Billionaires and “F” Grades Can Be Good!

In the first election to national office since Newtown, Robin Kelly has defeated Debbie Halvorson in the Dem primary for Jessie Jackson, Jr.’s House seat.  Winning the Dem primary in Chicago means you will win the general, so Kelly is going to Congress.

Kelly had been graded “F” by the NRA, while Debbie Halvorson had an “A” rating.

Mike Bloomberg’s super PAC Independence USA ran over $2 million in ads supporting Kelly, and gun control was really the only issue in the race.

Our Kids Deserve Better, Our Country Needs Better

From “The Real Problems In Schools,” Nicholas Kristof, NYT:

The most important civil rights battleground today is education, and, likewise, the most crucial struggle against poverty is the one fought in school

Inner-city urban schools today echo the “separate but equal” system of the early 1950s. In the Chicago public schools where teachers are now on strike, 86 percent of children are black or Hispanic, and 87 percent come from low-income families.

Chicago’s high school graduation rates have been improving but are still about 60 percent. Just 3 percent of black boys in the ninth grade end up earning a degree from a four-year college…

In fairness, it’s true that the main reason inner-city schools do poorly isn’t teachers’ unions, but poverty.

Still, some Chicago teachers seem to think that they shouldn’t be held accountable until poverty is solved. There are steps we can take that would make some difference, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying some of them — yet the union is resisting.

I’d be sympathetic if the union focused solely on higher compensation. Teachers need to be much better paid to attract the best college graduates to the nation’s worst schools. But, instead, the Chicago union seems to be using its political capital primarily to protect weak performers.

There’s now solid evidence that there are huge differences in the effectiveness of teachers, even within high-poverty schools.

How does one figure out who is a weak teacher? Yes, that’s a challenge. But researchers are improving systems to measure “value added” from beginning to end of the year, and, with three years of data, it’s usually possible to tell which teachers are failing.

Unfortunately, the union is insisting that teachers who are laid off — often for being ineffective — should get priority in new hiring. That’s an insult to students.

Teaching is so important that it should be like other professions, with high pay and good working conditions but few job protections for bottom performers.

This isn’t a battle between garment workers and greedy corporate barons. The central figures in the Chicago schools strike are neither strikers nor managers but 350,000 children. Protecting elements of a broken and unaccountable school system — the union demand — sacrifices those students, in effect turning a blind eye to a “separate but equal” education system.

Emphasis added.

No Reason Both of Us Should Lose

Mitt is calling for Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race.  Dude, no reason both of us should lose.

I haven’t heard a peep from Mitt about the GOP platform’s plank against all abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest, or even the life of the mother.

Abortion, tax cuts for rich people, Mitt’s taxes, Medicare…  Notice no one is talking about the unemployment rate?  Happy days in Chicago, slit-your-wrists time in Boston.

Newtie Not Exactly Packing Them In

“His first post-Alabama and Mississippi rally in a Chicago suburb drew a measly 75 people to hear him speak. Gingrich, who depends on crowd enthusiasm to boost his own, could start to face the inevitable if he fails to draw people to his events or fundraisers.”
Read more:

Mitt Attacking Obama as Crooked Chicago Pol

Mitt Romney’s campaign is going after President Obama for being a crooked Chicago pol.  Seems a little late for that.

It might have made sense four years ago to paint him that way to a national audience that didn’t know him well, but the man’s finishing his first-term as president.  You have to go after his record since January 2009.

Right now, he’s Obama from the Oval Office, not Chicago.