Category Archives: Education

College students would renounce U.S. citizenship for illegals’ low tuition

illegals demand free stuff

Gabriella Morrongiello reports for The Fiscal Times, April 15, 2015, that illegal immigrants in 22 states are eligible for lower-cost, in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.

22 states that offer lower tuition to illegals

While students residing legally or illegally in states such as California, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia are eligible for in-state tuition, legal immigrants, international students, and U.S. citizens from out of state continue to pay out-of-state tuition, often costing several thousand dollars more.

As an example, at the University of Virginia (UVA), a public institution in Charlottesville which ranked second highest in the nation in 2013, according to Daily Progress, the annual cost of tuition for out-of-state students is $36,720, more than double the in-state tuition rate of $10,016 offered to Virginia residents. Similarly, tuition at the University of Maryland (UMD), a public university in College Park, Md., costs out-of-state students $20,145 more annually. 

Out-of-state students attending UVA and UMD–both of which offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants–told Campus Reform they would “definitely consider” renouncing their U.S. citizenship to become “undocumented students” eligible for cheaper in-state tuition.

welfare for illegals~Éowyn

8 sentenced to jail in Atlanta school cheating case

atlanta teachers

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Three former top administrators were given maximum 20-year sentences Tuesday in the Atlanta school cheating case, with seven years to be served in prison, 13 on probation and fines of $25,000 to be paid by each.

Five lower-ranking educators — those who worked as principals, teachers and testing coordinators — received sentences of up to five years with at least one-year in prison and hefty fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. All the defendants were granted first-offender status, meaning their record would be wiped clean after they served their time.

Judge Jerry Baxter

Judge Jerry Baxter

Judge Jerry Baxter gave one final warning to educators Monday that they would face stiff punishment unless they admitted to guilt and waived their right to appeal. He delivered on that promise Tuesday, dolling out punishments to administrators Tamara Cotman, Sharon Davis-Williams and Michael Pitts that elicited gasps and sobs from spectators in the courtroom.

“Everyone starts crying about these educators. There were thousands of children harmed in this thing. This is not a victimless crime,” Baxter said.

Only two of the 10 convicted educators, Donald Bullock and Pamela Cleveland, chose to admit guilt and waive the right to appeal. They did not receive prison time. An 11th convicted educator, Shani Robinson, recently had a baby and is due in court for sentencing in August.

Baxter voiced frustration that more defendants weren’t willing to accept the deal and admit to what they had done. Davis-Williams and two other former administrators were given seven years in prison, 13 years probation, 2,000 hours of community service and a $25,000 fine.

“Yesterday I said to everyone, this is the time to search your soul and we could end this and the punishment wouldn’t be so severe. It was just taking responsibility, and no one is taking responsibility that I can see,” Baxter said. “I was going to give everyone one more chance, but no one took it. All I want for many of these people is to just take some responsibility, but they refuse. They refuse.” Baxter granted the educators bond while they evaluate whether to appeal the ruling, and several indicated they will do so.

A jury of six men and six women on April 1 convicted 11 of the 12 of racketeering in the landmark cheating case. Retired special education teacher Dessa Curb was acquitted.

The guilty Atlanta educators were facing unprecedented prison sentences of five to 20 years because of the RICO charges against them. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was initially used by prosecutors to put away gangsters involved in organized crimes such as extortion and murder. In a novel use of the law, it’s being for educators conspiring to inflate student scores on the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Test to keep jobs and earn bonuses.

A summary of the test cheating scandal: “A special state investigator’s report found organized and systematic cheating in Atlanta to boost test scores, and it named 178 educators, including 38 principals, who were said to have taken part.” The AJC has full coverage here.

A summary of the Atlanta school test cheating trial (read more here):

The Atlanta Public Schools cheating trial, in which 12 defendants stand accused of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy to inflate test scores, began on Aug. 11, 2014, with a jury-selection process that lasted for six weeks. The prosecution called its final witness on Feb. 11, 2015, exactly six months after the start of jury selection. Former APS Superintendent Beverly Hall — widely accused of orchestrating the alleged cheating conspiracy but unable to stand trial because of breast cancer — died on March 2, six days after the last witness testified.”

Read about the convictions and those who would not take responsibility for their actions here.

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Third grade teacher suspended for having her students write ‘get well soon’ cards for convicted cop killer Mumia

Cop killer supporter and public educator

Cop killer supporter and public educator

Daily Mail: A teacher in New Jersey who assigned her third-grade class to write ‘get well’ letters to a sick inmate convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer was suspended Friday, the school superintendent said. Orange School Superintendent Ronald Lee said in a statement that school administrators ‘vehemently deny’ any knowledge of Marilyn Zuniga’s assignment. Preliminary inquiries found that Zuniga did not seek approval from administrators nor were parents notified, Lee said.

The letters were delivered to Mumia Abu-Jamal in prison following his hospitalization last month for what his family said was treatment for complications from diabetes. The former Black Panther is serving life behind bars for the 1981 murder of white Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner. His conviction was upheld through years of appeals, but he has gained international support for his claim that he is the victim of a racist justice system.

racist

A supporter and history professor at Baruch College, Johanna Fernandez, brought him the letters. She posted on her Facebook page that ‘he chuckled as he read excerpts from these touching letters’. Abu-Jamal was released from a hospital in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, on April 1, and returned to the prison, she said.

Convicted cop killer Mumia

Convicted cop killer Mumia

The school district was closed for spring break and the superintendent said a full investigation would begin when classes resume on Monday.

Zuniga will remain suspended without pay until the investigation is completed, the superintendent said.  Additional action could be taken by the school board once the investigation is finished. An email The Associated Press sent Zuniga seeking comment was not immediately returned.

A second batch of students, from the Philadelphia Student Union, also sent Abu-Jama letters. ‘We shared a touching moment with Mumia in an effort to raise his spirits,’ Fernandez reported. ‘Two teachers delivered letters to us that their students had written to Mumia. It had been a long time since we had seen Mumia smile.’

A picture of some of the letters appeared online, however it is unclear what they actually said. However the fact they were written and then presented to Abu-Jamal has infuriated many.

mumia card

Richard Costello, political coordinator for the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, said the letters set a dangerous example. ‘I think it’s both alarming and outrageous that any teacher would use a group of innocent seven-year-olds to promote a twisted agenda glorifying murder, glorifying hatred and glorifying violence,’ Costello told Fox News.

‘He shot (the officer) in the back and then as the officer lay slumped against a wall helpless he leaned over and shot him between the eyes. When he was in the hospital he actually bragged about it.’

Costello said all the teachers involved in the letter writing campaign should be fired. ‘Furthermore all the parents who have children in that school system need to reevaluate that involvement, because these children are now placed in danger by the very people charged with their education,’ Costello said. ‘They are being used as tools in someone’s twisted agenda.’ Costello has previously described Abu-Jamal as ‘the devil’.

Abu-Jamal is thought to have collapsed in prison due to high blood sugar levels.   Attorney Bret Grote with the Pittsburgh-based Abolitionist Law Center said last week that his client was placed in the critical care unit of Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Grote says neither he nor Abu-Jamal’s brother, Keith Cook, had been allowed in to see him. ‘We’re concerned, about as concerned as it gets, about Mumia’s health,’ Grote told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A Pennsylvania Department of Corrections official also declined to provide details. A spokesman for Pottsville’s Schuylkill Medical Center says he had no information about Abu-Jamal. ‘We never discuss an inmate’s medical condition,’ deputy press secretary Susan Bensinger told the Inquirer.

Mumia’s hospitalization was revealed Monday when a group of his friends arrived to the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy for a visit and were informed by prison staff that he wasn’t there. While Grote and others had permission with the prison to visit Mumia, the hospital had not yet cleared them. Grote said he hoped the matter would be cleared up by Tuesday.

Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther serving life in prison for the 1981 murder of white Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner.

Read the rest here.

homeschool

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“And you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction…”*

college_isis_support

James O’Keefe and Project Veritas sting more academics

The complete ignorance of these people takes my breath away!

“When you watch this video, you’ll see members of California universities and colleges – who have received FIVE BILLION DOLLARS from the federal government – pledging to support ISIS, Hamas and Hezbollah.

As with most who signed our petition, Professor Bruce Burnam gave his John Hancock after our journalist said: ‘Sign, print and address to pledge our financial, our money to Islamic State and Hamas and Hezbollah and groups like that.'”
– James O’Keefe

* Headline quoted from Barry McGuire “Eve of Destruction”

“Higher Education”: Rutgers prof.: Christian conservatives worship ‘a*****e’ God and ‘white supremacist Jesus’

 

rutgers-professor-brittany-cooper

Campus Reform: Just days before Easter, one professor took to the internet to blast Christian conservatives for inventing a “white supremacist Jesus.”

On Wednesday, Rutgers University professor Brittney Cooper published a column for online magazine Slate excoriating supporters of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act—which she dubbed “religious freedom garbage”—and alleging that conservative Christians harbor “antagonistic” political views toward “every single group of people who are not white, male, Christian, cisgender, straight and middle-class.”

“Any time right-wing conservatives declare that they are trying to restore or reclaim something, we should all be very afraid,” Cooper wrote in reference to the controversial Indiana law that prevents the state from constraining individuals’ free exercise of religion without demonstrating a compelling government interest.

According to Cooper, the law is the culmination of “conservative anxieties over the legalization of same-sex marriage in Indiana,” and will lead the state back to the “idyllic environs of the 1950s, wherein women, and gays, and blacks knew their respective places and stayed in them.”

Cooper says the Supreme Court’s ruling last June in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby—which allowed owners of closely held, for-profit corporations to seek exemptions from laws that violate their owners’ religious beliefs—provided the logic Indiana has used to “curtail and abridge” gay rights. She also claims the Indiana law “sanctions the exercise of Islamophobia” and declares it a slippery slope that will lead to “racially inflected religious discrimination.”

“Nothing about the cultural and moral regime of the religious right in this country signals any kind of freedom,” writes Cooper, adding that “this kind of legislation is rooted in a politics that gives white people the authority to police and terrorize people of color, queer people and poor women.”

The self-proclaimed Christian professor says she often questions if she “worship[s] the same God of white religious conservatives,” who she describes as a “white, blond-haired, blue-eyed, gun-toting, Bible-quoting Jesus.” “I call this god, the god of white supremacy and patriarchy,” Cooper writes.

According to Cooper, “if your politics are rooted in the contemporary anti-Black, misogynist, homophobic conservatism, then we are not serving the same God.” That God, she claims, is “an asshole” with “nothing holy, loving, righteous, inclusive, liberatory theologically sound about him.”

Cooper concludes by encouraging others to declare “death to the unholy trinity of white supremacist, capitalist, heteropatriarchy” allegedly created by those on the Religious Right who “have pimped Jesus’ death to support the global spread of American empire vis-a-vis war…”

The next "generation black intellectual"...

The next “generation black intellectual”…

Cooper, who teaches Women’s and Gender studies and Africana Studies at the publicly-funded university in New Brunswick, N.J., describes herself as a “next generation black intellectual.”

Rutgers did not return Campus Reform’s request for comment.

See also:

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Are California taxpayers going to be responsible for millions of unfunded liabilities (aka government employees’ extraordinary benefits)?

 

imagesH19BOOA6

Sacramento Bee: The Sacramento City Unified School District provides its longtime teachers, plant managers and office workers an increasingly rare benefit: lifetime medical coverage upon retirement.

It’s a hugely expensive commitment, and the district and its employees have relatively little money set aside to cover the cost.

District officials estimate that Sacramento City Unified needs another $634 million – nearly 1.5 times its annual budget – to fully pay for the health benefits promised to its workers and retirees, based on the latest actuarial data. That number represents the gap between projected health care costs and what its investments are expected to cover.

Trustee Jay Hansen

Trustee Jay Hansen

Trustee Jay Hansen said he wants that outsized liability to be reined in with the district’s upcoming budget hearings. Trustee Diana Rodriguez, chairwoman of the district’s newly formed budget committee, said she has been researching options for doing just that. The three-member committee, which also includes trustees Darrel Woo and recently elected Jessie Ryan, will schedule its first meeting in the coming weeks.

After previously serving as an appointee, Hansen won his first trustee election in November despite drawing fierce opposition from the Sacramento City Teachers Association, which represents more than half the district’s 4,000 workers. He said employees and the district will have to contribute more toward future health care benefits to reduce the unfunded liability.

“Everyone needs to make a financial commitment, the district and our employees, to solve this problem,” Hansen said Thursday. “There is no way around that.” Rodriguez, however, said it’s too soon to know what mix of contributions is required to stem the growth of liability. “These have been ongoing conversations,” she said.

imagesVW966N0E

The Sacramento City Teachers Association says it has already begun contributing more, citing a 2010 contract in which members agreed to contribute $200 annually to retiree health benefits. Union leaders questioned why Hansen has called for immediate action.

“Raising alarms about this school district may not be the best way to address the issue,” said SCTA Executive Director John Borsos. “In terms of financing it, most school districts do pay-as-you-go.”

Pay-as-you-go in Sacramento City Unified means when a retiree is ready to collect the benefit, the district pulls money from its general fund, which also covers salaries and operating costs.

In a survey last year of California’s 300 largest K-12 districts, California Common Sense found that 87 percent had no funding set aside for promised retiree health benefits. The Mountain View-based nonprofit has called on state and local governments to tackle pension costs.

In the Sacramento district, the unfunded health benefit liability amounts to nearly $13,300 per student, the group said. That puts Sacramento behind only the Los Angeles and Fresno unified school districts in the per-student cost comparison.

In each of the last two years, Sacramento City Unified spent more than $18 million from the general fund on health benefits for current retirees.

Another large local district, San Juan Unified School District, does not provide health care benefits for life. Instead, retirees continue to receive health and dental benefits until they reach 65 and become eligible for Medicare. The district’s unfunded liability is $88 million.

In contrast, when Sacramento City Unified retirees reach 65, the district picks up the cost of supplemental policy premiums for life.

SCTA representatives say the district has other priorities that take precedence over saving for future health care costs. “It’s much more important to get class sizes where they should be,” Borsos said.

Though Sacramento City Unified has the largest K-3 class sizes in the region, the district agreed in September to begin lowering them at about three dozen elementary schools that serve low-income students. Borsos said it needs to pick up the pace to attract more students and counter falling enrollment.

Five years ago, the Sacramento County grand jury estimated the district’s unfunded liability for health care at $560 million. Since then, the obligation has increased another $74 million.

Rodriguez said she and other trustees since 2008 have addressed the liability. The 2010 contract between the district and SCTA created a trust fund to set aside money for retiree health care. Today, district and SCTA member contributions have pushed that trust to $5 million.

Around the same time, teachers and the district agreed to double the amount of time required to qualify for retiree health benefits, up to 20 years from 10, Rodriguez said. Gerardo Castillo, Sacramento City Unified’s interim chief business officer, said his staff is recommending that the district contribute another $6 million on behalf of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Teamsters members.

SEIU's best buddy...

SEIU’s best buddy…

David Gordon, chief of the Sacramento County Office of Education, said SCOE’s retiree health benefit was unfunded by close to $50 million when he took office more than a decade ago. “We went to the employees and said, ‘Look, this is not sustainable. If we want this benefit, we have to begin to pay into it like we would a pension,’” Gordon said.

As a result of those efforts, SCOE put $8.5 million in a restricted account for CalPERS to administer. SCOE’s two unions agreed that employees would contribute a portion of negotiated raises, generating another $1.5 million a year.

To help control future costs, workers hired after Nov. 1, 2006, were required to work 15 years at the agency to receive the lifetime health benefit. Previously, new hires were vested immediately. Within eight years, Gordon said, the liability went from largely unfunded to 60 percent funded.

He said he’s had less success in persuading Sacramento City Unified to take substantive action. Gordon, in regular letters about the district’s interim budgets, began offering to help address its growing unfunded liability as early as 2007. Two years ago, he devoted entire letters to the problem, asking Superintendent Jonathan Raymond in 2013 and interim Superintendent Sara Noguchi in 2014 to provide his office with a funding plan for systematically reducing the deficit. “I don’t have the ability to tell them what to spend their money on,” he said. “If they want to keep running this unfunded liability, that’s their prerogative.”

Gordon said continuing to pay retiree benefits from the district’s general fund ultimately will intrude on money available for student programs, he said.

Big health care liabilities arose in California’s school districts largely because medical benefits in the 1970s and 1980s were relatively cheap, Gordon said. That made retiree coverage a nice perquisite that districts could offer in lieu of salary hikes. “As health care costs started to rise though the late ’80s and into the ’90s, many districts realized this benefit would sink them in the long run,” Gordon said. “So they negotiated their way out of it, or they prefunded the benefit.”

Finding a fix won’t be easy. Castillo said addressing the liability just for teachers, counselors and nurses would require $47 million a year for the next 20 years.

Hansen said he knows the district can’t start by paying that amount. “It would be too big a jolt,” he said. But, he said, the district needs to “start paying as much as we can this upcoming budget. Then we need to be increasing that for the next two to three years until we’re funding at an appropriate level” for the next two decades.

“Previous school boards made a deal to have today’s board pay for yesterday’s promises,” Hansen said. “I don’t want to do that anymore.”

You thought the numbers you just read about were big? Take a look at these numbers.

can

DCG

 

Multnomah Education Service District terminates 2014 teacher of the year

 

brett-bigham

Oregon Live: The Multnomah Education Service District announced Friday that it has terminated Brett Bigham, a special education teacher with the district and Oregon’s 2014 Teacher of the Year.

Bigham teaches in Multnomah Education Service District’s transition program, which helps special education students from ages 18 to 21 with work and life skills. Bigham was placed on paid administrative leave March 20.

In recent months Bigham has filed filed two complaints against the district with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries alleging sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation. Bigham is the first openly gay educator to be named Oregon Teacher of the Year.

A press release from the district states concerns with Bigham’s absences from the classroom. The issue of absences came to light in February when officials initially threatened Bigham with termination if he attended a gala in Washington D.C., where he was to receive a national education award. The Oregon Education Association union stepped into negotiate an agreement.

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Here’s the full statement from MESD:

MESD announced today, that it has terminated former Teacher of the Year Brett Bigham. “It was a difficult decision and not what we hoped for” said Interim Superintendent Jim Rose. “Brett is a great teacher. Unfortunately, it became clear over time that Brett’s focus was no longer his classroom and students, as evidenced by excessive time away and distraction during class time,” explained Rose, “Brett was no longer giving his students his best efforts.”  

MESD saw great potential in Mr. Bigham and nominated him for the 2014 National Teacher of the Year award in recognition of his skills and passion for empowering special needs children through the functional living skills classroom. During 2014, MESD was proud to support the Teacher of the Year honor by granting Mr. Bigham over two months of paid leave to speak at and attend Teacher of the Year events. MESD also covered costs related to travel, meals and substitute teachers, arising from these activities. 

MESD supported Mr. Bigham as Teacher of the Year after receiving the award, and looked forward to his re-engagement and full focus in the classroom when he returned in the fall to start the 2014-15 school year. We were disappointed when Mr. Bigham continued to miss class time and prioritize outside activities. Concerns about the impact of these issues were expressed in meetings and via formal communications. In March, the district placed Mr. Bigham on paid administrative leave and requested mediation to resolve concerns and find a way forward together. Mr. Bigham declined mediation. 

MESD has determined that it is in the best interests of its students, staff and mission to part ways with Mr. Bigham. We applaud Mr. Bigham’s skills and talents in serving special education students in the classroom. We acknowledge and continue to stand by our decision to nominate and support him as the Teacher of the Year. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.  

Bigham said he feels his termination is retaliation for filing complaints. He has said that he attended many Teacher of the Year events on his own time, and disputes the district’s calculation of his absences.

Bigham said his first thought after being told he was fired was of the students in his class and the progress they’ve made. He said his lawyer and union representative will meet to discuss future steps.  “I’m totally surprised,” he said. “I’ve been doing my job this whole time. I do not intend to go down without a fight.”

Hanna Vaandering, OEA president, said she was “astonished” to hear of Bigham’s firing, according to a statement released Friday.

Here is Vaandering’s full statement:

I was astonished to learn that MESD–the very district that nominated Brett Bigham just last year for teacher of the year–has now terminated his contract for ‘inadequate performance.’ It’s honestly mind-boggling.
 
Anyone who knows Brett–his students, their parents, his colleagues–knows that he is a wonderful educator.  He was recognized as Oregon’s 2014 Teacher of the Year because he not only loves his students, but is also an incredible advocate for public education and the children with whom he works. 
OEA wants the best and brightest educators in our classrooms–it’s a goal I would assume all education stakeholders would share.  Quite frankly this sends an awful message to his colleagues.  We are incredibly disappointed with this action.  Brett will be supported and represented by OEA in the coming weeks, with hopes that he can return to the classroom as quickly as possible so he can continue to make a difference in the lives of his students.  
BOLI spokesman Charlie Burr said the agency is closely monitoring Bigham’s case and plans to soon complete its investigation.
District spokeswoman Laura Conroy said experienced substitute teachers will take over Bigham’s class for the remainder of the school year and MESD will continue to offer the functional living skills program. She said the district is not anticipating any additional staffing changes related to the program, and that prom, which Bigham helped start, will be held as scheduled May 15.
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