Don’t Let the State Retain Ineffective Employees (YES ON PROP 74)

Opponents call this the “blame teachers act”. But I have yet to hear any arguments against this proposal. It’s simple and a no-brainer. I think the reason that I haven’t heard a single coherent argument against it (other than to call it names) is because there is no valid argument against it.

Say what you will about whether this bill should be a priority for our state (I agree that it doesn’t seem like a very pressing issue), the fact is that it is on the ballot, and it’s a good measure.

Here is the link to the official Proposition 74.

The bill makes the following true:
1) Delays tenure from two years to five years.
2) Modifies the dismissal process for tenured teachers such that if a teacher gets two consecutive unsatisfactory performance evaluations, the school board can dismiss the teacher.

Thats it.

The only thing wrong with this bill is that it doesn’t abolish tenure altogether. I don’t think our teachers need to be coddled. Despite that, the bill is solid forward progress, and protects all Californian taxpayers from having to pay ineffective employees. Now, how could Warren Beatty or any other democrat claim this is a “fire teachers” bill? The teacher needs to get back to back failing reviews in order for this to be even possible. There is no corporation in America that tolerates bad performers like this, so why should the state?

I think the Democrats are just against anything Schwarzenegger proposes – not because the bill is bad – but because they want to attack him. Politics sucks.

Vote yes on this one.

Javascript libraries and AJAX

I spent a fair amount of time searching for good javascript and ajax libraries. Here are the ones I’ve tried and like.

DOMAPI is a great JS library. Its cheap, easy to use, and very modular. Its also been around for a long time and has pretty good support. If you buy it, you get access to the upcoming versions which have improved AJAX support. The 3.0 version uses a javascript RPC library which is an earlier version of AJAX concepts. Most everything in the library works great on FireFox + IE.

prototype.js is a free toolkit for writing ajax applications. Works great on IE/Firefox. Also claims to support Safari.

Rico is an open-source javascript library that builds upon prototype.js. They’ve done some great work with visual effects here. I especially like their Accordion widget, drag/drop features, and expanded AJAX support (check out their demos!). My biggest gripe about Rico is that it distributes itself as a single js source file which is about 80KB. In practice, this is probably not unbearable, and if it helps speed development, the size issue can be conquered later. I don’t think it works with Safari yet either.

An interesting library which I haven’t experimented enough with is Behaviour. This one looks promising as a great way to specify javascript actions/behaviors in the CSS rather than in the HTML. Used effectively, this could greatly improve the maintainability and readability of your HTML/Javascript.

Lastly, I’ll mention Zimbra’s Ajax Library, which is probably worth a look if you are just getting started simply because their demos are so impressive. Because Zimbra is an applications company, the library is buried within their source code, and they don’t spend a ton of time making it easy for developers. So it will a take a little more time to get started with this one, which is the reason I have yet to try it myself.

If you are searching for ajax info, you might want to check out the Ajax Frameworks page at

Windows Live

If you haven’t seen it already, Windows Live launched today. It looks pretty cool. But its all “in Beta”.

The best new part of Windows Live is the new Hotmail look. If you use hotmail, you should definitely check it out – its way better. To see it, you have to signup, however, so just login to your hotmail account here. You have to wait for approval before you’ll get the new look.

PS – the site says, “Firefox support is coming soon. Please be patient :-)”

PPS – don’t forget to check out It’s a better “home page” than Yahoo or Google.