Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Let's Test All CPS Kids...Only If Every Policitician in The State....

Has to take the test every Monday morning too. Seriously, when every politician who supports this idea signs up to be tested on Monday mornings, I know we will have a winner of a policy.

What? Would they object to this amazing invasion of privacy?

So why would anyone advocate it is okay to do the same to a 17 year-old? Especially at the cost of $20.00 each. Is this district so rich it has cash to burn? 20 bucks per kid.

Think about that. According to the 2000 census (7 years out of date) there are 2,895,668 citizens in Chicago. According to the same census data there are 530,823 children of school age.

Let's just throw 30,000 out of the equation (moved, dropped out, etc.). Let's agree that CPS serves about half a million kids. Let's further stipulate that CPS would only test high school kids. That leaves, what? 150,000 kids in the high schools? Am I low balling or high balling that number? Let's give CPS the benefit and call it 100,000 kids in high schools.

At 20 bucks each, CPS would need 2 million dollars. And that is just to test kids once.

Since the school in New Jersey is using federal dollars, my question is are there really that many idiots working in Congress and the White House who think testing kids is a good use of federal tax revenues? And if they believe in it so much, would they be willing to send us here in Chicago...oh, say 10 tests worth of cash for all our high school kids. Say one test a month for the school year. All we need is 20 million dollars.

Oh, and we'll do just what the NJ school will do. Even if the kids test positive, there will be no penalty. According to the AP story "Students who test positive for alcohol will not be kicked off teams or barred from extracurricular activities. Instead, they will receive counseling and their parents will be notified, Reynolds said."

So, yes, whoever you are in the Congress or Administration, I say send us 20 million and...well, let's just say you can ask for an accounting of how we spent it once you find the missing billions in Iraq. But I know lots of people who could use that cash to help our kids.

Full story here. Here are some choice lines:
(AP) - PEQUANNOCK, New Jersey-Some teenagers who drink over the weekend could be in big trouble Monday morning: A school district plans to start random urine tests capable of detecting whether alcohol was consumed up to 80 hours earlier.

Pequannock Township High, with about 800 students, said it will begin administering the tests Monday.....

Critics say common household products such as mouthwash can produce a positive test result. Reynolds said the test has been recalibrated so that for students to test positive, they would generally have to consume one or two drinks.

The EtG test costs about $20 (€15), Reynolds said. The school's overall testing program is funded by a three-year, $120,000 (€92,506) U.S. grant.

"No one's really taking it seriously. If you want to go to a party, you're still going to go to a party," senior Matt Huber said.
We are truly ruled by fools. Rubes, every one.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Please Go Visit and Comment at Russo's 299

An excellent conversation is going on over at Russo's 299 blog.

All about new teachers and how (if so desired) to keep them in the system working for our kids.

Please click here and say something.

A Show of Hands

Hat tip to Desi (original post here)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

More Promises From The Tribune Editorial Page

You can read it all here, but it appears the Trib is coming out full force for a change how Illinois funds schools.

Have the powers that be finally tired of being reminded that the way they fund schools ranks them 49th out of 50?

Will wonders never cease? Here is the money quote:

In Illinois, though, state aid accounts for less than 34 percent of school costs. The resulting overreliance squeezes businesses and homeowners. Local school districts wind up with profoundly inequitable amounts of money per pupil.

These editorials will address three questions:

How much revenue is needed to provide every child with an adequate education?

What is the most efficient way to raise money for schools without putting too much burden on the state economy?

How should that money be spent to give every schoolchild a fighting chance to succeed?

Unless Illinois voters and their legislators coalesce around good answers for those three questions, expect a decades-long pattern of mediocrity in education to continue.

The proof for me will be in how the Trib answers those three questions. Better yet, how does Daley and CPS answer those questions?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Honey, Let's Have Pizza For Valentine's!!

Hat tip to Russo's District 299 for letting us all know about the romantic get-away offered by Marilyn and the UPC folks at the Merchandise Mart.

I would laugh but April first is so far away.

Won't someone please send us photo's of the lucky couples who are part of the first 150?

They get free pizza.

Romance is in the air.

Now, who will go to the house of delegates and request an audit. If one cent of union dues is used for this....arrrgggghhh.

Is impeachment for stupidity part of the by-laws?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Job Protection Record of UPC and Marilyn Stewart

In the four years that Marilyn Stewart has been president, the union has lost membership...BIG TIME. More than 4,000 dues paying members have simply vanished from the membership rolls. This information comes straight from the CTU's own reports.

This is a bigger number than can be explained by maternity leave or retirement. It is an abject failure on the part of UPC and Stewart to stem the growth of charters, contract schools and the devastating effects of RenTen and the privatization of public education in this city.

From 2003 to 2007, more than 270 high school teachers disappeared from union membership. In the same time period, more than 2,600 elementary teachers went missing.

More than a 1,200 ESP's are gone.

UPC, under the leadership of Marilyn Stewart, has done worse than nothing when it comes to job protection. And the children of Chicago are not better served with her 4 years of "leadership."

But don't worry, UPC team members get perks like conferences in Hawaii. Yeah, that got the job done for the rank and file. Way to go UPC! Good use of union dues!

In the 2003 election campaign, I remember Marilyn Stewart's famous quote that the CTU was a "union, not a university."

Many took offense that she was implying that the outstanding professional development offered by the Quest Center was somehow a misuse of union resources.

But I guess people wanted a back to basics style union...you know, grievances and arbitration. In short, people voted for "job protection", the most basic function of a union. (On a side note, many people didn't trust her with even that, since the election was decided 50.1% to 49.9%.)

Marilyn Stewart has failed.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Leadership Can Make A Difference

On October 28, 2006 in a post titled "Lead, Follow, Or Get Out Of The Way" I said that now that Democratic party is firmly in control of the levers of government in Illinois, school funding must change.

It took a little more than two months, but I am glad someone over at city hall is listening.

As reported in today's Chicago Tribune, Mayor Daley has taken up the challenge.
After decades of debate, the time has finally come to change the way schools are funded in Illinois now that Democrats are in such complete control of state government, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said Thursday.

Daley, who supports a so-called tax swap that would increase the income-tax rate while lowering property taxes, said lawmakers need to take into account all of the ideas for changing school funding and agree on a solution. He said his fellow Democrats, who increased their control of both the House and Senate and retained the governor's office in the November election, should lead the way.

"We have talked about this for 25 years," Daley said. "Now, no one wants to sit here and talk about it for another 25 years. The time has come to start the debate anew, seize the opportunity for reform."
I salute you Mayor and hope that you know I got your back on this.

Fix this and then we can chat about this charter thing you seem to like so much.
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