It is easy to complain about our taxes. What I rarely hear are what should be cut from the budget. I always read about how poor the economy is and with how much of our tax dollars are spent on 'Economic Development', I expect there would be demonstrated positive results. After all there are metrics for teachers, why not for economic development?
Frankly, I believe schools are failing (anyone else surprised when a cashier can't make change without an app?, or cannot write a coherent sentence? ). We can't have a whole school of bad teachers. We do have an elitist State Board of Education. My suspicion is that money alone will not solve this, nor will Charter Schools, or home schooling. Tuition costs have risen well beyond inflation, My alma maters are not shy about asking for donations (as are our public schools). Why?
I am going to sound like older folks I made fun of when I was a teenager by saying I wish some things were the way they used to be. The rich didn't amass huge salaries (including benefits) as a measure of their personal worth, it was how much in taxes they paid. Schools didn't pander to those kids who didn't want to learn. While we are all created equally, we all do not have the same abilities. That fact seems to be ignored. College was not expected for everyone, there were other respected paths to a good living.
We respected each other a lot more. We spent a lot less time in self promotion. We worked together to address problems. We didn't always insist our way was the only way. We didn't have African, Italian, Polish, Puerto Rican hyphenated Americans (everyone celebrated their cultures at home).
We are the highest taxed state in America. We have some of the highest property taxes too. We are also the most business-unfriendly state and the population is declining steadily as people flee the economic conditions brought on by our liberal tax-and-spend utopia. And yet all of the groups who are on the receiving end of the state's largesse are in total denial. They just want the money to keep on coming regardless of the taxpayer's ability, and the state economy, to support unlimited funding. The problem is sooner or later you run out of other peoples' money and we've reached that point in New York.
Finally! An uplifting and hopeful article about city schools!
Mimi: That is so sweet of you to say. Thank you for reading!
Danielle: Thank YOU for the correction! I honestly had no idea. I knew Courtney had tried out as a boy, and made it to the finals, but I had no idea about the intervening part. That is so fascinating!
Incorrect info about Courtney! She made it to finals of Australian Idol as Courtney Act!! She auditioned as a boy but got rejected and came back as courtney and they loved her and put her through!!
Just to clarify! :)
just want to let me know that your blog posts give me life!! for the past two seasons , the next day after a new episode airs i excitedly tune in to read your opinion! please dont ever stop!
The decline of union density makes me fear for my daughters' future. In state legislatures across the country the voices of union members are often the only effective counterbalance to the conservative assault on the American working family. As union strength diminishes those 1% lobbyists face less opposition to push thru their ALEC agenda. And many times unions fight for issues aside from pocketbook and kitchen table stuff - unions ally with citizens around women's rights, immigration, tax policy, infrastructure priorities, education funding, and other issues that effect non-union citizens.
However, let's not hate on the power of government to address poverty and make this either/or. Government action can also help address poverty through a variety of fiscal and finance public policy mechanisms (besides facilitating organizing) - minimum wage, Fed policy, infrastructure investment, trade deals, safety net programs etc.
I'm dying to know which non-profit spent hundreds of thousands on anti-union consultants. I hope it isn't my agency.
A Google search (try it!) yields some interesting (but unsurprising) insights about the ideological agenda of this outfit and its "chair". It's all about left-wing "messaging" to indoctrinate the public to favor "critical progressive policies" — especially fighting against Gov. Walker's bold and successful reforms. [There's even an appearance by George Lakoff — you can't make up this stuff!]
I had hopes for this film, they were crushed by a hapless mess, This will not compare well to the original. Like so many remakes , it lacks soul, storytelling and acting. Save your money for flowers to put in the kitchen, to heal the soul torn asunder by this disaster.
As always, some groups whine that we need to spend more on schools, show some improvement and I might agree, but the money always seems to make no difference to anyone except the salaries of the same local groups that have not contributed to better the education process.
The only true comparison would be for a charter school to take over a "failing" public school and to keep the exact same students at the school. Unless the charter school could expel students, there would be zero difference in results. Charter schools have a huge advantage of receiving higher achieving students bc parents have to take the initiative to apply. When parents apply, it generally means they are invested in their child's education which is a key factor in a child's success.
One of the points Mr. Popper makes is the organizing efforts made by community groups and neighborhoods however, these efforts are seldom covered by established media. In part this is due to a belief that only those with titles and advanced education can make real contributions or are worthy of true coverage. Given the fact that media coverage can advance the voice of those lease valued without such level of coverage society can deny the real consequences of poverty. Racism and increasing poverty is creating the enormous gap that exists between the haves and have nots has become the norm. It is even questionable now if there will be a time in the near future where enough good paying jobs will be available for most workers. I hope the City paper will do an indepth analysis of the Governor's budget which will disclose that most of the benefits will be again for the wealthiest. It proposes to remove the bank tax. 1/2 of the children live in poverty, growing of low wage jobs by 223,00 compared to the lose of 72,000 middle wage jobs, for the wealthy- 750 m inheritance tax break,350m. new tax breaks for Wall St. All of this points to the importance of strong activist oriented organizing joining both unions and those most affected in neighborhoods, communities etc. So let's do it!!
Even if you credit labor unions for their supposed achievements of the past, that doesn't necessarily mean they do more good than harm in today's advanced global economy. That's a different question.
The prime example of a powerful union today — government school workers — isn't encouraging. The employer — the public — seems powerless to overcome the union's obstruction of nearly every effort toward innovation or accountability. And incidentally, since it's the least well off families who most rely on government schools, union intransigence hurts them most.
It's interesting to note that Mr. Popper's one example of a successful union organizing campaign involves a private "non-profit" university — i.e., another industry notorious for bloat, inefficiency, mismanagement, runaway costs, and vanishing value.
National labor law is based on the right to collective action by workers for purposes of collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection. The right to strike was considered essential to balance power between employer and employees. Previous generations used that right to create a vast middle class. Will our generation be able to maintain those gains?
The employer-consultant industry that shows employers how to best deprive workers of their lawful rights does a great disservice to us all, by leaving workers impoverished. In doing so it is we, as taxpayers, who then must subsidize with public benefits those impoverised workers. Instead, workers should be fairly compensated by employers who profit from their work.
The right to collective bargaining and concerted action must be restored. Collective action will be needed for that, as is evident from our shared history.
I certainly stand behind my point of view, however in this debate, I could lose my job and pension because of my honesty. Not to mention, as close as Buffalo, unions still resort to violence for what they call "scabs". How's that for freedom of speech? There are other debates this country desperately needs to have, like the one about race. Unfortunately we can't, even with a black president. I am a person who does look at all sides of an issue before making up my mind. After all, here I am reading and commenting on a newspaper that makes my blood boil. If you'd like to shut down all debate, that's fine, it's your paper, but what would you gain in the end?
Do people who value privacy have nothing to contribute to a "serious discussion about contemporary topics"?
An idea or argument should stand or fall on its merits, not on the biography or personality or popularity of the speaker.
Thanks, all of you, for your comments about anonymous comments. We've been talking about that - and about requiring registration. Anonymity is pretty ingrained in part of the internet culture, as you know. But we have very deep concerns about it in a comments section that is intended to foster serious discussion about contemporary topics. We'll keep you posted - and we do appreciate your input. -- Mary Anna Towler, editor
Clearly, this isn't an abstract conversation since it costs real dollars to field a police force in any of our area municipalities. That said, I'd love some conversation about regionalizing our police and fire services here. In its present state it is fragmented and creates turf issues like this. Traveling on Empire Boulevard toward Ridge Road, you have a unified commercial area that spans two municipalities. If there's a need for service I doubt that anyone looks at the logo on the side of the police car or fire truck responding.
I also agree that City Newspaper does a disservice to its readership by posting anonymous comments.
Many New Yorkers are insulted by the proposal to reward convicts with a free college education. The simple solution is to require those who ‘graduate’ from prison with a college degree pay the state back for the cost of their education – just like they would have to pay back a student loan.
If it really only costs $5,000 a year for a degree from Convict College, it's a great deal: much cheaper than what law-biding college students pay. So don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, and don't expect a degree for free.
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