Friday, August 26, 2011

The Persecution Rests

As soon as the solo finalist for DCSS Superintendent was announced the boo-birds came out with a fury that would have frightened Hitchcock himself. Most of the complaints are firmly rooted in a lack of appreciation for what it takes to position oneself to be the superintendent of a large, failing urban school district. To aid in that understanding there is a technique used by the "what I hear you saying" crowd that nonetheless can be effective. It is a mind's eye view--a virtual "walk a mile in their shoes". This is an exercise that will not only help you understand the candidate but also understand the thinking behind choosing this individual.

This is best done with an assistant to read what follows while you, with eyes closed, imagine--mentally visualize--the story of another person and what they really are.
Start by considering a youth, already committed to a life of service, convinced that by helping children achieve their potential they can be of the greatest service to their community. This is a person driven to prepare for and become a great teacher.
Can you see it?
With hard work and perseverance this comes to pass. But it is not enough. There are clearly opportunities to help even more children, but this requires not only giving 110% to the incredibly difficult job in the classroom, but also taking on the challenge of acquiring the capabilities and credentials required to become a principal.
Can you see it?
As a principal you're seeing hard work pay off in success for the school, the parents, and the children, but you do not see a complacent individual. You now see someone even more driven to improve the prospects of greater numbers of students. Someone who, while doing the heavy lifting of running a school, also takes the next step, concurrently seeking a PhD in a challenging program that provides the necessary tools to take their commitment to service to the next level.
Can you see it?
Now envision a successful former classroom teacher, a top notch principal taking a record of success to central administration. Moving around and moving up, but always building on the theme of turning failed classrooms, schools and districts into recognized successes that pay off in student performance.
Can you see it?
You see a person with a life-long addiction to helping children learn. A successful administrator poised to take their mission to the highest level, to meet the greatest need. This is a person that attracts and warrants the attention of distressed systems throughout the country.
Can you see it?
Now. Imagine this person is a white male.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Failing Higher Ed

If the APS scandal has taught us anything it is that "educators" are not the noble, self-sacrificing purveyors of knowledge they have so loudly claimed. Quite the contrary. They have diligently and successfully worked to ensure never-ending pay increases, even after retirement and this addiction to "money above all else" has been supported by fearful and pliant politicians and delusional parents who simply will not address the failure of local public schools. This private jet liner crashed into a mountain when someone put in place objective tests that unmasked the charade.

Total destruction requires just these kinds of paradigm shifts.

Georgia's University System is not quite as far along on this ultimate path towards greed fueled destruction but it is headed that direction. And it is accelerating. Since Georgia instituted state sanctioned gambling the supply of our Universities' drug of choice, other people's money, has seemed limitless. And, as proven by our K-12 experience, this drug is potent and these junkies will do anything, to anybody, in order to feed their ever-growing addiction. To date this has been facilitated by adding as many HOPE-funded students as possible regardless of their past educational history, current capabilities or future educational prospects. Remediation is highly profitable and does no damage to the institute's reputation as these "students" almost never graduate.

The next step towards ultimate destruction has been planned and is being executed by our Governor and Chancellor. With the previous policy having saturated our collective college student bodies with intellectually lame remedials it is now time for the crippling shift in policy. Now, rather than packing freshman classes with grade inflated victims of self-esteem, Guv & Co. intend to immediately change the rule to "Dollars for Diplomas". That's right, instead of paying for "Asses in Classes" we'll immediately shift to paying only for those that graduate.

And we should expect our colleges and universities to be no less resourceful, efficient and compliant with this new goal than they have been with any previous "funded mandate". These folks are no less a moral windsock than the K-12 teachers and administrators that they trained and can be expected to feed their greed by "any means necessary". And the easiest way to satisfy this mandate? That's right, print diplomas faster than the Treasury prints dollars.

Once the destruction is complete we can expect the Guv to hand out diplomas at Georgia Welcome Centers to everyone who stops to use the restroom. The Chancellor will be found dancing with the devil on Jan Kemp's grave.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

Did you notice in the recent Beltway kerfuffle that only one thing is certain: before the week is out Washington will borrow trillions of dollars. Sure, they claim they'll cut their overspending by a similar amount. Over TEN YEARS. Seriously, does anyone of voting age really believe even this pathetic charade will actually play out and these politicians will make any meaningful attempt to curtail spending?

Looking closer to home, voters in Dunwoody will be asked in 2 separate referenda to raise their taxes. Why? So our local politicians can spend between 33 and 66 million dollars. Again, we know one thing: they will incur the debt immediately, get the money now, and spend it quickly. On well identified needs? Not really, just a "vision".

And isn't it interesting how the numbers are manipulated. Yes, we know the bond amount, and yes we know the millage increase and based on current valuation can guess at today's tax revenue for the city. And, if we knew the bond rate, we could calculate the true cost of this loan, but a conservative estimate puts it at around $175 million so our "leaders" can get their hands on $66 million today. But that's not what we hear from proponents. Instead we hear how this is "only" a few extra dollars a month for the "average homeowner". This is the same kind of snake-oil salesmanship that caused our recent financial meltdowns.

But what about that tax revenue? Do you really think the digest is now at its highest point or do you suppose that property in Dunwoody might appreciate over the next 30 years? As properties appreciate, will the City adjust the millage rates down so the tax covers the "mortgage on our parks" and nothing else? Do you think they would use the surplus to "pay down the principal" or otherwise retire the debt early? Are either of these fiscally prudent actions written into the referenda? If you believe politicians, any politicians, will do either of their own accord, then you haven't been paying attention.

At the end of the day these bonds are supported by the notion that we need more parks because Minneapolis has more than we. This is clearly a waste of our money and a perfect example that even when created with the best of intentions more government simply does more harm.