Taking on the education cartel just as dangerous as taking on the drug cartels

If you still have doubts about which side not only has gone completely off the rails but actually resorts to tactics and acts of violence against those they furiously and feverishly accuse of being the next coming of Hitler, just look at stories like this one, or this one.

The first story is about Betsy DeVos, whom was the most hotly contested Trump nominee bar non. It’s also no wonder that she now needs security, because we are talking about one of the most corrupt and criminal money laundering entities that the democratic party counts on for money: the educational cartel. DeVos’ crime is that she threatens the left’s monopoly on indoctrination and the democratic party’s most lucrative protection racket by wanting to give parents – and especially parents of minority children, whom are the ones worst served by the failure prone educational cartel’s monopoly – choices. The democrats can’t either have the upstarts leaving the plantation nor risking that massive money pool that this racket allows them to collect, and they will go to any lengths to undermine her efforts to reform a failed system.

Look no system that tries to force produce equality of outcome will ever produce anything but misery and failure. This whole fixation with creating equality of outcome for the plebes – because the progressive elite certainly believe they have a dispensation from this requirement due to their exalted status- referred by those that know that in order to sell their nonsense they need to couch their agenda in pretty language as “Social justice”, is the central tenet of a quasi-religious movement of credentialed idiots that is lapped up by idiots that are pissed shit isn’t just given to them because of the simple fact that they feel they deserve it more than the people that actually have earned, always by nefarious means unless said people hold the right sort of progressive beliefs, whatever it is. And no where is it more obvious than in failed public education machine of the US, where the system constantly tries to produce that impossible equality of outcome by hamstringing the gifted and hard working, and pushing the less qualified into situations where failure is all but assured. And it does so while pissing away massive amounts of money that serve to feed a democrat beholden administration heavy machine and democrat owned teacher’s union, but doesn’t do much for most students or good teachers.

DeVos is one of the most scary things that the democrats see coming from the Trump WH, because she targets a fundamental cog in the indoctrination & money making machine that the left had up until now thought invulnerable to any real reform. Anything that would undermine their ability to brainwash kids and produce piles of money for democrat politicians, is anathema to the people that demand the public school system remain untouched, while sending their own to private schools. School choice – the main platform of DeVos – is a death knell to the stranglehold the left has on both the money and the choice of educational subjects (a.k.a what the idiots get told to believe). While kids being given the opportunity of going to schools that no longer are beholden to the bureaucratic rules of the public education system, designed to maintain the monopoly of democratic party’s twin pillars of generating proggy drones and generating money for their campaign coffers, is horrifying, the real fear is that of that being a success.

As I already pointed out before, only to have our resident lefty trolls eager to hide the obvious jump on me for here: the most frightening thing to the left is that someone actually is successful and shows that the things the left believes in, and more importantly does, simply are just recipes for failure and disaster. From Trump succeeding, especially after the crap the left produced during the 8 years of abject failures under Obama, to DeVos fixing a system we are told can only be fixed by doubling down on the same idiotic rules, bloating the bureaucracy even more than it is, and giving unions more money to give to democrat politician by the very people that have a vested interest in keeping the system exactly how it is, the children of the plebs being provided a disservice be damned, we are dealing with a viscous and visceral reaction by people that would rather burn it all down than allow their grip on power to be threatened.

The left, after deeply drinking its own kool-aid about the death of any opposition to the progressive agenda, weaponizing government for the coming of Hillary whom was to basically clean slate after Obama, suddenly finds itself on the potential receiving end of the very machine they thought would allow them to kill off the other side. More frightening yet, that Machiavellian machine is now directed by a guy that plays by their rules – and is a champ at doing to them what they have spent 50 years doing to idiots that actually thought doing battle on the merits of their arguments and playing fair would be enough to overcome the machinations of what amounts to a deceitful and criminal entity – and is running circles around their operatives with bylines and their political crime syndicate. Hence the constant and more hysterical escalation of lies, insanity, and finally, resort to violence.

These fuckers burning down can’t happen fast enough for me, and I suspect, for a world that should be hoping for a faith other than the soft tyranny – but tyranny that will devolve in misery for all but a few – promised by the ideology that thinks the elite are the only ones that know what is right and good for the dumb ass plebes.

It Takes a Village to Waste Money

For a time, it looked like Hillary Clinton might actually end up being the more conservative candidate in the race. Trump has been talking about restricting trade, blowing holes in the debt, opposing entitlement reform and expanding executive power.

Well, no longer. Apparently afraid that Bernie Sanders will bolt the Democratic Party for the Green (this tends to happen when you let people run who aren’t technically members of your party), she has now basically adopted Bernie Sander’s agenda in full.

  • She’s supporting the push for universal Pre-K, proposing a new bunch of subsidies and tax credits, doubling the size of the failed Head Start program and pushing for 12 weeks of mandatory paid leave. I’ve argued before the universal pre-K is a solution stumbling around in search of a problem and documented the complete failure of universal pre-K efforts. Clinton doesn’t care; there’s votes to be bought!
  • Clinton has now abandoned education reform in favor of more spending and more spending. There’s no evidence that this approach does anything but employ more union members. Clinton doesn’t care; there’s votes to be bought!
  • She’s now supporting a $15 minimum wage, a plank taken straight from Bernie Sanders. I’ve pointed out before that the push for $15 is a kind of mass insanity that has gripped the Left, only slightly more scientific than if the Republicans had responded to the Ebola epidemic with prayer. The cruelty of this is that it if the Democrats are wrong, it will not destroy their jobs, but the jobs for the people they purport to care for: the poor, the workings class, minorities, dropouts and convicted criminals trying to straighten out their lives. Clint doesn’t care; there’s votes to be bought!
  • She’s now embraced Bernie’s plan to massively inflate college tuition … uh … “make college more affordable“. As has been pointed out innumerable times, shoveling money at colleges will simply raises costs, increase debt and persuade more people to waste their time in college when they could be working or training. Clinton doesn’t care; there’s votes to be bought!
  • She’s now supporting creating a public option for Obamacare. Obama is now calling for this too, claiming the markets are not competitive enough. You have to admire the gall. First, the crush the insurance market with Obamacare. Then, they refuse to let insurance be sold across state lines. Then they propose a “public option” to bankrupt the insurance companies that remain. Every day, Obamacare looks more and more like a deliberate plan to destroy the private insurance market to create the “need” for socialized medicine. In this case, Clinton does care; there’s vote to bought!
  • She’s now turned not just against TPP but against free trade in general. Never mind that trade has made our country wealthy while almost eliminating poverty in other countries. Clinton doesn’t care; there’s votes to be bought!
  • All of this will be paid for with big tax hikes on “the rich”, who are close to maxed out. Clinton doesn’t care; there’s votes to be bought!

The $15 minimum wage is the issue for me with Democrats. It is so mindless, so stupid, so at variance with economics and so destructive to the future of the people it supposedly helps. If you wanted to create unemployment, make poverty more intractable and condemn a generation of people to lifelong unemployment and poverty, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a better plan than the $15 minimum wage.

I realize that a lot of liberal organizations don’t pay their interns or, in the case of groups like Ralph Nader’s, pay them sub-minimum wage through legal loopholes. But the University of California already fired 500 people to account for the minimum wage. Even the dumbest Democrat can do math. And Hillary Clinton is many things, but she’s not dumb. They must know, on some level, that this is going to be bad. They just Don’t. Fucking. Care.

But it’s worse. As McArdle points out in the link above, Clinton is proposing to pay for all this stuff with the usual litany of Democratic tax hikes: raising rates, eliminating the Social Security cap, closing the “carried interest” loophole, etc., etc. She’a also proposing to eliminate almost all tax deductions for the rich (which will produce 100+% marginal rate in some income brackets). But:

For while it is true that these programs are paid for, that doesn’t mean that the budget math is sound. The government’s spending capacity is, in the end, limited, and every dollar that you spend on one thing is a dollar that cannot be spent on something else. Virtually all of Clinton’s “pay fors” are concentrated on a relatively small number of affluent-to-rich people, and because of that, they represent a large cut of those incomes; if she managed to enact all of her plans, her top bracket would be inching close to a marginal tax rate of 50 percent before you factor in state and local taxes that can easily add another 10 percentage points to that figure.

Even if you think that it would be politically possible to extract taxes at those levels, and that you could do so without causing any unwanted economic side effects, the question remains: What do you do for an encore? After enacting Clinton’s agenda, America will still need to fix Medicare, Social Security, state and local pensions, the disability insurance program, and so forth. And given that Democrats have proven as unwilling as Republicans to raise taxes on the middle class, where are we going to get the money?

I’ve said this many times and I will keep repeating it until it sinks in: you can’t fund a welfare state by taxing the rich. There simply isn’t enough money. European welfare states aren’t funded by the rich. They’re funded with massive taxes on the middle class.

The United States has one of the most progressive tax systems in the world, being very reliant on the wealthy for revenue. The European welfare states, by contrast, are more regressive, having flatter taxes and relying on VATs and sales taxes that are regressive. They have to be that way because you simply can’t finance a welfare state by taxing the 1%.

A welfare state financed by the rich doesn’t even work politically. When everyone is paying taxes, there is more support for a welfare state because everyone is pitching in. The perception is that you’re getting out something related to what you paid in, which is why Social Security and Medicare are popular in this country (both financed by a regressive tax that is denounced by Democrats for not soaking the rich enough). But a system that is dependent on taxing the rich isn’t a welfare state, it’s a plunder state. And as I’ve pointed out before, most people don’t want that. They don’t want to feel like they’re living on someone else’s dime or on stolen property. The Communists discovered this 70 years ago when they tried to “redistribute” estates to the commoners only to discover that the commoners didn’t want that wealth if it was stolen.

But proposing to fund this garbage through a middle-class tax hikes would be political suicide. So — in a situation where we are already half a trillion in deficit, have $19 trillion in existing debt and have trillions of dollars in future unfunded liabilities — the Democrats are proposing to burn our last few sources of revenue on a series of brand new will-o’-the-wisp social spending programs.

(Yes, yes, we once had marginal tax rates of 70%. And we also had a huge number of exemptions. No one ever paid that rate. We are very close the practical limit on marginal rates.)

I understand why Clinton is selling out wholesale like this. She’s afraid Bernie on the Green Party ticket will wreck her chances. But I think this tells you how principled Hillary Clinton is. She has either completely changed her views on several major issues or she is going to betray her campaign promises the second she gets into office. I don’t think she actually cares either way. She just wants to be President. And if she has to wreck the economy to get there, well, she’ll wreck the economy to get there. This is way more of a sell-out to the party fringe than any Republican has ever made. But you won’t see it described as such because 98% of our media are going to vote for Clinton anyway.

This is worst election ever. Two rich leftists are battling to see who gets to the screw the country over and how badly they can screw us. And people wonder why I’ve voting for Johnson:

I will not vote for Trump. And I will not for Clinton. To hell with them both. The only election I really care about is Congress. It is absolutely critical that the Republicans hold onto Congress, preferably retaining a majority in both houses. Look at the agenda. Imagine the damage Clinton could do with a Democratic Congress. And then, whatever you may think of Trump, put that Republicans roadblock in her way.

Why am I not surprised? (UPDATED)

The other day I wrote about what I felt would fix the broken higher education machine and help us gain control of the student debt bubble, but I didn’t go much into the reason I did it much. See I suspected that whatever scheme the leftoids would come up with simply be a tax payer funded giveaway to those connected people they always favor, and now it looks like I was right:

The difference is likely to be small for many borrowers, but will be much more generous for those who earn bigger salaries, he said.

For someone earning $27,000 in adjustable gross income, for example, the average loan payment will drop from $128 per month to $85 per month. But for someone earning $80,000 per year, payments will plummet over $200 per month, from $619 to $412.

“The people who will see the biggest reductions are people earning higher incomes,” Delisle said. “That is the effect of this change. You put that together with the loan forgiveness, and this is tailor-made for graduate students.”

If you are one of those leftoid special interests – lawyers, doctors, and other such hoi-polloi money earners that lean left because of their guilt – you make out like a bandit. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe the system needs to be fixed to encourage people to actually get a college education in a field that isn’t going to harm their earning potential, but this isn’t the way to do it. The reason is that it doesn’t do anything to break the incestuous relationship that exists today in any meaningful way, or for that matter curtail the insane rise in cost, all while seeing a steep decline in return/value, that the higher education field has expeienced. We need less government involvement, and more liability on part of the schools, so they shed that top heavy administrative system that is sucking up all that big money, and actually shift back to valuing the professors teaching.

UPDATE: Well as I suspected, there had to be some kind of payoff in the new student loan racket Obama was pushing, and it looks like I was right. Basically what Obama has done is made it easier for others to have to bail out student loan debt, which means that you can be certain that the costs of secondary education will yet again soar at factors of magnitude compared to what inflation does. In short, what we have here is a progtard making tax payer subsidize one of the major brainwashing entities the left depends on to push out more low information voters. It looks again like what absolutely must happen is that relationship gets severed and that schools get held liable for the way they are ripping off people.

A Microcosm of Education Fail

Newark has some of the worst schools in the nation despite spending absurd amounts of money on them. It’s a billion dollar school district that routinely gets ten-cent performance. Twenty years ago, the neglect and corruption was so bad that the state took over. But that has not improved things.

A few years ago, Christ Christie and Cory Booker, backed by $100 million from Mark Zuckerberg, pushed to overhaul the school system. The result, spelled out in this long and depressing New Yorker piece, was just another chapter of catastrophe. Some plans were made — maybe good plans, maybe crappy ones. But before you could say “Joe Clark”, the entrenched establishment took over. The union grudgingly agreed to pay bonuses to teachers who did well. But the price was insane:

The union demanded thirty-one million dollars in back pay for the two years that teachers had worked without raises—more than five times what top teachers would receive in merit bonuses under the three-year contract. Zuckerberg covered the expense, knowing that other investors would find the concession unpalatable. The total cost of the contract was about fifty million dollars. The Foundation for Newark’s Future also agreed to Anderson’s request to set aside another forty million dollars for a principals’ contract and other labor expenses. Zuckerberg had hoped that promising new teachers would move quickly up the pay scale, but the district couldn’t afford that along with the salaries of veteran teachers, of whom five hundred and sixty earned more than ninety-two thousand dollars a year. A new teacher consistently rated effective would have to work nine years before making sixty thousand dollars.

The seniority protections proved even more costly. School closings and other personnel moves had left the district with three hundred and fifty teachers that the renew principals hadn’t selected. If Anderson simply laid them off, those with seniority could “bump” junior colleagues. She said this would have a “catastrophic effect” on student achievement: “Kids have only one year in third grade.” She kept them all on at full pay, at more than fifty million dollars over two years, according to testimony at the 2013 budget hearing, assigning them support duties in schools.

The superintendent ran into a firestorm of opposition to any proposed changes. Some of the proposals were probably bad ideas, true. And she handled it poorly, spending more time and effort talking to outside consultants than to parents and local politicians. But in the end, the people did what they always do: rallied to the anti-reformers. This culminated in one of the ringleaders against reform and a shill for the unions being elected mayor on Tuesday. So the people of Newark can look forward to more spending, more bullshit and more failure. Three years and hundreds of millions burned for nothing. It was exactly what I feared would happen when I heard of Zuckerberg’s plans.

Oh, wait. There’s one group that did well. You’ll find them throughout the piece:

Ultimately, Zuckerberg and matching donors paid the firm and its consultants $2.8 million, although Cerf emphasized that he personally accepted no pay, and he left the firm in December, 2010.

During the next two years, more than twenty million dollars of Zuckerberg’s gift and matching donations went to consulting firms with various specialties:

….

With a federal school-improvement grant, he extended the school day, introduced small learning academies, greatly intensified test prep, and hired consultants to improve literacy instruction.

Using $1.8 million from the Foundation for Newark’s Future, she hired the nonprofit consulting group TNTP, in part to develop more rigorous evaluation systems. In her first year, the foundation gave her a four-million-dollar grant to hire consultants at her own discretion.

Anderson spent much of the fall working with data analysts from the Parthenon Group, an international consulting firm that received roughly three million dollars over two years from Newark philanthropy.

This is education reform in the United States. This is Arne Duncan’s America. Consultants and professional “educators” are paid millions to come up with elaborate plans. Sometimes those plans are implemented in a half-assed way. The teachers scramble to meet whatever metric or scheme has been handed down. The plan fails. More money is spent. More consultants are hired. More concessions are made to the unions. The leaders of the reform get elected to higher office. And ultimately nothing changes. Later rinse repeat.

It’s a pretty sweet gig if you’re a politician or a consultant or an “educator”. The only people that lose, really, are the taxpayers. And the kids. And the parents. And the actual teachers.

The more I read stories like this, the more I come to believe that it is impossible to fix the system. The interests, at least in Democrat-run inner cities, are too entrenched and far too skilled at manipulating the public and the media. I’m not going to say I’m in favor of privatizing the whole smash just yet. But … man … when I read something like this it makes that option look awfully tempting.

Making the Grade

Say what?

The dreaded F.

Most parents are alarmed by that letter on a child’s report card. But they won’t see it this year in Milwaukee’s K-8 and elementary schools, as the district does away with traditional letter grades in favor of a new scoring system that separates academic progress from social skills.

In doing so, Milwaukee Public Schools joins a growing number of districts that are eliminating traditional letter grades or untethering student behaviors from academic marks.

The changes — which can include no longer docking points from academic grades for late assignments and offering students multiple chances to submit their work — are a big shift for some teachers, and a head-scratcher for many parents.

“I think (district administrators) want letter grades to go away because they want to blur the line of failing students,” said Sara Andrea-Neill, a parent in the Kenosha Unified School District.

I think you’ve got in one, Sara Andrea-Neill. The new system will give students grades of AD (advanced), PR (proficient), BA (basic) and MI (minimal, but he’s totally not failing so for the love of God please don’t beat your kid). They will also get a separate feedback on “effort” of 1-4.

This is not that unusual. My wife’s high school in Australia used a similar system. However, I think the critics are missing something important. It seems to me that the larger problem is that the grading system continues the trend of emphasizing competence and proficiency over excellence. Notice what is lost. F becomes MI; D becomes BA, C become PR, B becomes AD and A … just disappears. There’s no longer a way to distinguish between kids who are above average and those who are truly exceptional.

I also don’t like that the system interferes with the teacher’s management of their classes by not letting them demand assignments on time. Anyone who has taught at any level above teaching the dog to fetch knows that deadlines are critical to get students to finish assignments and to preserve your sanity. You can’t have students turning in assignment willy-nilly and maintain a consistent pace in class.