I deserve it, you don’t

The Boston Globe notes that the leaders of the Boston charter schools make a fair amount (the second compares to 13 charter school executives who make $160,000 or more):

The median pay package for the top leaders of the 16 charter schools in Boston was $170,000 last year, making most of them among the highest-paid public school officials in Boston, according to a Globe review of payroll data.

By contrast, three members of Chang’s Cabinet made more than $160,000 in 2016, according to a Globe review.

and their employees make a bit less:

The average earnings for charter-school teachers, guidance counselors, and other educators who work directly with students were roughly $55,000, according to the Globe review. Average pay for teachers in the Boston school system is about $90,000.

Now look at how the leaders talk about the pay of the leaders:

Charter school officials say the large compensation packages reflect the competitive market for top school leaders and the need for special talent.

Harris, in a brief phone interview, said his compensation package was well-earned and reflected the 42 years he spent in public education.

During her tenure, Lam oversaw the school’s relocation from Brighton to Dorchester, its expansion from an elementary school into a K-8 program, and the addition of high-profile programs like EL Sistema, a popular Venezuelan music education program.

“Diana’s unique talents and experience as an accomplished visionary were essential to establishing the school and were reflected in her compensation,” Gary F. Gut, chairman of the school’s trustees, said.

Benjamin Howe, chairman of the trustees at Excel Academy, said the salary the board set for its CEO, Owen Stearns, the third-highest earner, was fair and reasonable and in the best interests of Excel, which operates four campuses in East Boston and Chelsea.

And how they talk about the pay of the teachers:

Charter school leaders say they would like to pay teachers more but the state does not provide them enough money to cover facility costs, forcing them to make up the difference in their operating budgets. The teachers in the independent charters are not unionized.

“Everyone I know wants to hire great teachers and pay them as much as possible,” said Shannah Varon, executive director of Boston Collegiate Charter School, who also leads the Boston Charter School Alliance. “I don’t know of any executive director who is trying to pad their paychecks and in doing so is hiring teachers who are green or paying them less.”

Somehow they are able to find the extra money to pay the leaders but it’s impossible to find it for the teachers. You might be surprised to learn that the teachers aren’t unionized.

For fun, let’s look at the school Shannah Varon works for, Boston Collegiate Charter School. It has, according to its website, nearly 700 students and has 7 executives on the list of people who make more than $100,000 per year. The top 7 executives earnrd a total of $849, 298 with Shannah topping the list at $166,496. I’m curious why paying  the executives a lot doesn’t reduce the amount that could go towards the pay of the teachers.

Never ask Trump for advice

You might remember how Donald Trump Jr. changed his story a few times as the NY Times kept adding details to their story of his meeting with some Russians before he finally put out the full email chain. It turns out he got help from his father:

The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.

But within hours, at the president’s direction, the plan changed.

Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said he and the Russian lawyer had ‘‘primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children’’ when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared a story, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was ‘‘not a campaign issue at the time.’’

What a smart guy. It gets better:

Trump, they say, is increasingly acting as his own lawyer, strategist, and publicist, often disregarding the recommendations of the professionals he has hired.

‘‘He refuses to sit still,’’ the presidential adviser said. ‘‘He doesn’t think he’s in any legal jeopardy, so he really views this as a political problem he is going to solve by himself.’’

As they say: A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client. By the way, this is sometimes said to be from Abraham Lincoln who was a Republican–very few people know that.

This is how Trump supports the troops

Here’s a series of tweets from the President:

After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you

As with anything Trump, this is a series of lies, bluster, and bigotry.

  • They aren’t his generals.
  • He didn’t consult with them before the decision:

Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, was given only a day’s notice about the decision.

His decision was announced with such haste that the White House could not answer basic inquiries about how it would be carried out, including what would happen to openly transgender people on active duty. Of eight defense officials interviewed, none could say.

  • The cost involved is minimal:

It estimated that health care costs would rise $2.4 million to $8.4 million a year, representing an infinitesimal 0.04 to 0.13 percent increase in spending.

  • Allowing transgender people to serve in other countries has had little or no effect in the military:

Studies based on the experiences of other countries that allow trans military service, such as Israel, Canada, and the UK, show that, in fact, allowing trans people to serve openly has little to no effect on military readiness or costs.

Remember that there are currently thousands of transgender military personnel, so he has just said that he doesn’t support them even though they are serving their country right now.

Oh, it also turns out that you can’t change policy by tweet so this isn’t even a real thing. It’s just a punch to the LGBTQ community (remember that Trump had he was a big supporter of them when he was campaigning) and it was followed by another:

In the latest and most significant anti-LGBT action yet from the Trump administration, the Justice Department last night filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit arguing that federal civil rights laws do not protect individuals from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Let’s vote blindly

You might remember that old Republican talking point where Representative Pelosi says the other reps will have to vote on the ACA to see what’s in it. This is wrong (she was saying that there was so much disinformation around that the public wouldn’t really know what it did until it was passed into law), but now look what Republicans are doing:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., scheduled the initial vote on beginning debate for Tuesday, though it remained unclear exactly which version of the legislation would be in play.

This would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic, McConnell expects Republicans to vote to open up debate on some bill even though they don’t know which bill. They will literally have to vote to see which bill they’re going to debate.

Update: And the Republicans voted to debate some bill, any bill, to give the rich huge tax cuts.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

I went to the Gardner Museum, so here are some pictures:

It’s an impressive little house in the Fenway. The building is also nice but they’re fixing it up right now so you can mostly only see construction.

The laws of math

Australia is considering a law that will make it mandatory for all device manufacturers to assist police with decrypting messages sent through their device. This post isn’t about that but about the response by the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcom Turnbull, when he was told that that might be mathematically impossible without also allowing many others access (since it would mean the encryption would have to be weaker):

“The laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that,” he said on Friday. “The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.”

I wonder if he has the same thoughts about gravity?

Republican tax cuts

Hey, it seems that Donald Trump’s tax ‘proposal’ (basically one page of notes) has been analyzed. Take a look:

A new analysis by the Tax Policy Center finds that the tax cuts included in the Trump administration’s outline for tax reform released in April could cut federal revenues by as much as $7.8 trillion over 10 years, and that the benefits would go almost exclusively to the top 5 percent of earners.

Even if the plan included some very large tax hikes to offset the cuts (like doing away with personal exemptions and other common deductions) and taking into account effect on economic growth, the cost still comes to $3.4 trillion over 10 years.

The revenue raisers also serve to make Trump’s plan even more regressive. If you just look at the tax cuts he’s proposing, 60.9 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent of Americans. That’s a pretty astonishing tilt toward the rich. But if you look at the combined effects of the cuts and the revenue raisers, 76.3 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent, and 94.8 percent go to the top 5 percent.

Trump’s proposal gives the vast majority of the tax cuts to the rich and blows a hole in the budget? I’m stunned. Or the opposite of that.

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