Letters from the Lunar Outpost

What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.
- Leo Tolstoy, Russian Novelist and Philosopher (1828-1910)

Monthly Archives: September 2012

I feel very privileged, my friends, because I’m willing to share a very rough draft of my election song engineering with you.

I may be even more privileged if you take the time to say how I can do it even better. Your feedback is invaluable!

Not only is it a very rough draft, but for any chance of it going viral, I’m going to have to make some video for it. Never mind that, if you’re a good friend, you will make a comment and give some input on this project.

[mp3j autoplay=”y” track=”http://www.mikecornelison.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/one-term-proposition.mp3″]

p.s. When the music is set, then I’ll be setting it to YouTube so we can all take part in making it viral video.

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Anti-American Protester Killed by His Own Hate

In an apparent case of red, white and blue revenge, a Pakistani protester died yesterday after inhaling smoke from a burning American flag during an anti-US rally. Abdullah Ismail succumbed at Mayo Hospital in Lahore a day after attending the fierce protest at the city’s Mall Road, where an estimated 10,000 people rallied.

Witnesses said Ismail had complained of feeling ill after breathing fumes from burning flags, Pakistan’s Express Tribune reported.

source: NYPost

Ah, what a wonderful feel good story. It’s Darwin at his very best. How poetic, too – choking on the flames of his own hate.

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Got School Choice?When you’re doing a great job in your organization, and the organization is thriving, there’s no better time to ask for a raise.

When you’re in the public school system and you see percentages of kids who are not grade-level proficient in reading and math at 81% and 80% respectively, asking for a raise of 16% is the height of hubris.

When your public schools are so bad that 39% of your fellow teachers pay to send their kids to get a better education at private schools, striking for a pay raise becomes absolutely ludicrous.

More importantly, maybe the average $76,000 salary Chicago teachers earn allows them to afford that private school tuition for their kids, but for the rest of the lower and middle class citizens who dream of pulling their kids out of the failing public schools for a better education in the private schools, it is an outrage that a lack of any voucher program means these parents have to pay twice for their kids’ educations, once in the taxes they pay for the failing public schools, and once again in the tuition they pay for the superior education their kids will receive in the private schools. (You know, those same superior private schools all the union whore, anti-school choice politicians send their kids to.)

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Interesting article from Eugene Robinson . . .

The fact is that teachers are being saddled with absurdly high expectations. Some studies have shown a correlation between student performance and teacher “effectiveness,” depending how this elusive quality is measured. But there is a whole body of academic literature proving the stronger correlation between student performance and a much more important variable: family income.

Yes, I’m talking about poverty. Sorry to be so gauche, but when teachers point out the relationship between income and achievement, they’re not shirking responsibility. They’re just stating an inconvenient truth.

source: WaPo

When 40% of Chicago students end up dropping-out, there’s no denying that our schools are failing – miserably. But Mr. Robinson is right in arguing that the larger contributing factor in our failed schools is not apathy or incompetence among inner-city teachers – I’m sure there’s a roughly equal share of good teachers and bad teachers in rich neighborhood and poor neighborhoods – but where he misses the mark a bit is in ascribing it directly to poverty. The more direct cause is not poverty itself but the breakdown in those neighborhoods of the culture and in parental responsibility.

Show me a first generation immigrant family in abject poverty where both parents take an active roll in their kids lives and stress that education is their ticket out of the slums and into the American dream and I’ll show you students that will score just as high on their SATs as any kids from the rich neighborhoods.

So Mr. Robinson has a point that the failures in our inner-city school can be pinned on the socio-economic environment far more than any failures on our teachers part, but in “standing up for teachers” in what he perceives as a scapegoating of teachers, what he’s really missing is that the growing outrage among the public against the unions, and fun facts like this:

Chicago medan household income $46,350

Average Chicago teacher salary: $76,ooo

In the private sector today, most are just happy to keep a job even while seeing their incomes fall. ((Median family income in America has fallen from $54,983 when Obama took office to $50,964 this year.)

Chicago Teachers Make Almost Twice the Typical Chicagoan

The reality of the striking teachers of Chicago?

Chicago teachers — who already are among the nation’s highest paid with salaries that average $76,000 — ought to appreciate the city’s offer of raises that average out to 4.4 percent annually over four years. Clearly, though, the main sticking points are not economic but rather the common-sense reforms sought by Mr. Emanuel — more instruction time, empowering principals to hire the best teachers and evaluating teachers by how their students achieve.

source: voxxi.com

While working parents deal with the nightmare of scrambling to find a safe environment for their kids while they try to go out and earn a living, the unions would have us believe that teachers making $30,000 than the majority of their fellow Chicagoans and being held accountable for their performance is a noble fight we should all get behind.

Considering those numbers though, I doubt too many regular citizens are feeling like standing up for the striking teachers of Chicago.

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