Archives for the month of: October, 2018

You need a laugh today.

We will never find out how low they will go.

This one, at least, is funny.

Mike Pence held a rally in Michigan. He wanted to show his respect to the victims of the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The “rabbi” invited to speak was not Jewish. He was a convert to Christianity and part of a group called “Jews for Jesus,” which seeks to convert Jews to Christianity.

But now it turns out that he was defrocked as a “rabbi.”

He was not only a fake rabbi, he was a fake fake rabbi.

There was a burst of semi-bewildered outrage this week when Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States, attempted to pay respects to the 11 Jewish victims of an explicitly anti-Semitic attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue two days earlier by appearing with a fake rabbi at his rally in Michigan on Monday. The “rabbi” in question, Loren Jacobs, subscribes to Messianic Judaism, a belief system that sees him spend most of his time essentially trying to convert Jews to Christianity. After all, if you think Jesus was the Messiah, you sound a lot like a Christian, and mainstream Jewish groups do not recognize Messianic Judaism as a Jewish faith.

It was, in general, a gesture of profound ignorance and disrespect. Jacobs, who reportedly attended “the Moody Bible Institute, a conservative Christian institute in Chicago,” invoked Jesus by name in his rally oratory and asked God Himself to back the Republican Party in the midterms. All God’s children, and all that.

But the tragicomedy only continued Wednesday, when NBC News came out with a stupefying new layer to the story. Jacobs is not, in fact, just a Fake Rabbi. He’s a Fake Fake Rabbi, which somehow doesn’t make him a real rabbi.

“Loren Jacobs, who was invited onstage by Vice President Mike Pence to speak at a rally in Michigan for a GOP congressional candidate, was defrocked 15 years ago, according to a spokeswoman for the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations.”

Whatever Pence’s intentions, he certainly did not pay respect to the 11 Jews who were massacred in Pittsburgh, who were real Jews.

A federal appeals court ordered the Delta Charter School to accept more African-American students.

The school expanded into another parish, which was under a desegregation order.

The parish schools were 49.5% black. The new Delta Charter was 15% black.

A federal appeals court has affirmed almost all of a district court’s remedies to get Delta Charter School to accept more African-American students and stop violating a consent decree with Concordia Parish School District.

“The district court ordered that Delta could not enroll students from other parishes under desegregation orders without permission from the relevant school boards,” a three-judge U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel said in its 19-page ruling filed Oct. 12. “This requirement appears intended to limit Delta’s interference with the desegregation obligations of other parishes. But Delta’s consent decree says nothing about other parishes.”

Denis Smith worked for many years for the Ohio Department of Education. When he retired, he was employed in the office that oversees charter schools. He has written many articles about the scams and frauds that charter operators get away with in Ohio, as well as some that they don’t get away with.

He wrote me recently to say that the five most common words in charterdom are:

The defendant will please rise.

Isn’t it interesting that the pro-charter candidates, no matter which school district or city or state they live in, do not admit they are pro-charter.

Apparently the public is catching on, and it is not a good thing to admit that you want more charters.

Suddenly, everyone—even the execrable governor’s Scott Walker and Doug Ducey of AZ—call them selves “the Education Governor” and boast about (lie about) have they have helped public schools. Don’t believe them.

Any candidate funded by the Koch brothers, The Walton Family, Eli Broad, Reed Hastings, or Michael Bloomberg is a Pro-Charter Candidate. They are coming to privatize your public school and replace it with a national corporate chain school.

Valerie Strauss summarizes the race between Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond.

Tuck has raised nearly $30 million from the billionaires who support charter schools; Thurmond has raised about $15 million, mostly from labor unions, teachers, and Democrats.

Tuck is supported by the Republican party. Although he claims to be a Democrat, he was booed at the state Democratic convention.

She writes:

One of the loudest and most expensive state races in the country is between two Democrats vying to win the nonpartisan position of superintendent of public instruction in California. More money is being spent on the race — for a position that has no independent policymaking power — than in most U.S. Senate campaigns.

The fight — the costliest in the state’s history for this post, with more than $43 million in campaign contributions, according to EdSource — is between state legislator Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck, a former charter school network president.

Thurmond, who was elected to the California State Assembly in 2014 from the East Bay, has been a teacher, social worker, city councilman and school board member. Tuck is a former banker who became the first president of the Green Dot network of charter schools in Los Angeles. After that, he founded a nonprofit that used privately donated money from the wealthy to help turn around troubled traditional public schools. Four years ago, he ran unsuccessfully for state superintendent in a race that cost some $30 million (with a lot of it coming from billionaires backing Tuck)…

The fight between Thurmond and Tuck is the latest chapter in a long-running debate about public education in a state with a scandal-ridden charter school sector and severely underfunded traditional school districts. California has more charter schools — which are publicly funded but privately operated — and more charter students than any state.

Should Tuck win, supporters of charter schools will take heart. If Thurmond triumphs, supporters of traditional public education will.

Tuck has raised far more than Thurmond, about $5 million in direct contributions, compared with $3.1 million for Thurmond, according to the Associated Press. Most of the money in the race has gone through political committees that can accept unlimited amounts of money but are not allowed to coordinate with the campaigns. In this arena, Tuck is far ahead, with two committees backing him taking in $24.1 million, according to Ed Source, with a committee supporting Thurmond’s bid taking in $11.5 million so far.

Much of Tuck’s contributions have come from billionaires who support charter schools and many who live out of state. Wealthy donors include Michael Bloomberg of New York; Eli Broad of Los Angeles; and Alice Walton of Texas, who has donated millions of dollars to his campaigns over a period of years. Netflix chief Reed Hastings and Gap founder Doris Fisher have also donated. And, not surprisingly, he is backed by the California Charter Schools Association (which celebrated the controversial 2017 confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. education secretary).

We will find out in a few days whether out of state billionaires can buy the race.

Daniel Goldin, educatuon editor of Pro Publica, has written a new book about spying by foreign exchange students.

This practice has been rumored for years but no one has pinned down evidence.

Emily Richmond of the Education Writers Association wrote about his new book:

In his recent book, “Spy Schools,” veteran higher education journalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Golden builds a compelling case that the globalization of American universities has made them fertile territory for espionage. Using case studies and sometimes stunning revelations, he shows how foreign operatives are exploiting access to get a better understanding of U.S. policies and practices, and, in some cases, to steal valuable scientific research. On the flipside, American intelligence agencies are cultivating foreign students in the U.S. in hopes of grooming them to become informants when they return to their home countries. How did Golden uncover some of these practices, and what’s been the fallout from his reporting for the schools and programs he featured? What makes American colleges and universities particularly vulnerable to espionage? And what can campuses do to better protect their intellectual property? Plus, Golden—the education editor for ProPublica—shares story ideas for reporters covering international students at local postsecondary institutions.

Goldin wrote a book about how very rich people buy seats for their children in elite universities, and one of his examples was Jared Kushner, whose fathers gave Harvard $2 Million plus the year before Jared plied. He was accepted over several others from his high school who were better qualified.

He is the author of The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges—and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates.

Stephen Dyer of Innovation Ohio, a lawyer and former Ohio legislator, reports that the ECOT scandal is worse than previously known.

He writes:

New state funding reports indicate that ECOT had nearly 8,000 fake students in its last full year of operation. According to the Ohio Department of Education, its last year of operation, ECOT couldn’t account for about 20 percent of its students. However, the monthly finance reports ODE puts out suggests the number may have been closer to 55 percent.

First of all, the last year ECOT was fully operational was in the 2016-2017 school year. So I’m using that as a baseline for comparison.

In the 16-17 school year, ECOT received $103.6 million for 14,208 students. This year, it’s zero dollars. A lot of news stories have tried to figure out what happened to all those students. One of the challenges appears to be that they may not have actually had all those students….

ECOT graduated about 2,000 students in 2017, but even subtracting out those students from the 7,791 “missing” students means 40 percent of the ECOT total is unaccounted for — about double the rate that was found by ODE.

So there seems to be something going on here.

I would sure like to know how many, if any of the 7,791 students ECOT claimed it had in 2016-2017 that aren’t in charter schools anymore were actually ever there to begin with. Because it looks like the state’s 20 percent assessment may be significantly lower than first thought.

Follow him as he connects the dots.

See this video of Jeff Sessions’ event in Boston. A Methodist minister interrupted him, quoting Matthew.

“Brother Jeff, as a fellow United Methodist, I call upon you to repent, to care for those in need,” Green said.

“Green then recited Matthew 25:42-43, which begins: “For I was hungry, and you did not feed me. I was a stranger, and you did not welcome me.”

“Sessions replied, “Well, thank you for those remarks and attack, but I would just tell you we do our best every day.”

“After security officers escorted Green out of the room, a second minister, the Rev. Darrell Hamilton II, the pastor for formation and outreach at First Baptist Church of Jamaica Plain in Boston, then rose to his defense.”

Officers ejected Rev. Hamilton as well.

So much for these fake Christians.

This is a handy website that will inform you how much money was diverted from your school district to fund the fraudulent ECOT virtual charter school.

Typing your address and learn how much money you lost, as ECOT man was protected by John Kasich, Mike DeWine (the Republican Candidate for Governor), and other Republican politicians.

Betsy DeVos is a big fan of virtual charter schools like ECOT. She wants more of them.

John Thompson, retired teacher in Oklahoma and frequent contributor to this and other blogs, writes about the Congressional race between Democrat Kendra Horn and Republican incumbent Steve Russell. As you will note, Russell is an extremist on the subject of guns. He opposes any kind of regulation of guns:

Diane, thank you for endorsing Kendra Horn for Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district. And thank you for exposing America’s “Fascist Underbelly,” while condemning the latest mass murder.

Horn’s opponent, Congressman Steve Russell, brags on his web site that he is “a career soldier, collector of military firearms and is the only one on Capitol Hill who is an active firearms manufacturer.” He opposes “knee-jerk” legislative reactions such as banning AR 15s, like the one Robert Bowers used when murdering 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue.

The Las Vegas mass murder of 59 people prompted Russell to say, “We must never allow some deceptive, fabricated movement on civil rights take away the Bill of Rights. The people of the United States are sovereign through its republican form of government–not the mob.”

Russell says that mass shootings are a “cultural thing.” The automatic weapons are “tools,” and we have an “inalienable and God-given right” to bear them. He also raised the specter of the U.S. becoming Australia and confiscating guns.

Russell’s campaign blamed Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters, after she was the apparent target of two bombs, for encouraging liberals to “intimidate and harass Republicans.”

During a recent debate with Kendra Horn, who supports such sensible gun control policies, Russell again opposed the banning of bump stocks or high-capacity magazines.

So, what will Russell, the gun maker, say about the latest hate crime?

When Russell isn’t condemning his opponent as a socialist or the Democrats as a mob, he claims that we must restore civility. When he isn’t blaming our nation for mishandling the Kavanaugh hearings, while denying that the Republicans mishandled them, and blaming Democrats for “fighting against” America, he says we must “turn away wrath.”

So, what will Congressman Russell do to deter the series of violent, wrathful actions that were last displayed this weekend?