Civitas Review

Politicized Playgrounds, Brought to You Courtesy of Blueprint NC

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Nov
05

Yesterday, Civitas published a press release detailing connections between today’s “teacher walk-in” and Blueprint NC. As Jim Tynen noted, a group called Public Schools First NC has organized a press conference in support of the protest.

Statewide media have described Public Schools First as a “nonpartisan” organization, but they are willfully ignoring (as usual) obvious links to the group that promised to “eviscerate the [Republican] leadership and weaken their ability to govern.”

For one thing, Public Schools First is a project of WakeUP Wake County. WakeUP is a member of the Blueprint network. Interestingly, Public Schools First of NC also lists member organizations of its own. These include other Blueprint members like Action for Children NC and the North Carolina Justice Center. A third group, Great Schools in Wake, is also a project of WakeUP Wake County.

BluePrintSchools

Despite the obvious ties to Blueprint organizations, media outlets continue to report on the teacher walk-in like there is no underlying political motive. They would have the public believe that the ongoing demonstrations are the spontaneous effort of angry but apolitical teachers. In reality, this is a cynical PR stunt, brought to fruition by the calculated machinations of leftist political operatives.

NCAE "Walk In" PR Gimmick

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Nov
04

Kudos to Sen. Phil Berger.  Earlier this morning the Office of the President Pro Tempore released a statement exposing what's  really behind  NCAE's efforts to organize Walk-Ins at North Carolina public schools.

The statement underscores the following facts:

Despite continued denials by the organization's leadership,  NCAE's  fingerprints are all over the  November 4th protests.  Yes, members have a right to organize and make their views heard. However, they don't have a right to use school time or school children to get out their message.

Since 2008-09, the number of active NEA members is down 25.5. percent, the second largest percentage decline in the nation. (All members of NCAE are automatically made members of the National Education Association).

NCAE Executives are paid well. Most top executives make six-finger salaries (For information on NCAE exec salaries see eighth link in Berger statement linked above  and also here).   You can't blame teachers for being frustrated.   Teachers continue to pay dues while NCAE leaders enjoy the high salaries.

The real purpose behind NCAE is not to strengthen and re-position the union. Look at the mission statement of the affiliate group Organize2020.com .

A for Effort?

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Nov
01

School administrators met Tuesday to discuss an overhaul of the Wake County grading system. This overhaul includes banning zeros as grades, granting the right to hand in late work for credit and allowing students to retake exams to get higher scores. Administrators claim the overhaul is meant to reflect what the students know, not how well they behave.

“The zero knocks kids out of the box,” Superintendent Jim Merrill said. “That is the dropout path.” I take issue with that statement. Students who receive zeros or below average grades aren’t on the dropout path simply because they receive bad grades. There’s more to the story than just bad grades. Most of these students are disengaged. This may lead back to their home life, their upbringing, or their lack of interest in school. Overhauling the grading system isn’t going to make these students become more engaged in school.

Administrators are considering setting 50 as the lowest grade a student can receive. Unless they change what’s considered failing as well, then a 50 is still an F. While a 50 may look better than a 0 on paper, it’s still an F on a report card. And if the administrators were to overhaul the letter grading where a 50 is considered a D, I would argue that’s not much better. Those in charge want to prepare students for a future that includes college of some sort. Unfortunately, colleges are more likely to turn down a D student.

If we ever expect to prepare students for their future then we need to start preparing them for reality. Zeros are a part of the real world and they can be a reality. Late work and retakes are not. Wake County Schools need to reflect that. Students need to become more engaged in school and that doesn’t start with overhauling the grading system.

Now we Know Why the Administration Won't Tell Us Healthcare.gov Enrollment Figures

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Nov
01

CBS News reports on the incredibly low number of people who actually successfully signed up for health insurance through the complete failure commonly referred to as the Obamacare exchanges.

SCOTT PELLEY: Good evening. For 31 days now, the Obama administration has been telling us that Americans by the millions are visiting the the new health insurance web site despite all of its problems, but no one in the administration has been willing to tell us how many policies have been purchased, and this may be the reason. CBS News has learned enrollments got off to an incredibly slow start. Sharyl Attkisson obtained documents that haven't been seen by the public until now.


Publicly, the government said there were 4.7 million unique visits in the first 24 hours, but at a meeting Wednesday morning, the war room notes say 6 enrollments have occurred so far.

That's right…six, in the country, signed up on the first day – out of an alleged 4.7 million visitors. The report continues to note only 248 had enrolled after three days, in contrast to the average of 39,000 a day needed to meet the goal of 7 million enrollees by March 1. That's 1 successful enrollee per 783,333 alleged visitors to the site. The odds of being struck by lightning in the U.S. are literally higher than the odds of a visitor to healthcare.gov on its first day successfully enrolling for insurance.

Notice how this is just the latest in a clearly evident pattern of lies and hiding facts coming from the Administration. They have for years lied in their promise that those who liked their plan could keep their plan, all the while knowing the opposite. They launched the website knowing there were significant technical problems and security risks. They decided at the last minute to prevent shoppers on the website from seeing the actual costs of the insurance plans until after applicants have entered personal information in order to conceal the true costs. And now we have evidence of what we already suspected: the number of actual enrollments are far below what they have been suggesting, and that the Administration knows exactly how many people are signing up but they continue to lie by saying they don't know the number – because they are embarrassed to admit the real numbers.

93 Million Could Lose Health Insurance Plans

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Oct
31

The hits just keep on coming for the Affordable Care Act.

So far the most outrage over the ACA (Obamacare) has centered on people with individual plans. But people will other plans will be hurt too — and that's based on the Obama administration's own official comments.

Based on the administration's own estimates in The Federal Register, Forbes reports, 93 million Americans could lose their health plans. That's because employer-sponsored insurance plans will also fall victim to the ACA:

“The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,” wrote the administration on page 34,552 of the [Federal] Register. All in all, more than half of employer-sponsored plans will lose their “grandfather status” and get canceled. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 156 million Americans—more than half the population—was covered by employer-sponsored insurance in 2013.

Forbes figures the total of people who will lose individual or employer-sponsored plans will be 93 million.

In other words, this isn't just about a website. It's about lies that helped sell the ACA, and about how the ACA is destroying the health insurance system.

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BTW, North Carolina has caught flak for not sponsoring its own state-sponsored health exchange. Supposedly such exchanges in other states work better.

Uh, no. CBS has found that states have spent $1 billion on setting up their exchanges. And many have the same kinds of problems HealthCare.gov has displayed.

As my colleague just reminded us: There's no such thing as a free lunch. ACA advocates have said the federal money is free, but of course here's one more case when it isn't.