Category Archives: Uncategorized

Yuuuge Milestone for Yours Truly

…And when the radical priest
Come to get me released
We was all on the cover of Newsweek

Paul Simon, in Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

Okay, okay, it’s not quite on the cover of Newsweek, but my opinion piece, which I think is my best product ever, just went up at Newsweek.com:

AUTOMATION KILLS JOBS AND BRINGS MASS POVERTY. CALL THAT PROGRESS?

I can’t re-post it here, but if you would click through and give it a read, I’d really appreciate it.

Are You Ready to Die Empty?

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

This past weekend in Brooklyn, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Diane Ravitch and many other heroes of public education. We were gathered for a Network for Public Education (NPE) project that left me buoyed about the future of public education. For those who might not know, the NPE is a national grassroots public education advocacy group founded by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody. I won’t go into the details of the project, but here’s an NPE notice about it.

It was to say the least, an amazing experience! I heard Texas Superintendent John Kuhn speak eloquently about how “education malpractice doesn’t start in the schoolhouse, it starts in the statehouse.” I had first heard of John Kuhn when he gained national prominence by speaking at the Save Texas Schools Rally in 2011. I was excited to meet John and he didn’t disappoint. He is incredibly articulate and passionate and as a dedicated education professional, knows of what he speaks firsthand. During his session, he brilliantly made the point that “naming and shaming teachers, while shielding legislators” to fulfill their responsibility to our children is unconscionable. Or as he later asked in another way, why is it that we use a microscope to analyze outcomes of our public schools, but wear a blindfold to look at the input?” Of course this was a rhetorical question, John knows it’s because we can’t stand the answer. Continue reading

Winds of War

I stole the title from a friend’s Facebook post. I doubt he’ll mind.

He and I had the identical reaction to Trump’s speech to CPAC on Friday, in which Trump declared that America is about to undergo the greatest military buildup in history. Military buildups have one and only one purpose: going to war. That’s especially true when the nation embarking on the buildup already has the largest and most advanced military in the world, with most of the world’s other large fighting forces aligned with its own.

Worse yet, Trump, who expressed puzzlement at America’s no first strike policy regarding nuclear weapons, has promised a buildup in nuclear weaponry as well.

The only real questions are who and when. Iran? China? Mexico?

These are, as the saying goes, “interesting times.”

And we’re living in them.

How Do We Best ‘Save the Poor’?

The data is in: Shared growth, not top-heavy growth, helps the poor.

[cross-posted from Inequality.org]

Note to BfAZ readers: I love being right, which made this post especially fun. The new data not only debunk the argument of the Illinois professor in her NY Times piece, but also the rantings of ole Thuckenthal, who regularly proclaims the superiority of America’s economy over the French economy. It just ain’t so.

Two months ago, in Equality for Taxi Drivers and Surgeons Taxi Drivers, I challenged the logic of Illinois professor Deirdre McCloskey in her New York Times op-ed,  Growth, Not Forced Equality, Saves the Poor. Continue reading

Happy Valentine’s Day…NOT!

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

On this Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d ask, when it comes to our public schools students in Arizona, “who loves you baby?”  Yesterday, I was listening in on the AZ House Education Committee meeting. There were many bills on the agenda, but I was primarily interested in HB 2394; empowerment scholarship accounts [ESAs]; expansion; phase-in. I wasn’t hopeful the bill would die, as its companion bill SB 1431, had already been given a due-pass by the Senate Education Committee. As expected, HB 2394 followed suit on a 6–5 vote as did HB 2465, which will allow all students eligible for an ESA account to remain on the program until age 22 and for up to $2,000 a year to be put into a 529 savings account.

The passage of these bills, along with the companion ones in the Senate, demonstrate the disdain many GOP legislators have for our district schools and, for the underpaid educators who toil within. This, because ESAs divert more general fund revenue per student to private schools than district schools receive. As reported by the Arizona School Boards Association, an ESA student, on average, costs the state general fund $1,083 more in grades K–8, and $1,286 more in grades 9–12 than a district student. This is in part because there are many school districts that enjoy a fair amount of locally controlled support in the way of overrides and bonds. The state therefore, is relieved of providing equalization funding to them, but when students leave to go to private schools, all the funding must come from the state general fund. ESA students also receive charter additional assistance funding of roughly $1,200 per student, which district schools do not receive. Turns out that the claim of voucher proponents that they save the state money, is not just “alternative facts” but totally untrue. And, although voucher proponents love to claim there is no harm to district schools when students take their funding and leave, the truth is that about 19 percent of a districts costs are fixed (teacher salaries, transportation, facility repair and maintenance, utilities) and can’t be reduced with each student’s departure. Continue reading

Stephen Miller’s Outsized Radical Influence: A Threat We Should Have Seen Coming

My son-in-law just reminded me that Stephen Miller, a co-author of Trump’s unconstitutional and racist ban on Muslims entering America, was John Shadegg’s press secretary during my race against him. Which makes for perhaps the easiest exercise in dot connecting ever. Dots we should have connected years ago.

Although under-reported by the media, Shadegg was a raging Islamaphobe. I learned this about midway through the campaign, when he used his two-minute speech at the annual AIPAC breakfast in 2008 to tout two books: Knowing the Enemy and America Alone. Later that day, a Google search revealed that Shadegg was pimping those books every chance he got. Although I was inundated with reading material related to the campaign, I felt compelled to read them.

I’m glad I did. I could never have known who I was running against without doing so. I never understood, however, that he was under the spell of a 23 year-old monster. Continue reading