Gadsden Flag Hypocrisy

Steven Singer analyzes the (fascist) nuttiness behind those who fly the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag.

Here is the link.

Published in: on July 12, 2018 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

HoldinG Bill Gates Accountable?

As you may have heard, once again, Bill Gates’ latest half-billion-dollar education innovation (implemented in DC and elsewhere) failed.

This initiative entailed the firings of thousands of teachers, many of them black, and creating a perpetual churn in DC Public Schools which has harmed teachers, parents, and administrators.

Gates never admits fault and is never held to account for his failures.

Veteran educator Larry Cuban asks how the public could hold Gates and other philanthropists accountable for the damage they have caused.

Published in: on July 12, 2018 at 11:56 am  Comments (1)  

In DC, both Charter and Regular Public Schools are Losing Very large numbers of High School Students

Hats off to Valerie Jablow for doing the hard detective work to count up the large attrition rates in the Washington DC charter school sector.

According to her numbers, only 64% of the the DC charter school students enrolled in their 9th grade classes were both present in their senior year and on track to graduate.

So, no,charter schools do not have any secret sauce.

Here is her latest column:

New post on educationdc

DC Graduation Rates & Propaganda

by Valerie Jablow

During the June 13 graduation accountability hearing before the education committee of the DC city council, council members laid into DCPS interim chancellor Amanda Alexander repeatedly about what DCPS had done, was doing, and would in the future do regarding graduation accountability. Alexander hewed close to information DCPS compiled, represented in part by this document.

No one thought to question the implied graduation rate represented in the chart below, produced by the charter board:

Let us unpack this for a moment.

First, some stats on DC public school enrollment (using data from OSSE audited enrollment reports and the SY16-17 final graduation report from OSSE):

Fall 2012 9th grade enrollment: 6252 total (2280 in charters; 3972 in DCPS)

(this enrollment includes both the entering 9th grade class as well as students held-back from previous years)

Fall 2016 12th grade enrollment: 3370 total (1147 in charters; 2223 in DCPS)

(this enrollment represents the retention of students and any net transfers through the high school years)

That works out to the following (extrapolated from data in OSSE documents here and here):

Adjusted cohort in spring 2017 as a percentage of 9th grade enrollment:

71% = DC’s public schools

63% = Charters

76% = DCPS

Graduation rate in 2017 as a percentage of 9th grade enrollment:

54% = DC’s public schools

46% = Charters

58% = DCPS

(NB: The DCPS values above don’t count its two STAY programs, since the 9th grade enrollment for those programs is reported as “adult”)

Contrast those 2017 graduation rates with what works out to a bonny 73% for 2018’s charter school graduation rate via that chart above (i.e., divide the “off track” total by the total of “prospective graduates” and subtract from 100 to get the graduation rate).

To be sure, 2018 is not 2017, and we do not yet have the final, OSSE-blessed 2018 graduation stats.

But the graduation rate that the charter board gave for last school year (2017; 73.4%) was about the same as its preliminary figure above for 2018. (See here and here for more information.)

Now, look again at the charter board numbers above for “number of prospective graduates” as of April 2018 (i.e., students likely to graduate).

But this time, let us back out the percentage that “number of prospective graduates” represents of all 2018 seniors (as accounted in that chart above) and also include the numbers of kids who once were at the schools in question in 9th grade (according to OSSE audited enrollment data); the numbers of students gone; and the percentage (in bold) those lost students represent of those “prospective” 2018 grads:

BASIS: 17 prospective 2018 grads (100%); 27 in 9th grade; -10 students (59%)

Capital City: 70 prospective 2018 grads (92%); 93 in 9th grade; -23 students (33%)

Chavez Cap Hill: 63 prospective 2018 grads (82%); 152 in 9th grade; -89 students (141%)

Chavez Parkside: 61 prospective 2018 grads (80%); 115 in 9th grade; -54 students (89%)

E.L. Haynes: 106 prospective 2018 grads (79%); 169 in 9th grade; -63 students (59%)

Friendship Collegiate: 177 prospective 2018 grads (73%); 249 in 9th grade; -72 students (41%)

Friendship Tech: 42 prospective 2018 grads (84%); 60 in 9th grade; -18 students (43%)

IDEA: 56 prospective 2018 grads (82%); 70 in 9th grade; -14 students (25%)

KIPP College Prep: 104 prospective 2018 grads (96%); 150 in 9th grade; -46 students (44%)

National Collegiate Prep: 41 prospective (82%); 79 in 9th grade; -38 students (93%)

Paul: 78 prospective 2018 grads (78%); 129 in 9th grade; -51 students (65%)

Richard Wright: 47 prospective 2018 grads (87%); 71 in 9th grade; -24 students (51%)

SEED: 26 prospective 2018 grads (70%); 36 in 9th grade; -10 students (38%)

Somerset: 24 prospective 2018 grads (73%); 47 in 9th grade; -23 students (96%)

Thurgood Marshall: 67 prospective 2018 grads (82%); 136 in 9th grade; -84 students (125%)

Washington Latin: 80 prospective 2018 grads (70%); 86 in 9th grade; -6 students (7.5%)

Washington Math, Science, Tech: 76 prospective 2018 grads (75%); 98 in 9th grade; -22 students (29%)

Yes, yes, this is in part a silly exercise: it doesn’t capture who actually graduates. (I also left off a school that had changed operation in the last 4 years (Kingsman) and an alternative high school (Maya Angelou).) Presumably, some of the students in the original chart who are deemed “off track” may, in fact, actually graduate–which would reduce the percentage loss of students over time.

That said, there are several untold, and very important, stories here:

1. The city as a whole is losing students at the high school level. They may be moving, they may be dropping out—but they are leaving both charters and DCPS at relatively high rates.

2. The concept of an adjusted cohort, while legally mandated by the U.S. Department of Education, captures numerically some of that shift, by noting students leaving or arriving. But it also obscures the whole story of student mobility that in DC has an outsize (and negative) influence on our schools and their students. Our students are not merely transferring between schools, sectors, and/or jurisdictions a lot—they are also disappearing from our high schools in large numbers before graduation. We also do not know what percentage of the adjusted cohort 4 years later represents the original 9th grade cohort at each high school. In our city of choice, this amounts to statistically turning our backs on high mobility (and, as the cross sector task force explored, its known, negative effects on at risk kids) and investing in the adjusted cohort as an accurate representation of a whole picture. For districts with relatively immobile populations, relying thusly on the adjusted cohort may work well. But here in DC, that apparent “whole” as measured via the adjusted cohort is in reality a complex and rapidly changing mosaic, comprised of different students not merely across school years, but within them as well.

3. Whether one looks at either the bald graduation rates of 9th graders or the adjusted cohort figures, it is clear that our charter high schools are losing students at higher rates than DCPS high schools. My jiggering of the rosy charter board data also underscores this loss (amazingly, sometimes more than 100% of those “prospective” 2018 graduates).

4. This last bit underscores what charter board executive director Scott Pearson characterized during the Kojo Nnamdi show earlier this week as successful accountability, with 27 charter schools closed over his tenure of 6 1/2 years. That works out to an average closure rate of four DC charter schools a year.

In fact, just since our most recent 2018 graduates entered high school, five publicly funded high schools in DC were closed, most of which were charters:

Spingarn (DCPS): 129 students affected

Options (charter): 115 students affected

Hospitality (charter): 53 students affected

Booker T. Washington (charter): 69 students affected

Perry Street Prep (charter): 153 students affected

These closures mean that more than 500 public high school students in DC were actually made mobile in some way not because they chose it, but because it was foisted on them.

When such vaunted “accountability” increases mobility in a city filled with at risk kids who are demonstrably harmed by such mobility, perhaps a better question to ask is who is benefitting from accountability via closures–and who is responsible for the resultant increase in mobility.

The upshot of all of this is not the propaganda that charter high schools are more honest or doing better than DCPS.

Rather, one upshot is that our charter high schools are losing students more than DCPS, which could be a function of any number of things: teacher turnover; selectivity of kids; higher rates of dropping out; etc.

Worse, that net loss of students fuels deceptively higher graduation rates when those rates are calculated by counting only each high school’s 12th grade class at one point late in that year and arriving at a graduation percentage.

Worst of all is that the most vulnerable students in DC, who we know need stability to do well in school, are literally being left behind at the high school level in both sectors. This problem is particularly acute in our charter high schools–which our city leaders have thus far refused to include with DCPS in an independent investigation.

In other words, by intensely focusing on graduation rates alone (especially in one sector versus another), our city leaders enable misinformation and propaganda, all the while the kids who need the most attention continue to not get it.

Funny how that doesn’t seem to make the

Published in: on July 6, 2018 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why does DCPS not have an actual technology plan for updating and maintaining school computers?

From Valerie Jablow and Grace Hu:

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New post on educationdc

[Ed. Note: Over several months, Grace Hu–parent at Ward 6’s Amidon-Bowen Elementary School in southwest DC, former Teach for America corps member, and advocate for educational equity–researched DCPS computer policy and surveyed staff and parents about IT reality in our schools. In this guest blog, Hu shares her conclusions–and a path forward.]

By Grace Hu

When I joined the PTA of my DCPS elementary school, I never thought I’d be helping my school figure out how to manage and raise money for computers and other information technology (IT). Given all the talk about “blended learning” and preparing our students for the workforce, I thought that DCPS had a plan for maintaining, funding, and updating school IT.

But I was wrong.

In fact, DCPS provides minimal support to schools for managing and funding computers and other IT. Schools are largely on their own, and a large technology gap exists between schools that can raise money for IT and those that can’t.

While technology is not a panacea, it can make a difference for educational outcomes. In 2014, a team from Stanford University and the Alliance for Excellent Education reviewed the results of 70 research studies and found that technology in the classroom, when implemented properly, can “produce significant gains in student achievement and boost engagement, particularly among students most at risk.”

Over several months, I examined existing DCPS IT policy and interviewed staff and parents at selected DCPS schools about IT at their schools. Here is what I found.

DCPS Policy

The FY 2019 DCPS School Budget Development Guide and the DCPS purchasing guide for computers, boards, and carts outline the district’s IT recommendations and policies.

Some highlights include:

Computer hardware: For student computers, DCPS recommends a minimum ratio of 1 device for every 3 students in its online testing cohort. These devices should be replaced every 4 years at a minimum. For teacher computers, devices should be replaced every 3-4 years to support instruction.

Schools with at least 25% of students identified as at-risk for academic failure are given funding for technology (“at-risk technology investment”). That often comes out to $20 or $40 per pupil, which does not go far when the cost of a student laptop purchased through the DCPS-approved vendor is approximately $500-$600 and the cost of a teacher laptop is more than $900.

IT support: A technician from the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) provides IT support and visits DCPS schools in my ward (Ward 6) about twice a week. DCPS gives schools the option of budgeting for IT positions–$55,006 for a technology coordinator and $104,633 for a technology instructional coach. For middle schools, the budget guide lists technology staff as an “additional staffing requirement.”


While DCPS’s budget and purchase guides set out reasonable minimal standards for IT in its schools, reality is often far removed from those guidelines.

Computer hardware: Individual schools are responsible for funding computer replacements. This has meant that every year, with tight budgets, many schools have been unable to carve out funds to maintain a supply of updated, functioning computers. This has led DCPS teachers across the city to solicit donations for classroom computers through, citing “broken computers, dead batteries, or slow loading programs.” Some recent titles of teachers’ DonorsChoose proposals include

• Basic Technology Needed for Class

• We Need Technology for Our Specialized Learners

• Blended Learning Success

• Instructional Technology to Promote Reading Fluency

• Computer Literacy Increases Engagement

• Laptops for Learners

• Technology in 1st Grade!

• Teach, Tech, Boom!

• Keyboards for Typing Toads

• Owning Their Digital Learning

• Technology Increases Access

Not surprisingly, a 2017 report from the DC auditor found the following:

• “[E]xisting technology was frequently unavailable because it was outdated and of poor quality (seven of eight schools).”

• “Regarding technology that was unused or unusable due to condition or age, the problems reported at each school varied but included desktop and laptop computers that were non-operational, sometimes due to keyboards that were broken or missing pieces, as well as SMART boards that did not work.”

• “At one school, interviewees reported that their five-year-old computers were outdated and subject to frequent breakdowns. At another school, a teacher stated that technology support personnel had informed her that computers were too old to be fixed.”

IT support: OCTO technicians have no spare parts inventory or funding to help schools repair IT. If a laptop needs its keyboard, screen, or other part replaced, the school is on the hook for purchasing the needed parts and providing them to the OCTO technician. Moreover, OCTO technicians are not allowed to fix or put software on computers or tablets that are not DCPS-approved devices.

Not surprisingly, at many elementary schools, an existing staff member (e.g., librarian, teacher) often takes on the additional duty of managing IT. Trying to find $55K or $105K for an extra staff person to manage IT is a luxury many schools cannot afford–even though the need is ever-present.

Pile of broken laptops at Amidon-Bowen Elementary. Since the school lacks replacement parts and older laptops are not under warranty, these laptops likely will be thrown away.

In my interviews, I kept asking which schools do a good job of managing IT. The answer was always that a few affluent schools have PTAs that annually raise thousands of dollars to purchase technology or pay for IT support. Some schools with less wealthy PTAs have parents who are able to secure one-time grant funding for computers. But many schools lack active PTAs, much less PTAs that are able to provide any kind of IT support.

The implications of all this are far-reaching. Most of DC’s teacher and school evaluations depend on scores of high-stakes standardized tests that students take on computers. If our city’s standardized tests depend on children typing or having a basic understanding of navigating a screen using a touchpad or mouse, children without regular access to computers are at a disadvantage relative to other students. Taking a test online isn’t just a measure of what students know of the subject matter–it’s also a measure of how well they navigate on a computer and, literally, how many working computers are available to them on a daily basis.

This is Not Rocket Science

Last year, the DC auditor and her staff evaluated budgeting and staffing at eight DCPS elementary schools. While they had not planned to look at IT at each school, what they saw was disturbing enough to lead to the following recommendation:

DCPS should create and make public a multi-year technology needs plan to define and provide adequate technology to each school. The plan should include expected costs and planned funding sources.

This plan has not been released, and the FY 2019 DCPS budget does not appear to provide any additional funding to support a district-wide technology plan. Parents have testified about technology challenges before the DC council’s education committee and have spoken to individual councilmembers, but have yet to see any action to address this issue.

Through the FOIA process, parents got a copy of DCPS’s IT inventory at every school. For three out of four Ward 6 elementary schools, the DCPS inventory overstates the number of working computers. If this DCPS inventory is incorrect for many schools, it is possible DCPS is not even aware of the magnitude of its computer shortages.

There are many complex, intractable problems facing our education system. Figuring out an overarching strategy and plan for IT is not one of them. There are readily available guides that provide advice on technology planning and decision-making (see this for example). Even the basic guidelines that DCPS itself provides would be a good start if followed to the letter. What we lack is a plan–and money.

Absent DCPS solving these issues, we must pressure our city and school officials to figure out an IT plan for DCPS and then to fund it. To join the advocacy effort led by Ward 6 parents, please e-mail me at ghgracehu at gmail dot com.

Valerie Jablow | July 2, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

Solving DCPS’s Computer Challenges Is Not Rocket Science

by Valerie Jablow


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Published in: on July 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm  Comments (1)  

Again with the bias towards charter schools in DC

This is from Valerie Jablow:


Respond to this post by replying above this line

New post on educationdc

Stacking The Deck: Chancellor Selection Edition

by Valerie Jablow

So, we now have a small group of people not representative of the population helping select someone unelected for an important public position to make decisions that could last for generations.

Oh, you thought I was talking about the new supreme court justice?

Well, I was talking about the search for our new DCPS chancellor.

Let’s look at the legally required selection panel, just announced by the mayor:

* = ties to DCPS

# = ties to charter and ed. reform interests


#Sylvia Mathews Burwell, American University president; not a DCPS teacher, parent or student, Burwell worked for the Gates and Wal-Mart foundations, both charter supporters

#Charlene Drew Jarvis, UDC board of trustees; a former KIPP DC board member, and not a DCPS parent, teacher, or student, Jarvis and her relatives have given Mayor Bowser $2000 in campaign donations since October

Committee Members

*Anita Berger, Banneker HS principal and not a DCPS parent, teacher, or student

*Rosa Carrillo, DCPS parent and language services program director of Multicultural Community Services

*Tumeka Coleman, DCPS Walker-Jones EC teacher

*Elizabeth Davis, president, Washington Teachers’ Union

#Antwanye Ford, chair of DC’s Workforce Investment Council; not a DCPS parent, student, or teacher, but a former board member of Washington Math, Science and Technology charter high school, he and his wife have given Mayor Bowser $3000 in campaign donations since the end of January

*#Nicky Goren, DCPS parent; works for the Meyer Foundation, which supports local charter schools

#Sean Gough, director of government relations at Friendship charter school; not a DCPS parent, teacher, or student

#Danielle Hamberger, director of education initiatives at the Clark Foundation, which supports local charter schools, and not a DCPS parent, teacher, or student

*Arnebya Herndon, DCPS parent

*Jeanie Lee, president of DC Public Education Fund; not a DCPS teacher, parent, or student

*Zion Matthews, DCPS student

*#Victor Reinoso, DCPS parent, former deputy mayor for education, former board member of EL Haynes charter school; and associate of NewSchools Venture Fund; Bellwether Education Partners, and Democrats for Education Reform, all charter and ed. reform advocacy organizations.

All told, of the 14 people on the selection panel, half have ties to charter and ed reform interests. And several were the source of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions for the mayor.

[Confidential note to Mayor Bowser: Does this mean that if I and two of my DCPS BFFs donate $5000 to your current campaign, one of us will be named by you to serve on the charter board? I mean, this is the selection panel for the DCPS chancellor we’re talking about here! Why have any charter reps at all, as there have been zero purely DCPS reps. EVER on the charter board? Or is this all OK here because, um, well, because cross sector something something?]

Then, too, of those 14 people on the selection panel, there are a total of 1 teacher; 1 student; and 4 parents, half of whom have ties to ed. reform and charter interests.

The law regarding chancellor selection states (boldface mine) that “the Mayor shall establish a review panel of teachers, including representatives of the WTU, parentS, and studentS to aid the Mayor . . . in the selection of the Chancellor.” The law also says nothing about principals or officials from organizations unrelated to DCPS serving on the selection panel.

Notwithstanding the (remote) possibility that the singular student and teacher selected for this panel have multiple personalities, the math here simply doesn’t add up: there are more than a hundred THOUSAND parents and students in DCPS and several THOUSAND teachers.

And yet we have a rep from Friendship charter school on this panel and not even TWO DCPS teachers or students??

Gees, Mayor Bowser: it’s nice that you’re soliciting limited feedback on the next chancellor from us unwashed masses, but can’t you dial back the public dissing?

Amazingly, all of this is downright familiar in DC public education:

For instance, several years ago the process to change school boundaries showed that people wanted, overwhelmingly, a strong system of by right public schools in every neighborhood.

Since then, our city leaders have enacted policies and taken actions that ensure that remains a pipe dream:

–Thousands of new seats have been created in the charter sector, with little public notification. (One–Statesman–will start this fall without any public notification or input whatsoever beforehand. Yeah: check out these public comments.) Without commensurate growth in the population of school-age children, the result is a declining share of DCPS enrollment–all without any public agreement whatsoever.

–A closed DCPS school (Kenilworth) was offered to a charter school in violation of several DC laws, including public notification; RFO to other charter schools; and approval of the council. (I am still waiting for my FOIA request to DCPS about this to be answered, since no one on the council, at the deputy mayor for education’s office, or at DCPS ever answered my questions as to how this offer actually came about.)

–A test-heavy school rating system was approved, which tracks closely with what our charter board uses, without any consideration for what the public actually said it wanted. (And with a private ed. reform lobbying organization phonebanking to ensure it got what it–not the public–wanted.)

–Ours is a public education landscape in which wealthy donors set the conversation (watch the linked video starting at 1:21:25); determine the way in which schools are judged; and profit from it all, while the public is left far, far behind.

–Despite clear data showing problems in both sectors for graduation accountability and absences, there has been little movement in city leadership to ensure both sectors are equally analyzed.

In the same manner, in our new chancellor selection panel the public is disenfranchised and the law not followed, while personnel from private groups are heavily involved and stand to profit in a variety of ways.

Hmm: Familiar indeed.

Valerie Jablow | July 1, 2018 at 7:40 pm |

Published in: on July 1, 2018 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why do the bigwigs in the charter school sector get to select the new DCPS chancellor, who has no authority over the charters?

Good afternoon Councilmembers,

I am Iris J. Toyer, a resident of Ward 8 and a long time public school advocate.  The point of this email is to bring to your attention the composition of the selection panel for the next Chancellor for the D.C. Public Schools.  I am deeply concerned that the charter school community seems to have such a prominent role in this selection process.

As you are aware the D.C. Public School Chancellor has absolutely no authority over any charter school in this city.  The Chancellor cannot make any determinations on the siting of a school, the board composition of a school, the curriculum, staff or any other matter related to a charter.  Additionally, as I was recently reminded the Public Charter School Board itself pays little heed to the proximity of where a new charter is sited.  Often doing so directly across from a traditional public school and/or over the objections of residents in neighborhoods.

I raise this issue with you  because as my elected representatives, it is my expectation that you take a moment to understand that it is a conflict for charter proponents to have their hands in the DCPS Chancellor selection pot.  One has to wonder if Please consider the words of one of my very close friends, “Charter advocates have a stake in having a DCPS chancellor who will not compete with charters, but acquiesce in opening and siting charter schools to draw students from DCPS schools and in closing DCPS schools so the charters can have the buildings. ”

I look forward to your response.

Iris J. Toyer


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Published in: on June 30, 2018 at 9:35 pm  Comments (1)  

Trump Administration Opposes Actual Science, Because That Would Cost Money to the 0.001% and Instead Help Ordinary People and the Planet

I predict that history will judge that this Administration is by far the worst that the American people ever elected. Yes, worse than Bush2, Harding, or Buchanan.

Unless future history is written by flunkies hired by Jerry Fallwell or the Koch brothers.

God forbid! (If there is one; if God actually exists, all the evidence shows that he/it/it/she/they is/are incompetent, when you think of all the mass murderers, swindlers, and dictators who have lived to a ripe old age surrounded in luxury, while millions if not billions of people suffer in unimaginable squalor in slums, favelas, tent cities, or refugee camps, while we simultaneously wipe out all the big land- and sea-dwelling mammals and pollute the air, land, and oceans for posterity with poisons, plastics, and poop.)

One piece of evidence comes from this rather long article in the New York Times which points out how much they have been either attacking science directly or simply ignoring it: science advisory positions that have existed since World War Two aren’t filled, science advisory panels to government agencies are ignored or eliminated, scientific data is ignored or denied, and instead, polluters who used to be regulated and fined by agencies are instead put in charge of them.

Here is the link.

And, yes, this is new. There are many things for which you can find fault with previous American administrations, including Obama (who was worse on education even than GWBush, and we know that all American governments lie constantly [eg Gulf of Tonkin Incident, The Sinking of the Maine, Iraq’s nonexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction, etc, etc), but actively fighting science was never one of them.

#45 is even going to try to ‘negotiate’ next week with North Korea without having actual advisors on nuclear weapons. What could possibly go wrong with that?

It’s really scary.

Why DT is Not a Good Leader

This is all from Ross Cohen on Quora:

“A good leader leads by example; Donald Trump fires people who follow his example.

A good leader takes responsibility for both his and his people’s actions; Donald Trump has never taken responsibility for anything in his life.

A good leader inspires loyalty and respect from his troops; Donald Trump’s troops badmouth him behind his back at every turn.

A good leader inspires with positivity; Donald Trump employs fear, hostility, and divisiveness.

A good leader is a good judge of character; 40% of Trump’s cabinet have had ethics scandals, with no fewer than 11 open ethics investigations on his EPA administrator alone.

A good leader demonstrates loyalty to his people; Donald Trump is loyal to no one, publicly attacking or firing the

moment someone displeases him.

A good leader empowers his people, delegating authority and supporting their decisions; Donald Trump routinely undercuts his people, criticizing, over-ruling, and publicly contradicting them.

A good leader praises in public and criticizes in private; Donald Trump savagely criticizes, publicly berates, and revels in their humiliation.

A good leader encourages cooperation and teamwork; Donald Trump foments rivalries and back-stabbing. His administration has been described as “a circular firing squad.”

A good leader listens to his team’s advice and makes them feel heard; Donald Trump is notorious for ignoring his team’s advice. His team leaks to the media just to get his attention and feel heard.

A good leader shares credit with his team; Donald Tump bristles at others sharing credit and fires those who dare to diminish his share of it.

A good leader values honest feedback; Donald Trump demands sycophancy and punishes truth-telling.

A good leader learns from his mistakes; Donald Trump makes the same mistakes again and again.

A good leader puts the country ahead of himself; Donald Trump is profiting off the presidency.

A good leader models strong work ethic for his employees; Donald Trump spends most mornings watching TV at home and has spent a third of his term at resorts, three times as many vacation days as his predecessor.

A good leader communicates his positions clearly; Donald Trump regularly contradicts his own statements seconds after making them.

President Eisenhower said, “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity”; Donald Trump has told more than 3,000 documented lies since taking office, averaging about 6.5 public lies per day.

A good leader consults key stakeholders before announcing big decisions; Donald Trump typically blindsides his own staff and allies with major changes in policy.

A good leader is a reliable partner their allies can count on; Donald Trump constantly surprises and undercuts his own allies, even those carrying out his previous wishes.

A good leader has the humility to admit they aren’t perfect; Donald Trump is incapable of admitting fault.

A good leader has the humility to admit when they’re wrong; Donald Trump never admits when he’s wrong. Perhaps the only regret he admits is hiring Jeff Sessions.

A good leader plans well into the future, even sacrificing short term gains to do so; Donald Trump lives entirely for the short term and is utterly beholden to his whims, a slave to impulse and emotion.

A good leader hires in large part based on competence and integrity; Donald Trump hires based on nepotism and personal loyalty.

A good leader avoids setting up his subordinates for failure; Donald Trump tasked his inexperienced son-in-law with government reform, fixing the opioid crisis, criminal justice reform, Muslim outreach, diplomacy with Mexico, diplomacy with China…and Middle East peace.

A good leader holds themselves to a higher standard; Donald Trump explicitly holds himself to lower ethical standards than his employees have to, and brags about it.

A good leader is engaged, focused on the problem at hand; Donald Trump can’t stay on topic, his meetings and calls with staff and allies meander far afield from topic, he interrupts conversations to bring up his electoral vote or the Russia investigation, his intelligence briefers make heavy use of pictures and his name to keep his attention.

A good leader has the character to give close associates bad news personally; Donald Trump fires people via Tweet, via letter, via TV, or via delegate, never personally.

A good leader abhors and avoids yes-men; Donald Trump surrounds himself with them, basking in their fawning obsequiousness.

A good leader is in control of their emotions; Donald Trump is controlled by his emotions.

A good leader considers their words carefully; Donald Trump…is Donald Trump.

A good leader exhibits maturity and an ability to be the bigger person in difficult situations; Donald Trump is never the bigger person (figuratively speaking).

A good leader brings out the best in people; Donald Trump brings out the worst.

A good leader wants the best for his people; Donald Trump damages the futures of all who work for him.

A good leader treats people with respect; Donald Trump insults people’s wives, parents, appearance, etc.

A good leader adapts well to new information; Donald Trump resists it, ignoring inconvenient facts, findings, data, developments, etc.

A good leader does not have their mental fitness questioned; Donald Trump’s has been called into serious question by dozens of mental health professionals.

A good leader leaves the bragging about their personal qualities to others most of the time; Donald Trump calls himself the best everything and a “stable genius”.

A good leader lets his doctor speak truthfully on his behalf; Donald Trump dictated his own medical report.

A good leader’s lawyer does not need to pronounce he can’t be indicted;

Donald Trump’s lawyer just did.

A good leader’s speeches to civic groups are never a bad idea; Donald Trump’s led to an apology from the Boy Scouts for inviting him.

A good leader’s publicly stated policy positions are not reversed lightly; Donald Trump’s positions are often reversed within days or hours.

A good leader has few run-ins with the law, if any; Donald Trump has had many.

A good leader has few criminal associates; Donald Trump has many.

A good leader has no mob connections; Donald Trump has quite a few.

A good leader has no need to praise murderous dictators; Donald Trump praises basically all of them.

We could do this all day…

Suffice to say, the distance between Donald Trump and admirable leadership is astronomical.”

Published in: on June 1, 2018 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Osama Bin Laden Wasn’t Killed In the Manner We Were Told

If Seymour Hersch is correct, then almost everything we have been told about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden is false.

For example, the Pakistani military actually had him under house arrest in Abbotabad.

Secondly, it wasn’t American-sponsored vaccination teams who found him there: it was a Pakistani intelligence official who told the CIA.

Thirdly, the Pakistani high command wasn’t kept in the dark. Instead, they were in on the plan and pulled their surveillance planes so that the SEAL team could fly in. They also made sure that the armed guards were not at his home/prison compound that night.

Fourthly, Bin Laden was ill, delusional, and no longer in touch with his followers.

Fifthly, there was no haul of intelligence documents after he was killed.

Sixthly, he was neither using anybody as a human shield nor engaging in a firefight when he was shot. The Americans shot him up so much that he was unrecognizable as human.

Seventh, he was not buried at sea from the USS Carl Vinson.

Here is the link.

Published in: on May 31, 2018 at 12:45 pm  Comments (3)  

Anthology of Early American Socialist Writings on Racism

Racist ideas and practices have long been used to divide the American working class against itself. This division has caused many defeats for ordinary working people (such as the worst and most expensive medical care in the developed world, the longest work weeks, the least paid vacations, the least job security, and much more), together with the wealthiest ruling class in history.

The Left (socialists, abolitionists, communists, liberals, black organizations of all sorts, etc) have obviously done the most work over the to fight American racism. Some socialists, however, were unfortunately extremely racist — Jack London being an example. On the other hand, American communists in the 1930s and 40s were almost the only group standing up against racism and attempting to organize black and white workers together in their own interests, against the capitalist bosses. It was a hard fight, though, because so many white workers were infected with the most bitter and virulent racist ideology. Many struggles were lost, for example the Gastonia textile workers strike, because of that racism.

Now comes an anthology of early writings, published by Haymarket Press, on how leftists dealt with American racism in days gone by. I haven’t read it, but it looks interesting indeed.

Published in: on May 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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