Thursday, May 12, 2016

California Teachers Unions Force Nonmembers to Pay for LGBT, Other Political Goals

A large California teachers union and its national affiliate are forcing nonunion teachers to pay for political activism, according to a disclosure form acquired by The Daily Signal.

Under a category called “human rights,” both the National Education Association and the California Teachers Association require nonunion teachers to finance LGBT leadership training and other political goals that may run counter to the teachers’ convictions, The Daily Signal’s analysis of the disclosure form shows.

The form shows that unions charged $1.1 million in “human rights” costs to nonunion teachers as well as members in 2013-14, while identifying another $1.2 million in the same category as not chargeable to those who weren’t members.

A separate page lists $20,228 in chargeable costs for “Women and LGBT Issues” as a line item under the category  of human rights. The same page includes a line item on “unconscious bias training” for which nonmembers must cover $5,436.

The teachers unions also spend a pretty penny on annual conferences described as focused on education, some of which appear designed instead to further political causes.

For the 2013-14 school year, the teachers unions charged nonmembers as well as members a total of $49,739 for an “Equity Human Rights Conference,” nearly twice as much as the $25,622 deemed not chargeable to nonmembers, the disclosure form shows.

The unions charged nonmembers as well as members a total of $17,108 for an “LGBT Conference,” referring to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movement, with a lower amount, $11,358, that wasn’t charged to nonmembers.

Unions annually send the disclosure, known as a “Hudson notice,” to nonmembers required to pay union fees.

James Sherk, a labor policy analysis with The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal that line items devoted to human rights appear to be superfluous to the California Teachers Association’s negotiating responsibilities.

“This Hudson notice seems to show the union overcharging the nonmembers it represents,” Sherk wrote in an email, adding:

Donating to ‘human rights’ organizations is unrelated to the union’s collective bargaining activities and should not be chargeable to [nonmembers]. This is especially true when many self-described human rights organizations advance an ideological agenda that those nonmembers may not share.


British schools are under 'huge and unsustainable pressure' from dramatic rise in number of children from European migrants' families

Schools are coming under 'unsustainable pressure' from a surge in the number of pupils from European migrants' families, statistics have shown.

Nearly 700,000 school-aged youngsters have a mother or father who is a citizen of another country in Europe - more than double the number in 2007.

The statistics include pupils who have come to the UK with their families as well as those who were born to parents who had already moved to Britain.

In one year alone numbers of school-aged children coming to Britain from Europe reached 25,000, the figures showed.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, which found the statistics on Parliament's website, 27 average-sized new secondary schools would be needed to accommodate such an influx. 

The newspaper said the highest number came from Poland, followed by Lithuania and Germany.

Employment minister Priti Patel, told the Sunday Telegraph: 'These figures show how the EU’s open borders policies, and the uncontrolled immigration that stems from that, is leading to huge and unsustainable pressures on our schools.

'This is undermining efforts by local councils to ensure they keep class sizes down, and provide school places for all children in their communities.'

The data was released by Government statistician John Pullinger last week, the newspaper reported.

Last month, Ms Patel said migration had pushed the education system to ‘breaking point’. 

‘The shortage of primary school places is yet another example of how uncontrolled migration is putting unsustainable pressures on our public services,’ she said at the time.

‘Education is one of the most important things the Government delivers, and it’s deeply regrettable that so many families with young children are set to be disappointed today.' 

Last year up to one in five youngsters in parts of the country missed out on their first choice of school.


The Latest Innovation in Education: Empowering Parents

When it comes to education reform, fads abound but genuine innovation is rare.

Fads masquerading as “innovations” have been wreaking havoc on American elementary and secondary education for decades, including new math, open classrooms, whole language, and Differentiated Instruction, which groups children by their “learning styles.” The latest fad is psychometric testing, which collects massive amounts of non-academic, personal student data through federally-mandated statewide “accountability” assessments.

Progressive education theories fuel these fads, and the federal government is the vehicle transporting them to American classrooms from coast to coast, most notably via Common Core “state” standards, which has been likened to the “Obamacare of education.”

A variety of new educational choice programs, however, are putting parents back in the driver’s seat where they belong.

Tuition tax-credit scholarships are one example. Unlike voucher scholarships, which are funded through government appropriations, tax-credit scholarships are funded by private donations from individuals and/or businesses to non-profit scholarship organizations. Donors take credits of varying amounts off their state income taxes, and parents can use scholarships to send their children to the private schools of their choice.

Arizona was the first state to enact a tax-credit scholarship program in 1997. Today, 20 programs are operating in 16 states benefitting more than 225,000 students who are low-income, have special needs or circumstances, or would otherwise be attending a failing public school.

Education savings account (ESA) programs empowers parents over how—not just where—their children are educated, personalizing learning to unprecedented levels.

The ESA concept is simple. Parents who do not prefer a public school for their child simply withdraw him or her, and the state deposits at least 90 percent of the funds it would have sent to the public school into that child’s ESA instead. Parents receive a type of dedicated-use debit card for authorized expenses including private school tuition, online courses, testing fees, tutoring, home-school curricula, and special education therapies. Any leftover funds remain in the child’s ESA for future education expenses, including college.

ESA funds are disbursed quarterly, but only after parents submit expense reports with receipts for verification. Regular audits also help prevent misspending. If parents misuse funds they forfeit their child’s ESA and must repay misused funds or face legal prosecution.

Arizona was the first state to enact an ESA program in 2011, and such programs now exist in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Nevada (however, last month a judge issued an injunction against the program, leaving thousands of students in a lurch). So far this year, ESA legislation has been introduced in the District of Columbia, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Virginia. Meanwhile proposed legislation in Arizona would make virtually all students eligible for ESAs, not just those with special needs or circumstances.

Having the freedom to customize their children’s learning has resulted in an unprecedented 100 percent ESA program satisfaction rating among participating Arizona parents. Program demand is also strong, roughly doubling each year.

Parental choice programs such as these are fiscally responsible, popular, and they get results.

Sixty years ago Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman argued that just because we finance education through government that does not mean that elected officials in government know what type of education is best for other people’s children.

“Education spending will be most effective,” Friedman insisted, “if it relies on parental choice and private initiative—the building blocks of success throughout our society.”


TX school’s bizarre response to seven-year-old girl’s note

A FEW of us tried forging our parents’ signatures in school to get out of something, right? It’s a risky bit of high school mischief, as it’s not hard to get caught.

But in this case, a Texas school district has been forced to investigate how a misspelled note — which was clearly written by a young child — actually worked.

Charlie Dahu received a phone call from a concerned neighbour, who told him his seven-year-old daughter, Rosabella, was waiting outside the family’s locked home, reports ABC 13. He rushed home immediately, relieved to find nothing bad had happened to her.

But Dahu can’t fathom how Sheldon Elementary School allowed his second grade daughter to take the bus home by herself, given the note couldn’t possibly have been written by a parent. “You can clearly see she did not even spell the word bus right?” said Mr Dahu.

Y’know, in case the childlike handwriting and lack of signature weren’t dead giveaways either.

In a statement, the school district said the situation is being investigated: “Sheldon ISD is currently investigating the situation. We are reviewing our training procedures to ensure that our after-school grant program staff is properly trained in dismissal procedures.

At this point, the district is continuing to investigate and will take proper disciplinary action. As always, student safety is our top priority.”


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