Don't petition the White House, Use Change.org

Don’t petition the White House, Use Change.org

Nov 18, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments
Secessionists. I first want to say thank you for finally learning something from history. The last time so many desired to rid themselves of a tyrannical president they declared war on the Union. Thus, your use of a peaceful means through petitions on the White House’s site is commendable. Furthermore, each state now finds themselves represented by a petition and signatures from people possibly wanting to secede from the United States. Texas leads the way with more than 100,000 people asking the White House to address the issue. This is the same state governed by Rick Perry who drummed up his base of supporters with calls for seceding prior to his Republican bid for President. The irony seemed lost on him. Governor Perry is obviously not a viable option to lead the cause. He hardly put up a fight against a weak group seeking his party’s nomination. I also question...
The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The whole campaign season did not just depend upon the presidential race that finally came to an end last night. Yes, the country voted clearly to give Barack Obama another four years in the White House. He received more than 50 percent of the vote and won handily in the electoral college. Yet, it is what happened down the ballot that shows the nation’s move toward progressive values. It appears that Democrats will pick up a couple seats in the lower chamber but the real change happened on the senatorial level. Voters said no way to Republicans Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock after they attempted to scapegoat women and downplay the trauma of rape and sexual abuse. Furthermore, women won in Massachusetts, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Wisconsin for their first terms. All four of them will be more progressive legislators than their predecessors. In Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin will be the...
Republicans, Rape, Life, and Control of Women

Republicans, Rape, Life, and Control of Women

Oct 24, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments
During last night’s Indiana Senate debate the Republican candidate, Richard Mourdock, did more than stick his foot in his mouth. I believe life begins at conception. The only exception I have for to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen. Mourdock joined a club made exclusively of Republicans but a club that seems to be growing as the November election nears. Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh made a reprehensible comment about exceptions for the life of the mother following his debate. “There is no such exception. With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance.” Complete crap as this woman explains. Of course who can forget Missouri...

Why you should be against Michelle Rhee too

Oct 18, 2011 Aaron Krager No Comments

My petitions on Change.org and Care2.com have passed 250 and 100 signatures, respectively. In the mean time I have received a few emails saying good work and a few more asking why? Both petition sites are progressive enterprises allowing every day people like myself to start a petition and have others sign it demanding an entity change their actions. A man in San Francisco started one asking the San Francisco Giants to make a “It Get’s Better” video – they did. Stuff like that.

Michelle Rhee’s organization Students First utilizes both sites for their own goals in changing the face of education. They call it reform but in all honesty it is a reform progressives and people who care about children’s education should be against. While her organization’s title is a cleaver play on our heartstrings, allow me to show you otherwise.

A new report reveals just how true my long held believe really is… our schools are being starved of funds creating a fake problem thus allowing private enterprise to provide the solution. Seems a little kooky but the evidence is there to support it.

The first factor: New austerity budgets passed by state legislatures are starting to have a huge influence on direct services to children, youth, and families. There is widespread evidence that the education funding cuts are leading to:

  • Massive cuts to early childhood education programs (pre-K and kindergarten);
  • Huge class sizes in many subjects, reaching levels that are upsetting parents and potentially damaging students’ education;
  • An end to art, music, physical education, and other subjects considered to be part of a well-rounded education;
  • Cuts in specialized programs and/or hefty fees for them. Some of these programs serve students with developmental issues or those who need more individualized attention. They also include extra-curricular activities such as band and sports as well as academic offerings in science, foreign language, technology, and Advanced Placement subjects.

The second factor: As public schools are grappling with these severe budget cuts to programs, they also are facing enormous pressure to transfer tax dollars to targets outside traditional public education. New policy mandates at the federal and state levels are forcing public school systems to redirect tax dollars meant for public schools to various privately held concerns such as charter schools, private and religious schools, and contractors and companies tasked with setting up new systems for testing and accountability.

In Chicago TIF districts are doing just this and more by diverting property taxes into accounts to lure (read: bribe) companies to move or stay in the area.

This funding problem gives “reform” advocates a venue to promote different solutions than properly funding public education. Take vouchers for example. A further degradation to funding for public schools vouchers are what conservatives like to call a government handout so a child can go to a private or charter school (sometimes run for-profit and almost always non-union teachers). Rhee has been doing just this with Tea Party backed Governors in Florida and Pennsylvania.

Rhee has made appearances promoting these ideas with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Betsy Devos (of Amway riches), who has advocated for private schools with her millions of dollars. So first we have conservative ideals in her so called reform organization promoted on progressive sites.

Next – she is actually a fraud. Rhee garnered fame for magically transforming Washington D.C. schools by putting pressure on teachers to up student scores on standardized tests. Improve them or be fired… hell she fired a principal on camera for a documentary and it was her idea.

the firebrand former chancellor best known for firing teachers, closing underperforming schools, and linking teacher and principal pay to student test scores. Such irregularities are, in part, the unintended consequence of a spate of popular education reform policies that over-rationalize teaching and learning—both of which are creative processes—by measuring them almost exclusively through the results of multiple-choice standardized tests.

Unintended consequences is nice way of putting it. Placing that pressure on anyone gives any field those results. It is not the way to improve teaching but a way to guarantee cheating in order for people to keep their jobs. A USA Today investigation found extreme irregularities in wrong to right erasures on standardized tests. Rhee was in charge at the time and supposedly found no wrong-doing.

USA Today reports that Rhee at first resisted Gist’s suggestion that she look into the irregularities, but eventually, in 2009, hired an outside consulting company to conduct a cursory investigation, which ended up absolving every school of wrongdoing. Meanwhile, under Rhee’s controversial merit pay program, principals of eight schools with high erasure rates received annual bonuses of up to $10,000 for boosting student test score averages by as much as 48 points. Classroom teachers at the schools were eligible for an additional $8,000 in pay each year.

Yeah right! As Steven Leavitt of Freaknomics fame puts it: given the chance a small percentage of people will cheat. This is what happened here at the helm of Michelle Rhee.

It is time to kick Michelle Rhee’s false progressive petitions off these sites.

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