Monday, February 29, 2016

Public support

Remember the cops that threw the flash bang into the baby's crib? Then the Sheriff doubled down on the stupid, and said his men would do it again, under the same conditions?

This sort of thing is the exact reason why there is so much traction for the anti police and BLM movements. The police are creating more and more anti-cop backlash as they continue to support and defend these sorts of acts and the cops who commit them.

Good cops: Stand up and stop protecting the bad comps among you. Cops are supposed to protect babies, not throw grenades at them. You cannot claim to be brave and claim to protect the public if you are willing to throw a grenade into a baby's crib, and then defend that action by saying you want to go home at night. If you do, then don't wonder why things like this gain traction:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Low pay

Yet another reason why schools can't attract good teachers. Read this excerpt from a recruiting email that I got this morning:

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is in the midst of a targeted recruitment campaign aimed at attracting individuals with a strong STEM background for a highly selective summer program, the TEACh Strong Summer Academy. This summer immersion program will prepare participants to become excellent STEM teachers.
In its continued commitment to impacting the academic achievement of the students in its highest need schools, M-DCPS will afford those selected the following opportunities:
• Participation in an intensive six-week summer training (June 1st – July 13th) consisting of enrichment programs, hands-on work experience and a comprehensive professional development curriculum
• Access to mentor teachers and additional support from district Curriculum Support Specialists (CSS)
• Participation in and access to monthly cohort meetings, webinars and an online support community
Immersion in this summer training experience will prepare program participants to make an immediate impact on the students they will serve, and the ongoing professional development and other support opportunities will continue to strengthen their performance as educators throughout the course of the school year and beyond.
Participants will receive a $3,500 stipend to be paid in two equal parts of $1,750 each. First payment will be issued upon successful completion of initial three (3) weeks of the training, and a second installment upon successful completion of the full six (6) weeks.
Minimum Requirements:
• Completion of a Bachelor's Degree in a STEM field
• No prior teaching experience as teacher of record in a K-12 classroom
• Completion of M-DCPS employment application (see link below)
• Commitment to full six-week summer academy
• Commitment to teach in a M-DCPS high-need secondary school 
So this school system wants people with STEM degrees to come work for them, and they are paying $1750 for three weeks? That works out to $14.58 an hour. Unarmed security guards, which requires graduating from a 40 hour course, pays $12-14 an hour in Miami. How are you going to recruit quality people from outside of Miami and entice them to relocate for ridiculously low pay like that?

The job market CAN'T be that bad.

Friday, February 26, 2016

It pays to be well qualified

On February 6th, I was summarily fired from my teaching job with no warning and no reason given, other than "We are going in a different direction, and you are no longer a good fit for us." Rumor had it that a student who has a wealthy and well connected father was angry that she got a C on one of my Chemistry exams, and had had her father come in and demand that I be fired.

I got an informal job offer today and will start very soon, pending background check and salary negotiation, meaning that I was out of work for exactly 20 days. I will be teaching Chemistry and Physics to 11th and 12th grade honors students. The new school is 30 minutes away from my house, but that is fine with me.

It seems that teachers who are certified to teach STEM classes are hard to come by. I am certified to teach Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Health, and a number of other sciences.  Teachers with those certifications are not easy to find.

Other than putting my resume out there, I spent the last three weeks getting caught up on household chores like yard work and getting some maintenance done on the cars. The old school had to pay me some money under the terms of my contract (which came to two months' pay), I got two weeks' unemployment, and now I am back to work. As it turns out, I actually made money on the deal.

As for my old school, the morning before I was fired they hired a guy to take over my classes who isn't even certified to teach those subjects. He is a teacher who is only certified to teach Middle School physical education and has never taught before. The school has to send a letter to the parents of all of his students, informing them that the classes are being taught by an uncertified teacher. I am guessing that he won't last long.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

My election prediction

There has been a discussion of Trump's campaign occurring on the Blogs that I read over the past few days. Over at Uncle's place, I had this to say:
Trump is doing well because the electorate is tired of getting a bunch of politicians who say one thing and do another. They want an outsider. The Republican party only has themselves to blame for this: people are sick of getting back sliding from the likes of Boehner.
Over on Borepatch's blog, I added this:

As an aside, I also think that this is the same reason why Sanders was getting as many votes as he did.

The fact is this: Hillary is using her establishment contacts to garner "Superdelegates" and win the Democratic nomination by gaming the system. This will take all of the wind out of the sails of the Democrats. Remember that Obama and Bill Clinton both won the Presidency by energizing the youth vote, which Hillary does not have.
Obama beat McCain in the general election by getting 66% of voters who were under 30 years old, and getting 95 percent of the Black vote. Obama beat Hillary in the Primary by taking 57 percent of voters under 30 years old, by energizing the youth vote and getting a large voter turnout.

My prediction is that once Sanders, who has the youth vote in this election, loses the nomination, those voters will not bother to show up at the polls for the general election. We are already seeing signs of this happening with the low voter turnout as the primaries progress and Hillary takes the lead through gaming the system.

On February 1 in Iowa, Sanders won 70 percent more of the under 30 demographic and 22 percent more of the 30-44 age group than did Hillary. Voter turnout was record breaking with 180,000 Republicans and a large number of Democrats. Hillary lost the voters with 44 percent of the votes to Sanders' 50 percent, but won the delegate count 23-21, thanks to Superdelegates.

In New Hampshire on February 9th, Sanders got 83% of voters under 30. A whopping 78% of voters who selected Sanders stated that this was their first election. Out of 246,000 voters, sanders received 60% of the vote. Republicans had about the same number of voters, with Trump winning 100,406 out of 289,000 voters.

In Nevada on February 23rd, only about 12,000 Democrats vote, with Hillary getting about 53% of the vote. The Sanders youth vote largely didn't bother to show up. Nevada Democratic Party spokesman Stewart Boss estimated turnout at 80,000, falling short of the nearly 120,000 voters who turned out in 2008.

Why? Because Hillary already has 504 delegates to Sanders' 71. It is lopsided, even though Sanders has won more than 61% of the 247,000 votes cast so far. If Hillary can hold on to take just 45 percent of the remaining delegates, she wins. As the youth vote sees that their guy isn't going to win, they will become uninterested and stay home in ever increasing numbers.

Hillary is an insider, and anyone that remembers her as first lady is over 30 years old by now. Everyone who didn't vote for Bill Clinton while still a teenager is now in their 40's or older. She can't claim to be the energetic newcomer any longer. Once Sanders is out of the picture, the title of newcomer goes to Trump.

This, in my opinion will lower the youth turnout and hand her the nomination. Once that happens, the young voters will stay home in significant numbers in the general election, and this will make Donald Trump our next President.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Economic intelligence?

Bernie Sanders has a net worth of just over $525,000, including the town home that he owns, which is valued at $100,000. Consider that he is paid $174,000 a year for being a member of Congress. He has been a member of Congress since 1991. Before that, he was the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont for nine years. He receives a pension for that as well.

Looking at the pay Congress receives, he has made $2.9 million since 1991. He also has a Senate expense account, which cost taxpayers $2.5 million in 2014, yet with all of this pay and benefits for more than two decades, he has almost nothing to show for it, aside from a $100,000 condo.

Is this the guy who you want running a national budget? My 29 year old son has a higher net worth than that.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Thursday, February 11, 2016

This is why a communist can run for office

Anyone singing the "Happy Birthday Song" over the past 66 years was forced to pay royalties to the Warner/Chappell music company, who was making an average of about $2 million each year from the royalties for the song. 

The company finally admitted in court that they never owned the song and agreed to pay the artists suing them $14 million in a settlement. That's right, they committed fraud that got them over $100 million in profits, and in the end had to only pay out around $14 million to settle the claims.

The banks, who made well over $1 trillion in profits by engaging in illegal mortgage securities fraud and thereby collapsed the US economy, which was followed up by the government bailing them out with ANOTHER trillion dollars, were forced to pay back a mere $13 billion in settlements. Goldman Sachs, who made the whole scheme work by selling the worthless loans as mortgage backed securities, had to pay back a mere $5 billion.

It seems as though companies are committing wholesale fraud and paying pennies on the dollar when they get caught. This is one of the reasons why so many people are so unhappy with our government, and I am betting it is a big reason why Sanders has such a large following.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Poor leadership, part 2

This is my rant about my life. 

In my post from earlier in the week, I talked about the Principal firing me because a politically well connected student received a C on one of my Chemistry exams. The story continues.

I applied for unemployment. The evidence is pretty strong in my favor:

- Three weeks before I was terminated, I received my annual evaluation, and it rated me as an "effective" employee.

- Two days before I was terminated, my evaluation score was a 2.7 (effective), which is pretty good for my school.

They are fighting my unemployment, saying that I was fired for misconduct. There are no previous discipline entries on my record, but my evaluation was changed the day after I filed for unemployment to say that I have a 2.2 (needs improvement). I have copies of everything.

During the termination proceedings, this principal (who is an amateur competitor in men's bodybuilding) told me that PE is the most important subject, because they learn skills there like teamwork and work ethic that they will use their entire lives, whereas the stuff they learn in science and math, they will never use again. Spoken like a true jock.

They hired as my replacement a guy who isn't certified to teach Biology or Chemistry. His certification is in Elementary School Physical Education. His transcripts show that he failed freshman Biology in college and had to take it over. He received a C the second time he took it. So much for schools only hiring highly qualified teachers for core subjects under "No Child Left Behind.".

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

600-pound pig was seen at a polling place in New Hampshire

The headline read: "600-pound pig was seen at a polling place in New Hampshire"

My first thought was "Michael Moore got out of the hospital?"

Solving the geriatric carry problem

Tam is talking about how the older population has a bit of a problem when it comes to buying guns for self defense: Many smaller automatics are too difficult for arthritic fingers to operate, and the recoil combined with the weaker grip of the elderly results in poor operation of the mini autos. She opines that revolvers are not an option, because a 12 pound trigger is too hard for the older population to operate. I agree, and I found a solution.

My mother is a 72 year old widow who owns a concealed weapons permit. She  used to carry a lightweight semi-auto. The problem was that, as she got older, it was more and more difficult for her to work the slide. She just didn't have the grip strength to work the slide. To help with this, I bought her a lightweight Smith and Wesson J frame in .38 Special, just like this one.

Tam is correct, her 72 year old arthritic fingers had trouble with the 12 pound trigger pull, so I took it to a gunsmith and had the trigger lightened up to about 7 pounds. There are those who will tell you that it is unwise to lower your trigger pull from a legal standpoint.

Perhaps if you are a 25 year old weightlifter, having a light pull would be a problem, bur a 7 pound pull is not one that a 72 year old woman who weighs 90 pounds is going to find overly low.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Poor leadership

I have been posting about the dysfunctional education system in this country since I was hired as a teacher in July of 2014. Pay special attention to this previous post. 

I have been working as a teacher at a charter school run by a private company. It is being used as a sales tool for the commercial real estate division of that company. (As in: Look at how great the school here is! If you buy property here, your employees will have access to this great school.)

On Tuesday, some of my students came to see me during lunch and warned me that they were being called to the principal's office one at a time, told that I was being investigated in connection with a parent complaint, and asked to provide any negative comments that they had about me.

On Wednesday I was called to the principal's office and presented with the complaints. The only negative things were that I once played a video of Superbowl commercials in class, that I was curving exams, and that students felt like they were not learning in my class.

The principal also told me that out of the 50 students they questioned, all but three of them had positive things to say. He went on to claim that this was probably due to the fact that the students were afraid of retribution. I then said "So when a student complains about not liking my class, they are being accurate and truthful, but when they are happy with my class, they must be lying?"

I also pointed out that the students were all receiving test scores that were showing progress, and in fact were the same or higher than the other teachers who were teaching my subject. We had just gotten our evaluations from last school year, and my evaluations were the same or higher than teachers with decades on the job. The meeting ended there.

On Thursday and Friday, administrators came into my classroom no less than seven times to observe my teaching. I even found a recording device hidden in one of my two classrooms, that was actively and secretly recording me as I taught class.

After school on Friday, I was called from my duty of watching the parking lot and summarily fired. The only reason given was "We are letting you go. You are just not a good fit for the vision that we have here." That was the best that they could do, even after looking for a reason for four days.

Under the terms of my contract, I have to be paid for the work I have done to this point, and they owe me about two month's pay. I am not sure where I will work after this, but I have some time and plenty of money.

One of my students contacted me through another teacher. It turns out that there is a student who is bragging that she got me fired. That student has been complaining all year that she doesn't belong in my class, but in an honors class. She stated that my class was the "dummy class" and was too easy. She received a C on my last exam, and was mad, claiming that she had never received a C in her life on any test. Her father is one of the the named partners of the law firm  that represents the company that owns the charter school.

Other sources in the main offices of the school tell me that the father was indignant that his daughter received a C and demanded that I be fired, but as long as I don't make waves, the school will not give me a bad recommendation when I apply elsewhere.

That is where education is today.