Saturday, February 19, 2005

Why All True Republicans Should Be Worried

The Super's Blog is taking a brief timeout from our satire fun with the Flubsome Chronicles for a very serious message. This message does not purport to represent any group except the contributors to this forum.

But....this is why true Republicans should be worried. Believe it or not, it might shock you to know that the main contributors to this blog site mainly vote Republican. Believe it or not, several of us have been supporters of vouchers and/or public school choice in the past. We thought public schools had become complacent and happy with the status quo. Not true anymore. Every school system we know has taken the school improvement challenge seriously and has made major strides in becoming accountable and even aggressive, in their effort to meet the challenge. Are they perfect? No - but who is? Only One.

First, some background:

The first public schools had as their primary purpose, the goal of teaching children literacy so they could read The Bible. In this way "The Old Deluder," Satan, couldn't deceive them. Years later, another purpose emerged for public schools. As new immigrants flooded the nation, the "Common High School" was envisioned as a way of creating "Americans." The idea of the "great melting pot" was born and the common public high school experience became a "rite of passage" as an American. While not everyone stuck it out to the end (the dropout rate was always an issue) even those who didn't, learned to read, write and understand enough about history, freedom, liberty and the constitution to understand the value of being an American. Despite all the criticism leveled at public schools, this is one common experience that almost all Americans had. Struggles and battles to provide equity for children of all races were taken on and mostly won. Along the way, America became and still is, the greatest country in the history of the world. Liberty, freedom, wealth and a standard of living unprecedented in the history of the world. Doesn't seem to us that public schools are the problem.

When Republicans give up on public schools by blurring the lines between public and private schools, they open up the risk of "Balkanizing" America into thousands of little private schools everywhere. Who will decide what brand of history is taught? We admit, some of the PC mush that passes for social studies today might appal our American forefathers, but the battle over controlling the curriculum will go on for ever. How will you feel if every local community has a separate school for every conceivable interest group there is? What will happen if Americans give up the fight over what should be the common curriculum and just let anything go? Let everyone do their own thing. Just give up the fight, and allow anyone to teach anything. Somehow, we don't see that contributing to the cause of becoming an American. Especially when immigrants continue to arrive in America, most of them full of hope, and possessing the desire to better their lot in life. Somehow the common experience called public school, still seems an important aspect of becoming an "American."

It seems to me the greatest way for groups of diverse people to respect each other is to value their commonalities and not just their differences. The public school has helped create the richness, individuality and creativity that America is known for. The common American public school experience has contributed to one of the greatest countries ever known. We can hardly imagine that public schools are now the primary problem. A problem so severe that they need to be broken up into thousands of separate private schools with few, if any, commonalities.

I fear that us Republicans are about to throw the baby out with the bath water.

What do you think?

Super Bloggers Prove The Flubsome Documents are Authentic

Super Bloggers prove again that their secret decoder rings are highly accurate and their secret documents are authentic. While they are temperamental due to the Lucky Charms cereal dust occasionally plugging the alphadiscombobulators, they nonetheless prove to be extremely accurate.

We deciphered page two of the Plan for the Demise of Education and posted the findings at 7:00 AM on Friday the 18th. In that posting we ran the following paragraph decoded from this top secret document:

....fortunately we can take the money from rural Hoosiers. They are mostly quiet farm folk mixed among the rural poor and no one will notice except the school folks that those rural students are already at the bottom of every financial ranking there is. To make sure that this is ok with them, or at least to distract them so they don't notice, we will drive around in an RV, wear flannel shirts and eat tenderloins at their picnics.

Later that day the Indy Star ran this article indicating the Governor's plans to ride around in an RV, wear flannel shirts and eat tenderloins at rural Hoosier's picnics. (Click here for the article) This article was posted at 10:58 AM on the 18th. We rest our case! (Click here for Saturday's article)

Let no one ever question the authenticity of our secret documents or the accuracy of our Lucky Charms secret decoder rings. :-)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Chapter 2: The Flubsome Chronicles

Our secret decoder rings suitably replenished, our tongues tucked firmly in cheek, our crackpot, I mean topnotch team of super bloggers continues the arduous task of deciphering the strange hieroglyphics discovered on the dusty pages of the mysterious documents smuggled from the archives of the Flubsome Institute. Our regular readers will remember that the Flubsome Institute closely resembles the Hudson Institute where current political leaders were gainfully employed.

Page Two

The Plan for Taking the Public out of Public Education
Blur all lines between public and private organizations.
Initiate voucher legislation. Click here for current bill. By providing vouchers this will allow public money to flow to private organizations.
Create diversion with multiple pieces of legislation.
At first we will have to hide behind the state's budget problems to create diversions. By passing multiple pieces of legislation (Click here to search for education bills), many aimed at sending public money to private groups, some of these ideas are likely to slip through during all the chaos. Eventually of course with so many splinter groups advocating for the funds we will eventually run the state's deficits to record levels like we did in Washington from 2001-2003. But, for the short term, educators will be focused on whining about how much they are losing under the current budget cuts.
Another promising aspect of this plan is to allow the money to go from a "failing" school to a school "succeeding" under AYP. This way we can be fairly sure that private schools will succeed. As long as most private schools are able to attract parents concerned about their child's education, it is a safer bet that they will succeed over the public schools that take every type of student imaginable.
Ice the donut.
Make sure that no matter what, the growing schools around the donut of ring of Indianapolis get more money. These suburban growing schools are where the "shakers and movers" live so we have to take care of them. Reluctantly we will have to provide money to the urban markets because they have some severe needs. But fortunately we can take the money from rural Hoosiers. They are mostly quiet farm folk mixed among the rural poor and no one will notice except the school folks that those rural students are already at the bottom of every finanacial ranking there is. To make sure that this is ok with them, or at least to distract them so they don't notice, we will drive around in an RV, wear flannel shirts and eat tenderloins at their picnics.
Chapter continue
(Insert scary music here....)
Remember to smile. A tongue-in-cheek, friendly jab now and then never hurt anyone. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Chapter 1: Flubsome Chronicles - Secret Plan for Demise of Public Education

Using secret decoder rings from our daughter's Lucky Charms cereal boxes, the super bloggers have deciphered a top secret document that reveals a heretofore unrevealed plan for the demise of public education. Using a top secret mole we can only reveal as "The Leprechaun," we have unearthed secret documents from the musty archives of the Flubsome Institute. For those unfamilar with such things, the Flubsome Institute closely resembles the Hudson Institute, where many current administration officials were formally employed.

After blowing off the cereal dust, our secret decoder rings revealed what once were merely mysterious hieroglyphics but now take on special meaning to us all:

Top Secret Plan for Taking the "Public" out of Education
authors: unknown
Stop all construction projects:
By eliminating all projects that build and support the infrastructure of public schools, we can stop any patrons who say common sense things like, "We supported this building project, we passed a remonstrance project by a majority of local taxpayers, and we paid for EVERY STINKIN PENNY of it with local dollars and not a penny of support from the we want to see it used." The first step to eliminating public schools is to stop investment in the infrastructure.
Move ISTEP testing to the spring:
By moving ISTEP testing to the spring, we can stop any patrons who say common sense things like, "Indiana schools have made great progress. Why don't we step back, stay out of the way for a little while and see if they can sustain the progress made possible by the bipartisan efforts of previous legislators." We must sever any connection that can reveal past progress so that we can't be blamed for actually stopping it ourselves. We must do this even if it takes millions of additional dollars to create a new test during a severe budget crisis.
Pass legislation that takes money from schools who fail AYP
By taking money from public schools and sending it to charter schools we can further erode their stranglehold on progress. Further more if we pass this now, while AYP is easier to obtain, we can really capitalize when every school in America is failing. By 2013-2014 every child in America will be on grade level or your school is failing. Then ALL the money can go to a charter school I guess. Think I'm kidding? Click on this link.
Pass legislation that requires public schools to bus private school students
By cutting transportation state support and requiring additional student transportation we can further tax the budgets and blur the line between public and private service. Let's all sing now, ....ready? "The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round........" (Thanks to Jeff - you know who you are.)
END of page one of document. Whoops our secret decoder rings have run out of invisible ink decoder fluid. We will return in future days with more top secret revelations.
Chapter 2 of Flubsome Chronicles will be published after replenishing our decoder supply. (Insert scary music here...)

Welcome New Visitors

Today there have been 319 new visitors so far today. Thanks for stopping in. Make this an every morning stop with your steaming hot cup of coffee and we will keep you posted on the educational issues. More to come.....

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

How to E-mail Your Legislator in 90 Seconds

Whether you agree with the things you read here or not, probably doesn't matter in the big picture. However, as Americans, our right to vote, and our right to freely communicate with our elected officials is one of the greatest privileges of freedom.

Here is how to contact your legislator. It will only take 90 seconds if you know what you want to tell them. We promise - We timed it!

  1. Click on the link on the side of this page called "Who is My Indiana Legislator?"
  2. Choose the elected office you wish to e-mail.
  3. Type in the zip code where you live.
  4. Click "Go"
  5. Choose your district number by looking at the map.
  6. Choose your legislator by matching the number on the map to where you live.
  7. Click on "e-mail"
  8. Type your comments in the box. Be courteous and polite. Thank them for their work. It is a thankless job. Especially helpful are specific comments on a particular issue or bill.
  9. Before sending - Highlight all the text in the box.
  10. Go up to "Edit" and select "Copy"
  11. Then send the e-mail.
  12. Now go back to the beginning and choose another legislative office.
  13. Repeat the procedure except for retyping your comments. If you want to say the same thing to another legislator you can right click your mouse in the comments box and choose "Paste" and the same message will be pasted in the comments box.
  14. Remember to replace the name of the legislative official first and add anything additional you want.
  15. Click "send"
  16. If you want to read about any of the 1,870 + bills bouncing around in the legislature, click on "Bills and Resolutions" on the same page you sent your comments from.

Take a deep breath and realize that you have excercised the greatest privilege in a free society. The right to freely offer your personal opinion to your elected representatives without fear. A right we too often take for granted.

Please do How about now? Do you have 90 seconds?

Try it even if you don't hit "send." Once you see you easy it is we guarantee it will prompt you to send one the next time you have an opinion about a bill or piece of legislation. Good luck! Start clicking!

Evidence Trickles In

The evidence is trickling in, proving our predictions regarding the Krispy Kreme Theory of School Funding are holding true. Check out this link to the Indy Star article on central Indiana schools and their predicted funding. Now granted, most superintendents put about as much faith in these printouts as they do a Ouiji board.

But nonetheless, scroll down and look at Hancock, Hendricks and Marion county for example. The donut center gets "creamed" in this projection (IPS loss of 2.0% and loss 1.8 %). But check out some of the increases for the donut. Senator Kenley's district comes out pretty good, no surprise there (6.8% and 5.6%) Hmm. Sweet! The donut gets the icing. :-)

This is not to say that these schools aren't growing rapidly and feel they can use the funding for additional teachers.

The real issue is to point out that the farther the decisions get from the local district, the more the state political powers take care of their own. And..the more complex they make the funding formulas the easier it is to accomplish.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

"Tell The Man You're Sorry"

Only in the rarified air of the politically correct world of modern politics does someone have to apologize for telling the truth.

Here is what happened:

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and/or his aides sat through an Education Roundtable meeting in which Dr. Sue Ellen Reed, Republican Superintendent for Instruction shared many of Indiana's improvements, and providing data regarding Indiana’s standing in the nation and the world. (See earlier post titled Top 10 Things You Won't Read in the Governor's Newsletter.)

Governor Daniels in his "state of the state" address announced his interpretation of where Indiana stands in the nation and the world, using no data whatsoever, but stating:

Our educational results lag behind other states, and other nations, but worse still, behind the potential of the kids and the devoted teachers in our classrooms.

Dr. Eugene White, the widely respected Superintendent of Schools for Washington Township Schools, is quoted in the Indy Star as allegedly calling the Governor a "liar" for his remarks about Indiana’s educational standing.

Now, my dog-eared 1968 copy of The Random House Dictionary uses this definition of "liar"
a. Liar – "one who lies"
b. Lie – "something intended or serving to convey a false impression"

So, the Governor ignores the facts about Indiana’s true educational standing in the nation and intentionally conveys to all Hoosiers the false impression that Indiana’s children "lag behind other states and other nations."

What does that sound like to you? Of course this is an old fashioned traditional dictionary from 1968. I guess the definition of "liar" and "lie" could have changed since then.

Would Dr. White have to apologize if he had said, "Governor Daniel’s selective use of the words "lag behind", have conveyed a false impression that Indiana is not keeping up with other states and other nations."

Is that sufficiently sanitized to pass the PC test? I am sure that Dr. White regrets using the emotionally laden word "liar," but that doesn’t mean that Eugene wasn’t telling the truth.

You can decide.

Mitch will gain more respect by dropping the demagoguery.

Try something like this Mitch:

Indiana has made educational progress and is now holding it's own against other states and other nations. But there is much work to do and a long journey ahead of us if we wish to prepare every child for a global economy few of us can predict.

Try that Mitch. We can live with it. At least its true.