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Cheat Sheet Q & A:
Topic: Merit based teacher pay
As a former teacher/administrator in the Phila., Pa School System for almost 35 years, I can assure you it's wrong and not necessary. Principals, Department Heads and Assistant Principals would, formally, observe teachers at least twice a year and follow up with a report and conference. Even before that, we knew who was good and who was not. Further, other teachers, the students and most parents know who is good and who is not. The problem that exists is not being able to get rid of the few who are unsatisfactory.
Bottom Line: The argument over merit based teacher pay has been underway for nearly two decades now. The evidence that we’ve figured out the right approach is well, completely inconclusive. Let’s look through what has been done with regard to Merit pay:
Let’s look at the complications of a merit based system:
While I do believe that the concept of Merit pay makes sense (why should the best teachers be compensated equally to the worst?), I do think that a creative approach not tied to student test scores is needed. Perhaps the
There may still be more questions than answers when it comes to a merit based education system but I do absolutely agree that the NEA along with state teacher’s unions have generally made the process of eliminating poor teachers too ridged. That may be the first place to start as it could be a case of educational addition by subtraction (pun intended).
If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scorecard on the new tax policy - it's working from a Government point of view:
Bottom Line: You may not enjoy paying the additional 2% payroll tax this year. Upper income earners may not enjoy paying higher overall tax rates but Governments do.
So far tax receipts at the state (for states that charge income tax) and Federal level are $120 billion higher than a year ago. That’s a 20% increase. With the goal of the tax increase being to raise additional level its being considered a win at the Government level. States on the brink like
While I’d prefer to see stronger economic activity driving increased tax revenue rather than tax increases, it’s inarguable that increased revenue it helpful from a Government deficit point of view.
If you want a loan in retirement - something to plan for:
Bottom Line: While lending standards have been easing over the last year on larger loan products (home and auto) there is one very important consideration for future and current retirees to consider if they’re interested in obtaining a loan once retired. Provable income.
Those that have reached retirement in style, credit scores of 800+, and considerable savings (even in the millions) aren’t used to being shut down for a loan. That’s happening to many recent retirees these days. So what’s the issue?
Lending standards for many times of loans, most notably mortgages, require two years of income tax filings that are mandatory to obtaining a loan. The past earning history is used along with current income data to determine if you’re eligible to receive the loan you’re applying for. The issue for new retirees is that the income would have been based on a career they no longer have and income that is no longer there. Instead whatever your new income stream is (dividends, interest payments, Social Security, etc) need to have an established two year history prior to being eligible for many loans – even if you could demonstrate the ability to pay for the loan in cash if you desired.
The stunning difference of health care costs from hospital to hospital:
Bottom Line: Finally! For years my lead argument regarding the rising and unsustainable costs of healthcare has centered on becoming better consumers of healthcare. Healthcare is the only industry in which we routinely sign a form citing that we’ll pay (if our insurance company doesn’t) for whatever the cost of whatever care we will receive. We’d never do that for any other type of purchase.
Hopefully the tide will begin to turn on our lack of consumer influence in the healthcare realm. The Federal Government released a comparable cost report for many medical procedures from one hospital to the next. It’s not uncommon to see differences in the same procedures totaling in the tens of thousands of dollars from one hospital to the next. I encourage you to review the list, share it, and encourage more consumer education within healthcare services. Being better consumers of healthcare and creating price competitiveness is the best opportunity to meaningfully reign in the cost of healthcare.
One way to save hospitals and us $8.3 billion per year (and its implications to other businesses):
Bottom Line: So a nationwide report studying the medical establishment discovered $8.3 billion in wasted spending and lost productivity in hospitals each year based on inadequate or dated technology that’s still being used. That turns out to be an average of $900,000 per hospital per year.
Often businesses, medical and otherwise, balk at newer technology because of the comfort of old systems and the upfront cost of new tech. In reality they not only are less efficient but are losing significant money, even near term by resisting newer tech, and potentially losing price competitiveness with competing businesses that aren’t stuck with old tech and can charge customers less.
The tired excuse that the way we’re doing it is working, in effect isn’t – it’s usually that they just haven’t discovered what isn’t working better.
T-Mobile iPhone launch # is in:
Bottom Line: So was the initial iPhone 5 launch on T-Mobile a success? To them it was.
On April 12th T-Mobile set out on a new path. The end the two year contract model for new customers and for the first time they offered an Apple product on their network. A little less than a month later we have numbers to review.
T-Mobile has sold more than 500,000 iPhone 5’s so far in less than a month. It’s not the millions that were sold during the launch on the other carriers but it’s a good number for most phones, especially one that’s been available for over sic months. T-Mobile is excited about its prospects by the time the next generation iPhone is released and they are able to sell it from day one.
Indication the "Facebook" phone was a bust:
Bottom Line: Well hopefully you heeded my warning if you had been tempted to purchase the so called “Facebook phone” and aren’t regretting your purchase (the way that most owners of the