Sunday, October 5, 2008

A little off Task

Here is an interesting piece by
Charlie Reese

entitled.. 545 People

Although the following is not on education or math,
I think the reader can draw some definite parallels to Math Education and decision making.

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congess does. You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does. You and I don't control monetary policy, The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 300 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

Who is the speaker of the House? She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts - of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ.

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like 'the economy,' 'inflation' or 'politics' that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power. They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses - provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel

I can not help but contrast Mr. Reese's thoughts to
OSPI's Terry Bergeson and the State Board of Education
as well as the Washington State legislature.

Certainly the Seattle School's Administration and the Seattle School Board also come to mind.

About two years ago an economist writing in the New York Times stated that:
The underlying financials of the USA were looking a lot like a third world banana republic.

He clearly knew what he was speaking about.

Now Diane Feinstein tells us that 95% of her incoming emails and letters are against the bailout but she is voting for it because she knows better. Where was all this great knowledge of Diane's previously?

Look at the underlying data for USA education on TIMSS and PISA.
When is the education bailout coming and how will it occur?

It takes a generation to raise a competent engineer and the same can be said for a variety of other professions and vocations. The neglect of content and appropriate skills can be glossed over by our Superintendent of Public Instruction and school superintendents, but a day of reckoning will come. Unfortunately we the people have lost control of our public institutions. This was most apparent when the bailout bill ballooned to 450 pages and passed, in case you had not noticed earlier.

The bigger question for me is how can the public take control of the public schools that have run amuck over the last 2 decades as these schools tossed out content, skills, and accountability. The Education Marketing Sham only stretches so far and then the illusion ends.


dan dempsey said...

Here are a few thoughts from Laura:

It is thought provoking. After thinking for a while, I realized the problem with the assumption made by the author. His assumption is that the entire congress and executive branch are in agreement and caused the mess as a unit. But, like the entire country, there is a large divide. So, while half the country wants the government to run health care, the other half thinks the federal government is the worst entity to run anything. While half the country thinks that Fannie and Freddy are the largest financial disasters ever because of federal government meddling and "oversight", the other half thinks more government oversight will solve our problems. The balance of power always tips back and forth from those that like the fed mandates and programs to those that want government to let the people work towards solutions without the feds setting up roadblocks. Rather than throwing out our elected officials en masse, we need a real system that can educate people as to what is happening and why . That way people can vote intelligently, instead of always voting their party line.


Anonymous said...

The eminent failures at Fannie and Freddie were known for some time. Buffett warned US investors a decade ago. The problem as I see it is the way the mortgages were packaged into derivatives, insured, and then sold to investors who in turn used those bonds as leverage for purchasing more derivatives.

Its sort of like putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. Without the original mortgage, investors (and insurers) have no way of figuring out the present value of the paper they are underwriting. So for congress to buy back potentially-worthless bonds (and they are non-transparent)using taxpayer money seems a bit reckless.

This is a result of under-regulation, not over-regulation. The intervention is being presented to the public as a last resort. Certainly, congress knew in advance about the failures, not two weeks ago when it was announced officially.

The same can be said for NCLB, such as private vendors. The lack of oversight, regulations, and transparency has created huge problems with federally mandated funding resulting in millions of lost dollars through waste and fraud.

NCLB was a loophole created to skirt Title I regulations. Disadvantaged children did not benefit from NCLB, but management did from top-down directives. That is what the audit exposed in Seattle - Top heavy management. San Diego experienced the reformers' axe first hand with Birsin and Alvarado.

Anonymous said...

Lets be real. In congress, the relationship between money spent and regulations is inverse. If congress isn't passing law, then its spending money. Nonpartisan means more oversight; bipartisan means no oversight. NCLB was bipartisan and it wrote a blank check to whoever supported their local congressman. Look at your education committee and you'll see why you have such a hosed up school system.

Anonymous said...

Which representative supported dual immersion instruction for EL students?

Where pray tell were they going to get the funding for that? I've seen the outcome of two such experiments and both times it was a catastrophe.