Saturday, August 17, 2013

The dirty politics of pitting teachers against charters

At the School Board meeting this week, Director of Schools Jesse Register said the Metro Nashville Public Schools would need an additional $38.4 million in  the 2014-15 fiscal year budget over the current budget approved in June. The reason for this massive increase? Charter schools. (See Metro school officials fear 'tipping point' coming with charter costs.)

Register is claiming that teachers will not get a step pay increase without the additional funding. This is just dirty politics pitting teachers against charters.

Under the state’s charter school law, state funding follows the student. If a student attends a charter school, that money goes to the charter. Metro gets about $9,200 in state funds for every student. MNPS officials contend that the money lost when students leave for charter schools is not offset by a matching drop in expenses. Metro still has to run the same bus routes, they say, still must have an many classrooms and teachers and there is no reduction in overhead.

Here is why that is a phony argument. Enrollment is growing and with the district's growing enrollment, it gets more revenue from the State BEP finance system for each student that comes into the district. The new students coming into the district about equals the number of students leaving district schools and going to charter schools. So those "empty" district seats are really getting replaced by new students coming in.

The district bureaucracy and overhead eats up hundreds of millions of dollars. A lot of dollars don't flow to classrooms for children. If teachers want to get mad for not getting raises, they can point fingers at Dr. Register for running a top heavy bloated central administration. It is a false choice for a district leader to say we can't trim any costs or move any costs around. Nothing is a fixed cost. If they wanted to fund charters AND give teachers a step raise increase, they could easily do so by cutting inefficient programs or top heavy central office costs.

It is worth noting that $21.8 million of the proposed $38.4 million they "need" is blamed on charters. What about the other $17 million? Where is that going? Some may go to pension, insurance increases, etc...but some of that money represents new spending CHOICES.

Charter schools get results and they get much better results with far less money.  Does anyone think that if a charter school was taking over the old Ward Belmont School that a charter would spend $8.2 million to convert what was once was a school back into a school?

Teachers should not let the administration instill in them envy and resentment of charter school. Charters pay their teachers more, and get less per pupil funding than district schools do. Maybe district teachers can go to  work for charters and make more money and enjoy their profession more.

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Friday, August 16, 2013 says Republicans could take the Senate

When Karl Rove recently said Republicans could take the Senate in 2014, I took it with a grain of salt. He has a pretty cloudy crystal ball. You may recall that during the recent presidential election he predicted a win for Mitt Romney with 279 Electoral College votes. I am not sure why anyone still listens to Karl Rove.

Today however, I got some encouraging news from the enemy camp. wrote the following: 

Dear MoveOn member,
This is stunning: The New York Times' data wizard Nate Silver—who predicted the 2012 election results state-by-state with uncanny accuracy—is now projecting that, "Republicans [are] close to even-money to win control of the [Senate] after next year's elections."1 It's the worst-case scenario: Republicans win a majority in the Senate, and we can kiss the rest of President Obama's agenda goodbye. 

 MoveOn goes on to say that an advantage the Republicans have is that they can now more easily suppress the vote due to the Supreme Courts ruling on the Voting Rights Act and Republicans also, says Moveon, " have been racing to purge voter rolls, eliminate early voting, and require new photo IDs to vote—anything they can do to make it harder to vote."

When dead people can't vote and unregistered people can't vote and illegal immigrants can't vote, it improves the chances of the Republican party.

This piece from Moveon was a plea for campaign funds so they may have been motivated to inflate the chances of the Republicans for taking the Senate in order to motivate their members to give, but it has encouraged me and made me more inclined to increase my giving to the Republican cause. Below is the story that MoveOn posted that also says Republicans could retake the Senate:

Senate Control in 2014 Increasingly Looks Like a Tossup

This weekend’s announcement by the former governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, that he would not seek that state’s Democratic nomination for Senate represents the latest in a series of favorable developments for Republicans as they seek control of the chamber. (link)

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Brentwood School Bans Pork. To Appease Muslims?

See the memo and read all about it here.

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Devaney Elected to Influential RNC Committee

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman wins unanimous vote to join national GOP’s Budget Committee

BOSTON, Mass.—On the final day of business at the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney was unanimously elected to fill an opening on the RNC’s influential Budget Committee. The Budget Committee is a permanent committee of the RNC and is tasked with the responsibility of “developing a budget” as well as “reviewing the income and expenditures of the Republican National Committee.”

 The Budget Committee is composed of eleven members of the Republican National Committee, three of whom are appointed by the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and each of the four regions shall elect two members, one man and one woman. Devaney fills a seat that recently became vacant.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus congratulated Devaney on his election and stated, “Chris Devaney has done a tremendous job leading the Tennessee Republican Party to electoral success and his sound financial stewardship has played a major role in that. I’m proud he is joining our strong team on the Budget Committee.”

 The TNGOP has consistently enjoyed fundraising and financial success. The Party consistently outraises its political counterparts and all of its targeted races across the state are fully funded.

Devaney remarked, “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work with my colleagues on the Budget Committee to ensure our funds continue being utilized in the best way possible to ensure maximum Republican success across the country. Chairman Priebus has put us in a great financial position to be successful in 2014 and beyond. It’s an honor to join this team.”

 Earlier this year, Tennessee Republican national committeewoman Peggy Lambert was elected the Southern Region Vice Chair. Tennessee national committeeman John Ryder was appointed to the position of RNC General Counsel.

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Metro Council agenda analysis for August 20th is now available.

The Metro Council agenda analysis for August 20th is now available. If you will wait I will read if for you. However, if you want to see it now, here it is:

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

The poster boy for the Food Stamp program

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Federalist Society to present The Marriage Debate with Sherif Girgis

The Nashville Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society
The Marriage Debate: 
 How Courts Have Reinterpreted the Constitution, States’ Rights and Separation of Powers
Sherif Girgis
August 27, 2013 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. 
The Law Offices of Waller Lansden Dortch &Davis, LLP 
Nashville City Center 511 Union Street, Suite 2700 Nashville, Tennessee 37219 
Lunch Will Be Served; $15 at the Door Please 
RSVP by August 23, 2013 

 Sherif Girgis was born in Cairo and grew up in Delaware. He majored in philosophy at Princeton, where he won several academic prizes, including the 2007 Dante Prize for the nation’s best undergraduate essay on Dante. His senior thesis on sex ethics won the Princeton prizes for best thesis in ethics and best thesis in philosophy. Upon graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude in 2008, he went on to earn a master’s degree in moral, political and legal philosophy at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He is now pursing his Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton and his JD at Yale Law School. His paper “What Is Marriage?”, coauthored with Robert George and Ryan Anderson, was published in December and quickly became Social Science Research Network’s most downloaded paper of the previous year. In 2012, Girgis, George and Anderson published an expanded version of the paper as a book, titled What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. In addition to publishing in more popular contexts, he has given lectures and talks and engaged in debates on marriage and related topics throughout the United States and abroad.

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The tea party letter to Lamar

Senator Alexander,

You have served a long and marked career. You have been a part of the Tennessee political scene for as long as most of us can remember. You have worked for Howard Baker, Winfield Dunn, served as Governor, were appointed to be the Secretary of Education of the federal government, President of the University of Tennessee, were a serious contender for the nomination of the Republican Party for President, and of course you are currently serving as a United States Senator. Your life-long career in government service is noteworthy.

During your tenure in the Senate we have no doubt that you voted in a way which you felt was appropriate. Unfortunately, our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous. America faces serious challenges and needs policymakers who will defend conservative values, not work with those who are actively undermining those values. Quite honestly, your voting record shows that you do not represent the conservative values that we hold dear and the votes you have cast as Senator are intolerable to us. Furthermore we have serious doubts about your ability to fix our problems since you have played such a significant role in creating them.

The Little Plaid Book you authored contains very sage advice on politics. Rule #297 is especially important because you advise anyone running for office to “Serve two terms, then get out.” Are you willing to follow your own advice, or will you fall into the mire of hypocrisy?

As you are likely aware, there have been polls conducted that show your vulnerability. While no viable contender has yet emerged, it is becoming more probable with each passing day that one will rise to the challenge. When a serious contender eventually does enter the race, the moment their fundraising capability makes them a viable candidate, your re-election is in serious jeopardy.

Therefore, we urge you to conclude your long and notable career by retiring with dignity instead of fighting against a serious conservative primary challenger who would expose to all Tennessee voters the actual history of your voting record.

Sevier County Tea Party
Tea Party of Lincoln County
Gibson County Patriots
Benton County Tea Party
Carroll County Tea Party
Jackson Madison County Tea Party
Dickson County Tea Party / 912 Project
Obion County Tea Party
Stewart County Tea Party
Tennesseans for Liberty (Madison County)
Volunteers for Freedom (Henry County)
We the People (Tipton County)
Rutherford County Tea Party
TN 9-12 Project
Caney Branch Tea Party
TN Republican Assembly
Smoky Mountain Tea Party Patriots (Blount Co)
McMinn County TEA Party
North Sumner Tea Party
Tennessee 8th District Tea Party Coalition

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Metro Council agenda for the August 20th council meeting is now available.

The Metro Council agenda for the August 20th council meeting is now available. If you will wait, I will read if for you and provide some analysis and commentary. However, if you want to see it right away, here it is.

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School Board Meeting of 8/13/2013

This meeting is two hour and 50 minutes long.

The School Board produces great agendas. You can see all of the documents the members of the board see. Here is the link to the 8-13-2013 67-page  agenda.

Below is a link to the Tennessean's coverage of the meeting:

Metro school officials fear 'tipping point' coming with charter costs 
4th calendar option raised at meeting
I have not yet watched this meeting. Please check back for a summary and video notation and my commentary.

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Tea party groups tell Sen. Lamar Alexander he's vulnerable in 2014

Tea party groups tell Sen. Lamar Alexander he’s vulnerable in 2014, should step aside

Washington Times, August 12,2013 twenty tea party and conservative groups in Tennessee have signed onto a letter that asks Sen. Lamar Alexander to retire, claiming “our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous.” Read more

Despite tea party activist discontent, no one with stature or credentials has stepped forward to challenge Alexander. Any potential viable challenger as already endorsed Alexander. You can't beat somebody with nobody.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Southeast Nashville Conservatives' Breakfast

Saturday, August 17 
 8:30 - 9:00 am (Social) 
9:00 - 10:00 am (Meeting) Shoney's (Antioch) 
Bell Road at Cane Ridge Road (I-24E - Bell Road Exit)

Councilman Duane Dominy
Update on "Save our Fairgrounds"

Rick Williams
Update on "The AMP"

Ms. Mick Dalton, Chair of Caring for America, will discuss the Nashville Republican Women's 2013 Annual Toy Drive for the Children of Tennessee Soldiers.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

You may have heard of Tom Negir before. As hotel director he scuttled ACT conference.

Tom Negri, the former managing director of the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, has been named interim director of the Metro Human Relations Commission. You may have heard of Tom Negir before.  

Back in 2009 when Mr. Negri was the manger of Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, he rented meeting space to Act For America for a conference.  The venue had been rented months in advance, then on the day before the conference, Mr. Negri cancelled the organizations contract because they were going to have as their  keynote speaker Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders. 

Negri claimed he was cancelling the contract out of concern for the "health, safety and well-being" of the hotel's guests and employees. This is the way leftist think about dialogue, diversity, and freedom of speech. They are only in favor of political participation and freedom of speech and diversity from those with whom they agree. I blogged about this incident at the time. To read that blog post and learn more about the incident, follow this link.  

Metro's Human Relation Commission has long been a hot bed of taxpayer funded left wing activism. Back during the eighties we had a Director, Fred Cloud, who took part in demonstrations opposing America's support of the anti-communist Contra freedom fighters. He used his office to organize the anti-Contra demonstration as well as other liberal and left wing causes. At that time, during a tight budget year, we were successful in defunding the MHRC. I was in the Council at that time and was part of that effort. For about five years we did not have the MHRC, until it was revised by Mayor Phil Bredesen. 
In 2008, the MHRC actively opposed the proposed English First charter amendment. While I did not support that effort either, I do not think it appropriate that an agency of government get involved fighting a proposed charter amendment. Private organizations can promote the cause or oppose it but our tax dollars should not be used to influence pubic opinion on a referendum. 

One of the things the MHRC does every year is sponsor a youth pavilion at Nashville Gay Pride Festival. They have long been involved in pro-gay activism. The outgoing Executive Director Caroline Blackwell is quoted in the gay publication Out and About saying, the Commission believes "the quest for equal rights for LGBTQ people is a fundamental human rights issue, and one that warrants the full attention of the Commission, Nashville and the nation."  In recent years a growing number of "GLBT" activist have been appointed to serve on the Commission.  

There are a few things the Commission does that are not objectionable but these are things that could be done by other agencies or private organizations. The MHRC serves no purpose except to promote political correctness and a left wing agenda with your tax dollars. To see some of what they do, follow the MHRC on Facebook or visit their website. Given the history of the MHRC, Mr. Negir will be right at home. 

The MHRC should be abolished. 

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