Teachers’ Unions vs. Children

When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.
— Albert Shanker, former president of the United Federation of Teachers

I wrote about this before, how the truth is that CTU, WEAC, and all other teacher’s unions have a fiduciary duty to the union members.  The union cannot do anything which would advance the interests of non-members (i.e. children) to the detriment of the members (i.e. teachers.)

This is a very simple legal principle that most educated people easily understand.

Of course there’s the greater philosophical discussion that should take place as to whether of not unions of government employees are to anyone’s benefit.

The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.
— F.D. Roosevelt, in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees

The idea being that when private sector employees collectively bargain they can overplay their hand only to their own detriment as well and to the detriment of their employer.  Another company will be the beneficiary of the higher wages (and cost of goods/services) of the first.  This is not true in government where there is no competition.

Anyone seeking more and more from the public coffers should be considered with extreme skepticism.

Poem on Congress


Full of jack-assery;

Should be a glass menagerie

Of the most morally thoughtful minds,

But instead it’s a sty full of bleeding-heart blue hacks,

And red holy-rollers who probably grind

Hunks of yellow scale into white powder

via artlesspoems.

Go read the rest…

Excellent Bud.

Illinois – 4th Worst Legal Climate for Business

Illinois, along with California, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia, are among the worst states in the country for businesses because of their legal climates, according to survey of corporate attorneys released Monday.

Two Illinois counties did not fare well in the survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s institute for legal reform, either. Cook County was named the most unfair and unreasonable jurisdiction, and Madison County was named the sixth most unfair county.  …

Illinois’ ranking this year, 46th among the 50 states in terms of the fairness of its litigation environment, compares with previous rankings of the 45th worst state in 2010 and the 46th worst in 2008.via Chicago Tribune.

So we’ve been terrible; no one’s done anything about it so we’re still terrible.  I see.  Hey Gov. Quinn, Anybody home down there?

We have the worst pensions in the country and and a unfair and unreasonable legal environment.  It’s no wonder that businesses don’t want to be here.

Add to that mess that fact that:

Chicago, the city that brought us deep-dish pizza, Oprah and “da Bears,” is also home to the nation’s highest tax burden for travelers.

via Chicago Tribune.

So if you’re a business here you know that it hard to do business with other businesses because it’s expensive to travel here.  This is also a huge burden on tourists… who used to come here in droves until downtown wildlings become common-place.

Rahm has a full plate.  Maybe he should get busy trying to solve a few of these problems instead of non-stop fundraising for Obama.

U.S. Department of Education: 79% of Chicago 8th Graders Not Proficient in Reading

Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

via CNS News.

Very… very… sad.

Teachers make over $60/hour.  Get awesome benefits.  Not getting the job done.  On strike demanding more money.

How Mitt Wins

Yesterday I read something over at Hillbuzz that got me thinking:

Today I want to think about just who are the people who will be voting for Obama in November and see how that compares to the people who voted for him in 2008. I don’t believe anyone who DIDN’T vote for him last time liked anything about him and will be voting for him THIS time. I also don’t believe the people who sat the last election out because of John McCain will be staying home again.

via Hillbuzz.

So I spent a few minutes and created the table below.  It only has states that Obama won in 2008.  I left out states where Obama took >60% (except for Illinois b/c I was just curious.)  It’s sorted by the percentage of voters in that state necessary to jump from Obama to Romney in order to flip the state.

  Raw Votes Percentage    
State Obama McCain Obama McCain FlipVotes FlipPercent
North Carolina 2,142,651 2,128,474 49.70% 49.38% 7,089 0.16%
Indiana 1,374,039 1,345,648 49.85% 48.82% 14,196 0.51%
Florida 4,282,367 4,046,219 50.91% 48.40% 118,074 1.26%
Ohio 2,940,044 2,677,820 51.38% 46.80% 131,112 2.29%
Virginia 1,959,532 1,725,005 52.63% 46.33% 117,264 3.15%
Colorado 1,288,633 1,073,629 53.66% 44.71% 107,502 4.48%
Iowa 828,940 682,379 53.93% 44.39% 73,281 4.77%
New Hampshire 384,826 316,534 54.13% 44.52% 34,146 4.81%
Minnesota 1,573,354 1,275,409 54.06% 43.82% 148,973 5.12%
Pennsylvania 3,276,363 2,655,885 54.47% 44.15% 310,239 5.16%
Nevada 533,736 412,827 55.15% 42.65% 60,455 6.25%
Wisconsin 1,677,211 1,252,393 56.22% 42.31% 212,409 6.96%
New Mexico 472,422 346,832 56.91% 41.78% 62,795 7.57%
New Jersey 2,215,422 1,613,207 57.14% 41.61% 301,108 7.77%
Oregon 1,037,291 738,475 56.75% 40.40% 149,408 8.18%
Michigan 2,872,579 2,048,639 57.33% 40.89% 411,970 8.22%
Washington 1,750,848 1,229,216 57.34% 40.26% 260,816 8.54%
Illinois 3,419,348 2,031,179 61.85% 36.74% 694,085 12.56%

This means if 7,089 people in North Carolina who voted for Obama last time vote for Romney this time then Romney will win NC. Regardless of whatever the polling says.

If Kevin DuJan at Hillbuzz is correct, it’s pretty safe to say that North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia should all go Romney.  In these state Romney needs <2% of voters to flip.  That should not be a problem.

Should that happen, Romney will have 265 or 266 electoral votes depending on how Nebraska splits.  You can see the map here.

That means that Romney must also win, Colorado or Iowa or Wisconsin or Michigan, or Romney must win at least 2 votes from Nebraska AND New Hampshire.

That my friends is how Romney wins.

Chicago Teachers Union: It’s About Children Greed

According to the Chicago Tribune key issues separating Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union:

SALARIES AND BENEFITS. The district offered 16 percent increase over four years and “modified step increases that both reward experience and provide better incentives for mid-career teachers.” The union said it’s closer on pay but is still concerned about rising health care costs and other benefits. Teachers sought a substantial raise in the contract’s first year because of the longer day and want to keep raises for experience.

This is insane.  There is no one in the private sector who’s planning on seeing a 16% increase in their income over the next four years.  Plus these people make tons of money already!

A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson said average pay for teachers, without benefits, is $76,000.

via CBS Chicago.

The average family in the city only earns $47,000 a year.  Considering a regular school term of 40 weeks, at 6.25 hours per day…. The way I figure that’s $76,000.00 / (6.25 * 200)  = $60.80 / hour.  Plus they get benefits — excellent benefits.

So what we have is a group of people who on average make over $60/hour — the highest paid teachers in the nation — and are complaining about it.

Next issue:

JOB SECURITY. The union has pushed for a system to recall teachers who have been laid off when new openings occur. This has become important because of rumors the district plans to close up to 100 schools in coming years. The district says teachers displaced by school closings will be eligible for a job at new schools if there is a vacancy — or may elect to take a three-month severance.

I got some news for the CTU:  CPS is dying.   For the second year in a row, CPS is taking the maximum possible increase to property taxes permitted by law.  Further, Chicago is shrinking and here.

There is no job security when you’re product is crappy & overpriced.  People do not want to live in a place where they’re taxed to death to fund under-performing public schools.  At CPS just 15 percent of fourth graders are proficient in reading and only 56 percent of students who enter their freshman year of high school wind up graduating.  If you want job security you need to excel at what you do… not completely suck at it.

Next Issue:

TEACHER EVALUATIONS. The union wants to lower how much student performance contributes to evaluations. CPS has said the new evaluation system, created in collaboration with teachers, was negotiated and settled in March under state law.

I happen to know a few people who are tight with a couple of principals in the CPS system.  The first things they will tell you is that it is impossible to get rid of a bad teacher.  Everyone knows this.  So to improve schools CPS and CTU sat down and came up with a system to evaluate teachers back in March.  Now, CTU has decided that it doesn’t like the system it already agreed to.

Not only is the Teachers’ Union is specifically fighting to keep bad teachers in the classroom but it breaking a promise it already made.

– – –

The only possible explanation for all this is that CTU cares very very little about education.  There is no talk about reducing class sizes, getting new blackboards, reimbursement for further education, or improving safety in the schools.  Nope.  It’s all about money & clout.  Money & clout.  Protecting their own at all costs.

CTU is nothing but a bunch of bullies.  Rahm should treat them as such.

Obama’s Unemployment Chart

Remember when we were promised that if we spent $2 billion of money we didn’t have all would be well?

Let’s compare promised to actual:

It’s also important to keep in mind that this chart does not reflect the millions of people who simply are no longer included in the workforce.  As of August, only 42% of the U.S. population was working.  42%!!

The Unemployment Farce: Only 42% of People Working

Worst news ever!!

The number of Americans whom the U.S. Department of Labor counted as “not in the civilian labor force” in August hit a record high of 88,921,000.  …

In July, there were 155,013,000 in the U.S. civilian labor force. In August that dropped to 154,645,000—meaning that on net 368,000 people simply dropped out of the labor force last month and did not even look for a job.There were also 119,000 fewer Americans employed in August than there were in July. In July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 142,220,000 Americans working. But, in August, there were only 142,101,000 Americans working.

Despite the fact that fewer Americans were employed in August than July, the unemployment rate ticked down from 8.3 in July to 8.1. That is because so many people dropped out of the labor force and stopped looking for work. The unemployment rate is the percentage of people in the labor force (meaning they had a job or were actively looking for one) who did not have a job.

The Bureau of Labor Statistic also reported that in August the labor force participation rate (the percentage of the people in the civilian non-institutionalized population who either had a job or were actively looking for one) dropped to a 30-year low of 63.5 percent, down from 63.7 percent in July. The last time the labor force participation rate was as low as 63.5 percent was in September 1981.

via cnsnews.

Think about that.  In August the U.S. civilian labor force was 154,645,000 people.  The unemployment rate among those people was 8.1%.  So of those 154M who could/should be working 12,526,245 were not.  These 12.5M are on unemployment.  That means that 142,118,755 people are working; hooray for them!!

We are a country of 314,330,000 people.  That means that only 42% of the people in this country are working.

Forty-Two Percent of people in this country are working.

Just think about that for a little bit.

Who Pays What Income Taxes?

At the DNC there was a lot of talk about “Everyone has to pay their fair share.”  That seems to be at introduction into a philosophical discussion about what a particular group should pay.  What is everyone’s “fair share?”

In Tax Year 2009:

Top 1%   paid 36.73% of the total tax bill;
Top 5%   paid 58.66%;
Top 10% paid 70.47%;
Top 25% paid 87.30%;
Top 50% paid 97.75%;
Bottom 50% paid 2.25%.

Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income
Source: Internal Revenue Service

via National Taxpayers Union.

We live in a country where the top 5% of earners pay over 1/2 of the bill.  How much more should we, as a people, ask them to pay?  What are the appropriate numbers for this summary?  If you asked a progressive, or a liberal, what percentage of the tab should the top 1% pay?  How about the top 25%?

And if we’re going to have a philosophical discussion about who pays what, should we not consider the role of payment of taxes plays in simply being a good citizen?  Can you be a good citizen, and feel a connection to your country, when you pay nothing?  Do free rider’s feel like they are part of the greater community at large?

When Obama says that everyone has to pay their fair share does he mean that anyone’s fair share is zero?

Fioretti: 35 Member Council & Term Limits

Alderman Robert Fioretti (2nd Ward) believes Chicago would do fine with just 35 aldermen instead of 50 — especially now that workers are handling garbage pickup and street cleaning on a system of ten “grids” instead of 50 wards.  …

Besides a smaller City Council, Fioretti is calling for term limits. “Just look at the 2nd Ward and all we’ve done so far” in fewer than two terms, he said. “If they [aldermen] have got to stick around and wait years to get anything done, they should not be aldermen in the first place.”Fioretti admitted he probably has “made some waves” downtown with such “maverick” views.

via Gazette Chicago.