Thursday, 06 January 2011

FIRING A SUBPAR TEACHER IN NEW JERSEY

Ken Berwitz

The following excerpt from Kyle Olson's column at townhall.com, is for anyone who still wonders which side to root for in the contentious battle between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and the state's  teacher's union:

Education Action Group has produced an eye-opening chart illustrating the torturous, time-consuming and expensive process New Jersey schools must follow when attempting to fire a tenured teacher for inefficiency, incapacity, conduct unbecoming or other just cause."

EAG created this chart after consulting with James Smith, the executive director of school security for Paterson, NJ schools. We believe the chart is a clear indication that lawmakers in New Jersey and other states must seriously consider reforming and streamlining the tenure process, to make it quicker and easier to remove bad teachers from public school classrooms.

Click here for the full version.

Recently, Paterson schools made national news after it successfully fired a tenured special-education teacher. The defendant was found guilty of unbecoming conduct, which included hitting and/or punching a handicapped student. It took Paterson officials four years and over $400,000 to successfully fire the teacher.

The firing process begins with bringing tenure charges against a teacher. An in-depth investigation follows, during which physical and documentary evidence (such as e-mails, text messages, etc.) is gathered and sworn statements are collected from key witnesses. The investigative process typically lasts around three months.

Its like a murder investigation to get to an ineffective teacher, Smith, a former police captain, said in an interview with EAG. Its ten times harder than criminal investigations.

Once the sufficiency of the charges is established, the case is sent to the Office of Administrative Law, and a trial is scheduled. Because the speedy trial concept does not apply to tenure trials, they can take anywhere from one to four years to complete.

The judge might tell you, I have two days in June, a day in July, one in August, Smith said in a recent television interview. The end result is that the trials tend to drag on.

During this time, the teachers pay is suspended for the first 120 calendar days. After those four months are over, the defendants taxpayer-funded salary is reinstated. The school district must then pay that salary for the length of the termination process, as well as wages to substitute teachers to cover for the defendant.

Make no mistake here:  I have great respect for unions in general, and I have great respect for teachers.  I am not saying this as some kind of throw-off, I mean it 100% sincerely.

But this is an absolute disgrace, and something immediately has to be done about it.

Who is responsible for negotiating such an insane procedure?  I don't know.  But we have the rest of eternity to ascribe blame.  What is important now is fixing the parts that do not work. 

We need remediation before recrimination. 

Personally, I would love to hear representatives of the teacher's union speaking out.  I would love to hear them agree that this is wrong, and express a willingness to immediately work towards revising and streamlining the procedure.  That would show good faith and possibly might herald the beginning of better relations between the union and the Governor.

By contrast, not doing so is tantamount to telling the Governor - and the parents of children being subjected to, therefore damaged by, subpar teachers - that they will have to go to hell and back, paying through the nose every step of the way, to get rid of them.

Now:  what will the union agree to do and when will the union agree to do it? 

The answer to those questions should certainly inform your decision regarding which side to be on.


DCCC: TONE DEAF?

Ken Berwitz

Can the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) really be this tone deaf?  Or did the RSCC copy its logo and send out the following email we just received as a goof?

Dear XXX,

 

 The new Tea Party-flavored House next week will consider a bill to destroy President Obamas biggest achievement to date: health care reform.

This is no idle threat. Repeal would have real-life consequences. Your diabetic sister could lose coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Your young adult son could be kicked off the family insurance plan. And your niece, born with a heart condition, could be denied insurance to boost corporate profits.

We all fought too hard to allow this to happen. Sign our petition. Add your voice to the thousands of grassroots Democrats who are standing together to stop the Republican repeal of health care reform. The health of our nation is hanging in the balance.

Sign the DSCCs petition. Tell Republicans: Hands off our health care reform!

House Republicans egged on by corporate-backed Tea Party members have made health care reform repeal their top priority. They expect a win in the House. They would use that victory to place tremendous pressure on my fellow senators.

Many of these health care reforms are extremely popular with the public and will bring down costs over time. But Republicans dont care. They simply want to turn President Obamas resounding victory into a bitter loss.

The health of your family is not their concern. Politics is.

Sign the DSCCs petition. Tell Republicans: Hands off our health care reform!


I was proud to vote for health care reform, and Ill fight like mad to keep it on the books. I know all of you who support the DSCC and our Democratic Senate candidates will too. Please add your voice to those who will not stand idly by while progress is rolled back. A fairer, stronger health care system is worth fighting for.

Sincerely,

Sen. Patty Murray

Does anyone at the DSCC listen to the people anymore?  Does anyone there read political polls anymore? 

According to the latest polls at www.pollingreport.com which break the data by political party, not only are Republicans vastly in favor of repeal, but so are about half of all Independents and even 15 - 20% of Democrats.  Moreover, since these polls were conducted in November, and later polls show even less support for ObamaCare, I would expect that the by-party numbers are even worse now.

So what does the DSCC do? It sends out this email, designed to scare readers into thinking your loved ones will all be at risk without ObamaCare, to define the Tea Party (which is equated to all Republicans) and corporations as  bogeymen (for a change), and to exhort the party faithful to "rally 'round the ObamaCare banner, folks, before we're dead and buried without it".  Or something. 

This is what the DSCC wants to take a stand on, and this is how the DSCC wants to present it?  Evidently so.

These people do not learn.  Maybe one day they'll catch up to the voters.


THE REPUBLICAN HOUSE AND THE MEDIA BLITZKREIG

Ken Berwitz

It is pretty clear that our mainstream media are angry.  Very angry.

And why are they angry?  Because we, the voters, tossed so many Democrats out on their ears last November.

And how are they manifesting this anger?

Well, this excerpt from Steve Gilbert's blog at sweetness-light.com, gives you a taste of what their strategy seems to be:

From the professional propagandists at the Associated Press:

PROMISES, PROMISES: GOP drops some out of the gate

By Andrew Taylor And Calvin Woodward, Associated Press
January 6, 2011

WASHINGTON Republicans have already violated some of the vows they made in taking stewardship of the House.

Their pledge to cut $100 billion from the budget in one year wont be kept.

As is their fashion, the AP is parroting a New York Times article from yesterday. Which, as we noted in detail, was simply untrue. But when has the AP ever let facts stop them from advancing the Democrat Partys line?

And for a coming vote seeking to repeal the health care overhaul, the first major initiative of the new Congress, lawmakers wont be allowed to propose changes to the legislation despite Republican promises to end such heavy-handed tactics from the days of Democratic control.

Huh? They are voting on repealing an enacted piece of legislation? This is not quite akin to denying any debate on amending proposed legislation.

So again, this is blatant misrepresentation of the facts by our one party media.

Is business as usual really back so fast? Thats not clear one day after Democrat Nancy Pelosi yielded the gavel to the new Republican House leader, John Boehner

Its clear that it is business as usual for our news media. And, as always with them, their number one job seems to be to propagandize for the Democrats and demonize the Republicans and the truth be damned. 

Admittedly, Steve is not what you'd call a fan of the Associated Press or the New York Times.  But, reading this swatch of his blog (and with the hope that you have used my link and read the rest of it too), can you blame him?

Another example is the interview I watched Today's Meredith Viera inflict on Paul Ryan (which I blogged about yesterday), and the similarly attack-mode interview I watched her inflict on Michele Bachmann this morning.  The fact that both Rep. Ryan and Rep. Bachmann made her look ridiculous notwithstanding, this is exactly the kind of bias that should not find its way onto the supposed "news and information" segments of such shows.  

Mainstream media - very much including the network morning shows, and certainly MSNBC - have gone to immediate, profound attack mode.  It, literally, is a media blitzkreig.

And, keep in mind, it is not like the attacks are based on anything that actually has happened.  The newly Republican house has been in business for all of one day.  I'd say the honeymoon was over, but I can't, since it ended before the first moonrise.

Sadly, this is exactly what we have come to expect from what should be, but clearly is not, our "neutral" media.

Don't expect better any time soon.


ARE CAULDRONS DEDUCTIBLE? LIZARD TONGUES?

Ken Berwitz

You can't make this stuff up.  Besides, if you do, the Romanians involved might do more than vex you, they might hex you too.

Excerpted from an Associated Press article:

MOGOSOIA, Romania (AP) - Everyone curses the tax man, but Romanian witches angry about having to pay up for the first time are planning to use cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the president and government.

Also among Romania's newest taxpayers are fortune tellers _ but they probably should have seen it coming.

Superstitions are no laughing matter in Romania _ the land of the medieval ruler who inspired the "Dracula" tale _ and have been part of its culture for centuries. President Traian Basescu and his aides have been known to wear purple on certain days, supposedly to ward off evil.

Romanian witches from the east and west will head to the southern plains and the Danube River on Thursday to threaten the government with spells and spirits because of the tax law, which came into effect Jan. 1.

Later in the article it is pointed out that, since witches and people in other, er, associated professions, are usually paid small amounts in cash, it will be hard to collect the tax.

I have an idea.  Rather than casting spells, maybe the witches should ask if a lower-level politician can negotiate a settlement.  Instead of a ward healer they could use a wart healer.  Then the witches would be more willing to pay -- and would have a medical benefit too. 

Call it AbracadabraCare. 

Come to think of it, since ObamaCare promises to service 30-50 million more patients without any concomitant increase in doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc - while providing the same quality of care at lower cost - maybe we should use that name in the USA as well.

Zeke .... ...... Dear Comrade Witch ..... ..... Your tax bill to glorious Romania totals: ..... One Eye of Newt, plus Two Toe of Frog ..... ...... (01/06/11)


ROSEANNE BARR'S SICKNESS AND GOOD MORNING AMERICA'S BLINDNESS

Ken Berwitz

Scott Whitlock of newsbusters.org, whose blog I am excerpting below, asks whether Good Morning America would have let someone to the right - say, Michael Savage - off the hook if he had done and said what roseanne barr has. 

Read the particulars below and decide for yourself: 

Hard-left comedienne Roseanne Barr appeared on Wednesday's Good Morning America and faced no questions about her controversial, often bizarre statements, such as in 2009 when she dressed up like Hitler and pretended to bake "burnt Jew cookies." Instead, Roberts fawned, "Buckle up, folks. Roseanne Barr is back, making us laugh."

 

An ABC graphic touted Barr: "Roseanne is Back! Past, Present and Presidency?" Keep in mind, this is a woman who once smeared that Republicans "cherish the freedom to have sex with small children."

 

Roberts downplayed the cover of Roseannearchy, Barr's new book, by blandly observing, "Clever little cover there." 

 

At no point did Roberts challenge the comedienne on a July 2009 photo spread in which she dressed up as Adolf Hitler and held a pan of "burnt Jew cookies." (Go here to see a picture.)

Do you find that funny?  Clever? 

roseanne barr is a genuinely sick, hateful, "woman" (I put the word "woman" in quotations because it suggests she is the same species as my mother, wife, daughter in law and granddaughter.  I have a hard time with that).  But since she combines her sickness and hatred with being far left, she gets a free pass - along with kathy griffith, whose similar depravity I blogged about a couple of days ago.

Remember, always:  If you're going to say things like this, be sure to stay far to the left.  That way our wonderful "neutral" media will be just fine with it.

And, yes, these are the same people who squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


THE GEITHNER/OBAMA SCARE STRATEGY (ROUND 2)

Ken Berwitz

How many times are they going to try pulling this on us?

-Remember those doomsday predictions of economic disaster if congress didn't pass the so-called "stimulus package" last year? 

-Remember President Obama assuring us, in direst terms, that failure to do so would result in the unemployment level, which was hovering around 8%, going to 8.5% or 9%?

-Remember congress running like hundreds of (Democrat) chickens with their heads cut off to pass the "stimulus package" - not enough time for any of them to read and understand what was in it? 

-And remember that, with the "stimulus package" in place, unemployment jumped over 10% and then settled back into the mid and high 9's (it current sits at 9.8%)?

Well, here we go again.

Excerpted from Jon Ward's article in today's dailycaller.com:

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner sent a cage-rattling letter to congressional leaders Thursday, warning that a failure to raise the debt limit could plunge the nation into an economic crisis more severe than 2008s and cost millions of jobs.

Failure to raise the limit would precipitate a default by the United States. Default would effectively impose a significant and long-lasting tax on all Americans and all American businesses and could lead to the loss of millions of American jobs, Geithner said.

Even a very short-term or limited default would have catastrophic economic consequences that would last for decades. Failure to increase the limit would be deeply irresponsible, he wrote.

Sound familiar? 

According to Treasury Secretary and First Tax Cheat, Timothy Geithner, we have to do what the Obama administration wants or the sky will fall, the country will fail, your nose hair will triple and your car's engine will fall out on the highway.

Or.....

Maybe we should consider doing something else - something that (gasp!) Republicans might sign onto, in the hope that it will work a bit better than that "stimulus package" did - the one Mr. Geithner so avidly supported.

Me?  I prefer door #2.  How about you?


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