STATISTICS AS SPIN!!!!!!! MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS KILLING US WITH MISINFORMATION.
I wanted to revisit for the day the outright misrepresentation we are being exposed to every day as journalism no longer feels any need to verify or even weed out information sent to it. PLEASE SHOUT OUT TO THESE MEDIA OUTLETS AND POLICY GROUPS THAT KNOWINGLY GIVE FALSE INFORMATION!
Below you see a variety of topics each with its own mission....to make incumbents look good when they are absolutely horrible. Attorney General Gansler is running for governor and needs to tout as an accomplishment something that was not only a failure.....but a lie. Funds have not been distributed.....they were simply placed in the state coffers. I remind you of PIRG -MD and its unbelievable attempt to color Baltimore as a city of transparency by outright grading on a curve.....I've never seen anything presented with such a skew towards hiding political failings. They admitted they did indeed skew the data. The education success game is high as O'Malley intends to use his education successes in his campaigning.....only none of it is true......it is all skewed data. Below he is touting an improvement in Maryland's scores that take a very small percentage of all students taking the AP tests....20% for most counties, then he is saying of those 20% there were 17% that made a passing score. DO YOU KNOW HOW SMALL A GROUP OF STUDENTS THAT IS? IT IS ALL BUNK. What we know is that this education reform is wasting far too much money on administrative changes that have no value. Lastly I show our State Treasurer Kopp who must have the most skeletons in her closet of anyone I know given she has had that position for years. What she does below is try to defend herself from a columnist's bad revue of her performance but making what I know is an outright lie. She defends pension funding as adequate by referring to the unusually high rate of return we've had these past few years as proof returns will meet expectations. She doesn't inform people that the bond market is superheated and ready to implode so all of the gains will be lost......just as with the subprime loan market. THESE POLS ARE SHAMELESS AS THEY LEAVE THESE PENSIONS IN INVESTMENTS EVERYONE KNOWS ARE GOING TO BUST AND BURN.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!!!!
I WILL SPEAK ON EDUCATION THE REST OF THE WEEK.
This headline is not only misleading and false.....it is a political advertisement for Gansler and his running for Governor....courtesy the Baltimore Sun. We all know that the homeowners who were victims of fraud received a $1,900 sum totaling some millions of dollars. We know that Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition outed the banks and Attorney General Gansler for having made very few mortgage modifications as of late last year. Well over $700 million simply went into the State general fund.
Government watchdogs all report that the banks have done little to no mortgage adjustments to satisfy the settlement terms. What we are seeing is Obama's taxpayer funded housing program of $70 billion designed to do the exact same thing as this bank settlement being the funds used for mortgage refinancing.....not the banks money.
Here in Maryland what we do see are these banks giving home-buying incentives to new homeowners as those in Baltimore's Enterprise Zones. Since Gansler allowed the banks to pay fraud penalties as community donations these last few years....writing fraud off as charity .....it is not hard to imagine that these home-buying incentives are being slated towards fraud payments.
All of this is important in defining Rule of Law. People have equal protection and Gansler is the man charged with that duty. Yet, time and again the people being defrauded never get justice!
Marylanders have received $1.1 billion from Mortgage Settlement so far
Deatrice S. Besong is pictured at her home in Upper Marlboro. Bank of America, her servicer, has agreed to reduce her mortgage principal. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun / December 6, 2012)
By Steve Kilar The Baltimore Sun 9:58 a.m. EST, February 21, 2013
Maryland homeowners have received over $1.1 billion in assistance from the National Mortgage Settlement, according to a report released Thursday by the settlement’s court-appointed monitor.
Just over 14,000 homeowners in the state, between March 1, 2012 and the end of the year, received help from the settlement with five major mortgage servicers that were accused of abusive foreclosure practices. The average amount of relief, including mortgage modifications and short sale assistance, was $79,082, the monitor’s report said.
Other forms of assistance that the banks can count toward the settlement are principal reductions, deficiency waivers and refinancing.
Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial entered into the settlement last year with 49 states’ attorneys general and the federal government to resolve the accusations of consumer abuse, which included “robo-signing,” the practice of creating foreclosure documents in an assembly-line fashion without verifying their accuracy.
“Not only have thousands of families who remain in their homes benefited, entire neighborhoods, cities and counties have also benefited as the reduction in foreclosures has helped stabilize home prices — a necessity for economic recovery in Maryland,” said Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler in a statement Thursday.
About $957 million was projected to reach Maryland residents through the settlement, Gansler’s office said. The report released Thursday does not include funds allocated in the first two months of 2013 nor does it incorporate payments that are expected to be made this summer to some borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure, according to Gansler’s office.
Nationally, $46 billion in relief has been allocated by the banks to more than 550,000 borrowers, according to Thursday’s report, the monitor’s third update on the settlement’s progress.
The monitor’s newest report is available here.
THIS IS THE NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE THAT NO DOUBT PROMPTED THE ARTICLE ABOVE!!!!
Editorial What Mortgage Relief? Published: February 24, 2013
- New York Times
A third progress report was issued last Thursday by the monitor of the settlement, which, among its terms, required the banks to grant $25 billion worth of mortgage relief, much of it by reducing the principal balances on troubled loans. The report showed that through the end of 2012, 71,000 borrowers had their primary mortgages modified, versus 170,000 who received help on their second mortgages, including home equity loans.
Both types of assistance can help struggling borrowers — to a point. But as Jessica Silver-Greenberg reported in The Times, housing advocates say that in many cases, banks are not helping with troubled primary mortgages, which often leaves the homeowners facing foreclosure. Instead, the banks are forgiving the second mortgages, which allows them to say that they have met their obligations under the settlement.
In other words, banks are structuring the debt relief in ways designed to tidy up their balance sheets, rather than to keep as many people from losing their homes as possible. Banks often do not own the primary mortgages; they only service them for investors who own them. But they do often hold second liens on their books. In general, the holder of a second lien gets nothing when a home is worth less than the mortgage balance or is sold in foreclosure. But by forgiving the second liens, the bank at least gets credit for “helping” the borrower.
In the report, the settlement monitor, Joseph Smith, said the banks still had much work to do on the borrowers’ behalf. We’ll believe it when we see it.
PIRG-MD VERIFIED THAT THEY DID GRADE THIS ON A CURVE MAKING IT APPEAR IT WAS BETTER THAN IT IS!!! These states failed yet because they all did poorly, the B+ meant that Maryland failed less than a few others.
THIS STUDY WAS RELEASED SIMPLY AS A HEADLINE THAT WILL BE USED FOR POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH REALITY. LOOK AT THE CITIES HAVING THE HIGH GRADES......ALL OF THEM ARE KNOWN TO BE SOME OF THE MOST CORRUPT. PIRG DID THE SAME A FEW YEARS AGO WITH DATA THAT CONFLICTED WITH THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY STATE STUDY OF CORRUPTION AND TRANSPARENCY. I ASKED PIRG HOW IT COULD GET RANKINGS SO MUCH DIFFERENT THEN THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY------
THEY SAID 'WE USE A CURVE TO RANK THESE DATA' WE DO NOT SET A BENCHMARK TO BE MET.
In scientific research terms......THEY ARE LYING!!!
Baltimore gets B+ in spending transparency Grade given by Maryland PIRG Published 11:50 AM EST Jan 25, 2013
- WBAL TV Baltimore
BALTIMORE —Baltimore City gets a B+ when it comes to spending transparency, according to the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.
The organization graded the nation's largest cities on how effectively they allow the public to track budgets, contracting, subsidies, grants and other requests.
Get a copy of the report here
Baltimore was praised in the report for its searchable and downloadable checkbook, its level city spending information and its service request center that allows residents to notify city officials of issues that need to be fixed.
Baltimore scored better than many other cities with significantly larger budgets and populations.
New York City, Chicago and San Francisco received A's.
Those of us wanting REAL advances in education have a problem with the current course of reforms and this is one. The public is receiving all kinds of success hype that is just that.....hype. I do not want to detract from the hard work of students and teachers, but it is this reliance on test scores that has many educators pulling hair. What this article states is that of those students taking the test.....11% underserved scored well.....29% overall. First, the increase is so small as to be a statistical anomaly. Second, what they aren't telling you is the number taking the test. 'OF THOSE TAKING THE TEST'. What percentage of the total population of Maryland students took the test? Politicians are deliberately seeking a headline and what most feel is unjustified shouts of success. It's like George Bush shouting the War With Iraq is Over after 3 days.
The reason this misrepresentation of statistics is important is that for those seeing these reforms as wrongheaded, these headlines are harmful. Many educators see the problems with achievement as basic revenue and resources sent to K-12. These education reforms send copious amounts of money to things that do nothing to improve funding and resources in classrooms and THAT IS THE PROBLEM.
Record number of black students in Md. passed AP tests State still leads country in percentage of students passing tests in 2012
By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun 9:10 p.m. EST, February 20, 2013
More African-American students in Maryland's Class of 2012 successfully passed a rigorous Advanced Placement exam than ever before, as the state continued to lead the nation in the percentage of students deemed college- and career-ready, according to data released Wednesday by the national College Board.
The 11.4 percent of black students who earned a score of 3 or better on an exam still comprises a small fraction of the 29.6 percent of all Maryland seniors who passed a test. But it is among the highest percentages in the nation, reflecting the increased access and success for black students on the exams.
Maryland maintained its longstanding rank as No. 1 in the nation in the proportion of students passing the exams in 2012. The state significantly outpaced the nation, where 19.5 percent of students scored a 3 or higher, and also noted the largest percentage increase of students passing the tests in the past decade.
The data were released in the College Board's "Annual AP Report to the Nation." The report provides a state-by-state report on the number of students who take Advanced Placement courses, which are offered in dozens of subject areas, and pass the assessments. Students earn a score of 1 to 5, with 3 considered passing.
Some colleges accept passing grades as credit, and students who pass the tests are said to have higher college grade point averages, do better in intermediate level classes and have higher college completion rates.
Over the past decade, the number of Maryland students who take the exams has more than doubled, which state schools Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery praised as "parents and students really stepping out there, ready to take these risks.
"We believe that every child should have access to the most rigorous curriculum possible," Lowery said. "Not everyone is going to do well on the assessments, but at least they are being introduced to college and career-ready" work.
She attributed the increased pass rates to high-quality training for teachers and hard work by students.
The state was among a few in the country in which both the number of students taking the tests, particularly among minorities and other underserved populations, and pass rates increased. "The good news is, we have not suffered at all because we have opened access," Lowery said.
College Board officials said the gap in the number of underserved populations who have access to the rigor of Advanced Placement courses remains a national struggle, though in Maryland the variations are less prevalent.
Officials said that while one in four Advanced Placement students in the nation are underserved minorities, the proportion of those students who have the potential to excel in the classes still lags in some subjects. For example, two out of 10 Native American students with the potential to excel in AP math classes enroll in them, and three out of 10 African-American and Hispanic students do.
Maryland also had the highest percentage of students in the nation taking math and science assessments, state officials said.
Lowery said she would like to see the gap between minority students and their peers shrink significantly, particularly with the passage of the Maryland Dream Act, which will allow more minority students to attend college by extending a tuition break to some illegal immigrants who graduate from high school in Maryland.
"We would hope to ... continue to grow at all levels, and among all ethnicities," she said.
State officials noted that Hispanic students also saw progress on the exams last year. They accounted for 8.8 percent of Maryland's 2012 graduating class and 8.3 percent of the seniors who scored 3 or higher on the exam.
All 24 Maryland school systems have at least 20 percent of seniors taking the tests, according to state officials, who highlighted some districts — Anne Arundel, Calvert, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties — for having at least 30 percent of their graduating classes pass an exam.
By the numbers
Number of Maryland seniors who took AP exam in 2012: 26,640
Percentage of Maryland's seniors who passed AP exam in 2012: 29.6
Percentage of seniors who passed AP exam nationally: 19.5
Percentage of African-American seniors in Maryland who passed AP exam in 2012: 11.4
Percentage of Hispanic seniors in Maryland who passed AP exam: 8.3
We want to say this to Ms Kopp....not as a conservative pundit but as a progressive/labor pundit....we know that state and city pensions were thrown into the stock market just before the crash in 2008 after being moved from a then safe bond market. This was deliberate as pensions, both private and public, were used to prop the falling market to give connected investors a profit right to the end while pensions were left to take the brunt of the crash. Kopp will remember this.
Flash forward to present and again it is public/private pensions in what is now the collapsing market....municipal bonds ready to implode from all of the movement by pols of government debt to credit bond markets and due to the heavy investment of pensions in the European sovereign debt market....all of which is about to crumble. So don't think these high returns will last and Kopp knows this.
It is Kopp who plays the propagandist in stating the high returns prove sound figures for future gains. As she knows these figures are so inflated because of this bond bubble and will crash with the market. What people with pensions need to know is that you have a class action lawsuit over the malfeasance in 2008 and what will be this soon to occur collapse!!
State pension returns are on target 9:00 a.m. EST, February 19, 2013 Baltimore Sun
In her recent column, Marta Mossburg opines that the state pension system's assumed rate of return of 7.75 percent is unrealistic, pointing to last year's earnings of 0.36 percent as proof ("On state pensions, 'Everyone else is doing it' is no excuse," Feb. 13). Interestingly, she failed to mention the system's 20 percent earnings in fiscal year 2011 and 14 percent in fiscal 2010. That data didn't fit her narrative.
Ms. Mossburg and other critics of the pension system seem to have difficulty acknowledging the reality that the assumed rate of return is based on a long-term horizon. Since the system is charged with pre-funding benefits during the working life of public employees, the board appropriately looks at the rate of return as an average over that period, which is typically 25 years or more.
When determining the rate of return, the board and its investment advisors do not expect the system to match it year after year. In some years, the earnings far exceed the assumed rate, and in other years we fall short, as evidenced by the figures I mentioned above. However, when averaged over the working life of the typical employee, the board has done well in setting the rate. The latest data (as of January 31, 2013) shows that the system has earned 7.97 percent on average over the last 25 years and 7.69 percent over the last 10 years, one of the worst periods in history. The board will review this data later this year during its annual actuarial review.
As I stated in my column to state retirees — which Ms. Mossburg cites, but unfortunately mischaracterizes — we take the long view. Benefits are paid out by the system over the long-term, requiring a long-term investment horizon and funding strategy. Read it here and see how it squares with Ms. Mossburg's portrayal.
Nancy K. Kopp, Annapolis
The writer is Maryland State Treasurer and chairs the board of trustees of the State Retirement and Pension System.