Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dayton To Choose Teachers over Students?

It shouldn't surprise me, however it definitely disappoints me.  It looks like the Governor will veto the tenure law if it shows up on his desk. This is the first time that I am really wishing that Emmer would have won. Typically I prefer gridlock, but sacrificing struggling Students for poor performing Teachers seems oh so wrong. G2A: Pro Cons of Tenure

Well I guess "Right to Work" is our next hope for helping get the poor Teachers out our student's classrooms.  It must be since Ed MN is already lobbying against it.  And maybe if Ed MN did not have so much money, the Gov would have chosen the poor performing Students over the poor performing Teachers.

Now why do I say that he is sacrificing the struggling Students, and not all Students?  As we have discussed many times, kids like mine have a huge support system at home that can easily make up for the occasional poor Teacher.  Unfortunately the Unlucky kids do not have that benefit. G2A Poor Kids: Stupid or Unlucky? 

MPR: Dayton and GOP square off
MinnPost: Stripped down bill
MPR: Dayton to Oppose
Ed MN Home Page
Ed MN: Dooher on RTW
Parents United

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DFL and DSA?

I frustrated another commenter on MN Publius by inferring that some of the Democratic platform seemed somewhat Socialistic to me. (not sure if I meant to or he read into it) He proceeded to explain to me that Socialists are much more extreme than anything the Democrats would consider. (see link below)

After browsing through their position papers, I am still not convinced.  I believe that just like the Republicans, the Democrats contain a wide variety of different beliefs.  I mean a vote for a DSA candidate would be as pointless as a vote for the Independent party in most cases...


Democrats: What We Stand For
Democratic Socialists of America: Where We Stand
MN Publius: Unlike After the Great Depression

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gun Control Platforms: DFL vs GOP

After J and Laurie's lively debate, I decided to find the horse's mouth and copied this text out of each party's site.  Maybe the devil is in the details since they both seem somewhat rational...  Thoughts?

Democrat 2008 Platform

We recognize that the right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation, but we know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact and enforce commonsense laws and improvements – like closing the gun show loophole, improving our background check system, and reinstating the assault weapons ban, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Acting responsibly and with respect for differing views on this issue, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.

Republican 2008 Platform
We uphold the right of individual Americans to own firearms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller affirming that right, and we assert the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. We call on the next president to appoint judges who will similarly respect the Constitution.

Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend themselves, their property, and communities. We call for education in constitutional rights in schools, and we support the option of firearms training in federal programs serving senior citizens and women. We urge immediate action to review the automatic denial of gun ownership to returning members of the Armed Forces who have suffered trauma during service to their country. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, which are transparent attempts to deprive citizens of their rights. We oppose federal licensing of law-abiding gun owners and national gun registration as violations of the Second Amendment. We recognize that gun control only affects and penalizes law-abiding citizens, and that such proposals are ineffective at reducing violent crime.

Brady Campaign
National Rifle Association

Monday, March 19, 2012

The New Deal: Why?

J and I are having a disagreement ,which is worth further discussion. Here is the gist of it:
"Pretty simple, really. You remove the government constraints-- psychological and financial-- that prevent people from succeeding in business (and getting rich). This creates more jobs at better wages (because of competition for labor), and enables those who get rich to be more charitable without grumbling. Those private charities, in turn, actually improve the lives of those they serve, making them more productive citizens and lifting (or to use Ben Franklin's word, "driving") them individually out of poverty, rather than creating a whole dependent class as welfare does and has.
This is the way the world works, and the evidence is everywhere, but the politicians enjoy solving everybody's problems with everybody else's money, so around we go.
Andrew Carnegie said that once people amass great wealth they start looking for great charities to spend the money. Bill Gates is a prime example. While his father calls for the rich to pay more taxes, son Bill puts 2/3 of his wealth into a charitable foundation free of taxes, and Warren Buffet of "Buffett Rule" fame, added half of HIS wealth to it (and took the tax deduction, you can bet)." J Ewing 
"Remember that we used to have that situation, it led to support for the New Deal. Because it apparently did not work out as well as it would in your nostalgic thoughts and beliefs.
Also, unfortunately it seems that Buffett and Gates are in the minority at this time..."  G2A 
"I don't remember "that situation" at all, and frankly don't know what you are imagining "led to support for the New Deal." The great fortunes that led to the Roaring Twenties produced endowments for many of the great philanthropic and educational institutions we still enjoy today, such as Carnegie Mellon University, and all the Carnegie libraries, and Carnegie Hall, to name just a few. The lack of a few Security trading and banking regulations caused the crash of '29, and the New Deal plus Smoot-Hawley extended that "correction" by several more years than necessary. The parallels to today's situation are a bit frightening, frankly. We would have been OUT of this Obama recession if Franklin D Obama hadn't given us the Raw Deal." J Ewing
 Now my question is what do you think frustrated the masses to the extent that they were willing to support the New Deal.  According to J's version of reality, Government was small so people should have been rich and very giving. Yet the Great Depression occurred, people were suffering and the masses voted to toss the Republican's out on their ears. Even ND went DFL...   Thoughts?

US History: 1932 Changing of the Guard
Wiki 1932 Election
1932 Results

Friday, March 16, 2012

MN Teacher Tenure Bill Update

Sometimes I wonder why I financially support Parents United?  I know their hearts are in the right place, however I think they think like Education MN too often.  Instead of like Parents who pay taxes, want better for their children and want results for their investment. (see links)
Parents United: How does a number get carved in stone
Parents United: At the Capital

Proposed Benefits of Teacher Tenure/Seniority/LIFO (G2A Tenure Benefits)

  1. Tenure may increase job security and offset lower wages, therefore encouraging more personnel to join profession.
  2. Insulates Teachers from Politics.
  3. A secure happy Teacher has a positive impact on the classroom.

Proposed Detriments of Teacher Tenure/Seniority/LIFO

  1. Teacher cost more, so fewer Teachers can be afforded for the same funds. (ie ineffective Teachers paid too much and/or still employed, costs to much to dismiss them (ie time and money), etc)
  2. Sometimes the most effective and energetic Teachers are laid off due to low Seniority.  May cause highly driven people to bypass or jump off this career path.
  3. Principals have little leverage with which to energize burnt out Teachers. (ie few carrots and no sticks)
  4. Principals have little leverage with which to ensure District's chosen curriculum and content is taught.
  5. Rewards years served and degrees, rather than effectiveness and results. 

I am still definitely for an end to LIFO, from my perspective the Proposed Benefits don't do much for the students.  Though they definitely do a lot for the Teachers.  Well hopefully in a week or so we will see what Gov Dayton has to say about it.  Any new thoughts?  Did I miss any Benefits or Detriments?

Heartlander Teacher Tenure
ABC Petersen meets with governor
MinnCan Scrap Seniority
Students First MN Education Reform
MSR Seniority in Jeopardy

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bus and Right to Work Updates

Here are some links to the latest news and letters regarding the privatization.  I still find it hard to believe that folks think that busing should be a RAS core competency.  Of course if I was a driver, I may see it their way.  Since I am not, move the money and focus into the schools where it belongs.

MN Sun: RAS votes to Privatize
MN Sun: Paquette Letter
MN Sun: Van Heel Column
MN Sun: Union Grievance
MN Sun: Valentine Letter
Star Tribune RAS to Pick Company

The Unions never cease to amaze me regarding how low they will sink to scare little old ladies...  "Oppose Right to Work" or we won't have the necessary personnel or equipment to save you when your house catches fire...  They seem to forget to mention that she may lose that house due to tax increases need to pay their higher than market wages.  And that there may be more personnel and equipment if each person was paid market wage.

Star Tribune Right to Work
Fox TC: Right to Work Critic Ads
Politics in MN: Right to Work

I was going to update regarding Teacher Tenure, however it seems somewhat stalled at the Governor's desk...

Thoughts encouraged.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thank Heavens for Doonesbury

Some days I think I need to become a Libertarian...  What are your thoughts regarding this new Conservative meddling in the personal lives of women and their Doctors?  Or Gary's portrayal  via comic.

Personally I am very thankful that I am not required to have a mandatory colonscopy before making a very important personal medical decision...  And here these are the people that say they want the government out of our personal lives.  Please link this to your Facebook if you support Gary's view.

Doonesbury 12Mar12
Doonesbury 13Mar12
CNN Opinion Doonesbury takes on Texas Abortion Law
Washington Post Doonesbury
Fox News Doonesbury
Religion Dispatches Doonesbury
EWTN News Doonesbury

G2A Abortion and Conservatives
G2A AW - Proof of Fascism?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Conditioning, Taking and Giving

If you have not heard, one of our Legislators tried to be amusing on a video post.  This normally would not be a problem, except that what she said was politically incorrect.  Now this may work well for Rush's ratings, however it does not work so well for our public officials.  You can learn more over here.  MN Publius: Mary Franson and Food Stamps

I would appreciate your thoughts regarding the video, and I would like your thoughts regarding this discussion below that James and I were having.  I think it is interesting on many different levels.
"Though she did compare behavior conditioning methods, I did not sense she thought of the actual people as "animals". In fact she then went on to start discussing how to help some people. (ie not animals) It was in bad taste though." G2A

"Well the fact still is her district has some of the lowest unemployment rates in the state and yet her district also has some of the highest food stamp use in the state. Hm..what's the only conclusion there.  Ah yes..that people in her district are busting their asses working.....and not getting paid enough."  James

"What would you do about that? Should we pay fast food workers more? Therefore raising everyone's food price... Or should they get more education and get better paying jobs?" G2A

"If they have such piss poor paying jobs, G2A, how do you propose they increase their education? Oh there's not an easy answer to the situation. But I do know that Mrs. Franson should have the brains and the morality enough to not blatantly insult the people that need help.  But really..if a company can afford to pay its ceo several million dollars then it can afford to pay its workers more. Maybe we should stop giving all the wealth to the 1%?" James

"Correction: you don't to stop giving the wealth to the top 1%. Your answer is to take more wealth from the top 1% and then somehow redistribute it via some socialistic method... " G2A

How does providing free food impact people, their beliefs, their behaviors, their motivation, their self esteem, etc?  How does forcefully taking the money to pay for this impact people, their beliefs, their behaviors, their motivation, their self esteem, etc?  How long should society provide that free food?  What should we do after that period of time?  Other thoughts?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Value of a Human Life?

Back when we were discussing Tort reform, I promised Jake that I would post on the value of a human life.  His belief seemed to be that it should be based on the highest paid CEO "value" or "income", which made no sense to me.

So what do you think?  Should the life of a starving baby in Somali be worth the same as that of a huge wealth creator and philanthropist like Bill Gates?  Should the life of an 80 yr old Alzheimer patient be worth the same as a vibrant 10 yr old?  What factors seem important to you?  In the jury box or in the hospital, how or who should decide this?  Since resources are scarce and we all pay for these decisions, it seems important that good decisions are being made.  Now what is good?

I'll be adding more to this post as time allows, however I wanted to get you thinking about it...

Wiki Value of Life
G2A American Healthcare
Behans Economic Value
1st Quote Calculator

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Feed My Starving Children ROCKS !!!

I have had a link to the Feeding My Starving Children site for years, since I occasionally donated to them and the other members of my family had had a great time packaging food there at times.  Well last night I got to actually experience it first hand and thought it was an incredible experience.  Of course, I was dissecting their methods, meaning, technique, efficiencies, ergonomics, etc in my normal analytical way. (I am such a loser...)

The opportunity arose because my church volunteered and was approved as a MobilePack site. (MP Events List)  Therefore it worked out as a convenient way for us to volunteer as a family. That was the most fascinating thing about it, the dozens and dozens of kids actually LOVED doing it.  Therefore they learned that volunteering is important, that it can be fun and that it can be immensely fulfilling to their soul.

As for my duties, I was the guy that scooped the bulk materials into the table sized containers.  So this morning I have found many muscles that I apparently don't use during my normal exercise routine of holding down a chair...

So make some time right now and sign up for a session your community, it will do wonders for others, yourself and your family!!!   Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Benefits of MN Teacher Tenure?

In G2A MN Teacher Tenure Going, Going, ??? I asked a very important question and have received no attempts to answer it.  So I'll try again at the post level and see if I have any better luck.

How does does Teacher tenure benefit the ~5,300,000 citizens of Minnesota?  And in particular how does Teacher tenure help our children to succeed academically and otherwise?

I see how it increases costs, limits number of Teachers we can afford and protects questionable performers. (ie costs)  However I need help with the benefit side of the analysis.  Thoughts?

Parents United: Tenure Update

Monday, March 5, 2012

RAS Bus Breaking News

Here is breaking news, direct from our excellent roving reporter.  Mr Speed Gibson.

It's official. Board voted 5-2 to outsource. Bassett, Walsh voted no.
 Speed Gibson Live Blogging

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Global Climate Change - Cause?

Let it not be said that I don't listen to the readers.  However I do like to keep topics separated in the name of not watering down a particular topic.  So I have moved the Climate change comments over here.  Let er rip...

By the way, this all happened when Clayton said...
"I know your type. How about climate change. Even though climate is not your field I bet you have decided human induced climate change is fantasy. Why not go after the scientists for that."
And of course my answer is that I think we have in the past...
G2A EPA Moratorium and Ads 
G2A Could I be Mistaken
G2A Correlation vs Causation

Friday, March 2, 2012

MN Teacher Tenure Going, Going, ???

Of course you know that I am a big supporter of getting rid of Teacher tenure.  So I am ecstatic that this bill has been passed and is heading for the Governor.  Now we will have to see what he does with it.

And yes I am very aware that there are some bad bosses / Principals out there that may use this to reduce their expenses. (ie fire the expensive Teachers)  However, the Union loving folks have to remember that this is how it is in the real world.  That is why people over 40 yrs old have the right to sue employers for wrongful termination and age discrimination.  This option does a pretty good job of keeping employers honest.

The reality is that it usually takes intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to get the most out of even the best employees.  And this usually involves carrots and potential sticks.  Without the option of dismissal, I am not sure how a Principal could ever provide enough pressure to entice a burned out Teacher back to giving 100%. And don't the students and tax payers deserve 100%.

Enter "Teacher" into the search space off to the right if you want to see dozens of postings where we have discussed evaluation methods, compensation and many other related topics.  Thoughts?

MNPublius Why Talking about Laying Off Teachers?
KARE11 Teacher Tenure Debate
FOX News: MN Senate passes Bill
Forest Lake: Teacher Effectiveness
Ed MN: Dooher criticizes Senate
MPR MN Teachers weigh in
Pioneer Post: Dayton hints at Veto