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Posted at 5:06 AM ET, 03/ 7/2011

Wonkbook: Are we nearing the endgame in Wisconsin?

By Ezra Klein

The Wall Street Journal has a report that quotes extensively from the state's Senate Democrats and suggests they're feeling the pressure to come home. "I think we have to realize that there's only so much we can do as a group to make a stand," said Sen. Bob Jauch. Talking Points Memo, however, notes that some of those same Senate Democrats are denying that report. "Unfortunately, the WSJ fished for the quote they wanted, skipping this key step in logic: we won't come back until worker's rights are preserved," Sen. Chris Larson said in a statement.

Poll after poll shows that Gov. Scott Walker's position is increasingly unpopular and Wisconsin's voters want to see a compromise. But Walker seems to be holding out. And the state's Senate Democrats can't stay away forever. In this way, their efforts have been a very traditional filibuster: Not the 60-vote pocket veto we're used to, where the minority simply refuses to allow a majority vote, but the talk-a-thons of lore, in which a determined minority feel so strongly about their opposition to a bill that they mount a physically exhausting and politically dangerous stand against it, bringing all the other business currently facing the chamber to a halt in a desperate attempt to win the public over to their side. You can't do that forever, and you can't do it to often -- but then, nor should you be able to. The election went how it went, and after you make your case and appeal to the public and try and shame the majority, you either have the votes or you don't.

Wisconsin's Democrats have been filibustering with their feet, and it's not clear how much longer they can keep it up. That's how it's supposed to be: thwarting the will of the elected majority is supposed to be difficult, not routine. What the Democrats have is the next election, not to mention the recall effort they've launched against a handful of Senate Republicans. "It's really up to the public to be engaged in carrying the torch on this issue," Jauch told the Journal. And shouldn't it be? The Democrats have shown the voters exactly what it is that they voted for in Walker. His effort to quietly gut collective bargaining in Wisconsin has been a huge failure. Democrats have turned up the volume in the Capitol to "deafening." But at some point, the state will have to move on. The question between now and then is whether the voters can persuade some of the Republicans to come to the middle, and if the Republicans refuse their entreaties, what sort of retribution the voters will visit on them for their stubbornness.

Top Stories

There are few signs of an imminent budget compromise, reports Carol Leonnig: "Congressional leaders showed few signs of compromise in their ongoing budget battle Sunday, with Republican and Democratic leaders publicly accusing one another of not being serious about crafting a responsible federal spending plan quickly...Democrats accused the Republican-controlled House of proposing "reckless" cuts in a small sliver of the budget - slashing deeply into domestic discretionary programs for education and energy research...When asked if he thought Obama was serious about brokering a deal, McConnell said: 'No, I don't...I was hopeful that we would step up to the plate here, if you will, and use this divided-government opportunity to do something big about our long-term problem. What I don't see now is any willingness to do anything that's difficult.'"

Senate Democrats have unveiled their own budget, reports David Rogers: "Sharpening the contrast with House Republicans, Senate Democrats introduced Friday their own budget for the remainder of this fiscal year, restoring tens of billions for domestic and foreign aid programs even as the Pentagon would get about $2.1 billion less than the GOP proposes. The $1.077 trillion plan bills itself as middle ground between House’s own budget and President Barack Obama’s 2011 spending requests from a year ago. But it is also very much a stalking horse now for the president, trying to get Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to move more toward the center in negotiations with the White House. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) served notice that he wants to have back-to-back votes Tuesday matching the new Senate alternative against Boehner’s Feb. 19th House-passed package which would cut $51.3 billion more than Democrats have recommended. "

Wisconsin's Democratic state senators could return soon, report Kris Maher and Amy Merrick: "Playing a game of political chicken, Democratic senators who fled Wisconsin to stymie restrictions on public-employee unions said Sunday they planned to come back from exile soon, betting that even though their return will allow the bill to pass, the curbs are so unpopular they'll taint the state's Republican governor and legislators...Sen. Mark Miller said he and his fellow Democrats intend to let the full Senate vote on Gov. Scott Walker's 'budget-repair' bill, which includes the proposed limits on public unions' collective-bargaining rights. The bill, which had been blocked because the missing Democrats were needed for the Senate to have enough members present to vote on it, is expected to pass the Republican-controlled chamber."

Other state senators deny the report:

Punk cover interlude: The Clash play "Police On My Back" live.

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.

Still to come: The Fed is not likely to scale back asset-buying early; higher health costs, not health care reform, is driving up insurance premiums; class sizes are growing in public schools; the White House is considering tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; and a polar bear cub frolics in the snow.


The Fed won't end quantitative easing early, reports Jon Hilsenrath: "Federal Reserve officials have grown more confident that a self-sustaining economic recovery is taking root in the U.S., but they want to see more evidence before they seriously consider how and when to pull back the enormous amounts of stimulus they pumped into the financial system. So when officials gather for their next policy meeting March 15, they are likely to decide to continue a $600 billion Treasury securities purchasing program. They are also likely to maintain a commitment to keep short-term interest rates near zero for an 'extended period.' Barring a surprising turn in the economy or inflation, it seems increasingly likely that the securities purchase program, known by some as quantitative easing, is likely to end in June as scheduled."

Senate Democrats are fighting to save the administration's "czars":

The GOP is running a budget "boot camp" for freshmen, report Jonathan Allen and Jake Sherman: "Republican leaders have been running something of a budget boot camp for the 87 members of their freshman class in hopes of getting them to the point they can pitch the GOP’s 2012 blueprint to their constituents back home. In a normal year, the complexities of a budget plan are tough enough to explain to rank-and-file House members, most of whom are focused on more narrow issues. But this year, Republican leaders promise to address politically charged entitlement programs -- such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- when they unveil their budget in the next few weeks...The freshmen are charged with selling the GOP’s plans in their own districts so that there’s public support for making significant changes to popular safety-net programs."

States want to overhaul the administration's mortgage modification programs:

Corporations are pushing for a tax holiday, reports Mike Zapler: "What politician would vote against a trillion-dollar economic stimulus plan at little cost to taxpayers? Probably not too many. And that's just how a group of multinational tech, drug and energy companies are framing the pitch as they prepare to launch a coordinated campaign on Capitol Hill for a temporary tax break on overseas profits they bring back to the U.S. Politically, the so-called repatriation tax holiday could be a tough sell to a public wary of giving big business a free lunch - let alone a smorgasbord. President Barack Obama also has made clear he’s not interested in piecemeal tax measures, insisting on a comprehensive overhaul. And critics say there’s scant evidence the last tax reprieve of this kind in 2004 spurred much investment or hiring."

The unemployment rate is below 9 percent for the first time in almost two years:

Technological progress won't mean abandoning manual labor, writes Paul Krugman: "The belief that education is becoming ever more important rests on the plausible-sounding notion that advances in technology increase job opportunities for those who work with information...The economists David Autor, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argued that this was the wrong way to think about it. Computers, they pointed out, excel at routine tasks, “cognitive and manual tasks that can be accomplished by following explicit rules.” Therefore, any routine task -- a category that includes many white-collar, nonmanual jobs -- is in the firing line. Conversely, jobs that can’t be carried out by following explicit rules -- a category that includes many kinds of manual labor, from truck drivers to janitors -- will tend to grow even in the face of technological progress."

A healthy labor movement is necessary for preserving the middle class, write Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson:

We can't get away with deficit spending forever, writes Tyler Cowen: "The illusion is this: A government bond represents both a current asset and a future liability, yet for most people, those future tax payments feel less concrete and less real than the dollars they’re holding in a money market account. The field of behavioral economics analyzes imperfections in market decision-making, but the biggest practical problems often involve our inaccurate perceptions of what the public sector is up to and how much it will affect us. In this case, the sorry truth is that our savings aren’t worth as much as many of us think, and a rude awakening is coming. One way or another, some of our savings will be taxed away to make good on governmental commitments, like future Medicare benefits, which we currently are framing as personal free lunches."

Movie trailer interlude: James Gunn's Super.

Health Care

Health premiums are continuing to rise with the price of care, reports Robert Pear: "As Congress continues to debate the new health care law, health insurance costs are still rising, particularly for small businesses. Republicans are seizing on the trend as evidence that the new law includes expensive features that are driving up premiums. But the insurance industry says premiums are rising primarily because of the underlying cost of care and a growing demand for it. Across the country, premiums have more than doubled in the last decade, with smaller companies particularly hard hit in recent years, federal officials say... Economists and state regulators say health insurance is expensive primarily because health care is expensive. 'You won’t really address the cost of health insurance unless you address the cost of health care itself,' New Hampshire’s insurance commissioner, Roger A. Sevigny, said."

Senate Democrats are giving up on confirming Medicare and Medicaid administrator Donald Berwick:

The GOP's is taking a cynical approach to health care cuts, writes Michael Millenson: "The Prevention and Public Health Fund? 'You mean, the prevention health slush fund, as we like to refer to it?' replied a GOP staffer. The Innovation Center at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services? 'An innovation center at CMS is an oxymoron,' responded a Republican aide, before adding a personal barb aimed at the attendees: 'Though it's great for PhDs who come to Washington on the government tab.' There was also no reason the government should pay for 'so-called comparative effectiveness research,' another said. 'Everything's on the chopping block,' said yet another...Those focused on the substance of health policy might be forgiven for feeling blindsided."

Turning Medicaid into a block grant would be disastrous, writes Harold Pollack:

Domestic Policy

Budget cuts are swelling class sizes, reports Sam Dillon: "Millions of public school students across the nation are seeing their class sizes swell because of budget cuts and teacher layoffs, undermining a decades-long push by parents, administrators and policy makers to shrink class sizes. Over the past two years, California, Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin have loosened legal restrictions on class size. And Idaho and Texas are debating whether to fit more students in classrooms. Los Angeles has increased the average size of its ninth-grade English and math classes to 34 from 20. Eleventh- and 12th-grade classes in those two subjects have risen, on average, to 43 students...Since the 1980s, teachers and many other educators have embraced research finding that smaller classes foster higher achievement."

Still more states are considering anti-union legislation, reports Mark Stein: "Efforts to strip public employees of collective-bargaining and other rights in Wisconsin and Ohio have received much of the attention, but at least 10 other states are pursuing similar measures. Lawmakers in Florida, Idaho, Missouri, Tennessee and South Carolina have introduced bills to reduce union power or to make it more difficult for them to sign up workers, and there is talk of similar measures even in labor-friendly California and New York. Those efforts would build on bills already working their way through legislatures in Iowa, Kansas and the traditionally progressive state of Massachusetts. The measures aren't identical, but each attempts to rein in labor unions amid concerns about state budget deficits and a national debate over public-sector pay and pensions."

Texas is fighting over federal education dollars:

Real education reform should focus on early childhood, writes Kevin Drum: "Children of college graduates score about one standard deviation above the mean by the time they're three, and that never changes. Children of mothers with less than a high school education score about half a standard deviation below the mean by the time they're three, and that never changes either. Roughly speaking, nothing we do after age three has much effect... Intensive, early interventions, by contrast, genuinely seem to work. They aren't cheap, and they aren't easy. And they don't necessarily boost IQ scores or get kids into Harvard. But they produce children who learn better, develop critical life skills, have fewer problems in childhood and adolescence, commit fewer crimes, earn more money, and just generally live happier, stabler, more productive lives."

Cold fun in the wintertime interlude: A baby polar bear frolics in the snow.


The White House is considering tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, reports Matthew Wald: "The Obama administration is considering tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to rapidly rising gasoline prices brought on by turmoil in the Middle East, the White House chief of staff, William M. Daley, said on Sunday. 'It’s something that only has been done on very rare occasions,' Mr. Daley said on 'Meet the Press' on NBC, adding, 'It’s something we’re considering.' Administration officials have sent mixed signals about the possibility of opening the reserve, which would add supply to the domestic oil market and tend to push down prices. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Friday that the administration was monitoring prices, but he has been reluctant to endorse more aggressive steps."

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding hearings on climate science:

The GOP wants to strip the EPA's power to regulate coal mining, reports Ben Geman: "Kentucky’s Senate delegation floated legislation Thursday that curtails the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to delay or veto permits for coal mining projects. The bill, introduced by GOP Sen. Rand Paul and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is the latest attack on what lawmakers from Appalachian coal-producing states call undue EPA delays and limits on mountaintop removal mining projects. 'I think this is a good first step to reining in an out-of-control, unelected bureaucracy. I think the EPA has gone way beyond its mandated duty and is now at the point of stifling industry in our country,' Paul said Thursday."

China is planning a major energy conservation push:

Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews and Michelle Williams.

By Ezra Klein  | March 7, 2011; 5:06 AM ET
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Next: Can John Boehner change the tone on entitlements?


WI Dems should return home now. They've done all they can, and won some political points. Time to let the GOP vote their conscience and then if the people of WI dont like it they can vote the Repubs out net election and restore things.

In the meantime the Dems can proceed with recall efforts.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 7:24 AM | Report abuse

The WSJ has about as much credibility as Fox News.

Posted by: clintt5 | March 7, 2011 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Super - light hearted version of Kick-Ass. It might work.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 7, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

WSJ = Fox Light and getting worse sense Rupert Murdoch bought it.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | March 7, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Regarding mortgage modifications, I'll repost what I wrote on Saturday, since nobody's here on weekends (and since nobody may care about mortgage modifications either!)

From Saturday's NYT

Mortgage Modification Overhaul Sought by States

Hopefully, this is just a bad dream. The Obama administration exhibits some suicidal tendencies on occasion but if this actually passed it would be full on seppuku!

Combine this bad idea with the diminishment of Fannie and Freddie bad idea (at this time), AND the end of QE2 in June (which will raise the 30 year mortgage at least 100 basis points, probably more by the end of 2011), and the sound will be akin to hiring a one armed dishwasher in a fancy restaurant . . . a huge crash! (in housing)

If you think it's difficult to get a mortgage now, just wait.

For an investor, it means if this proposal has a good chance to pass in it's current form, you would HAVE to get out of any financial that has a strong connection to the housing industry. Conversely, it might be a good time to buy Home Depot or Lowes, on the dips because no one will be moving anywhere. I would also expect to see the surviving new homebuilders take yet another hit.

Follow this one very closely!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 7, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Every day this goes on, Walker pays a higher political price because his position is the most unreasonable, even on its face. The unions have agreed to take all the cuts the right has demanded, and still they insist on removing their right to exist. I don't see how this leads you to conclude that dems have to give up now. I guess that's what they call "centrism" these days. And just to be clear, the people didn't vote walker in on an anti-union agenda. He sneaked that one in in his back pocket along with a bunch of $1000 bills from the Koch bros.

Posted by: psbjr | March 7, 2011 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Texas School System under Rick Perry and our almost Completely Republican Congress is 47th in SAT; #1 in Uninsured Children, First State to pay College Educations for Illegals, "Dream Act", Poor and Middle Class children can't afford. Forty Percent of Students entering the 9th Grade never Graduate High School.

Stimulus money Earmarked for Education didn't Stimulate School Construction or Teacher pay when Perry and his Crowd Removed from the State Budget for Education a Like amount. I'm almost positive all other Stimulus Funds received the Same Budget Treatment.

With that Loop Hole plugged they are crying real tears because they can't get Stimulus money to balance the 2 year $25-27 Billion Budget Deficit.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | March 7, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

just fire the workers...

Posted by: DwightCollins | March 7, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Now that one state senator has figured out the workaround for the requirement the pick up their paycheck "personally" (granting staffer power of attorney), I believe they have solved one budget shortfall

I think they have to let it ride. Illinois isn't Afghanistan and Wisconsin National Guardsmen have to go there for a year at a time. They can tough it out in a hotel until the GOP senators face a recall vote in a few months. I'm sure the warden at the Holiday Inn (or wherever they're staying) will allow their spouses to make conjugal visits.

Posted by: beowulf_ | March 7, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse


I'm no fan of Confederate Governor Rick Perry, however on schools, let's be fair.

Texas is either number 2 or 3 in the nation in immigration both legal and illegal, most of whom are of Hispanic origin. Nationwide the Hispanic dropout rate hovers somewhere between 25 and 30%, with Texas actually doing a better job than a lot of states in that category, probably because of a greater prevalence of Spanish speaking teachers.

Also Hispanic women nationally have the greatest accelerating rate of unmarried births nationally over the last decade, increasing more than 15%, while no other group has grown faster than 10%. The current national Hispanic non-marital birthrate is about 49%.

As I have pointed out before nationally both by state and locality, the educational achievement level and the unmarried birthrate are almost exactly inversely proportional.

Rick Perry may be ass, but this particular problem is bigger than him.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 7, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

On Meet The Press, did David Gregory or for that matter, any other GOP Pundits, ask Michelle Bachman about her 700 million Bridge to Nowhere, even though she advocates cutting spending? No! That is irresponsible journalism!

-- --


When she and other GOP tea partiers state, so emphatically that they want to create jobs, does the media ask, just what are their plans and proposals to do so? NO! All they propose is to cut, But I guess saying No to any type of job stimulation creates jobs! How the media keeps letting them get away with these statements without backing up their assertions is irresponsible journalism.

And, how the media keep letting GOP get away with statements like -- Obama is not serious about the debt, when the GOP gives away tax cuts to the rich and entitlements to Big Oil, is also irresponsible journalism.

I guess the break down of Charlie Scheen is... "responsible journalism" however, I bet the media will not show you Michael Moore's inspirational speech to Wisconsinites -- "America is not Broke"!

And, as Michael Moore so rightly spoke, "This is the United States of America not the Corporate States of America, a Government run by Billionares for billonares!"

Posted by: wdsoulplane | March 7, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Democrat senators in Wisconsin also are facing the reality of a recall vote - it would be interesting to see how that goes if they're not even in the state to campaign for their jobs. All of Walker's initiatives may not be popular with voters, but the three week "vacation" on the democratic side of the aisle is extremely unpopular. By all means, Democrats - pursue that recall strategy - double down on a losing approach that's only going to hurt you in the end. What a bunch of left-wing extremists - shame on you!

Posted by: JM80 | March 7, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse


come on now, fairness is not in the liberal vocabulary (although its also not in the conservative one).

Sadly partisanship reigns supreme.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 7, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"Polls show that Gov. Walker's position is increasingly unpopular and voters want a compromise", but he is just too stupid to understand. The idiot cornered himself into a no-win situation. If he caves in, and he will, he will angry his financial supporters, the F.uck Brothers and the big corporations and, he will be remembered as the idiot who, single-handedly, started a class war. Anyone voting Republican in the next election?
I have never seen or heard of an intelligent, right-wing Republican. Has anyone out there?

Posted by: analyst72 | March 7, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I would hope that the Post has some sort of remedial writing program for its columnists.

In reading Mr. Samuelson's article on Social Security, I could not help but notice that his lead is, stangely enough, about Social Security. And the title of the column(though I do not know if Mr. Samuelson wrote it) is "why Social Security is Welfare".

But his first fact in support of his lead is "Recall that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the main programs for the elderly, exceed 40 percent of federal spending."

Somehow, I missed Mr. Samuelson's lead having anything to do with Medicare and Medicaid. It could be my failure I guess, though on review his lead contains neither the words "Medicare" nor "Medicaid". Nor does it even lump them into the discussion by using "entitlements" or any other variation of that word.

I think Mr. Samuelson should take(or retake) a Journalism 101 class. And since the Post would benefit from one of tis writers learning how to write a story, the Post should pay for it. Call it "Welfare For Writers".

Posted by: edmichael | March 7, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Texas white students achieve just average school results.

Texas blacks a little worse on average.

Legal hispanics very poorly.

Texas is not doing a good job educating its "legal students", and given that we all agree that parenting is perhaps just as big a factor for education success as money, that means Texas either has poor parents or not enough emphasis on education, or both.

If money in education truly doesn't matter, as so many right-wing advocates seem to claim, then immigration shouldn't be able to bog down the quality of education there because, after all, money doesn't matter. Parenting does and immigration can't affect parenting. I'd bet Texas asian students are doing well.

And let's not blame the teachers because they've been subjected to various GOP designed programs starting from Bush and now Perry, which means if the students are failing due to teachers, then the GOP programs might be the reason.

Does anyone have the per capita student Texas education budget ranking compared to other states?

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

That's a great idea. Let's just have all Wisconsin Senators recalled, both Dems and Repubs, and see what the Wisconsin voters have to say about that. If these recalls go through, it is my understanding it could be complete before end of summer, and the Wisconsin GOP budget lead is one of the guys on the recall list.

Both parties have made their stand in Wisconsin. I'd love to see how the voters react to those stands now that they truly know what those stands are.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

lauren wrote:

"Parenting does and immigration can't affect parenting."

This is incorrect on it's face. If as I wrote Hispanics have the fastest growing rate of unmarried births in the country, and if an area has a large percentage of Hispanic immigrants legal or otherwise, then it's obvious that the origins of immigrants do affect parenting.

For instance Asians have the lowest rate of unmarried parenthood in the nation so an influx of Asian immigrants will have an entirely different affect on a school system than Hispanic ones.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 7, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting that, amid a flurry of polls of questionable value and vague origins, the side buckling isn't the Republican side, it's the Dems. Even now we are hearing the beginnings of their defensive "it's just a small variation on the standard filibuster" rhetoric cropping up in Ezra's reflections.
I bet that another real poll, an actual poll, a recall election, will yield the same results as the one last November.
A few days ago I spoke with a friend who actually protested against the bill at the capitol and is obsessed with the whole deal and even he is starting to talk about "limiting union activity for two years" I think that the union bosses are going to shift their vast treasure and small, yet passionate, groud forces away from this war of attrition on the capitol steps and into a backroom political battle on the recall front.
There they have the advantage of controlling the voting apparatus... look for votes to be held on work days when the private sector taxpayer is busy making a living and the public sector bureaucrat is sipping coffee somewhere near the polling station.
I think the arrogance on the union bosses drove them into this box canyon at the capitol steps... they thought... "I control the teachers, the kids, all the public employees and the dem senators are like baubles on my keychain.... I'm shutting it all down!" and lo and behold the state looked on with steely determination, going about their business and learning ever more about the corruption of these union bosses.
Now the stubborn pimps running the locals risk losing their best cash cow.... the healthcare dollars which sift through their sticky fingers and they've depleted their misguided praetorian guard, the UW students and public school teachers by sending them to tilt against windmills.
In their arrogance they played a weak hand rather than waiting and they have given the people of Wisconsin a chance, a slim chance to be sure but a chance, to escape their suffocating embrace.
Millions of dollars will flow, blood may be shed but the forces of evil, in this bozo nightmare, might be pushed from their throne.
On Wisconsin!
I cede my additional 740 characters of potential comment back to the board.

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | March 7, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"Texas is not doing a good job educating its "legal students."

Texas actually does a much better job with education than you might think.

When looking at test scores for white, black and hispanic kids in the 4th and 8th grade, Texas outscores the national average in ALL categories, and outperforms Wisconsin in all but one category (4th grade hispanic students in Wisconsin score higher than those in Texas).

"Does anyone have the per capita student Texas education budget ranking compared to other states?"

Texas spent $7,818 per pupil in 2006-2007 vs. $10,267 for Wisconsin and $9,666 on average across the nation.

Posted by: justin84 | March 7, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"come on now, fairness is not in the liberal vocabulary (although its also not in the conservative one)."

I find liberals in recent years a little more fair. Thats on reason I am no longer a Republican.

Liberals are outnumbered in the USA. They therefore HAVE TO appeal to voters based on issues that have been thought through a bit more and based on fact, than the typical GOP talking point. Liberals are often wrong, everyone is. But they seem more adapt to change their thinking if needed to solve a problem. Conservatives though, are hard to abandon dogma and accept big lies if it helps them achieve their political goals. That's why so many believe Obama is a muslim or a kenyan or why Huckabee can get away with saying those things on TV and still be a viable candidate.

The truest test of being fair, is to ask whether the typical liberal or conservative would, if they could get away with it, cheat at an election station. I believe a higher percentage of liberals would not cheat. One reason I say that is that in 2004 I volunteered at a Dem office, and witnessed how organized conservatives from the local GOP office would constantly play games at our office (visit in small groups, hold signs outside our door, congregate at our registration tables at events and sort of interfere with people in line, whereas we never engaged in that sort of thing.

Dems do cheat in elections in certain places such as NO, Chicago, etc, but if you check the news, there has been widespread, systematic, and criminal evidence of such cheating by the GOP in recent years.

And then you have such things as the Virginia AG witch hunts agains climate scientists, and various Dems were recently threatened with impeachment when they refused to sue over Obamacare. Match that with Clinton's impeachment, Gray Davis's recall, Mayor Buddy Dyer suspension, unwarranted attacks on groups such as ACORN, prosecution of people like Siegelmann (50 bipartisan AGs said it was wrong), Abramoff, Tom Delay, unprecedented Gerrymandering, and so on. The list is quite long and I've only touched on it.

Fairness is not owned by either persuasion, but it certainly is abused a lot more by the right IMO.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse


I saw tables recently (I think they were from the 2011 census, but I might be wrong on that source) that showed Texas Whites as a group were AVERAGE and Blacks as a group slightly below average.

Sorry don't have the time to find them.

Anyone who cares about the issue can search themselves. But given that reports say that Texas is ranked very poorly overall, it's not hard to accept that what I read is reasonably accurate.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Slate is reporting that the leader of the Wisconsin dem senators(I thought that their leader was a union boss?) has sent a letter to the Governor of Wisconsin asking him to "Meet" "soon"..... gosh, last time I checked the Governor has been waiting for weeks in a room especially designed for exactly this sort of "meeting" literally begging the dems to show up....
Why should the Governor of Wisconsin have to decamp to some waterpark in a different state in order to hold political disscussions with Wisconsin "politicians"?
Governor Walker, let them rot in Illinois, let them run their recall campaigns from an out of state waterpark as they take their daily bread from a union supplied doggy bowl.
Expedite the recall and watch their increasing discomforture.

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | March 7, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse


Most asians who immigrate here are quite wealthy, at least compared to most hispanics to immigrate here. APPLES -- ORANGES. You should know that.

I believe economic disparity and opportunity is the cause of out of wedlock rates among the poor.

Certainly you don't think it's more of a racial aspect, do you?

And if economic disparity is a source of OOW rates or divorces, etc, that obviously affects parenting, and that clearly affects the educational success of their children. So if Texas is indeed spending less per student, as Justin said, perhaps they need to find ways to provide for economic parity among the Texas poor?

I'm not even talking about blank check spending.

Rather, I am talking of fair representation in gvmt (which Texas lacks and indeed is guilty of when it comes to redistricting to maxmize its GOP footprint), and then letting those reps find private investors and other initiatives and programs in those poorer areas so as to reduce OOW and other issues.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Cheesy if you have health care or a good salary, or vacation, or medical leave, or sick pay, or safe working conditions, it's because of a union.

When we get rid of unions, the average worker (union or non-union) is going to suffer in this country. And that means YOU.

It is apparent you eat from the corporate doggy bowl handed to you by the brothers koch--people who care NOTHING about you. You are free to join a union, but just try joining the country club the koch brothers belong to or try getting into the Bohemian society party they attend with all the other wealthy and elite. They'll put you in cuffs if you tried.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Cheesy, judging from your ludicrous commentary, your screenname is even more apt than you realize. First of all, far from "begging" the Democrats to sit down with him, Walker has consistently ruled out ANY compromise on his proposals. A classic bully, he insists not only on getting his own way but humiliating anyone who dares stand in his way.

Second, given your obvious bias, I find it rather hard to believe you have friends on the other side of the issue--let alone that they're saying anything like what you claim about next steps.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | March 7, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"I saw tables recently (I think they were from the 2011 census, but I might be wrong on that source) that showed Texas Whites as a group were AVERAGE and Blacks as a group slightly below average."

By all means, go find those tables and we can analyze them.

As it stands, the 2009 data on 4th and 8th graders show Texas kids, controlling for race/ethnicity, outperform the national average in all subjects.

"Anyone who cares about the issue can search themselves. But given that reports say that Texas is ranked very poorly overall, it's not hard to accept that what I read is reasonably accurate."

What reports do you speak of?

Posted by: justin84 | March 7, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

There was a time when unions "won" things from corporations.... nowadays those unions have become bastions of corruption where union bosses hand locals down to their children like hereditary principalities.
We owe nothing to the crooks who run unions nowadays.
The public unions never won anything for anybody that didn't come straight out of the pockets of the public. You are telling the Taxpayers of Wisconsin "You guys owe the WEA Trust union bosses massive pay and benefit packages because, somewhere, sometime, almost 100 years ago, somebody fought for something.
Are you trying to tell me that when Mary Bell called the teachers oput of the schools she was thinking of what's good for anybody other than her? I don't believe it and I bet that you don't either. The whole, "unions got us weekends" rhetorical line is getting a little tired, a little shallow when viewed through the eyes of a taxpayer. Lauren, in case you haven't noticed, there are no "corporate devils" involved here. There are two parties to this dispute, the taxpayers, who are served by their elected representatives and the union bosses who are served by the string of ponies they feed in the state senate.
The "big money" players here are Marty Beil and Mary Bell backed up by a deep bench of trembling union bosses from across the nation and their virtually limitless treasure.
I'd say, that any fair assessment of just who it is who's a "patriot" as opposed to just who it is who is a "tool", a "useful idiot", in this discussion would rate me nearer to the grounded reality and you a tad closer to the cloudy obfuscation of the spectrum. I'm about as rhetorical as a root but I can see the difference between the elected governor of a state and the hereditary prince of a union principality..
I for one, support the little guy, because I am the little guy. You seem to be fed by someone other than yourself...
but lauren, enlighten me... where exactly is the "corporate interest" in this dispute?
Please be specific... tell me exactly who it is who benefits from limiting public union power to negotiate health benefits and channel the money through a union controled insurance company? How exactly does that benefit corporations? How does it not benefit the children, the parents and the taxpayers?
Can the "week end" rhetoric and the accusations of "foolish corporate tool" and tell me why Wisconsin taxpayer healthcare funds should be syphoned through a union controled entity that apparently skims off 15% and redistributes in among the union bosses? (about $20 for every man woman and child in Wisconsin).
Help me Lauren, I'm just a confused corporate tool.....

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | March 7, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

lauren wrote

"I believe economic disparity and opportunity is the cause of out of wedlock rates among the poor.

Certainly you don't think it's more of a racial aspect, do you?"

I believe it is cultural not racial. For instance there are a few countries in Europe that have an even higher umarried birthrate than we do, Iceland being one, which elminates "racial" factors, but nails cultural factors.

In these countries two differnt trends seem to be at work. In some, the societies are post-religious and post marital. By that I mean the fathers and mothers of the children actually live together and raise the chlidren together, they just don't marry.

In other nations, child bearing and rearing are seen as more of a societal issue than a parental one. France is a good illustration of this trend where all the social programs of the society are geared toward removing any individual responsibility for the parent.

This country has an entirely different relationship as it so often does. For instance in the countries where many Hispanic immigrants come from, the umarried birth rate is much lower. This illustrates how immigration patterns can break down traditional culutral behavior, in this case by separating individuals both physically and emotionally from the restraints of traditional family and society.

It's a helluva mess, that can't be solved by spending more on education or by grinding teachers to the ground when students don't do well.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 7, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Hey Ezra,

Wasn't it only last week that you "reported", "opined" (or whatever you want to call it) that thew Wisconsin Democratic State Senators were on the verge of prevailing in their dispute with Gov. Walker?

Assuming no Republican moves to the middle (as you put it), why are you so certain that the voters will seek "retribution" on the Wisconsin Republicans? It is a long way until the next election among many other variable you do not address.

I know this issue cuts deeply into your political beliefs, but your reporting on this issue has been excessively partisan and therefore not up to your normal (albeit left of center) standards.

Then again, let's face, you were not even born when Reagan dealt with the air traffic controllers, were you!

So I will chalk this one up to your lack of experience!

Posted by: Willbone87 | March 7, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I've found that folks on the "Right" are typically more open to debate and less dogmatic in their thinking than folks on the "left"...
I bet that if I walked into some right wing bastion and expressed the "union boss" side of this argument I would be met by spirited debate.
If I walked into a public union bastion and expressed the right wing view (let's refer to that as the "taxpayer's" point of view) I would be called "stupid", "ill-informed", "not sufficiently grateful" etc. etc. if I press beyond the derisive insults and raise any sort of data point (like "why is their a WEA Trust insurance company?") the derisive coments become increasingly hostile, my parents and motives will be impuned and it becomes painfully clear that lots of folks on the left don't bother with details, they stick with generalizations like "corporate, bad!" and "Union-Good!" any disscussion beyond that is akin to teasing the Eleusinian Mysteries from a "god" or being impertinant enough to question exactly why it is that the Mayan "god" you are being hustled up the stairs to meet will require that your head be severed from your shoulders.
I'll bet that there in your DC workspace it would be career suicide to ask any questions about just why it is that money needs to be flowed through the sticky fingers of the union bosses... in your insular little thought space I'll bet questions are generally frowned upon...
"Daily talking points, and a $5 cup of coffee, that's your job, for christ's sake don't screw it up" I'll bet that that is the standard pre-work comunication session for a beltway bureaucrat.
We see a flurry of expensive designer polls and pseudo-intellectual articles supporting the union boss position.... gosh DC, is it possible that there are two sides to this story? I don't want to pollute your good-think with blaspheme but maybe, just maybe, those hicks out in hooterville have a point.
Maybe it would be fun to let them elect a governor and allow the guy to govern...
Just for the fun of it, just for a laugh.

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | March 7, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"Stimulus money Earmarked for Education didn't Stimulate School Construction or Teacher pay when Perry and his Crowd Removed from the State Budget for Education a Like amount. I'm almost positive all other Stimulus Funds received the Same Budget Treatment"

You lie!

The dispute between Perry and Doggett, D-Austin, began in August, when Congress passed legislation to give $10 billion in aid to allow states to hire and retain teachers. Tacked onto the law was a measure proposed by Doggett and supported by other Democrats — applicable only to Texas — that requires the governor to offer his assurance that the money will be used to "supplement and not supplant" state education financing through 2013.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 7, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"Texas white students achieve just average school results.

Texas blacks a little worse on average.

Legal hispanics very poorly."

You lie!

Based on the nations report card, Texas whites beat Wisconsin whites, Texas blacks beat Wisconsin blacks, and Texas hispanics beat Wisconsin hispanics in 8th grade math, science, and reading.

To provide a single example, in 8th grade math:

Texas blacks score at 272, Wisconsin blacks score at 254.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 7, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse


Yep, Utah and Idaho get better scores on the NAEP than New York despite only 1/3 of the education spending.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 7, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"I believe economic disparity and [lack of] opportunity is the cause of out of wedlock rates among the poor."

Why were out of wedlock birth rates for African Americans much lower two generations ago?

Posted by: justin84 | March 7, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse


"assuming no Republican moves to the middle (as you put it), why are you so certain that the voters will seek "retribution" on the Wisconsin Republicans? It is a long way until the next election among many other variable you do not address"

Yep. Redistricting will let Wisconsin Republicans pack away leftist voters in a few districts. The rest of the districts in the state will go to the Republicans!

Democrats are gonna be hosed. There's a couple Democratic Senators up for recall in somewhat Republican districts; we can and will add more Republican voters to those districts and scoop the Democrats out.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 7, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The obvious solution to the stand-off in Wisconsin would be for the Republicans to strip the collective bargaining provisions out of the short-term budget fix, and for Democrats to agree that the same provisions be brought to a vote (after a fair period of debate) in a stand-alone bill.

Republicans won't take that fair deal, because their own caucus is terrified of being held accountable for their votes on that issue in isolation.

Unless individuals can say "...well, I really didn't like THAT part very much, but it was better to swallow it in order to fix the budget," they have no fig leaf at all over the union busting motive, and that plain fact gets increasingly apparent to the public with each day that passes.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 7, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Since the 1980s, teachers and many other educators have embraced research finding that smaller classes foster higher achievement.""

No wai! I am shocked!

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 7, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"Sadly partisanship reigns supreme."

Hypocrite much? That posture of faux centrism really doesn't sit well with the pom-poms for Chris Christie.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | March 7, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Lauren and DC are just nletting their keyboards cool a bit....
but it seems like this sort of silence always creeps into the convsation when you attempt to "debate" a bureaucrat, after an introductory chorus of standard, union approved, insults, and the standard accusation of "ludicrous" (generally implying that the debate has veered into anti-bureaucratic blasphemy) the lights of the left just go out and the door to their fragile thought space is tightly locked.
I think that it is just too dangerous for bureaucrats to leave the path and wander in the dark woods of the free thinkers, they have too much to lose...
If I were being paid $120k plus the most comfy bennies ever to sip coffee and "think" about the issues of the day, I'd be pretty danged careful which thoughts I let slip from my cerebellum onto my tougne. Before I said a word I'd check the daily talking points and I'd never speak openly with a rightwing "nut"... it's just too, dangerous, you never know what sort of rhetorical corner you'll be backed into and after all, the important thing is the tax payer supplied pay check... isn't it?
So DC, never mind me, I'm used to these long silences, like I said, I love talking to folks all over the political spectrum...
I love cognative dissonance, it's like a refreshing cool breeze in summer or a persistent South wind in the winter...
Don't let me trouble you, back to your latte, keep your head down, get your GS number up, maybe Janey over at Starbucks will take a liking to your benefits package.

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | March 7, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse


if you didn't pop in here as you do from whatever it is that you do (STILL WON"T TELL ME HUH???) you'd see that I've always said Christie should not have gotten rid of the "millionaire's tax" in NJ (actually it was $400k I believe) because that tax revenue received is a drop in the bucket to what NJ really needs because of our unsustainable glut of public employees and their unions not to mention the municipality and school district issues.

But please give me your take on Christie and why he doesn't deserve this "praise" for TPM?

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 7, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse


For Middle East violence oil price are increasing day by day. So I think all country should use petroleum in a limit. Also many countries reserve petroleum but it's not right.

Are you think it? Reserve petroleum will growing problem. So all should leave from this work.

Posted by: webcontent2011 | March 7, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"I believe it is cultural not racial."

You probably believe in Unicorns too.

Economic disparity in the US is real and affects people more than your perceived "cultural" variable.

As I said, in Texas, they have redistricted the state so that the poor are increasingly left without true representation. That means fewer state/fed dollars are spent in their areas.

Its called trickle down economics, and usually the well to do filter where that money is mostly spent.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe Lauren and DC are just nletting their keyboards cool a bit....
but it seems like this sort of silence always creeps "

I've actually got a life besides this blog.

And I don't respond to every comment, even if they call me a liar, like that idiot Krazen.

If you want to take a non-reply from me as victory, feel free. But put this is your tiny mind: maybe I am assuming your response to me was so pathetic that it doesn't warrant my time. See, now everytime I don't respond to you, just assume it's because I am rolling my eyes at your impotence.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse


I'm looking for the chart.

Found this one so far, showing Texas SAT scores very poor, even in comparison to other border states. Hmmm.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

The other day I was chatting with a friend (I've spent a few hours chatting about the world with him every month for the last 20 years and we often meet at social events)
He works for a school system and his wife works for the state. He took time off to protest during the first big week and a few days ago we talked about it.
I mentioned to him that I hoped Walker would stand his ground. My friend gave me an exasperated look and loudly declared in front of a group of our friends that I'm "still just plain crazy" then he went on for a piece about police fire and defense and told me I'm a hypocrite for expecting those things and yet not supporting the public employee unions.
While I tried to gently explain where I thought that his argument didn't really apply to the matter at hand he switched abruptly to taking personal offense and told me that he was much more productive than I was. I told him "sure, sure, you're very productive but why should the insurance be purchased from the union bosses?"
He looked at me like I was nuts and off on a tangent because he really didn't understand my point....
So I switched to a new idea to get the discussion rolling... "did you listen to the Governor's budget speech?"
"Oh no!, I don't need to, I know exactly what he's going to say!..... but Hey!, I listened to him talking to Koch!, I bet you don't know about that!"
So I asked him, "what was it about that phone call that moves you?" "It doesn't matter what was said, it's just that he would take a phone call from a guy like that!"
it became apparent that anything I said about the subject was such a personal affront ... He is simply too terrified by the concept of "losing the union" to even think about it. I look at the guys who "negotiate" for him and I see corruption, he looks over there and sees "protection".
He and his wife have never held private sector jobs, their parents and their children, were, and are on the public payroll. I think that, at some level, they have been infantilized by their association with the union.
On the other hand, when I speak to folks on the taxpayer side of the ledger, I hear quiet determination to get this done coupled with a fear of retaliation from the people in public employee unions. "if the teachers figure out I don't support the union they may ridicule my children in school"
I think that the union bosses are going to have a rough row to hoe on the recall front. The "last stand on the Capitol steps while the senators flee the state" concept was a great nationwide union base rah rah but I don't think that the voters of Wisconsin are going to buy in. There will be big union media buys. Lots of expensive "experts" explaining how "important" unions are... and endless polls explaining that Wisconsin hates Walker but it won't matter.... the union bosses lost when they emptied the schools, used the kids as political pawns and sent their senators out of state.
There's no going back...

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | March 7, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse


You nailed it. In Green Bay, Wisconsin, the teachers and administrators set up an emiritus program, where they can work for 10 days out of the year and get paid 1/3 of their full annual salary, plus their pension, plus their benefits.

2 weeks of Sudoku in a lounge for a full paycheck is pretty damn good. It gives you enough money to dupe some liberals into absorbing your cause, which is why some leftists defend the teachers unions special interest.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 7, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Ezra says

"In this way, their efforts have been a very traditional filibuster: Not the 60-vote pocket veto we're used to, where the minority simply refuses to allow a majority vote..."

ELF response....

Ezra you ignore that fact that a filibuster is a sanctioned parliamentary maneuver. Democrats in Wisconsin however violate the rule of law and duty to uphold the state constitution. The State Constitution says Lawmakers can be (and have been)compelled to appear to vote on legislation. Still Democrats violate the rule of law and their duty by remaining on the lamb.

Posted by: ELF2 | March 7, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

That link has some charts showing Texas white grad rates at 76% in 2001

Can't find the chart I used last time we all talked about this a few days ago. BUt I believe it was 2008 data instead.

A quick manual count reveals about half the states on that chart best Texas white grad rate.

This is not the same chart I referred to, because the one I recall had summary data under the columns, and this one does not.

If you have a more up to date chart showing texas white, black, hispanic, grad rates as compared to other states, please provide link.

I gotta go.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

lauren2010 said

I'm looking for the chart.

Found this one so far, showing Texas SAT scores very poor, even in comparison to other border states. Hmmm.

ELF provides some facts (Wisconsin schools are worse then Texas dispute Krugman trying to mislead his readers) .....

Posted by: ELF2 | March 7, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

that chart ELF links does not seem to provide overall summaries and instead cherry picks certain categories, grades, subjects, etc., to paint a desired picture.

How about a chart showing all state grad rankings by race/ethnicity?

Why no proof instead of all this talk and rationalization about why texas has such poor grad rates? I'm trying to find the data, but maybe someone else can do better.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"Found this one so far, showing Texas SAT scores very poor, even in comparison to other border states. Hmmm."

Okay, let's take a look. The first few sentences:

"The College Board released today the 2009 SAT Scores by State. They strongly encourage people to look at the data stand alone yet it seems everyone wants to see the SAT Rankings by State. We picked them up from a variety of news sources and present them to you with caution. Some states have low participation rates and arguably can tilt the field."

Participation rates really matter. If you run a quadratic regression of participation rate and SAT scores, you receive this equation: y = 556.78x^2 - 795.62x +1,763.2. There is an R^2 of 0.8351, or basically meaning that 83.5% of the variation in SAT scores by state can be explained by variation in participation rate. Going from 1% participation to 50% participation reduces our expected SAT score in a given state by 250 points.

Even outside of the participation rate effect, raw SAT scores require further adjustment.

SAT scores include students from private schools (which score an attendance weighted 133.7 points higher than public school students nationally), and nationwide 17% of students who took the SAT attended private schools vs. just 8% in Texas.

Texas has a disproportionate share of minority and foreign students. 66% of those who took the SAT nationwide were White or Asian, vs. 52% in Texas. Looking at the scores by ethnic group, and Texas does much better.

Posted by: justin84 | March 7, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse


Great link. I really loved debunking Krugman's nonsense.

Note that Krugman does not talk about Detroit, or Washington DC, or Milwaukee, or even his neighboring town of Trenton. Why?

Because liberals don't actually care about public education all that much; that's why Washington DC schools fail year after year after year, and its why the unions got rid of Adrian Fenty.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 7, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Here is the high school graduation rate by state and race.

Texas performs much better than other blue states that have small populations of whites, such as New York, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington DC.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 7, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I know ddoiron started all this by talking about Texas SAT scores, but since only college bound (or thinking about it) students take them, they really are just a part of the picture.

For scholastic underachievement overall, nobody beats MS or DC, year after year.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 7, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"That link has some charts showing Texas white grad rates at 76% in 2001"

Texas ranked #13 (out of 39) in the country for African American graduation rates - (by the way, Wisconsin was dead last)

Texas ranked #16 (again out of 39) in the country for Latino graduation rates (narrowly edging out Wisconsin here)

Texas was in the middle of the pack for white graduation rates (#27 out of 42). The rate was 76% in Texas, vs. 78% nationally. Not a great performance but not particularly condemning.

In any case, I'm not sure what drop out rates say about a given school - they probably say a lot more about the culture the school has to deal with.

"that chart ELF links does not seem to provide overall summaries and instead cherry picks certain categories, grades, subjects, etc., to paint a desired picture."

The chart ELF links to compares apples to apples data from the government on 4th and 8th graders in science, reading, and math. It isn't cherry picking at all - that just happens to be the available data.

The problem with SAT and drop out rates is that factors other than public school performance can influence them. For example, an inner city school would be likely to have far higher dropout rates than a wealthy suburban school, holding school quality constant.

Posted by: justin84 | March 7, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The simple fact is if we pay public sector retirees above market wages, we have fewer teachers.

Ask yourself:
1) is it fair public sector employees get a a health care and retirement package well above the private sector who creates the wealth and pays the bills?
2) Do I want to pay higher taxes to fund these gold plated benefits (or)
3) Do I support having fewer teachers (with gold plated benefits) educating our children?

Those are the only possible choices!

In the end, in our Democracy, you will be the one to make the tough decision on behalf of our children.

Posted by: ELF2 | March 7, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Cheesy, like Lauren I work for a living and do lots of other things in addition to posting comments. Trust me, your opinion of me is not nearly important enough to motivate me to rush back to my keyboard!

Anyway...I've read your response to my earlier posting and can't help but notice that you didn't respond to a single substantive point I made. Instead, you spewed more of the same snark about the character and work ethic of anyone who dares to disagree with you.

I enjoy a good debate, but only with people who take issues seriously and allow for the possibility that they don't know everything. And based on your several rants here, that is definitely NOT you!

Posted by: DCSteve1 | March 7, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Lauren, I'm just trying to pick this "corporate doggy bag" slop out of my teeth.....
What's that? you have a life beyond this blog?
Coulda fooled me....
I have to assume, from your ardent denunciation of the "corporate masters" that you enjoy a spot in the public payroll and what a nice sinecure you have developed...
Hard at it blogging from morning til lunch, then a nice break from the action, and than an afternoon of active sharing.
Wow, I wonder which lucky set of taxpayers is handling your care and feeding?

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | March 7, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

dont see a lot of straight talk here regarding Texas education.

In every case there's always some "qualifier" when you attempt to explain why Texas ranks poorly. For example, we have to use quadratic equation or just look at one grade and one subject or have to adjust things based on small number of whites (hope I didn't misquote anyone).

Texas whites do seem to rank in the middle of the pack. But Justin says blacks and hispanics actually rank above average. Hmm, so what demographic group is puling texas down (past the middle of the pack) if not the blacks and hispanics?

krazen, do I get an apology for you calling me a liar when I said texan white grad rates rank in the middle of the pack? I provided a link showing that I did not make it up. Then again, you call me and everyone else you dont agree with a liar everyday, and I've never seen you admit when you are wrong (such as when I posted proof that Bush revenues fell or when you claimed you NEVER said to end medicaid).

I think you are all propagandists and cant accept reports for what they say: namely, in this case, Texas is not doing a good job educating its kids. Indeed, if Texan whites are only middle of the pack, then we see that their poor rating is justified.

Hey, and any other state, such as Wisconsin, that is doing poorly--well, shame on you too.

So just accept this for what it is and stop trying to spin it: texas ranks poorly in grad rates and SAT scores. PERIOD.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 7, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"Texas whites do seem to rank in the middle of the pack. But Justin says blacks and hispanics actually rank above average. Hmm, so what demographic group is puling texas down (past the middle of the pack) if not the blacks and hispanics?"

Nope! You of course claimed that:

"Texas blacks a little worse on average.

Legal hispanics very poorly.""

Which is obviously not true!

Per the NAEP (which is taken by more people than the SAT) they do much better, and the NAEP tests are much more universal. You are as usual just choosing to ignore the best data.

Then again so was Krugman.

Texas's problem, compared to Wisconsin, is that it doesn't have a massive proportion of whites. Since whites score higher than blacks and hispanics, having more whites automatically proves Wisconsin with a sizeable advantage.

Compared to blue states like New York, California, or DC, or any blue state that is lacking high scoring whites, Texas beats most, if not all of them. And they do it for less money to boot.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 7, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

" For example, we have to use quadratic equation or just look at one grade and one subject or have to adjust things based on small number of whites (hope I didn't misquote anyone)"

Even this isn't true. The NAEP measures grades 4, 8, and 12, in math, reading, and science.

Scores for everything are linked here.

It's amazing to note how badly California does.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 7, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Is Ezra Klein the originator of wonkish spin?

Posted by: Herbert1 | March 7, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

We're currently in the midst of the greatest mortgage refinancing frenzy of the past 5 or 6 years. Rates are now the lowest they've been since mid to late 2003, I worked with a company called "123 Mortgage Refinance" I refinanced my current mortgage to 3.12% search online for them if you are planning to do refinance.

Posted by: markhead77 | March 8, 2011 5:19 AM | Report abuse

It won't be over until people vote again in 2012 either to confirm the GOP union busting and stomping of the middle class or to put the rascals out.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | March 8, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

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