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Author Topic: Oh, Wisconsin, you so silly.
Paul Goldner
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Not just the tax cuts and budget crises, but the programs they are targeting and the other legislation that is being introduced is... vicious.
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Samprimary
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I've been looking into this, and it's just amazing. I'm now no longer surprised at the scope of the outrage.

Now, I DO dislike tenure for teachers, but the five states that have banned collective bargaining for teachers have done exactly dick-all to fix that by doing so and are ranked 50th (SC), 49th (NC), 48th (GA), 47th (TX), and 44th (VA) nationwide on SAT/ACT scores. Meanwhile, Wisconsin is ranked 2nd in the country.

Walker is poisoning what gains were made by his side.

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RivalOfTheRose
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Sam, those are terrible numbers. What was your source? How is New Jersey on the list, because our governor doesn't seem to be too far behind.
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kmbboots
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I did a little looking and discovered that quorum breaking is not a new thing at all. Lincoln, according to stories, escaped out a window in order to put off an unfriendly vote.
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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Now, I DO dislike tenure for teachers, but the five states that have banned collective bargaining for teachers have done exactly dick-all to fix that by doing so and are ranked 50th (SC), 49th (NC), 48th (GA), 47th (TX), and 44th (VA) nationwide on SAT/ACT scores.

How much of a drop is that from their previous rankings (prior to banning collective bargaining)?
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TomDavidson
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I just looked up South Carolina; I haven't done the others yet. South Carolina dropped collective bargaining for teachers in 2006. It is interesting, then, to note this article from a conservative source -- http://www.fitsnews.com/2010/09/13/sc-sat-scores-down-again/ -- which complains in 2011 that SAT scores have dropped every year since 2007, and argues that the exorbitant funding SC teachers receive should be cut in favor of vouchers for parochial schools.
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TomDavidson
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I'm having some difficulty finding "before" numbers for some of these, since places like Texas and Georgia have been "right to work" to death states for quite some time.
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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I just looked up South Carolina; I haven't done the others yet. South Carolina dropped collective bargaining for teachers in 2006. It is interesting, then, to note this article from a conservative source -- http://www.fitsnews.com/2010/09/13/sc-sat-scores-down-again/ -- which complains in 2011 that SAT scores have dropped every year since 2007, and argues that the exorbitant funding SC teachers receive should be cut in favor of vouchers for parochial schools.

Starve the beast, indeed. Classy.
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Flying Fish
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I've been looking into this, and it's just amazing. I'm now no longer surprised at the scope of the outrage.

Now, I DO dislike tenure for teachers, but the five states that have banned collective bargaining for teachers have done exactly dick-all to fix that by doing so and are ranked 50th (SC), 49th (NC), 48th (GA), 47th (TX), and 44th (VA) nationwide on SAT/ACT scores. Meanwhile, Wisconsin is ranked 2nd in the country.

Walker is poisoning what gains were made by his side.

Please provide a link to this. I've searched numerous articles regarding sat scores and can't find any in which Virginia isn't in the top twenty, or more often, in the top 10.
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TomDavidson
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I'm not finding Virginia anywhere near the top 10, but it does appear to be above the national average.
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Samprimary
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I guess I'm not seeing any primary sources to it, just places where The Fact was restated over and over. So, don't be surprised when those absolutely true statements and figures are only mildly or completely erroneous.
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Flying Fish
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This looks to be the most comprehensive list I could find:

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/tables/dt09_146.asp

But like any statistics it's worth looking a little deeper. Yes, Virginia is right around the middle. Yes, scores in Wisconsin are quite high. But in Wisconsin 5% of graduating students take the SAT; in Virginia 68% of graduating students take the SAT.

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fugu13
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Yeah, that makes the comparison pretty much meaningless.
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Vadon
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Using this info for the ACT and this info for the SAT, and some quick and dirty comparisons, it looks like the repeated line isn't completely off, but it's not perfect.

Granted the SAT stats are from 2007 and for some reason are missing West Virginia, but I tossed them in a spread sheet and found the top 10 worst states in the SAT were (in order) Maine, (DC), SC, Hawaii, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Deleware, then Texas.

For the ACT the ten worst are Mississippi, Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, DC, Arizona, SC, and Wyoming.

For kicks and giggles, I ranked the states in order of their performance on the SAT (1-50) and their performance on the ACT (1-50) added the ranks together and sorted the list of states by the largest ranks (those being the worst) to smallest. Is this accurate math? Not so much, but it gives us an idea.

The top ten worst states for ACT/SAT (excluding West Virginia) are:
(DC)
1. Florida
2. South Carolina
3. Georgia
4 & 5. Texas/Hawaii (tie)
6. Arizona
7. & 8. Nevada/Mississippi (tie)
9. Pennsylvania
10. Kentucky/Alaska

There are crossovers between what I found and those "worst 5 states." South Carolina is one off, Georgia is in the right spot, and so is Texas.

But their stat doesn't say Florida which I found to be the worst.

Also, they claim that Virginia and North Carolina are among the five worst. By my count Virginia is 21st best and North Carolina is 36th best.

ETA: Wisconsin is in 3rd place for best performance between SAT/ACT.

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The Rabbit
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I have some very serious concerns about drawing any meaningful conclusions from average SAT/ACT scores and their trends.

Not everyone takes the SAT/ACT, only college bound students which creates a serious selection bias. Many state Universities, like Wisconsin for example, use only ACT scores, so SAT participation in those states is much lower. The students who take the SAT in those states are mostly top students who are trying to get into elite private Universities.

A state might have a lower average SAT/ACT score because a higher percentage of the students are interested in going to college and so take the exams. A downward trend in SAT scores, might simply indicate a growing interest in going to college among weaker students.

Unless you control for these factors, you really can't draw any meaningful conclusions from state average college entrance exams.

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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I have some very serious concerns about drawing any meaningful conclusions from average SAT/ACT scores and their trends.

Not everyone takes the SAT/ACT, only college bound students which creates a serious selection bias. Many state Universities, like Wisconsin for example, use only ACT scores, so SAT participation in those states is much lower. The students who take the SAT in those states are mostly top students who are trying to get into elite private Universities.

A state might have a lower average SAT/ACT score because a higher percentage of the students are interested in going to college and so take the exams. A downward trend in SAT scores, might simply indicate a growing interest in going to college among weaker students.

Unless you control for these factors, you really can't draw any meaningful conclusions from state average college entrance exams.

I think you hit the nail on the head. Maine, for example, scored the worst among SAT-taking states. But that was likely because they have a 100% participation rate whereas with the ACT they are 5th in the nation, but they only have 10% taking the test.

I agree that you can't draw many conclusions from the averages, but as far as whether or not the rankings Samp posted were accurate (regardless of any conclusions drawn from them), they were off. But not considerably so.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I agree that you can't draw many conclusions from the averages, but as far as whether or not the rankings Samp posted were accurate (regardless of any conclusions drawn from them), they were off. But not considerably so.
QFT
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Flying Fish
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I'm not quite sure why they are saying "The five states which have banned collective bargaining...."

Do some digging and you will probably find about fifteen states which do not allow collective bargaining for public school teachers.

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Samprimary
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I'm sure. Absent any real source for the assertions, and the lack of the (at the time) asserted connections, just treat it as non-factual.
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Samprimary
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you need to get your teachers back yo

http://i.imgur.com/oRYpD.jpg

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DDDaysh
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I'm having some difficulty finding "before" numbers for some of these, since places like Texas and Georgia have been "right to work" to death states for quite some time.

I'm not sure that Texas EVER allowed collective bargaining unions for teachers. They certainly haven't for at least the last 30 years (the time my mom has spent teaching). I'm not sure any number you got before that would be comparable.

Also, while the lack of collective bargaining can be annoying for teachers, I don't believe for an instant that it has anything to do with the education score in Texas. Texas faces many other challenges and has a bunch of other stupid policies that impact that score, but I don't think it has anything to do with the way the unions are set up. In fact, most teachers (who are also parents) that I know are not in favor of overly strong teachers unions because they feel like they give way too much power to the worst of the teachers without adding enough protections for those who are trying to do their jobs as well as they can.


I'll be honest. When you're facing serious budget shortfalls, I don't think it's unreasonable to cut public employee pay the way he's doing. On the other hand, I can't really see any reason why he needs to strip out the collective bargaining rights of the public employees. That part seems totally wrong to me. I could see if he maybe wanted to limit their powers to some extent, but to try to strip them down as far as he's going is a little crazy.

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scholarette
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I have been enjoying hearing people in Texas rant about our education. Apparently, all our education problems come from Obama. When I point out that the budget and most decisions are made at state and local level (major exception being nclb which was a bush initiative) they then rant about how the federal has taken control of everything else, why don't they just take control of education. Fun times.
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DarkKnight
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quote:
nclb which was a bush initiative
Technically it was a Ted Kennedy written bipartisan initiative approved by President Bush
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Tresopax
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quote:
Unless you control for these factors, you really can't draw any meaningful conclusions from state average college entrance exams.
There's also the fact that Republican states tend to be the less educated states. Therefore, one would expect a correlation between conservative public policy and lower SAT scores, even if the public policy was not actually causing the scores to be lower.
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scholarette
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
quote:
nclb which was a bush initiative
Technically it was a Ted Kennedy written bipartisan initiative approved by President Bush
True but passed under Bush and I really see no way you could blame Obama for that. But where I live, there is a strong tendency to blame Obama personally for all problems, even when he doesn't have any say in them.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
'll be honest. When you're facing serious budget shortfalls, I don't think it's unreasonable to cut public employee pay the way he's doing.
If the serious budget shortfalls had not been the direct result of major tax cuts, I might agree with it. As it is, the real situation is that they are cutting public employee pay in order to fund a tax cut. That isn't fair. No way, no how.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
On the other hand, I can't really see any reason why he needs to strip out the collective bargaining rights of the public employees. That part seems totally wrong to me. I could see if he maybe wanted to limit their powers to some extent, but to try to strip them down as far as he's going is a little crazy.

Not crazy at all. Evil, but not crazy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/opinion/21krugman.html?_r=1

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Darth_Mauve
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It seems some of the debate here, and much of what I read in my local paper, is a very old debate--who is responsible for paying for their children's education.

One group says that the community as a whole benefits when the most children receive the best education.

One group says that, I want my children to get the best education. The rest of the children are not my responsibility, and I resent paying taxes to educate them. My tax money should go first to pay my kids education, then stay with me.

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DDDaysh
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
'll be honest. When you're facing serious budget shortfalls, I don't think it's unreasonable to cut public employee pay the way he's doing.
If the serious budget shortfalls had not been the direct result of major tax cuts, I might agree with it. As it is, the real situation is that they are cutting public employee pay in order to fund a tax cut. That isn't fair. No way, no how.
That's tricky though. Why were the tax cuts needed? If the tax cuts were needed to preserve other jobs, then it's unfair to say that everything would just be FINE if he hadn't tried to give the rich a bunch of tax cuts. Since I don't actually live in Wisconsin, it's impossible for me to really judge what's going on solely based on news articles about the budget.
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Destineer
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quote:
That's tricky though. Why were the tax cuts needed? If the tax cuts were needed to preserve other jobs,
Does this ever really happen? I'm skeptical.
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Lyrhawn
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The argument is that cutting taxes spurs growth that can be used to spend tax dollars elsewhere, but the increase in tax revenue as a percentage almost never makes up from the lost revenue from the cut. And if you hypothetical factor in the jobs lost from having to cut the budget to make up for the tax cut, then it'd either be neutral, or it'd always be a loss.
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DDDaysh
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I don't know. San Antonio does seem to add jobs virtually every year through tax incentives, and Texas in general has fared pretty well through the whole crisis. I think there has to be something that can be said for tax breaks.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
Texas in general has fared pretty well through the whole crisis.

One word: oil.
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Samprimary
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Texas is the #1 oil producing state in America. Other countries that have avoided the global recession? Norway. Saudi Arabia. IE, oil producing countries. The fact that Texas has avoided the brunt of the recession isn't because it is being governed very well or indicative of the virtue of the inhabitants, it's because money is spewing out of the ground. It's an accident of geography.

If anything, Texas's vast resources make its paltry expenditures and crappy social infrastructure all the more embarrassing, because it has the capability to do better. It just repeatedly chooses to do nothing.

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DarkKnight
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quote:
True but passed under Bush and I really see no way you could blame Obama for that. But where I live, there is a strong tendency to blame Obama personally for all problems, even when he doesn't have any say in them.
Obama is President now, and can promote any changes he wants to with NCLB.
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DarkKnight
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quote:
If the serious budget shortfalls had not been the direct result of major tax cuts,
There are lots of liberal articles about how Wisconsin does not have a budget shortfall at all.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Obama is President now, and can promote any changes he wants to with NCLB.
DarkKnight, I'm trying hard, but it is quite difficult to read this in a way other than disingenuous. You're far from ignorant of many of the technical processes of politics, and you know that there is more involved than simply being President and promoting changes to a program as huge as NCLB.

How would he go about actually doing that, for example?

quote:
There are lots of liberal articles about how Wisconsin does not have a budget shortfall at all.
If there are lots, surely you could find some, yes?
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The Rabbit
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The Obama administration has proposed some significant revisions to NCLB. You can see the full details here.. If you are going to criticism him for it, you should at least bother to find out what he is actually doing first.

To be completely fair, the original NCLB act WAS proposed and written by the Bush administration not Teddy Kennedy. It was one of Bush's campaign promises. Teddy Kennedy merely shepherded it through the legislative process. It did enjoy bipartisan support when it passed, but this was unarguably the brain child of the Bush administration.

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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Texas is the #1 oil producing state in America. Other countries that have avoided the global recession? Norway. Saudi Arabia. IE, oil producing countries. The fact that Texas has avoided the brunt of the recession isn't because it is being governed very well or indicative of the virtue of the inhabitants, it's because money is spewing out of the ground. It's an accident of geography.

Add to your list the province of Alberta in Canada. Oil country, too, naturally.
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DarkKnight
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quote:
DarkKnight, I'm trying hard, but it is quite difficult to read this in a way other than disingenuous. You're far from ignorant of many of the technical processes of politics, and you know that there is more involved than simply being President and promoting changes to a program as huge as NCLB.
As The Rabbit pointed out, he is trying to change it. Of course it would have been easier to change when the Dems controlled the House and Senate, but there is still bipartisan support for changing NCLB. *EDIT* I'm not saying it will be easy for him to change, but I do think he can get a lot of changes to NCLB through.

WP 2011
SMETA
CSmonitor
HuffPo

quote:
If there are lots, surely you could find some, yes?
TDMC
Maddow
Madison
Blogrunner

quote:
To be completely fair, the original NCLB act WAS proposed and written by the Bush administration not Teddy Kennedy. It was one of Bush's campaign promises. Teddy Kennedy merely shepherded it through the legislative process. It did enjoy bipartisan support when it passed, but this was unarguably the brain child of the Bush administration.
"The bill, shepherded through the Senate by Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the bill's co-authors, received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress." I got that from wiki which is pretty similar to what you posted, minus the part where he is one of the bill's co-authors. Ted Kennedy was a huge pusher for NCLB, not merely a shepherd. Can you provide proof that it was the brain child of the Bush administration? If you do a google search on who wrote it you may be surprised by the answer.

[ February 23, 2011, 12:23 PM: Message edited by: DarkKnight ]

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natural_mystic
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Texas is the #1 oil producing state in America. Other countries that have avoided the global recession? Norway. Saudi Arabia. IE, oil producing countries. The fact that Texas has avoided the brunt of the recession isn't because it is being governed very well or indicative of the virtue of the inhabitants, it's because money is spewing out of the ground. It's an accident of geography.

If anything, Texas's vast resources make its paltry expenditures and crappy social infrastructure all the more embarrassing, because it has the capability to do better. It just repeatedly chooses to do nothing.

There's been quite a bit of talk recently about whether Texas has really done all that well:
Gail Collins on Texas education:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/opinion/17gailcollins.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
Back and forth between Krugman, Yglesias and Ryan Avent:
http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2011/01/postcards-from-the-texas-miracle/
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/texas-update/
http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/01/regional_business_cycles
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/trend-versus-cycle-texas-edition/

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Darth_Mauve
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Two interesting stories out about silly Wis. and the Governor.

1) There is a clause in the Dept of Transportation that means if any transportation employee looses any of their Collective Bargaining powers, then the Fed. Govt drops Grants. The state will lose $46 Million in Fed Funds if this bill passes. That is not the way to balance the budget.

The Governor's people say they know about this but have a way around the issue. Either they are going to drop the project, or hope that the Obama administration will give them a waiver (probably by threatening the Transportation Department with having to fire all these public servants if they don't get the waiver), or by being shocked and surprised that it happened, then ignoring it.

2)Before the Governor was the Governor, he was a Mayor. He decided that it would be cost effective to fire all the unionized public security guards at the court house and replace them with a hired professional company.

The city council said no.

He said he had a fiscal emergency, so had the emergency powers to do it. He fired them all and hired a company.

You know, the one that caused the diplomatic mess when their employees in Afghanistan went on a bender and did stupid things on camera--Wakanhut or some such.

He promised a savings of $750,000. Instead the savings has been closer to $450,000. Only a difference of $300,000. But hey--its still a savings.

Of course the Union never hired ex-cons to run the security at the City Hall and Court House. This highly paid private company put an Ex-Con in charge of that security.

A Federal Arbitrator has since ruled against the way this was done. There was no credible Fiscal Emergency. As a result the city has to fire the private company and re-hire all the unionized employees--and pay them the back pay they missed. This could cost as much as $500,000.

Yeah, this looks good for Wisconsin.

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scholarette
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Texas real estate also never went crazy. Our bubble never burst, because there was no bubble.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
"The bill, shepherded through the Senate by Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the bill's co-authors, received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress." I got that from wiki which is pretty similar to what you posted, minus the part where he is one of the bill's co-authors. Ted Kennedy was a huge pusher for NCLB, not merely a shepherd. Can you provide proof that it was the brain child of the Bush administration? If you do a google search on who wrote it you may be surprised by the answer.

Dark Knight, Perhaps you are unaware of the fact that, under the constitution, only members of congress are allowed to introduce legislation. This is power reserved to the legislative branch. The President (whether Obama or Bush) can not author a bill. Hence Presidents, like both Bush and Obama, operate by convincing members of congress to "author" legislation they have proposed and drafted.

NCLB was a Bush administration project. Yes, it received bipartisan support, but it was Bush's baby.

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Tstorm
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It's not hard to notice that the economic situation has been painted across the entire country with broad brushes by the media. A lot of locations experienced similar issues, such as the collapse in real estate values, but different geographic areas weren't impacted to the same extent. Kansas has felt an impact from loss of property tax revenue, but some of that has been mitigated by the (relatively) wet weather pattern over the last three years. I hesitate to imagine the impact of a widespread, severe drought on top of the other economic issues.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
Can you provide proof that it was the brain child of the Bush administration? If you do a google search on who wrote it you may be surprised by the answer.

From the Executive Summary available at the deparment of educaiton website.

quote:
Three days after taking office in January 2001 as the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush announced No Child Left Behind, his framework for bipartisan education reform that he described as "the cornerstone of my Administration." President Bush emphasized his deep belief in our public schools, but an even greater concern that "too many of our neediest children are being left behind," despite the nearly $200 billion in Federal spending since the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The President called for bipartisan solutions based on accountability, choice, and flexibility in Federal education programs.

Less than a year later, despite the unprecedented challenges of engineering an economic recovery while leading the Nation in the war on terrorism following the events of September 11, President Bush secured passage of the landmark No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB Act). The new law reflects a remarkable consensus-first articulated in the President's No Child Left Behind framework-on how to improve the performance of America's elementary and secondary schools while at the same time ensuring that no child is trapped in a failing school.


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ScottF
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Our education woes aren't a result of lack of money but misappropriation of funds. Two main issues IMO. First, the bureaucratic layers between funds and teachers are prohibitive. Second, good teachers aren't paid enough and bad teachers are bulletproof. As long as we have layers of fat between funds and teachers, and teachers are compensated collectively, more money will never be a fix.
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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by ScottF:
Our education woes aren't a result of lack of money but misappropriation of funds. Two main issues IMO. First, the bureaucratic layers between funds and teachers are prohibitive. Second, good teachers aren't paid enough and bad teachers are bulletproof. As long as we have layers of fat between funds and teachers, and teachers are compensated collectively, more money will never be a fix.

I can vouch for that. My school district just spent $800,000 on purchasing 80 web cams. I don't care how nice the web cam is, SKYPE is free, and our laptops already have them built in.
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jebus202
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The quality of those $10,000 web cams really can't be beat, Stephan, they're actually worth every penny.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
Texas real estate also never went crazy. Our bubble never burst, because there was no bubble.

Yes, the is the big reason why Texas has faired so well in the Great Recession. I surfed around looking for explanation for why Texas didn't experience the big housing bubble but there is no consensus. Liberal leaning analysts, conclude its because Texas had better laws regulating mortgage lending. Free market fundamentalist conclude its because Texas had fewer laws regulating building. I'm not really buying either explanation. Housing prices in California have been out of control for 40 years. Southern California has been through several booms and busts, but the busts have never been big enough or long enough to actually correct for the booms. I really can't tell why California would be so different in this respect than Texas, but it isn't something that is recent.

The one thing that does come to mind is that California has a lot more natural barriers that restrain development (mountain ranges and bays) The same thing is true of New York City. Manhattan and San Francisco have natural boundaries that limit growth.

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