Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ire at Ida

See: Mount Ida students’ records shared without their permission

Been on the front page all week and that is not what has the Globe upset:

"UMass Boston feels snubbed after Mount Ida deal" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  April 10, 2018

UMass Boston students and professors are livid after learning that UMass Amherst will buy a new campus in Newton for its students, while Boston is forced to keep cutting people and programs to make ends meet.

Related: "Amid an unprecedented financial crisis, the university has hired at least seven people with connections to state government and politics as administrators with salaries between $81,000 and $222,000 in the past year and a half, records show. The hires include the former head of the state Democratic Party, a former legislative aide, and a former state commissioner of environmental protection. Together, the seven people earn nearly $1 million. A UMass campus spokesman said in a statement that hiring is based on merit, and the hires underscore UMass’s reputation as a place where the politically connected of Beacon Hill can land a job with a single phone call. It’s an attractive place to work in part because the UMass system is part of the state retirement system, so state employees can continue to earn toward their pensions, which are based on their three highest years of pay and their number of years of service. And the campus’s location is for many more appealing than traveling to the other campuses in Lowell, Dartmouth, Worcester, or Amherst."

Those are the same people saying they have to cut the budgets.

Didn't mean to undermine the outrage, sorry.

To them, the university system trustees’ approval of Amherst’s plan reinforces a longstanding belief on the Dorchester campus that the University of Massachusetts Boston is considered second-best.

“The board just really doesn’t care about Boston,” said Katie Mitrano, president of the UMass Boston undergraduate student body.

“This is going to starve us even more. It’s going to put us into competition with our sister campus,” said Lorna Rivera, a women’s studies professor at UMass Boston.

They $elf-$erving hyperbole not helping!

“There is a lot of neglect of the Boston campus within the UMass system in a way that we can only link to socioeconomic discrimination,” said Charla Burnett, a UMass Boston PhD student and graduate student employees union representative.

Welcome to the AmeriKan way of government at the state and federal levels!

The growing outrage is the latest fallout from a decision last week by UMass trustees to approve a UMass Amherst plan to buy the Newton campus of Mount Ida College, which will close.

Attorney General Maura Healey said over the weekend she would look into the situation to see if Mount Ida students could possibly qualify for relief from their college loans and to help determine what transfer options are available.

The purchase will be financed by the Amherst campus with $37 million in tax-exempt bonds, plus other borrowing. All UMass campuses have separate budgets, and their borrowing abilities depend on how much debt a campus has in relation to its operating revenue.

OMG, they are going into even more debt to do this!

The Boston campus has struggled acutely over the past year with an operating deficit at one point projected to reach $30 million. The deficit was caused, in part, by millions of dollars in delays and overruns on various construction projects on the campus, as well as decades of general financial mismanagement, according to the results of an audit released last fall.

As a result of the budget challenges, UMass Boston has cut course sections, laid off employees, imposed a hiring freeze, closed an on-campus day care center, and even instructed students to cut back on printing and copying.

Rivera, the women’s studies professor, also runs the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development & Public Policy, one of 17 centers and institutes at UMass Boston that will lose funding from the university.

“It makes one wonder, . . . of all the campuses why is UMass Boston consistently excluded and shamed and marginalized from the whole system?” she said.

They never mentioned the well-connected corruption and the use of all these state agencies as cover for passing out taxpayer dollars to friends and family. 

I don't know what to do, folks. The $y$tem is rotted.

The Amherst deal is not final. The state Board of Higher Education is required to approve Mount Ida’s plan for how students will complete their degrees. Its next meeting is scheduled for April 24.

Okay. That will give the oppo$ition time to mobilize.

In addition, although UMass trustees approved Amherst’s plan to buy the campus, a UMass system office spokesman said on Monday that the deal is still subject to more research.

Some UMass Boston professors and students on Monday questioned whether Barry Mills, their interim chancellor, advocated for the Boston campus while Amherst was negotiating with Mount Ida College. And they asked why the Mount Ida students weren’t offered automatic transfers to UMass Boston, since it is much closer than Dartmouth and many Mount Ida students are from Boston.

Mills, in a phone interview Monday afternoon, said that he was approached to talk generally about UMass Amherst’s plan but that the deal came together quickly. He said it was clear from the outset that this was Amherst’s plan.

“Candidly, we don’t need a campus in Newton. We have a fantastic campus right here in the heart of Boston,” he said. 

It's falling apart!

Mills said he is focused on the campus Boston already has, as well as the nearby Bayside property it owns and the dormitory it is building.

“I’m incredibly confident about this school as we get our financial house in order. . . . We are on an enormous trajectory,” Mills said.

I don't know how to respond to delusion (or image-polishing lies) at the college. How depressing.

UMass system president Martin T. Meehan said UMass Amherst pursued the deal with Mount Ida all on its own.

“The [UMass] system wouldn’t prevent UMass Amherst from developing a campus that they’ve worked hard at for years. They have the capacity to acquire this. If Boston wanted to acquire a parcel and had the capacity, they could do it as well,” Meehan said.

Meehan said the Dartmouth faculty decided independently to grant Mount Ida students an automatic transfer and Boston could do the same if it wishes.

“If they captured every commuter student at Mount Ida, their financial outlook would change dramatically. And I hope that UMass Boston will attract a number of students from Mount Ida,” he said.

How is that $1m condo working out for you? 

Wasn't he a well-connected state politician?

But at UMass Boston, professors and students said they refuse to believe the system has done all it could to help them in their time of challenge.

That's blasphemous heresy! How dare you! How dare you question the good will of university educators?

“Our students are especially perceptive to decisions that are made that seem to ignore or at least undervalue their capacity as students,” said Aaron Lecklider, chairman of the American Studies department.

Rivera said Amherst’s move demonstrates a lack of diversity in decision-making, because the people who made this deal failed to see what message it would send to UMass Boston.

UMass Boston is the only majority-minority campus in the system, with 59 percent of undergraduates minorities. In addition, 48 percent are low-income. UMass Amherst is 73 percent white, with 12 percent of students black and Latino. It is 23.9 percent low-income students.

Trying to wave the race card, really?

Amherst has an operating budget of $1.3 billion. UMass Boston’s annual budget is around $430 million.

Isaiah Johnson, a first-year history major at UMass Boston from Waltham, said the purchase sends an unfortunate message to students of color like himself who overcome major obstacles to attend college, a message that his campus is not valued as much as one that serves more affluent students.

“I see the purchase of the Mount Ida campus as kind of a manifestation of the university’s values,” he said.


I'm sure the Globe has something to say about it:

"UMass-Mount Ida deal smacks of empire building" April 10, 2018

IN A SUDDEN ANNOUNCEMENT that caught many by surprise, the University of Massachusetts Amherst agreed to buy Mount Ida College, the small, private, and struggling liberal arts college in Newton. The UMass trustees approved the purchase behind closed doors, and so far neither the Amherst campus nor the system has offered any convincing justification for the controversial transaction.

Under the agreement’s terms, UMass Amherst is assuming all of Mount Ida’s debt, which is estimated to be between $55 million and $70 million. All 280 Mount Ida employees will be laid off and most of its roughly 1,500 students will be allowed to finish their degrees at UMass Dartmouth at in-state tuition rates. The Amherst campus will acquire Mount Ida’s property, which is nestled in a leafy area near the Charles River.

UMass Amherst intends to turn the 72-acre parcel into the “Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst,” where they’ll establish career preparation programs like internships, co-ops, and “experiential opportunities for Amherst students. “It’s a big deal,” said UMass Amherst chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy.

For Mount Ida students blindsided by the news, the transaction is shaping up to be a big deal indeed — and the offer of a transfer to UMass Dartmouth isn’t much consolation. Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said it will conduct an inquiry to make sure the Mount Ida students aren’t being shortchanged.

(Cue tribal music)

Like many other small liberal arts colleges, Mount Ida was in bad financial condition and had previously explored a merger with Lasell College. Some disruption for students was perhaps inevitable.

That's because mergers are part of the false economy and relentless corporate consolidation that argues against centralization (here is your grain of salt with that).

In pushing back against such things, it is important to recognize that March Madness plays a critical role in the miserable graduation rates. Of course, the cure is more pharmacies.

But why UMass? The university’s purchase has been stirring outrage. It raises one set of questions about UMass Amherst — and another about the UMass system as a whole.

For the Amherst campus, the transaction smacks of empire-building, with a thin educational justification. If Subbaswamy had enough room in his budget to buy 72 acres in Newton, what else could the campus have done with that cash?

That's when the in$ulting, $elf-$erving elitism triggered my ire.

UMass Boston, which serves a predominantly urban and largely minority student body, is in the midst of harsh cuts. Research centers are on the chopping block, and employees have had to contend with layoffs. The campus is also still coping with its crumbling physical condition, a legacy of cheap construction and its corruption-ridden history.

That's odd because Mills told me above that it's a wonderful campus, etc.

The woes at UMass Boston shouldn’t mean that UMass Amherst has to tread water. Still, the outcry on Monday was understandable.

At the very least, the UMass system “should re-examine this [UMass Amherst] deal and have a conversation about the message it sends to other campuses, especially Boston,” said Erin O’Brien, a political science professor at UMass Boston.

Yeah, can we talk?

And it should prompt the UMass board and Beacon Hill to ask whether the division of resources among the system’s branches is fair when one UMass campus has to lay off janitors while another has enough to invest in real estate.....

And both are loaded with debt, which benefits whom?


"Purchase of Mount Ida is an insult to UMass Boston" by Joan Vennochi Globe Columnist  April 09, 2018

TO BALANCE THE BOOKS at UMass Boston, they are cutting janitors and day care, and gutting programs for women, veterans, and minorities.

Yet somehow, UMass system president Martin T. Meehan found enough money to acquire a struggling private college — so that UMass Amherst can have a peaceful, sprawling Boston-area campus.

The deal to add Mount Ida College, which is located in Newton, to the UMass real estate portfolio is outrageous on many fronts. It was done in darkness, without public disclosure or debate. Without any warning, Mount Ida students are being relocated to UMass Dartmouth, a distant and unfamiliar learning environment.

And something even worse is happening at UMass Boston. Its students — who make up the most diverse campus in New England — are getting another painful lesson about where they stand in the university pecking order. As low as it goes. It’s an education, all right — an education in the institutional bias that tilts toward the elite flagship Amherst campus, which, let’s face it, is also whiter. Some might also call that an education in institutional racism.

Wow, look at her flailing around with the race card. 

I guess that is why the Globe editorial was rather sedate on that topic. Good-cop, bad cop, attack dog.

The 72-acre Mount Ida campus will give UMass Amherst students a pastoral base of operations for internships and academic collaborations in Boston. Meanwhile, UMass Boston students have endured months of administrative turmoil and cold-hearted cost-cutting on a campus infamous for its crumbling infrastructure. Governor Charlie Baker committed $78 million toward demolishing an underground garage so unsafe it had to be shut down, but parking fees for students and staff are still going up to pay for the new one.

Well, I know where you can find a million or $o.

Budget decisions at UMass Boston are being overseen by interim chancellor Barry Mills, who is running the university and managing an estimated $10 million deficit while the campus conducts another one of those allegedly nationwide searches for a permanent leader. At one point, the UMass Boston budget gap was supposedly $30 million, a burden now officially attributed to years of money mismanagement under former chancellor J. Keith Motley. Somehow, the UMass board, along with previous presidents, escaped any responsibility for not knowing about it — even though they ultimately sign off on the five UMass campus budgets.

And now Meehan, with customary rubber-stamped approval from the UMass board, is taking on debt at Mount Ida that is estimated to run from $55 million to $70 million.

Attorney General Maura Healey is looking into the Mount Ida closing on behalf of angry students and parents. But who’s going to speak up for UMass Boston and the clash of values on display under the current cost-cutting agenda?

Mills is closing the deficit by slicing away at programs that make up the heart and soul of UMass Boston. The cuts are not coming from the top. They are coming from the most vulnerable — children, women, veterans, and minorities. According to a memo sent out recently by Mills, university administrators surveyed the 30 centers and institutes at the university and determined that 17 were not self-sufficient. The memo states that the university will cut the funding for the centers and institutes that require the biggest subsidies. They include the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture, the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, the Institute for New England Native American Studies, the Labor Resource Center, and the Center for Social Policy.

The cuts will reportedly save up to $1.5 million out of a $430 million operating budget. Meanwhile, there’s enough money in the overall system to take on debt-ridden Mount Ida and send its students to UMass Dartmouth at a reduced rate.

The message to UMass Boston couldn’t be louder: Your needs are expendable. But let’s go get a Boston campus for Amherst.


How sophomoric.

I'm sure the governor gets his say:

"Baker criticizes Mount Ida leadership after college’s sudden closure" by Laura Krantz Globe Staff  April 11, 2018

Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday afternoon sharply criticized the leaders of Mount Ida College for their abrupt decision to close the school and sell the campus to UMass Amherst, saying Mount Ida’s officials had not looked out for the students and staff.

Baker, speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon at the State House, said what bothered him most was that Mount Ida seemed to have been in decline for a while, so he wondered why the closing needed to be so sudden.

“This deficit that they are dealing with now has gotten worse and worse, and I feel terrible for the kids because as far as I’m concerned the grown-ups let them down, and I feel terrible for the staff at the school for the same reason,” Baker said.

RelatedBaker seeks $15M for schools educating hurricane victims

University of Massachusetts trustees announced on Friday that they plan to acquire the Mount Ida campus in Newton as an outpost for UMass Amherst. Mount Ida students in good academic standing have been offered automatic admission to UMass Dartmouth. They are also eligible to apply to transfer to the other UMass campuses.

But that offer has infuriated many Mount Ida students, especially those who are close to graduation or in programs that UMass does not offer, including dental hygiene. The school has about 1,500 students.

The governor said he was “stunned, shocked, amazed, and really disappointed by the current state of play at Mount Ida.”

Why, if it seemed to be in decline for a while?

The news of the looming closure startled Mount Ida students and their families because they had no warning. Mount Ida had admitted students for the fall and collected deposits. The school has vowed to provide refunds.

Thirty-five percent of Mount Ida students are the first generation of their family to attend college, and 34 percent are students of color, according to the school’s website. About 42 percent are low income.

A spokeswoman from Mount Ida responded to the governor’s remarks, saying the school’s sole focus is to make sure students move to institutions where they can finish their degrees.

“The leadership of Mount Ida College is now, and always has been, committed to student academic success,” spokeswoman Amy Nagy said in an e-mail.

Nagy said Mount Ida is not alone in the challenges it faces as a small college that depends on student tuition to survive.

“We continue to be dedicated to our students’ welfare, particularly in the current trying circumstances. We are tirelessly working with other institutions to find ways for our students to pursue their areas of study,” she said.

Nagy said that over the next week representatives from UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, and UMass Lowell will be on campus, followed by representatives from more than 30 colleges that offer all Mount Ida’s majors and programs.

UMass Amherst plans to assume about $55 million to $70 million in debt from Mount Ida and use the campus for its students to complete internships and academic collaborations with Boston-area colleges and businesses. Amherst officials said the 72-acre Mount Ida campus, which comes with dorms, laboratories, and sports fields, will also help fund-raising by having a facility closer to alumni in the city.

The plan has, meanwhile, caused great consternation at UMass Boston, where some students and professors feel slighted that Amherst gets a new campus while the Boston campus remains plagued by debt and budget cuts.

The Amherst deal is not final. Mount Ida’s plan for how students will complete their degrees needs the approval of the state Board of Higher Education. Its next meeting is scheduled for April 24.

In addition, although UMass trustees approved Amherst’s plan to buy the campus, a UMass system office spokesman said on Monday that the deal is subject to more research.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office said over the weekend she would look into the situation to see if Mount Ida students could possibly qualify for relief from their college loans and to help determine what transfer options are available.

In response to the governor’s remarks on Tuesday, UMass system president Martin T. Meehan told the State House News Service that Mount Ida students are UMass’s top priority.

“Our number one concern has been with the students at Mount Ida,” Meehan said.



Like teachers across the country:

"Oklahoma teacher strike to extend a 7th day" Associated Press  April 10, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY — Teachers in Oklahoma’s largest school districts entered a second week of massive demonstrations at the state Capitol on Monday to demand more education funding.

Teachers, students, and supporters were again flooded the Capitol grounds, as lawmakers returned.

Leaders of the state’s largest teacher’s union have said protests will continue unless lawmakers approve a repeal of a capital gains tax exemption and the governor vetoes a repeal of a proposed lodging tax.

The Senate on Friday sent Governor Mary Fallin two bills projected to generate $40 million more annually for education by expanding tribal gambling and taxing certain Internet sales. Teachers said that wasn’t enough.

The state’s two largest school districts, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, canceled classes for Tuesday, the seventh consecutive day of closings because of the walkout.

I'm sure the kids are loving it, but what about them? 

Related"Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and other Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature broke with the party orthodoxy last week and endorsed hundreds of millions of dollars in tax increases to fund public schools and give teachers a raise of 15 to 18 percent. But now that’s forcing them to walk a fine line in the months before midterm elections between placating constituents who are angry over education cuts and conservative supporters who want a smaller government and low taxes. They acted after Oklahoma teachers launched their protests, inspired by a nine-day strike in West Virginia, where they won a 5 percent raise. The rebellion also has spread to Kentucky as teachers thronged the state Capitol Monday to protest cuts in pensions. And in Arizona, restive teachers demonstrated again Wednesday, wearing red while demanding a 20 percent pay raise....."

This sure $tinks of a staged political effort after they got a big raise and all.

Many Oklahoma school districts have been shut since April 2. when thousands of teachers traveled to the state Capitol demanding that lawmakers appropriate more tax dollars for classroom needs.

Fallin signed legislation last month granting teacher pay increases of about $6,100 and providing tens of millions of new dollars for public schools. But many educators say classrooms still need more money.

The state Educaton Department has extended by one week the deadline for students to take standardized tests. It applies to general assessment tests for grades 3 through 8, science assessments for grade 11.

The testing period began April 2, but tens of thousands of students have been out of class since then because of the walkout.

So they haven't been prepared for the tests?

State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said she hopes the extension will prevent any penalties or loss of funding from the federal government, which mandates that 95 percent of students take the tests.

Well, you know who will decide that.

In Kentucky on Monday, Republican Governor Matt Bevin vetoed the state’s two-year operating budget and a corresponding tax increase.

In his veto message, Bevin said the spending plan is not balanced because it would spend roughly $50 million more than the state is projected to collect in revenue from the new taxes. He also criticized lawmakers for agreeing to spend $600 million more than he initially proposed. He said the plan ignores fiscal reality.

Republican lawmakers said Bevin is misguided. Lawmakers could try to override the vetoes on Friday.

They did.

The proposed budget used the extra money from the taxes to spend a record-high $4,000 per pupil in public school classrooms and to restore $254 million in money for school buses that Bevin had proposed to eliminate.

It’s unclear how teachers will react to Bevin’s vetoes. On Friday, the Kentucky Education Association had urged all teachers to return to work on Monday.

No violence please.

The president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, representing Louisville educators in one of the country’s largest school districts, called on lawmakers to override the veto.

‘‘The governor’s veto of a budget that includes hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue dedicated to public education is nothing short of reprehensible because it will harm every public school student in our commonwealth,’’ McKim posted on his Twitter account.

That clear it up for you?

The $480 million tax increase and a two-year operating budget would have imposed a 6 percent sales tax on a variety of services such as auto and home repairs, while cutting the income tax rate for some individuals and businesses.

Bevin said the budget and the new taxes were not responsible or wise.

‘‘I did not take this job to make people politically happy,’’ Bevin said. ‘‘Those of you who are parents understand this. Sometimes making the hard decision, putting the sugary cereal back on the shelf, doesn’t make everyone involved in that situation happy. But sometimes it is the right thing to do.’’

Well, he's doing a great job then.

Wonder if the teachers were smart enough to catch the insult. He compared them to spoiled children!


"Teacher walkouts threaten Republican grip on conservative states" by Dana Goldstein and Alexander Burns   April 13, 2018

Now the political $tank is overwhelming!

CHANDLER, Ariz. — An intensifying series of red-state battles over education funding and teacher pay threatens to loosen Republicans’ grip on some of the country’s most conservative states, as educators and parents rebel against a decade of fiscal austerity that has cut deeply into public education.

Not in deep blue Ma$$achu$etts, though!

As Arizona teachers laid the groundwork this week for a walkout, thousands of Oklahoma teachers stayed out of the classroom to protest low school budgets and some in Kentucky continued their protests against a pension reform bill.

Last month, West Virginia’s Republican-controlled government made concessions to striking teachers.

The clashes could elevate public education into a major issue in several midterm races this fall.

Another piece of the narrative that will then be used to explain the Democratic tsunami that is being encoded into the voting machine software.

Republicans are defending dozens of governorships and state legislative chambers across the country, including in several Southern and Western states where all-Republican governments have passed sweeping reductions in taxes and spending.

And the Democrats are defending 25 Senate seats against only 7 Republican, plus Florida should flop Republican, McCaskill of Missouri and Tester of Montana are endangered, etc, etc.

Why do they omit that?

On Wednesday in Chandler, a middle-class suburb of Phoenix, hundreds of parents and students joined teachers in protesting outside schools. A parent, Christine Clinger Abraham, whose daughter is a senior at Chandler High School, wore a red blouse to show solidarity with the teachers’ #RedforEd movement. “They take so much personal interest in the kids,” Abraham said, “but they have to have a second job” to make ends meet.

Once again.... either they are at the bottom of every agenda, or the pre$$ is heavily weighted in their favor. 

Abraham typically votes Republican, but said, “I would switch party lines” to support candidates who want to increase education funding. “I am very disappointed in the Republican Party we have locally,” she said.

Both Republicans and Democrats in these strongly conservative states see the unrest around education as symptomatic of broader unease about years of budgetary belt-tightening that have followed popular tax cuts.

How much tax loot are they handing out to corporations?

In Arizona, home to weak labor unions and a muscular school-choice movement, Governor Doug Ducey, a first-term Republican, has championed tax cuts and private alternatives to public schools. The state is also holding a referendum this fall on expanding its school-voucher program. Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesman for Ducey, said the governor was prepared to defend his record.

Democrats running for governor have aligned themselves closely with teachers.

The two Democrats vying to oppose Ducey, state Senator Steve Farley and David Garcia, a former state education official, said they viewed education funding as the strongest issue galvanizing opposition to the Republican-held government. Both Democrats have called for eliminating a range of tax exemptions to create revenue.

Are they corrupt like here?

But Matthew Benson, an Arizona Republican strategist involved in education issues, warned that teachers risked overplaying their hand if they were too confrontational.

“By demanding 20 percent pay hikes and threatening to walk out of the classroom, Arizona teachers risk alienating voters and blowing their best opportunity in memory to achieve real change in this state,” Benson said. “I suspect Arizona voters’ well of sympathy for teachers is not bottomless.”

In Kansas and Oklahoma, backlash against severe service reductions has spurred Republican-held legislatures to enact taxes that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

Gary Jones, the state auditor of Oklahoma and a Republican candidate for governor, said his party had been “irresponsible” in slashing taxes without a plan to make up for lost revenue. That has bitten into public education: some rural districts in Oklahoma have a four-day week and some schools are rationing paper and cutting foreign language classes.

A former chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, Jones said Republicans would imperil their hold on the governorship if they did not address voters’ alarm about properly funding public services.

All of a sudden!

Most Republicans in the governor’s race, however, have not joined Jones in chastising the right and the party overall remains committed to a small-government agenda, including in education.

Among Democrats in these states, there is rising hope that a debate over funding schools and paying teachers could help them appeal to normally skeptical voters to the right of center.


And what is the Washington ComPost worried about?

"DeVos asked if leakers could be prosecuted, internal report shows" by Valerie Strauss Washington Post  April 04, 2018

WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asked her department’s Office of Inspector General if grounds existed to prosecute employees who leaked budget data to The Washington Post and unclassified information to Politico, according to an internal department report.

The response: It would be difficult because the department has ‘‘little’’ written policy or guidance on how employees are supposed to handle information.

‘‘While evaluating the . . . incidents of alleged unauthorized releases of non-public information, we identified challenges to criminal prosecution or taking significant administrative actions against individuals responsible for the release of this type of information,’’ the report said.

The author of the report, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Aaron R. Jordan, recommended the department establish policies to address unauthorized release of information and that it train employees on the protection and marking of ‘‘controlled unclassified information.’’

Jordan wrote that implementing the proposed recommendations could make it easier for department officials to punish future leakers and ‘‘may increase the potential’’ for the inspector general ‘‘to obtain a criminal prosecution in certain cases.’’

In a footnote, however, he added that any new policies should ‘‘take into consideration whistle-blower rights and protections’’ because ‘‘there may be times when what may be viewed as a ‘leak’ or unauthorized release of non-public information could involve a protected disclosure.’’

The Education Department did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment. Jordan also did not respond to a request for comment. His report said the department ‘‘did not provide a formal response to the suggestions’’ he had made.

The Education Department leaks were hardly rare in the Trump administration; there are routine leaks of information from the White House, and President Trump has taken to Twitter to urge the FBI to find those responsible.

DeVos routinely bars the press from department forums on key issues and rarely gives interviews. Her public schedule is often released late.

The department request to the inspector general and the response were detailed in Jordan’s report, which is dated March 29, and was sent to Kent Talbert, who is acting as the Education Department’s No. 2 official. The Office of the Inspector General investigates ‘‘prosecutable violations of law by department employees within the scope of their employment,’’ the report says. It generally focuses investigative efforts on ‘‘federal felonies’’ though it may also pursue non-criminal probes of ‘‘serious misconduct’’ by employees.

In May 2017, days before the administration made public its 2018 budget, The Washington Post published information from the Education Department’s budget. There was deep interest in the education world about the administration’s budget priorities for education because Trump and DeVos had said they were charting a new course for US public education.

Their top education priority, they said, would be expanding alternatives to traditional public schools, and the proposed budget made deep federal funding cuts to traditional public schools — which educate the vast majority of America’s schoolchildren. It also sought about $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools and $1 billion to push public schools to adopt policies that encourage alternatives to traditional public schools. Congress rejected much of that budget proposal.

The administration’s proposed 2019 budget had some of the same elements in it, and Congress has made it clear it will again reject them.

Administration sources, who asked not to be identified because they feared repercussions, said DeVos was furious with the budget document leaks to the Post, and officials sought to find the person or people who leaked the documents. One source said DeVos believed the leak came from the Budget Service office and that led her to seek to split the now-centralized budget office during her major reorganization of the Education Department.

Congress took a dim view of that idea, inserting language into the massive spending bill passed last month that not only rejected many of DeVos’s 2019 budget priorities but also forbade her from making fundamental changes to the budget office. DeVos had wanted to send staff members in the Budget Service office to different sections of the department, which could make it more difficult for career budget staffers to see how money is being spent overall.


(Bell rings as blog editor wakes up in puddle of drool)


Maybe home-schooling is the answer:

"Bullet found in South Boston school after fatal shooting nearby" by Jerome Campbell and John R. Ellement Globe Staff  April 09, 2018

A bullet was found inside a third-grade classroom after a fatal shooting in South Boston last week, raising concerns about school security among some parents.

The bullet and a bullet hole were found Friday on the second floor of the Condon Elementary School, authorities said, a day after a 22-year-old man apparently was targeted near the West Broadway Homes, a part of the West Broadway housing development. Police have not definitively linked the bullet to Thursday’s shooting, according to a police spokeswoman.

Meghan Stark, the secretary of the Condon’s parent-teacher association, said Monday that the school needs more consistent security. In another incident last June, a gun was found inside a bathroom at the school on the same day that police reported nearby gunfire.

“We need a better plan to make the area and school safer,” Stark said.

I feel so sorry for the kids these days. They are having their minds constantly f***ed with, and you can see why.

On Monday, police identified the shooting victim as Clevan K. Richards Jr., of Randolph. Richards was shot in his car Thursday just before midnight in the area of Costello Circle. Richards was visiting the mother of his 2-week-old newborn that night, relatives said. They said he spent many nights visiting the child’s mother, who lived in the West Broadway development.

“He would spend every moment that he could with his child’s mother,” said Claudette Pennant, Richards’s maternal grandmother. “It was really important that he would be in his child’s life.”

Richards had worked in construction, among other jobs.

The day after the shooting, Condon administrators sent out an automated message and e-mail to the school community explaining that a shooting had occurred, and the school held recess indoors.


Stark said she has heard about more shootings in the surrounding neighborhood, but she doesn’t feel that she needs to pull her children from the school. Instead, she raised concern about the responses following such incidents.

While dropping off and picking up her children Monday, she said, she did not see any police presence around the school. Stark and other school employees remarked about a similar response after the gun incident last June.

She said she has expressed her concerns to school Superintendent Tommy Chang and City Councilor Michael Flaherty as well as spoken out at public meetings.

“We see an increase in the patrol, it goes down, then something happens again. Something has got to change,” Starks said.

Yeah, permanent patrols.

A possible motive for the shooting of Richards was not disclosed by authorities. The investigation by homicide detectives is ongoing.

Richards was the 13th homicide victim of 2018. A man was shot and killed in Hyde Park last weekend, the 14th homicide this year.

It's been my contention -- and perhaps saying it has run them out of town -- that a team of hitmen had been dispatched to Bo$ton for random killings as they drive around town to lend urgency to the disarmament and gun control agenda, as well as the increase on police state measures at schools. To get the kids acclimated.



"Police Commissioner William B. Evans saluted the quick action of detectives who helped identify a 14-year-old boy in Port Huron, Mich., who wrote a comment on Patriots’ star Julian Edelman’s Instagram account saying that he planned to “shoot my school up.” Edelman contacted Shannen Moen, his assistant in Boston, and asked her to contact authorities. Evans said Moen walked into the South Boston police station to report the threatening post. “Our detectives were able to help track down the suspect back to Port Huron. Then we notified the police in Michigan who further investigated the threat and the boy was taken into custody,” Evans said. “Great work by our detectives taking any school threat seriously.”

Must be why the kids aren't graduating college:

"Boston high school grads missing goal on degrees" by James Vaznis Globe Staff  April 11, 2018

A decade ago, Mayor Thomas M. Menino set a goal of doubling the percentage of city high school graduates who earned college degrees. But a report being released Wednesday shows the city has fallen far short of achieving that goal.

Just 51.6 percent of the city’s college-bound high school graduates in 2011 had earned degrees six years later, according to the report. Menino’s goal was to have 70 percent of college-going graduates earn their degrees within six years.

The gulf in performance serves as a reminder of the great complexities involved in moving thousands of students, mostly from low-income households, through a costly higher education system as they often juggle jobs and family obligations. Some also have been hamstrung by poor academic preparation in high school, while others — typically first-generation college-goers — struggle to navigate the Byzantine bureaucracy of higher education.

Why must the bureaucracy be $o Byzantine?

City, school, and civic leaders who have been pushing for higher college completion rates, though, see encouraging numbers in the results.

They “clearly demonstrated an ability to move the needle.

That Boston has focused on college completion for the past decade is a success story in itself. When the initiative was first launched, very few school systems nationwide tracked how well their graduates did in college. The more popular barometers of success were high school graduation rates and standardized test scores. 

Patting themselves on the back for failure. 

I mean, I know it's the Globe's job to shine up the log that is Bo$ton but c'mon!

But the Menino administration and other civic leaders believed the future success of the city rested in making sure its high school graduates were positioned to do well in an increasingly skilled-based and innovative-thinking economy, where most jobs would require a college degree or a postsecondary certificate from a community college.

Yet despite all these efforts, big divides persist between those Boston students who achieve their college dreams and those who do not, frequently falling along racial and gender lines.

The pre$$ always leave cla$$ out of it.

The initial data, which focused on the class of 2000, generated much soul-searching.....

Time for me to do some.


At least you can party while your there even if you don't graduate:

"Judge tosses involuntary manslaughter charges in frat death" Associated Press  March 28, 2018

A judge threw out involuntary manslaughter and many of the other most serious remaining charges Wednesday against 11 of the former Penn State fraternity members arrested in a pledge’s hazing-related death last year, the second major blow to the prosecution’s case.

Haven't they had enough trouble?

District Judge Allen Sinclair dismissed all five involuntary manslaughter charges, along with all reckless endangerment and hazing counts before him, during the three-day hearing that wrapped up late Tuesday, sending to county court for trial only alcohol violations and single counts of conspiracy to commit hazing.

The case involves the February 2017 death of 19-year-old student Tim Piazza of Lebanon, N.J., who died after falling several times at the house the night of a bid acceptance ceremony and party.

Security video showed him and other pledges being plied with alcohol.


No one called a doctor?


"Cambridge police to conduct internal review following use of force during arrest" by John Hilliard Globe Correspondent  April 14, 2018

Cambridge police said Saturday they will conduct an internal review into the use of force during the arrest of a 21-year-old black Harvard University student Friday evening, after members of a campus student group said officers violently attacked the man without provocation.

Cambridge police said Selorm Ohene of Cambridge approached them with clenched fists after officers responded to calls reporting a naked man on a traffic island near the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Waterhouse Street, along Cambridge Common in Harvard Square. Officers made the “tactical decision” to bring him down to the ground, according to police.

While attempting to place Ohene under arrest, one officer punched Ohene five times in the torso, according to a redacted copy of a report released by Cambridge police Saturday night.

The arrest involved three city officers and one from the MBTA Transit Police.

Might be a problem.

MBTA Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan declined to comment Saturday.

In a statement e-mailed to city councilors, police Commissioner Branville G. Bard said police used their discretion and struck Ohene to “gain his compliance and place him in handcuffs.”

The incident is under internal review by the department’s leadership and Professional Standards Unit, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale told Cambridge city councilors in the same statement Saturday.

“I have great faith in Commissioner Bard and the men and women of Cambridge Police Department and I am confident that they will use this as an opportunity to reflect on lessons that can be learned from this incident,” DePasquale said.

The arrest was witnessed by members of the Harvard Black Law Students Association and admitted students, and in a statement Saturday, the group called the incident a “brutal instance of police violence.”

“We demand that the officers who assaulted this man while he was naked, fully subdued and bleeding on the ground be investigated and held accountable,” the student group said in the statement.

What was he doing naked?

The group said witnesses said officers lunged at Ohene, tackled him, and pinned him to the ground, according to their statement.

After he was taken away in an ambulance, a “pool of blood” remained on the pavement until it was cleared away by firefighters, the student group said. They also said officers tried to prevent witnesses from recording the incident. 

That's illegal.

The law student association also criticized Harvard University’s Health Services, which they said contacted Cambridge police to respond to Friday’s incident.

“Instead of sending staff to support the student, HUHS transferred callers to CPD, who then responded as police often do whether cameras are rolling or not — by failing to appropriately respond to the individual needs of the person concerned and resorting to violence unnecessarily and with impunity,” the group said in the statement.

Harvard University officials said in a statement that they were aware of the incident and were looking into it.

“We are concerned and gathering information about the facts and circumstances leading up to the arrest and understand that the city of Cambridge is reviewing the situation. University officials are also working, as they always do, to care for and support our students,” according to the school’s statement.

According to the Cambridge police report, Ohene was found nude on Massachusetts Avenue “acting completely irrational” around 10 p.m. Friday.

The arrest was witnessed by about 30 onlookers, and vehicles driving by slowed to see what was going on. Police said two women standing nearby appeared to be acquaintances of Ohene, and one of them told officers that he “possibly took LSD (acid) or ‘morning glory,’ ” according to the report. 

He was tripping, huh?

Officers attempted to calm Ohene and were there to help him, according to the report, but his behavior “was aggressive, hostile, and intimidating.”

As Ohene spoke to one of the officers, the report said, he was seen clenching his fists and his hostility quickly escalated, then he began moving aggressively toward officers.

“Ohene’s goal was to seriously hurt himself or one of the officers on scene,” the report said. “Ohene absolutely could not be reasoned with.”

After police took Ohene down to the ground, he resisted attempts to place him in handcuffs, the report said.

“We gave Ohene verbal commands to give us his hands, which he did not. Unable to pry Ohene’s hands from underneath his body, I delivered approximately 5 strikes with a closed fists [sic] to the area of his stomach,” according to the police report.

The strikes appeared to be ineffective, the report said, and one officer was able to gain control of Ohene’s right arm and get the handcuffs on. Police also restrained Ohene with shackles around his ankles before he was put into the ambulance.

While he was being transported to a local hospital for observation, he spat blood and saliva at an EMT, police said. Two Cambridge officers were also treated for minor injuries and unprotected exposure to bodily fluids, police said.

Ohene was charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, assault, resisting arrest, and assault and battery on ambulance personnel, police said.


Also see: In courtrooms, a racial imbalance