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Decline of the common man and common sense ...

Presumed to be a democrat if you are not a republican; a liberal if you are not a conservative or a troglodyte if not a progressive …

Most politicians and media pundits, most often and incorrectly assume that most people are either political policy wonks or the great “unwashed” and ill-informed public. “Public” as often said with a sneer and some measure of obvious disdain.

Whatever happened to the common, ordinary person with a “life” and a need to deal with the vagaries of day-to-day living. Not sitting around have a theoretical discussion about middle-eastern socialism and its affect on global trade policies?

In any neighborhood, most people are concerned with their children, homes, finances, vehicles, employment, familial and social obligations – depending on which presents first in their consciousness.

The big external issues of the day are crime, taxes and the encroachment of illegal aliens which seems to manifest itself in declining social services and decaying neighborhoods. Not in that order always, but close enough for government work.

It is my perception, no surprise there for those who read OneCitizenSpeaking, that I have little or no regard for professional politicians who start running for re-election or the next office the minute they take the oath of office. Making deals with the special interests who provide campaign funding, media attention and voter support. Looking past the constituency that voted for their media image and onto the issues which will help them secure additional fame and fortune.

While I have some empathy for those fighting to retain their well-paid government jobs – much as I empathize with individual hard-working illegal aliens – I cannot abide by that which should have never existed in the first place.

The fact that elected officials pandered to public employee unions and allowed them to impose costly work rules to force an expansion of the work rules – or the elected officials which conveniently ignore the laws of our land to offer illegal aliens sanctuary – is not only abominable, but it is bankrupting our cities, states and nations while insuring civil unrest among those fighting for scarce resources.

We have only our elected officials to blame; but even more than that, we have our political parties to blame. The people who ran these politicians in the hopes of winning more influence in government. Not to do good, not to serve the country – but to win and allow those in power to loot the public treasury on behalf of themselves and their special interest friends.

Now I am growing even more concerned when people like Donald Trump is claiming to consider a run for the Presidency of the United States.

This is not a position of a Celebrity Apprentice – haven’t we learned as much with the candidacy and presidency of Barack Obama. A man so spectacularly disconnected from governing that he appears impotent in the eyes of our countrymen, neighbors and, worst of all, our enemies. A man with little or no discernable background, dubious lifetime associations with socialists and communists, no real public policy experience and a past electoral history of voting “present.”

While I have no doubt that, unlike Barack Obama, Trump will stand on his soapbox and proclaim the superiority of the United States – much as he does with his own brand, I fear that such a self-promoting charlatan will bring more damage upon our country.

So ask yourself: why is the republican party so passive and willing to foist anyone with a chance to win the election upon the electorate? Why have they not put forth a principled platform and asked others to join us? Why have they not exhibited real leadership in demonstrating, clearly and factually, the difference between the republicans and the progressive democrats that are moving our nation towards European-style socialism? Is it because they are just as corrupt, in their own ways, as the opposition and that there is little or no difference between the parties when it comes to plundering our national treasure for their own purposes: mainly to purchase America’s vote with her own money so that they can achieve perpetual political power and the key to the Treasury? Or is it because they do not know how to turn the nation around – or are unwilling to lose votes and financial support by telling the truth?

We are getting screwed royally. By our own elected officials, by our ever-growing government and by our enemies who ratchet up the conflict in order to be bribed into submission – selling photo ops to members of our government in return for the taxpayer’s hard-earned money. Everywhere we turn, someone has their hand out. Screaming racism, bigotry, homophobia or similar epithets whenever they do not get their way.

Why are we allowing America, the great melting pot with the common goal of national prosperity and individual success to be subverted by the increasing balkanization of our nation. With the illegal aliens demanding that to which they are not legally entitled? With the gays demanding that we change the definition of marriage, although marriage is a civil union? With the unions demanding to become a “protected class of workers” who are exempt from the consequences of life – even as they promote collective unexceptionalism over productive individuality? Everybody has their hand out – loudly demanding a piece of someone else’s hard work, land, treasure or belongings.

We are allowing the increasing feminization of America, a touchie-feely experience that abhors the necessity to actually fight for causes in which we believe.

I do not know why we are in Afghanistan – a tribal 12-century culture (with cellphones, go figure) that has never been conquered and never been ruled by a central government. A conflict ginned up by the Islamic Pakistanis to protect their border while they prepare for war with India. Yes, Pakistan has nuclear weapons; but are they so stupid as to realize that a single weapon release is tantamount to MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) in the region. I do not know why we are in Iraq – other than to provide a counterweight to Iran’s increasing influence.

Iran seems to be at the center of all evil – so why not give them sixty days notice and tell them to get the hell out of Iraq, Lebanon – dismantle Hamas and Hezbollah or face the consequences. With or without some bogus United Nations coalition.

And why do we even bother supporting the United Nations – an anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-freedom body that consists of pampered bureaucrats playing diplomatic games for their own benefit.

I do not pretend to know all the answers, but I can clearly see the downward spiral of the United States – both domestically and internationally. And unless we reverse that slide, we are going to become a cross between Mexico (with its oligarchs and ruling elite) and France (with its socialism, unions and disdain for anything or anyone not French).

And we must start now – preparing to fight the battle in 2012. Electing “honest brokers” to serve “We the People” instead of themselves and their special interest friends.

We must demand that our political parties perform a rigorous self-assessment and take action. In the case of the democrat party – infiltrated by progressives, socialists, and communists – it should be an existential question. For the republican party – it should be a question of replacing the old guard with new blood. Untainted by scandal, corruption and the associations which are increasingly angering the American people.

Time to get going. And not with people like Romney, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Paul and the other political ghosts of the past. But with principled politicians with honor such as Col. Allen West.

As always, I am willing to debate my position or receive comments. Prove me wrong.

-- steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



Illegal Aliens: A Clear and Present DANGER to the safety and security of the United States and its citizens!

This single story is enough to demonstrate the clear and present danger that the United States faces from illegal aliens. This band of law-breakers could just as well have been al Qaeda operatives bent on attacking the naval facilities in San Diego, the Marine facilities at Camp Pendleton or the infrastructure up and down the California Coast line.

“Border agents catch 13 illegal immigrants all wearing marine uniforms 'embroidered with the name Perez'”

“Border Patrol agents have caught 13 illegal immigrants wearing U.S. Marine uniforms at a checkpoint near San Diego.”

“The immigrants were in a van that was stopped along Interstate 8 on March 14. The van had a U.S. government licence plate with an altered number, Border Patrol spokesman Michael Jimenez said.”

Fake plates: The registration actually belongs to a van owned by the U.S. government

“The fake number plates actually belong to a van registered to the U.S. Marine Corps.”

Bottom line …

When will this nation wake up from its politically correct, multi-cultural, moral equivalent sleep and realize that the United States is being attacked from within our borders by our politicians who refuse to uphold their oath of office to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States.

This is a serious matter and our elected officials need to be held to account.

-- steve

Reference Links:

Border agents catch 13 illegal immigrants all wearing marine uniforms 'embroidered with the name Perez' | Mail Online


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



Helen Thomas: The ugliness is more than skin deep ...

Capture2-23-2011-3.27.17 PM3-22-2011-5.26.36 PM

I wonder what Helen Thomas finds admirable about the pro-Arab position that causes her to condemn Israel and suggest that America should overlook the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East that has contributed much to humanity.

Helen Thomas, who is of Lebanese Arab descent, might want to re-think her position regarding the Palestinian people who brought about the destruction of Lebanon.

Before the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the country experienced a period of relative calm and prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, and banking. Because of its financial power and diversity, Lebanon was known in its heyday as the ‘Switzerland of the East.’ It attracted large numbers of tourists, such that the capital Beirut was referred to as ‘Paris of the Middle East.’ At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure. <Source>

“The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 130,000 to 250,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people (a quarter of the population) were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of almost one million people from Lebanon. The Post-war occupation of the country by Syria was particularly politically disadvantageous to the Christian population as most of their leadership was driven into exile, or had been assassinated or jailed.

“There is no consensus among scholars and researchers on what triggered the Lebanese Civil War. However the militarization of the Palestinian refugee population, with the arrival of the PLO guerrilla forces did spark an arms race amongst the different Lebanese political factions. In addition, the political ambitions of the Druze leader Kamal Jumblat, who used the Palestinian cause to disrupt consensus amongst different Lebanese factions also contributed to the general chaos. In his seminal work, Yezid Sayigh, the son of prominent PLO members, demonstrated that Arafat and his closest aides also sought to split the Lebanese army in order to mount a coup to change the political landscape of the country. The occupation of army barracks after the army split, by the PLO and allied Lebanese factions, trained and funded by Fatah also contributed to a further arms race by other Lebanese factions.” <Source>

Black September …

“September 1970 is known as the Black September in Arab history and sometimes is referred to as the ‘era of regrettable events.’ It was a month when Hashemite King Hussein of Jordan moved to quash the militancy of Palestinian organizations and restore his monarchy's rule over the country. The violence resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, the vast majority Palestinian. Armed conflict lasted until July 1971 with the expulsion of the PLO and thousands of Palestinian fighters to Lebanon.” <Source>

Nowhere do I see the heavy hand of Israel in this conflict. What I do see is Arab monarchies seeking to rid themselves of a troublesome Palestinian problem – a people hell bent on creating chaos, confusion and revolution in Arab lands.

To the best of my knowledge, Israel has always been the whipping boy for every real and imagined problem in the Middle East. Mostly to divert attention from the imperial monarchies of the region and the excesses of their ruling families. All while billions of dollars have been spent on everything but the indigenous people. Not to mention an autocratic religion, Islam, that brooks no disregard of the religion and those leaders who profess to be its arbiter. Draconian and repressive means of punishment – torture, mutilation and gruesome death awaits anyone who disagrees with the religion or its arbiters.

So why is Helen Thomas, ostensibly an American citizen, hell-bent on criticizing not only Israel, but the Jewish people who want nothing more than to exist in peace and enjoy the fruits of their labor? Even claiming she is against “Zionism” and not the Jewish people is not a defense against her ignorant remarks.

Why would she blindly support people who do not respect the freedom she enjoys, be it the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly – and at a professional level which the Journalist Helen Thomas must recognize – freedom of the press

In fact, the best observation of the region comes from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“If Arabs lay down their arms, there will be peace. If Israel lays down her arms, there will be no more Israel.”

Eloquent and to the point. I cannot proclaim that certain individuals in the region may have been treated poorly by the Israeli defense forces. We see that in any situation, even in the United States’ conflicts in Afghanistan, where individuals are involved. We know that it is not “state policy” and we deal with the excesses as they occur.

Perhaps there is a solution to the Middle East situation. The modern reformation of Islam to a more tolerant perspective and for those repressive regimes to be overthrown by freedom-loving patriots who believe that God is the source of human rights and that despots – no matter their title – should not be allowed to determine the individual destinies of their people.

I have worked along side people from the region: hard-working, pious Muslims who like the United States and who want to return to their own land – as teachers, engineers, entrepreneurs – but are prohibited from doing so because they are not associated with the ruling families and the type of reform they inspire cannot be tolerated by those who suppress the freedom and rights of individuals.

As for Helen Thomas, I believe she is a bitter, aging ex-journalist who has allowed her personal feelings to cloud both her judgement and reporting. She apparently is struggling to maintain some degree of relevance and uses her apparent hatred of “the Zionists”to enhance her own standing among “her people.”

But truth be told, if she truly believes what she is saying, she is ugly clear to the bone.

-- steve

As always, comments are welcome and I will consider offering my blog for guest editorials on the subject. BTW – you will notice I did not use the term anti-Semitism as Arabs are also Semitic people. However, “upon examination on finds that the Lebanese are ethnically a mixture of Phoenician, Greek, Arab, Persian and Armenian elements.” <Source>


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



It's not for the children -- it's for the unionized progressive teachers (Part II) ...

Yesterday’s blog post on education, It's not for the children -- it's for the unionized progressive teachers ... seemed to resonate with a number of people. Here are two completely different stories, separated by thousands of miles, but seemingly on the same topic.

About yesterday’s post, an anonymous reader comments …

- on the topic of letting teachers vote on their peers ... let it be like survivor, where their peers get to vote someone off (the risk of this approach is that the nuts outnumber the good teachers ... and they'll throw out the ones that threaten the status quo of mediocrity)

- regarding the LVUSD Waldorf school (Mariposa). It's genesis was a couple who wanted to start their own charter school, but the Supt convinced them he would work with them without the need to go to the trouble of a charter. After it got established, they were able to get the nut jobs removed. I've heard the current leader has a questionable background, but is better than the founders. Comments I've heard from parents at the school (Sumac) that is co-located with Mariposa is that those kids have no rules, and respect no one. We have friends with kids there ;) A large majority of the Mariposa parents have requested that their students not be tested by STAR. Mariposa was just authorized to expand their program from K-5 to -8 (apparently an attempt to keep students from leaving the treasury of LVUSD and going elsewhere).

- Oak Park USD has done an amazing job of recruiting students from out of district. The roster of one K-5 class, for example, showed 80% of the students from out of district. Apparently they recruit the kids of people who work locally. LVUSD saw their kids getting recruited away and in the past year have been aggressive at recruiting kids to offset it's declining enrollment.

They have a large enrollment of LAUSD students. K-5 schools are being told to innovate in order to survive (or else be consolidated).

Two schools presented plans to the School Board last fall to become academies. One is attempting to both offer instruction in a second language (none of the teachers speak that language - Spanish), and STEM. The teachers at this school came out in force to the Board meeting to show support (with the threat of potentially being closed/consolidated if the plan wasn't accepted). Unfortunately, the Principal has to deal with inconsistent support in its implementation. It's the slugs who abuse workers comp and cry grievance (and would show to be the worst teachers if they did value-added analysis) that are the obstacles.

- LVUSD recruited a CTLO (Chief Technology Learning Officer, I think) last year. So far his priorities have been to try to turn his support staff into a real department with accountability and skills (a tall order), and to fix problems with service and infrastructure. Unfortunately, he has such poor support from his staff, and he has spent so much time firefighting, that his true skills and capabilities are sitting on the shelf. The district should be working on plans to better use technology in the classroom while he's busy sticking band-aids on a broken system.

- The school board is actually fairly impressive in terms of being knowledgeable (at least 3 of them, anyway) and being very involved in the trenches with many of the projects that are going on.

Unfortunately, their ambitions and goals are very low. If they set the bar higher, so much more progress could be made much more quickly.

It would be cool if there was a backlash to their fundraising that said: "If you want my money, then you'll start doing X, Y & Z". Instead, rumors are that the 2 days of teacher professional development that the district traditionally sponsored will be cut from next year's budget (the program sucked anyways, but could be powerful if they believed in PD [Professional Development] and accountability... and if the state regulations didn't get in the way.

Did you know there is a type of credential (a grandfathered one) that says specifically that those teachers can not be required to do any professional development?

- regarding PD, a previously existing foundation supporting the district had sent teachers over the summer to a fairly decent program. The school district hasn't been very supportive. The foundation sponsored a presentation by those teachers during a holiday (I think it was Thanksgiving weekend), and no one from the district administration showed up.

It was impressive to see some teachers report on how they were trying to apply 21st century skills in the classroom. Except for those few teachers who attended, the benefits of that learning is lost to the district. The program offers DVDs of their entire week of seminars for $1000. It would be great to have it in the library for PD for the teachers, and have those teachers who are enthusiastic about it (who have in a sense been through a train-the-trainer program) teach at the next PD session with the district. Because of politics, this opportunity appears to be wasted.

- oh, there's so much more!

Should the “Mariposa” experiment be expanded or should the students be accommodated within “Sumac?” Based on the test results for 2010 (See reference links section below), there is little or no doubt in my mind that someone needs to take a good hard look at this program.

And from thousands of miles away …

An Open Letter to Grayslake School Board President, Mary Garcia

Mary Garcia ,President, Board of Education ;School District #46; Grayslake, IL

Let me say first that I’m not certain who was speaking on behalf of the school board in the videos of a recent meeting, so I have addressed this email to you as the board president – it may very well apply to one or more of the rest of the BOE, with the likely exception of Michael Carbone. He would appear to be the only person on the D46 school board who understands that the overused rhetoric which says you as a board do everything for the benefit of the student, is a blatant lie.

Most people would not argue the assumption that the focus of any school board is to address the effectiveness and optimization of learning for students, but that does not, by any stretch of the imagination, preclude your responsibility to respect the desires and resources of the taxpayers. They are an essential stakeholder in the realm of public education and you are totally out of line when you ignore and financially abuse them.

The arrogance and autocratic attitude that your board demonstrated in choosing to ignore fiscally responsible questions from board member Michael Carbone about teachers who may have been derelict in their duty to students and taxpayers should be viewed as a threat to taxpayers everywhere.

Who in the world do you think you are? Under what Constitution, if any, do you think you live? Michael Carbone was addressing an issue for which every single taxpayer in that district has a vested interest in knowing the truth. The board, however, obviously feels they live above and beyond the truth.

Those questions were answered quickly when it became known that you, Ms. Garcia, are a teacher in that same school district. You aren’t only a fox in the henhouse, but you are the fox who runs their own, personal henhouse. What bothered you most, Ms. Garcia? Was it your listening as a school board president, as a teacher in that same district, as an ideological liberal, or as an entitlement-driven union member who believes that being a parasite to taxpayers is your ‘right’? Sounds like you have some sizable conflicts of interest – none of which have anything to do with the support of the taxpayer or, as was painfully clear with the recent protests by Wisconsin teachers/union thugs who abandoned their students, the priority of your students.

Throw into this mix a guidance counselor Glenn Miller (for others wishing to address this less than august body, their email addresses at the embedded link). Miller sent out a rally cry to fellow entitlement hounds that citizens are coming to their senses in Wisconsin and that the Grayslake teacher union members needed to perform their ‘union duty’. Yet, somehow, the self-serving school board members felt it was Michael Carbone who was out of line.

Seems to me that the teachers made it quite clear that students and learning opportunities were secondary to the needs of the unions and their liberal leeches who are hell-bent on clinging to a benefit package that is mathematically unsustainable. Seems to me it’s everyone but Michael Carbone that should be censured and, in fact, removed from the school board.

Those of us who believe in personal responsibility and earning what we reap owe you and the rest of your board a debt of gratitude for awakening our senses.

It’s apparently your desire to wage war against the rest of society if we, as taxpayers and parents, refuse to submit to financial rape while at the same time having too many of your liberal brethren subject students to mind-numbing life lessons.

We accept your challenge and, further, will commit to ensuring that you and those like you will not succeed.

You and your ilk have put a stain on the reputation of those hardworking teachers who are committed to teaching young people how to learn, how to be self-responsible, and how to own their future.

Thanks for the wakeup call!

Rick Newton

Wayne, IL

Bottom line …

Both parents and taxpayers have respect for the hardworking teachers struggling to educate children – but little or no respect for a system which has become corrupt, self-serving and does a great disservice to both its students and the taxpayers they purport to serve.

Nobody begrudges school districts money to build modern facilities with the latest technology. But we sure as hell resent a custom-built school costing over $350 million dollars (three times a normal high school) to stroke the ego of a modern-art aficionado and billionaire with political influence. Who needs a $500 million high school complex at the site of one of the nation’s liberal tragedies (the assassination of Bobby Kennedy) to serve as a monument to progressive politics in an age of declining enrollment – and declining student achievement.

Or why should the taxpayer create a lifetime sinecure for teachers who really couldn’t make it in the private sector and barely demonstrate teaching ability and subject-matter competence in the public sector? Why am I depriving myself and my family of a vacation to provide teachers with lifetime employment (tenure), lifetime health benefits and a retirement that exceeds anything for equivalent professionals in the private sector?

We are pouring billions of dollars into educational ventures and receiving pennies for our troubles. Children who are functionally illiterate and drop-out of the educational system in record numbers. And a class of unionized public employees that believe that the world owes them a living in the tough economic times that affect us all.

It’s about time we took at look at how we are being taxed and how that money is flowing to those who are not getting the job done for our children.

Now is the time for change – that is if most parents can demand results and stop treating our school systems as some form of daycare.

-- steve

Reference Links …

STAR – California Standardized Testing And Reporting

There is little or no doubt in my mind that the Las Virgenes School District is a progressive-run institution. One glance at the edu-babble should be convincing enough.

From their website …

“The mission of the Las Virgenes Unified School District is to ensure that all programs are dedicated toward enhancing student achievement, and that each school is a humanistic organization, valuing students emotionally and academically, providing the highest quality education possible in a personalized environment. We aspire to enable each student to realize maximum potential as a responsible citizen who will enhance the community and society.:

So I went looking for exceptional results from a so-called “exceptional school” using a 4th grade filter. Unfortunately, the so-called exceptional school seemingly produced worse results than the “regular” school.

Mariposa …

2010 STAR Test Results -- Mariposa Elementary School; Las Virgenes Unified District: Mariposa Elementary School of School

Total Enrollment on First Day of Testing: 64; Total Number Tested: 64

CST English-Language Arts – Grade 4 – 32% (Basic level or below basic)

CST Mathematics – Grade 4 – 32% (Basic level or below basic)

From their website …

“Our Mission is to create a learning environment in a public school setting where social-emotional and academic development are equally valued and viewed as integral predictors of our children's success. We will strive to instill in our children the value of a global education including world studies and environmental education in a place where visual and performing arts are basic ingredients. All the while we will preserve the sanctity of childhood and individuality through a developmental, experiential, and standards-based curriculum that fosters creativity in teaching and learning.”

Sumac …

2010 STAR Test Results -- Sumac Elementary School; Las Virgenes Unified District : Sumac Elementary School

Total Enrollment on First Day of Testing: 306; Total Number Tested: 302

CST English-Language Arts – Grade 4 – 13% (Basic level, below basic or far below basic)

CST Mathematics – Grade 4 – 21% (Basic level or below basic)

From their website …

“To promote 21st century learning that goes above and beyond our standards-based instructional program in an effort to elevate global literacy for our students through Language immersion and STEM.

"L" - Dual-Language (English/Spanish) will be offered at the Kindergarten level in the Fall and will roll up through each year through 5th grade.
"S" - Science will be presented through hands-on units and integrated throughout the curriculum at all grade levels.
"T" - Technology is infused into all curricular areas through systematic technological instruction, schoolwide use of Mobi Boards, Student Response Systems (clickers), state-of-the-art computer labs, and student laptops.
"E" - Engineering will be integrated into the instructional program utilizing the Engineering Design Process: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve.
"M" – Mathematics will involve whole-brain learning with an emphasis on real-world application and will cross other curricular areas.”

Without trying to be snarky …

Why would you teach “globalism” and then concentrate on the Spanish Language? I am unaware of any important business or scientific achievements coming from Spanish-speaking countries. Most foreign countries are teaching their students English – the language of Science and Commerce. Perhaps these students might be better off learning either Chinese or Russian – or possibly French if they want to be effete government employees?

It appears, at least to me, that the concentration on Spanish is not only to accommodate illegal aliens, but also to bump the salaries of those unionized teachers who may be Spanish speakers. My suggestion is to test the language proficiency, teaching ability and subject-matter competence of all teachers before giving them promotions or pay raises.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



It's not for the children -- it's for the unionized progressive teachers ...

I believe that our future depends on an educated population that is prepared to compete on a global basis. However, I also believe that both school administrators and teachers’ unions have conspired to create a protected class of public employee that is exempt from all of life’s problems. Guaranteed life-long employment, healthcare, benefits and a retirement that will provide benefits as if they were working full time. That the education system has been manipulated by political special interests who have been sucking money out of the classroom. In many cases funding unbelievable building programs and the implementation of “special” programs which earn kudos from fellow educators and the media – but which do little or nothing to educate our children.

There is no doubt that our union-dominated school systems have turned out decades of functional illiterates. Pandering to the latest and greatest educational theories or teaching a form of political activism rather than reading, writing, arithmetic, history, civics and critical thinking. We have seen the progressives implement whack-job theories which promoted “new math” where the correct answer was almost irrelevant to the solution of the problem, “whole language learning” in which time-tested phonics was replaced by contextual story telling and other programs stressed positive feelings rather than the harsh reality of failure. Failure which often drives greater efforts to perform at higher levels in order to escape the consequences of shame and the negative opinion of your peers. It is a fact of life that not everybody deserves to get the blue ribbon.

So while I do think that parents should donate time, effort and money to their local schools, I do resent any attempt by school districts to hold students hostage by fighting against school vouchers, using children to lobby parents and using school funds to lobby for funds – the most of which will never make it into the classroom to benefit children.

So, I cannot believe that I received a letter from my local school district urging me to lobby my state’s elected officials to “protect schools from further cuts” and to make a “tax deductible” donation to an organization which is identified only as “our district’s Save our Schools campaign.”

I discussed this matter with a friend who has significant experience with educational matters and, in particular, this school district. His suggestion was to return the mailer with a suggestion that the school district allow teachers to indicate which among them are the least effective and abuse benefits, including workman's’ compensation – and cut these teachers loose. A common-sense solution that makes sense in these economically-challenged times.

Here are some of the excerpts from the letter …

Last week, the Las Virgenes Unified School District's Board of Education was forced to initiate the
statutory "layoff process" noticing over 50 bright, enthusiastic and committed teachers and counselors. The word "forced" is the most accurate representation of what our board and boards throughout the state are confronted with following years of draconian cuts from the state and threats of even larger cuts in the future.

Our b0ard, working collaboratively with all stakeholders, has managed to delay what is seemingly the inevitable confrontation between insufficient resources and our mission to provide a world-class education for every child who attends our schools. The $10 million that LVUSD has lost in state funding over the past three years has been mitigated through careful management of one-time federal monies, significant reductions in administration, and restructuring of traditional programs in to more innovative 21st century models. Although the cuts have been painful, they have spurred creative thinking and out of the box solutions resulting in experimentation with new ways to deliver instruction, more utilization of technology, and re-purposing of under-utilized facilities.

Despite the challenges presented by these previous budget cuts, our educational offerings and achievements have expanded. At the elementary level, families can choose a dual-immersion foreign language program, a Waldorf-inspired school, and a global and community-awareness school; and at
the secondary level, the options for students now include an International Baccalaureate program and a Media and Technology Academy. Our schools continue to win state and national honors in music and our graduates are accepted at the most prestigious universities in the country.

What can you do? On a statewide basis, educate relatives and friends in other assembly and senate districts and urge them to contact their legislators to protect schools from further cuts. Locally, please donate to our district's Save Our Schools campaign to enable our Board to rescind as many layoffs as
possible by our May 15 deadline
. If you've already donated, thank you. If you have yet to donate, please visit our website at <link removed> and make your tax deductible contribution to keep our schools a valuable asset to the community and, more importantly, protect the future for our children. If you would prefer to mail in your donation, we have enclosed a remit form and a postage-paid, return envelope for your convenience.

Join us as we continue to do "great things for kids."

Sincerely,

Donald M. Zimring, Ph.D.
Superintendent

P.S. Please don't wait to make your tax-deductible contribution of $100, $500, $1,000 or the highest amount you can afford. You can be an important part of the solution. Thanks again!

While I am pleased that the district has been recognized for state and national honors in music, I would have been more pleased if this letter noted state and national honors in science and mathematics. Or if the letter had substantially less edu-babble and more understandable prose.

The letter bears the letterhead of the Las Virgenes School District. There is no indication that this is being sent by a “support group” and there is a statement that “The Las Virgenes Unified School District Tax ID# is <number deleted>.

Does this letter suggest that funds are being manipulated within the school system. Somehow using tax-exempt donations to offset personnel costs? How can this legally be done?

Look at the progressive educational babble that is supposed to impress us all …

Let’s see what the Waldorf-inspired school might be?

Waldorf education (also known as Steiner or Steiner-Waldorf education) is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based upon the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Learning is interdisciplinary, integrating practical, artistic, and conceptual elements. The approach emphasizes the role of the imagination in learning, developing thinking that includes a creative as well as an analytic component. The educational philosophy's overarching goals are to provide young people the basis on which to develop into free, morally responsible and integrated individuals, and to help every child fulfill his or her unique destiny, the existence of which anthroposophy posits. Schools and teachers are given considerable freedom to define curricula within collegial structures. <Source>

What the hell does this mean?

This is the type of edu-babble that makes me crazy. It is a progressive free-form teaching method which allows educators to define both the curricula and the measurements which prove its effectiveness. Sort of like accepting the fact that teachers know how to teach and have a certain level of subject-matter competence without actually testing that ability and competence. Unfortunately, it appears that it is a method by which ideological progressives can indoctrinate other progressives.

An unasked question …

Are the scholastic achievements a function of the teacher’s efforts or the area’s demographics (rich, upper middle class) which produce more involved parents and more motivated students.

Capture2-23-2011-3.27.17 PM3-20-2011-3.02.42 PM

As much as it seems “racist” to cite the obvious, it appears that this school district does not suffer greatly from the problems that affect the inner cities or are being inundated with the poorly-prepared illegal aliens who drag all district scoring averages and individual school performance downward.

A question of discipline, parental involvement and motivation …

I am here to tell you that motivated parents who supervise their children’s activity produce the best students and the best educational outcomes. Those parents who do not have time for their children or are unable to help them understand their lessons, do not value education, and are oblivious to the child’s behavior in the home, outside and in school, are associated with poor educational outcomes. Not in every case, but in enough cases to be statistically significant.

Bottom line …

I do not even know if it is legal for a school district to use district funds to lobby parents on political issues – even of a general nature – or solicit non-profit contributions for the purposes of retaining teachers. And, I wonder exactly how does a non-profit, tax exempt institution transfer tax-free money to a salary account? Or legally manipulate the finances of a school district to benefit personnel.

I value education … but not the sort of progressive education that is being taught today by teachers who are comfortably isolated from the consequences of the economy and their own actions in educating children.

I will donate materials which can be used in the classroom, but I will not donate a damn dime to preserve any teacher’s job as long as they are exempt from competency testing, an annual performance review and the consequences of life.

-- steve

Reference Links …

API Statistics

A little background …

If you wonder why I hate edu-babble, here is an example of some definitions used in the “Waldorf” description. It is almost as if the blind was leading the blind (no offense) and the inmates have taken over the asylum (again, no offense). Why should we pay teachers $60,000 – $100,000 to serve as facilitators when almost any educated parent could lead the discussion on “feelings.” This is all about teaching progressivism – collectivism instead of the individuality which built our nation. Turning out government worker-bees rather than independent, strong entrepreneurs.

Humanistic approach -- broad term that encompasses three main approaches (Kirschenbaum 1975):

  • Humanistic content curricula - Teaching topics that are directly relevant to the students' lives (e.g. drugs awareness)
  • Humanistic process curricula - Focuses on the whole student and can include teaching assertiveness training, for example.
  • Humanistic school and group structures - restructuring the whole timetable and school environment in order to facilitate humanistic teaching or just individual classes. The approach includes:

    On a school level - open classrooms, class meetings and finding alternative ways of assessment.

    • On a class level:
      • Students exercise choice and control over activities
      • Curriculum focuses on what the children are concerned about.
      • Focus on life skills - thinking skills combined with social skills (e.g. sharing and communicating). Co-operative learning
      • Self-evaluation and self-monitoring
      • Teacher becomes a facilitator.

Instructional implications of humanistic theory – Student-centered teaching, social personal development. De-emphasize rigorous, performance-oriented, test-dominated approaches. Provide opportunity for success. Discovery learning. Respects student’s feelings and aspirations. Right to self-determination. <Source>

Pedagogy -- the study of being a teacher or the process of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction. <Source>

Anthroposophy -- a philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner, postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development. More specifically, it aims to develop faculties of perceptive imagination, inspiration and intuition through cultivating a form of thinking independent of sensory experience <Source>


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



Trump for president?

If I had to select one person who actually stood for quality, value and luxury, instead of superficiality, in real estate, I would select Steve Wynn -- and come to think about it, he would make an infinitely better President of the United States than "The Donald!"


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



What the Islamic Kings and Mullahs really fear …

No, it is not the United States – especially as it is being led by Barack Obama.

It is progress and the pictures of the outside world that are being transmitted daily to the young men and women who see how people of their own age are living in other lands – and they begin to wonder why they are forced to live in perpetual servitude to old men who rule arrogantly and with a ruthless, merciless hand.

The greatest destabilization force in the Saudi Kingdom would be pictures of the Princes drinking booze, cavorting with hookers and living a wild and profligate lifestyle in places like London, Gstaad and other party spots in the world that cater to the rich and famous. No wonder the King is showering his people with BILLIONS of dollars – after all he seems to have bought off the terrorists by financing their fanatical mosques around the world. Heaven only knows what they are able to purchase with Saudi money.

There will be a day of reckoning … and it will come sooner rather than later as more people find that the Islamic news is suppressing the real news – and the behavior of their leaders.

-- steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



ICANN: .XXX domain approved ...

Hooray: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has just announced its approval of the .xxx domain for adult web sites after years of ignoring the idea.

Why it makes sense …

How simple can it be, isolate all sexual material under a single top-level domain that would allow those who are not interested in such materials or who want to protect their families to set a single filter entry.

It would provide law enforcement with a new tool to apply existing laws to the Internet and it would significantly reduce sexual-oriented spam.

Who is opposed …

Of course, the religious crazies on the right don’t want this top-level domain solution because, according to them, it makes porn too easy to find.

And those on the other side, the socialist crazies on the left don’t want this top-level domain solution because, according to them, it would abridge your free speech rights.

The spammers and purveyors of sexually-oriented materials who will see a decrease in traffic.

Not to mention that the largest corporations in America do not want this top-level domain solution for obvious reasons – anything which cuts their hosting, connection and transport income is bad for business. Porn is a big “billion dollar” business.

Who benefits …

The Internet domain name registrar as companies flock to obtain the best .xxx names and trade the names among themselves much as a stock is traded. Imagine the value for such names as playboy.xxx etc.

And the Internet community as a whole.

Bottom line …

Consumers and the world’s ‘netizens were the big winners today.

-- steve

Reference Links …

The Details Can Be Found Here|ICANN

The Rationale | ICANN

“EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The .XXX sTLD issue has been debated within ICANN for years. Since shortly after the 2004 introduction of the request for proposals for sTLDs, the ICANN Board has been faced with several contentious debates and decisions on ICM Registry’s application. The ICANN community has engaged in extensive debate as well, with this single issue generating higher volumes of community comment than nearly any other issue ever faced within ICANN. Consideration of the .XXX sTLD has tested the resiliency of ICANN, its commitment to adhere to its accountability mechanisms, and has brought to the forefront issues of how the Board considers and addresses advice from the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



What I Don't understand about the GOP ...

If you do not like the destination, why would you get on the bus and voluntarily pay the fare?

And once you arrive, did it not occur to you beforehand that you would need to retrace your path -- spending time and money just to return to the point of origin before you could begin to make progress in moving toward your chosen destination?

But then again I suppose if you didn't have a destination in mind in the first place, it really doesn't matter where you start, how far you go or how much you paid.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS



OBAMA: RAISING POLITICAL FUNDS ON THE BACKS OF SCHOOLCHILDREN ...

Before reading Barack Obama’s latest communiqué and fundraising request, I want you to consider the following:

(1) It’s not for the children as it appears that most of the taxpayer’s money that is designated for education is allocated to school administration and personnel and very little makes it to the classroom. Witness teachers continually complaining about having to purchase school supplies for their classrooms out of their own pockets.

(2) It is about supporting the public employee unions that provide a substantial amount of support to democrat candidates and causes. The very same unions who protect incompetent teachers and those who are found to be sexual predators. The very same unions which mandate work rules which preclude parental volunteerism in almost every classroom and office category except fundraising.

(3) If it were about the children, why do today’s children have the worst literacy in decades – pumped out by teachers more interested in teaching political activism, political correctness, multi-culturalism and moral equivalency than the basics: reading, writing, arithmetic, history, civics and critical thinking.

(4) Why is it that the money collected by this latest e-mail blast will be used for political purposes – to support Barack Obama and his progressive cronies rather than for education.

(5) As for Obama’s promise to take action – what has this man actually done outside of the basketball court and golf links that would indicate personal involvement in the issues of our times. Obama has managed to outsource everything to others in Congress and his Administration; throwing people under the bus if things don’t work out as intended.

(6) Obama is being dishonest and disingenuous when he offers to make budgetary cuts. One, Obama has little or no influence on the actual budgeting process other than the power of the veto; and two, his previously hyper-inflated budgets are so out of line, that any cut would only endorse more radical spending and reward those who are throwing money at public employees and special interest to curry favor in the 2012 election cycle.

What they are saying …

Organizing for America

Friend --

President Obama said this week that any budget that sacrifices a commitment to education is a budget that sacrifices our future: "And I will not let it happen."

Here's why he's taking a stand:

The cuts in the House Republican budget to education would be devastating for teachers, students, and families -- costing 55,000 jobs, slashing financial aid for 8 million college kids, and dropping hundreds of thousands from Head Start, an early-education program proven to help low-income children graduate high school.

This week, the House passed another short-term extension of the federal budget that will fund the government through early April -- between now and then, we need to find common ground.

President Obama is committed to commonsense spending cuts that allow us to live within our means without sacrificing key investments that will help us win the future.

With your support today, we can redouble our campaign for a responsible budget as the deadline nears, with OFA volunteers calling lawmakers and hand-delivering petitions to congressional offices.

Together, we'll work to make sure that every family, principal, teacher, and student across the country understands that critical funding for education is at stake -- and what they can do about it.

Please donate $3 or more today to support Organizing for America and fight to protect our investments in education.

House Republicans are proposing reckless cuts that would undo our progress on health reform, prevent the EPA from protecting our air and water, and hurt our economy and job creation.

The cuts are particularly bad for education, and when we're talking about investing in children and schools, we're talking about investing in our future.
If the House Republican budget cuts are adopted:

-- More than 16,000 classrooms would close;

-- 55,000 teachers would lose their jobs;

-- Nearly 200,000 pre-kindergarten children would lose access to Head Start; and

-- More than 8 million college students currently receiving tuition assistance would see their Pell Grants cut.

The budget the President signs must have bipartisan support, but he's made it clear it also must invest in -- not sacrifice -- education.

Anything less is irresponsible and not worthy of our children.

Your support today will ensure all Americans understand what's at stake. We'll stand together and support the President as he tries once again to reach common ground with Republicans.

But we need your help.

Please donate $3 or more to support Organizing for America today: <link deleted>

Thanks for standing up for teachers, kids, and jobs.

Mitch

Mitch Stewart
Director
Organizing for America

Bottom line …

Education is already well-funded. And this does not seem to be making a difference. Witness the $20 BILLION construction budget of the Los Angeles Unified School Districts whose hundred million dollar (many are much more) schools produce the same level of dropouts and functionally illiterate children as before – even with dumbing down the test requirements to provide protection for those who continue to destroy our children’s future.

While Obama and the Congressional democrats loudly claim that education is needed to secure our children’s future – they continue to tolerate the malfeasance of the teachers’ unions who have created this educational crisis. They have taken steps to kill voucher programs or any other initiative which would bring competition into the school system.

Education is a local issue and the federal government should no longer be concerned with school finances. They should restrict their activities to setting standards and insuring those standards are met. Not buying off local schools with federal dollars.

And last, but not least, we need to avoid giving lifetime employment, medical benefits and retirement programs which exceed those found in the private sector.

We need to elect honest brokers to serve “We the People.” Unfortunately, Obama and his progressive democrat cronies are among the worst of the worst when it comes to corruption, waste and fraud.

-- steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS