Sunday, May 31, 2015

Employment Fairness

 Matt posed a question worth discussing.
"$400,000,000 in extra spending... I think society is giving plenty.

Now let's see Ed MN match this generosity. No more tenure, steps, lanes, work rules, etc. Let's pay the highest wages for the most challenging positions. Let's have the most talented Teachers apply for those positions. Let's put the kids first, not the adult employees.

If they want to be treated like professionals (ie lawyers, engineers, accountants, etc) let's get rid of all these hourly employee distractions, contracts, etc Let's have the most gifted and most challenged receive the biggest rewards just like normal professionals do." G2A

The bigger question. "Is why the "professionals" you cite as being so superior to hourly employees are content with being treated as they are instead of demanding similar benefits to the "evil" teachers union. While its true that "misery loves company" I do find the masochism of so many in the "professional" set puzzling." Matt 
"I guess if I owned a business or hired someone, it would make sense to me to:
- pay them for the value they add, not their years or degrees.
- demote or terminate employees who choose to no longer add as much value. (it is not bad, they may just have a change in priorities as they got older)
- demote or terminate employees who are not aligned with the goals and vision of the organization.
- promote and reward the people who take on tough jobs, are passionate about the orgs goals and are very effective.

Would you do differently? If so, what?

Please remember that the above works both ways. People who are effective, aligned with the organization, work hard and continuously improve can be paid what they are worth very quickly. Also, they can change jobs to find a good fit for themselves without losing any income, and likely gaining." G2A

Saturday, May 30, 2015

MN Fixing the Gap

I asked the following over here.  MinnPost End of Gap  At least RB bit, the Conservatives are silent as usual.  Thoughts?
I will pose my usual thoughts when you start criticizing early ed.

Let's assume most children are roughly the same at birth, and that their environment from ages 0 to 5 determines if they will be kindergarten ready.

How would you help them be kindergarten ready if their parents are unwilling or incapable of helping them develop correctly?

Please remember that breaking bad habits, behaviors and beliefs is very difficult once they are well entrenched. Reading "Whatever It Takes" regarding the HCZ's experiences would help you understand.

Food for Thought

For the Liberal commenters. How do we reduce the number of children born to those who can not afford them? Or are not mature enough to raise them well?

"In a state in which 42 percent of births in 2013 were to mothers on Medicaid — a share that has been steadily climbing — a lot is riding on low-income children having a chance to catch up and keep up academically with the rest of the class."
"Since the poor are going to insist on reproducing, the many burdens on low-income parents need to be raised. Better access to child care would be a start, along with an increased minimum wage and better job conditions for low-income workers.

It's really comes down to realizing that the looter class is composed of fellow human beings who deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness, just as if they were job creators. And, no, treating them with dignity does not mean shrugging off their lives and aspirations with a patronizing "it was their choice to be poor!"" RB

"As for dignity and fairness, it sounds like you believe that tax payers / society should pay to care for immature single moms and the children they choose to have. This does not sound very fair or logical.

See page 2 and 6 of this document.

Are you really saying that single parent households are something that society should fund and encourage? I have some low income dual parent friends with 2 kids. Life is challenging but everyone is fine. Single parents with one or multiple kids don't seem to work so well." G2A

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Vetoed MN Education Bill

 MinnPost What Else is in the Bill

Hi Laurie,  RB has some fighting words for you...
"Gee, too bad about the setbacks for high-performing charter schools! It's so unfair that the charters that are no better than the public schools they would supplant (i.e. most of them) are able to color policy making decisions in that way.

Won't someone think of the shareholders; by which I mean, the children?" RB
Does your school have shareholders who are making a huge profit from that excessive Charter School funding?

I left a comment calling for equal funding...  And some clarification regarding who is making all that money...  Maybe I should start a charter school. (not)

MN Cities vs Rural

Here we go again... Somehow this post side tracked into the old rural vs urban tax and spend discussion.  G2A Policy vs Money  Personally I think things are pretty equitable, however others insist that the metro folk are subsidizing the rural folk.  Thoughts welcome.

Star Tribune Urban Rural Split
Hometown More Than Dollars
Left MN Dear Rural Friends
MinnPost Metro vs Rural
Map of the Day
MinnPost What Rural MN Got

I wonder what the metro folk would do on weekends if the rural areas closed up shop.  Since I am a Plymouth resident who spends a lot of time in rural MN, I am happy they are still open for business and that those state highways are in great shape...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Policy vs Money

MinnPost Veto  Not sure what this meant, does anyone here understand?  Since it seemed to have something to do with different perspectives, I thought I would shine some light on it.
"I was at a meeting the other day about school issues. No bagels were provided so it was a particularly difficult session for me, and I attended under protest. Anyway, a friend of mine at at the meeting talked about a conversation he had with a school type who was asking for some tech thing, iPads maybe for his school. My friend said, you aren't asking for iPads, you are asking for money. The school guy said no, I'm not asking for money, I am asking for iPads. From a third party perspective, I propose the question, "In terms of policy, what was being asked for here? Ipads, or the cash to pay for them?" I submit that there is no clear cut, definitive answer to this question. Rather how the question is answered goes a long way toward telling whether the person answering the question is a Democrat or a Republican.

Republicans, their rhetoric tells us, believe policy should be driven by revenue considerations. In the Republican mind the two are inseparably linked. The result is the kind of thinking that emerges from Republican legislators and press releases. We have in Minnesota a two billion dollar surplus. For the GOP that means that we can buy two billion dollars worth of policy. Revenue, for them, determines and limits policy. Democrats, on the other hand, and without the same degree of consistency or clarity, believe policy should drive our revenue choices. That means if you decide you must have things like roads and schools, that decision includes within it, the decision to tax to pay for them. A lot of what plays out at the legislature and in our politics generally reflects these divergent world views. One funny thing about that is that these different view are so deeply engrained that those holding them have difficulty perceiving the alternate view. The friend who told me that the ipads were an issue of money, couldn't grasp that the folks he talked to saw money as an issue of ipads. My guess is that the other folks, wherever they were couldn't grasp the opposite view." Hiram

Potential Roadmap Out of Early Ed Impasse

Beth raised some good points and the comment disagreements rage...  Thoughts?

MinnPost Roadmap out of the early-ed impasse

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Well Dayton is Going To Do It

MinnPost In Veto Message
Dayton's Veto Message
“Throughout this session, I have heard passionate rhetoric from your members about the urgent need to close the achievement gap. This bill belies that rhetoric, and instead chooses to shortchange our youngest students for future tax cuts" Dayton
This from the guy who:
  • Refuses any changes that would help to hold the Public School System, it's management and it's personnel accountable for being effective and efficient !!!
  • Wants to close a gap by sending all 4 year olds to pre-school.  Here is some simple logic: one closes a gap by focusing intensely on the children with the low performance.  Focusing on everyone just increases the gap because the well supported kids make better use of the extra time. 
And his belief that we have extra money, so we should take on a large additional long term responsibility and cost.
"the $400 million wasn't enough given the state's nearly $2 billion surplus."
 When the next recession occurs, will he be saying that we should cut Universal Pre-K because we don't have the revenues?  I don't think so...

By the way, I also think the GOP politicians are idiots for pursuing long term tax cuts because we have a short term windfall.  How about short term tax relief, pay down bonds or spend it on our infrastructure.


The Challenges of Moderating

Thought you may find this interesting.  Have I thanked you lately for being the most polite and professional commenters ever !!!  G2A has received well over 13,000 comments and I have only had to delete ~2, and they were from spammers.  Keep up the great comments !!!

MinnPost Comment Policy Change

Monday, May 18, 2015

Methods: Carlson vs Dayton

 I think I found another group beyond Ed MN that supports free pre-school.  MinnPost Methods
"A simple honest question: We all want the "at risk" kids to succeed. The affluent kids are for the most part already in these programs. There's a large gulf between "at risk" and affluent, populated by lots of kids whose parents are making very large sacrifices to ensure their kids get access to these sorts of programs. They aren't being subsidized to offset the cost and they don't have the bankroll to pay it without a thought like some.
Why don't these families matter?  
Why should the tax savings come at their expense?  
Why shouldn't the schools be expected to educate their children?  
I could care less about what demographic is needed for political support or how big change is scary. These, my own included, are people's lives and children's futures. Somebody please explain to me, we advocate these programs because they are so beneficial for those that attend, either through stating the need for scholarships on the poor end, or by enrollment of kids on the rich end (a simple drive down a suburban road will show the obvious demand among the affluent), but yet for everyone in between we say, oh well, it's nice if you can do it, but we're really not interested in providing a reasonable way for you to afford it. It's utterly mind boggling. Why? Why don't my kids matter?" Matt

"Our local in school pre-K program is called Creative Play, and it does have a sliding fee scale. And regarding your comments at this other MinnPost article.

What are your thoughts here? How much exactly should society pay for the child (ren) you chose to have? I assume you get the $1,000 / child tax credit that phases out for people who make more. I assume you get the $5,000 dependent care tax deduction. (ie Flexible Spending Account) For many people, society pays to feed and provide healthcare for their children in part or in whole.

I have a child in college, now that is really expensive. Should I be asking for someone else to pay for her education costs? I don't think so, therefore I am still driving my 14 year old vehicle and painting my house myself. I chose to have 3 kids and they are my responsibility, not society's." G2A

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dayton Stands Up For Education Minnesota

Laurie,  You were wondering where the funding for your Charter school was being siphoned off to...

MinnPost Dayton Threatens Veto
"Definitely a power grab by Dayton for the Ed MN folks, he apparently wants to double down on their questionable K-12 results. He and the DFL choose to avoid laws to hold them accountable for being effective, and now he wants to give them more money and responsibility. I will never understand." G2A

So you are saying that ALL families in MN NEED Free pre-school?

What is your rationale for not focusing those funds on closing the gap?

As far as I can see Dayton, is "standing up for all kids"... I may not be rich, but I sure had no problem affording 2 years of pre-school for my daughters. Yet Dayton is demanding that tax dollars be paid to the high cost school systems instead of me choosing and paying for a pre-school.

Please remember that you are never going to close the achievement gap by not prioritizing. Children like mine who are 1 or 2 grades ahead in reading, writing and math do not need more school. The kids who are 1, 2 or 3 grades behind do.

Here is an ironic situation. My girls who are AP students are given Summer homework for the next years classes. The kids in standard classes are not... Now isn't that silly." G2A

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Domestic Terrorism: What to Do?

And how much was spent on the trial and sentencing of the Boston bomber?  What do you think of the sentence?

Finally, what stupid domestic terrorists attack a red neck event in Texas. 95% of the participants likely were carrying their own guns.  Maybe we should host more these stupid events to serve as terrorist "mouse traps"...  Thoughts?

I am puzzled at why we are spending money to arrest / incarcerate people who want to travel to Syria and join ISIS?  Personally I think we should charter some planes and help them get there. No due process required in the war zone...

Bomber Sentenced to Die
ISIS and the Texas Shooting
Arrest of those trying to Join ISIS

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Social Security: It is even worse than you think

Here is an uplifting article...  Not...

Social Security: It is even worse than you think

Rich and Powerful Get Their Way

It is a nice day and I have to start painting my house, so I am going to be a lazy blogger.  Eric is looking for a conspiracy, and I am sure it will yield some interesting discussions.  Here was my first thought.
"The typical citizen has the benefit of being relatively uninformed and does not need to face the tradeoff details, so of course they want things that they think will benefit / protect themselves without knowing the broader implications or how it will cost them. Whereas the politicians are forced to understand that no policy is free and/or "negative consequence free".

I used to facilitate customer focus groups once in awhile to try and understand which vehicle features /performance were valued by the customers. The biggest challenge was helping the customer to understand that nothing was free. Without trade offs, costs, etc... They wanted everything.

I think the typical citizen is happily ignorant, where as the politicians need to face a complicated reality of facts and likely consequences." G2A 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Supplemental Poverty Measure

Laurie wrote: Maybe anti-poverty programs work better than you think.

Paul Ryan loves talking about poverty, but he keeps getting the basic facts wrong

My thought: The green line is the actual poverty rate, otherwise we could eliminate poverty and the causes of it by simply forcefully taking more money from the successful people and giving it to the unsuccessful folks. Which of course is like taking morphine to hide the symptoms of a severe illness.  It masks the chronic disease while doing nothing to cure it.

I understand that Liberals like to hide the pain by taking more money from the successful people and giving it to the unsuccessful folks, unfortunately this does nothing to prevent the pain from getting worse as the disease progresses.  All it leads to is needing more morphine.

The big question is how do we encourage poor people to strive to be academically successful, make good life choices, marry before having children (and stay married), etc?

Giving them more money when the they make poor choices can not be the answer, since it encourages more poor choices.

G2A Poor Kids: Stupid or Unlucky
G2A Why are Poor People Poor?
G2A Correlation and Causation
G2A Blame vs Contributions

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

MN Universal Pre K Reservations

I love Beth's articles.  MinnPost Universal PreK Reservations
"In the name being unbiased and sensitive, the politicians usually attack problems with a broad useless brush. I was once talking with District Administrator who wished they had more funding so that they could have longer school years. At which point, being me, I explained that my at or above grade level daughters did not need a longer school year. And that they really need to get the failing kids in school more.

My point is that a huge effort has to be under taken to help the unlucky kids who have parents who are unable or unwilling to get their kids ready for kindergarten. And in some of those households, it would be best to get those kids in a public setting as early and as much as possible.

Between neural path way development, habits / beliefs being set, behaviors / communication methods being ingrained, etc. The sooner you get them in a normal setting the less re-programming will need to be done. And you know how hard it is to break ingrained bad habits...

For a good model, see this link.

So... Drop the Universal Pre-K and focus the money on the kids who need the help." G2A

Supporting vs Becoming Co-Dependent

From Minnpost: It's expensive to be poor in the Twin Cities
"Yes it is expensive to live in MN. But this is true for the poor, the middle class and the rich. We have high heating costs, we have winter clothes, we have high income taxes (third highest in the U.S.), we have high energy costs with the 25% mandate for higher cost alternative energy, etc.

We live here for clean air, clean water, good education systems, low crime rate, good companies and good jobs.

Many of the poor have rejected free education and rejected being life-long learners. They traded good MN education for being slaves to government dependency." Mike

"This should have Christians up in arms. You can't read far into the Old Testament without hearing a prophet railing against the injustices committed by the powerful against the weak and lowly of society. It's a frequent theme, and is discussed far more than the right and wrong way to conduct religious ceremonies.

Were guys like Isaiah and Amos walking the streets today, they'd be up in arms over the denial of reasonably priced financial services for the poor." Frank
 "Then again many of them haven't. But I'm sure your caricature of the poor helps justify the lack empathy you have for people you don't know.
Please continue...I want to hear more of your struggle to buy a warm coat and heat your home under the crushing tyranny of a 25% energy mandate." Jason

"I have a great deal of empathy for the folks who were unlucky at birth and did not choose to improve their circumstances with our free education system. And those who are addicted to something that keeps them poor. That does not mean that I want to enter into a co-dependent relationship with them.

Wiki Codependency

I agree we should help these folks, however how do we do this without enabling them?" G2A
Thoughts?  As stated in another post, apparently we have spent billions on Baltimore and they still have 15 bars and no real grocery stores in some neighborhoods. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

MN Education Updates

Hopefully an audit will explain why it still way to hard and time consuming for qualified Teachers to get a MN Teaching license, the pressure is being applied by a lawyer.

U.S. Education Secretary Duncan visited Minneapolis and North St. Paul to hear about projects underway to improve education, housing, health care and workforce development.

Parents United is pushing for donors to give and support their work.  And they do a good job of keeping us abreast of what is happening, though they tend to back the "more money" philosophy for fixing schools.

Education advocates see another fiscal cliff and ask what will Bakk do?  While others ask that Headstart be fully funded.

And I see no mention of anyone discussing promoting efficiency or effectiveness in the school system...  I left this comment at the MinnPost audit article:
Let's tweak the school systems so the Administrators can:
- terminate poor Teachers quickly so the kids will not lose learning progress
- place Teachers in positions that are the best for the kids in the district
- pay the best Teachers and those in the most challenging classrooms the most
- layoff Teachers based on recent performance when necessary

If these logical things were in place, the Teacher's license would not be as critical. If the Teacher is not performing, they are terminated. Most degreed engineers that design the things you use everyday are not licensed... They either perform well or they need to find a different career.

And if the Administrators fail to deliver good Teacher engagement and Student results, let's make it easy to replace them. I am happy to give the Public schools more money if they start putting the student's needs before the wants of the adults.
in response to this comment from Greg.
I'm Grateful for This Audit. Questions have been raised about the Board of Teaching which need to be answered,...

but they must be answered by those will objectively examine the evidence and come to fact-based conclusions.

So far the Board of Teaching has been tried in the "conservative" press based on accusations on the part of those who would prefer that just about anyone be allowed to walk into a school and take a job as a teacher,...

because that's the surest way for them to dismantle teaching as a profession,...

destroy our teacher's professional organizations,...

make sure our public schools are incapable of functioning well,...

and, thereby,..

allow them to justify reducing funding for public education (and, thereby, their own tax burden - in the manner of the Pawlenty administration),...

give themselves cover to dismantle public education in favor of a mostly-privatized system by which they hope to profit very handsomely,...

at the expense of parents,...

and in which they can gain carte blanche to teach their "conservative" ideology and the misinformation and outright lies they use to justify it,...

as if it were absolute fact (as factual evidence makes clear is already being done is many charter schools in the South).

If there are issues with the Board of Teaching, those need to be exposed and addressed,...

but I will not be surprised if it turns out that most of what has been raised is based on the ideology I've already spelled out,...

rather than any questionable actions or improper application and interpretation of state law on the part of the Board.
As Laurie and I bicker about often, more money may help hide the ineffectiveness and inefficiencies within the system.  Though I would prefer to actual improve the system for the good of the unlucky kids.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Another ACA Disagreement

MinnPost Krugman on ACA
"It seems to me that supporters are determined to see the positives of ACA, and the opponents are determined to see the negatives of ACA.

I like to think of it as Medicaid_Lite, many of the people who did not qualify for medicaid and yet could not afford Typical Insurance are now able to afford insurance because the rest of us who pay taxes, buy medical devices and have traditional company supported plans are subsidizing their premiums. Plus we are paying more to cover kids until they are 26 and to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions can get reasonable coverage.

It is an extra expense for most of us, but I am not sure it is "terrible". It helps some people to have coverage, but I am not sure it is "great".

The worst thing about the bill was the billions of dollars spent to just set up these unnecessary exchanges. Maybe a tax credit that varied based on income level would have been more cost effective." G2A

 "I love that comment, it gets to the crux of the situation and explains why the two views are so divergent. Krugman and crew focus on the millions helped. And the Conservatives focus on the many millions paying to help the millions. And both ignore the other's group of citizens.

"ACA has helped millions but adversely affected more."" G2A
For more, see the Minnpost site.  Thoughts?