Is NPR Pushing Propaganda about the Benefits of Preschool?

 Annie Holmquist | May 4, 2017

The other day, NPR published an article on the benefits of Pre-K education. Highlighting a recent consensus statement on preschool released by The Brookings Institute, the article went bonkers on social media, presumably because of the following announcement:

“Some of the nation’s top researchers who’ve spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of preschool.

They came away with one clear, strong message: Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don’t.

Such a statement is true – the education experts did determine that preschool education does prepare children more effectively for kindergarten. What’s disturbing, however, is the information that NPR withheld from the thousands who read this statement.

According to the Brookings document, the jury is still out when it comes to knowing whether or not preschool education can help children in the years after kindergarten. Some evidence suggests it does. Other evidence suggests preschool has no effect either negative or positive on a child’s future school career. Still other evidence suggests that preschool has a decidedly negative effect. Studies in this latter category include the following:

  • A 2015 NBER paper found that children enrolled in a Canadian childcare program (similar to universal preschool) exhibited greater anxiety, aggression, and crime, while also enduring decreased health and life satisfaction in the 20 years after the study took place.
  • A 2015 Vanderbilt University study found that children enrolled in Tennessee’s state preschool program fell behind their non-preschool peers in both academic and cognitive measurements by the time they hit first, second, and third grade.

These findings are recent and quite troubling. What’s even more troubling, however, is the fact that NPR  – and other news organizations and public figures – seem to push these findings aside, boldly convincing the public that preschool education is a necessary and advantageous path to pursue. It’s as if they are desperate to get children into an institutional setting at the earliest possible age, regardless of whether such a setting is good for them or not.

But then, maybe that is the goal. Early 20th century Princeton professor and theologian J. Gresham Machen once noted:

“Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist.”

Is Machen right? Could the effort to extol the benefits of preschool without considering all the evidence be simply another way to get children to march lockstep with the education system’s way of thinking at an ever earlier age?

Read other articles by Annie Holmquist


MELSA’s Transparent Language & Lynda.com Learning a Blessing to Many

Sometimes you don’ t have to look very far outside of a school to learn new things.  Not everything we adults have learned came from the inside of a classroom, sometimes having a zest for learning new things, new things just seem to find you.

If you attend any of the Metropolitan Libraries you may find MELSA’s (Metropolitan Library Service Agency) newest tools for flexible learning on your own time.  There are two such online tools that you can partake of for FREE. That’s right we said FREE.  They are Transparent Language and Lynda.com.

Transparent Language

Transparent Language Online is a powerful language learning system that uses flashcards to teach you a set of words or phrases. It is the fastest possible way to lock foreign words and phrases in your long-term memory.

Once you have created your account you will be able to access Transparent Language Online from any computer with Internet access.
Subscription purchased by the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), with funding from state and federal tax revenues.

To access the Transparent Language Account Set Up click here. This access is from Ramsey County.

You will identify your current language then select from a huge array of languages the one you want to learn.  The education course has a tutorial how to use the software and how to interact with it.  You will need a headset with a microphone to practice the spoken word, otherwise you can go around that and listen and practice writing the new words.

It could be a way to help you to prepare for a vacation where English is not the first language spoken, or to converse with a new neighbor who immigrated legally to this country.

How Does One Navigate Transparent Language Online?


Lynda.com

Lynda.com teaches the latest software, creative, and business skills. Users will get unlimited access to a vast online library of high-quality, current, and engaging video tutorials taught by recognized experts and working professionals.

Use your library card to login to Lynda.com for free.

To use Lynda.com without the Library will cost you quite a bit.  Thanks to the Library system here and across the country you can learn the latest software for work, school, or just learning something new that is interesting to you.

This is from the About Us section of Lynda.com:

Lynda.com leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Through individual, corporate, academic and government subscriptions, members have access to the lynda.com video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.

For 20 years, lynda.com has helped students, leaders, IT and design pros, project managers—anyone in any role—build software, creative, and business skills. Now part of LinkedIn, Lynda.com serves more than 10,000 organizations. With tutorials in five languages, Lynda.com is a global platform for success.

If you’re wondering what areas Lynda.com can instruct you in here are the categories:  Business, Design, Developer, IT, Marketing, Web, Photography, Video, Audio+Music, 3D+Animation, Education + Elearning, and CAD.

For each learning category there are three areas to explore: Topics, Software and Learning Paths.  In some categories there will be a Guide as well.

In each tutorial you’ll have a video and a text that is highlighted as the audio covers a topic.  You can stop it at any time and review what you just saw.

If say life interrupts your learning. You can log off where you are at and your account will list where you left off and resume after life has settled down.

The tutorials are by people who are credentialed in the field they are teaching.  As there is a need for new software or tools, more tutorials will be created.

The Library isn’t just about books only anymore…but it will always be about learning.  ~~ Publius Jr.

 

 

 

Carl Jackson: Why We Need to Make Politics Local Again

The following article is from the Black Community News website.  It was posted on November 21, 2016 by Carl Jackson.  See Greg Copeland’s comment in the Comment link with the article and included at the end of the article.  All politics is local, and when Congressional District candidates run on things outside the borders of the area they want to represent they create a disconnect from their voters.  What is important to us, might not be important to others around the state or the country.  The common denominator with Republicans is that more Government means less local freedom, so we are for less Government, more local freedom.  ~~ Publius Jr.


voting_3Despite a crushing defeat delivered to Democrats across the country on Election Day, the Democratic analyst sitting next to me at the local Fox television studio here in Orlando, Florida, who once worked as an upper-level staffer for outgoing Rep. Alan Grayson, remained hopeful and optimistic – actually, giddy might be a more accurate description. Another Democratic strategist, also in studio, was visibly upset by the election results but was determined to get right back into the fight. Why? Some local races were going their way.

It’s no accident that the left is out rioting and protesting the results of the Nov. 8 election. They’ve grown accustomed to getting their way over the last 10 years. It also should come as no surprise to us that they’re interested in dismantling the Electoral College, which gives every state a say in national elections no matter its size and population. Additionally, it helps preserve states’ rights and their self-identity by assuring that larger states like California, Texas, New York and Florida cannot shape the political narrative and culture for the rest of the country. However, what you may not realize is that when the left loses a national election, it doesn’t stop their agenda to form a socialist America from moving forward. It just slows it. That’s what I witnessed on full display in studio election night. The left lost big on Election Day, but like Arnold Schwarzenegger, they’ll be back.

I live in Seminole County, Florida, where 15 percent of registered Republicans and 27 percent of registered Democrats didn’t bother to vote in this election cycle because they weren’t excited about their choices for president. Obviously, Democrats sitting out the election at a higher percentage gave Donald Trump the advantage to win the White House, but the low turnout amongst Democrats also allowed Republicans to remain in charge of our state House and state Senate. That may not happen again.

My concern is that the reason so many voters decided to stay home, other than their lack of enthusiasm for our presidential picks, is because they simply don’t know which party runs the state Capitol. In other words, regardless of the impact and immediacy state and local races have on their everyday lives, federal campaigns were the determining factor for why they stayed home. Even though Republicans won most of their races, this is disconcerting to me because many local politicians are running their campaigns based upon national platforms that have little or nothing to do with local politics. This strategy consequently increases government overreach locally because voters aren’t aware whom to hold accountable at home when policies adversely affect their well-being. State politics too often mirror federal elections when the truth of the matter is federal campaigns should take their cue from states.

Based on the number of Democrats that sat out the Nov. 8 election in my county alone, it would be wise for Republicans to trumpet their accomplishments locally, loud and often. Never underestimate the ability of Democrats to quickly turn an entire state blue by enticing out-of-town residents to move into big cities where voters are concentrated. Cases in point: St. Louis, Missouri, Chicago, Illinois, Baltimore, Maryland, and we’re witnessing the same trend take affect here in Orlando’s Orange County where gentrification is on the rise downtown.

In a lengthy column posted on FiveThirtyEight.com a couple weeks ago entitled “All Politics is National,” one of several charts they posted showed that only 76 percent of people polled could identify which party controlled the U.S. House. From that same group of voters, only 47 percent could tell them which party ran their statehouse. That’s a troubling trend for voters like myself that believe in states’ rights. It also explains why the Democratic strategist I mentioned earlier were still hopeful despite losing national elections big. They were comforted by the fact they made some unexpected gains locally and statewide.

As of Nov. 8 Republicans control 68 of 98 state legislative bodies and will occupy 33 of the 50 governor’s mansions. That’s a good thing! However, since voters are more aware of national politics and tend to ignore their local politics, all it takes is one national wave election to totally shift the mood and policies of our country. Frankly, the tendency to run national politics in local districts is a serious threat to the Tenth Amendment no matter which party is in charge.

Besides the ability to practice free religious expression and pursue any dream you hope to fulfill, part of the greatness of America is getting to experience and appreciate the uniqueness of our union from state to state. I’m sure you don’t travel to Texas to experience what it feels like to live in New York, do you? That would be silly! However, it’s exactly what the left wants.

To ignore state and local politics is to nullify American exceptionalism. As conservatives we can’t let that happen. Let’s vow to get to know all of our politicians from the county commissioner to the statehouse and to the White House, and I’ll see you back at the ballot box in 2018.

Originally published at WND.com

Photo credit: lettawren (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

CarlJacksonCarl Jackson is a radio talk show host – his web site is www.carljacksonshow.com. Media wishing to interview Carl Jackson, please contact media@wnd.com.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.


Here is Greg Copeland’s Comment (also in the comments section above)

GREG COPELAND

Carl Jackson is right!

Citizens that ignore their local governments will pay ever higher property taxes for less city services, and put their public school boards in the control of the teachers unions, where the students’ educational needs always come in second to the welfare of adults who work to their contract; not for the taxpayers and the children’s parents.

In my One-Party Town, billed as “the most livable city”, Saint Paul, Minnesota public school students are over 75% students of color as well as students whose families live in poverty, and their academic achievement gap in reading and math has been a national disgrace for at least a quarter century; but the liberal Democrat Mayor Chris Coleman, for all of his nearly dozen years in office, has routinely declared; ‘Closing the GAP Priority #1!’. The routine never ends and the teachers union rubber stamp school board routinely demands more money to spend on adults salaries which of course boosts pay checks, but with no boost in student academic scores.

Citizens need to wake up and vote out the fools on the rubber-stamp Teacher Union-Run Public Education Boards that perpetuate the cycle of Urban Poverty for our poor children caught on a Merry-Go-Round where there is no Public Accountability for the spending or the failure.

There’s Something Rotten at the 1050 Kent St Property

Yes Indeed there is something rotten at 1050 Kent. It is The Saint Paul School Board which has been bought and paid for by Education Minnesota and the Teachers Union Bosses in the Washington DC Headquarters which gave $100,000 to buy the Saint Paul School Board Majority in the 2015 Election, under a fraud on voters calling themselves: The Caucus For Change.

Ironically all four of these Caucus members voted to buy the Polluted Hazardous Industrial site at 1050 Kent, next to Lake Loeb in a residential North End Neighborhood, for $2 Million, after it stood abandoned for over 13 years.  The former industrial site owners admitted to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, MPCA, in 2006 about the pollution and created a ground water monitoring program to track the TOXIC Chemicals on-site and also placed a public deed restriction that would not allow any public school to be built on the property!!

The four so-called Geniuses installed by the Teachers Union ignored the sites Toxic Chemicals, and the pleas by the Neighborhood NOT to Build the $24 Million School on this polluted land. Known as the River East School, it is to be used exclusively for up to 80 students with a mental health diagnosis, served by a staff of 60, all whose health could be at risk given hours of exposure over a 180 day school year.

Now the Teachers Union has endorsed yet another candidate for School Board, Jeanelle Foster, who says she does not have enough information to oppose building the River East School on polluted land. Foster wants to join the quartet of hacks that voted, 4-2 to buy this industrial toxic chemical cesspool with its unknown future legal liability for St. Paul Taxpayers.

The last thing Saint Paul Students, Parents and Property Taxpayers need is another inexperienced novice on the School Board who does not know enough about how to evaluate a proposed multi-million dollar capital construction projects to cast a NO Vote to keep our disabled school children and our staffers safe!

River East School should not be built at 1050 Kent!  We need an independent school board member, who understands public construction projects as former six year member of the Saint Paul City Long Range Capital Budget Committee for over six years which oversaw the funding and/or building of the Wabasha Street Bridge as well as Arcade and Earl Street and the planning for Phalen Corridor as it’s Vice Chairman, Greg Copeland. Greg Copeland was also City Manager of Maplewood where he over saw millions in residential street reconstruction project and city building maintenance projects.

Under the mounting public pressure of Community Opposition and the November 8 2016 Special School Board Election the school board last week said after spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of staff time that it would delay the start of construction for one year.  A moral victory for Students, Staff and Taxpayers, but a “delay” is not a vote to rescind the Board’s Vote to spend $2 Million Dollars to buy this Toxic Site.

Greg Copeland has pledged he will make the motion to stop this public health and safety disaster and fiscal descent into a sinkhole of legal liability for city taxpayers if he is elected to the School Board on November 8th!

GREG COPELAND
ALL  MINDS  MATTER!
Saint Paul School Board Candidate

Ben Shapiro: White Privilege, Multiculturalism, and Other DFL-leftist Myths

On September 21, 2016, Ben Shapiro spoke to students at Yale University about “White Privilege, Multiculturalism, and Other Leftist Myths.”  This video is a bit over an hour but it addresses the myths that the DFL in this state create to ensnare voters and trap students in a cycle of despair.

The St Paul Public School Board enabled former Superintendent Valeria Silva to spend up to $3,000,000 for Racial Equity Training to be done by the Pacific Education Group based in San Francisco, California.  What this means is that like Jean O’Connell they believed that the achievement gap was due to race instead of the overwhelming number of students who come from households that are at or near poverty incomes.  Jean said that she isn’t colorblind when it comes to testing. She just presumed that the non-caucasian students would do poorly.

Pacific Education Group “trains” teachers and other staff in the district’s administration to understand about White Privilege.  Really the for profit group should be renamed the Pacific Brainwashing Group.  They are not anywhere close to an educational organization.

This video exposes the myths that the Leftists in Education have been telling for years and have been getting away with…and with your tax dollars.

Do we add another DFL Mythmaker to the St Paul Public School Board, or do we break this cycle of dysfunction by electing someone who will reverse this slide of expensive failure?

Bishop Harry Jackson: Here’s Something That Might Narrow the Black-White Education Gap

The following is from Black Community News, originally posted on September 25, 2016 by Bishop Harry Jackson.  As always this post’s content has not been altered, the headline is the same as the article.  Ads and some links have been deleted.  ~~ Publius Jr.


September 25, 2016

classroom“You’re getting your inheritance early.” Those were my father’s words to me as he explained that he was taking money that he might have left me in his will and spending it on my private school tuition. My father’s reasoning was that I would be able to create more wealth for his grandchildren if he invested in my education. Thanks to his wisdom, I would go on to graduate from Williams, one of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges in the nation and to obtain my MBA from Harvard.

Besides my parents’ willingness to sacrifice for my education—a decision my wife and I also made with our own two daughters—there was another key facet of my upbringing that a growing body of research has demonstrated to be extremely helpful to academic achievement. I was born to married parents, and they stayed married. This has turned out to be more important to long term success than both household income and race.

A recent study of Florida schools revealed a paradox: highly ranked schools were producing only modest student achievement. But a deeper look turned up a likely explanation. The Institute for Family Studies found that, “the share of married-parent families in a county is one of the strongest predictors of high-school graduation rates for Florida counties; indeed, it’s a more powerful predictor than family income, race or ethnicity.”

It is not hard to imagine why children growing up in households headed by married couples generally have better educational outcomes. Married couples are typically able to provide more emotionally and financially stable environments for children, offering them more attention, supervision and opportunities than most single parents are able to provide. Naturally, the fact that far more black families are headed by single parents has implications for black educational achievement.

In short, to close the education gap, we need to work on closing the marriage gap, something which is widely misunderstood. For several years, conventional wisdom has maintained that traditional marriage is a thing of the past. Although marriage is indeed declining among Americans of all races and income levels, it is declining far more quickly in certain demographic groups. Writing in FiveThirtyEight, Ben Casselman explained, “Affluent, college-educated Americans are increasingly delaying marriage until their 30s. But they aren’t abandoning marriage altogether; in fact, they appear likely to get married at close to the same rate as past generations. They rarely have children outside of marriage, and they are relatively unlikely to get divorced.” Meanwhile, lower income, less educated Americans are not just delaying marriage; many are forgoing it altogether. When they do get married, they are also much more likely to get divorced.

The loosening of sexual morality—which cuts across class and income—has had a disproportionately destructive effect on the poor and less educated. Out of wedlock childbearing leads to children being raised in less stable environments and increases the likelihood that those children will not graduate from high school. The answer that is most often put forward for this is greater access to condoms to mitigate the consequences of sexually promiscuous behavior. Yet a recent study conducted by the University of Notre Dame entitled The Incidental Fertility Effects of School Condom Distribution Programs, found that access to condoms in schools led to a 10 percent increase in teen births, rather than a decrease.

Unfortunately, if these trends aren’t addressed effectively, the alarming inequality in our society will only get worse. The best curriculum and the most dedicated teachers can never fully compensate for dysfunctional or unstable families. So what can we do to strengthen families? It stands to reason that if married parents have such a positive effect on student performance, we should at the very least eliminate policies that punish couples for marrying. The government may be limited in its ability to help families, but it certainly shouldn’t undermine them.

Beyond public policy, I believe communities of faith are uniquely suited to strengthen marriages and to encourage and facilitate parents’ involvement in their children’s education. Churches, synagogues and temples can and must fearlessly preach the value of marriage. They should actively encourage young people to enter into healthy marriages and offer both living examples of successful marriages as well as learning opportunities for skills such as communication, home management and the care and discipline of children.

Faith communities can also support the education of children of single parents. In addition to supervised study time and tutoring, they can provide mentorship for the aspects of achievement that are not directly related to academics. These include things like helping parents interact with teachers and school administrators and assistance with the college selection and application process.

Any plan to heal the racial divide must address the education gap. And no plan to close that gap will succeed unless it works to strengthen families.

Photo credit: Alan Alfaro (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

HarryJacksonBishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

Greg Copeland Talks about Education with Hmong on Oct 16, 2010

It’s been 6 years since Greg Copeland addressed a forum put together by the Hmong American Veterans Association and the Capital City Business Council at “Downtown Lav 52 Km” Restaurant at the Days Inn Maplewood.  This Hmong Community Forum was for candidates to meet the Hmong Community.  At the time the Senate District 66 seat was held by entrenched career politician Ellen Anderson and Greg Copeland was the Republican endorsed Candidate.

Candidate Greg Copeland talked about the opportunities that the Hmong People had been given and how their hard work had blossomed in the areas of business and in education–particularly in charter schools.  Greg Copeland then talked about how the State of Minnesota, and the City of St Paul have disrespected Hmong business owners who had businesses on University Ave by taking away parking in favor of a Light Rail line.

Greg Copeland talks about other issues that face Hmong and other people being that it is a forum for Minnesota Legislative Offices.

He talks about how he thinks, “Government can be a Bully,” but ironically they are pushing to end bullying in schools.

Years later at a St Paul City Council Meeting Greg would stand up for Arjo Adams who was eventually run off his property because the City called St Paul wanted to put in a new access to the Bruce Vento bike trail.  Arjo was a bit eccentric but he was not what the bullies on the City Council portrayed him to be.  The code enforcement inspectors “found” things that gave the City cause to condemn then knock down Arjo’s house.  It is much like the health inspection case Greg talks about in the video below.

Greg Copeland is a fighter, a champion for the people, and for kids who just want to learn without being beat up or threatened; or told they can’t achieve because of the color of their skin or what country their parents came from, or that their parents can’t afford all the technological gizmos other kids have.

Kids and Teachers deserve someone who will stand against “The Other Party,” to hold the St Paul Public Schools Administration accountable for their actions.

Vote Greg Copeland on November 8, 2016.


Black Students Can Benefit from School Choice and Charter Schools

The following article was copied and pasted from the Black Community News that Star Parker puts together.  The article’s content is not altered.  We have added font color and changed font styles, and have set off a section of the article in quotes to add emphasis  ~~ Publius Jr.


Black School-Choice Advocate to NAACP: Talk to Parents and Children Touched By School Choice

BCN Editor October 5, 2016

blackprepstudents-300x201
Virginia Walden Ford, a national board member and a founding member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), wrote an op-ed for the Heritage Foundation’s The Daily Signal about the NAACP opposing school choice and the growth of charter schools.

The organization is part of a teachers union lawsuit in Florida to eliminate a scholarship program that helps low-income families. The NAACP also drafted a resolution calling for a moratorium on new charter schools.

“The NAACP, which was started to support the rights of black people, is now taking a position that, in my opinion, only hurts black children and other children of color’s chance of getting a quality education in this country through access to school choice,” Ford wrote. “Involving itself in lawsuits against the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program seems counter to their mission.”

Ford speaks from personal experience. After her son began failing in school, a neighbor helped her get a scholarship for him to attend a better school.

“Because of that scholarship, he was able to be successful and graduate and move forward with his life. This is what I’ve seen over the years with the children who have had access to school choice, including public charter schools and private and public scholarship programs like the tuition tax credit scholarship program in Florida.”

The NAACP fought against the “separate but equal” doctrine enshrined in law in the Plessy v. Ferguson case, which the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1896.

“But now the NAACP, who fought so hard for us to get the education we deserved in the ’60s, is trying to make it harder for parents to make the same decisions our parents did then on behalf of their children,” Ford wrote. “Threats to school choice options like the Florida tuition tax credit scholarship program create unnecessary limitations for families who can’t get access to quality education simply because they live in the ‘wrong ZIP code’ or don’t have resources to attend quality private schools.

The BAEO co-authored a letter to the NAACP, asking to meet with the organization before it passed the anti-school choice resolution.

“My hope is that the NAACP and other leaders in the African-American community who support these lawsuits in Florida will spend a moment talking to the parents and children who have been touched by school choice.”

Photo credit: By Jbak87 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Soucheray: It won’t make any Difference who the Super is. No Difference at all

This story was copied from Joe Soucheray, a columnist at the Pioneer Press.  The story was originally published in the Pioneer Press on June 17, 2016.  We have not altered the content, but have closed some links and added a different headline.  ~~ Publius Jr.


St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva is interviewed in her office in St. Paul on Friday, February 5, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)
St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva is interviewed in her office in St. Paul on Friday, February 5, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

Soucheray: Another search. Another superintendent. Another member of the Super Club.

By JOE SOUCHERAY | jsoucheray@pioneerpress.com
June 17, 2016

What can be said on Valeria Silva’s behalf is that it won’t make any difference who succeeds her. That isn’t exactly the gift of a gold watch, but as a school superintendent who might get bought out of her contract, she can buy a watch manufacturing company.

It is called the Super Club. Most of us have been on to it for years. School superintendents have a better gig than NFL coaches and are surrounded by at least as many assistants, sycophants, factotums and manservants. Supers come into your town and tell you important things about the community and how they intend to have the students rise above the fray. They tell us that we all have to work together and believe in the great promise of education and, oh, by the way, we need more money. Soucheray

Supers are rainmakers. They always need more money.
Silva isn’t at all unique. She can be a super with the best of them. They are all untouchable and they all land on their feet. You might say, well, they are touchable, because they can be removed by school boards. Yes, and then comes the landing-on-their-feet part. Silva succeeded Meria Carstarphen. They all last about three to five years on average, though Silva has outlasted the average. Their act wears thin and new school board members who are eager to tell us that they know what they are doing better than the super start grumbling, and the next thing you know, the taxpayers are on the hook to buy the super out of a contract.

Carstarphen went from St. Paul to, I believe, Austin, Texas, and is now the super in Atlanta.

It doesn’t make any difference. A great fuss and bother will be made to hire a consultant and scour the nation for the next best answer, and it just doesn’t make any difference.

Silva is being held accountable by a grumbling school board for falling reading scores and student violence. What was Silva supposed to have done, visit each home in the city and read to a kid? Falling reading scores are an inattentive parent problem.

Silva presumably can be held accountable, at least in part, for the appalling increase in the lousy behavior of students. She had to be a part of the brain trust that bought into a San Francisco consultant group called the Pacific Education Group. They came in here and sold a bill of goods that said, basically, if a minority kid acts up, it isn’t the minority kid’s fault. It is the fault of systemic racism and therefore the kid should be excused and not too severely disciplined.

That works real well. You would think that after a few teachers suffered concussions after fights with violent students, they would dump that horse manure, but that’s not what supers do. When you get in the Super Club, you defend tooth and nail your brilliant decisions, even when they are complete failures.

Oh, it is a wonderful, exclusive club. In the first place, once you are a super, you are rarely seen by the public. Carstarphen lived on Summit Avenue near Fairview. I know a guy in that neighborhood who knows everybody in that neighborhood, one of those guys. He never once saw Carstarphen, not even out for a walk. Not once.

Supers surround themselves with about 100 assistants, each of whom has a clipboard and a laptop and are on alert to tell the super when to go to her next meeting. Even as Silva’s buyout is being considered, the district faces a $15.1 million deficit. Nevermind that that is inexcusable. You want to know where you could save the money? Go to 360 S. Colborne St., the district castle, and thin the herd of redundant bureaucrats and administrators. That’s another thing supers do. They bring in more people to pile on top of the people that the previous super brought in.

Go ahead and buy her out for $600,000, a longevity bonus, a car allowance and 32 vacation days. She might even have to emerge at some school as a teacher or an administrator, but that part of her contract is unlikely to be realized. She is, after all, a super.

And then get ready for the next expensive dog and pony show which will be exactly like all preceding dog and pony shows.

It won’t make any difference who the super is. No difference at all.

Joe Soucheray

Our Schools need to Embrace Capitalism & School Choice.

This is from Star Parker’s Urban CURE website (Center for Urban Renewal and Education).  The content hasn’t been altered, only color and font type have changed for emphasis and some parts of Star’s column are set aside in quotes for emphasis as well. ~~ Publius Jr.


New evidence supporting school choice

Why should our education system be shielded from capitalism, the competitive forces that produce excellence?

By Star Parker | Syndicated nationally by Creators

A groundbreaking new study from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas provides state of the art data showing the benefits of school choice.

The bottom line: When parents have choice where to send their child to school, their children perform better in reading and math tests.

Patrick J. Wolf, one of the authors, summarizes the results:

According to their “meta-analysis of 19 ‘gold standard’ experimental evaluations of the test-score effects of private school choice programs around the world. The sum of reliable evidence indicates that, on average, private school choice increases the reading scores of choice users by about 0.27 standard deviations and their math scores by 0.17 standard deviations. These are highly significant, educationally meaningful achievement gains of several months of additional learning from school choice.”

The idea of school choice and school vouchers was pioneered in the 1950s by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. However, it has not been until recent years that the idea started picking up steam.

According to Wolf, “there are now 50 private school choice programs in 26 states plus the District of Columbia. Well over half have been enacted in the past five years.”

About 1.3 million students are in these programs, compared to 50 million students enrolled in our public schools.

There are various approaches to providing school choice: vouchers, education savings accounts, tax-credit scholarships and individual tax credits and deductions.

There has been much back and forth over recent years, with various studies claiming to show no benefits from school choice and even negative effects. Other studies have shown positive results and are supportive. The authors of this latest research report their results with great conviction and feel they have produced the most comprehensive, thorough, and unbiased work on this subject to date.

But no matter. Those opposed will most likely stay opposed because, like in many, maybe all, areas of public policy, it’s really about interests and ideology and not about science. Those who want to keep things the way they are will ignore studies and research or find ways to rationalize why the results are not conclusive.

However, a black mother, whose child is trapped in a failing urban public school, doesn’t need research to inform her that it is a good idea to give her control to pull that child out of that school and send him or her to a different one. It’s obvious.

Capitalism works so well because failure is punished and success is rewarded. Why should one of the most crucial institutions of our society — our education system — be shielded from the competitive forces that produce excellence? Why should failure be allowed to go on forever just because unions have power and parents don’t?

Furthermore, when we measure education we look at test scores in reading and math. But education is about more than reading and math. It is about transmitting principles and values. Where are the tests that measure whether children are learning the right values?

The progression of court decisions over the years extracting any trace of religion from public schools correlate with changes in attitudes among our youth about sex and family. Back in 1962, when prayer was banished from public schools, less then 10 percent of our babies were born to unwed mothers. Today, it is 43 percent.

Over the same period, the percentage of black families headed by a single parent jumped from 20 percent to 70 percent. In these troubled communities, the option to send a child to a Christian school, to learn and digest Christian values, can be a lifeline to the future. Why in our free country should this be prevented?

Now we have powerful research showing that competition improves test scores in reading and math. This just bolsters the intuitive notion that parents should have control over where they send their child to school.


Star Parker

Non-Partisan Candidates Speak out against Corporate Elitists Auctioning the SPPS

The following was copied from Anthony Lonetree’s Class Act Blog of the Star Tribune from October 27, 2015.  The content was not altered.  The fonts, and color were added for emphasis.  ~~ Publius Jr.


St. Paul school board hopefuls answer to youth

Eight St. Paul school board candidates took questions from students at a youth forum on Monday that for the most part focused on personal rather than political concerns.

First, though, there was the politics.

The event came a week after the St. Paul Federation of Teachers filed a campaign finance report showing that it had received $50,178 from Education Minnesota to assist with this year’s get-out-the-vote efforts.

That was in addition to an earlier $50,000 contribution from the American Federation of Teachers — all part of a union push to persuade DFL activists and now city voters to back four candidates running under a Caucus for Change banner critical of district leadership.

Most of the students at Monday’s event at Sun Ray Library were middle-school-aged, but that did not stop two candidates — Greg Copeland, a former Maplewood city manager and St. Paul city GOP leader, and Scott Raskiewicz, a former substitute teacher — from issuing sharp opening statements straight out of a rally or political science lecture hall.

Copeland, pointing to the infusion of national and state money in district-level races, thundered that the teachers union had turned the school board election into “an auction.” Raskiewicz railed against the “leadership class” and a Democratic party controlled by the “corporate elite.”

The students — many wearing orange Battle Creek Middle School Panthers T-shirts — responded to each of the board hopefuls with equally robust applause. But then, with the first question, they showed that this would be a different type of candidates forum. That question being: How would the candidates work to improve the quality of school lunches?

Rashad Turner, organizer of Black Lives Matter St. Paul, who is running a write-in campaign with Green Party support, said that the lunches should reflect the various cultures within the state’s second-largest district. “I don’t want soul food to be cooked only at the crib,” he said.

But there was time for weightier subjects, too. Students wondered why there were stereotypes based on “someone’s actions.” One student, identifying himself as D.J., asked why students should be expected to show respect to teachers but not always receive it in return.

“Adults don’t always do the smart thing,” said Zuki Ellis.

“It breaks my heart that you have to ask that question, D.J.,” added Mary Vanderwert.

Along with Steve Marchese and Jon Schumacher, Ellis and Vanderwert are running with DFL endorsement in heavily DFL St. Paul.

One incumbent, Keith Hardy, still is in the race, and he hinted at the potential of the crowd in a simple greeting: “Good afternoon, young leaders,” he said.

Monday’s forum was sponsored by groups that include St. Paul Youth Services, Youth Intervention Programs Association and Students for Education Reform – Minnesota.

Yes We Can Fire Silva: St Paul Public Schools Can Be On Track to Prevent another Rocori Shooting

This post was copied from MPRnews from October 27, 2015, by the Associated Press.  The content was not altered.  Links, and ads were dropped, fonts changed, and color added for emphasis.

The refusal to suspend and expel students for willful misbehavior enables bullies and disrupts learning.  Superintendent Valeria Silva will not be held accountable by the current school board nor American Federation of Teachers endorsed candidates for the St Paul Public School Board of Education this year.

They have said over and over again in candidate forums that they are against suspending students that misbehave, and that they are against zero tolerance policy that the board and the State of Minnesota has enacted.  They are further against the School Resource Officers who they assert are not properly trained with Racial Equity in mind because students of color are being suspended at a rate that alarms them.  They assert that it is due to Institutional Racism and not the behaviors of the individual students showing disrespect to elders, teachers, and other students in the school.  St Paul Schools have been fortunate so far, but it is only a matter of time that the institutional indifference and neglect that Superintendent Valeria Silva, other board members and perspective candidates endorsed by the Washington DC AFT Union Bosses that will lead to an incident like the Rocori High School Shooting that happened in Cold Spring, MN.

Let’s pray to God that this never happens in St Paul or anywhere else.  You can elect Greg Copeland who will be one of the votes to fire Superintendent Valeria Silva and begin the healing.


Memories of MN school shooting lead NFL’s Decker to tackle bullying

Issues The Associated Press · · Oct 27, 2015
Eric Decker
New York Jets’ Eric Decker stood on the field as he warmed up before the NFL football game with the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Matt Dunham | AP

One Disruptive Student Can Keep a Whole Class from Learning

The following was copied from Pioneer Press, October 30, 2015, Joe Soucheray.  The content was not altered, though fonts, and color were added for emphasis, and some links were dropped.  ~~ Publius Jr.


Soucheray: Powerless teachers make it easier for unruly students to rule

By Joe Soucheray

Posted:   10/30/2015 10:16:16 PM CDT | Updated:   54 min. ago

As an indication of the alarm concerning violence in the St. Paul schools, many of the letters I have received from former teachers have been delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, suggesting to me a degree of experience that predates instant technology. School marms and pas are weighing in.

Violence in the schools includes Minneapolis schools, by the way, where a handgun and ammunition were found in a locker belonging to a 16-year-old student at Patrick Henry High School last week. This, too, resulted in a torrent of beatific but meaningless drivel about needing more community involvement and such. It goes without saying that the administrators also pine for more money, there being no evidence that more money results in anything except the hiring of more bureaucrats who exacerbate the problem.

The problem is not complicated. A conscious decision has been made, with the help of expensive consultants, to reduce the suspensions of unruly students on the grounds that the students are unruly only due to systemic racism, which is a negative that cannot be proven.

Unruly students allowed to remain in school results in more fights, more incivility, more instability and an impossible learning environment for the students who only wish to wrestle with algorithms.

It is not hyperbole to say that often now teachers and students are in danger.

One of the best letters I received, from a veteran of 16 years in St. Paul schools, insisted that one disruptive student can keep a whole class from learning. One.

“I’m not talking about a day or a few days,” Brian Nichols wrote, meaning the disruption, “but the whole year. A teacher cannot let this happen. I repeat, a teacher cannot let this happen.”

Ah, but they must. It has been so ordered that suspensions have been too numerous and must be reduced. The corrective goal has been reversed. The misbehavior that causes what should be suspensions must be addressed.

The letter writer was not the first to suggest that disruptive students should be suspended and cannot come back to school without a responsible adult in tow, a parent, an aunt, an uncle, the television repairman, somebody. An adult.

“I had a student that disrupted my class too often,” Nichols wrote. “I had a conference with his mother. She understood my problem and said they also had trouble with him at home. I asked her if she could come to school the next day. She said she could. I told her to come to my class five minutes after class started and leave five minutes before it ended. She said she would. I told her I would have a seat in the back of the room for her to sit. She was not to talk to anyone, just sit there.

“The next day when she walked into class, I was watching her son. I thought his chin was going to hit the floor. When the class was over, I asked John if he wanted his mother to come to school tomorrow. Of course, he said no. I asked him if he knew what he had to do to keep that from happening. He said yes. The problem was solved.”

Why, legions, whole armies, of teachers will tell you that they are powerless under the thumb of administrative orders to back off. As a result of backing off, what was once disruption that might have been solved by a parent sitting in back of the classroom has now escalated to the point where police officers have been installed in schools! This is unfathomable to my generation. Some of us still have knots on the backs of our heads from when we got banged into a locker by a passing teacher.

I am not suggesting that teachers administer physical harm to a child. I am suggesting that the more powerless teachers are to enforce discipline, the easier it is for kids to get away with whatever it is they want to get away with.

It doesn’t work.

Joe Soucheray can be reached at jsoucheray@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5474. Soucheray is heard from 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays on 1500ESPN.

Greg Copeland: Public Education Needs to be as Important as Public Safety

The following is Candidate Greg Copeland’s response to St Paul Strong’s 6 Principles that was posted on their site.  The six principles are SAFETY, TRUST, RESPONSIBLE, OPEN, NEIGHBORHOODS, and GENERATIONS. Feel free to click on the links below. ~~ Publius Jr.


 

St Paul Strong 6 Principles

St Paul Strong List of Grievances

Greg Copeland:

This is good work you are doing! I am only too happy to endorse the Principles of Saint Paul Strong.

You and I know John, as those who have actually fought many public battles at Saint Paul City Hall/Ramsey County Courthouse, that foreclosing public participation in public policy making is not a new problem in River City !

In February 2011 as an individual Citizen I stood up at the Ramsey County Commission’s to meeting to demand that Public Comment be heard in opposition the Ortega/Bennett proposed Viking’s Stadium 1/2 Cent Sales Tax after County Commissioners listened to the Viking’s Lester Bagley Billion Dollar Stadium Pitch just before they voted, ultimately, without taking any Public Testimony to spend hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to sell the Public the Stadium and the Sales Taxes to pay for the Billion Dollar Bond Issue. Discarding for almost nine months any opportunity for public participation for their “We know Better Than You Do” sales campaign for more taxes; Governor Dayton ended the Ramsey County Commissioner’s stadium quest on  November 1, 2011 after the Viking’s rejected a public outcry demanding a public referendum on the tax under the Ramsey County Home Rule Charter.

Next I had to sue Mayor Chris Coleman, who was in such a hurry to build the millionaire owners of the Saint Paul Saint’s a new $63 Million Stadium financed with Millions in unprecedented taxpayer subsidies, that Coleman decided to issue the city construction contract to his pals at his favorite construction company without any public bids! Coleman’s City Attorney defended his Boss in the press, but before the first court hearing could be held, Governor Dayton told Coleman if he did not put the city construction project out for Public Bid as the law requires, the State of Minnesota would withdraw their $24 Million stadium grant to the City of  Saint Paul. Coleman finally relented agreeing to publicly bid the job; and his buddies still amazingly got the contract by bidding for it the old fashioned way.

I would like to suggest that Saint Paul Strong  amend it’s statement of Principles to include Public Education as important as Public Safety.  No doubt you are aware of the Saint Paul School Board decided on August 18, 2015 to no longer broadcast on the city’s Cable TV Public Channel,  Public Comment offered by the Public at the Regular Monthly Meeting. This ill advised policy was, the School Board Members and Staff declared done to: “treat members of the Public more Equitably” and “reconnect with the Public”; really? I think the policy is absurd, and unfortunately is emblematic of the School Board’s numerous public policy failings, such as the 44 point GAP in the 2015 MCA’s  in Math and Reading proficiency between white and black students in Saint Paul Public Schools .

I am here to tell you as a Candidate for the Saint Paul School Board,  New Leadership is on the way, and a New Superintendent is needed to hire a staff  that has the common sense to know that Government does the People it is supposed to serve, no favor by turning off their television cameras, so Citizens who used to watch the school board meetings at home, now can not see or hear what the People are saying at Public Comment

Amazingly the  Board Members attempt to defend this because Public Comment  has been taken off the official School Board’s Regular Meeting Agenda; really, I can’t make this stuff up, and they passed it on a 6 to 1 vote with only John Brodrick opposed, as he was to giving Superintendent Silva a three year contract extension in March 2015 with only minimal public comment. On November 3, 2015 Voters can return common sense and transparency so we can begin to reform the Public Policy work of the Saint Paul School Board!

GREG COPELAND

ALL  MINDS  MATTER!

Saint Paul School Board Candidate

 

Making St Paul a Manufacturing Center again starts with K-12 Education

St Paul once boasted of being a Manufacturing Center with 3M, Hamms, Whirlpool, and Ford. Now after the departure of the last ones 3M and Ford, St Paul is a shell of its former self. The local government still taxes residents as if they still work in a growing manufacturing center. The entrenched one party elected officials are not dealing with reality.
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Those elected officials have no idea how to attract a new industrial/ commercial base. You can’t grow jobs by government fiat. This is evident from all the new food and business chains that start up just outside of the city limits.
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How does one attract manufacturers back to St Paul? Lower property and income taxes and getting rid of other fees like wheelage taxes, or parking meters make living here easier for skilled workers but is it the key? No. It starts with K-12 Education.
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Good schools are attractive to young professionals looking to plant
roots here. Unfortunately Strong Schools Strong Communities approach by Superintendent Valeria Silva is an utter failure.
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Valeria Silva is championed by the SPPS School Board incumbent Keith Hardy as being innovative and progressive. The latter we agree with, innovation comes from several years of experience which Silva does not possess.
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Silva has been learning on the job since she got the job in 2009. A brilliant teacher as some people claim may be debatable; she clearly does not have administrative skills. Why did the SPPS Board hire her, then retain her with a new contract?  They do not have great administrative skills either. They spend taxpayer money per student at rates comparable to and exceed private schools around the Metro and yet MCA scores are consistently at or near the bottom of all sorts of categories.
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Industrial countries like Germany and Japan, students are tested in the middle school grades to see where their skills and interests lie. If the students are orientated toward industrial arts and the trades they are sent to vocational high schools and book smart students are sent to college prep high schools. While they normally do not get a well rounded education they don’t steer students toward college that don’t belong there.
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Apprenticeships in high school in Japan and Germany are not uncommon as they are here in the US, it certainly is a direction that a potential manufacturing center must have.
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Though you don’t have to look overseas for inspiration, you can look to the White Bear Lake Area Schools.  They have a new program called Manufacturing Pathways.
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“to improve workforce readiness for our students and to address industry needs. This initiative is very important to the local business community as a strong, skilled workforce is an essential component to ensuring economic vitality of our industries.”–White Bear Lake Area Schools Community e-Newsletter 9/20/15
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Greg Copeland and other Conservatives have mentioned this before the SPPS Board in the past, but it falls on deaf ears. It was suggested that there should be Industrial Arts High Schools in St Paul and AP courses that would allow students to attend Dunwoody or other Vocational Colleges in the Metro.
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This idea of teaching vocational classes in school isn’t new.  Yet it has to be must for anchoring manufacturers who want to relocate to St Paul.  Philadelphia, PA has a similar program at the Randolph Technical High School.
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“The goal is to graduate kids who have options. They can go on to a community college or a four-year degree program. They can also start a career with a marketable skill and three years of training behind them, making them more likely to secure a job and higher wages, instead of floundering out in the job market, where more than 10 percent of young adults with only a high school diploma are unemployed and more than 20 percent live in poverty, according to Pew Research Center.”–“Today’s High School Students Need more Vocational Training,” by Annie Holmquist writing for Better-Ed, 9/25/15
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Sounds familiar?  The biggest problem in St Paul Public Schools is poverty.  Which is from parents who can’t afford to find proper paying jobs in a city that was a former great manufacturing center.
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Now St Paul is a poverty collection center.
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Let’s change this and make St Paul a manufacturing center again by bringing back vocational training and the industrial arts.
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