Dan Burke Social Media Troubles

Dan Burke Social Media Troubles — Dan Burke, the West Chester social studies teacher and union boss who is pushing to remove Penn Delco school director Leon Armour because of some social media posts, shouldn’t be throwing stones.

Dan Burke Social Media Troubles
Al “CJ Asher” Schuster and Dan Burke.

Burke is a Brookhaven resident.

Burke’s own Facebook page which starts in 2010 has just five posts. Was it scrubbed? One of the posts, though, was to this misogynistic Saturday Night Live skit from 2013. You really think that’s funny Dan? A woman masturbating a horse? Women disappearing in Mexico?

What kind of example does that present to your students, especially the female ones? You know a lot of them found it right?

As we noted in the last article, social media stupidity should be forgivable. Hypocrisy and pedagogic irresponsibility not so much. Ahh, if only teachers were not protected by tenure. If only parents could easily fire a bad teacher by transferring voucher money to a good one.

Dan, you might have to get a job with you buddy Al Schuster at CJAsher.com. You see this interesting piece by CJ Asher about a trip to Nevada? It was kind of an issue last fall’s in Aston 1st Ward Commissioner race, wasn’t it?

Dan Burke Social Media Troubles

Fascists Attack Popular Penn Delco President

Fascists Attack Popular Penn Delco President — Leon Armour, who overwhelmingly won a four-year term on the Penn Delco School Board in November and was picked by his peers as board president, is under fire for Facebook comments.

Fascists Attack Popular Penn Delco President
Leon Armour, one of the good guys

A petition is being circulated to remove him. It’s part of the Cancel Culture. No, there is a better name for it. It’s the Karen Culture. Yeah, the Karen Culture. Pompous, merciless bullies who are certain they are so righteous they can destroy anybody who disses the beliefs they have become conditioned to parrot.

Remember, the Supreme Court just ruled Karens can be males too.

In February 2018, Armour posted a photo of a rifle with the comment “I’m still monitoring it to see if it goes on a killing spree. So far it hasn’t moved.” Oh, the horror. The weapon never did go on a killing spree. It’s actually an excellent way to make a point and tell a truth.

He posted other, less inspired, comments involving illegal immigration, Islam and crime but just the same we are getting sick and tired of people having their lives ruined for moments of social media stupidity. Wonder how those passing the petition would fare with a Twitter exam. Frankly, only the most insipid and banal would likely pass.

Armour is only getting grief because he is the face of a board that is not a rubber stamp for the progressive God-is-dead types that run the teachers union.

The progressives are pushing to defund the police. What would be far better for a happy society would be to abolish school districts and take all that money we spend on education and give it directly to parents so they can choose their kids schools.

Fascists Attack Popular Penn Delco President

Wuhan Flu Silver Lining May Be Cyber Education

Wuhan Flu Silver Lining May Be Cyber Education — Pennsylvania’s school boards love their Taj Mahals. The go-along-to-get-along-especially-when-we-can-get-a-cut political parties happily egg them on. The lap dog media outlets masquerading as protectors of the little guy joyfully hump their legs.

With the Wuhan Flu — excuse me President Xi that should be Wuhan Bat-eater Flu — maybe horizons can be expanded and some thinking outside the box occur. The panic is causing some places to put their education online.

Economics forced the one-time steel town of Midland, Pa. to close its high school in 1985. It contracted with other districts to handle education including at one point sending its children across the border into Ohio.

In 2000, it started The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, commonly known as PA Charter. It is now the largest public school in Pennsylvania and second largest in the country. The vast majority of attendees are happy with it.

Granted you still need hands-on interaction especially for the arts and athletics which are very important for growth but one can’t deny the flexibility offered online, the enormous cost savings and the chance to escape some of the twisted teachings that have become fashionable by the progressives who run the educational establishment.

Online education might be a silver lining of the Wuhan Flu.

Wuhan Flu Silver Lining May Be Cyber Education
Wuhan Flu Silver Lining May Be Cyber Education
Where would you rather send your kid to school? Here or Midland?

Enrollment Plummets At Pennsylvania State Universities

Enrollment Plummets At Pennsylvania State Universities

By Lowman S. Henry 

Governor Tom Wolf’s address to a joint session of the General Assembly in early February marked the official beginning of the annual state budget process. Higher education, specifically the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), became a dominant issue.

Enrollment Plummets At Pennsylvania State Universities

Unfettered by economic reality, the costs of higher education have skyrocketed. The result is massive student debt and never-ending calls for more taxpayer dollars to subsidize our education institutions. This despite declining enrollment and an economy more in need of individuals trained for technical jobs or skilled in the trades.

Adding fuel to the fire, the governor proposed diverting more than $200 million from subsidies to the state’s horse racing industry to pay for scholarships or to help reduce the debt burden for students attending state-run colleges. Most of the money to pay for the scholarship program would be diverted from the Horse Racing Development Fund.

Revenue to supply that fund is generated by taxes from the slot machines that now dot the commonwealth’s landscape. That is ironic because casino gambling in the state began as a plan to place slots at race tracks in an effort to save the then floundering horse racing industry. What gaming has become is a subject for another day, but taking away that revenue stream resulted in predictable howls of protest from those in the equine community.

Governor Wolf’s solution to every problem is to spend more taxpayer money. He is especially fond of throwing more dollars at education, without ever demanding those dollars be spent prudently and with no means of measuring quality. Likewise, as predictable as Punxsutawney Phil emerging from his burrow, the reigning chancellor of PASSHE every February petitions the legislature for more money.

In so doing they have turned a blind eye to market forces. This is because most in the higher education community don’t view education as a product. While there is merit to valuing education for the sake of adding to the societal pool of knowledge or even for personal edification, the main reason for obtaining a higher education is to equip oneself to earn money – presumably at a higher level than one would have earned without a degree.

To that end, state system schools have become the retail equivalent of shopping malls – overbuilt behemoths with a rapidly declining customer base. According to the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy in Pittsburgh, enrollment at the 14-university system peaked in 2010 at 119,513 students. By the fall of 2019 enrollment had dropped by 20 percent to 95,494 students. Mansfield University saw an enrollment decline of 51 percent, while Cheney’s enrollment fell by 61 percent.

With a declining customer base, the schools have not only failed to contain costs but have actually increased both annual spending and debt. The schools’ combined financial liability has increased from $2.07 billion in 2010 to $5.46 billion in 2019. Pension liabilities are up 53 percent.

The decline in enrollment can be attributed to several factors. First, Pennsylvania’s high schools are graduating fewer students, thus the “customer base” is shrinking. Second, state-related universities such as Penn State and the nation’s private universities are doing a better job of attracting students.

And while all of the above have made adaptations to accommodate non-traditional students, adult continuing education, and on-line learning, they have failed to adequately respond to the fact the nation’s workforce has less and less need for classically educated individuals and a greater need for those with a technical education or ability to work in the building trades.

Yes, there will always be a need for those equipped with four-year college degrees and higher. But, the failure of the higher education community to contain costs and adapt to market forces has made such an education unaffordable for many potential students. This is especially true when high paying, family-sustaining jobs in manufacturing and the trades are readily available, and for significantly less cost for training.

In the age of Amazon, Governor Wolf and the higher education establishment are stuck in a brick and mortar world. They are over-built, inefficient, and fail to deliver a needed product. Cost containment, consolidation, and a realistic assessment of workforce needs are necessary steps. Simply giving them more taxpayer dollars will only make the problem worse.

Lowman Henry is chairman and CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.

Enrollment Plummets At Pennsylvania State Universities Enrollment Plummets

Wolf Attack On Popular Charter Schools

Wolf Attack On Popular Charter Schools By Nate Benefield

I watched, Sept. 16, as hundreds of charter school students flooded the Capitol and dozens of parents spoke out against Gov. Wolf’s attacks on charter school families. After they rallied in the Capitol rotunda, 1,700 letters were delivered to Gov. Wolf—letters from parents and students fearful of losing this critical educational opportunity.

The event was organized by our friends at the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools and comes at a desperate time. Gov. Wolf is taking unilateral executive action that would seriously threaten these public schools of choice as an educational option for parents.

In August, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed cutting funding for Pennsylvania charter schools, capping charter enrollment, and banning new cyber charter schools. Then, Gov. Wolf—without legislative authority—imposed new fees on charter schools.

At the rally, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools again asked the governor to visit a charter school. While touting his “Schools that Teach Tour” since he entered office, nearly 5 years later, his tour has visited 167 schools across the state, but not a single one was a private or charter school.

Yet he seems to think he singularly knows best how their students should be treated.

By ignoring the 140,000 students attending public charter schools and 240,000 enrolled in private schools, Wolf is treating nearly 25 percent of Pennsylvania students as second-class citizens.

We need your help protecting educational opportunity for these kids. Legislation that would address charter school transparency and financial accountability has already passed the Pa. House, while legislation to create a commission on charter school funding has passed the Senate. These bills would address problems in the charter school law without taking educational opportunity away from students.

For reasons he alone knows, Gov. Wolf has chosen to ignore these legislative solutions and go his own way.

Commonwealth Foundation will continue our intellectual leadership on all types of educational opportunity, be it charter schools, tax credit scholarships, or public school funding. And we’ll keep sharing our message across the state via TV, radio, social media, and print.

Please reach out to your lawmakers to ask them to stand up for charter schools, and against Wolf’s unilateral action, by taking action on these positive steps.

You can do so here.

Nate Benefield is vice president and COO of Commonwealth Foundation.

Wolf Attack On Popular Charter Schools
Wolf Attack On Popular Charter Schools

Gutting Charter Schools Is Wolf’s Plan

Gutting Charter Schools Is Wolf’s Plan

By Nathan Benefield

Gov. Tom Wolf, Aug. 13, unveiled a “reform” plan that has the potential to drastically reduce the ability of Pennsylvania families to send their kids to charter schools. He’s telling the students, families, teachers, and administrators of charter schools that they don’t matter.

Gutting Charter Schools Is Wolf's Plan
Any resident of Philadelphia who supports this guy’s party is cutting his wrist.

Ironically, he is constructing this wall to prevent students from leaving their current school for a better opportunity on the anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall.

But we aren’t fooled. This overhaul, some of which he is planning to implement via executive action, would cut funding for charters, cap enrollment, and place a moratorium on new cyber charter schools, even as tens of thousands of students are on waiting lists for charter schools across the state. In short, it would deny families the schooling options they seek.

Wolf’s charter strategy, along with his June veto of tax credit scholarship expansion legislation, makes it clear his administration is treating the 350,000 students in charter and private schools like second class citizens. Because of that mindset he is unafraid of treating them with a dubious double standard.

For underperforming district-run schools, his solutions are to move away from standardized testing, water down tests, and increase funding. But for charter schools, Gov. Wolf proposes funding cuts and halting growth through the heavy hand of the law, regardless of performance or what families desire.

The governor’s motivation is clear: He wants to appease teachers’ union leaders. Unlike most charters and private schools, district schools are unionized. Under contracts with the AFT and NEA/PSEA, school districts collect campaign contributions for teachers’ union PACs. Since 2013, Wolf received $4 million from teachers’ unions.

This is a politically shrewd announcement from our governor, but disastrous for families and children.

Pennsylvania’s families deserve better. That’s why we won’t stop fighting until every child can attend the best school possible, no matter what Gov. Wolf’s campaign donors prefer.

Mr. Benefield is vice president and chief operating officer of Commonwealth Foundation.

Gutting Charter Schools Is Wolf’s Plan

Wolf Condemns Children To Failed Schools

Wolf Condemns Children To Failed Schools

By Leo Knepper

In 2018, over 50,000 students were denied education scholarships through the EITC (Education Improvement Tax Credit) and OSTC (Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit) due to a lack of funds thanks to statutory limits. There is currently a waiting list of eligible businesses willing to provide $80 million to the programs in exchange for the tax credits offered. Who could possibly think that standing in the way of expanding educational opportunities is a good idea? The answer is, sadly, Governor Tom Wolf.

Wolf Condemns Children To Failed Schools
Does he really hate children that much? Yes, yes he does.

Almost immediately after passage, Governor Wolf announced his intention to veto HB 800. The legislation would have increased the EITC and OSTC limits by a combined $100 million. The bill would have also expanded scholarship eligibility to include more middle-class families. Despite his lofty rhetoric that a zip code shouldn’t determine the quality of a student’s education, his veto guaranteed that children will be trapped in failing schools. Pennsylvania currently spends more than $16,000 per student, on average, per year. Despite that amount being well over the national average, too many schools fail to provide the education that students deserve.
 
The EITC and OSTC provide assistance to families who live in school districts that underperform and allow students an opportunity to reach their full potential. Our friends at the Commonwealth Foundation estimated that the increased tax credits and eligibility requirements in HB 800 would have benefited 90,000 students over the next five years.
 
Expanding educational opportunities and empowering parents should be a bipartisan issue, but it isn’t. Thanks to the opposition from teachers’ unions and their allies in the Governor’s Mansion and General Assembly, Pennsylvania’s students pay the price.

Mr. Knepper is executive director of Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Wolf Condemns Children To Failed Schools

School Choice Expansion Clears Committee

School Choice Expansion Clears Committee

By Nathan Benefield

The Pennsylvania House Education Committee passed HB 800, April 29, which represents the most significant expansion of the state’s popular Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) school choice scholarship program since its inception.

The EITC program is funded by business donations (businesses earn tax credits in return) and allows Pa. kids to attend a school they otherwise may not be able to afford. But arbitrary limits on the program prevent tens of thousands of kids from attending a school of choice.

HB 800, sponsored House Speaker Mike Turzai along with 59 other members, including several Democrats, would increase the tax credit cap for EITC K-12 scholarships by $100 million next year and further raise the cap by 10 percent when 90 percent of tax credits are used in the prior year. 

I cannot stress enough: This bill is a huge step toward helping families access the education choices they deserve. Tax credit scholarships are so popular the programs could double in size and still not meet demand. 

The bill passed along party lines, you can see the roll call hereThank you to the representatives that voted to expand opportunity for thousands of Pa. kids!

An EITC scholarship may be a family’s only lifeline to provide their child with a chance at a brighter future. It’s time to raise the limits so kids can reach their dreams. We’re excited to see HB 800 progress in the legislature, and will keep you posted as key votes occur.

School Choice Expansion Clears Committee
School Choice Expansion Clears Committee

Coup d’ecole Common Core

Coup d’ecole Common Core was sent to us courtesy of Joanne Y.

By Bruce Deitrick Price

Bill Gates is among the richest, most successful people on the planet. He enjoyed a lot of victories until he ventured into a dangerous part of town called Education.  He squandered a few billion dollars by becoming entangled with a shady character named Common Core. 

Since 2010, Gates endured a long, slow defeat, as more people turned against Common Core, and he himself realized that it was not what he had dreamed of.

So how did Bill Gates lose his golden touch?

Gates, computer man and businessman, trusted data neatly arrayed on monitors.  Digital tools could give predictability, consistency, and control.  Add standards that everyone agreed on.  Not only would children learn more efficiently, and be tested and tracked more accurately, but his companies could market educational services by the cubic mile because every school would welcome the same products.  Gates could make a new and separate fortune.

So this digital leviathan abruptly became the law of the land.  Local control of schools, long an American tradition, was euthanized without mercy.  But victory was temporary.  Common Core seemed to have one objectionable feature after another.

Surely, we can stipulate that Gates is too smart to be a useful idiot, too patriotic to be a secret leftist trying to destroy the country.  So why did he align himself with what many consider blatant malpractice?  Was he blinded by predictions of a giant payoff?  Or was it a case of trusting the wrong people? 

Perhaps Gates, a college dropout, assumed that the professors at the top of the Education Establishment (many of them at his alma mater, Harvard) were smart guys who knew their business.  However, these were the same people who had been mismanaging American K-12 for a long time — so much so that McKinsey and Company, the super-consultant, summed up the situation in 2007: “The longer American students remain in public schools, the dumber they get.”  This is not a track record that a shrewd person would invest in.

There were warning signs from the start.  Never mind all the blather about a state-led initiative.  Common Core is best understood as a coup d’état, or more exactly a coup d’ecole.  This vast, top-to-bottom takeover of American public education was achieved by the old-fashioned tactic of throwing grants (some would say “bribes”) at the politicians in charge, state by state, even as Obama lent some dignity to the shenanigans.  Obama had just swept into office and was in his honeymoon phase.  Common Core was effectively ObamaEd, and nobody wanted to say no to the first black president. 

Coup d'ecole Common Core

But Bill Gates should have felt some uneasiness.  Common Core was untested, unproven, and micromanaged by David Coleman, a man with limited credentials but reliably far to the left.  Nobody in the business world launches a big new product without years of research and refinement.  Instead, Common Core was wrapped in $1 billion’s worth of propaganda and dumped on the country as a fait accompli.

The late, great Siegfried Engelmann, a real educator, was asked what he thought of this approach: “A perfect example of technical nonsense.  A sensible organization would rely heavily on data about procedures used to achieve outstanding results; and they would certainly field test the results to assure that the standards resulted in fair, achievable goals.  How many of these things did they do?  None.”

Did Gates realize that Common Core, supposedly a new and higher instruction, incorporates all the dubious ideas from decades prior?  New Math and Reform Math were the basis for Common Core Math.  Similarly, Whole Language and Balanced Literacy were rolled into Common Core’s English Language Arts (jargon for reading).  Constructivism, which prevented teacher from teaching, has been undermining American schools for decades.  Nothing new and higher about these clunkers.

An earlier generation of Gates’s business partners had created so much illiteracy that Rudolf Flesch had to write a book to answer every American’s favorite question: “why can’t Johnny read?”

Did Bill Gates reflect empathically on the proposals in his billion-dollar baby?  Everyone should try to imagine he’s eight years old and has to struggle with Common Core every day.  The verbiage is convoluted and pompous; at every step, there are absurdly unnecessary steps.  Only one way to tie your shoes?  Don’t be silly.  Every student needs to learn at least four or five!  Finally, the kids are encumbered by a backpack full of bricks and not much else.  One has to suspect that this mumbo-jumbo was never intended to improve education, but to stupefy a generation.

There are hundreds of videos made to show how wonderful Common Core is.  Instead, they show the opposite. Here’s a single abominable video that can stand for all the others.  The title is “Strategies for Addition and Subtraction.”  Notice the new layer added there.  Instead of learning to add, children learn strategies for adding — five of them, no less.  Everything will now remain in first gear as children struggle with Regroup or BorrowDecomposeCross Number PuzzleUse or Draw Base Ten Blocks, and Solve Using Money.  Think how many hours you can waste debating which strategy to use in each situation.

We have to wonder if Bill Gates performed due diligence, that being the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or property.  In other words, before putting your business funds to work on anything, you should make yourself an expert.  That’s what we need in this country: everybody becomes an expert.  For sure, nobody should trust the official experts.  If Bill Gates had observed that simple rule, he would still have a billion or two he doesn’t have now.  And the country would have tens of millions of better educated students it doesn’t have now. 

It’s annoying to study Common Core because, it seems to me, it’s on the same intellectual level as the food fight in Animal House.  Did Gates fly to Hong Kong to buy a new operating system from the local bazaar?  Or did he fly to Russia to buy something sinister from the Pavlov Neuro-Disruption Institute?  Point is, the resulting curriculum is way overpriced and relentlessly dysfunctional — a pig in a poke that you never stop paying for.
The teacher in the video actually admits that you may find this or that strategy “confusing at first.”  But that’s all right, because Common Core recommends frustration and difficulty.  The premise is that students respond to doing things the hard way — exactly the opposite of what’s true.

For years, people have tried to sue school systems when their children don’t learn to read.  It would be helpful if such lawsuits went forward.  Next, parents could sue the system for introducing Common Core, which is arguably a fraud designed to lower academic standards.  If parents can’t succeed with those lawsuits, they can start demanding an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for their children, an IEP that emphatically excludes Common Core.

Trump said he would cancel this preposterous thing, and he should.

Bruce Deitrick Price’s new book is Saving K-12: What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them?  He deconstructs educational theories and methods at Improve-Education.org.

Coup d’ecole Common Core was sent to us courtesy of Joanne Y.

Cotcus Education Event Is Saturday

Cotcus Education Event Is SaturdayConversations on the Culture (Cotcus.com) will host a breakfast panel, 8:30-10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 23, at the Court Diner, 104 E. Baltimore Ave., Media Pa. 19063.

Terry Doyle founder of Champions for Children will speak from 8:45-9:05 a.m. on how businesses and individuals can redirect state tax money to provide scholarships for children to attend private schools of their choice with little out of pocket cost as part of Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program.

Dr. Patricia Divine-Jackson, a Liberian immigrant, who has practiced medicine in Africa, England and the United States, will from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. describe her Parent Child Learning Project which she started in Philadelphia. The project allows low-income parents to equip their children to learn.

From 10 a.m. to 10:20 a.m., there will be a panel discussion led by William and Jane Bonner.

Cotcus Education Event Is Saturday
Cotcus Education Event Is Saturday