Who will care for the public education of our children?

When immense wealth finances political parties, elections become a mockery, a mere puppet show, of the democratic process. When the voting process allows two, and only two, sides which are both financed by immense wealth, the game is merely that – a game.

Rauner Quinn1

Illinois has two teams of servants who serve the demands of the super-wealthy members of The Billionaire Boys Club whose legal name is the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.

Propaganda

Billionaire extremist Bruce Rauner (R) and his Sanguinetti version of Sara Palin promise to destroy public services, especially everything and everyone connected to public education. Present Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), who has already cut many public services including education, chose Paul Vallas as his running mate. Vallas has actually spent his adult lifetime destroying public services, especially everything and everyone connected to public education.

In Florida present Gov. Rick Scott (R) cut education funding. His opponent, ex-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist (D) cut education funding when he was in office. Both claim to support public education funding.

Viable third party candidates were crippled or destroyed before and during the primaries by rules and regulations specifically designed to eliminate them. Many candidates were hamstrung by breaking the rules and regulations in blatant violation of laws and decency. Corporate stooges are well funded and unhampered by rules and regulations.

Therefore, in many specific elections, there is merely the illusion of choice.

In Connecticut the well qualified and capable third party candidate, Jonathan Pelto, and his running mate, Ebony Murphy, are in the process of being blocked by the same in-your-face political machine disruption of the fair election process.
(Jonathan Pelto just released this statement.
“The petitioning process was an eye opening one.  While requiring candidates to collect 7,500 signatures to qualify for a position on the gubernatorial ballot continues to seem like a reasonable number, the primitive and burdensome laws and archaic system clearly serves as an unfair barrier to those who believe our democratic system would be better served if voters had more choices when they go to vote.)

The rigged two-team game will have a winner, even if only 8% of people go to the voting booths. The winner can then have the false air of legitimacy in office.

Rather than go on and on with this list, what has and is happening in your state, county and city that mirrors this corruption-as-government process? Which specific elections near you are merely the illusion of choice?

There is one tried and true way to solve this problem. Today, start contacting friends and groups you know and trust. Organize and become active. Find or create a candidate for the next elections of whatever you feel is a worthwhile elected position to begin a turnaround process.

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By the way, there are not two sides to every argument. The news should not present both sides of an issue. That is not fair or balanced. Reality: “There are at least two side to every issue.” (Ask anyone who has more than two children standing next to a broken lamp.)

Redefining news and fair elections is propaganda. The propagandist and ideologue Ayn Rand redefined sides to an issue. “There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.” She distorted Aesop’s original statement, “Every truth has two sides,” which is a truly deep philosophical thought.

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The same poo-poo in new bags.

When Common Core State Standards (tests, texts and all) are given new CCSS “aligned” coverings by the state, does it matter?

Florida Gov. Rick Scott played the “save us from big government control” game even as the newly branded state education standards, texts, programs, tests, grading, etc, remain Common Core “aligned.” The name was changed from FCAT to FSA. Same profiteers, same tax theft from public schools to profit international corporate education reform investors, same insane pressure on students, same failing schools scams – NEW Name. Same poo-poo in new bags.

Bags of Poop2

Scott posed as the statesman rescuer of school children from nasty old Obamaeducation as he continues CCSS. He is similar to a person calling himself a savior on the Titanic as he tosses one deck chair overboard prior to sinking.

“We believe schools that have English language learners should not be penalized (for two years). Unfortunately federal officials disagree,” Scott said.
- from Local10.com news

Huh? That’s all Scott is going to do to make a difference?

“Like the standards, the Florida Standards Assessment — which replaces last year’s FCAT 2.0 end-of-year standardized test — demands more from students…
In short, students’ test scores will get worse before they get better…
Further, the state is moving toward having nearly all FSA exams administered by computer by the 2017-18 school year, which is taxing financially to school districts that already struggle to keep up with technology demands.”
- from the Pensacola News Journal

Oh, fail more children, fail more schools, fire more teachers and charge local tax payers more. Now, THAT makes a difference! Even Scott’s Tea Party backers might have a problem with the tax part.

Will people keep putting up with this self-destructive, state mandated politico-demolition?

Not Florida’s Lee County School Board.

Florida’s Lee County became on Wednesday night the first school district in the state to vote to opt out of all state-mandated testing, including exams that are being designed to assess student knowledge of new state standards based on the Common Core.”
- from the Washington Post

Huh? “New” standards “based” on CCSS?

That is the same poo-poo in new bags.

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WHAT IS YOUR STATE CALLING ITS SAME POO-POO IN NEW BAGS?

Opt-Out individually or by school district.

Visit United Opt-Out HERE for guides and sample letters by state.

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Wow! Gates, PBS, Parents, Teachers, CCSS, etc. – Interactive Graphic Journalism

The most fascinating graphic journalism about the immense power and money behind Corporate Education Reform, CCSS, high stakes testing, media information control, etc. is created by Adam Bessie and his associates.

“One picture is worth a thousand words.”

Well, that was then, and this is now.

Carino 8-14

Adam Bessie and illustrator Dan Carino have created a new level of graphic journalism published online at Truth-Out.org.

Bessie’s research journalism combined with the graphics of various artists combined with interactive links within the illustrations make incredible amounts of connections and interconnections possible for readers at all levels. Annotated editorial cartoons? Essays and comics? No, it’s much more than that.

View and read the illustration while moving your cursor across each graphic panel. A ton of information and related links are available for you to follow.

Look into whatever you want to know more about, or choose to leave it and go on to other things.

Incredibly, even more ideas are presented than mere words or graphics alone could present. As people read, these questions will probably pop into their minds at some point.

“But, isn’t Bill Gates just a philanthropist who gives his money away to good causes?”
“How is NPR involved?”
“What do you mean? He uses his own paid news sources as proof of his own claims? And he profits from public education tax dollars through his own tax-free foundation?”

Adam Bessie

View HERE to see “The Gates Foundation Education Reform Hype Machine and Bizarre Inequality Theory.”

Hey, Adam! Keep this stuff coming.

 

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The super wealthy can self-promote themselves for ALS while collecting and distributing student data, profiting from e-college, etc.

“Here’s another example of what happens when the very wealthy and the very self-loving gets involved in a grass roots movement to help. They can turn anything into some means to feel secure about their lofty positions and expose their deep seated psychological need to be recognized as better…
Sick little heads…
They keep Freud alive.”
John Dillon, retired teacher and blogger extraordinaire

Three billionaires. One, J. B. Pritzker, makes a video, starring himself, as a generous donor to ALS research. How much is the contribution? $26,000.

Let’s see…

$3,000,000,000

- $26,000

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$2,999,974,000

Hmm…

Contribution Rule #1: Never spend more on a video promoting your personal generosity than you contribute to the fund raising effort.

(How much was your personal income last year? Think of all the wonderful and sincere people across America who are giving so much to ALS research while having a little fun putting their videos on YouTube. Terrific! It’s infuriating that JB and his narcissistic, arrogant cohorts use this video for press-release promotions of themselves and their profiteering organizations. $26,000? His tax-free foundation spends more on a luncheon event. )

Pritzker, Mansueto, and Lefkofsky… It is a promotion for 1871, a group of businesses involved with his Pritzker Group Venture Capital.
Disclosure: 1871 was the year of the Great Chicago Fire which my great-grandmother barely survived in her new country with just the clothes on her back and the trauma of the experience.

1871, the group, celebrates the scorched earth crisis which allowed investors to profit from tragedy. (Read their own page.)

What Arne Duncan said about Hurricane Katrina (“The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans.”) was a mere prelude to dismantling the public schools, firing qualified teachers and replacing them with highly profitable charter schools which hired poorly paid non-union teachers who were both legally state qualified and unqualified . These charters have miserably failed the remaining children in that city.

1871? Name your group after a deadly conflagration that was an economic boon for wealthy investors? Plan for a similar scorched earth policy for the people and property of one of the largest cities in America? Horrible!
(For some reason, JB doesn’t mention his also-a-billionaire sister, ex-school-closing Chicago Board of Education member and present U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. He doesn’t mention the other eleven members, all billionaires according to Forbes, of his family invested in this stuff while wearing the cloak of philanthropists. Nor does he mention his investments in charter schools that profit from public education dollars for every closed public school. Instead, J.B. laughs at Chicago people, young and old.)

- Read the Crain’s Chicago Business article and view J.B. Pritzker’s personal video HERE.

Urp-ph-pht-t-sh-h-h

What J.B. Pritzker says about bleeding Chicago citizens of millions of dollars is arrogant and disturbing at many levels. Listen carefully to his own words as he laughingly brags about his personal level of evil and his evil friends. This video is strange stuff.

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Dear Parents, Teachers cannot protect your children from well financed abusers.

I truly admire Peggy Robertson, and you should, too. Why?

As an active teacher she openly admits that it takes parents to stop the dismantling of public education by Corporate Education Reform multinational investors disguised as social reformers attempting to help children. High stakes testing of any brand name that complies with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) harms our children.

Peggy RobertsonHere is an excerpt from her “must read and share” article:
What is happening is evil, cruel and abusive. Refuse the tests and deny the corporations the profit, deny the district, state and federal government your child’s data (which they can share with corporations), deny the publishing companies the opportunity to create more common core products. Without the data, the profit ends and we have an opportunity to reclaim our public schools, our profession. We have an opportunity to do what is right for all children.”
Peggy Robertson

As a mom, Peggy sees students from the perspective of both sides of the desk and from the standpoint of a parent/teacher who wants wants the best from a teacher/parent. (You do the mind reversals involved with this!)

She is one of the founders and driving forces behind United Opt Out, the sole writer of the incredible Peg with Pen blog, and a driving force in the actual betterment of public schools.

As a loving parent/teacher she witnesses the actual harm and empathizes deeply with the entire abusive situation of high stakes testing.

As a human being she admits her limitations.

3rd gradeThis particular article simply must be shared from parent to parent to parent. Please don’t wait until the child you never thought would be harmed is harmed. Parents must help all children if they wish for others to help their own child.

Crush the multinational corporate and foundation investors before they crush your child. How? Refuse to keep financing them and their outwardly philanthropic foundations which are mere disguised greed sucking out obscene profits at the expense of your child.

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Personal Note: There is growing concern about the impact on the hardest working, most capable children suddenly labeled as “losers” by the rigged numbers generated by CCSS compliant tests even though all children are harmed by stress, labeling, etc. Children suffering from depression and threatening to give-up or to inflict self-harm is growing. Please do not wait until you are faced with tragedy.
-KP

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Teacher Feeds Children in Ferguson: Be proud for her and all of us who meet the needs of students every day.

Julianna Mendelsohn is a teacher. She meets the needs of students; that’s what teachers do.

She just made every teacher in America proud to be a teacher. We all need to honor her.

As a public school teacher, my first thought is always about the children involved in any tragic situation like this,” she writes. “When I found out school had been canceled for several days as a result of the civil unrest, I immediately became worried for the students in households with food instability. Many children in the US eat their only meals of the day, breakfast and lunch, at school. With school out, kids are undoubtedly going hungry.”

Julianna

Julianna is from Raleigh, North Carolina. She knows that all the children in school are our children. The children in Ferguson are our children with their own needs. Our children need many things, and nutritious food is at the top of the list. Julianna’s efforts have raised over $125,000 to feed our children during this crisis.

How can we honor Julianna while meeting the needs of our children? Contribute to the St. Louis Area Food Bank HERE.

What if the children in Ferguson have all of their problems, including food “insecurity,” solved overnight? Then the money will feed our other children.

On the food bank site, let’s honor Julia in the manner that teachers honor each other. Support what she is doing. HERE.

Thank you, Julianna.

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By the way, this is what it means to be “just a teacher.”

This also shows the insanity of evaluating teachers on the basis of arbitrary bubble test results.

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When illusion becomes delusion, children and their schools fail, teachers are fired…

When illusion becomes delusion, children and their schools fail, teachers are fired, and poverty is treated as a crime.

Name one failing school in an affluent community. One. In all of America.

New Trier

The propaganda about failing schools being due to bad teachers is promoted by the vast power, wealth and influence of wealthy (not merely affluent) Corporate Education Reform organizations and foundations via corporate owned media.

American schools, removing scores from poverty afflicted communities, are among the best in the world. American education is NOT failing. (All schools in all countries need, of course, to continue efforts to improve and update. This is not the issue.)

The surge of propaganda claiming that those who fail (children, schools, teachers, etc.) are “undeserving” is blatant illusion.

America has the recurring cruel habit of punishing the poor for being poor.

In 1936 a famous French writer, Vladimir Pozner, wrote about his visit to America in the depths of the Great Depression.

“The News of Englewood reports that a hundred poor families of this rich Jersey City suburb eat straight from the trash cans, concluding: ‘This is a state of affairs that must be rectified at once, a state of affairs that any red-blooded citizen will want to put a stop to, even if it costs him his bottom dollar. The necessary amount must be raised immediately to build a waste incinerator that will put an end to these revolting practices.'”
– The Disunited States by V. Pozner recently published by the Seven Stories Press

In 2007 and again in 2011 the tents of homeless people, many of whom were veterans and children, were slashed by city officials and employees to cure the “blight” in St Petersburg, FL. The cut-up debris was dragged away to dumps. The homeless no longer had any way to protect themselves from the burning sun, biting insects, beating rain, and the wandering creatures of the night such as racoons, snakes, rats and opossums. In 2013 the same thing happened in Nashville, TN. In 2014 Pensacola, FL made it illegal for homeless people to cover themselves with blankets in public.

These homeless children and other poor children go to public schools when they can. Teachers do their best to teach them. The children, schools and teachers are declared undeserving failures.

Corporate Education Reform investors and propagandists continue the illusion. People who believe them suffer from the delusion.

Making poverty a crime is truly a crime against humanity.

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By the way, here are some “feel good” illusions many of us sincerely wish to believe.

“Hard work will make people rich and famous.” (Every migrant farm-worker picking tomatoes would be rich and famous.)
“You can be whatever you want to be.” (Could you play professional basketball?)
“Don’t associate with those who make you feel down.” (If your mom is burned in a serious auto accident, disassociate yourself from her.)
“Get a job to escape poverty.” (Tell this to Walmart employees!)
“Every child should go to college.” (No explanation necessary.)
“Every child can read.” (This is one more reason why politicians who recite this should be removed from office.)
“Laughter is the best medicine.” (Tell this to anyone with an infection.)
The list goes on.

Paul Thomas in his superb blog explains that Education as the Great Equalizer is a Deforming Myth – Not a Reality. This is needs to be read by all who realize that the illusions and delusions we are swamped with are destructive.

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Officer Friendly and public trust were the 2nd and 3rd casualties

How many millions of dollars have been wasted with Officer Friendly assuring school children that he or she was there to serve and protect?

Ferguson Police

Has Ferguson made Officer Friendly yet another extinct species?

Assault vehicles, full battle gear, and various bombs used by a suburban police department against its own citizens protesting the slaughter of an unarmed 18 year old is overkill. Officer Friendly and public trust were the second and third casualties in this carnage.

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THE COMBINE: Coming to YOUR state… or is it already there?

Who is responsible for the dismantling of public education, the closing of schools, the extremely expensive and useless high stakes tests and programs, and the dissolution of a truly competent workforce of career educators?

THE COMBINE.

Combine

John Kass, one of the Chicago Tribune’s right-wing columnists, named it that over a decade ago, and, yes, it includes Democrats, Republicans and Tea Party politicos.
“‘What do you call that Illinois political class that’s not committed to any party, they simply want to make money off the taxpayers?’ Fitzgerald said. ‘You know what to call them.’
What?

‘The Illinois Combine,’ Fitzgerald said. ‘The bipartisan Illinois political combine. And all these guys being mentioned, they’re part of it.’
Oh, yeah. The Combine.”

Harper’s Index for August 2014 states: “Portion of people living in Illinois who say they would move elsewhere if they could: 1/2″

The proportion of ex-teachers who would say this is undoubtedly much higher.

[Disclosure: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a right-wing-nut or a Tea Partier. Even though they too oppose Common Core, most do not believe in public, "Guvmint-run," schools and teacher due process - which is all tenure means for K-12 teachers in America. I refuse to be part of any group that wishes to annihilate public schools, me or my colleagues.]

“The Combine never shows Illinois taxpayers any mercy. Think of the pension bills coming our way. Dem and Republican bosses received the political benefit. They leveraged government to gorge on deals. And now we’re faced with the bill. Time and time again, the Combine slaps us in the mouth.”

Combine 2
“Under Cellini, Thompson etc., the state Republicans argued that conservatives were wacky and divisive. The Democrats rolled those public pension deals, with Republican help, and the unfunded pension liability is what, $85 billion?”
John Kass’ Facebook page.

Back in 2010 the Furthermore blog spelled it out for us all.It is not easy to grasp what the term ‘The Combine’ really entails. It is certainly not the same as one-party control of a state that tends to lead to abuse and corruption (recent examples of which are available from both the Democrats in Massachusetts and the Republicans in Alaska).
Both the Democrats and Republicans are guilty in Illinois. It is no surprise that three of our last 5 former governors were either convicted of felonies or currently are under indictment (Blago).

And, the culture of ideological and political corruption runs deep in the veins of both parties in Illinois. If the Gubernatorial and Senatorial primary races showed anything…, it was ‘Bidness as uzual’ in Illinois.”

But, is reporter John Kass “Combinized” himself? The Chicago Reader demonstrates in a compromising video the exchange of gifts between Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Kass. Reader reporter Michael Miner adds to the argument. In addition to the Illinois combine and journalists with their noses deep in the establishment butt crack, Kass likes to assail the ‘Chicago way.’ ‘Once there were old bosses. Now there are new bosses,’ Kass wrote ten months ago.”

Greedy teachers? Underfunding which really means legislative fraud and theft?

Experienced, highly qualified teachers are flowing out of our public schools. Their wages have been robbed by mandated pension and 401K payments that they are promised will not be there when they need them. Retired teachers are lied to about why the state cannot afford to continue paying what they are owed as earned compensation. Politicos are shoveling vast sums of money to multinational corporations and their billionaire investors while sucking up contributions to their re-election campaigns and Super PACs.

Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey… The list goes on and on and…

I personally prefer to call the corrupt political class DemoCRAPublicans. More refined people call that group of cronies Corporatists. But, blunt, broad-shouldered Chicago calls it THE COMBINE.

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HEADLINE: Medicare Advantage Plans Exaggerate Members’ Diseases to Make More Money

Teachers and other retired public employees, you are being defrauded of your money and earned compensation. How do Medicare Advantage Plans code for additional cash for themselves?

In addition to our government giving private Medicare Advantage Plans a better deal to allow them to make more money, the plans are openly overbilling and overcharging for services. They are gaming the system unless new governmental policy changes are implemented. This is a license to steal until legislators change the system.

What was done to the plans hoisted upon retired teachers by the Illinois overseers of their health plan coverage?

Medicare Advantage Plan Scam

Imagine having a healthcare plan shoved at you with a take-it-or-leave-it clause. You were sent the information in early to mid November, and you had to say yes-or-no by December 13. Also, even though other plans go from January to December, because of the lateness of this healthcare coverage offer, your plan would begin in February.

Most importantly, a short outline of the actual plan suddenly became available, and a fuller explanation of coverage was given a little later, but additional details were not available until well after you had agreed to it. Even then, not all details were revealed.

In addition: “Something as simple as enrolling in your favorite pharmacy’s prescription savings plan could enroll you in a Medicare Part D plan, thereby causing your TRAIL coverage to terminate.”
The Illinois Department of Central Management Services

That’s right, if you save money by using Walgreen’s or CVS’ pharmacy prescription plans, the plan cuts you out of the entire coverage and thrusts you into a different plan. Of course, you were not notified about this until after the plan was in effect.

Then, in July, you are told that the plan you agreed to is changing its Catastrophic Coverage. Try to figure out the legalese babble explaining this catastrophic-coverage-speak.

Remember that this healthcare coverage costs you lots of money taken directly from your monthly paycheck – for your premium. It also costs you an additional out-of-pocket deductible and out-of-pocket co-pays. This is not charity from the state’s taxpayers.

Who did this to retired teachers? The State of Illinois. The same legislators that were angry with retired teachers for threatening to take the state to court for passing a bill that was blatantly in violation of the protections of their pensions as spelled out in the Illinois constitution.

(The retired and active teachers did take it to court citing that many of the pension cutting legislators who voted for the bill agreed that the bill was indeed unconstitutional. Even the President of the Illinois Senate, John Cullerton, stated this during a recorded interview.)

A new federal study shows that many Medicare Advantage health plans routinely overbill the government for treating elderly patients — and have gotten away with doing it for years.”
The Center for Public integrity

“Despite its broad implications for Medicare spending, the study by HHS researchers Richard Kronick and W. Pete Welch has attracted scant notice in Washington. It was quietly posted late last month on an online research site run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, part of HHS.”
- Kaiser Health News

The increase in relative MA scores appears to largely reflect changes in diagnostic coding, not real increases in the morbidity of MA enrollees… Given the continuous relative increase in the average MA risk score, further policy changes will likely be necessary.”
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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