Friday, March 16, 2007

Where's The (Community College) Outrage?

Under the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget proposal, the Chicago City Colleges would again receive a special grant for $15 million above their base funding. First implemented in 2004, this grant provides five times the amount needed to fill the gap created by the City’s property tax cap. If approved by the legislature, the City Colleges will see a nearly 36% increase in their funding while other community colleges see cuts or virtually no increase.

Since 2004, the City Colleges have received nearly 40% more funding from the Illinois Community College Board while downstate colleges have seen up to a 23% reduction in State funding over that same period of time.

Additionally, in this same timeframe, funding for the City Colleges has captured 93% of the total increase to all community colleges.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Press Speaks To The Gov.

From Around the State: What People are Saying about Blagojevich's Massive Tax & Spending Plan


Gov. Rod is grossing us out
March 15, 2007

"Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants to make sure he has enough money to pay his backlog of bills and for his ambitious social agenda.

"Too bad he isn't as concerned about whether his gross receipts tax will put your salary, benefits or job in peril. Too bad he isn't as concerned about whether your employer might move to Missouri or new businesses choose to avoid Illinos."

Blagojevich sets too high a price
March 7, 2007

"Gov. Rod Blagojevich never met a big government program he didn't like."

"Let's hope lawmakers put the breaks on the governor's grandiose plans. Economic growth, and not more government spending, is what Illlinois needs."


Tax Proposal is Too Flawed

"Businesses are the backbone of this state, not the villian."

Southern Illinois

Get Ready, the Deal-Making Begins Today
March 7, 2007

"This state continues to carry a huge debt on its shoulders, estimated at $2 billion last summer, and we continue to see Blagojevich and our elected leaders settle on short-term financial fixes that lack long-term structure and stability.

"Adding new programs, as wanted as they may be, and paying for them with money that could instead be used to get us out of debt makes little sense to us."

peoria journal star

Smaller Companies Oppose Tax Plan
March 9, 2007

"It hurts the small guy that might be a high-profit company. Under this proposal, it not only taxes my business but my subcontractors," he said. "I think (the proposed tax) is an awful thing. It was used in the 1800s and found to be regressive and anti-business. It was phased out in the 20th century."

Big Dreams, Taxpayers Beware
March 8, 2007

"Blagojevich frames the choice here as between big, bad business and the long-suffering middle class, but that's simplistic. Corporations also employ Illinoisans who might lose jobs if this passes. These tax increases will be passed on to consumers. The governor says, "I will not raise taxes on people," but in fact he would be, through the back door."


The Blagojevich Legacy
March 8, 2007

"This constant quest for new hills to climb conveys the governor's eagerness to solve problems and be noticed. Unfortunately, at a moment when he wanted to sell his state on some controversial concepts, he delivered a divisive populist rant ("middle-class families," good--"corporations," bad, bad, bad) that only confirms the perception of him in some quarters as a lightweight. Illinois citizens might have been swayed Wednesday by the bring-us-together touch of Barack Obama. Instead they got Hugo Chavez."

Paying for Pensions
Letter to Editor
March 9, 2007

"The State of Illinois is going down a frightening road with a gross receipts tax. To my knowledge, Michigan is the only state with a gross receipts tax. Michigan is also the only state to lose jobs over the last five years. Michigan is the only state currently in a recession, despite the decent economy nationwide."


Gross-Receipts Tax Would be Harmful to Illiniois
March 2, 2007

"Illinois has enough trouble trying to overcome its image of a bad business climate. But there will be real stormy weather ahead if the state enacts a gross-receipts tax.

"It's not just because that will be hurt. Consumers will be hurt, too."

Woodford Unemployed Ranks Shrink Again

Woodford County unemployment decreased from 3.7 percent in 2005 to 3.1 percent in 2006 — the second-lowest in the state, according to statistics from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The lowest rate in the state was in Brown County in western part of the state.

McLean County came in third with average annual jobless rate of 3.4 percent, down from 4 percent in 2005.

Tazewell County’s rate decreased from 4.6 percent in 2005 to 3.8 percent in 2006.

Is it SAFE? IS it safe?

Remember the famous Marathon Man movie sequence where Olivier interrogates Hoffman?

Seth Godin (Seth's Blog) speaks today about "thrill seekers" versus "fear avoiders" in business. He summarizes by stating that "thrill seekers" love growth and change,
They most enjoy a day where they try something that was difficult, or--even better--said to be impossible, and then pull it off
and "fear avoiders" loathe change,
They want the world to stay just the way it is. They're happy being mediocre, because being mediocre means less threat/fear/change. They resent being pushed into the unknown, because the unknown is a scary place.
It hit us like a stone between the eyes that this seems to apply to public education in a big way too. Seth explains that in business:
. . . why not call them risk seekers and risk avoiders? Well, it used to be true. Seeking thrills was risky. But no longer. Now, of course, safe is risky. The horrible irony is that the fear avoiders are setting themselves up for big changes because they're confused. The safest thing they can do now, it turns out, is become a thrill seeker.
The "Big Education" folks are longer taking care of their own by eschewing creative educational solutions. The safest thing they can possibly do is, it now turns out, become thrill seekers.

It's time to step outside tenure schemes, accountability avoidance, non-performance based reviews, and unsustainable pensions. It's time to take some "risks".

Abuse Charges Against Illinois Teachers; Epidemic?

Does it seem to you that there have been an awfully lot of Illinois primary and secondary education teachers arrested for sexual abuse lately? It seemed that way to us. Here is a listing for the last THREE MONTHS:

Ian M. McDonald, 31, of 103 N. Walnut, Apt. 5, Glasford, was being held overnight at the Peoria County Jail.

Jodi E. Church, 26, a Manual High School special education teacher, is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old male student on several occasions. She also faces federal charges for allegedly using the Internet to try to lure another 16-year-old to have sex with her.

Jon Andrew White, 26, in McLean County, former Unit 5 teacher faces two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He is accused of sexually abusing two first-grade students in Normal. He also faces similar charges in Champaign County for allegedly molesting nine second-grade girls at Thomas Paine Elementary School in Urbana.

Michael Vonderohe, 29, who pleaded guilty three years ago to molesting a 16-year-old student while he was a high school teacher, denied violating his probation during a brief interview after his appearance in Madison County, Illinois Circuit Court.

Jason Krigas, 36, of Fox River Grove was convicted in September of one count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Robert Sperlik Jr., 45, was still teaching last month when the parents of a 15-year-old girl contacted police with her story of abuse and he was arrested. The band teacher was arrested here and charged with sexually abusing 16 students, jaws dropped at the allegations: Police said the teacher had tied young girls to chairs with duct tape and rope and then re-enacted bondage scenes from his porn collection.

Randy DeJaynes, 56, a DeLand-Weldon High School English teacher was charged in Piatt County Circuit Court on Wednesday with three counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Please let us know if we've missed any.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sure Fire, Drug-Free, Low-Fat Cure For Depression

Here's the top three things you can do to feel better about yourself and your life:

1. Get in touch with God. Whatever your beliefs, revisit them, study about your faith, rediscover the divine, and pray; not for yourself, but for the Divine plan for your life.

2. Serve someone else. Volunteer or just get in touch with someone who needs help. Concentrating on others will take your mind off of yourself, your troubles, and perhaps show you that you have it better than you ever imagined.

3. Turn off the tv, radio, and stop reading magazines. The nature of television and radio is the imposition of an artificial rhythm upon human lives. This is neither healthy nor relaxing. Recognize that these media are not out to help you, regardless of what they say, they are out to sell you something.

Try these remedies for at least three weeks and you will feel so much better you will start getting better sleep which will also help tremendously.

District Report Cards

Finally! The Illinois State Board of Education "School Report" cards are available for last year.

Visit here, for information on your district and/or your local school.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stick It To "the man"

Want to get your revenge on all of those "rich white guys"? Here's one sure fire way:

That's right, get a degree in physics! Even though your financial gratification may be somewhat deferred, you may just want to go whole hog and pick up an advanced degree as well:

Ahhh, yes; revenge is best when served at -18 degrees Celsius.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Free Society Is . . .

Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.

"My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular."