Saturday, November 10, 2007

School Choice

Quote of the Day
"Quality of educational opportunity is a civil rights issue for the 21st century and it’s one that we should embrace. We can accomplish this and if we do, we will revive education in America and education will be as it should be. Education in America should be not failing the way it is now in comparison to many other countries. Education in America should be the best education in the world and choice will make it that way." Mayor Giuliani’s Remarks At The Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, Washington, D.C., 10/20/07

Friday, November 9, 2007

GISD moves ahead with threat to sue parent

The following editorial appeared in the Galveston County The Daily News. The below article is not that uncommon we received a threat of a lawsuit back in Illinois as well as many of our education reform friends. We also had many friends whose children were harassed by teachers if they spoke against the status quo. Educrats will go to any length to protect their gravy train even it is to suppress the freedom of speech of others.

GISD moves ahead with threat to sue parent

By Rhiannon Meyers
The Daily News
Published October 31, 2007

GALVESTON — The public school district has officially demanded that parent Sandra Tetley remove what it says is libelous material from her Web site or face a lawsuit for defamation.

Tetley received a letter Monday from the district’s law firm demanding she remove what it termed libelous statements and other “legally offensive” statements posted by her or anonymous users, and refrain from allowing such postings in the future. If she refuses, the district plans to sue her, the demand letter states.

Tetley said she’ll review the postings cited by David Feldman of the district’s firm Feldman and Rogers. She’ll consider the context of the postings and consult attorneys before deciding what to delete.

“If it’s not worth keeping in there, I’ll take it out,” she said. “If in fact it is libelous, I have no problem taking it down.”

Libel Or Opinion?

Feldman said Tetley’s Web site — — contained the most “personal, libelous invective directed toward a school administrator” he’s seen in his 31-year career.

“It is not the desire of the School District, the Board, or this Firm to stifle free expression or inhibit robust debate regarding matters pertaining to the operation of the public schools,” Feldman wrote in the demand letter. “This is solely about the publication of materials that clearly go beyond that which is legally and constitutionally encouraged and permitted, and into the realm of what is legally offensive and actionable.”

Feldman cited 16 examples of what he says are libelous postings. Half were posted by Tetley; the other half were posted by anonymous users.

The postings accuse Superintendent Lynne Cleveland, trustees and administrators of lying, manipulation, falsifying budget numbers, using their positions for “personal gain,” violating the Open Meetings Act and spying on employees, among other things.

Tetley said the postings were opinions only.

“Everyone deserves to have their opinion,” she said. “I don’t think they have a right to make me, or anyone else, take down criticisms of them off the Web site. They’re not going to force us to take off our opinions because we have no other place to go.”

Tetley said she had not removed any of the postings as of late Tuesday.

Rare Move

One legal expert said the district’s move to sue Tetley is rare and unlawful. Under the 1964 Supreme Court case New York Times v. Sullivan, government entities cannot sue for libel — any court would toss out the “threatening” suit as being inconsistent with U.S. law, said Sandra Baron, executive director of New-York based Media Law Resource Center. She called the district’s potential lawsuit an intimidation tactic and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Feldman said the district is only asking Tetley to remove a small percentage of postings on her site that he says accuse trustees and administrators of breaking the law. They’re not trying to shut down the blog or eliminate postings, he said.

“How can that be threatening or initmidating?” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of dialogue, if you will, on that Web log that we’re not touching with a pole ... What we leave is this huge field of free expression and discourse. There’s debate and then there’s libel. Debate all you want, criticize all you want, but don’t accuse people of committing crimes when you have absolutely no evidence to support that.”

More than 130 registered users post on Tetley’s site. Since trustees threatened legal action, more people have been visiting the site and posting, Tetley said. She said she planned to post Feldman’s letter on the site.

“People are very tired of what this type of government is doing,” Tetley said. “They are using our money to silence us.”

The law firm monitored the site for months before trustees took action. Board President David O’Neal said the postings deter potential employees from working at the district.

Tetley and her group, Galveston Alliance for Neighborhood schools, has long criticized the district for reconfiguring its middle schools, closing elementary schools, meeting in executive sessions some claimed were illegal, refusing to divulge the contents of a letter from a civil rights consultant and for issuing a budget forecast that was off by $10 million.

The district’s controversial reconfiguration, to go into effect in 2008-09, prompted Tetley to start the site.

It’s often difficult to prove a public official has been libeled. Aside from proving the libelous statements are damaging, public officials must also prove actual malice. Actual malice means knowing a statement is false or having reckless disregard for the truth.

A Sad Day for America's Children Occurred on November 6th.

The following media advisories express our sentiment in the defeat of the nation's first statewide universal voucher program. Teachers' Unions are destroying are public education system and the lives of millions of children they fail to educate every year. If teachers truly cared about our children they would support school choice. If the system is as great as teachers believe they would not fight so hard to keep their captive audiences. They would not fear choice if they knew families would stay with public schools if given the choice. The greed of educrats, teachers, school employees and their unions sadly is more important than the education of our children.

Media Advisory
Harriette Johnson
Media Relations Manager
phone 312/377-4000

Expert Comment:
Utah Voters Repeal Voucher Program

(CHICAGO, Illinois - November 7, 2007) On November 6, the nation's first statewide universal voucher program was defeated in Utah when voters repealed, through referendum, the law that created it last February. More than 60 percent voted for repeal.

In the statements below, experts contacted by The Heartland Institute explain the vote had more to do with teacher unions fighting for their very survival than parents' rejection of school choice. You may quote directly from this statement or contact the experts for further comment.

"At the Utah Education Association's annual rally last week, most of the discussion was devoted to how to defeat the state's universal voucher program on November 6. President Kim Burningham rallied the crowd by telling them voucher supporters could call in well-funded reinforcements from all over the country with a single phone call, knowing it would incense them into action. "Unfortunately, what she was actually describing was the network behind all the people speaking against vouchers from that very stage--not voucher advocates, who raised only chump change for every dollar of the $3 million raised and spent by the National Education Association and its affiliates before the vote.

"Fully 96 percent of the money to defeat the Utah voucher program came from union sources, while pro-voucher sources worked hard to raise 84 percent of their funds from in-state people. Utah teachers voluntarily contributed only 6 percent of the money to defeat the program--so they're not really against this. That means the other 94 percent of the union contributions were from mandatory dues money. "So this was not a matter of Utah voters saying they didn't want a voucher program. This was the rest of the nation ganging up on Utah. The teachers unions are fighting for their very survival, so it would be unrealistic to expect them to change their dishonest tactics at this stage. Until voters become better informed and more involved in protecting their own liberties, this is the sort of thing we can expect to see happening--but given the overwhelming popularity of other voucher programs nationwide, it's clear the tide is turning, and that day will soon arrive."

Karla Dial
Managing Editor - School Reform News

"The Alliance for School Choice is disappointed that Utah's voucher program did not prevail in yesterday's referendum. The Alliance regrets that thousands of disadvantaged children will be denied increased educational options because the voucher program, which was passed earlier this year by the Utah legislature and signed into law by Governor Huntsman, will not be implemented.

"The Alliance honors the valiant efforts of the thousands of parents who volunteered their time to support this referendum. These parents knew that ballot referenda, on any subject, rarely pass. But despite this, they worked mightily, and we salute them.

"The school choice movement, like any movement for reform, experiences the jubilation of successes and the disappointment of defeats. We have seen disadvantaged parents rise up and demand options for their children, and win. More than 100,000 children are the beneficiaries of a better education because of private school choice in America--more than ever before. And, despite the tens of millions of dollars spent by opponents, the clear majority of the American public supports school choice.

"A setback in one state is just that: a setback in one state. The movement to empower parents to choose a better education for their disadvantaged children remains vital, committed to its mission, and determined to achieve successes.

"Today, school choice supporters across the country are rightly disappointed. But, in our disappointment, we are emboldened to fight even harder to help the children in America who are too often forgotten."

Andrew Campanella
Director of Communications and Marketing
Alliance for School Choice

"This defeat is in no way a roadblock for the school choice movement in Utah or the U.S. Utah's very successful statewide school choice program for special-needs students still remains in effect. Across the country, there are more families than ever before choosing to exercise their right to educational choice. Parents everywhere are standing up and supporting the concept of school choice because they want the best educational experience for their children. "School choice is a state issue. Unfortunately, the fight in Utah was not. Statewide school choice organizations teamed up with parents and did a great job at getting out the information about the program and how a 'yes' vote on Referendum 1 would make a real difference in the education of thousands of children. Their opponent, the national teachers union, spent at least one dollar from every teacher in the country to defeat this effort in Utah . That's not exactly what I would call a fair fight."

Andrew LeFevre
Executive Director
REACH Foundation

For additional research and commentary on school reform, go to The Heartland Institute's Web site at, click on the "PolicyBot" button on the home page, and choose "Education" from the list of topics.

For further information about The Heartland Institute, please contact Harriette Johnson, media relations manager, at 312/377-4000, or email

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Weather Channel Founder: Global Warming ‘Greatest Scam in History’

There is a ton of well researched articles out there as to why global warming is indeed a scam the hypocrisy of those promoting global warming should be proof that even they do not believe their own propaganda.

The following article appeared at

Weather Channel Founder: Global Warming ‘Greatest Scam in History’

By Noel Sheppard | November 7, 2007 - 17:58 ET

If the founder of The Weather Channel spoke out strongly against the manmade global warming myth, might media members notice?

We're going to find out the answer to that question soon, for John Coleman wrote an article published at ICECAP Wednesday that should certainly garner attention from press members -- assuming journalism hasn't been completely replaced by propagandist activism, that is.

Coleman marvelously began:

It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create in [sic] allusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the "research" to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild "scientific" scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda. Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmental conscientious citizens. Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minutes documentary segment.


I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct. There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming.

In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious.

Let's hope so, John; let's hope so.

Related articles:

Harvard Paper Calls Al Gore a Hypocrite

Renowned Environmentalist Calls Biofuels‘Crime Against Humanity’

John Stossel: ‘Don’t Look to Government to Cool Down the Planet’

UN Climate Panel to Discuss Global Warming at Tropical Resort

Global Warming Tutorial Media Should be Required to Watch
Vote for Stephen McIntyre's Climate Audit as Best Science Blog

—Noel Sheppard is an economist, business owner, and Associate Editor of NewsBusters.

What is even more troublesome is that "educators" including those that should know better "science teachers" spread this propaganda to our children. As noted in the article below which appeared in the Marin Independent Journal.

Elementary school students join fight against global warming
Joe Wolfcale
Article Launched: 11/07/2007 04:26:50 PM PST

Third-grade teacher Debbie Robles made her acting debut before a packed auditorium of youngsters at Rancho Elementary School in Novato. She bombed.
Playing the villain in a school assembly Wednesday aimed at educating the students about global warming, Robles - dressed in a witch's black attire and prancing around the auditorium as "Queen Carbon" - drew the biggest response from more than 500 students who attended two "Curb Your Carbon" assemblies.

"My own daughter Hannah asked me, 'Do you have to be my mother today?'" Robles said.

Teachers, parents and volunteers helped organize the assemblies and participated in the skits to help raise awareness about global warming and what people can do about it - exchanging traditional light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs, for example.

School officials distributed more than 500 CFLs last week.

On Friday, Rancho students will be given bilingual "Cancel-a-Car" coupon books filled with ways they can fight global warming.

Once the coupons are returned to school, teachers will track what conservation efforts are made and the date. Teachers will help monitor the progress. As the carbon reduction increases, images of cars will be crossed out on a giant poster kept at school.

To view the full article visit the Marin Independent Journal website.

Too many schools fail to education our children in basic skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic, yet the global warming scam is forced feed to this very vulnerable audience we call public education students.

There is no doubt we will face and energy crisis and alternative fuels must be found. Schools should be working on producing great thinkers and scientist not students so poor in science skills and logic skills that they believe the global warming scam.

For more information on the subject go to the following link.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Delay the big K: The kindergarten shuffle

The following editorial appeared in the Union Leader.
. Bravo to the Union Leader editorial staff for understanding that "The assumption that kindergarten is a universal good is wrong " and the accompanying research. Also bravo for their bold statements "Contrary to popular belief, our children might be better off delaying kindergarten until age 6, attending for only half a day, or skipping it entirely " and
"Legislators should repeal the kindergarten mandate. Barring that, they should delay its deadline indefinitely. Then delay it again. And again. And again . . ."

Unfortunately this will not be resolved anytime soon as the teachers' unions, administrative associations and other school employees are too powerful. Also many legislators are educrats and retired educrats. Sadly years of propagandizing students and parents have lead them to believe something that just is not true. Unfortunately schools serve their employees more than they serve their students and taxpayers. Until parents and taxpayers wise up and stop being so apathetic educrats, teachers and school employees will have the upper-hand.

Delay the big K: The kindergarten shuffle

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007

ONLY 11 New Hampshire school districts offer no public kindergarten. Why? Because they chose not to. And that's just fine.

This year legislators mandated that every school district had to provide public kindergarten. The Legislature set a September 2008 deadline for those 11 districts to comply. That's a quick turnaround time for school construction projects. The New Hampshire School Administrators Association asked that the deadline be extended to 2012. Education Commissioner Lyonel Tracy would have none of that.

"They've all had opportunities to implement kindergarten," he said. "Some districts have had other priorities."

That's true. And who does Lyonel Tracy think he is to tell them that their priorities are wrong?

The assumption that kindergarten is a universal good is wrong. "Attendance in a full-day kindergarten program had little effect on reading achievement but was negatively associated with mathematics achievement and the development of nonacademic school readiness skills," a study by the Rand Corporation found last year. By fifth grade, kids who went to full-day kindergarten did worse in math than their counterparts who went to half-day kindergarten and had worse interpersonal skills, "poorer dispositions toward learning," and less self-control.

"This study reinforces the findings of earlier studies that suggest full-day kindergarten programs may not enhance achievement in the long term," the study concluded.

Contrary to popular belief, our children might be better off delaying kindergarten until age 6, attending for only half a day, or skipping it entirely.

The state's implication that kindergarten is a guaranteed benefit is not supported by the research. Whether to offer that extra grade, which is of dubious use, should be made at the district level, not in Concord.

Legislators should repeal the kindergarten mandate. Barring that, they should delay its deadline indefinitely. Then delay it again. And again. And again . . .

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Kids in limbo: Manchester's waiting 77

The following editorial appeared in the Union Leader
on November 6, 2007. This is yet another example as to how teachers' unions put their greed ahead of the need of the very children they are to teach.

Kids in limbo: Manchester's waiting 77

THE PARENTS of 100 Manchester elementary school children requested transfers from schools labeled "In Need of Improvement" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) to those that made their "Adequate Yearly Progress" (AYP) goals. The district allowed only 23 of those children to transfer, meaning that 77 kids are stuck in schools their parents think are not serving them well. That is unacceptable.

Under NCLB, parents are allowed to transfer their children to another public school if theirs accepts federal Title 1 funds for free and reduced-priced lunches and fails to make AYP two years in a row. Of Manchester's 14 elementary schools, 12 were labeled "In Need of Improvement" this year. Only Jewett and Weston were not.

That left 100 kids wanting spots in only two schools. The district said there was not enough room. It let in 23 and put the 77 others on a waiting list.

But why should children have to wait to get the quality education they need?

Granted, the district is correct that not every school on the "In Need of Improvement" list can fairly be labeled a failing school. But if parents believe their children need a different environment in which to learn, they should not have to wait for it.

If New Hampshire had a school choice law, those 77 elementary school students would not have to wait.

A good school choice program would benefit those students and the schools they leave. Most programs give parents a voucher worth a few thousand dollars, far less than the total amount the public school spends on each child. If the child transfers, the school pockets the difference.

That gets the child into an environment his parents prefer, and leaves the public school more money to spend on its remaining students. Everybody wins.

But the teachers unions don't want parents to be allowed to pick schools. It undercuts the unions' power. So every time school choice bills come up in Concord, legislators kill them.

As a result, 77 Manchester elementary school students are stuck in schools labeled "In Need of Improvement" while their parents wait helplessly for the district to find space in the city's two remaining elementary schools that met their AYP goals.