All across the United States, demographic changes, along with years of irresponsible fiscal policy, are combining to create a perfect storm that may herald the end of the public education system of the United States as it currently exists. Although there are many serious problems facing the U.S. public education system today, one of the most serious is the increasingly severe funding shortfalls of teachers’ pension systems and the intractable negotiations that are resulting from this dire problem.
As goes Kentucky, so goes America
One of the more dire examples of a quickly failing teachers’ pension programs is that of the state of Kentucky. So badly managed has the Kentucky Teachers Pension been that some analysts estimate the whole of the Kentucky public pension system, of which the teachers’ pension is the large majority, may be underfunded by up to $85 billion. This figure is not only staggeringly high, it is simply not mathematically possible for the government of Kentucky to meet anywhere near that level of obligations while maintaining anything like its current budget.
The downward spiral
The system is in such bad shape that some teachers are even admitting that the problems currently threaten the viability of public education in Kentucky. One of the problems brought up is that, under a bill that has just been proposed by the state’s legislature, all teachers hired after 2014 will need to immediately begin transitioning from a defined benefits program to a defined contributions, 401(k) account. But many in the teachers’ unions are sounding the alarm that this may have irrevocably deleterious effects on the ability of the state to continue attracting talented young teachers.
In Detroit, where public pension liabilities ultimately led to the city declaring bankruptcy, the local school system is in shambles. This is despite the fact that the Detroit Public School System gets massive appropriations from the state government. In Kentucky, things could ultimately turn out to be substantially worse, as the state’s schools will likely not receive significant federal funds.
Recent reports that a Russian company sought to purchase political advertisements on Facebook in order to influence the presidential election that took place in 2016 should come as no surprise to the majority of Americans. A number of different committees have reportedly been investigating the connections between the Trump campaign and Russia for well over a year at this point. In addition, the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, has continued to uncover more evidence in this investigation consistently. However, while it’s still up for determination whether or not American Politicians have been colluding with Russian officials, it is already clear that American elected officials have been consistently complicit in influencing elections and sabotaging the electoral process.
Did Foreign Entities Influence The 2016 Election?
While by law, foreign entities aren’t technically allowed to contribute to American political campaigns, in practice, the enforcement of this rule is difficult at best, and impossible at worst. With the lax campaign finance laws in the US, and little guidance on what actions to take in the event that those laws are broken, it’s proven to be incredibly difficult to prevent foreign intervention in the democratic processes of the US.
Why Foreign Entities Can Influence American Elections
All three major branches of the United States government have contributed heavily to the issues which allow foreign entities so much power in US elections. The controversial 2010 decision of the Supreme Court during the Citizens United v. the U.S. Federal Election Commission case set a precedent for this behavior. The case did so by classifying political donations as being technically considered speech, and, as such, giving corporations, advocacy groups, and labor unions the ability to donate unlimited sums to political campaigns under constitutional protection. This would also allow foreign-owned companies to influence the elections financially.
Democrats Propose Limiting Measures
The Democrats have made proposals for a number of measures in order to reign in excessive political spendings. Proposals such as the Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act, the DISCLOSE Act, and the By the People reform package. In part, their proposals contain a Constitutional amendment which would overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision from the Citizens United case.
Can End Citizens United Put A Stop To This Spending?
These democratic politicians have gained the backing of a political action committee known as End Citizens United. In 2015, the people who founded End Citizens United started their own fundraising initiative intended to counter the influences of foreign and corporate donations in US politics.
End Citizens United is a non-profit organization, and as such, relies on donors to fund its operations. Their stated goal is to limit the influence of bribery and foreign contributions in US elections and politics. They employ grassroots tactics to support candidates who dedicate themselves to campaign finance reforms. By bringing dark money and other types of corruption in the US election processes into public attention, End Citizens United aims to move the US towards more fair and balanced democracy.
— Tiffany Muller (@Tiffany_Muller) November 16, 2017
The American public school system has never been in worse shape. Between declining standardized test scores, worsening graduation rates and rapidly fleeing middle-class students, who are increasingly turning to charter schools, the public education system of the United States could fairly be described as being in a state of crisis.
Now, the state of Kentucky is laying one more straw on the already strained back of the country’s public ed sector. In a recent article in the New York Times, it was revealed that the state of Kentucky’s public pension system, of which the teachers’ pension is the largest part, may be underfunded by up to $85 billion. Restated, the teachers pension system is only 15 to 30 percent funded, meaning that it is in a state of imminent crisis.
But the state of Kentucky is not alone. Teachers’ pensions systems ranging from Illinois to New Jersey are facing similarly dire circumstances. The upshot is that these state governments, if they aren’t already scrambling for an ad-hoc solution to a structural problem of their own doing, will soon be facing the kinds of choices that only a bankruptcy court may be able to resolve. And if history is any guide, municipal bankruptcies – there’s never been an entire state that has yet reached total insolvency – often lead to the near total destruction of the public school systems under their jurisdiction. We can see this in places like Detroit and Stockton, where entire school districts often don’t even meet the most basic levels of proficiency on standardized tests.
Meanwhile in Kentucky, the taxpayers will be on the hook, in 2018, for over $2 billion in direct funding that will be needed to keep that state’s teachers’ pension afloat. But this already painful measure will only be a temporary fix. The taxpayer contribution to the teachers’ pension will continue to sharply rise in the years to come, as the baby boomers retire, straining a system that was designed for many workers and only a few retirees.
While America’s public schools have steadily been getting worse over the last four decades, causing a mass exodus of middle-class families withdrawing their children from public schools and enrolling them in charters, an even larger crisis looms on the horizons of America’s public school system. Across the country, teachers’ pension systems, strained under demographic bottlenecks that were not originally foreseen when the systems were conceived and reeling from years of fiscal irresponsibility and profligate politicos pandering to their base by squandering pension principal, are facing the prospect of imminent insolvency.
This is most pronounced in states like New Jersey, Illinois and Kentucky. But dozens of other states are not far behind. The truth is that mendacious politicians, who have lavished their constituents like sailors on shore leave, in order to buy votes, combined with unrealistic projections that use completely unsustainable discount rates, have conspired to create a pension tsunami that may prove to inundate the entire American public education system under a tidal wave of unserviceable debt.
When teachers are owed, it’s the schools who pay
In the state of Kentucky alone, the total unfunded liability for the state’s public employees pension funds is estimate to be as high as $85 billion. It is, in a sense, ironic, that one of the first places where budgetary cuts are likely to occur, in order for the state to continue meeting its obligations to retired teachers, will be in the state’s public schools.
In fact, over the last 10 years in the United States, we see ample precedent suggesting that when local and state budgets become severely strained, the school systems under their jurisdiction often take the brunt of the hits. In Detroit, for example, that city’s public school system, despite massive bailouts from both the state and federal government, ranks among the worst in the entire nation. Many years the entire district has tested non-proficient at even the most basic level in math. Yes, that means that not one single student tested at even the most basic, 6th grade level for math proficiency.
In a recent Op Ed piece published by Forbes Magazine, Kerry McDonald, a woman who has become known for her advocacy of the public school system, discussed her views on public education and how it differs from public schooling. McDonald began the article by stating what she believes to be positive aspects of the American Public School system. While critics would argue that very few proven benefits exist of the public education system, McDonald believes that public institutions foster growth and development that children need to have instilled in order to become productive and lively adult citizens. McDonald’s argument is that public schools have fallen into a schooling structure rather than an educational structure.
In Mcdonald’s mind, schooling refers to the process by which students are drilled with information in practical ways. The public school advocate stated that schooling methods are dated and were better suited for the industrial society from which we have evolved. In the information age where Mcdonald stated that society values creativity and ingenuity over logic and reason, she believes that the students of public schools would better benefit from the introduction of educational practices.
McDonald discussed that public education included the development of student academic achievement using a variety of techniques and strategies. McDonald’s critique of the modern educational system is the fact that it pushes a one size fits all approach to academics and the arts. While many public school advocates argue that the lack of funding for certain programs minimizes the organizational efforts of the leadership, Kerry McDonald admits that most public schools receive an exuberant amount of funding per child compared to their private and home schooled counterparts who outperform them in virtually every subject with about a fourth of the funding. As a solution to these problems, McDonald has initiated efforts to further her involvement in the policy making decisions that can help public schools to incorporate new methods of education. McDonald’s effort to reform public education have been widely praised in the United States.
11-12-2017 Update: Don just posted a new article to his OnMogul page that’s worth checking out. All about getting a brand recognized for the first time. Something that he and Adam had to figure out for the first time once they starting building a fashion empire. Read Don Ressler’s piece here: How Do You Build Awareness For A New Brand
Mr. Adam Goldenberg, Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Just Fabulous, Inc. has six years of experience in product development, management, and Internet marketing. In 2006, he co-founded Intelligent Beauty, Inc. and served as its Chief Executive Officer. He also served as the President of Brentwood Cosmetics, LLC and Alena LLC since January 2004. He served as the President of Performance Marketing Group of Intermix Media LLC since January 29, 2004, and served as its Chief Operating Officer from October 26, 2001, to January 29, 2004. He co-founded Alena Media and launched Hydroderm. He then teamed up with Don Ressler to found Brand Ideas.
Mr. Don Ressler also the Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Intelligent Beauty, Inc. has made more than 1 billion US dollars in deals and has raised more than 100 million US dollars in capital for Internet organizations, in this manner procuring a notoriety for being a business and brand-building master. He co-founded, served as Chief Executive Officer and President of FitnessHeaven.Com, Inc. At Intemix Media, he initiated core ventures that complimented shareholder’s value. He co-founded Alena Media and created the skin care brand Hydroderm and Brand Ideas.
The two turned out to be quick friends, and when in 2005 Intermix was obtained by News Corporation. Don and Adam rushed to begin their firm. They created an e-commerce brand incubator platform called Intelligent Beauty in 2006. They then went ahead to create brands as leaders in the beauty and health market and started thinking of how to put the shopping experience online. Adam and Don worked under the rule that for fashion to work on the web, it was necessary to make it fun, interactive, and social. They prepared for a development of Intelligent Beauty and started making a personalization stage, enlisting style experts and planners, and working out an alluring and reasonable membership display. The outcome was JustFab, a style group where customers get a choice of shoes, purses, and accessories customized to their taste every month for less than forty dollars. JustFab closed an $85 million round of funding led by Passport Special Opportunity Fund in August 2014. The series conveyed the organization’s aggregate capitalization to about 250 million US dollars.
Doe Deere is a special lady. She not only is the founder of Lime Crime, a fun cosmetics line, but she is one of those people you can look at and instantly know that they are on the path meant for them. She is as bright as a rainbow – literally. Doe can be seen sporting hot pink hair with blue lips one day, and then long purple locks and bold mauve lips the next. Cosmetics are her true gift in life and through Lime Crime, she shared that gift with women all over the world.
She recently sat down with Guest of a Guest to give her advice as a successful entrepreneur on how to achieve your dreams. I was moved at what she noted was her best advice, a saying that holds true for all ages. She advised to simply follow your heart. She spoke about the special gift each person is born with that makes them unlike anyone else in the world. Doe says that by getting in touch with yourself and “going where you love,” you are able to achieve your dreams and goals.
The story of Lime Crime’s inception came because she followed her own path. She says that she has always gravitated towards bright, fun colors in her style and makeup. She shared an interesting story of her and her young girlfriends playing a game that shows she has always had a knack for makeup. Doe felt that the game wouldn’t be complete until they painted their faces with bright paint and wore wild long skirts.
Living in New York City in 2008, Doe was frustrated that she wasn’t able to find high quality makeup products in bright, bold colors. The “nude” look was in and women were wearing beige colors. Instead of settling for low quality makeup or changing her style, she simply founded Lime Crime one day. She brought the domain name and then pushed forward to bring her company to life.
Today, Lime Crime is a company about as unique as they come. The line of cosmetics includes brightly colored lipsticks, eyeshadows and powders. Lime Crime’s fan base, who call themselves “unicorns,” have been described as cult like. They have dubbed Doe “Queen of the Unicorns.” One look at her and you can tell that the name is a sure fit.
Her sound advice to follow where your true self is taking you is incredibly inspiring. Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/doedeereofficial
Ask any prison guard what the most serious threat to the institution in which they work is, and they will likely tell you that inmates who have become despondent or who perceive themselves as having nothing to lose are often the most dangerous element within a prison.
One of the ways in which modern prisons are able to keep inmates from losing all hope is through allowing them the ability to stay in contact with their loved ones on the outside of prison. This makes inmate communications providers, such as Securus Technologies, extremely important pieces of the overall prison system in the United States. Convicts who are able to stay in touch with friends and family on the outside are both more likely to maintain a pro-social attitude and are more likely to be able to successfully reintegrate into society once they are released.
But the benefits of inmates who perceive their lives to have meaning extend far beyond improved statistics on reintegration and recidivism. It has been shown through various studies that inmates who have access to technology, like the video visitation system offered by Securus Technologies, are more likely to do their time without incurring large numbers of infractions within the prison. This, in turn, keeps the prisons where these systems are installed safer than those were inmates are forced to turn inward to other criminals in order to maintain socialization.
Another important element in keeping prisoners on the right track to successful integration is ensuring that their rates that they pay for outgoing phone calls and video visitations are reasonable. This is another area where Securus Technologies has done yeoman’s work, enabling the vast majority of inmates incarcerated in prisons where its systems are installed to pay no more than $0.15 per minute to make outgoing phone calls to their loved ones.
Sujit Choudhry was born in 1970. He attended Oxford University where he graduated with a Bachelors in Law. Sujit later joined Harvard School of Law for his Masters degree. He is the I. Michael Heyman law professor at Berkeley School of Law, at the University of California. He is also the dean of the institution and the first Indian-American Dean. He is an expert in constitutional laws and politics. The professor is also the Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions.
Sujit Choudhry is currently the Director of the Center of Constitutional Transitions. The center is responsible for producing and mobilizing information to support constitutional making. Experts from more than twenty-five countries work with the center to deal with legal and political concerns. Sujit Choudhry being a writer has published many books, journals, papers, and reports. He has also played a leading role in drafting the Canadian Constitutional Law. More to read on indiawest.com.
From 1996 to 1997, Sujit served as the Law Clerk for the then Chief Justice of Canada, Rt. Hon Antonio Lamer. Sujit is experienced in civil servants’ training, drafting memoranda and reports and facilitating sessions involving public dialogue. Sujit has earned many awards and recognition because of his works that are of good quality. For instance, in 2011 he received the Practitioner of the Year award from the South Asian Bar Association. Check on law.nyu.edu for additional reading.
Sujit Choudhry on July 10 joined a team of constitutional experts to discuss the Ukrainian Government’s semi-presidential system. The seminar was hosted by the international institute for democracy and electoral assistance and the center of policy and legal reform among other organizations in Ukraine. They also discussed the constitutional challenges the system faces. For added reference, click on papers.ssrn.com
Sujit noted that democracy in Ukraine was still unstable. He mentioned that the fragile political parties plus the legislature electoral system among other issues are to blame for the instability. Sujit also cited involvement of transitional democracies in making constitutional choices. He stated that it was important to discuss policy options after collection. This is to aid processes involving legal reforms. Constitution making focuses on using case studies together with articles. These are used as sources of information for constitution making. For further reading about Sujit, hop over to sujitchoudhry.com.
Read his blogs, and keep updated with his timeline activities visit www.facebook.com/SujitChoudhryLaw
Doe Deere was born and lived in Russia until she was 17 years old. Since then, she has made her mark in America as a savvy business woman. The story behind the amazing and creative purple and pink haired entrepreneur proves that anyone can succeed when they put their minds to it. Learn more: http://doedeerefam.com/
Doe Deere was an imaginative and creative child, in love with color and expression. As she grew up, she had her heart set on becoming a musician. Doe Deere may not have stuck with her original plan, but being a music career, she was able to learn about marketing. It also gave her a deep appreciation for those that invested their time and interest in her events.
Building a business is nothing new to Doe Deere. At age 13, when she was still living in Russian, she marketed and sold temporary tattoos to her classmates. Deere remembers her basic plan being discovering the tattoos, which were a novelty at the time, popularizing them, then selling them.
Because of her love of color and experimentation with new looks, Lime Crime was born. Doe Deere’s brand revolutionizes makeup and the experiences of buying cosmetics. The name Lime Crime first came into existence in 2004 when Doe Deere needed a name for her Ebay store. Deere explains that back then names were picked without thought of “brand“. Silly and nonsensical names were used all the time. Because of her artistic background in art and sewing, the idea for a makeup brand came naturally. Her love for color was also part of her inspiration. She found vibrant colors hard to come by, so the Lime Crime was created partially out of necessity. Learn more: https://www.limecrime.com/pages/our-founder
Doe Deere, also known as The Unicorn Queen, has a clear mission with her cosmetic line Lime Crime. She wants to encourage clients to express themselves unapologetically through the use of unique colors provided by her company. Lime Crime enables customers to create their looks in accordance with their mood through the use of their unique products.
Lime Crime is one of the first digitally based beauty brands and has revolutionized make-up from they way customers shop for it, to the colors available. One of Doe Deere’s goals is to set new trends, standards and quality while nurturing a strong internet presence.
Besides the fabulous colors, Lime Crime’s products are vegan and cruelty free. Being cruelty-free means that Lime Crime does not test any of their products on animals, and none of the ingredients used have been tested on animals. Being Vegan means that Lime Crime does not include animal ingredients or byproducts such as lanolin, beeswax, carmine or whey. Lime Crime is certified by PETA and The Leaping Bunny Program.
In the pursuit to express ourselves, Lime Crime enables women to pick colors that are unusual and unique. Doe Deere believes that make-up, hair, and clothing work together to help individual expression. With Lime Crime made available, the cosmetics needed to assist in self-expression are only a click away.