Mamie Till Mobley

"There was an important mission for me, to shape so many...young minds as a teacher. God took away one child but...(gave) me thousands. And I have been grateful for the blessing." Mamie Till Mobley

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Interest on student loans only deductible first 5 years of repayment as of 2012.

The Tax Relief Act of 2010 (“TRA 2010″) carried over the ability to continue to deduct interest without regards to
date the loan was taken out. But, like many of those “extender provisions” passed last year, it is not permanent. After 2012, the tax law will revert back to the pre-EGTRRA rules and interest on a student loan will only be deductible for the first five years of repayment.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Student loans in Australia and United Kingdom not same as USA, Congress should not pass student loan payroll deduction bill

There is a discussion underway in Congress to deduct student loans from payroll deductions alleged to be similar to the United Kingdom and Australia, but the U.S.A. Congressional sponsors of the bill are disingenuous and spreading misinformation about how it works in these  two countries.
There is an income threshold in both countries students have to meet to start paying back the loans. In  the UK its over  21,000 pounds that converts to over $32,000 in USD.
Does Australia Have the Answer? - Brainstorm - The Chronicle of Higher Education
In Australia "Currently, that threshold income is around $45,000 per year and as soon as the borrower meets that threshold, whether it is while the student is still in school or even years after graduation, repayments begin. The monthly payment amount is not based on the size or term of the loan, but instead on the borrower’s level of income, with students at the threshold level paying 4-percent of their earnings in loan payments and those earning higher wages paying no more than 8 percent of their earnings. Unlike in our Income Based Repayment program, interest does not capitalize and the total amount due does not increase just because a longer repayment term is in order (unless the economy is so strong that CPI increases dramatically over that period of time, in which case one would assume that wages would maintain a similar rate of growth). Perhaps most importantly, there are no defaults in the Australian student-loan program. It is the Australian Tax Authority that collects student loan payments, not the Department of Education, and the borrower has the option of either making payments through routine payroll deductions (similar to the way in which Americans pay their FICA and other taxes) or through annual tax assessment."

Hispanic graduation rates increased

Hispanic graduation rates 71% a 10 points increase, the highest from other ethnic groups in NCES most recent figures.
Graduation rates improved for every race and ethnicity in 2010, but gaps among racial groups persist. Asian students had the highest graduation rate, with 93 percent of students finishing high school on time. White students followed with an 83 percent graduation rate, American Indians and Alaska Natives with 69.1 percent and African Americans with 66.1 percent.
National high school graduation rate reaches a four-decade high :

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crisis in DC schools school closures push more students into charter schools

How to privatize a public school system? Hire DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson.
D.C. Council members fear schools near tipping point as students flee :

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Teacher evaluation plans are in so are the charlatans...!

The APPR plans are in as the result of the muscle flexing from both the Commissioner John B. King, Jr. and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Interestingly, many folks wonder how those inflicting unreasonable educational policies for others to follow moved up the educational hierarchy with questionable qualification themselves. The rhetoric of saying highly qualifed, highly effective or world-class educator and leader in every classroom comes from those that have not achieved highly qualified experiences themselves. NYS Commissioner of Education, Dr. John B. King has been critized for lacking professional experiences as an educator having only taught two years in a charter school before going on to develop one. And he was appointed Commissioner after serving a few years as a managing director of a charter school organization before his appointment as deputy chancellor by former disgraced Chancellor David Steiner. The other "expert" is U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He only has an undergraduate degree in sociology from Harvard, an ex Australian league basketball player. There are many in the education community wonder if he would know the difference between a highly effective teacher, an effective teacher, a developing teacher or ineffective teacher if asked to observe a few classrooms. He doesn't have a graduate degree so he said it wasn't important no evidence it improves student achievement so teachers shouldn't be rewarded for one. Yet he wants a highly qualified administrator and teacher in the classroom. Now we have an ex-banker heading, the New NY Education Reform Commission Gov. Cuomo established last year to revamp public education. What's the NYS Board of Regents suppose to do while this group is trying to figure out what to do with the public education system in New York State? Oh, whatever happened to Cathie Black, the former Chancellor of the NYS School System? She never taught in a school or had any educational credentials except an undergraduate degree she obtained about 45 years ago. And, there is Mayor Michael Bloomberg the phantom Chancellor of the NYC public schools whose solution to closing the achievement gap is to close schools in the NYC boroughs with high enrollments of poor Latino and African-American students.

California Gov. Jerry Brown criticized state and federal education policy

"We seem to think that education is a thing—like a vaccine—that can be designed from afar and simply injected into our children. But as the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” California Gov. Jerry Brown State of the State Address, January 14, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New student loan bill automatic payroll deductions

Congress will consider overhauling debt collection in the $100 billion-a-year U.S. student loan program, replacing it with automatic withdrawals from borrowers’ paychecks tied to their income -- a system used in the U.K. Legislation that Wisconsin Republican Representative Tom Petri plans to introduce as soon as this week would require employers to withhold payments from wages in the same way they do taxes. Payments would be capped at 15 percent of borrowers’ income after basic living expenses.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Prince George County students miss morning classes

Prince George’s County continues to struggle with late school buses : 

Should NYC teachers be penalized for Mayor Bloomberg's ignorance of the process...

In analyzing the breakdown, both sides said a major cause was disagreement over how long a plan should be in place before it sunsets, or has to be renewed. City officials said their vision was for any deal to never sunset. City officials criticized the union for seeking such a clause for 2015, just before any potential dismissal process could get under way. They called that bad public policy that they would not enact even if money was to be lost. But Michael Mulgrew, the president of the union, said the process for dismissing a wayward teacher could continue even if the tenets of an evaluation plan subject to collective bargaining were in need of renewal, a position echoed by Mr. King. More than 90 percent of districts whose evaluation plans won state approval had plans that included provisions to sunset after a year. Henry L. Grishman, the superintendent of the Jericho School

NYT: More Money at Risk Over Teache

State Ed still waiting on NYC to comply with submitting teacher evaluation plan.

On Friday, in a letter to Dennis M. Walcott, the city's schools chancellor, Mr. King said he would have no choice but to withhold or redirect federal money unless the city submitted plans by Feb. 15 showing it was working toward putting a new teacher evaluation system in place. Specifically, Mr. King said, the city should focus on training teachers and school leaders in carrying out any new plan - something he said had not been done yet.

Trying to shed the student loan debt, WSJ, 5/2012

However, making federal loans easier to discharge through bankruptcy would be politically thorny, given that taxpayers would pick up the tab if those debts were shed." - You picked up for your American Corporate Greed debts; but you do not want to pick up for your children??

Lo and behold....student loans, , what a scam!!!

Guest Post: A Bankrupt Policy | New America Blogs

Student loans again, sue the goverment for fraud....?

Just about every student has legal standing for suing the US government for negligence, and for violating the RICO statutes. Participating in a known fraud, is a criminal act, and the US government is accessory to it all, because they allowed it, in fact, they made it happen.

Lo and behold it's that student loan debt again!

"If I had been one of the crooks who diverted funds out of a savings-and-loan bank in the 1980s, loans insured by the Feds, I would no longer have any obligation to pay those debts by now --- the statute of limitations would have tolled. Indeed, I could have bankrupted on them at any time. But I borrowed a student loan and have no option until the day I die. Fortunately, inasmuch as I am aging and in poor health, neither the Government nor their collection goons is going to be able to get much out of me. It is a pity that the olnly alternative to debt-slavery is death!"

"Student loan borrowers have been unfairly targeted so that the bankers can profit at our expense. There is absolutely no logically fair reason why Student loan repayment is held to such a high standard. They should be dischargeable in bankruptcy, lenders should have to restructure defaulted loans for those who need it and they damn sure should not be allowed to garnish wages without a judgement! Not allowing any kind of restructuring of loans is utterly stupid and counterproductive. It doesn't get the loan paid back. It doesn't help either party. It's merely punitive towards the borrower who took out the loans in hopes that they would find a decent job once they gained an education. In MANY cases this does not happen. When they stop sending jobs overseas and stop expecting folks to actually live and pay bills on $10 an hour, MAYBE we can buy the BS they're selling. (...and I say "they should stop sending jobs overseas, because the corporate crooks are in bed with the legislators who do nothing to help the folks who put them in office!)"

Oh lord, the student loan debt

....and don't you just love how the government wants to BAIL OUT the private loan companies on top of everything else.... Obviously with taking away bankruptcy and wanting to bail out these companies the goverment obviously doesn't care about its citizens, at least not the ones who TRIED to do the right thing and go to college, but obviously failed in a failing economy.

Oh my...what about that student loan?

The US government has bailed out Wall Street and big business repeatedly at the expense of once again low to moderate income American tax payers. It is beyond time for the predatory student loan industry to crumble while students forced to borrow student loans receive relief instead of government sanctioned knighthood into perpetual poverty and credit unworthiness.
A comment...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Race harassment case won

Court Upholds $1M Award in School Race-Harassment Case
By Mark Walsh
on December 3, 2012 5:50 PM A federal appeals court has upheld a $1 million jury award against a small New York state school district found to be deliberately indifferent to persistent racial harassment of a high school student by his peers. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York City, ruled unanimously in favor of the family of Anthony Zeno, who is half-white and half-Latino and is described in court papers as "dark-skinned." Zeno was 16 when his family moved in January 2005 from Long Island to the heavily white community of Pine Plains, in Dutchess County, N.Y. At Stissing Mountain High School, where racial minorities were less than 5 percent of the student enrollment, Zeno quickly encountered the harassment, including students calling him "nigger" in the halls and telling him to go back where he came from, according to court papers. A student ripped a necklace from Zeno's neck and referred to it as Zeno's "fake rapper bling bling." There were also direct and implied threats aimed at Zeno, and references to lynching.

Social media tells the truth what happened at Hamburg school district teachers vote down APPR

January 12, 2013- The Hamburg Teacher's Association (HTA) voted overwhelmingly on Friday to turn down the district's APPR plan. The vote results were announced by Superintendent Steven Achramovitch, at special meeting of the Hamburg Central School District Board of Education, at the administrative building, at 4:30 P.M. The substance of the meeting is as follows:

Hamburg teachers say no confidence in super or board

The Vote was a Vote of No Confidence Against
Achramovitch While it is true that the Hamburg teachers are opposed to state testing being used to evaluate them, Achramovitch being the judge and jury in the appeals process and APPR in general, most Hamburg teachers voted against APPR because they do not trust Steven Achramovitch. Achramovitch strong armed the teachers into taking a wage freeze last school year by threatening to "cut teachers." Once the teachers agreed Achramovitch laid off most of the teachers anyway. Achramovitch has demonstrated that he can push around the HTA leadership (Mrozek and Garra) but the teachers followed their real leader, C.C., and drew a line in the sand.

Hamburg teachers say no to APPR

Hamburg Teachers: Stop Threatening Us Posted by dianerav The Hamburg (NY) teachers union has refused to agree to a deal on teacher evaluations that would give all power to the superintendent; they want an independent person to make the final judgment when a teacher appeals a bad evaluation. Negotiations broke down when an administrator threatened that teachers would be fired if no agreement was reached. Remember that the deal is about getting $450,000 for the district to comply with

Friday, January 18, 2013

The indentured servant generation

But there’s something special about student loans. Two things, in fact. If you default on your mortgage, the bank gets to take your house. Same thing with an auto loan. And if you can’t pay your credit card bill, you can discharge the debt in bankruptcy. But the lender can’t repossess your degree, and the 2005 bankruptcy bill made it impossible to discharge the debt. So if the labor market recovers in two or three years, we’re going to have a huge cohort of people who’ve been unemployed or underemployed and got delinquent on their loans put into a kind of debt peonage situation where modest increases in wages are clawed back by the need to repay all this old debt. Fair enough, you might say, they did take out the loans. But the standard penalty for taking out a loan you can’t repay is that you declare bankruptcy and become a bad credit risk in the future. That’s not just a way of being nice, it’s a policy response to the fact that forward-looking and backward-looking penalties have different impacts. If past debt makes it harder for you to get a loan today, that has no impact on your incentives to work —it just means you have to be thrifty. But if past debt makes it harder for you to increase your disposable income, it works like a tax that depresses workforce participation

Student Loans
The New Debt Peonage
Student load debts have surpassed credit debts in the United States. Student loan debt outpaced credit card debt for the first time last year and is likely to top a trillion dollars this year as more students go to college and a growing share borrow money to do so. “In the coming years, a lot of people will still be paying off their student loans when it’s time for their kids to go to college,” said Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of and, who has compiled the estimates of student debt, including federal and private loans

More on student loans....

If you want to get a name as an economic seer, try this one. The next subprime crisis will come from defaults on student debts, starting with for-profit colleges and rising to the Ivy League. The parallels with housing are striking. In both, the written warnings aren't understood, especially on penalties and interest rates. And in both, it's assumed that what's being bought will rise in value, in one case the real estate, in the other the salaries which will accrue with a degree. One bubble has burst; the second is already losing air. Still, there's a difference. With mortgage defaults, banks seize and resell the home. But if a degree can't be sold, that doesn't deter the banks. They essentially wrote the student loan law, in which the fine-print says they aren't "dischargable."

Student loans the new peonage system....

"Taxpayers and other lenders have little risk of losing money on the loans, unlike mortgages made during the real estate bubble. Congress has given the lenders, the government included, broad collection powers, far greater than those of mortgage or credit card lenders. The debt can’t be shed in bankruptcy. The credit risk falls on young people..."

DC Chancellor to shutter more schools

A protege of former DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee, she took over the DC schools after Rhee stepped down, Kaya Henderson Chancellor is closing more schools, 23, amid community protests.
Kaya obtained most of her early  training in public education in Teach for America and The New Teacher Project Rhee founded to recruit and train teachers for public schools.
DC has become a leader in the charter school movement and schools closed in previous years benefited it, especially after a law passed for charters to take over closed school buildings.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gov. Cuomo proposes longer school day in state of state address, 2013, Wednesday

If 7:50 am is too early and 4pm not

long enough, try 6 am or 5pm, or extending the school day. What about paying more money to enter a profession that has salary disparities across the nation, would you take a bar-like exam, pay a fee to earn a starting pay of $32, 800 yearly or less in other cities?

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Gov. Cuomo last year on education

Gov. Andrew Cuomo State of the State address 2013, less grandstanding when he spoke in this video, but still touts allocating grants to schools not based on financial need but on performance. And his reform commission proposed teachers pass a bar type of exam to recruit into the profession. Yet, with a starting salary for a teacher in Buffalo Public Schools at $32,800, it discourages prospective candidates from entering the profession.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

New York trailed behind Maryland ranked No. 1 in education

If only Governor Andrew Cuomo read more education news  instead of accumulating vintage cars or buying 17 year old Broncos for his teenage daughter, his State of the State address yesterday would have sounded a tidbit more enlightening about his plan for education this year. 
New York's public school system cited again behind Maryland that took top ranking in  an annual study that examines education policies and student achievement across all 50 states.
C'mon King Cuomo what public schools need in New York are less competitive grants and a more equitable formula for funding schools not casino gambling in the upstate NY region to promote tourism and the economy.
"For the fifth year in a row, Maryland’s public school system took the top ranking in an annual study that examines state education policies and student achievement across all 50 states and the District according to the Washington Post. Education Week gave Maryland a B-plus in its “Quality Counts 2013” assessment.  Maryland was the only state to earn the grade.  Massachusetts, New York and Virginia trailed immediately behind Maryland, with overall grades of B. These four states maintained the same rankings they held in last year’s report."

Adell Cothorne complaint about DC schools

Here is the  whistleblower complaint, Adell Cothorne, the former principal of an award-winning, Noyes Education Campus in D.C  filed in May 2011, under the false Claims Act on behalf of the federal government that accused teachers and administrators  of cheating on standardized tests to win cash bonuses and free steak dinners at high-priced restaurants former Chancellor Michelle Rhee promised. Jay Mathews an education columnist for the Washington Post wrote an interesting story about this in "D.C. principal slammed for reporting cheating."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rick Timbs Statewide School Finance Consortium response to State of the State address

“First and foremost, we call on the Governor to redirect funds from ineffective and inefficient state departments, programs and initiatives to eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment state aid cuts. The GEA is killing school districts regardless of how much they increase efficiencies and shared services. Sufficient state aid must be provided through an equitable Foundation Aid Formula beginning no later than 2014-15. “The continued loss of aid has undesired consequences. Backed into a corner, schools continue to eliminate programs and staff and drain their fund balances. The threat of fiscal and educational insolvency has a ripple effect in communities. Who wants to invest in communities without strong schools? While Pre-Kindergarten is highly valued, there are many school districts in which a sustainable K

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Cuomo state of the state speech on education

When it comes to education, some topics Cuomo discussed were longer school days and years, more pre-kindergarten and funding based on performance and paying high-performing “master teachers” $15,000 extra a year for four years to teach other teachers.

Poughkeepsie Journal/Associated Press, January 2013

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Michelle Rhee a new memoir ...

Michelle Rhee will soon be publishing her memoir, "Radical, Fighting to Keep Children First,"

Michelle Rhee still continues to pimp herself out as an advocate for education reform and children.

Rhee doesn't disappear or go away always manages to stay in the limelight of the public education circuit.

And she is started her career teaching in an inner city public school through Teach for America in the nineties where she admitted taping shut the mouths of her elementary classroom students to keep them quiet in the hallway.

After a stint running a program to recruit teachers, she was recruited to run the Washington DC Public School System appointed  chancellor from 2007-2010, until she had to step down when voters elected a new mayor.

Her tenure was laden with controversy, especially the allegations high  test scores in several DC schools were the result of tampering through erasing, a topic of a special Frontline TV program Tuesday.

The Answer Sheet columnist wrote, "the “Frontline” film, by education reporter John Merrow, examines Rhee’s record in the District, where her aggressive reforms between 2007 and 2010 turned her from a relative unknown into a polarizing edu-celebrity, both applauded and criticized for her unapologetic approach to fixing the District’s long-troubled schools. "

Today, she presides as a lobbyist for  the Children First organization she created.

Now, she wrote a memoir touting herself as a radical fighting for children when it's all about fighting for herself looking for that next opportunity to continue reaping profits on the pubic education circuit.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Buffalo teachers and district settled involuntary transfers dispute

The Buffalo News reported on Friday, the Buffalo Teachers Federation on Friday made a tentative pact with the Buffalo School District to compensate teachers who were involuntarily transferred at three low-performing schools in the district. A major sticking point in reaching an agreement between the district and the BTF on a new teacher evaluation plan had been the transfer of teachers at Futures Academy, Drew Science Magnet and Bilingual Center 33.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Al Jazeera buys Al Gore's Current TV, deal expands its American viewers...

Although it got bad press when it recently put down over $300 million to buy the progressive Current TV from former VP Al Gore, the deal helped Al Jazeera expand its viewers to 40 million in the American market.

It's an award-winning  broadcast news known for coverage of global events from Arabe Spring to Al Qaeda and  controversial messages from Osama Bin Laden a decade ago.

Al Jazeera has a respectable worldwide audience based in Qatar funded through its emir.

There was some bad media attention when Time Warner dropped Current TV after Al Jazeera sealed the deal, but it's not final.

Al Gore founded CurrentTV in 2005.

Al Jazeera buys  CurrentTV  from Al Gore  captures  wider US TV audience

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Whitney Tilson (3rd background)

Whitney Tilson (3rd background)
"Let’s be honest: we need a lot more well-off, well-educated white folks with a personal stake in both charter schools and education reform in general if we’re going to take reform to the next level, both politically and operationally.Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and major funding angel for the school privatizing Democrats for Education Reform, thinks there’s not enough rich, educated white folks.( Preaprez) click photo to his blog.

Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education, click photo