Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Parenting Adult Children

I read this the other day and it got me thinking. 
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. "
I now have an "almost adult" child (just turned 20), and here are some random questions:
  • What should a parent expect in the way of "Obey and Honor"? 
  • Is a family like the military where adult children should snap to attention and salute?
  • Or does this quote only apply to minor children?
  • Should they follow every order, even when they disagree or it compromises their happiness, spousal relationship, relationship with their children, etc?
  • What does "not provoke your children to anger" mean?  What if they are putting themselves in danger?
  • Is following orders the same as treating with honor?  Or can they be different?
  • Where does just loving, supporting and accepting your adult children as they are fit into this?
  • Has this changed over time?
Thankfully, so far my children are great and we have few significant differences of opinion.  However I am sure there will be times when we strongly disagree over something "important". So I am curious how you all interpret and handle this difficult balancing act with your adult children or your parents.  Thoughts?
Food for Thought
Pictures for Fun

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Religious Freedom Law

One of our favorite topics is back in the news.  The gay and lesbian behaving folks are concerned that some religious behaving folks will not accept them as they are, or be willing to serve them.  CNN What You Need to KnowAbout It

The LGBT and ACLU view is that any Law that ensures Religious folks can practice and live by their Beliefs is wrong.  Of course I find this humorous and ironic... (ie let me live my life, while I force you to change your life...)


Friday, March 27, 2015

What is FAIR Tax, Credit, Welfare Policy

Well I posed a question both on G2A and MinnPost and received no answers from the Liberal commenters.  Though I created the new more complicated #3 based on Jerry's response, and moved the old #3 to #4.
  1. Fair would be if we took the total cost of government, divided it by the number of adult able bodied citizens. And each adult then paid their fair share of the bill. (ie Dues concept)
  2. Fair would be if total cost of government was divided by the total income of every adult able bodied citizen. And each citizen paid their fair share of the bill. (ie Percent of Winnings to the House Concept)
  3. Fair would be if total cost of government was divided by the total income - some base living cost (~$25,000?) of every adult able bodied citizen. And each citizen paid their fair share of the bill for every $ they make above the base living. (ie Percent of Winnings above Base Cost to the House Concept)
  4. Fair would be if taxes and credits/programs were set to reduce the net income and wealth gap between the adult able bodied citizens. This means high income and wealthy people pay significantly higher rates than other citizens in attempt to attain a fair society.(ie Equalization concept)
And where does this point fit into FAIR?
"You inferred that people earning minimum wage were not paying income taxes. I corrected the statement. You then changed the claim to "they get more back than they pay in." They are still paying in." Jonathan

"I am not sure having monies withheld is the same as paying taxes.

If people have $1,000 withheld and and get a $5,000 refund back in child, work and/or learning tax credits at time of filing their taxes. I would say that they paid no income taxes.

It is an interesting concept, though somewhat pointless. The reality is that these low income folks are likely getting more back from the progressive taxes than they paid in "sales" and other regressive taxes. And if you throw in cash subsidies like welfare, housing assistance, etc, many of them are making money via government policy.

Yet this silly tax incidence study avoids addressing this reality." G2A
We know the MN Tax Incidence Study ignores the fact that the bottom 20% of citizens get far more cash back in credits, medicaid, welfare, housing assistance, heating assistance, etc than they pay in to the government. Yet the Study propogates the myth that these groups are "over taxed".


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wealth, Saving, Taxation and Fairness

There are a lot of interesting comments at  MP: MN's Tax System Fairer
and interesting facts at Tax Foundation: Comments on Who Pays

This is interesting , apparently some of the shrinkage is because people are now deemed wealthy.
CNN Middle Class is Getting Smaller

How can we get get kid's to take action on this good advice.
CNN 4 Ways to get Millenials to Save

It is pretty well aligned with a comment I left on that MP link.
"I am pretty much a couch potato investor. When I was in my 20's I kept my old truck and my wife's old citation and bought a 1200 sq ft (total) house. This allowed me to fully fund my 401K so that I could maximize the company's match. Which I invested in the the most aggressive diverse growth mutual fund. Now 25 years later that is a substantial nest egg.

This wasn't complicated, it just meant being disciplined enough to "live below my means", save, invest, stay the course through market crashes, etc. I realize this is hard for many people, however the idea that I owe more taxes because I did scrimp, save, invest, etc does seem silly to me.

That is unless one wants to encourage people to spend and live in debt..." G2A

Sunday, March 22, 2015

MN Education Updates

Jerry made this most interesting comment.  "Again, you seem determined to reward bad choices, and then punish the kids for the bad choices their parents made, while letting the schools completely off the hook."  And I had to laugh at what the MinnPost folks would think about my supposed desire to let Unions, Teachers, Administrators, Politicians, etc off the hook. (MP Test Anxiety)  (MP Other ED Proposals)

On the upside, it seems that MN citizens are rational.   Star Tribune: Minnesotans Favor Performance Over Seniority  Hopefully those Union bought politicians will see it in their hearts to put the needs of students before those of children.

Parents United Omnibus Bills
MPR Education Big Winner in Dayton's Proposal
MPR House Passes ED Bill
MP Bill regarding Teacher prep

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Responsible Parenting and Number of Kids

 In G2A Performance Factors we never did really talk about the topic, however it did take an interesting twist. Jerry explained that "Poor folks don't have the means for home or online schooling, to move elsewhere, nor to pay for private/parochial schools. They may not even have money to pay for transportation for alternate enrollment or non-public charters." I find this interesting because of the causality / correlation , why are poor people poor concepts, and since Jerry is usually a big fan of accepting personal responsibility. (ie ProLife)

So here are my thoughts / questions in no particular order:
  • Unlucky kids have negligent, irresponsible or unqualified Parents, this results in the child not receiving good parental support, guidance, discipline and/or advocacy.
  • Doesn't having more kids than you can afford to raise on your own income automatically  qualify one as an negligent, irresponsible and/or unqualified.
  • Doesn't having one or more unplanned pregnancy(ies) and keeping the baby(ies) while you are young, unmarried and/or immature automatically  qualify one as an negligent, irresponsible and/or unqualified. (see Atlantic link)
  • TP says "most women who receive welfare from the state have a similar number of children as those who don’t".  Of course they think that is okay.  Personally I think that is terribly troubling for the children of the welfare recipients.
  • My wife and I thought about having a 4th and decided for many practical reasons that 3 was what we could effectively handle.  And that is with 2 highly engaged and relatively capable Parents sharing responsibilities.
  • So Jerry seems to say that the poor should get special dispensation from the Public School system because of their economic state, even though the school system works pretty well for people with responsible Parents who are in a long term stable relationship. Be it marriage or life partners.
  • Thoughts?
Atlantic Luxury of Waiting
Freakonomics: Kids - Normal or Inferior Goods?
Think Progress: Welfare Caps
HP Poor People Do Not Deserve Children

"It's harder to plan when you're poor. People without college degrees tend to be poorer, and poverty has been shown to tax the brain’s capacity for rational decision-making.

To a wealthy person, of course it doesn’t make sense for a high-school dropout to have a kid by herself. But as Maria Konnikova wrote in the New York Times this weekend, poverty actually robs you twice: First by making resources scarce, and second by making it harder for the poor to plan long-term. “The demands of the moment override the demands of the future, making that future harder to reach,” she writes." Atlantic

"Reminder: When you get rich you buy more of a “normal good,” and less of an “inferior good.” And yes, the language of economics can be a bit cold." Freak

In a related paper, Alice Schoonbroodt and Michele Tertilt say that, “There is overwhelming empirical evidence that fertility is negatively related to income in most countries at most times.” They are right. Whether you cut the data across countries, through time, or across people at a point in time, the same fact arises: The richer you get, the fewer kids you have. Yep, kids aren’t normal." Freak

"The caller said, "People who are poor do not deserve to have children. I've seen these people with 1,2, 5 children. If you can't afford to feed them, don't have them."It's easy to dismiss this as the ravings of a lunatic but the truth is that this mentality is all too pervasive, even though it is repulsive both as a matter of public policy and as a moral value." HP

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Teachers Do Not Want to be Graded

Laurie's links were very interesting, especially the first one...  You know how I love the "testing" discussions.  See the comments there for my thoughts.

MinnPost Test anxiety: Is it the kids or the teachers who are driving opt-outs?
Star Tribune Thousands of Mpls Kids Leaving

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Productivity / Performance Factors

Here is an interesting exchange from this post.  MinnPost LM was Right  RB raised the question of "Effectiveness Factors", which is an interesting concept to me.  Thoughts?
"Do you have any "good and reasonable" proposals?

Or do you support Paul's proposal that we just tax and spend more, and not work to optimize the current system for the good of the students and tax payers?

Do you truly believe that only years / degrees should be used to determine who is paid the most and kept in our children's classrooms?

And if you truly believe that years / degrees determine the best Teachers... Then what is your rationale for allowing them to opt out of the schools that teach the unlucky students who need the best Teachers?" G2A
"Are you saying that there is no correlation between years of experience teaching and the teacher's effectiveness, or is that just a smokescreen?" RB Holbrook 
"There likely is correlation between education, experience and performance. However I certainly don't see it being what one should exclusively base compensation and retention on. Based on your logic, anyone who practices a lot, hires coaches and tries long enough should be able to play professional sports and get payed the highest salary with no chance of getting fired no matter how they change or how much effort they show.

The reality is that excellent perfomance has many factors. Natural ability, education, experience, ability to change and effectively implement what is learned in classes or by experience, effort, beliefs, personality, work ethic, organization skills, classes management skill, etc. Yet people like yourself seem to think there are only 2 factors to be evaluated. (ie years and degrees)

By the way, you evaded answering the questions I posed. If you want to double down on years + degrees = performance, then how are we not ensuring that the older high dollar Teachers are not working with the children who most need them?" G2A

"I have never said that education and experience are the only bases for compensation and retention. However, I feel that making the elimination of tenure as a significant factor in teacher retention is, at best, taking the easy way out.

Let's use your example of someone who "practices a lot, hires coaches and tries long enough" to play professional sports. Yes, the idea that such a person is entitled to play is absurd. Do they get a tryout? If they do, there is no guarantee that they will be the better performer, but, if I had to bet, I would bet on that person over someone who has never given any thought to playing professionally but who is placed on the team because we need a "new approach." I would also bet against a more experienced player over a rookie (up to a point. If Pete Rose does get reinstated . . .).

My bet is that most of the people who are ill-suited for teaching leave the profession in relatively short order. That is not a guarantee, but I would suspect that there is more correlation between experience and performance than the simple-solutions crowd would like to admit.

Why are we not ensuring that the older high dollar Teachers are not working with the children who most need them? Good question. Perhaps the incentives are not high enough." RB Holbrook
"They are already making almost twice what a 3 year Teacher is making. How much more incentive do you want to give them for Teaching where their experience is most needed? I will need to try that at work sometime.

"Boss, Even though I am one of the higher paid Project Managers with ~25 years of experience and 3 degrees. I demand that I am only given the simplest lowest stress projects."

The Public School world is almost like an alternate universe..." G2A

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lynell Mickelson Was Right

Now here is a posting that I can totally agree with !!!
MinnPost: Lynell was Right

And now if a Black Male Conservative and a White Female Liberal can understand this very logical discussion.  Why do other Liberals keep insisting that the achievement gap is about racism?  And that to fix it, we need to double down on the Union led system that has enabled it?

Hilary's Two Device Excuse

Since I have not asked yet, what do you think of Clinton's excuse for not using the Government email system?
Washington Wire Phone Policy Change
WP Two Device Excuse

And the fact that Clinton did not volunteer/disclose the emails back in 2013 when the investigations were occurring?
Wiki Benghazi Investigation Timeline

Personally I think she seems to be coming off as a deeply devious manipulative person of low character who sees herself as above the law.  I am very curious if Liberals still see her as a great Presidential candidate?  Are they able to rationalize away the fact that she didn't just access her email like we do, but she set up and used a private server which allowed her absolute control over what was released and when.  And then she held back the relevant emails during official investigations.

I am pretty sure a company who hid emails during an investigation would be in deep "doo doo".  Thoughts? 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How to be Globally Competitive?

This one deserves it's own post.  By the way, this is post #1000!!!!  Thank you for your participation in this experiment of mine !!!

John's comment
The key concepts of being efficient, effective and competitive in a global market are:
  • All capable citizens are actively learning, working, adding value, etc. Free Loaders on the system raise the cost of doing business in that country.
  • The society's "overhead" is optimized. (ie cost vs benefits of government, other society costs) Excessive "overhead" raises the cost of doing business in that country. 
  • The people are paid what the market values their services at. "Over Compensated" workers raise the cost of doing business in that country.
Same argument I have against minimum wages, government is arbitrarily raising the costs/burden for every citizen and business in America. Either directly or indirectly. This then makes American products and services too expensive for many foreign markets.
As Conservatives would say... Let's raise the minimum wage or union wage to $100/hr. Then let's see what we can export and how many jobs we have left.
Hiram's Comment
Isn't this an argument against any pay raise or price increase? Wouldn't business work a lot more optimally if employees would agree to work for free?
Sean's Comment
Does it? To go back to your favorite example, let's look at the American car industry. When they began bleeding market share, they lost it -- first -- to companies in Japan and Germany (and Western Europe).

Those are countries with universal health care, stronger labor protections, higher tax rates, and more wealth transfer.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Performance Reviews and Collaboration

A few updates from from the peanut gallery.

Parents United Leg Update
Ed MN Legislative Update
Ed MN "Attacks" on Due Process

I thought this quote from the Ed MN "Attacks" opinion piece was interesting.
"The bills also use a performance ranking system. American corporations like Cargill and Medtronic are abandoning ranking systems because they demoralize managers and workers, discourage innovation, and actively encourage colleagues to work against each other. There is also evidence that ranking systems can discourage participation in mentorship programs. These programs are one of the things new educators value most, and give them an opportunity to learn from their more-experienced colleagues."

For about 25 years I have worked in companies that use these "evil" performance ranking systems.  I have had boss or two who did a good job with performance and training plans, coaching/support and perfomance ratings, more bosses that were "so so", and I have had one incompetent and self absorbed boss who used the process to ingratiate her to her boss.  Hoewever, never have I ever felt that peers were unwilling to collaborate, share, mentor, etc bacause at some time in the unknown future they may be judged inferior as compared to their peers.

In fact since team work, collaboration, communication, continuous improvement, mentoring, etc are all aspects of being a high performing employee, the EdMN comments are silly.

Strategy and Business
It seems to me that "abandoning" may be a big stretch.
"An increasing number of organizations have been listening to their employees’ complaints and taking a more sophisticated approach to performance management. They are replacing year-end appraisals and ratings with in-depth conversations, often drawing on the myriad data points now available about employee and company performance, such as sales information, organizational climate survey results, and employee engagement data. A few firms have begun to experimentally shift away from the conventional PM approach. The companies that have joined this trend, either in pilots or full rollout, include Adobe, Cargill, ConAgra, Gap, Intel, Juniper Networks, Medtronic, and Sears."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Wisconsin Right To Work Bill

Now what self respecting American can be against a bill like this that affirms the freedom of American individuals to spend their personal money where they want to?  Wisconsin RTW Bill

Liberals are always concerned about making sure that every one can vote at least once. (if not more)  Yet they insist that to get a job, people be forced to pay up to 85% of Union dues even if they do not belong to the union.  What is their rationale for supporting this extortion?

CS Monitor Wisc RTW

Especially in the Public Sector where more work rules/restrictions, higher than market employment compensation, staffing constraints and the Union costs require taxes to be raised on all American citizens.  Also the tendency of Unions to protect and over pay senior workers tends to ensure that the perfomance / cost balance is not optimized. (ie higher than necessary cost / lower than the possible quality)


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

MN Teacher Improvement Bill

This is a very interesting topic and the Star Tribune's analysis is pretty fascinating.

CBS MN Taking Aim at Teacher Seniority
Star Tribune Cost of Evaluation

Especially this quote.
"Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday that about a third of the state’s school districts have negotiated contracts that allow them to use teacher evaluations and student performance in layoff decisions. “I think we should look at the example that a third of the school districts ... have negotiated, seniority remains part of the consideration, but it’s not the only consideration,” the DFL governor said.

A recent Star Tribune analysis of locally negotiated contracts showed that while those districts include other factors, all of them use seniority as the primary consideration in determining layoffs. If two teachers have equal seniority, those districts will use other factors ranging from extracurricular experience to college grade-point averages to Social Security numbers or even a coin flip to break a tie.

Asked for the source of the governor’s information, Dayton spokesman Matt Swenson said in an e-mail that Education Minnesota kept track of union contracts because it negotiated them. Swenson later added that he had checked with Dayton and that the governor had gotten his information from Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

Charlene Briner, chief of staff at the Minnesota Department of Education, said the department does not retain or analyze locally negotiated contracts because it is not a party to them. She said the department has cited an analysis of local plans by Education Minnesota that said 40 percent of districts include factors other than seniority."
What will it take to get Dayton to put the good of the unlucky students before the wants of his friends at Ed MN?