Half of Florida high school students fail reading test

Teach the test and don’t really educate…. it doesn’t work.

And in Indiana, the basic skills tests have gotten easier since I was in grade school, not harder. I have a hard time believing that other states really behaved differently considering how powerful teacher’s unions are.

Reuters/Yahoo News:

MIAMI (Reuters) – Nearly half of Florida high school students failed the reading portion of the state’s new toughened standardized test, education officials said on Friday.

Results this year from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test showed 52 percent of freshman students and 50 percent of sophomores scored at their grade levels.

Students in the 10th grade must pass the exam in order to eventually graduate but can retake it if they fail.

The results came days after the Florida State Board of Education voted to lower the standards needed to pass the writing part of the test, known as FCAT. The test is administered in public elementary, middle and high schools.

The board took the action in an emergency meeting when preliminary results indicated only about one-third of Florida students would have passed this year.

“We are asking more from our students and teachers than we ever have, and I am proud of their hard work,” Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson said in a statement.

“As Florida transitions to higher standards and higher expectations, we can expect our assessment results to reflect those changes.”

Firms go outside Michigan to fill IT jobs….

Such nonsense. The excuse is that there is no local talent, but what they want to do is fly in people from India, cram them in cheap apartments and pay them $8.50 an hour.

When I worked IT for Hewlett Packard I watched this happen. American workers who were doing the job just fine became no longer qualified. I have seen seminars put on by legal consultants in how to make like you are looking for Americans to fill the jobs so they can fool the government into letting them import people from India.

Detroit News:

They cite talent shortage while some workers with tech skills can’t find jobs

Thousands of high-paying IT jobs are expected to be created in Detroit over the next few years, but employers already are having trouble filling them.

Online mortgage company Quicken Loans Inc., looking to fill more than 300 information technology positions, has taken its search outside Michigan to find qualified candidates. The Detroit-based company recently launched a website aimed at recruiting laid-off Yahoo workers.

GalaxE.Solutions, a project management firm known for its “Outsource to Detroit” banner on its Woodward Avenue building, has stumbled trying to fill 500 IT jobs.

“There is a shortage nationwide of good IT talent,” said Ryan Hoyle, director of global recruiting for GalaxE, which has 150 IT workers in Detroit and hopes to add 350 in the next few years. “There just aren’t a lot of top students going into IT.”

Computer systems analysts, network systems and data communications analysts, computer software engineers, and network and computer systems administrators are among the “Hot 50” jobs in Michigan through 2018, according to the state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives.

Those jobs pay an average hourly wage of $31 or more.

Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp., a global market intelligence firm, predicts that 12,500 IT jobs could be created in Detroit by 2015.

At the same time, there are countless workers who have IT experience but cannot find a job in a field that often requires specific skill sets.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120514/TECHNOLOGY/205140341#ixzz1vHTNmFOJ






Governor Mitch Daniels:

Myth: We sold a state asset.

Truth: We didn’t sell anything to anyone. The state still owns the Toll Road and always will. It is merely being operated under contract, strictly regulated as to prices and service levels, just as many public utilities are across the state. The contract provides for more lanes, electronic tolling, more State Police coverage, better facilities and service than political management delivered. If the contract’s performance standards are not met, the state can cancel the lease and resume direct management.
In fact, this myth has it exactly backwards. Because of the transaction, Indiana became not a seller but a huge buyer of assets. We will buy $4 billion of additional public infrastructure to leave to future generations, all without a penny of new taxes or borrowing.

Myth: We got benefits in the short term but give up money in the long term

Truth: What money? The Toll Road was losing money. The U.S DOT reported that “The ITR was an underperforming asset that consistently lost money – the ITR lost money in three of the last five years it was publicly operated and in 2005, the ITR lost $16 million.” Over the entire 50-year previous history of the Road, a total of $130 million was generated for other purposes. The Major Moves Trust Fund now receives more than that in interest alone.

Myth: The deal wasn’t fair to the seven Toll Road counties.

Truth: Major Moves brought a bonanza to the Toll Road counties. In cash and new projects, the counties received $ 11 for every dollar they got in the 50 years of political management. For Lake County, Major Moves provided more than 5 times as much as the previous 50-year total and for Porter County, Major Moves provided more than 15 times as much as the previous 50-year total. In addition, other proceeds are being used to subsidize passenger car tolls, keeping them where they were in 1985. Indiana Toll Road tolls are among the lowest of any toll road in America. Besides, two-thirds of all tolls are paid by out-of –state vehicles.

Myth: Indiana didn’t receive a good price.

Truth: Indiana got a great price. The $3.8billion payment has already made over two times more for the State in interest than the Toll Road invested in communities during its 50 year history. Indiana’s largest public accounting firm, Crowe Chizek of South Bend, analyzed the Toll Road financial statements and found the $3.8 B to be at least $2 billion more than what the State could possibly have generated on its own, through higher tolls and borrowing. Scholars and publications throughout the world have further validated that this was a great deal for Hoosiers.

Myth: If the contractor could make a profit, the state could have done just as well.

Truth: For 50 years of politicians running it, the Toll Road barely broke even, owing hundreds of millions in debt. How much proof did we need? Through Major Moves, the state has locked in and pocketed a certain profit, a huge one. Whether the contractor and its investors will ever get their money back or not will not be known for many years. So far they have reported a loss of more than $270 million dollars. The risk of lost dollars has been shifted from Hoosier taxpayers to the investors. And, if the investors ever do make a profit they will pay taxes to the state, unlike the previous government management.

Myth: After 10 years, the money will all be gone.

Truth: Gone? It will be invested in roads, rail and bridges, hard public assets that will improve life in Indiana and strengthen the Indiana economy for generations to come. Without Major Moves, Hoosiers in northern Indiana would have waited decades more for overdue roads like I-80, I-94, US 6, US 41, SR 2 and SR 49 while politicians mismanaged the Toll Road and continued making promises they had no way to pay for and no intention of ever keeping. Moreover, $500 million of the proceeds are in permanent trust for future generations.

Myth: Our tolls now go to “foreigners.”

Truth: The only people receiving funds from the Toll Road are the Hoosiers who work there, and those investors in the partnership who paid for the lease. The list of investors is led by American workers’ pension funds such as Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, Midwest Operating Engineers, Painters Union of St. Louis, and Baylor University, as well as U.S. financial institutions like Northwestern Mutual Life on behalf of their depositors and shareholders.

Myth: There must have been some other way to accomplish all this.

Truth: Yes, there was. We could have tripled the gas tax. In the two years since the transaction, 32 states have actually raised their gas taxes, desperately trying to keep up with their infrastructure needs. Indiana hasn’t, and won’t have to. The only choices Indiana had were to simply forget about building the roads Hoosiers need and have been promised, drastically raise the price of gasoline that is already far too expensive, or find a new and creative answer.

And so we did. And that’s the truth.

Chris Matthews Bombs on ‘Jeopardy!’ After Repeatedly Mocking Palin for How She’d Do (video)


On at least four occasions, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews mocked Sarah Palin for how he felt she’d do if she were ever on the hit television game show Jeopardy!.

In a delicious example of instant karma, the self-proclaimed brainiac got his chance to show America how smart he was in a special “Power Players” version of the show Monday, but came up quite short finishing dead last with the paltry sum of only $2,300 (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):

Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/05/15/having-repeatedly-mocked-palin-what-shed-do-jeopardy-matthews-comes-l#ixzz1vGv562sy

Senate Unanimously Rejects Obama’s Budget Again

The Hill:

A budget resolution based on President Obama’s 2013 budget failed to get any votes in the Senate on Wednesday.

In a 99-0 vote, all of the senators present rejected the president’s blueprint.

It’s the second year in a row the Senate has voted down Obama’s budget.

Obama’s 2012 budget failed 97 to 0 last May after Obama himself last April said he wanted deeper deficit cuts.

The House earlier this year unanimously rejected Obama’s budget.

Read the rest HERE.

More on Obama’s secret deal with big pharma…

Washington Examiner:

Three years ago, President Obama cut a secret deal with pharmaceutical company lobbyists to secure the industry’s support for his national health care law. Despite Obama’s promises during his campaign to run a transparent administration, the deal has been shrouded in mystery ever since. But internal emails obtained by House Republicans now provide evidence that a deal was struck and GOP investigators are promising to release more details in the coming weeks.

“What the hell?” White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, who is now Obama’s campaign manager, complained to a lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in January 15, 2010 email. “This wasn’t part of our deal.”

This reference to “our deal” came two months before the final passage of Obamacare in an email with the subject line, “FW: TAUZIN EMAIL.” At the time, Billy Tauzin was president and CEO of PhRMA.

The email was uncovered as part of investigation into Obama’s closed-door health care negotiations launched by the House Energy and Commerce committee’s oversight panel.

“In the coming weeks the Committee intends to show what the White House agreed to do as part of its deal with the pharmaceutical industry and how the full details of this agreement were kept from both the public and the House of Representatives,” the committee’s Republican members wrote in a memo today.

On June 20, 2009, Obama released a terse 296-word statement announcing a deal between pharmaceutical companies and the Senate that didn’t mention any involvement by the White House.

“The investigation has determined that the White House, primarily through Office of Health Reform Director Nancy Ann DeParle and Messina, with involvement from Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, was actively engaged in these negotiations while the role of Congress was limited,” the committee members wrote. “For example, three days before the June 20 statement, the head of PhRMA promised Messina, ‘we will deliver a final yes to you by morning.’ Meanwhile, Ms. DeParle all but confirmed that half of the Legislative Branch was shut out in an email to a PhRMA representative: ‘I think we should have included the House in the discussions, but maybe we never would have gotten anywhere if we had.’”

Read the full memo here.