CPS Teacher’s Union Fights Everything

Having absolutely no logic to defend their position:

With a 90-day deadline on negotiations with the teachers union having passed, Chicago Public Schools can implement a teacher evaluation system that will see student performance count for 25 percent of an elementary school teacher’s assessment, a figure that will rise to 40 percent in five years.

The Chicago Teachers Union has opposed such significant weight on student performance, but even at its highest the CPS proposal for student performance is less than the 50 percent used in states such as Colorado, Tennessee and Ohio.

via Chicago Tribune.

So we’re still going to be behind other states, but yet CTU is still fighting it:

“We don’t disagree on every aspect, but we don’t agree on the plan as a whole,” said CTU’s lead negotiator, Carol Caref.  Currently, teachers are evaluated using a checklist that both principals and teachers have called useless.

I see, the current system sucks and everyone knows it’s worthless but whatever you do, don’t include student performance in any new evaluation method.

Caref said the union thinks having student performance count for 40 percent is too high because of concerns about the test data’s reliability. He said the union believes it’s a mistake to implement a new evaluation system without first trying it on a pilot basis to identify any problems.

Ya, problems like it may show that teachers that suck have been given the green light to continue to not educate children year after year after year.  That would be a problem for the Union.

Big win for the children though.

CTU can’t die soon enough.  CPS has completely failed generations of students nearly entirely as a result of CTU pushing it’s significant weight around.  Can’t evaluate teachers… shear nonsense.

CPS lost it’s moral imperative years ago.  We as a people owe it to our children to build a competitive network of schools which give parents a real choice — a voice — in their children’s education.

If we’re really all in this together, then All Schools are Public Schools.

Building a New Chicago

I was skeptical of Rahm coming in as mayor.  But as time goes by I’m getting more and more impressed by his ability to take on the unions, manipulate the media, get things done, outmaneuver worthless alderman, and most importantly develop and articulate his vision for the city.  (It appears that) He gets it.   You can say a great number of things about Rahm Emanuel; but you can’t say that he doesn’t think big.

There are several stories out this week about Rahm’s Building a New Chicago plan.

Unveiling a plan for “Building a New Chicago,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday promoted a package of infrastructure initiatives that included very little that was new — except for its $7 billion price tag and its ambitious framing as a mission comparable to the city’s rebuilding after the Great Chicago Fire.

via Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune’s piece quotes local hacks:

“It was a State of the Union speech in Chicago.  I think it was a good blueprint for Chicago’s future.”
— Alderman Richard Mell (33rd Ward)

… and the not so hacky:

“I think this speech was aimed toward Chicagoans in general, and aimed toward business, because actually, these types of pronouncements are out there to encourage businesses to say, ‘I’m thinking of coming to Chicago, I want to open a place in Chicago, I want to do business in or with Chicago.’  These are all speeches geared toward making us an attractive option in a very global economy.”
— Alderman Patrick O’Conner (40th Ward)

This is where the Sun-Times nails it:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday urged major airlines squeezed by skyrocketing fuel prices to come to the table a year early and negotiate a fourth new runway at O’Hare Airport as part of a $7.3 billion plan to rebuild Chicago’s infrastructure and create 30,000 jobs.

via Chicago Sun-Times.


It’s almost as an afterthought it mentions some of the other projects, the story’s nearly last paragraph:

Other projects include: fixing 26 miles of CTA slow zones and renovating, repairing or rebuilding 100 CTA stations over the next ten years; building a new Green Line station at 22nd and Cermak; acquiring 180 acres of park land over five years and building 12 new parks, 20 new playgrounds, and eight artificial turf fields; building a new Malcolm X College and a new classroom building at Olive-Harvey College.

Companies will come to Chicago because of O’Hare.  People will want to live here because of O’Hare.

Rahm’s not wrong to make the comparisons to rebuilding after the Chicago Fire.  The Chicago Fire permitted the city to change the entire layout of the downtown area, build Grant Park, move the stockyards, and become a the Midwest rail transportation center for the country.  St. Louis could have easily bested Chicago due to it’s Mississippi River and centralized rail center location.  It was the Chicago Fire that really permitted Chicago to become what it was… not St. Louis.

Airplanes are today’s rail cars.

Miami International put together an interesting document which ranks airports for 2010:


  • Total Passengers  –  O’Hare  is 2nd
  • International Passengers  –  O’Hare is 5th
  • Total Cargo  –  O’Hare is 5th
  • Total Freight  –  O’Hare is 5th
  • International Freight  –  O’Hare is 4th
  • Total Aircraft Movements  –  O’Hare is 2nd

O’Hare is the lifeline we need to dig out of the hole we’ve (Daley’s) made for ourselves.  It’s right to prepare O’Hare for the next 50 years of service when we’re going to ask more of it.

The plan’s not perfect.  But perfect if the enemy of good.

#KillZimmerman: The Left is Silent

On March 24 a “KillZimmerman” Twitter account began publishing calls for violence against George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26.

Five days later, the account is still on its crusade to avenge Martin.

The sender’s initial tweets made his or her aims clear: “No Justice No Peace!!!!!!!!!! #KILLZIMMERMAN #KILLZIMMERMAN #KILLZIMMERMAN,” they read.

via The Daily Caller.

This is a problem.

Yesterday there was a post over at Althouse about how someone had taken a poll about the Martin/Zimmerman issue.  A Poll!!  We do NOT use POLLS to determine if someone is innocent or guilty!!

We are a nation of laws.  Our system is not perfect; but it does work.

And where is the MSM on this?  Where’s the left on this?

When Gabrielle Giffords was shot the MSM & the left were everywhere jumping up-and-down that it was all Sarah Palin’s fault.  Palin — love her or hate her — never, in any way, called for Giffords to be killed.

Here, this person is actually publicly calling for the assassination of another person.  Somehow that’s acceptable?  Is this really who we’ve become?

Spain – The New Greece (and we’re next)

Spanish trade unions are holding a general strike across the country today to protest new labor reforms, and by all accounts it has been a largely peaceful protest.

While for the most part conditions on the ground are relatively normal, photos from Madrid, Barcelona, and Pamplona indicated that some young protestors are escalating the angst, painting symbols supporting anarchy on walls, and causing small bouts of destruction.

Such events are reminiscent of similar protests in Syntagma Square, Greece, where groups of youthful protestors turned riotous despite generally calm strikes.

Two major points give us particular trepidation: the fact that these and similar protests closely resemble early protests in Greece a few years ago—when almost no one realistically considered the possibility of a Greek debt restructuring—and the sheer scale of Spanish youth unemployment.

As in Greece, young people have been seen as responsible for escalating peaceful political protests to violent riots. Spain’s unemployment data suggest that protests there could eventually be much larger—nearly half of young people are already unemployed and they face a tough future and a shrinking social safety net amid economic contraction and austerity measures.

via Business Insider.

For sixty years liberals and academics have been telling us to be more like Europe.  This has been a mistake.

The only way for our youth (especially minority youth) is to improve our schools, reduce government waste, and grow the private sector so our newly educated children can get jobs.  But our schools are current not providing the education needed in order to succeed.  That needs to change.

In the meantime… we need the unions, religion, politicians, and community organizers to begin an honest dialog — toning down the language (e.g. denouncing the #KillZimmerman hashtag) and finding productive ways to work together instead of just yelling at each other.

Starbucks’ Bugs … Ya, Bugs!

Bet’cha didn’t know:

Starbucks is getting backlash from the vegan community after changing how it colors its Strawberry Frappuccino, reports Bruce Horovitz at USA Today.

It’s using ground up cochineal beetles.

Gross, right? Perhaps, but the type of food coloring is government-approved and widely used throughout the food industry.

via Business Insider.

To see a slide show of the bug to dye process click here.

UPDATE:  Oh ya, forgot.  For more gross stuff that you eat everyday — like fish bladders, sand, human hair, and you won’t believe what beaver anal glands — click here.

Kuryente: Ya, I Never Heard of it Either

One Tagalog word for which no exact translation in English exists is “kuryente.” It literally means “electric current,” but the word can be applied to the practice of spreading sensational but faked news in order to produce a media jolt. One newspaper translates “kuryente” as “a bum steer”; others have rendered it as “actually but not really” or “confirmed but not definite.” At any rate, the phrase applies perfectly to the storm of bogus rumors swirling around the Trayvon Martin media feeding frenzy. The Daily Mail reports:

Fake Will Smith tweet about Trayvon Martin sweeps the internet  — and Spike Lee retweets wrong address for George Zimmerman. … Man tweeting as Will Smith tweeted angry post about no justice for Trayvon — Spike Lee retweeted incorrect Florida address for Trayvon’s killer, George Zimmerman — Man posing as Will Ferrell also tweeted about high-profile case.

Americans are no stranger to the phrase “fake but accurate.” But kuryente takes things to another level where the lie becomes the truth; or worse, to where nobody can tell the difference.

The couple who actually live at the address which Spike Lee wrongly believed to belong to George M. Zimmerman now fear for their lives. The address was actually associated with the electoral roll of a different Zimmerman — George A. Zimmerman — though of course such fine distinctions are lost in the wash. As for the “Will Smith” tweets, the author of his missives is actually a “white man from Nashville, Tennessee.”  Nor is Will Ferrell the Will Ferrell — his spokesman says his tweet was a hoax.

Not that it will make any difference. The main thing about faked news is that it shouldn’t matter whether it is in the slightest degree true. It is far more important for the news to confirm what we want to hear: our deepest suspicions about our neighbor or our wildest vanities about ourselves. People will believe it because they want to. As for the truth, well what about it?

Even the most basic facts becomes surprisingly irrelevant. Media Matters, for example, apologized to Matt Drudge after accusing him of being a “racist demagogue” for running a fake photo of the victim — only to discover it was actually a real photo. You would have thought Media Matters would know true from fake to play the fact-check game, but really, why would factuality be important?

Winston Churchill once observed that “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” The immense power of kuryente consists in that it operates in the world of myth. It does not belong in the universe of fact. Hence what happened when, who liked what, what reasons there were for which: these are irrelevant.

via PJ Media.

An amazing piece.  Go read the whole thing.  It’s well worth it.

The author, Richard Fernandez, has pulled an incredible excerpt from George Orwell that mirrors exactly what we’re going through with the Trayvon Martin situation.

What have we become when we cannot identify — nor really care for — the truth?

Trayvon Martin’ death vs. 16 Others… Every Day

A lot of energy is being focused on the death of Trayvon Martin as a sign of racism in our society.  Yet I find myself deeply troubled by the very selective upset of civil rights leaders.  In 2010, 6470 blacks were murdered in the United States, more than 17 per day.  Examining the single offender/victim table shows that 90% of black murder victims were murdered by another black. (No surprise: most murder is within race.)  I don’t mean to suggest that Trayvon Martin’s death is unimportant.  But where is the outrage and fury of the civil rights groups about the 16 black-on-black murders that happen every day in the U.S.?  We don’t know if Zimmerman did something criminal, or just something stupid that led to Trayvon Martin’s death.  But we do know that every day there are sixteen black-on-black murders in the U.S., and they almost never receive this kind of attention and concern. Or is it only a concern if the killer isn’t black?

via PJ Media.


Tea Party = Peace

The Senate was about to pass a bi-partisan bill imposing tough sanctions on Iran through “unanimous consent” – that means no floor debate or discussion.

But Rand Paul, Kentucky’s ‘Tea Party’ senator, objected, which immediately prevents the easy passage.

According to a notice from his office, Paul wants insert an amendment, “that would ensure that nothing in the act shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran or Syria, and that any such use of force must be authorized by Congress.”

via Business Insider.

Pretty much speaks for itself.