Article 1. That all Government of right originates from the People, is founded in compact only, and instituted solely for the good of the whole; and they have, at all times, the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their Form of Government in such manner as they may deem expedient.
What is happening today in Maryland is a complete disregard for the above Constitutional right of citizens making all of what is happening in policy easily invalidated----contracts and all. You cannot act in a rogue manner with any expectations of lasting effect!
For those in Baltimore not knowing that our new Baltimore City School Superintendent came fresh from serving one of the most Tea Party of Republicans -----Scott Walker. Thornton's short tenure included implementing one of the most onerous of policies-----Act 10. A teacher comparing Act 10 with flying a kite during a lightening storm does not sound well-received. Indeed, that is why Thornton was brought to Baltimore----to do the same thing. Remember, with the coming bond market crash----and O'Malley sending teachers pensions to localities----these public pensions will be decimated if not eliminated. Downsizing teachers as schools close----downsizing teachers as charter schools stop taking unionized teachers......as you see Fordham Foundation was connected to Scott Walker's Milwaukee just as Fordham is connected to neo-conservative Johns Hopkins and its education privatization reform. The goal is to deny all workers any retirement benefits and privatized schools receiving all of the billions of public education funding. WHAT GENIUS! OR IS IT JUST LYING, CHEATING, AND STEALING? GET RID OF THESE CORPORATE POLS----
BOTH NEO-LIBERALS IN MARYLAND ASSEMBLY AND NEO-CONS IN BALTIMORE CITY HALL!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Gov. Walker on Dr. Thornton's Departure From MPS
Before I go to bed, one quick article that I came across on JSOnline. It's short, and it's a statement from Gov. Walker's office on the departure of MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton:
Madison -- Gov. Scott Walker is weighing in on the departure of Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent Gregory Thornton.
The Baltimore City Public School Board of School Commissioners Tuesday named Thornton their next CEO.
"Governor Walker is hopeful that the Milwaukee Public School board members will seek to fully utilize the reforms granted to them under Act 10 and put more resources into the classroom. The governor hopes the search for a new superintendent will open the door to fully embracing these positive reforms," Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said.
I respect the office of Governor too much to say what I really feel.
Never one to let a political knife twist go by, Gov. Walker... Go fly a kite. Preferably in a lightning storm on the highest hill, so you can maybe have some semblance of what it's like as an MPS teacher post 2011 Act 10.
Thornton will be axing more teachers as ever more schools close and as someone who knew from the start this school building program was always about rebuilding only the city core schools. After the coming economic crash these newly renovated schools will default into the hands of private investors who will then declare them private charters and give the teacher's union the boot.
Thornton was brought to do in Baltimore what he did in Milwaukee complete with attacking teacher's pensions and union rights to accelerating the privatization of these charter schools. We know that the school building bond deal was made specifically to move these newly renovated schools into the hands of private investors with the bond market collapse next year and Thornton will be ready to be the YES MAN to all of this effort. You would hear Thornton decrying the loss of public control of K-12----he won't challenge these shady deals---he will simply say----we didn't see that coming!
That is why having these public union leaders present at what all know will kill public education and teacher's unions is so sinister.....I don't know how these pols live with themselves. Sure enough it was Baltimore City School teacher's union leader and the Maryland AFSCME leader who stood by and stated all was good. If the citizens of Maryland think having education techs in classrooms with children stuck in front of computer screens is better than highly qualified teachers with strong labor rights you do not understand where these policies are going!
Report: Act 10 drives down MPS retiree health care, pension costs
By Erin Richards of the Journal Sentinel
June 6, 2013
Milwaukee Public Schools will be spending about 45% less per-pupil on pension and retiree health care expenses by 2020, according to a report released Thursday that details how MPS has reduced its post-employment benefit obligations.
The reason, the report says: Act 10, and the district using its authority under the controversial law to enact changes such as increasing employees' deductibles and increasing the age and years of service necessary to qualify for retiree health benefits.
“Without Act 10, MPS would eventually spend an additional $105 million - 9.2% of its entire budget - in 2020 due to the growth of retirement expenses,” says a statement released with the new summary report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning education nonprofit that analyzed costs and projected future retirement obligations in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Philadelphia.
The law enables school districts to make such changes without having to negotiate them with unions, though MPS and the teachers union agreed to a different health care plan administrator in the current contract, which was signed before Act 10 became law and is set to expire in a few weeks.
MPS district officials also pointed to another cost-saving move they made that was not mandated by Act 10: the closure of a supplemental early retirement plan for teachers that resulted in $15 million in savings over the next five years.
The analysis for Milwaukee is based on the district’s most recent actuarial report for retiree health care, said co-author Robert M. Costrell, a professor of education reform and economics at the University of Arkansas.
That actuarial report showed the Walker administration's landmark union bargaining law helped MPS shave more than $1 billion from its long-term benefit obligations to retirees.
The report from Fordham is rooted in an effort to take a more expansive look nationally at how much retirement costs will cost districts in the future, and how those costs might impact district spending when passed down to teachers and students.
For Milwaukee, the Fordham summary report predicts:
MPS will be spending $1,924 per-pupil on pension and retiree health care costs by 2020, down from a projected $3,512 per-pupil it was on the road to spending before the Act 10 reforms.
Pension costs will drop to $845 per-pupil in 2020, down from original projections of $1,029 per-pupil.
MPS will eliminate the rise in retirement costs; though high, those costs are prediced to hold steady.
But the window into the future is not free of storm clouds, according to Costrell.
The district’s pay-as-you-go policy for retiree health care is kicking the bill down the road, he said.
That’s because MPS has an approaching wave of retirements, but with declining enrollment, fewer working employees to shoulder the costs of supporting the health care costs of retirees.
“If you haven’t pre-funded the system, it’s a huge and growing burden,” Costrell said.
But MPS officials said in an email exchange Thursday that they are, in fact, trying to pre-fund their liability. District spokesman Tony Tagliavia wrote that the district created a trust in 2011 for the purposes of funding the post-employment liability and has been contributing to it within the district's ability.
Milwaukee Teachers Education Association union President Bob Peterson did not return a call for comment on the report.
The changes in the eligibility conditions for post-employment benefits, which the Milwaukee School Board began enacting in the fall of 2011, are a main driver behind the larger-than-usual wave of MPS educators retiring this year.
As the residents of Baltimore fought what is called the Harbor Point development with Exelon as the anchor because it is illegal and a health hazard, we see another huge funder of education privatization come to town and start with a great big imprint------'For allowing us to build right on the water-front on prime Baltimore real estate that should have been kept green----we will 'donate' $1 million to build a charter school right in our community! That is what happens when you allow this Race to the Top Republican education policy that gives tax breaks to corporations for donating to what will become their own charter school all while receiving $100 million in corporate tax breaks that are illegal. Starving the city coffers of tax revenue to allow the wealthy to hand-pick which schools live or die.....which schools will take public money for the privileged while warehousing special needs and the underserved. You see below that is the environment from which our new school superintendent comes-----he will see nothing wrong with that----he gets paid enough he says to 'see no evil'!
Please use the Chicago model of community members joining to audit Baltimore City Hall and especially all of the corporate tax breaks, TIFs, and Enterprise Zone contracts for misappropriation and fraud that comes back to our public schools!
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Milwaukee Charter Schools and the Walton Foundation
One of the things that charter schools, at least well funded and viable charter schools, have to do is fund raise like mad. When I toured Bruce-Guadalupe School two years ago while in AmeriCorps, I saw a school that was amazingly run and had limitless possibilities. The school is a charter school, and it's sad that every school isn't afforded such opportunities, which I wish every student in Milwaukee was lucky enough to have. Then again, most schools aren't able to hire people who specifically seek our grants and fundraising opportunities. Maybe what's even sadder is the fact we even have to talk about hiring full time fundraisers for schools and just don't fund them adequately to begin with.
That would be where corporate donations are starting to fill the void. That also means they are able to exude their influence over an entity that they honestly have no earthly being influencing. Schools should be a place where people are free to explore, discover, and try new things. Corporate funding though means a school has to listen more to their donors and keep their necessary funding streams. When I see the Walton Foundation make waves into education, I have to wonder what sinister motives are at play.
When I see them make forays into Milwaukee education, I pay attention even more: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/186071201.html
The charter school movement has gained a head of steam across this country, and while it has it's good points, it's hardly the panacea that so many claim it to be. Some schools and districts run alternative high schools as charter schools, while other places use it in a way that divides the district and it's population. Milwaukee is a large and complex city, which means it has a large and complex education system. It has a mix of everything in education: horribly failing public schools, succeeding charters, college prep schools, failing charters, thriving public buildings.
The influx of The Walton Foundation, and it's Conservative bent scare me. Diane Ravitch's blog takes over my argument from here: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/01/07/waltons-will-spend-more-to-privatize-public-education/
I support well funded schools and have no problem with schools acquiring funding if that's what they decide to do. I do wonder about ulterior motives for their offering funding and feel like not questioning it would not be doing due diligence to the subject of funding. I think it's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins
Below you see what the city residents face----- a Mayor Rawlings-Blake who hands control of Baltimore City schools to a Wall Street O'Malley who everyone knows will appoint privatization people to the board. We have today almost no educators on the Baltimore City School Board. No need, they are there simply to pass whatever the are told to and that is the philosophy that each school is a business----the private charter stepping stone.
We have Maryland Assembly pols that hate being outed for their part in what is a fleecing of the citizens of Maryland. Kurt Anderson, Maggie McIntosh, and Mary Washington will reject blogs like this that out policy as public malfeasance and above the law and especially if I out Johns Hopkins enrichment by public policy. Kurt Anderson even got up and left this education public meeting this weekend when I spoke so he would not 'hear' my comments. Below you see yet another acquiesce from Bill Henry who does not want to bring up pesky issues like elected school boards or heighten City Council pols power in selection.....just give us a seat at the table so we do not look useless!
All of this could be changed by a referendum to change the City Charter ----these city council people who use the excuse that the Mayor has all the power are the ones that should be leading it----but they do not because they are paid not to. We need the citizens of Baltimore to organize and take back government from this executive power handed to a Mayor or Governor who then simply acts as a puppet for Johns Hopkins.
THIS IS WHAT A THIRD WORLD SOCIAL STRUCTURE LOOKS LIKE FOLKS!
Baltimore City Council wants say on school board members
August 15, 2011|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun
In its last meeting before the September primary election, the Baltimore City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on state legislators to give the council input in the selection of school board members.
Councilman Bill Henry, the resolution's lead sponsor, said Monday that the council has a say in executive appointments to most city commissions and boards, and it should be involved in the selection of school board members. City school board members are appointed jointly by the governor and mayor of Baltimore.
The council rarely, if ever, rejects an executive nominee. And Henry said the resolution is not an attempt to wade into issues such as whether board members should be elected or whether the city should have greater control of its schools.
But officials say that having prospective school board members face scrutiny from the council would help foster more dialogue. Such a move would require General Assembly approval, and it wasn't immediately clear if the idea has support among the city's Annapolis delegation.
Maryland has a court history of ruling for equal protection in education with a clear indication that equal does not mean the same. So, we would not expect a school receiving a little more than another to be a problem. We would know a school receiving $1 million when others do not----that is a problem. So, the Federal and State laws do not allow what is happening in Baltimore. People say, well Maryland courts are corrupt so what is the use? The answer is to head to Federal court and get this all on record for when the rogue government falls.
When the City of Baltimore and citizens are due to receive hundreds of millions of dollars for low-income housing from Wall Street subprime mortgage fraud-----and more from the Enterprise Zone contracts requiring funds be used for low-income housing and schools are closed under the guise of falling population-----we need to activate. Those funds could rehab thousands of homes in these communities closing schools for families with children needing to attend these schools. We do not want a city where the plan is to eliminate what is a vital housing policy of mixed neighborhoods affordable for all and having basic necessities like a public school for goodness sake! It does no one good to have all of a city's money sucked by a lying, cheating, stealing upper-class. Make no mistake----all of what these education policies are doing is blatant violations of equal housing and education.
Equal Protection Analysis: Educational Law
Published: 30-01-2012, 11:20
Equal Protection Analysis The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that no state may “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Adopted in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to protect African Americans from discrimination by the states in the aftermath of the Civil War. Since its adoption, the Equal Protection Clause has become one of the most important constitutional provisions for the protection of individual rights. In particular, the Equal Protection Clause has been an important concept in the law of public education.
In that context, the courts have invoked the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to prohibit the segregation of school children by race, to bar sex-based discrimination in educational settings, to guarantee access to the public schools by children whose parents are not legal residents, and to protect gay and lesbian students and teachers from discriminatory treatment. This provision has been very important in ensuring equal educational opportunities in the nation’s public schools, as discussed in this entry.
What the Law Says By its own terms, the Fourteenth Amendment applies only to state and local governments. The Constitution contains no Equal Protection Clause that applies to the federal government. However, to the extent that the federal government classifies persons or groups in a way that would have violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, courts find that they violate the Due Process Clause. The courts rely on the Fifth Amendment when dealing with the federal government, because its application is limited to this context. The Fourteenth Amendment applies to the actions of states. Perhaps the best example of how this distinction plays out occurred in a case that was resolved on the same day that the Supreme Court struck down racial segregation in public schools in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954). In Bolling v. Sharpe (1954), the Court applied the Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment, rather than the Equal Protection Clause, to invalidate racial segregation in public schools in Washington, D.C, because it is under the control of the federal government.
Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court has applied three standards when examining challenges to governmental actions based on the denial of equal protection. Laws that discriminate against “suspect” classifications of individuals or that infringe on fundamental rights are presumptively void and are subjected to strict judicial scrutiny. Such laws can pass constitutional muster only if they can be shown to be narrowly tailored to meet a compelling governmental interest. The Court has declared these classifications to be suspect under the Equal Protection Clause, namely, race, ethnicity, and national origin or being a foreigner.
At the same time, the Supreme Court has recognized certain “quasi-suspect” classifications: laws that discriminate based on sex or laws that draw distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate children. Laws that discriminate against these quasi-suspect classes of individuals are subject to an intermediate level of judicial scrutiny. Such laws are upheld only if they are substantially related to important governmental interests.
Finally, laws that discriminate against individuals based on other kinds of classifications are subjected to only a minimal level of judicial scrutiny. The courts uphold these governmental actions against an equal protection challenge if they are shown to be at least rationally related to legitimate governmental interests.
Cases Involving Race Undoubtedly, the most important case in the field of education law to apply equal protection analysis is Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), in which the Supreme Court struck down segregated school systems in four states. The plaintiffs in Brown contended that segregated schools were not “equal” and that African American students were thus deprived of their right to equal protection of the laws. One issue in Brown was the continuing validity of the “separate but equal” doctrine that the Court had adopted in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson. In Plessy, the Court upheld the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that required railroad companies to segregate their passengers by race in so-called separate-but-equal railroad coaches.
In Brown, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the plaintiff schoolchildren and disavowed the “separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy. “We conclude,” the Court wrote, “that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” (Brown, p. 495). Therefore, the Court continued, African American children who had been segregated by race in the schools had been “deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment” (p. 495).
Since Brown, the Supreme Court has approved of racial classifications in public education in the context of admitting students to a public law school. In Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), the Court ruled that the University of Michigan Law School had a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that come from a racially and ethnically diverse student body and this justified the use of race as one factor among others in the selection of students for admission to the study of law. However, in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007), a divided Court, in a plurality opinion, struck down race-based school assignment plans in two public school systems, finding that educators had not established a compelling interest to justify the use of race as a basis for assigning children to public schools. Unlike Grutter, in which race was but one factor in a holistic approach to choosing law students, the school systems in Parents Involved used race in a nonindividualized and mechanical way as the decisive factor for determining which students gained admittance to schools.
Cases Involving Other Issues In another landmark opinion, Plyler v. Doe (1982), the Supreme Court relied on the Equal Protection Clause to strike down a Texas law that permitted public school boards to bar the children of undocumented immigrants from attending the state’s public schools. In Plyler, the Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited the state of Texas from excluding the children of undocumented immigrants from the public schools. The Court did not think that the state’s categorization of children created a suspect class. Rather, the Court seemed to categorize the excluded children as a “quasi-suspect” class in subjecting the law to heightened scrutiny. To deny “a discrete group of innocent children the free public education that it offers to other children residing within its borders,” the Court wrote, the state of Texas was required to justify that denial “by a showing that it furthers some substantial state interest” (Plyler, p. 230). In the Court’s view, since Texas was unable to show that it had a substantial governmental interest in excluding the children of undocumented immigrants from the public schools, the statute was unconstitutional.
Equal protection analysis has also come into play in disputes about sex-based discrimination in the context of public education. In Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan (1982), for example, a male applicant to a university nursing program filed suit after he was denied admission solely on his gender. Applying a heightened standard of judicial scrutiny, the Supreme Court held that the university’s female-only admission policy could be upheld only when it was substantially related to an important governmental objective. In a divided opinion, the Court rejected the university’s arguments that its single-sex admission policy was justified as a means of compensating for past discrimination against women and ruled that the policy violated the Equal Protection Clause.
In recent years, lower federal courts have utilized the Equal Protection Clause to assist another category of public school students, gay and lesbian students. In a 1996 case, Nabozny v. Podlesny, the Seventh Circuit was of the opinion that a school board could not allow a gay student to be repeatedly harassed by peers at the same time that it protected other students from harassment. In reaching its judgment, the court did not designate gay students as a suspect or quasi-suspect class, which would have subjected school officials to heightened judicial scrutiny for their actions or inaction. Instead, under the most minimal level of scrutiny, the court observed that discrimination against a gay student in such a way was simply not rational. In a 2003 opinion, Flores v. Morgan Hill Unified School District, the Ninth Circuit reached a similar outcome in a dispute that additionally involved allegations that school officials failed to protect gay and lesbian students from harassment by other students.
Federal courts have also relied on the Equal Protection Clause to protect gay and lesbian teachers from discrimination by their public employers. In Weaver v. Nebo School District (1998), for example, a school board chose not to reappoint a female teacher to her position as girls’ volleyball coach after she revealed that she was a lesbian. The teacher sued, and a federal court ordered the board to offer her the chance to regain her coaching position. The court noted that the teacher’s sexual orientation and the community’s negative response to it had provided no rational basis for removing her from the coaching position and that the board had violated her constitutional rights under the Equal Protection Clause.
See also Bolling v. Sharpe; Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; Grutter v. Bollinger; Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1; Plessy v. Ferguson; Plyler v. Doe
- Bolling v. Sharpe, 344 U.S. 497 (1954).
- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka I, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka II, 349 U.S. 294 (1955).
- Flores v. Morgan Hill Unified School District, 324 F.3d 1130 (9th Cir. 2003).
- Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003).
- Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, 458 U.S. 718 (1982).
- Nabozny v. Podlesny, 92 F.3d 446 (7th Cir. 1996).
- Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, 127 S. Ct. 2738 (2007).
- Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).
- Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982).
- Weaver v. Nebo School District, 29 F. Supp. 2d 1279 (D. Utah 1998).