Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Socialists Honor the Chicago Teachers Union

Socialists Honor the Chicago Teachers Union

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis recently claimed she isn’t politically “radical.”  Tell that to the Democratic Socialists of America.

The DSA recently honored the CTU and various activists for their work on left-wing causes at its 55th Annual Debs-Thomas-Harrington Dinner in Chicago.

The socialist group recognized the CTU for “consistently stand[ing] for education and professionalism.” The union “has shown that organizing is more than just mobilization and that defending a public good requires an organized public,” the socialist group said,

Since when is walking out on struggling children during a 10-day strike “standing for professionalism”? What does it say about the CTU when it’s winning – and accepting – awards from socialists?

It tells us that this teachers union is not working to prepare children to succeed in the real America, where individual effort and responsibility are hallmarks of a successful capitalistic system that the socialists love to hate.

The DSA also honored Keith Kelleher, a long-time leader of SEIU health care workers in Illinois and Indiana. The DSA notes Kelleher received “a much belated (from 2007) greeting from Barack Obama.”

The socialist group is delivering messages from Obama? What does that say about the company our president kept before taking office, and where his heart truly lies?

William McNary, a rabble-rouser with the far-left Citizen Action, also received an award for his “passionate oratory that has been an inspiration to action.”

EAGnews caught McNary’s style of “passionate oratory” on camera when he challenged Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to a fist fight.

See the video here!

The Democratic Socialists of America is nothing more than a rabble-rousing group that wants to create dissention and attack the social and economic foundations that made America great.

Being honored by such a group is certainly nothing to be proud of.

But the socialist awards do serve a useful purpose for the general public. They identify the groups and individuals that share the DSA’s anti-American views and should be avoided at all costs.


The Shackles of a Diploma

In the face of staunchly high unemployment and the prospect of long term job scarcity, one of the most common solutions is to increase your skill set or pick up a new one; to go back to school.  Throughout most of the last half of the last century, we've had it hammered into us and into our children that we need to attend higher education in order to achieve more profitable employment.  According to the 2000 Census, people with a high school diploma averaged a little less than two thousand dollars a month while people with a bachelor's earned almost double that.  For those who can support a Ph.D at the end of their name?   The average is almost eight thousand a year.  Sounds like a no-brainer investment.

The problem is that while the average salary is higher, the bill in the aftermath can be devastating.  The debt left after a bachelor's degree ranges anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the school and attainable aid.  That lovely Dr. prefix?  Five years in a doctorate program will run between $250,000 to $300,000.  So how does that average out?  The class of 2013 was left with sticker shock: the average debt they walked down the aisle with was $35,200.  Currently, the total amount of student loan debt is approaching a trillion dollars with larger and larger amounts of this debt being delinquent in payments.  When you take high rates of unemployment, people delaying retirement longer, market crashes and bubbles, and severe cuts on services due to government budget control (a phrase I can almost write with a straight face), you have a recipe for an incredible amount of stress on the middle and working classes.  Now, add to that the dangling carrot of higher wages that may in fact actually cause wages to be lower due to loan repayment and suddenly that stress becomes almost unbearable.

With the doubling of the interest rate on these loans scheduled to go into effect next week, this is an economic catastrophe waiting to happen on the macro scale and a tragedy for the individuals that are going to suffer the consequences of attempting to better themselves: the cost of college tuition has skyrocketed so much that, outside of the exceedingly wealthy, higher education has also become synonymous with extreme amounts of debt.

The truth is that any solution is going to have to be both at the student level and at a significantly higher level.  If the United States wants to stay competitive in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics jobs, higher education needs to be both attainable and affordable, allowing these new graduates to use their degrees to participate in the general economy, not just the debt.  At the student level, people need to be more informed about their educational options; an engineering degree that makes $80,000 a year shackled to a $100,000 in debt with a huge interest rate will be worth significantly less to the owner than a technical certificate that makes $60,000 a year with only $5,000 in course fees.  Likewise, these students need to be educated on early investment development. 

A $100,000 in loans, on an average time frame to pay (10 years for students), with 6.8% interest, will total out to almost $140,000 at $1,100 a month.  If you took that same thousand dollars a month and invested half of it in a diversified portfolio, you could potentially be substantially ahead of the $100,000 mark with dividends being paid and a hedge to insure your wealth.

The student loan bubble is going to continue to threaten the personal economics of the next generation until it either bursts or we can come up with a better solution than shackling people with endless debt.  In the meanwhile, getting twenty and thirty-somethings into the market, beginning a diversified portfolio they can maintain is a wise choice that will yield more fiscally responsible adults ready to better participate in the greater markets.


Would your mother understand it? Britain's Education Secretary  bans jargon in education department

The Education Secretary has ordered his civil servants to write in language their mums would understand in a drive to banish jargon from his department.

Michael Gove, known for his love of plain English, has written to civil servants with new "golden rules" to make their letters more comprehensible.

To get them writing "concise, polite and precise" correspondence, he suggested they should consider whether their mum, or his own, would understand each sentence.

The ten guidelines advised officials to read their letters aloud, cut out excessive adjectives and take inspiration from clear writers like George Orwell.

However, Mr Gove also wrote a longer guide containing his philosophy on the art of letter writing, starting with the claim that "concision is in itself a form of politeness".

In this note, he gave several examples of where officials might have been going wrong, including the use of "inflated political rhetoric" or giving “general formulaic replies”.

Ordering them to "cut out unnecessary words", he said: "Rather than writing “the policy that we are introducing is intended to drive a change in behaviours on the part of teachers with respect to the poorest and most disadvantaged children and young people” say “the policy will change how teachers behave towards poorer students”.

Mr Gove, a former journalist, who studied English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, said officials should introduce one idea per paragraph, use a sympathetic tone and make sure they spell the recipient's name correctly.

"The more care you take over elegant composition, the greater the compliment you pay the correspondent," he added.

He also cautioned against sounding self-important in a letter.

“It does not require a writing style modelled on Leonard Sachs from “The Good Old Days” or Sir Humphrey in “Yes, Minister”,” he wrote. “Using inflated political rhetoric of the “first may I say how much I care about X” is not polite. It is a time-wasting exercise in self-regarding pomposity. So don’t even go there. Instead use direct, clear and vigorous language.”

The Cabinet minister has faced opposition among teachers for overhauling the curriculum to bring back traditional spelling and grammar tests in school.

As part of his plans to make education more “rigorous”, he is also changing the English curriculum to make pupils study more classic literature.

The note suggests Mr Gove would like to apply such principles to his own staff.

In the guidelines, first reported by The Mail on Sunday, he suggested officials should read “the greats”, including George Orwell, Jane Austen, George Eliot and Evelyn Waugh. He also gave two more modern examples of clear prose writers: The Times write and former MP Matthew Parris and journalist Christopher Hitchens.

The senior Tory’s intervention comes after several attempts by Government ministers to improve the writing of their staff.

When she was the Transport Secretary, Justine Greening sent employees in her department a five-page essay on grammar in 2011.

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, also drew up guidelines on how officials should use clauses and semi-colons after taking on the job last year.

Mr Gove's guidlines, first reported in The Mail on Sunday, suggest bureaucrats should:

1 If in doubt, cut it out.

2 Read it out loud – if it sounds wrong, don’t send it.

3 In letters, adjectives add little, adverbs even less.

4 The more the letter reads like a political speech the less good it is as a letter.

5 Would your mum understand that word, phrase or sentence? Would mine?

6 Read the great writers to improve your own prose – George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh, Jane Austen and George Eliot, Matthew Parris and Christopher Hitchens.

7 Always use concrete words and phrases in preference to abstractions.

8 Gwynne’s Grammar is a brief guide to the best writing style.

9. Simon Heffer’s Strictly English is a more comprehensive – and very entertaining – companion volume.

10. Our written work should be the clearest, most elegant, and most enjoyable to read of any Whitehall department’s because the Department for Education has the best civil servants in Whitehall.


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