Sunday posts, pics and tweets.

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The first issue, whether Public Act 98-599’s reduction of retirement annuity benefits violates this State’s pension protection clause, is easily resolved. The pension protection clause clearly states: “[m]embership in any pension or retirement system of the State *** shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.” This clause has been construed by our court on numerous occasions, most recently in Kanerva v. Weems, 2014 IL 115811. We held in that case that the clause means precisely what it says: “if something qualifies as a benefit of the enforceable contractual relationship resulting from membership in one of the State’s pension or retirement systems, it cannot be diminished or impaired.” Illinois Supreme Court. May 8, 2015

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But advocates of education reform have, intentionally or not, worked to redefine teachers as transactional coaches. We are supposed to be there just to get that good test score out of each kid. We should use test prep, rewards, threats– whatever works to get the student to make the right marks on the Big Standardized Test so that we can have that easily measured, numerically-coded win. Charter schools have the additional freedom to sort students based on which ones can best complete the transaction and which ones need to be benched. And since the transaction is a fairly simple, we have no shortage of ideas about how to have it broken into short, simple competency-based transactions that can be handled by a computer.

Transactional coaching is simple, clear and can provide distinct short-term rewards. It is also narrow, shallow, and ultimately subordinates humanity and the value of individuals to an artificial and ultimately meaningless excuse for a life purpose. Transformational coaching is way to see the pursuit of athletic excellence as a means of pursuing human excellence and giving an athlete the tools to pursue whatever goals they might set for themselves. A transformational approach puts humanity at the center, setting goals that recognize higher values than the simple pursuits in front of us. A transactional approach sets up an artificial goal and holds it up as a god to be worshipped and pursued at the expense of any human beings who stand in the way. Can there be any doubt that education should be transformational? Curmudgucation

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The President Barack Obama Library is projected to cost over half a billion dollars to build in Chicago. The costs of staffing all 17 Presidential libraries is $70 million a year. Staffing comes from tax money alone. Maintenance and stuff is funded by city, county, state, federal, and private sources year after year.

If Chicago Public Schools each had President Barack Obama Libraries built, staffed and funded in a similar manner, imagine how much good these libraries would do for the children in Chicago. Children would love him and his libraries just as we adults revere the libraries we frequented as children, students and adults. President Obama might do for public school libraries what Andrew Carnegie did for public libraries.

Perhaps we should ask President Obama to begin a new trend of helping our living children as his legacy as a soon-to-be past President.

This actually IS for the children. Reclaim Reform

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