Saturday, June 16, 2007


I was overjoyed when I found the following piece on The Bulletin a Philadelphia based newspaper. I am glad to see more groups speaking out against unions and more newspapers reporting about the issue.

To learn more about Union click here.

The piece below appeared in The Bulletin.

Campaign Against A Teachers' Union In Newark
By: Bradley Vasoli, The Bulletin

The Newark (N.J.) chapter of the American Federation of Teachers maintains the "traditional mission of our public schools has been to prepare our nation's young people for equal and responsible citizenship and productive adulthood."

But the nonprofit Center for Union Facts (CUF) has spent months telling parents that the city's teachers remain worlds away from realizing their mission. Their advertising effort has cast a light on the uncanny ease with which teachers can keep their jobs, whatever their proficiency level.

And the campaign's most provocative days lie ahead. The group has recently focused on addressing the massive expenditures made by the Newark Public Schools (NPS). CUF is now emblazoning unflattering data pertaining to the Newark Teachers' Union (NTU) on numerous billboards and 125 city buses.

CUF's advertisements will read:
* "FACT: Newark spends over $750,000 for every standard high school diploma awarded. Another Reason the Newark Teachers Union Gets an 'F'."

* "FACT: 7 of 10 Newark students never earn a standard high school diploma. Another Reason the Newark Teachers Union Gets an 'F'."

CUF notes that taxpayers spent $18,035 for each Newark public school student in the 2004-2005 school year, 38 percent more than what New Jersey and its other school districts spend per child annually, on average.

"You've got a ton of money being spent," Jon Berry, a senior research analyst at CUF, told The Bulletin.

The group doubts students reap any benefits from these massive expenditures, no small part of which go toward teacher salaries and benefits packages.

CUF points out that in the last four years, only 30.6 percent of its students left Newark's school system with a standard diploma. Moreover, they report that 20 percent of the city's schools face a federal takeover.

"Let's face it," CUF executive director Richard Berman said. "If the return on investment was this low in a business, heads would roll. But because the NTU protects bad teachers, even a 30.6 percent graduation rate isn't enough to get more than about one tenured teacher fired a year."

Newark's public schools terminate about one in 3,050 teachers each year, according to statistics CUF culled from the schools' records custodians. CUF mentions that tenured teachers are 4.6 times more likely to die in office than get dismissed.

The difficulty in dismissing a teacher for incompetence owes to the protracted appeals process New Jersey's school districts would necessarily undergo to fire a teacher. School personnel decisions in the state can be appealed all the way up to the New Jersey Department of Education, Berry said.

The result, he explained, is that the district finds itself backed up with many cases it can't terminate and therefore focuses on firing only the most incapable or malfeasant individuals. To bear this out, the group cites a case of one teacher who sexually harassed some of his female students and received four months in severance pay.

The infrequency of teacher firings has burned forcibly on the minds of this group. "By protecting bad teachers, the NTU does serious damage to professionalism in teaching," Berry said.

On the flipside, Berry noted that Newark's and other teachers unions in the state
have effectively stood in the way of any merit pay system for teachers. Thus, he says, excellence in teaching is difficult to encourage monetarily.

NTU certainly hasn't reacted warmly to the campaign's efforts, but their president Joseph DelGrosso says it has hardly disturbed the union's modus operandi or its satisfaction with its teachers' performances. DelGrosso notes that he was recently re-elected to his post comfortably despite (or, he implies, because of) CUF's efforts. He mentioned their opposition to him in his campaign literature.

"My hat's off to Mr. Berman," DelGrosso said. "He's a very helpful guy."
DelGrosso said CUF ignored the concern and care for students he believes his union has demonstrated. He cites as an example the more than $100,000 NTU raises each year for college scholarships. He contrasted that with the fact that CUF (a research nonprofit) has not raised any such funds.

According to DelGrosso, NTU also runs workshops for teachers in low-performing schools and has partnered with Seton Hall University for a takeover of Newton Elementary, a public school that has struggled in the recent past to prepare its students for higher grades.

The union leader criticized the public support that CUF and Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) have given each other. He said Booker's support of private school vouchers has rendered him hostile toward NTU and friendly toward CUF.

Berry noted that CUF does not advocate any particular education reform policy, but merely opposes excessive teachers union power.

"Our purpose is simply to shine a light on these problems," Berry said.
"Our statistics should be a wake-up call to anyone who believes that the abysmal graduation rates from Newark schools are a result of underfunding," Berman said.

"Clearly, money isn't the problem. The problem is that the Newark Teachers Union won't hold bad teachers accountable for poor results and hamstrings good teachers with endless bureaucracy."

Newark is the first of many jurisdictions the D.C.-based CUF will spotlight nationwide. They stress their view that Newark's situation is hardly unique.
Neither side seems to register any worry about public perception. Both DelGrosso and Berry have said their respective organizations have received much public support after CUF's campaign started. But Berry noted even some of Newark's public school teachers wrote to encourage the movement.

"There have been a lot of folks who have written us to say, 'Please keep it coming'," he said.
Bradley Vasoli can be reached at

Friday, June 15, 2007

Jonah Goldberg: Support education - do away with public schools

The following outstanding piece appeared in the Union Leader. No comment is really needed because the article is self explanatory.

Jonah Goldberg: Support education - do away with public schools

8 hours, 13 minutes ago

HERE'S A GOOD question for you: Why have public schools at all?

OK, cue the marching music. We need public schools because blah blah blah and yada yada yada. We could say blah is common culture and yada is the government's interest in promoting the general welfare. Or that children are the future. And a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Because we can't leave any child behind.

The problem with all these bromides is that they leave out the simple fact that one of the surest ways to leave a kid "behind" is to hand him over to the government. Americans want universal education, just as they want universally safe food. But nobody believes that the government should run nearly all of the restaurants, farms and supermarkets. Why should it run the vast majority of the schools -- particularly when it gets terrible results?

Consider Washington, home of the nation's most devoted government-lovers and, ironically, the city with arguably the worst public schools in the country. Out of the 100 largest school districts, according to the Washington Post, D.C. ranks third in spending for each pupil ($12,979) but last in spending on instruction. Fifty-six cents out of every dollar go to administrators who, it's no secret, do a miserable job administrating, even though D.C. schools have been in a state of "reform" for nearly 40 years.

In a blistering series, the Post has documented how badly the bureaucrats have run public education. More than half of the District of Columbia's teenage kids spend their days in "persistently dangerous" schools, with an average of nine violent incidents a day in a system with 135 schools. "Principals reporting dangerous conditions or urgently needed repairs in their buildings wait, on average, 379 days . . . for the problems to be fixed," according to the Post. But hey, at least the kids are getting a lousy education. A mere 19 schools managed to get "proficient" scores or better for a majority of students on the district's Comprehensive Assessment Test.

A standard response to such criticisms is to say we don't spend enough on public education. But if money were the solution, wouldn't the district, which spends nearly $13,000 on every kid, rank near the top? If you think more money will fix the schools, make your checks out to "cash" and send them to me.

Private, parochial and charter schools get better results. Parents know this. Applications for vouchers in the district dwarf the available supply, and home schooling has exploded.

As for schools teaching kids about the common culture and all that, as a conservative I couldn't agree more. But is there evidence that public schools are better at it? The results of the 2006 National Assessment of Educational Progress history and civics exams showed that two-thirds of U.S. high school seniors couldn't identify the significance of a photo of a theater with a sign reading "Colored Entrance." And keep in mind, political correctness pretty much guarantees that Jim Crow and the civil rights movement are included in syllabi. Imagine how few kids can intelligently discuss Manifest Destiny or free silver.

Right now, there's a renewed debate about providing "universal" health insurance. For some liberals, this simply means replicating the public school model for health care. (Stop laughing.) But for others, this means mandating that everyone have health insurance -- just as we mandate that all drivers have car insurance -- and then throwing tax dollars at poorer folks to make sure no one falls through the cracks.

There's a consensus in America that every child should get an education, but as David Gelernter noted recently in the Weekly Standard, there's no such consensus that public schools need to do the educating.

Really, what would be so terrible about government mandating that every kid has to go to school, and providing subsidies and oversight when necessary, but then getting out of the way?

Milton Friedman noted long ago that the government is bad at providing services -- that's why he wanted public schools to be called "government schools" -- but that it's good at writing checks. So why not cut checks to people so they can send their kids to school?

What about the good public schools? Well, the reason good public schools are good has nothing to do with government's special expertise and everything to do with the fact that parents care enough to ensure their kids get a good education. That wouldn't change if the government got out of the school business. What would change is that fewer kids would get left behind.

Jonah Goldberg's e-mail address is

Quote of the Day "Really, what would be so terrible about government mandating that every kid has to go to school, and providing subsidies and oversight when necessary, but then getting out of the way?" Jonah Goldberg on doing away with public schools.

If the New Hampshire Legislators took to heart the quote above we could easily solve the problem with further lawsuits from educrats that have hijacked the public education system as their personal entitlement program and the school spending problem.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The "Delphi Technique" And How It Robs Parents of Control Over Their Child's Education

In the article below readers today will learn about the Delphi Technique. I have seen this used time and time again at school board meetings and pro-referendum meetings. I even believe it was used this year in Croydon by those pushing the tax warrants for our schools.

We were unable to attend the Croydon Town meeting this year because a snow storm moved the meeting to the day of our house closing in Illinois. We were told that initially the warrants were rejected by Croydon citizens but after school officials spoke to the group they supported the warrants.

I ask readers to please print out the article below and give it to your friends and neighbors.

The following article appears on the American Policy Center website.

The "Delphi Technique" And How It Robs Parents of Control Over Their Child's Education

One of the eight stated purposes of Goals 2000 is "increased parental involvement in learning." Yet parents have experienced a strange phenomenon when they have tried to follow the goal and actually get involved. They are rejected.

They are not, however, rejected rudely or dismissed abruptly. In fact, most parents come away from a school meeting not knowing they've been rejected at all.

On the contrary, school administrators openly welcome them, show them around and bring them into their office for a friendly chat. During that meeting the education official will quiz parents about their interests in education reform. The parents will be asked if they are a part of any locally organized group of concerned parents. They will want to know if the parents are affiliated with a specific national group or religion.

After the interview, a smile, a hand shake and a pat on the back gives the parents the feeling that progress has been made, that the school is interested in their ideas and that their concerns will be considered and changes made. Yet it never seems to happen.

That's because many school administrators have been specially trained to deal with those who seek to question the education "reforms" that are rapidly replacing the teaching of basic academics. In most cases a school administrator has no intention of changing anything the parent finds troubling. But he also knows that an angry group of parents can cause trouble for their plans. His job is to keep parents happy and quiet. He's been trained for just such a challenge. It's called the "Delphi Technique" and parents, who don't know they're being manipulated, haven't a chance against it.

The Delphi Technique was first developed in the late 1950's by the Rand Corporation as a method to "forecast" the future. Companies used it to help make decisions in determining product development and how new technology would affect the market.

Later, the technique was perfected to literally dictate desired outcomes. A panel of experts was placed in a group session and through a very subtle manipulations process to separate supporters from detractors of the official, desired outcome, they were brought around to accept a pre-determined position. Those who opposed the position were subjected to ridicule, divisions were driven between the two sides, until only one possible solution could be accepted - the pre-determined outcome. Once this group of respected authorities had accepted that position it was a simple step to dictate the outcome to the rest of the market.

This is exactly how the radical Educrats are stopping opponents of Goals 2000 and Outcome-based Education. The reason the parents are quizzed about their interests and affiliations is to determine if they are potential trouble makers. If they are part of an organized effort to challenge "reforms" then steps will be taken to investigate, and possibly infiltrate the group.

Here is a sample of how the Delphi Technique is thrust on such a group. At a regular meeting of a parents' group organized to stop Outcome-based Education, for example, a new, "concerned" parent makes his appearance. He may be a well-known civic leader that the other members are excited to have on board. His presence adds needed credibility and contacts to their efforts.

He sits and listens, and he watches members as each expresses his or her opinion. He will begin to ask questions and play "devils advocate" as he points out possible objections to the group's positions. He warns them that they could be perceived as too extreme to be taken seriously by other community leaders. He's concerned because he just wants to see the group succeed. He poses as everyone's caring friend.

As he observes the group he begins to evaluate the positions of each member, watching for those with the strongest opinion and those who may be a little hesitant in their convictions. The weaker ones become his target. He begins to question the position of the leaders, playing on the doubts or fears of those with weaker convictions or differing opinions. Finally, he begins to drive a wedge between them - always, he says, with the "good of the group" in mind.

Soon, as a result of his manipulation, dissension breaks out in the group. Its goals become clouded. Eventually it will break up completely or take a radically different position on the issue. The outcome that the Educrats wanted is achieved. Their opposition has been neutralized.

The Delphi Technique is used over and over again on all types of issues, not just education. It is the reason why change is rarely achieved, why opposition rarely succeeds even though, in the beginning of a community debate, it seems everyone supports those calling for rational change.

How can it be that with nation-wide hatred of Goals 2000, it isn't stopped? How does Outcome-based Education survive? Why are our children trapped in such an education nightmare, unable to learn, even as the whole nation demands change? The reason is because the Educrats want it that way and they have the power to neutralize any voice of opposition through tactics like the Delphi Technique.

The Delphi Technique is used in almost every college in the country. It is used on students to assure that they emerge with the proper attitudes. The Delphi Technique itself is a very important component of Outcome-based Education and is used on children in secondary classrooms.

The technique is taught to those who are expected to go out into the community and implement the education "reform" agenda. Community leaders are recruited and trained so that they can use their influence to promote the agenda.

The technique is being used in almost every school in America as parents attempt to use rationality and reason to combat an education "reform" program like Goals 2000 that fails to teach children to read, write or add and subtract. As children grow dumber, parents want action. The Delphi Technique blocks all avenues of change.

With a smile, a pleasant manner, a hand shake and a steel shaft in the back, parents, who just want to save their children, are being deliberately manipulated by a controlling monster that stops at nothing to force its programs into place.

Americans wonder aloud why nothing ever changes, no matter the outcome of elections, no matter how loud the protests, no matter how wrong the program. To see the reason in action, just visit your local school, voice some objections and watch the Delphi Technique spring into action - on you.

© 2006 American Policy Center

Monday, June 11, 2007

Home School Event vs. Public School Event

The World Net Daily has a rather lengthy article on the homeschoolers National Christian Forensics and Communications Association debate league. Shortly after that article I read an article in the Eagle Times about an event in the public schools. The articles drove home again the difference in quality, performance and expectations of children in private schools/ homeschools and public schools. Every parent should have a right to where they send their child to school those who can not afford private education should not be left with only one option. A person on food stamps does not have to shop at one store and a person on Medicare and or Medicaid is not forced to go to one hospital. Why in the 21st Century does a woman have a right to choose whether or not to have an abortion but if she carries that child to term she does not have a right where to have her child educated?

The following piece regarding homeschoolers appeared in the World Net Daily.

"This year's national tournament will begin Monday with expository and extemporaneous speeches. In the former, students are asked to give a 10-minute, prepared speech using a visual aid of some sort. In the latter, students are asked a question about a current event of the past 90 days, such as "Is Mogadishu sliding back into anarchy?" or "Is the optimism of Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz justified considering the growing pains of the company that were evident at its March 21 shareholder meeting?" They are then given 30 minutes to prepare and rehearse a 7-minute speech."

To read the whole article visit the World Net Daily website.

The following piece regarding the events in a public school classroom appeared in the Eagle Times.

Students check out careers in class

Elizabeth Martin
Staff Writer

CLAREMONT - In the middle of the fifth-grade career day at Maple Avenue School, students got a treat: a phone conversation from Alan Williams, the defensive backs coach for the 2007 Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts.

To read the whole article visit the Eagle Times website or pick up the paper.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Harm done: Why we need an amendment

Harm was done once the first lawsuit from Claremont hit the books. This was the first step where the educational establishment put greed ahead of the very children they are to educate. This is where judges and legislators put pandering to the educational establishment ahead of the children, parents and taxpayers of New Hampshire.

Quote of the Day "When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of school children." – Albert Shanker, former president American Federation of Teachers

The following editorial appeared in the Union Leader.

Harm done: Why we need an amendment

Legislators last week took New Hampshire two steps closer to a sales or income tax, and they did so knowing they were leading us in that direction.

On Wednesday the House rejected a constitutional amendment that would have restored the Legislature's authority to target education aid to less wealthy school districts.

Last year the state Supreme Court ruled that the state had to define an "adequate education" and fund 100 percent of its cost. That is, the state can no longer supplement local education funding, as it has always done. It has to pay for everything that constitutes an "adequate education," from 1st-grade math classes to 12th-grade science labs.

On Thursday the Senate passed a definition of "adequate education" that included kindergarten and a long list of additional resources for "enhanced needs" schools.

Those who argue that we do not need a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court's Claremont and Londonderry rulings say that we are safe from court interference. They say the court won't take control of education funding if the Legislature simply passes a definition of "adequate education," which the House and Senate have done.

But the court could stay silent on the issue forever and we still would need an amendment. That is because the court's ruling that the state has to define an adequate education and pay all of its costs became the law of the land the minute that decision was handed down.

Even if the court never touches this issue again, New Hampshire already is obligated to pay for 100 percent of whatever the newly passed definition of adequate education will cost. No one knows how much that will be because both the House and the Senate refused to attach a fiscal note to the bill. They did that because they knew that if the people saw the price tag they would faint from sticker shock and support for the bill would collapse.

If nothing else changes, the state still will have to create a broadbased tax to pay for public education. That is why we need a constitutional amendment -- not to take the court out of the picture forever, but to undo the damage it already has done.