VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!
Below you will find an opinion article that attests to the problem we have with the lack of transparency in developing public policy when it all falls into the hands of these quasi-governmental agencies...NGOs. You see as well how these Third Way corporate pols are building their own propaganda machines in these private non-profits that provide research that is then presented with obvious bias.....obvious to those who follow these issues......not to the general public.
We thank this well-developed assessment by Lionel Foster and his opinion piece on the process. I like especially the referral to the lack of transparency as this is just another step in policy that is decades in the making....it is not evolving. As with the European sovereign debt crisis the plan has always been to load the public sector with debt while starving the government coffers of revenue which is indeed what both O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake have done (it is why they are heading national....what team players to Wall Street!) So, we are watching as all corporate and wealth revenue is either ring-fenced into affluent communities or routed through 'gifting' private non-profits, or lost long-term through corporate tax breaks and the privatization of costs for corporate job training to the public in the form of these career college programs.
All of this was planned decades ago so there is no reason we all don't know the final goal....complete control of all public sector by private non-profits run by these 1% of Maryland. We call it the Medici-fication of America as seen in Baltimore.
I wanted to note that the transparency issue that is obvious to all and completely lacking in all that is Balt policy was given a pass by the MD Public Interest Research Group PIRG when they ranked Baltimore at B+ in transparency..we see this institution is in business to provide statistics that are bogus. Each time a government watchdog releases honest accountability stats it is PIRG-MD that releases stats that counter this. When the Center for Public Integrity ranked MD at the bottom nationally on fraud and corruption it was PIRG which ranked MD higher. When I asked how they could reach that conclusion they had to admit..their study takes the data with the group marking the baseline..not setting a predetermined one. That means if all the groups fail in the parameters measured the one that failed less is ranked with the 'A'. So, to PIRG, MD may have been ranked with an F in the study, but it was the better F. Below you see just how this same practice of padding results is used by Hopkins......the driver of all bad public policy in Baltimore!!!
We are seeing the buildup of private non-profits and indeed our State non-profits with goals of providing data that supports what almost all people do not like as policy. This is what is now called the 'non-profit industrial complex' and it is the same as the NGOs they send to third world countries to act as quasi-governments..and that is what they are here in Balt.
This can all be reversed by simply running/voting for labor and justice candidates
INTELLIGENCE AND SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE DOES NOT COME WITH SKEWED DATA......IT IS A SIGN OF FAILURE!!!!!!
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.
THIS STRATEGY OF 'GRADING WITH A CURVE' THAT WE SAW WITH PIRG IS INDEED A STRATEGY. WHAT IT DOES IS ASSURES THAT NO ONE FAILS AND THAT CLASSROOM PERFORMANCE IN THIS CASE BY THE PROFESSOR IS NOT REFLECTED BADLY. ONE WOULD THINK THAT IF ALL THE STUDENTS PERFORM POORLY ON A TEST LET'S SAY THAT THE INSTRUCTION/ASSESSMENT VEHICLE, OR SOMETHING IS NOT WORKING. GRADING WITH A CURVE HIDES THIS.......
AS IT HIDES PERFORMANCE OF GOVERNMENT IN THE CASE OF THESE PIRG STUDIES.
February 12, 2013 - 3:00am By Zack Budryk
Inside Higher Ed
Since he started teaching at Johns Hopkins University in 2005, Professor Peter Fröhlich has maintained a grading curve in which each class’s highest grade on the final counts as an A, with all other scores adjusted accordingly. So if a midterm is worth 40 points, and the highest actual score is 36 points, "that person gets 100 percent and everybody else gets a percentage relative to it,” said Fröhlich.
This approach, Fröhlich said, is the "most predictable and consistent way" of comparing students' work to their peers', and it worked well.
At least it did until the end of the fall term at Hopkins, that is.
As the semester ended in December, students in Fröhlich’s "Intermediate Programming", "Computer Science Fundamentals," and "Introduction to Programming for Scientists and Engineers" classes decided to test the limits of the policy, and collectively planned to boycott the final. Because they all did, a zero was the highest score in each of the three classes, which, by the rules of Fröhlich’s curve, meant every student received an A.
“The students refused to come into the room and take the exam, so we sat there for a while: me on the inside, they on the outside,” Fröhlich said. “After about 20-30 minutes I would give up.... Then we all left.” The students waited outside the rooms to make sure that others honored the boycott, and were poised to go in if someone had. No one did, though.
Andrew Kelly, a student in Fröhlich’s Introduction to Programming class who was one of the boycott’s key organizers, explained the logic of the students' decision via e-mail: "Handing out 0's to your classmates will not improve your performance in this course," Kelly said.
"So if you can walk in with 100 percent confidence of answering every question correctly, then your payoff would be the same for either decision. Just consider the impact on your other exam performances if you studied for [the final] at the level required to guarantee yourself 100. Otherwise, it's best to work with your colleagues to ensure a 100 for all and a very pleasant start to the holidays."
Kelly said the boycott was made possible through a variety of technological and social media tools. Students used a spreadsheet on Google Drive to keep track of who had agreed to the boycott, for instance. And social networks were key to "get 100 percent confidence that you have 100 percent of the people on board" in a big class.
Fröhlich took a surprisingly philosophical view of his students' machinations, crediting their collaborative spirit. "The students learned that by coming together, they can achieve something that individually they could never have done," he said via e-mail. “At a school that is known (perhaps unjustly) for competitiveness I didn't expect that reaching such an agreement was possible.”
Although Fröhlich conceded that he did not include such a “loophole” in the policy “with the goal of students exploiting it,” he decided to honor it after the boycott.
Despite awarding As to all the students who participated in the boycott, the experience has led Fröhlich to alter his long-held grading policy.
“I have changed my grading scheme to include ‘everybody has 0 points means that everybody gets 0 percent,’ ” Fröhlich said, “and I also added a clause stating that I reserve the right to give everybody 0 percent if I get the impression that the students are trying to ‘game’ the system again.” Fröhlich added that going forward, he will give students a choice between a final exam and a final project, and that his class for the spring 2013 semester has voted for the latter.
Alexandra Tilsley contributed to this article.
THIS IS WHY RAWLINGS-BLAKE IS BEING TAKEN TO NATIONAL POSITION IN THE DNC.....IT SO SCREWS THE PUBLIC THAT THEY LIKE HER TEAM PLAYER COMMITMENT AND THEY KNOW SHE WILL NOT WIN REELECTION......TIME TO GET THE FARM TEAM OUT OF OFFICE AS WELL......
CARL STOKES, JACK YOUNG, AND YES, MARY PAT CLARKE......IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO RETIRE!!!!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES IN NEXT ELECTIONS!!!
Troubling assumptions in mayor's report 10-year projection raises many questions, deserves thorough scrutiny
Lionel Foster 5:17 p.m. EST, February 14, 2013 Baltimore Sun
Tuesday of last week was such a great time to be a Baltimorean. Then came Wednesday.
One day after approximately 200,000 fans helped the Ravens celebrate their second Super Bowl victory, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced that without significant financial reforms, the city will face growing budget deficits every year for the foreseeable future. According to a budget forecast developed by Public Financial Management, a Philadelphia-based consulting firm, by 2023 the cumulative total of these annual shortfalls could reach $744.8 million.
By Monday, during the State of the City address, the mayor was requesting the public's support for reductions in the property tax, the size of the city's workforce and municipal employee benefits — among other changes — based solely on a 15-page summary report that her office released last week and the promise of more information to come. That's a lot to ask.
I had questions. For example, why was the city so dependent on the work of an outside firm? One legacy of the global financial crisis was the increased privatization of the public sphere. In the most extreme examples, from California to Greece, governments have sold what used to be public assets to pay the bills. Would this report represent a very small part of this much larger trend? Why couldn't the city make its own projections, and what were the assumptions underlying the 10-year forecast?
This week I spoke separately with Ian Brennan, the mayor's press secretary, and Michael Nadol, one of the consultants behind the budget forecast, to gain insight into a process that so far has looked more technocratic than democratic.
Why the reliance on a private firm? Mr. Nadol said that he could not think of any city of Baltimore's size that had its own team of actuaries that could, for example, estimate the changing costs of municipal employee benefits over a relatively long timeframe. Additionally, Mr. Nadol and Mr. Brennan said the city wanted the credibility that would come from working with an independent third party. PFM provided not only budget projections but some of the policy recommendations that the mayor will present in the coming weeks.
How reliable could a 10-year forecast be? As indicated in the summary, the forecast involves "assumptions about future growth to thousands of individual revenue and expenditure lines," i.e. many educated guesses extending well into the future — guesses that will be spelled out more clearly in the full report. Mr. Nadol acknowledged that shorter municipal budget forecasts of three or five years were more typical. A lot can change in 10 years, but he believes his team made reasonable assumptions and that a longer time horizon gives the city a better opportunity to address its structural budget issues.
I asked Mr. Brennan if releasing the full report sooner might have made this process more transparent. When we spoke Monday, he said the final report was not yet complete but would be released during a presentation next Wednesday. The mayor's press conference and State of the City address, he said, were just the beginning of a much longer process that will involve the City Council and hearings the council will likely hold to consider the mayor's proposals.
We will be discussing this report and its aftermath for at least the next decade.
In her December 2011 inaugural address, Mayor Rawlings-Blake's goal of attracting 10,000 new families to Baltimore was little more than an idea. Now she's offering details about how she'd like to promote growth using the type of painful, long-range planning most municipalities only undertake if they are forced to do so. For that she deserves a great deal of credit. But to prepare the ground for the reforms she wants to implement, she has deliberately ignited concerns about a potential bankruptcy while releasing information in stages.
Her approach so far has been brisk and high-handed. These are big numbers that will affect many people's lives. If the public is to have any real confidence in the mayor's analysis and proposed reforms, we'll need every bit of the information that the mayor's office is promising — and a real debate.
Lionel Foster is a freelance writer from Baltimore. His column appears Fridays. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @LionelBMD.