years ago, a mere five souls would have showed.

Here at the Denver Art Museum, Democratic mayors from Newark, N.J., Washington D.C., and Denver joined education reform darlings including New York City’s Joel Klein and Washington D.C.’s Michelle Rhee. The group was referred to as the “misfits” of the Democratic Party by DFER's Joe Williams, a nod to their willingness to speak up against the influence of teachers’ unions, which have formed the backbone of the party...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What is Oregon Senator Gordon Smith thinking?

Gordon Smith hearts Segregationist Lott
by mcjoan
Tue Dec 18, 2007

So the Senate, which we learned yesterday had such critical business to attend to that it was absolutely urgent they grant the telcos amnesty for spying on us right now, has frittered away much of the morning in waxing poetic about the retiring Trent Lott.

Stuff like this is great. This is absolutely the kind of thing that's a nightmare for GOP Senators seeking re-election. Consider Oregon's Gordon Smith. Here's what he had to say this morning, regardling Lott's little racist slip-up that cost him his caucus's leadership position.

"I was half way around the world when an event befell Trent Lott that shook me deeply," Smith said, referencing Lott's 2002 remarks in praise of Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond's 1948 run for the White House. "I was celebrating my re-election and on vacation. I watched over international news as his words were misconstrued, words which we had heard him utter many times in his big warm-heartedness trying to make one of our colleagues, Strom Thurmond, feel good at 100 years old. We knew what he meant. But the wolfpack of the press circled around him, sensed blood in the water, and the exigencies of politics caused a great injustice..."

Ah, that damned wolfpack in the media, beating up on such a big, warm-hearted guy who was only trying to stroke an old fart's segregationist heart. As a reminder, here's what Lott said about Thurmond:

"I want to say this about my state: when Strom Thurmond ran for President, we voted for him," Lott boasted. "We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

That's what Smith was so passionately defending today. But, as Greg Sargent reports, back in 2002 when the wolfpack asked him about the incident, guess who didn't display quite so much compassion for his colleague:

"However they were intended, Senator Lott's words were offensive and I was deeply dismayed to hear of them," Smith said in a brief statement. "His statement goes against everything I and the people of Oregon believe in. I look forward to working with my Republican colleagues to arrive at a decision that is best for the U.S. Senate and the country."

There's more. Three days later:

"I appreciate that Senator Lott has stepped down, it was a courageous thing for him to do..."Senator Lott's decision is best for the Senate and best for the country."

As Sargent notes, this is classic Gordon Smith, blowing with the political wind. His flip-flops are becoming legend in Oregon: Iraq, drilling in the Arctic Reserve, Medicare prescription drugs, minimum wage, tax cuts to the wealthy. Smith is the master of the calculated vote--how far can he stray from his true extreme Republican convictions to try to present a moderate face back home.

But every now and then, like today when he thinks few are paying attention, the mask slips and the true Gordon Smith is there for all to see. Thanks, Gordon, we knew you had it in you.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Will Cathy Travalos be giving lessons in critical thinking?

Here's the latest from teacher Cathy Travalos, moderator of wcccusdtalk (regarding Richmond schools):

"To me there's a big difference between voting to not take a position (what UTR board members stated) and voting to withhold support (what Gail stated)."

Voting to not take a position is certainly one way of withholding support.

On the other hand, voting to withhold support could take two different forms:
1) voting to oppose, or
2) voting not to take a position.

But in this case, UTR did NOT decide to actively oppose the parcel tax. It voted to take NO position. So how do you figure there's a big difference between what Gail stated and what the UTR did? I think Gail got it right.

Here's someone else who got it right:

"What exactly is the point of taking an explicit position to not take a position on the parcel tax instead of simply not bringing it up at all (which seems to be completely in the power of the Executive Board) unless one wants to decrease the chances of the parcel tax passing?"
Charley Cowens

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Robin Donlan needs our help again

The following appeared on the "California Teachers" Blog:

Robin Donlan has needed our help many times before:

1. Chula Vista Educators President Gina Boyd was a true friend to Robin Donlan, committing perjury and destroying documents to cover up misdemeanors Donlan committed in 2000 and 2001. Current CVE President Jim Groth helped out with a terrific grievance hoax.

2. Yet again, Gina and Jim proved to be reliable in 2004 when Chula Vista Elementary School District Superintendent Lowell Billings tried to return Castle Park Elementary to normal functioning after the crime wave initiated by Robin. Gina and Jim got the transfer ruled illegal! What a way to help children!

3. Now Robin needs help with a little securities fraud. It seems her husband transferred 700,000 shares of fraudulent stock options to her. Then Robin and Vence Donlan bought the stock and resold it at $7.7 million profit. She’s being investigated by the FBI, SEC, IRS and the Department of Justice. Who will pay Robin’s attorney bills now that her assets are frozen?

4. Cheryl Cox, Pamela Smith, Patrick Judd, Bertha Lopez and Larry Cunningham spent several $100,000’s of the public’s money to defend Robin Donlan regarding crimes she committed at CVESD. They are our best hope to save Robin from the claws of justice once again.

5. Also, we hope that Chula Vista Educators will step into the lurch as they have so often before. Monica Sorenson, Joyce Abrams and all the rest of the board of directors have always gone along with instructions from CTA attorney Michael Hersh—and they keep quiet about it, too. There shouldn’t be any problem at all!

6. The Castle Park Family is planning a big rally to raise money for Robin. We hope Bob Filner and Jill Galvez will be there, just like they were for Robin’s 2004 rally.

7. I’m sure former Castle Park PTA presidents Felicia Starr and Kim Simmons won’t miss it. They have nothing to fear now that Bonnie Dumanis has declined to press charges regarding the 2004-2005 embezzlement of $20,000 from the PTA.