No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

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Archive for the 'Education' Category

October 3, 2011

Monday Hot Read – Fran Tarkenton’s “What if the NFL Played by Teachers’ Rules?”

by @ 7:07. Filed under Education.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Fran Tarkenton fired one more touchdown over the heads of the teacher unionistas:

Imagine the National Football League in an alternate reality. Each player’s salary is based on how long he’s been in the league. It’s about tenure, not talent. The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he’s an All-Pro quarterback or the last man on the roster. For every year a player’s been in this NFL, he gets a bump in pay. The only difference between Tom Brady and the worst player in the league is a few years of step increases. And if a player makes it through his third season, he can never be cut from the roster until he chooses to retire, except in the most extreme cases of misconduct.

Let’s face the truth about this alternate reality: The on-field product would steadily decline. Why bother playing harder or better and risk getting hurt?

No matter how much money was poured into the league, it wouldn’t get better. In fact, in many ways the disincentive to play harder or to try to stand out would be even stronger with more money.

Of course, a few wild-eyed reformers might suggest the whole system was broken and needed revamping to reward better results, but the players union would refuse to budge and then demonize the reform advocates: “They hate football. They hate the players. They hate the fans.” The only thing that might get done would be building bigger, more expensive stadiums and installing more state-of-the-art technology. But that just wouldn’t help.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the NFL in this alternate reality is the real -life American public education system….

Not bad for an ex-Viking.

January 26, 2011

Wednesday Hot Read – Michelle Malkin’s “Cash for Education Clunkers”

by @ 8:01. Filed under Education, Politics - National.

There is a basic reason why The Boss (Emeritus) makes significant coin for punditry – she can pull together the narrative into 600 or so words, and then really drop the hammer (sans sickle) on a few hours’ notice. The extended version of today’s column on her blog is well worth the visit. I’ll whet your appetite with what I would have started and ended with:

Our government already spends more per capita on education than any other of the 34 wealthiest countries in the world except for Switzerland, according to recent analysis of data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Overall inflation-adjusted K-12 spending has tripled over the past 40 years, the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy points out. Yet American test scores and graduation rates are stagnant. One in 10 high schools is a dropout factory. And our students’ performance in one of the most prestigious global math competitions has been so abysmal that the U.S. simply withdrew altogether.

October 16, 2010

Poster teacher for the “teacher” bailout losing her job…again

by @ 9:03. Tags:
Filed under Education, Politics - National.

(H/T – Greg Pollowitz via his Twitter stream)

The (Toledo) Blade reports on the sad case of teach…er, Obama prop Amanda VanNess. VanNess, who was notified she would be laid off from her Toledo Public Schools teaching job when Obama came calling to her union, was invited by her union to DC to be present when Obama signed the “teacher” bailout bill.

She subsequently got another job with TPS as a permanent substitute teacher, not because of the $7.6 million TPS got from the $26 billion “teacher” bailout, but because that spot had unexpectedly opened up. Now, she’s about to lose that job because of continued collapsing employment.

That $7.6 million? It’s likely going to be used to create an “in-government” crossing guard corps to replace a contracted private company and rehire government bus drivers laid off to deal with TPS’ massive deficit.

August 25, 2010

It’s For the Chiiiiiiiiiiillllllllldren!

by @ 7:11. Filed under Economy, Economy Held Hostage, Education.

Quick, see if you can find the link between these two stories:

LA unveils $578M school, costliest in the nation

The RFK complex follows on the heels of two other LA schools among the nation’s costliest — the $377 million Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, which opened in 2008, and the $232 million Visual and Performing Arts High School that debuted in 2009.

Los Angeles is not alone, however, in building big. Some of the most expensive schools are found in low-performing districts — New York City has a $235 million campus; New Brunswick, N.J., opened a $185 million high school in January.

And:

EBay, Adobe Leave California for Utah

If you guessed: Ebay, Adobe and others like them, hate children, you are correct!

Disclaimer:  I received no consideration or payola of any kind for this message.  My name is Shoebox and I approve this message!

Revisions/extensions (12:38 pm 8/25/2010, steveegg) - I was going to put this in the comments, but upon reflection, I decided it needed to be part of the main post. Those prices almost makes the $50 million (roughly $23 million from private sources, including $20 million from the Pettits) spent building Milwaukee Public Schools’ Bradley Tech High School back in 2002 seem quaint. Of course, money spent on shiny new facilities are no guarantee of success – Bradley Tech is one of the 12 worst-performing high schools in all of Wisconsin.

July 28, 2010

Only in government, MPS edition

by @ 12:26. Filed under Education, Politics - Wisconsin.

(H/T – Charlie Sykes)

Milwaukee Magazine‘s NewsBuzz reports on an employment situation that can only happen in government. First, the setup: Milwaukee Public Schools has, for the past several years, scheduled an in-school school-day district-wide taking of the ACT college admission examination in order to facilitate the participation of every high school junior. For this coming school year, they scheduled it for Wednesday, April 27, 2011.

Somebody in the district offices forgot to tell those who negotiated the 2010-2011 school calendar with the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association that 4/27/2011 is the Wednesday after Easter. The tentative agreement, reached in early June, had spring break at its traditional Good Friday-through-Friday after Easter slot.

The MPS board caught this potential problem at the June 24 meeting, during which the final ratification of the school calendar was supposed to take place. Rather than attempting to reschedule the date of the ACT test, asking high-school juniors who want to take the test come in during spring break, or asking those juniors to take the test on one of the several Saturdays and at one of the several locations (some of which are MPS facilities) suburban and private-school students take the test, they told the negotiators to move spring break to accomodate the 4/27 ACT test date, and decided to hold off on agreeing to the school calendar until that was done.

On July 9, MPS and MTEA reached a pair of agreements regarding spring break. First, they agreed to move spring break to the week before Easter plus the Monday following Easter. That in itself is not at all controversial – it is the same number of weekdays, and it encompasses Easter.

However, the second part is something only a union would demand and only a government entity would grant – a chance, at the board’s discretion, of reimbursement for any and all expenses on an altered or cancelled vacation during the week after Easter that are non-refundable, non-reimbursable, or penalties generated by an alteration or cancellation.

Yes, you read that right – MPS will in all likelyhood pay for the assumptions made by employees based on an unofficial and never-ratified schedule. In the private sector, especially in a non-union shop, the employer would have told the employees, in so many words, “Tough luck.” In fact, that same sentiment would have been given had the vacation been forced to be altered or cancelled at the last minute.

March 3, 2010

Number of the day – $100,005

by @ 17:29. Filed under Education, Politics - Milwaukee.

The MacIver News Service reports on the average compensation at Milwaukee Public Schools:

2009-2010 school year (aka FY2010) – $56,500 in salary, $95,316 including benefits
2010-2011 school year – $56,500 in salary, $100,005 including benefits (or a 4.92% increase overall)

Meanwhile, according to the Census Bureau, the median per-capita income between 2006 and 2008 in the city was $19,092, with the median family income $42,950. I doubt the average resident in the private sector had $40,000 in benefits to boost their total compensation, or the equivalent of 12 weeks of vacation.

February 2, 2010

Milwaukee voucher students graduate at a higher rate than MPS students

by @ 7:29. Filed under Education.

A new report from University of Minnesota sociologist John Robert Warren shows participants in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program graduated at a 18% higher rate than students in Milwaukee Public Schools in 2008, or 77% versus 65%:

High school dropouts earn less, contribute less to the tax base, and are more likely to go to prison — sobering facts that underscore the importance of a new study showing that the graduation rate for students in Milwaukee’s 20-year-old school choice program was 18 percent higher than for students in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).

The findings, from a leading national expert who analyzed six years of data, estimate that 3,352 additional Milwaukee students would have received diplomas between 2003 and 2008 if public school graduation rates had matched those of low-income students using educational vouchers. Based on a separate study reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Erin Richards, the annual impact from 3,352 more MPS graduates would include an additional $21.2 million in personal income and $3.6 million in extra tax revenue.

“This new study deserves the attention of state and federal officials — including President Barack Obama — who seek education reforms that produce solid results,” said Jeff Monday, principal of Milwaukee’s nationally recognized Messmer High School.

The author of the new study, University of Minnesota Professor John Robert Warren, estimated a 2008 graduation rate of 77% for school choice students and 65% for public school students. The difference — twelve percentage points — translates into an 18% higher rate for voucher students. Dr. Warren found a similar average difference for the six-year period of 2003 through 2008….

The higher graduation rates for students in Milwaukee’s private school choice program are noteworthy because per pupil taxpayer support for choice students ($6,442) is less than half the $14,011 spent in the Milwaukee Public Schools.

In the new study, Professor Warren explains that eligibility for the choice program is limited to students from low-income families while “students in MPS schools come from a much broader range of social and economic backgrounds.”

Once again, it is not either the amount of money the parents have or the amount of money dumped into teachers, administrators, staff or facilities; it is motivated students, parents and teachers that make the difference in whether an education system is a success or a failure.

December 16, 2009

Questions for Tom Barrett

by @ 7:18. Filed under Education, Politics - Wisconsin.

(H/T – Charlie Sykes, who called it his Wednesday Hot Read a day early)

Rep. Brett Davis (R-Oregon), ranking member on the Assembly Education Committee, sent the following letter to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett regarding the proposal before the Legislature to have the mayor take over Milwaukee Public Schools (letter courtesy WisPolitics):

Dear Mayor Barrett:

As the former chair and current ranking Republican on the Assembly Education Committee, I am alarmed at the current state of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). With 65% of eighth grade math students scoring below basic levels, it is clear that drastic changes must take place.

However, before taking a vote on such an important issue that will affect thousands of families in MPS, I need to gather more information to alleviate some of my concerns. Rather than blindly handing complete control of the system over to you without any specific details, I am requesting that you share your vision of how to improve MPS. It is imperative that the status quo is not allowed to continue for the future of Milwaukee students and taxpayers.

Specifically, I would like information from you, including:

Your plans to address the unfunded pension liability issues that were raised in the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute report this week.

The specific labor contract changes you believe are necessary to ensure long term fiscal stability for the school district.

How you will address failing schools.

Your plans to address the abysmal MPS academic performance highlighted in the recent Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) report from the Institute of Educational Sciences.

The tools you are willing to use to hold schools and teachers accountable for their performance in educating the children entrusted to them.

You are welcome to come to our Republican caucus to address these specific issues. Should you have any questions regarding my request, please contact me at 608-266-1192. I look forward to learning your specific ideas on reforming MPS and increasing student achievement.

Sincerely,

Brett Davis
State Representative
80th District

Given the only semi-successful mayoral takeovers of public schools in recent memory happened in New York City and Washington, DC, and both school districts still lag so far behind the private schools that in DC, Marion Berry (yes, THAT Marion Berry) is a school-choice advocate, those are just starting points for the questioning of the effectiveness of taking MPS away from the school board.

Do note I’m not saying that the MPS board, and indeed the entire culture of MPS, doesn’t need to be replaced wholesale; indeed, that needs to be done post-haste. My concern is that one failed leadership regime will be replaced by another like regime.

February 18, 2009

Life doesn’t hand out “A for effort”

by @ 16:06. Filed under Education.

(H/T – Slublog)

The New York Times reports on a bunch of college slackers who got introduced to a bit of grade reality. They seem to think that a failed effort is worth more than a “C”. They should be thankful that the lesson is gentle; once they hit the real world, a failed effort, regardless of the amount of effort poured in, is a failure.

June 24, 2008

“Snagged”? More like “Caught Not Teaching Properly”.

by @ 10:55. Filed under Education, Presstitute Follies.

The former word is the lede in this JSOnline DayWatch article on the growing number of schools and school districts that simply refuse to teach to a minimum standard, including Milwaukee Public Schools and Racine Unified. It’s a word that one would expect from WEAC and MTA, not a news organization that supposedly is interested in proper education.

I do have issues with the federal government having to lay down the law, but it’s painfully obvious that nobody in Wisconsin has the balls to hold MPS and RUSD accountable for creating uneducated dolts.

May 13, 2008

Definition of insanity – Germantown edition

Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity – “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Germantown school board – Let’s try that $16.5 Taj Mahal elementary school referendum that failed by 10 points again with absolutely, positively no changes again in November

What the blooming bloom is going on in Bloomer?

by @ 14:45. Filed under Compassionate Lieberals, Education, Military.

(H/T – a semi-retired Cheddarsphere denzien)

I guess we can add Bloomer High School principal Brent Ashland, Bloomer School District Superintendent Doug Martin, and the majority of the Bloomer School Board, headed by president Joe Zeman to those whose patriotism we no longer need to question because they have none. Why? Allow me to recap the Chippewa Herald story I linked to:

– Bloomer High School senior Daniel Lingen finished his studies early so he could complete Marine Corps boot camp before the graduation ceremony on May 31.
– He requested permission from principal Brent Ashland to wear his soon-to-be-earned Marine dress blue uniform instead of the traditional cap-and-gown at said ceremony. Ashland, with no written policy to guide him, refused to allow this.
– His father, Charles Lingen, took his son’s case to the school board, after getting conflicting excuses for the refusal.
– On Monday, after what school board president Joe Zeman called weeks of discussion both among school board members and between school board members and the public, and after a snap decision to put this on the agenda the prior Friday and thus barely meet the requirements under the Open Meetings statutes, the school board adopted a cap-and-gown only policy written by superintendent Doug Martin. Of note, an attempt to carve out an exception for military dress uniforms died for a lack of a second to the motion offered by Ralph Bruxvoort.

The Chippewa Herald was thoughful enough to include a statement from the Bloomer School District. As you read it, note that there was no official uniform for graduation until after Daniel Lingen made his request and after the Bloomer School District spoke to their military representative:

The School District of Bloomer released the following statement Tuesday morning on the board’s decision:

It is the position of the School District of Bloomer that high school graduation, although it may hold different personal meaning for each individual, is a ceremony to recognize and honor students for their academic achievement in earning a Bloomer High School diploma.

Based on this, the Board of Education has determined that the appropriate attire for the Bloomer High School graduation ceremony will be the traditional cap and gown as selected by the Class of 2008.

In weighing this decision, the School Board and administration received input from individuals and groups on both sides of the issue, within and outside the community, including a representative of the U.S. Military. The military representative we talked with informed us that he understood our position because the military is all about uniformity; and if the uniform of a high school graduate is the cap and gown, all graduates should wear the cap and gown.

Unfortunately, there are some that will claim that by requiring graduates to wear the cap and gown, rather than their respective military uniform, that the district is somehow unpatriotic or unsupportive of those that serve our country. Drawing this conclusion is not an accurate assessment of the genuine appreciation felt by the individuals that comprise the School Board and administrative team.

The School Board and administration of the School District of Bloomer hold in highest regard the men and women who join and serve in our country’s military. We both respect and admire the sacrifices these individuals make to defend our national and individual freedom.

We are extremely grateful to our graduating students who choose to take this honorable path and, in recognition of that, there is time set aside during the Bloomer High School graduation program to acknowledge their commitment.

By adopting this official position only after it became an issue, and by at the least misleading that military representative what the official position of the school district was, I would say that deeming the school district is unpatriotic and unsupportive of the military is an accurate assessment.

May 1, 2008

Hats off to the Wildcats!

by @ 13:58. Filed under Education.

Here’s an act that goes against the grain:

Northwestern rescinds honorary degree offer to Rev. Wright
It’s not often that you see one of the country’s institutes of higher learning turning their back on a CAH (Certified American Hater). Usually they reward them.

On a related note, I hear that the University of Colorado has indicated a desire to hire Jeremiah Wright as they are still one CAH short of a cabal since they terminated Ward Churchill.

December 24, 2007

What critera did Forbes use in ranking Milwaukee #17 in education?

by @ 10:35. Filed under Education.

(H/T – Jon Ham)

Jon wondered how Durham, North Carolina ranked 20th in Forbes’ current list of Top 20 Places to Educate Your Child. The story from The Hearld-Sun pointed out that “(t)he article does not consider student achievement, dropouts or suspensions "” some of the more common factors used to determine school system success.”

Instead, Forbes used a 5-part criteria, with the public-school portion consisting of “the metro area’s average number of students per full-time equivalent classroom teacher (the lower the better) with its average instructional expense figure for student (the higher the better)”. In short, it was how many teachers and how much money was thrown at how few students. Guess that explains why Milwaukee got an “A” in that department. At least Forbes notes that “an impressive 18% of (K-12 students) attend one of Milwaukee’s exceptional private schools”, and the private-school portion of the grade was an “A+”.

As a side note, Madison was 2nd.

Revisions/extensions (12:35 pm 12/24/2007) – I need to learn to proof-read. Sorry about that, Mr. Ham.

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