"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, February 28, 2019

What Cohen Knows That Dems Don't

There's a universe of things that convicted felon, Michael Cohen, doesn't know, but after ten years of fealty to a cultist, there is one unsavory bit of life that Cohen does know, inside and out: Donald Trump.  

Cohen knows, in fact, that Trump, the classic necrophilous personality, would rather have dead what he cannot have alive, and that is the message Cohen left with the Oversight Committee yesterday.
“My loyalty to Mr. Trump has cost me everything: my family’s happiness, friendships, my law license, my company, my livelihood, my honor, my reputation and, soon, my freedom. And I will not sit back, say nothing, and allow him to do the same to the country,” Cohen said at the hearing’s closing. “Indeed, given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power, and this is why I agreed to appear before you today.”
Cohen's message should give pause to those Democrats who want to "play it safe" and avoid the Constitutional demand for impeachment hearings that they fear Republicans will exploit to their political advantage.  

Impeachment or indictment may be the last options before opening the door to a violent political future.  These are the tough decisions that we elected Democrats to make, and it is only through their leadership and courage that the Republic can be given another chance to renew itself without the spilling of blood.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Tennessee Children (and Adults) Beware of Blackburn Lies

Marsha Blackburn's weekly "Blackburn Report" offers clear signs that Tennessee's new U. S. Senator will send current awareness levels in the state to a new low.  From the example below, it's obvious that Marsha plans to use Trump-level lies to scare and misinform her poor constituents into supporting the malignant agenda of her billionaire political patrons.  

From banning beef cattle to raising gas prices to killing countless Tennessee jobs, the “Green New Deal” would drag our state’s economy into the red if it ever became law. This week, I penned a column on the dangers of this socialist plan for Tennessee’s most productive industries like agriculture, energy, and logistics. I hope Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asks the Senate to vote on the Green New Deal as soon as possible. I will proudly be the first senator in line to vote against this ludicrous plan. When it is defeated, I will celebrate with my family by enjoying some juicy, delicious burgers.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

40 of TN's 112 Charter Schools in Bottom 10 Percent of Schools

Tennessee has its own billionaire-funded non-profit “think” tank to push the school privatization agenda in the state.  It’s called the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), and among financial backers are the “Hyde Family Foundation, the Ayers Foundation, and the Benwood Foundation. National supporters include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.”

When state officals or state legislators need data to justify their bashing of educators and public schools for the performance levels that are guaranteed by low state funding and high poverty, they turn to SCORE.  SCORE’s president, David Mansouri, has an MBA from Vandy and is a founding board member of a Nashville charter school, where he still serves as Chairman of the Board.   It’s hardly a surprise, then, that one of SCORE’s top priorities is to increase the number of charter schools in the state, even as charter schools come under increasing scrutiny for corruption and low performance.

Tennessee’s senior U. S. senator, Lamar Alexander, was instrumental in passage of federal legislation that guaranteed continued high stakes testing and a continuing supply of vulnerable public schools that will be targeted for charter conversion. Under the ESSA federal statute, the state’s lowest performing schools (bottom 5 percent) each year are subject to charter conversion, and the bottom ten percent are put on a state priority warning list.

Ironically, the charter school “solution” has become part of the poor performance problem.   In examining the rankings of Tennessee’s K-12 schools, I discovered 40 of Tennessee’s 112 charter schools that are in the bottom 10 percent of the state’s K-12 publicly-funded schools.  This would, in effect, make these 40 charters eligible for intervention under the ESSA federal statute that was designed to provide an ongoing supply of public schools for charter conversion.  Almost half (55 of 112) are in the bottom 20 percent of state schools.  

Here is the list 40 charters in the bottom 10 percent of schools:

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