Quick Hits

We know from the lack of results, that the negotiated contracts with teachers causes constipation in the effort to fire ineffective teachers. The “due process” component is so bad that ineffective that the process simply does not work to fire ANY ineffective teachers!
Would teachers accept the exact same “due process” contract for airline pilots? Brain Surgeons? Combat military leaders?
Would teachers or the public accept keeping the suspected ineffective airline pilots in their left seats for years while their “due process” ground slowly through? Would the teachers or the public accept a “Dance of the Lemons” for Brain Surgeons from hospital to hospital, or ineffective military leaders from unit to unit?
It’s just a wild guess but I believe that teachers would not fly an airline that operated with a policy of keeping ineffective pilots in the left seat while their “due process” was exhausted, but for some reason an ineffective teacher can fail to educate and motivate thousands of students over serious amounts of time with teacher support!
You can bet that the pilot’s due process is not the same well-documented, drawn-out and lengthy due process that teachers have built-in for themselves.
My question was whether teachers would accept an airline that had the SAME due process available to teachers. That would be one that leaves the pilot in the left seat for years after being deemed “ineffective?”
I think not!
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The Daily Beast ranks the top 100 high schools in the nation, and US News and World Report does the same for colleges and universities. Already, the population of Charter Schools (which are public schools) is only 5% nationally but Charters are 30% of the Top Ten High Schools.
I just think that every parent should have as much choice of NOT sending their children to public schools as Clinton, Obama, Ted Kennedy, Rahm Emanuel, Chris Christie Joe Biden and John McCain et al, to either send, or not send their child to standard public schools.
In fact the last president to send his children to public school was Jimmy Carter. The Members of the House and Senate who send their children to public school is also low. Here are the stats from about 10 years ago of those who use private schools

, and you know that the situation is no better::

31% of House Education and Workforce committee members

• 45% of House Ways and Means committee members

• 56% of Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee members

• 47% of Senate Finance committee members

• 29% of Congressional Black Caucus members

• 46% of Congressional Hispanic Caucus members
http://www.publicschoolreview.com/articles/291

If alternatives are good enough for them, they are good enough for “us!”
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Teacher Due Process Is Designed to Fail, And It Does!

As I have noted often, California schools rank 47th in the nation, and the nation ranks 17th internationally in education. I wish it were not so, and I support MINIMUM teacher salaries of $100K to attract those currently going into Engineering, Computer Science, business etc. The higher salary I support comes with a caveat: Teachers must give up tenure (Engineers, Computer Sci and business don’t have such things), unionization, and must adhere to stringent testing in Schools of Education — like Engineers, etc.

I began a second Masters in Education, and quit halfway through — even though it was free because I taught Computer Science — because the courses lacked ANY academic rigor. Everyone just wanted to get the ticket punched!

I was the president and CEO of a Los Angeles TV station, and I can assure you that NO employees had “due process.” In fact I appointed a woman as the first woman Station Manager in Los Angeles, and eventually I fired the first woman Station Manager of a TV station in Los Angeles. Her “Due Process” was the length of time necessary to empty her desk, as I watched.

The small business I founded, the one I managed for an owner, and the computer company I turned around for the US federal Bankruptcy Court, all worked similarly and in compliance with the State Employment At Will law.

The TV station et al ran as a meritocracy, as all organizations should run! Schools — at least public schools, demonstrably, are not meritocracies. Until the school system works as one, I believe 10% is the proper number.

The “Due Process” designed for schools is designed to fail — and it does. There are consistent poor performances in every organization — Astronauts to teachers, hot dog vendors at stadiums to Merchant Ship Captains. All suffer firing for poor performance…everyone except teachers, whom I have argued believe they have some magical DNA from the rest of humankind.

Clue: They do not!

Just Pondering

Let me admit that I am glad that Scotland is still part of the United Kingdom.

I am no longer the flaming Anglophile of my youth when I would own and race only British cars, but there is within me a certain love of the Brits. I raised ONLY British cars — Jaguar, MGA, and Lotus.

Of course the Britain of my youth, the Britain whose RAF had defeated the more numerous Luftwaffe, the Britain of the vaunted Jaguar XK at Le Mans, that Britain has given away to the Britain where radical Muslims gather, BMW owns Rolls Royce and socialism reigns.

No that Britain of my youth, like the America of my youth no longer exists.

Of course Scotland also has a bit of a change. The first I heard in my study of the area was when just after the birth of Christ, the Romans invaded the islands and built Hadrian’s Wall to deter attack from the “Picitis” (Latin for The Painted Ones) as the Scots were called.

How Government Grows

Here is the political scenario I see: Labor gets their acolytes in government to pass legislation that ties the hands of business and making business weaker, labor stronger, also making government larger and stronger in that it has another law to enforce.

Business then has its acolytes pass a law that ties the hands of labor, making business stronger, labor weaker, and government stronger because it has another law to enforce.

Then, as computer programmers say, “loop,” — meaning do it again.

While both business and labor are then happier in that they have an occasional victory over their putative opponent, in each case — but in every case — government has grown, become more powerful and grows the bureaucracy to enforce more laws.

This ratchet mechanism is ONE of the reasons that labor and business are both weaker compared to government — which each has worked to make stronger.

Charter Schools

I have learned a few things blogging on the Voiceofsandiego.org site. I learned that Charter Schools are 5% of public schools but are 30% of the Top 10 High Schools in the nation as rated by the Daily Beast.

Now, before you complain about the DB rankings, I’ll tell you what I have learned by reading the comments of many teachers over many months: (The following is sarcasm, just in case you don’t recognize it…it is hard to do i print:

Standardized test scores are meaningless, and therefore any “value added” that a teacher may or not bring is equally meaningless and cannot be used for teacher evaluations

Evaluations by Principals and Administrators are useless because politics gets played.

The only reason students struggle( or succeed) has to do with parental involvement, which is not a factor over which schools have no control.

Charter schools cherry-pick their students by test, and demographics — therefore comparing charter schools to standard public schools is meaningless.

Any organization that does not rate their school, their school district or their methodology as the tops, is inherently flawed

Pondering Elections

Too often we as voters, elect that really nice nurse in the neighborhood who loves children to the School Board or that great Attorney who gives impressive speeches — without knowing if they can read a spreadsheet or what they think of the last budget, or the current curriculum.

This lack of preparation, this lack of proper vetting, happens all the way from the local Fire and Water Boards to the presidency, but it isn’t the fault of the candidates it is the combined fault of the press and the voters.

There is nothing in J School that prepares a reporter to ask financial questions, and voters are even less prepared to delve into knowledge backgrounds. Typically they can’t get access anyway! Many just accept their favorite organization recommendation but the support of Filner by the Labor Council point to that flaw.

Ahhh…Yes, North Korea

North Korea is back in the news these days with a sentencing of some 24 year old liberal who tried to defect to North Korea. The NK sentenced him to 6 years hard labor. As Snowden discovered — and Kim Philby before him — no one likes a traitor. Spies are another subject — there is a certain respect for those who risk their lives.

My first experience with the NK, was when I was 17 years old.

In days of set piece war, more casualties are caused by artillery than bullets. Artillery is best at killing, troops are best at gaining and holding real estate.

In our case, Wonsan Harbor was a harbor deep into NK territory. (280 miles deep at that time) The tiny islands in the harbor were held by the US Marines, and if the ship in the harbor was driven, out the Marines would be instantly overrun.

The NK had large guns on tracks hidden behind huge steel doors in the mountain overlooking the harbor, and the NK would run the guns out, bombard both the Marines and the resident ship. The Navy had usual 5″ guns, which while powerful, were slow firing, giving the NK guns plenty of time to get the range right.

(Every week we had a squad of the Marines come aboard by rubber boat for a fe nights of hot chow and a warm bunk. I was with one of them when we started getting incoming and he freaked out. I said he got shelled on his island and he said with fear, “Yes, but there I can dig a home — here there is no place to hide!)

We were a tiny ship (a WWII, DDE) but the secret was we had the first 3” dual mounts — each gun firing one 12 pound shell a second. Rather than fire, spot, range, fire spot…our mounts could start somewhere and just “walk” the results directly into the gun position before the NK could get the doors shut. The NK also had their train tracks repaired just seconds before a train came out of the mountain range, and at full speed it would taunt the “Station Ship” with steam whistle blaring as it rocketed south. Our 3″ mount got it first time — it took days to clear the mess, which we interrupted…afterward it ran silent…but we still got it half the time.

Our ship (USS Obannon, DDE-450, luckiest ship in WWII), won both South Korean and United States Presidential Unit Citations for just two weeks of work. The USS New Jersey relieved us and fired a nine gun (16″) salute to us — damn near sank us with the wave it generated! (I subsequently served aboard the New Jersey as a Midshipman, and was in charge of one of those 16″ guns. It was Awesome! it could throw a 2,000 pound warhead 25 miles, and it would then penetrate 16 inches of steel or 16 FEET of concrete!)

In short, each of us has an old-time war experiences — unfortunately I can’t even talk about my submarine work or submarine work in general…just one thing I can mention: When former submariner and shipmate, CDR. L. M. Bucher and his crew were captured by the NK, in his first letter to his wife he wrote, “Find Hemphill. Take his advice on all matters.”

He knew me. On his return I wrote his speeches and traveled the US with him as his bodyguard. (There is a reason.)

But that is another story.