Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kibbe, Patriots, Long Grove 003By Nancy Thorner – 

For most individuals, what is next revealed will be the most shocking aspect of Dr. Duke Peta’s revelations during his presentation titled, “Common Core: Dangers and Threats, as the featured speaker at a Northern Illinois Patriot’s meeting on Tuesday, May 13: “The National Sexuality Education Standards – Core Contents and Skills, K-12”, published January, 2012. These standards were developed to address the inconsistent implementation of sexuality education nationwide and the limited time allocated to teaching the topic. As with the Math and Language Arts, the idea is to create a universal standard.

Does the federal government have any business teaching sex? Five and six year old students must be able to define different kinds of family structure. By seven, students must be able to define how boys and girls are supposed to act. Might this infer that a boy is a boy or a girl a girl simply because culture made them that way? The National Sexuality Education Standards won’t be introduced as a separate curriculum, but will be woven into the teaching of other Common Core subjects.

On page 12 of The National Sexuality Education Standards: By the end of 2nd grade, students should be able to: Use proper names for body parts, including male and female anatomy.

On page 14:  By the end of 5th grade, students should be able to: Describe male and female reproductive systems including body parts and their functions. Identify medically-accurate information about female and reproductive anatomy. Define sexual orientation as the romantic attraction of an individual to someone of the same gender or a different gender. 

On page 9 under “Guiding Values and Principles”: Students need opportunities to engage in cooperative and active learning strategies, and sufficient time must be allocated for students to practice skills relating to sexuality education.

A father was rightly upset with this sexual education poster hanging in the classroom of his 13-year old middle school student with this title: “How do people express their sexual feelings?”

Then there is the privacy invasion of Data Mining which was created as part of the nationalized Common Core standards scheme, funded with Obama stimulus money, with grants also coming from the liberal Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The feds want to use schools to catalog “attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources, independent of intellectual ability,” all under the guise of education. Per agreement, every state signing on to receive 2009 stimulus funds were mandated to share student information with the federal government. Personally identifiable information will be extracted from each student, including parents’ names, address, Social Security Number, date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, etc.

Under “Guidance for Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS),” a detailed plan for “data stewardship” in education, sensitive information will likewise be gathered which delves into the intimate details of students’ lives, such as 1) Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or parent, 2) Mental and psychological problems of the student or the student’s family, 3) Sex behavior or attitudes, and 4) Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent.

It gets creepier yet!  There have been reports of the use of student-monitoring techniques such as “functional magnetic resonance imaging” and “using cameras to judge facial expressions, an electronic seat that judges posture, a pressure-sensitive computer mouse, and a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists.”  These devices are not yet in use here in Illinois, but they are being employed in states where Common Core standards have been around for several years.

Many states are experiencing sticker shock at the cost of implementing Common Core. It is estimated that states will spend up to an estimated $10 billion up front, then as much as $800 million per year for the first seven years that Common Core is up and running. Much of the additional cost is for Common Core-aligned textbooks and curriculum, as well as teacher training, technology upgrades (computers are needed), testing and assessment. This additional expense comes at a time when many states and school districts are struggling to stay afloat. These massive, unfunded mandates will undoubtedly fall on the backs of taxpayers.

According to child psychologist, Dr. Megan Koschnick, Common Core standards are developmentally and age inappropriate. You can watch the video here of Dr. Koschnick’s full presentation given at a conference held at the University of Notre Dame on September 9 by the American Principles Project (APP), in conjunction with thePioneer Institute and the Heartland Institute.

As related by Dr. Megan Koschnick during her presentation;

Instead of thinking about what’s developmentally appropriate for kindergarteners, they are thinking [college] is where we want this kindergartener to end up, so let’s back track down to kindergarten and have kindergarteners work on these skills from an early age. This can cause major stress for the child because they are not prepared for this level of education.

Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullman had this to say:

Dr. Koschnick’s analysis makes it clear what other early childhood professionals have said: Common Core asks small children to behave like little adults, and they are not little adults. Anyone who cares for a small child could tell you this. This is a further consequence of the Common Core lead writers’ lack of experience and professional reputation, and of its committees excluding experts in early childhood.

Educators are under so much pressure to prepare students for the upcoming Common Core-aligned standardized tests – the PARCC exam to debut in 2015 – they are ramping up math and reading instruction and eliminating a number of other activities from the school day.  The result: Students in the early grades are feeling so “bogged down” that “during the last hour of the day, they’re unteachable.”

As to the stress students are experiencing, young elementary students are hiding out in school bathrooms as a way of coping with stress when faced with confusing math problems and other new learning approaches required by Common Core.  Chicago-area parents and a veteran educator aren’t surprised by the recent revelation that one of the city’s pre-K-8 schools is cracking down on kids’ bathroom breaks in order to “maximize student learning and reduce the loss of instructional time.”  Students are also complaining of having headaches or stomach aches.

There are states who are now rethinking the Common Core State Standards they signed up for back in 2010.  But not so fast!  It will not be easy to opt out of Common Core.  As with Obamacare and the push for manmade Global Warming, the Left, and some on the Right, are not going to allow their long-held dreams to be terminated without fighting tooth and nail to keep the programs in place.  Too much time, effort and money has been invested to bring the programs to fruition.  The controversial programs also align with U.N. Agenda 21, which grew out of the Rio Conference of 1992.  G. H. Bush represented the U.S.A at the Conference.

With Common Core, the Gates Foundation has spent more than $170 million to develop and promote the Common Core Standards.   As its biggest nongovernmental backer, Bill Gates is worried about the “bumpy” implementation in some states and some of the political attacks that have been lobbed at the Common Core.  In an attempt to beat back “false claims” lobbed by critics, Bill Gates told several thousand educators gathered for the inaugural conference of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards — a nonprofit organization that runs a voluntary system to certify teachers — to help parents understand the new Common Core academic standards.  Gates suggested that critics were uninformed.

“We the People” still have a voice.  We cannot allow our children to become puppets of a socialist Leftist agenda without putting up a fight.  Our nation’s survival as a free and liberty-loving country depends on what we do today.  Talk with your neighbors and friends, especially those with children in public schools; speak out at school board meetings against Common Core; express your concerns to legislators, state and federal; and write Letters to the Editor to local newspapers about the chilling truth behind Common Core State Standards.

Article 1:  Thorner: Chilling Truth Behind Common Core State Standards, May 20, 2014

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By Nancy Thorner – 

Illinois taxpayers are beginning to paying attention to how their tax dollars are being spent, and Tea Partiers in Northern Illinois were especially interested last week in getting more information on one of the state’s biggest expenditures – state employee retirement benefits.

The Northern Illinois Patriots met at Austin’s in Libertyville, IL, Wednesday, April 9, although the usual meeting night of the organization is every 2nd Tuesday of the month from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Greg Clements is president of the organization. The core beliefs of the Northern Illinois Patriots are Limited Government; Free Market Economy; Pro-family; Choice of Education; and National Defense.

Bill Zettler, Director of Research at the Family Taxpayers Foundation, was on hand as featured guest to speak about the “Illinois Pension Scandal,” also the title of Zettler’s outstanding book.

Prior to introducing Bill Zettler, Clements commented:

1.  Our bond rating is worst in this nation.  The first watch dog group to blow the whistle on Illinois’s pension problem was in 1945.  A promise of promising more than can be paid has been ignored for over 60 years.

2.  Impact on business:  They will not expand.  Small businesses are relocating to bordering states, resulting in the loss of tax revenue.

3.  Personal impact:  It compounds the problems for those who stay through increased and additional taxes levied.  Every 9 minutes someone leaves Illinois.  Illinois ranks third in the number of people moving out of the state.  Only New Jersey and New York win over Illinois in the number of people exiting our state.

Greg Clements was questioned about IRISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act passed in 1974 that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established pension and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans.  “Just why doesn’t government have to be subject to the same rules as business where at least 80% of their retirement fund must be funded?”  The catch:  In general, ERISA does not cover retirement plans established or maintained by governmental entities.  As government uses the cash method, it can promise payment, but the amount owed doesn’t become a liability until it is paid.

Clements called the 1970 Illinois Constitution a “recipe for disaster” and that “no one deserves a constitutionally deserved retirement.”   Although government pensions in Illinois might be funded at the 57% level, if even at that, commitments already made are outstripping the money being put in.  Three words in the Constitution, “diminished or impaired,” cap a clause that is designed to force Illinois to meet obligations to its retired public sector workers.

On Thursday, April 10, current information about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s partial city pension overhaul that passed two days before in the General Assembly (Tuesday, April 8) was shared by State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton).  Representative Ives’ wrote:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s partial city pension overhaul passed in the General Assembly on Tuesday. The bill that passed merely scratches at the surface of the problem. In October 2013, Barron’s shed some light on the severity of Chicago’s pension problem in an article that ranked the 20 most populous cities in the US based on their debt as a percentage of government revenue.  Detroit, currently bankrupt, ranked 12th at 372 percent.  Chicago, ranked 20th– last place, at 683 percent. The article exposes that it would require ALL of Chicago’s government revenue for the next seven years to finally pay off the city’s debt and unfunded liabilities for worker pensions and healthcare. 

It is going to get worse.  Politicians eventually must deal with the larger Chicago funds that are in worse shape – police, fire, and teachers.  Rolling out these reforms piecemeal hides the depth of reform needed by masking the entire cost to taxpayers. Hidden during debate is the $600 million in additional pension payments state law requires the city to make to its police and firefighter funds next year and the $600 million in pension payments needed for Chicago teachers at the same time.

Greg Clements introduced Bill Zettler to the assembled patriots.  Zettler’s remarks added immensely to the current pension issue, especially in relationship to the TRS (Teachers’ Retirement System), given his knowledge of the issue as presented in his book: “Illinois Pension Scam.”  Zettler was encouraged to write “Illinois Pension Scam” by Jack Roeser of Champion News in his role as Director of Research at theFamily Taxpayers Foundation

According to Bill Zettler, although the amount of unfunded pension is often given at $100 billion, this is just a guess.  When adding up all future pensions that must be paid by the state’s five retirement funds, it’s more like $170 billion.

Zettler immediately zeroed in on the TRS, as it’s the state’s biggest public pension fund.  According to an article published at “Huff Post Chicago” on October 25, 2013 by Reuters:  TRS said it has never received a full contribution from Illinois since it was created in 1939.  TRS, the 39th largest pension system in the United States, serves 389,900 teachers, administrators and other school personnel and had assets of $40.97 billion as of Sept. 30, 2013.

Madigan was in the House back in 1970 when the “Constitution” was passed guaranteeing pensions, but not funding.

How is it that despite a 13% return on investments in fiscal year 2013, the TRS funding gap rose to $55.73 billion as of June 30, up from $52.08 billion at the end of fiscal 2012, increasing the unfunded liability of the TRS by 7%. With only $40.97 billion of assets, and a funding gap of $55.73 billion, real pension reform is urgently needed in Springfield, not a make-believe fix.

Bill Zettler explained how the ROI (Rate of Investment) has much to do with the way pension debt is mounting.  Using a large mounted tablet Zettler wrote the following simplified example to illustrate why pension debt is increasing:

  • Suppose that $8.00 a year pension is owed and there is $100.00 in the bank.
  • With $100 in the bank, the $8.00 a year pension can be met when receiving an 8% interest rate on a CD.  With this rate the pension can be paid forever.
  • Now let’s suppose in rolling over the CD that the best rate available is 4% for the following year.
  • Now in order to meet the $8 pension there would have to be $200.00 in the bank, as only 50% of the pension would be funded.

The proof is indeed in the pudding!  It matters not how much the amount of debt is.  When interest rates are cut in half, liability doubles.  

Zettler illustrated the nature of the “Defined Benefit Fund” with a pie-chart.   Depicted was how a small amount of money is paid into the fund by the employers and a slightly higher amount by the employees, meaning that the rest of the pie, which is over 3/4 of the whole, must somehow be paid for.  With the amount derived from investments cut in half from 8% to 4%, taxpayers are now liable for half of the amount that investments are no longer covering.

A $5.3 billion contribution would be needed to keep the unfunded liability of the TRS from rising further. As the TRS gave preliminary approval to only a $3.412 billion contribution for fiscal 2014, a further rise in unfunded TRS liability is assured.

High salaries for teachers equals high pensions.  Teachers in Illinois can retire at 55 or 30 years, with an assured 3% cost of living every year until the end of their lives.

Through FOIA requests, Zettler has determined that in Illinois there are 10,000 teachers and 16,000, if you include administrators, whose salaries are greater than $100,000.  In contrast, Wisconsin has one $100K teacher; Indiana (21); Iowa (8); Missouri (11); and Kentucky (0).

A handout by Zettler listed the 50 top pensions as of 2013, ranging in amounts from $439,672 down to $231,110.  Illinois now has its first $500,000 pensioner, anesthesiologist Dr. Alon Winnie, a retiree from the State’s University Retirement System.  His pension during 2013 was $512,964 or $42,747 a month.  His COLA payment of January 1, 2014 amounted to $15,389, raising Winnie’s pension to $528,353 or $44.029 a month.  Dr. Winnie has already collected close to $6 million to date. If he lives a normal life expectancy (80 years per IRS), he will end up collecting over $12 million.

It should be obvious that the defined pension benefit plan where the benefit formula is defined and known in advance and is predetermined by a formula based on the employee’s earnings history, tenure of service and age, as with TRS, is bound to collapse, especially for young teachers coming into the system.  Mandated is the need to shift to a 401K-style retirement system.  Might salaries be frozen for three years, and what about the yearly fixed 3% COLAS?

In closing Mark Miller announced a new endeavor for the Northern Illinois Patriots.  Its leadership team will help members by partnering and then working with them to educate people in their local communities on how to stand up, using facts, to shed light on the situation at hand.

Recommended as a coming event was the 6th annual Chicago/Illinois Tax Day Tea Party rally on April 15, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles, IL.