Education Manifesto, Redux

Back in April, we presented our education manifesto. Well, we’ve now revised and extended it, working with Mr. H.O. Hell and thanks to the assistance of a plate of Shaag Bajee.

Partly, this is a response to the mistakes of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He believes that the problem with the schools is primarily managerial. “Just give me control of the schools,” he seems to think, “and I’ll get some real managers in there. They’ll put the fear of God in those teachers and then we’ll see some real learning start to happen.”

Here, then, is our plan:

  1. Universal Head Start and pre-K education, so all kids enter kindergarten well-prepared.
  2. Elementary school should concentrate on reading, writing, arithmetic and Spanish. Secondary emphasis should be on PE, health, citizenship and socialization. The object is to turn out good citizens who are prepared for high school.
  3. We think that “teaching to the test” is ok, as long as the tests measure the skills we want the kids to have.
  4. The “hard” sciences should be added in high school. The objective is to turn out students prepared for college.
  5. We support a universal dress code and system-wide uniforms, provided at no cost to the parents.
  6. No more social promotion.
  7. There should be annual standardized testing throughout the system, not to measure the individual students nor to punish their teachers, but to learn what educational methods are working best.


  1. The Department of Education should get rid of dangerous teachers, but provide all teachers with due process. We think “rubber rooms” are a necessary part of due process. Union protections must be respected.
  2. The best teachers should be rewarded with recognition, not more money. We want dedicated career teachers, not greedy ambitious ones. We like second career teachers.
  3. Teachers shouldn’t be treated like crap.
  4. There should be no tenure. But keeping a teaching job should not be contingent on exceptional performance.

Principals and administrators

  1. The schools chancellor should be an educator.
  2. Vice principals should be managers.
  3. Principals should be fired for not meeting objective job requirements.
  4. There should be an office dedicated to helping principals do their job better and overcome their problems. It’s better to help a principal succeed than to get rid of them for not succeeding.


  1. We believe in a completely heterogeneous school system, so we would institute widespread busing and eliminate school choice.
  2. We support tracking: vocational schools for those not suited for an academic track; 600 schools for discipline problems; Special Ed for those with learning problems. We have serious reservations about Gifted & Talented and selective schools because of their elitist image.
  3. We think all schools should have metal detectors. That way, no parent will gloat “My kid goes to the school without metal detectors.”

Town forfeits high school football game against overpowering opponent to save kids from injury; faces punishment from state body

“Kearny NJ School Superintendent Ron Bolandi demonstrated defiant sanity when he pulled Kearny High School’s overmatched football team just six hours before its game with St. Peter’s Prep, one of New Jersey’s top-ranked programs.

“Bolandi saw what was coming. Kearny lost its previous two games by a combined score of 90-8. In its last game, St. Peter’s rolled over Memorial High, 77-7. Bolandi, whose short-handed team was also nursing several injuries, did the math and made the practical decision.

“Better safe than stampeded.”

Editorial: Kearny superintendent made right call on football forfeit |

Houston cops have special squad to deal with mentally ill; NY cops just shoot them

“Our goal,” Harris County Texas Sheriff’s Lt. Robert Henry says, “is to protect both sides of the badge. We are trained and skilled to protect ourselves and trained and skilled to protect the ‘consumer.’ We don’t rush into action. We understand what they are going through.”

Henry and his three deputies, accompanied by workers from Mental Health Mental Retardation of Harris County, arrive at crisis scenes in minimally marked squad cars after being dispatched by department operators or summoned by the first responding officers.

Sheriff’s crisis team ‘protects both sides of the badge’ – Houston Chronicle.

Compare: or

Romney makes demands and Univision folds

Before Univision’s Romney forum at the University of Miami, Mitt demanded that he be allowed to pack the audience with off-campus supporters. Univision capitulated. Then Mitt demanded that the moderator keep silent about the fact that Mitt had made himself available for only 35 minutes. Again, Univision wimped out.

In contrast, Obama played by the rules. If it were up to me, I’d say “No more Mr. Nice guy.”

How Romney Packed The Univision Forum.

Australian heiress Gina Rinehart thinks that poor people should just work harder; Upon hearing this, Mitt Romney lets out cheer

“The world’s richest woman, Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, drew international scorn recently after saying that people who are jealous of the wealthy should drink less and work harder.”

Gina Rinehart, world’s richest woman, makes case for $2-a-day pay –

Free speech, my ass

The Houston Chronicle headline reads “Judge rules cheerleaders’ Christian banners are OK for now”

The Kountze High School (East Texas) cheerleaders made Jesus banners for the school’s football players to run through at the beginning of games.

I can’t say that religious banners get me all bent out of shape. Except for the specifics of this case:

  • Will a cheerleader who doesn’t want to participate in the banner-creating feel ostracized?
  • What about the football player who doesn’t want to burst through a banner proclaiming “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” at the start of the game?
  • And doesn’t the use of banners in this manner imply that the school district is supporting this particular religion?
  • Could a Jew ask for the occasional Jewish banner? What about a Wiccan or Satanist?

If it were up to me, I’d invite spectators to bring and display whatever banners they like in the stands.

Judge rules cheerleaders’ Christian banners are OK for now – Houston Chronicle.

Duh! The rich are getting richer in NYC

“The rich got richer and the poor got poorer in New York City last year as the poverty rate reached its highest point in more than a decade, and the income gap in Manhattan, already wider than almost anywhere else in the country, rivaled disparities in sub-Saharan Africa.

“While the national recession officially ended in 2009 and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has repeatedly proclaimed the city’s robust recovery, the census figures to be released on Thursday painted a decidedly sober view of how New Yorkers are faring.”

Rich Got Richer and Poor Poorer in N.Y.C., 2011 Data Shows –

Romney says half of Americans are “dependent on government”

Let’s say that what Romney says is true — what’s he gonna do? Throw them all off the welfare rolls and let them starve?

And while we’re bashing Romney . . . he’s now doing a 180 on immigration. Presumably he went anti-immigration to help clinch the Republican nomination. But now he’s moderating his rhetoric to try to woo Hispanic general election voters.

Mitt Romney: America’s most deceitful politician.

Romney Government-Dependent ‘Victims’ Remark Roils Message – Bloomberg.