We keep hearing about how this is a "close race". But are these polls based on the "popular vote", and not the electoral college votes?
Anybody notice all articles covering the DNC, whenever they quote Al Gore, they always refer to him as "the candidate who won the popular vote, but lost the election in 2000" as if that actually means something?
What was the total difference, anyway? 100,000 votes?
That don't mean sh*t. All it means is at least 100,000 illegal aliens in NYC voted for Al Gore. :lol:
Plus, I think those polls are skewed in that they probably include teenagers and other people who aren't eligible to vote.
[quote][i]Originally posted by gobbles[/i]@Jul 27 2004, 08:11 AM
[b] That's a shiny bauble, I'm distracted. [/b][/quote]
So what, exactly, is the NEA? It is “a weird institutional mutant,” wrote investigative reporter Peter Brimelow in his book The Worm in the Apple: How the Teacher Unions Are Destroying American Education (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), “part labor union, part insurance conglomerate (of all things), and part self-perpetuating staff oligarchy. And part political party….”
With 2.7 million dues-paying members, the NEA brings in at least $300 million a year to the national union and perhaps $1.25 billion each year through its state and local unions. Its staff members earn, on average, more than $130,000 each year, and its top bosses make much, much more. (Exactly how much goes into each NEA pocket it keeps secret.)
Compare this to the average teacher, who earns what? $25,000? $35,000? $45,000 per year? But government now spends an average of $7,000 per public school student. (Close to $12,000 per student in Washington, D.C.) Multiply that by 30 for one teacher classroom and we get $210,000. Public schools pay no property tax and relatively little for textbooks, lights and janitors – so where does the other $165,000 per classroom go? And why as we spend more and more do student test scores, literacy and other modern survival skills sink lower and lower? If public education were a private company, it would have gone bankrupt long ago and been replaced by something far better. Maybe that is why the NEA wants to banish competition and test scorekeeping from its political playground. These are precisely the kinds of questions that the NEA fears and works to stifle.
And this is by some accounts why the NEA expends up to one-third of its enormous income every year on politics.
The NEA has a permanent staff of at least 1,800 United Service (UniServ) employees who function as political operatives. This means that NEA on a continuous basis has more full-time paid professional political shock troops than the Republican and Democratic Parties combined. As Brimelow notes, these troops are trained at radical boot camps, paid and typically given graduate school credit for attending. One NEA handbook is titled “Alinsky for Teacher Organizers” and teaches activists how to use the confrontation, conflict and pressure tactics of radical leftist Saul Alinsky to win.
It is also among the biggest financial and personnel contributors to Democratic candidates, and as Mark Levin of the Landmark Legal Foundation documented NEA has coordinated its political expenditures and activities with the Democratic Party.
How powerful is the NEA? After President Jimmy Carter, to thank the union for electing him President in 1976, created the Department of Education, one NEA executive boasted that this was the only union in the country with its own cabinet department. At recent Democratic National Conventions, up to a quarter of the delegates are members of teachers unions. When the NEA talks, the Democratic Party listens.
The NEA has spent many, many millions to attack and defeat school voucher initiatives around the country. The reason is clear. If the Great Wall of Monopoly around socialist public schools is opened so that poor and middle-class parents can in effect get their tax money back, millions of parents will move their children to private schools.
Helping the NEA wage a propaganda and political war against vouchers and parental choice have been several leftwing groups, including People for the American Way (PAW), its tax-exempt PFAW Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the NAACP and its tax-exempt foundations. Their main targets as well as allies are Democratic lawmakers. Their victims are African-American parents, who polls consistently show are heavily in favor of school vouchers. The NAACP’s response is to offer a 40 page “Plan of Action” for education on its website that calls for lots more government money for public schools, quotes the NEA, but never mentions vouchers or school choice for black parents.
Evidence that school vouchers are supported by most African-American mothers and fathers is largely suppressed by the left-dominated national media and by so-called “civil rights” leftwing groups. A Joint Center survey found that among blacks 26-35 years of age, more than 70 percent support vouchers and school choice, and Hispanic-Americans aged 18-25 do, too, by more than a two-to-one margin.
But when the head of Colorado’s NAACP Willie Breazell in 1999 announced his support for school vouchers to help poor kids “trapped in our very worst schools,” the national NAACP promptly purged him.
“I was kind of lynched, so to speak,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “If you don’t have the group-think mentality you won’t last.” That Politically-Correct group-think is the conformist party line of the left, which liquidates dissenters who try to put the well-being of kids first, and not coincidentally it is the line taught to our children by the NEA.
This June, after years of struggle for emancipation, the black children of Colorado were locked back in chains as Democrat appointees to the Colorado Supreme Court voted 4-3 to overturn the state’s new voucher law as unconstitutional on the grounds that it stripped local school boards of control over education.
For lawyers of the NEA’s Colorado Educational Association, it must have been hard to keep a straight face while making this ridiculous argument. The NEA nowadays uses its political money and muscle to buy politicians on city councils and school boards so that at contract time it controls both sides of the bargaining table. The Colorado legislature will pass a new voucher law. Such programs, as Jon Sarche of Associated Press has reported, “have withstood legal challenges in Cleveland and Milwaukee. Washington, D.C., is scheduled to begin using vouchers this fall, and Florida’s program is operating while a state appeals court considers a challenge.” Like emancipation from slavery, this is an idea so morally and humanly right that its eventual victory is inevitable. But how much longer must our children be slaves of an unethically-imposed Democrat socialist school system and socialist teacher unions?
“Those of us who have long dismissed the National Education Association as a tool of the Democratic Party have been badly mistaken,” wrote columnist William McGurn in 2001 in the Wall Street Journal. “Apparently it’s just the opposite. As documents now sealed under a judge’s order indicate, it’s the Democratic Party that is the tool of the NEA.”
On numerous occasions, she would attend union meetings run by Weingarten's(who was never actually a teacher)predecessor, Sandra Feldman. And my mom, having already raised 3 boys and grown up the daughter of a tavern owner, isn't to keen about keeping her mouth shut. She made a point of asking repeatedly why teachers' nuts&bolts concerns-supplies, facilities, insurance coverage, safety, salary etc-always took a backseat to political agendas. And Feldman would stammer and mutter and go on about hwo important poltical clout is. To this day, MOM HAS NEVER GOTTEN A REAL ANSWER, JUST AN ICY STARE. But for all that supposed clout, the teachers have often voted down coNtracts negotiated by this bunch as too cheap and stupid in exactly those things that matter. Point being, all these supposedly important union leaders care not a wit about your children or even the teachers. Rather, what matters to the NEA is getting to go to conferences and conventions and have politican kiss your hiney in the belief that they speak for their membership.
Trips to the tropics to go to some congference-great. Kids-who cares?
Do Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Al Gore really give a damn about children, minorities and the poor? That's their main claim on voters' allegiance, but is it really who they are? Hillary Clinton declares the interests of children to be the number one priority of her political career. But she launched her Senate campaign in New York by announcing her support for the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact. This legislation, sponsored by the milk cartel, would artificially raise the price of milk up to 43 cents a gallon. Besides dairy farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, those who would be most hurt by this legislation are poor children.
A recent column by Dick Morris, in The New York Post, reveals the callous cynicism with which Hillary has actually approached the lives and well-being of children throughout her political career. In Arkansas, Hillary was the head of Governor Bill Clinton's education reform effort. The Arkansas schools were a mess, registering at the bottom of the nation's educational ladder. Since Arkansas is one of the poorest states in the union, a failing school system meant that its disadvantaged children would be denied the only opportunity they would probably ever get to lift themselves out of poverty and into a decent life.
Poor teaching has an obvious relation to poor student performance (though teachers' unions would prefer everyone to forget that). A Tennessee study has shown that the quality of a teacher can affect students' performances by as much as 50%, regardless of income, ethnicity or class-size, within normal parameters. Hillary's team developed a program to test all Arkansas teachers as to their basic knowledge and skills. (Having something to teach would seem to be a reasonable job description for the profession.) Hillary's reform was moderate. Those teachers who failed the statewide test would have two years to make up their deficiencies and then would have the test again. If they still could not demonstrate basic skills, they would be discharged.
Hillary's education reform plan received widespread support from parents around the state. But the plan was also fiercely opposed by the teachers' unions—the core of the Democratic political base. Union members picketed Hillary's public appearances and the organizations themselves withdrew their political support from Governor Clinton. How did the Clintons respond?
By screwing the children.
When the test results were tabulated, a large percentage of the teachers had failed. This was obviously a crucial reason why Arkansas children had been performing so poorly. (Their teachers didn't know what they were talking about.) But this grim reality was not uppermost in Hillary's mind. What she and her husband were concerned about was politics, specifically damage control.
So they called in Dick Morris. They told him they were worried that if so many teachers failed, the political reaction from the unions would be too great. On the other hand, since they hadn't yet released the test scores, there was still time to rig the results.
"What percentage should we fail?" Clinton asked Morris.
"What percent actually flunked the test?" Morris replied.
"It was a disaster," Clinton said. "It was way too high. If I enforced the passing grade, I'd have to flunk a third or a half of them. I can't do that. We'd particularly have to fire a high percentage of minority teachers."
The solution? Dick Morris was told to poll Arkansas voters and find out what percentage of the teachers they expected to fail the test. As Clinton had said to Morris, "I can decide what score is passing and what is failing." Morris's polling revealed that Arkansas voters expected 10% of the teachers to fail, rather than the 30-50% who actually failed. When the Clinton Administration released the "results" of the tests to the public, they reported that only 10% had failed. In the end, only a handful of Arkansas's incompetent teachers lost their jobs.
This decision—to screw the children rather than buck the teachers' unions—is one that Democrats like Hillary Clinton make every day in America, as they have done for the last fifty years. Most of the failing schools are in urban areas controlled by Democrats, so poor and minority children are the principal victims of these decisions.
On January 20th this year, for example, the Los Angeles Times ran an astounding story as the lead article on its front page. The article reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District had decided to drastically scale back a plan to end "social promotion" in the public schools. "Social promotion" is a term for the policy of promoting students who failed to learn anything in the previous year. It's the way an appalling number of American youth—particularly immigrant and minority youth—graduate high school functionally illiterate.
George Bush ended social promotion in Texas and has made his educational record a prominent feature of his presidential run. Perhaps inspired by this, the Los Angeles Unified School District decided to end the policy as well. What changed their minds, however, was a feasibility study that showed that if the policy were implemented they would have to hold back 350,000 school children, or half of all the students in Los Angeles public schools. The vast majority of those affected are poor, Hispanic and black.
Focus on this atrocity for a moment. First, the "educators" don't educate the children in their care—children whose only hope to get into the economy is to learn something in school. In fact, half the students failing. That in itself is a crime. But the same educators have also decided to deceive the children by giving them a pass to the next grade. That is truly diabolical. We're not going to teach you, but we're going to lie to you and tell you that we have. Of course you won't find out that you've really learned nothing until you graduate and go into the job market as a functional illiterate, when it's too late. We're going to screw you good. And then we're going to run as the "education party!"
It gets worse. In April—four months after the school district's announcement, administrators proposed a very modest clause in their contract negotiations with the teachers' union. It would provide a bonus to individual teachers who raised their students' test scores. Reasonable enough as a modest measure to improve the situation. But the teachers' union went ballistic. The president of the United Teachers of Los Angeles called a press conference to denounce the clause as an "attack on teachers" and threatened a strike. Apparently, the proposal was too individualistic. Singling out some teachers for performing better was not fair to the others. What the teachers' union wanted was a 21% pay raise for all teachers—competent and incompetent alike. In other words, four months after the school district revealed that 350,000 students were learning absolutely nothing in its schools, the teachers wanted a 21% pay raise as a reward for their failure!
Enter Al Gore, the teachers unions' favorite, presenting himself as the "education candidate." Gore wants to spend $115 billion on teacher-union acceptable plans for "education reform." He wants to spend $25 billion on school buildings and $50 billion on pre-schools and the rest on more teachers to reduce classroom size. But what use are school buildings if the schools don't teach and the children aren't learning? Head Start is the most highly touted pre-school program. Yet studies show that Head Start programs improve student performance only for some children. For African American children, who constitute one of the most severely disadvantaged groups in the student pool, all gains take place in the first couple of years and then completely evaporate. In other words, Gore wants to waste $50 billion on a program that has been proven to have no affect on the students who need it most.
In California, where reduction of class size has been a major program for years, it has not resulted in significant test-score improvement either. Instead it has led to teacher shortages and the lowering of standards for teacher recruitment—the heart of the problem. Al Gore's education reform is just the same old Democratic cynicism magnified by federal billions: Do what looks good or what feels good even though you know it won't work. Pretend you're the education party; screw the children.
(Oh yes, and be sure to send your own kids, like Chelsea and Al Gore Jr. to fancy private schools that you can afford.)
Here's an alternative that has a chance to work and that will therefore be hotly opposed by the teachers unions and by Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. Let's have a $100 billion "Marshall Plan" for poor children in failed government schools. There are 12 million of these poor children in schools across the United States. These are the "Title I" children who qualify for free school lunches. These are the children who are not being taught by the public schools. Give them full tuition scholarships now so their parents can place them in schools—private, parochial, corporate—that will teach them. Give them exactly the same tuition that their public schools now get. Give them the scholarships for three years with the understanding that if their test scores improve they will qualify for three more. Give the schools three years to raise their students' average scores in order to qualify for the scholarship grants.
This plan will not take money out of the existing public schools. But it will reduce their class sizes. It will not give their teachers an incentive to teach, but the competition of a new school system might provide public educators (and perhaps even the socialists in the teachers unions) with the push they need to connect teachers' performances to their rewards.
The most important gain of all however, will be to rescue millions of poor and minority children from the inevitability of blighted lives, and give them a shot at the American dream.