Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Disability Racket

While browsing the internet during one of my 3 year olds rare naps I ran across this gem on the Blog School Is Hell. He has a great site I recommend it for all parents. I ran across the following quote on his site "If the Children Don't Learn, the Schools Didn't Teach." That quote reminded me of a quote from an education reformists and friend from Illinois, "Education is unique among consumer products – when it fails to work as advertised, it's the customer that gets labeled as defective." – Kevin Killion

The post as it appears on his site is posted below.

"The Disability Racket
How schools cash in on false diagnoses and a bounty system.

“Thousands of children are suffering from being placed in LD classes, and the labeling of children at an early age becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The children learn to see themselves as disabled in some way and they act out the part.” – Terry Endsley, The Myth of Learning Disabilities

I have several blind spots. I had them in school and still have them. For example: Algebra, Latin, History, Chemistry, Physics, Literature. In some cases, it was the teachers who made the information seem uninteresting. My response was to create minor disturbances like fidgeting in my seat or throwing spitballs. In others, I simply was bored and not learning anything except how to avoid doing the work, and that was most of the time.

Today, a child's disinterest in school subjects is viewed by the schools as a "disability" --a kind of disease. And, sure enough, the schoolers have all sorts of ways to "prove" that a child has a disability -- even a brain disorder -- when s/he is merely bored or unhappy or rebellious at being cooped up in an ugly classroom.

Parents who are not well informed can easily be frightened by the "diagnoses" that come from teachers and school psychologists. They are often intimidated by the school "experts" who claim that their child is "learning disabled" or "mentally disordered," when no such problem exists. Many children are labeled and stigmatized for life by “diagnoses” that are often wrongly made to benefit only the school, not the children.

Yet, this is how schools take the focus off their programs and place it upon the child's alleged "disability." How convenient for the schools. It provides the excuse to never examine themselves or their own activities to see if those might be causing the symptoms of unhappiness (boredom, stress, fear) and rebellion among the children.

Making matters worse is an incentive for the schools to make such a huge mistake. It's called the "Bounty System." For every child who is "diagnosed" with a so-called Learning Disorder, there is a large cash reward from the state (around $4K in CT). Thus, every diagnosis of a disability means more money for the school employees. It is no wonder that the schoolers have invented a multitude of "diagnoses" that enable them to collect the bounty. The second stage of this racket is that the children are then placed in "special" classes that pretend to help the children with their false diagnoses of disabilities. It's no surprise that along with the many spurious diagnoses has come a huge increase in school employment in this new area. It has been major cause of higher school budgets, but it has little, if any, success to show.

Why don't the schools look to their own instruction methods or programs for the source of children's problems? Because they would then probably have to admit that they use bad methods of instruction and would need to change, but mostly it is because there is no financial incentive. The bounty system only pays for diagnoses of children's disabilities (true or not); it doesn't pay for finding fault in the schools themselves.

Schools have been turned into psychological clinics where amateur psychiatrists roam the halls in search of children they might be able to garner as "clients" for their "therapies.” Teachers are supposed to teach; playing amateur psychologist is against the law. Besides, education is a separate field from therapy. School students should never be treated as "patients," and yet, that what the disability racket is all about.

If a school has diagnosed your child, be sure to get a second opinion from an independent source because chances are good that the school wants to use your child to gain a financial bounty while increasing its payroll at taxpayers’ expense."

Funding farce: Our dumb school aid plan

The following piece appears in the Union Leader.

Funding farce: Our dumb school aid plan

TO SEE WHAT is wrong with the Supreme Court's Claremont and Londonderry rulings dictating state education funding policy, look no further than the new school funding formula approved by the House Education Committee on Tuesday.

The committee added $3 million to the bill, raising its price tag to $917 million, because the underlying formula was so fundamentally unfair that extra money was needed to buy the support of some communities. The Senate had already added extra money for the same reason a few weeks before.

The fundamental unfairness stems from the bill's allocation of $3,450 per pupil to every school district in the state regardless of need. Bedford and Amherst get that base amount of state aid, as do Berlin and Claremont. Only after distributing that cash statewide can the state give aid to districts that might really need it.

Why would anyone spend scarce tax dollars this way? The only reason is because the state Supreme Court has said we must.

Hence the creation of a formula that takes money from poorer communities and gives it to wealthier ones -- then makes up for it with amendments that take money from some wealthier towns and give it to some poorer ones.

Absent the Supreme Court's dictate that the state provide funding for an "adequate" education to every district, school aid would be distributed according to actual need. Legislators are trying to fit the square peg of rational school funding into the round hole provided by the Supreme Court. No matter how hard they try, it is not going to fit.

That is why the state needs a constitutional amendment to restore the Legislature's rightful authority to decide for itself how best to distribute education aid. Barring such an amendment, legislators will have to continue doling out millions in education aid in ways that don't make sense and don't help our children.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Browsing the New Hamspshire Education Statutes

On Sunday afternoon I was browsing the New Hampshire Education Statutes. Browsing around I came across Chapter 191 Teachers' Loyalty of which Section 191:1 states " Advocacy of Subversive Doctrines Prohibited. – No teacher shall advocate communism as a political doctrine or any other doctrine which includes the overthrow by force of the government of the United States or of this state in any public or state approved school or in any state institution." Source. 1949, 312:1, eff. July 28, 1949.
When I read that I was really pleased but what I found just a few minutes later I found very disturbing the law was repealed in sections 191:3 to 191:5 Repealed. – [Repealed 1993, 145:1, eff. July 16, 1993.]

While browsing today I ran across a website called Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher and the following entry Commies Soon May Not Have To Hide Under The Desk. The entry reads as follows....

"Two years ago I wrote a post about the sections of California education code that refer to communists and communism. To summarize:

-You can't teach and be a member of the Communist Party.
-You cannot teach about communism with the intent to inculcate in the minds of students a preference for communism.
-You cannot let communist organizations use school property.

Are you ready for this? A state senator has introduced a bill that will reverse these laws.

And I haven't found objective evidence yet, but I'm told that the only sponsors of this bill are the state teachers unions, the CTA (NEA) and the CFT (AFL-CIO). Maybe they're trying to make up for this.

What possible good could come from this bill? Our government should not be required to lend assistance or hire people whose political philosophy is the destruction of our form of government."

Darren's website
is excellent and I recommend it to all of our readers.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Real Cost of Public Schools

Channel surfing on the radio on the way back from Concord yesterday I heard the following article mentioned on the radio. The article was posted in the Washington Post
and on the Cato Institute's website.


The Real Cost of Public Schools

by Andrew J. Coulson

This article appeared in the Washington Post on April 6, 2008.

We're often told that public schools are underfunded. In the District, the spending figure cited most commonly is $8,322 per child, but total spending is close to $25,000 per child -- on par wit tuition at Sidwell Friends, the private school Chelsea Clinton attended in the 1990s

What accounts for the nearly threefold difference in these numbers? The commonly cited figure counts only part of the local operating budget. To calculate total spending, we have to add up all sources of funding for education from kindergarten through 12th grade, excluding spending on charter schools and higher education. For the current school year, the local operating budget is $831 million, including relevant expenses such as the teacher retirement fund. The capital budget is $218 million. The District receives about $85.5 million in federal funding. And the D.C. Council contributes an extra $81 million. Divide all that by the 49,422 students enrolled (for the 2007-08 year) and you end up with about $24,600 per child.

For comparison, total per pupil spending at D.C. area private schools -- among the most upscale in the nation -- averages about $10,000 less. For most private schools, the difference is even greater.

So why force most D.C. children into often dilapidated and underperforming public schools when we could easily offer them a choice of private schools? Some would argue that private schools couldn't or wouldn't serve the District's special education students, at least not affordably. Not so.

Consider Florida's McKay Scholarship program, which allows parents to pull their special-needs children out of the public schools and place them in private schools of their choosing. Parental satisfaction with McKay is stratospheric, the program serves twice as many children with disabilities as the D.C. public schools do, and the average scholarship offered in 2006-'07 was just $7,206. The biggest scholarship awarded was $21,907 -- still less than the average per-pupil spending in D.C. public schools. If Florida can satisfy the parents of special-needs children at such a reasonable cost, why can't the District?

The answer, of course, is that it could.

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is energetic and motivated, and State Superintendent of Education Deborah Gist offers helpful answers to work e-mails at 10 p.m. on Sundays. These are dedicated leaders, and as long as there are government-operated schools in Washington, we're lucky to have them at the helm. But we are squandering their talent by asking them to manage a bureaucracy so Byzantine it would give Rube Goldberg an aneurysm.

The purpose of public education is to ensure universal access to good schools, to prepare children for success in private life and participation in public life, and, we hope, to build tolerant, harmonious communities.

The District should give every child the educational opportunities now enjoyed only by the elite
Empowering every parent with a choice of independent schools would advance all those goals. Does anyone worry that Chelsea Clinton will become a threat to society because she attended a private school? Was Barack Obama unprepared for public life because of his time in a Catholic school?

The District should give every child the educational opportunities now enjoyed only by the elite.

Why Are Government Employees More Equal Than You? nine month old son is at that stage where he can interact with my 3 year old. It is so nice to have that breathing room that is so rare with infants yet is sad because you realize they are not at that baby stage any more.

This morning I received my email update from the Center for Small Government. School employees are government employees and the pensions are much higher in many cases than those stated below. For information on the retirement system here in New Hampshire click here. If for some reason this is removed from their site we can email you a copy of this pdf.

Here is an example of what a persons retirement would be if they retired at 60. Superintendent Y retires at 60. His average compensation at 60 is $110,000. You divide 110,000 by 60 and multiple that by 30 years of service. Superintendent Y would get $54,999.00 annual pension. This does not include the medical benefits and the annual cost of living increases he would also receive.

By Kamal Jain

Do you remember the novel "Animal Farm" by George Orwell?

In the story, animals on a farm joined together, overthrew their human
owners, and "liberated" all the animals.

The first thing the animals do was proclaim that "all animals are
equal." They painted this credo on the barn in big letters for all to

Over time, some animals started taking charge -- overseeing things at
the farm, devising the rules and enforcing them. Order was necessary
after all! All this seemed innocent and harmless enough until the
animals in charge got comfortable with their power. They had cushy
jobs on the farm, as did their family and friends.

Other animals worked and worked, being punished if they questioned
this arrangement. The governing animals produced nothing, but took
more than an equal share of feed and water, claiming it was necessary
for maintaining order and productivity on the farm.

One night, without discussion or consent, the governing animals
changed the credo on the barn to: "All animals are equal, but some are
more equal than others."

You might say that's got nothing to do with us here in America -
"Animal Farm" was about Marxist-Socialism and Communism. And you'd be
sort of. Orwell did say that he wrote the novel as a cautionary
tale about the virulent form of Socialism brewing in the Soviet Union,
not against the Socialism he saw at home in England (a kinder, gentler

But if you look around you today, you might think the animals'
situation seems all too familiar, all too applicable to our lives
today. And you'd be right
sort of. The key difference today is that
our credo, borne out of the Declaration of Independence which states
that "
all men are created equal
" has not been updated to reflect

Modern politicians and bureaucrats have learned that it's best not to
draw any attention to the privileged lives THEY enjoy - at OUR
expense. But if you look back over the past few decades you'll notice
something interesting: Some people are more equal than others. By law.
The dividing line is the same as in Orwell's story.

Just the same as in "Animal Farm", we find today that government
sector employees get higher wages, have better benefits than workers
in the private sector.

Why are government employees more equal than you?

Why do most government employees get automatic, mandated by law Cost-
of-Living pay increases each year - while you and 99% of private
sector workers do not?

Why are government employees exempt from Social Security taxes - while
you and other private sector workers are taxed to fund Social Security
and Medicare every year you work?

Why are government employees able to retire at age 54 - while you and
other private sector workers must keep working until age 65?

Why do average 30-year government employees get retirement pension
paychecks of $25,000 to $45,000 a year*, starting at age 54 - while
you work 41 years, and are forced to squeak by on Social Security
payments of $1600 a month, starting at age 65?

Why are government employees more equal than private sector employees?

Why are government retirees more equal than private sector retirees?

Why are the tax receivers more equal than the tax payers?

Why are government employees more equal than you?


* For example:

Monday, April 7, 2008

My funny fix for the day.

Monday nights are extra special because I get my weekly email updates from Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency. The cherry on top is that both of my children are tucked in bed for the night.

"Rod Paige to Run for NEA President" to read the rest of the story visit the Education Intelligence Agency website.


12 Rules to Help Parents Take Back Their Public Schools

When we moved from Illinois a little over a year and a half ago I was hoping to escape many of the shenanigans that went on in the public schools in Illinois. We were so excited to move to Croydon when we read about and heard about Croydon's one-room schoolhouse. Croydon's one-room school house is great and I only hear great things about the very hard working Croydon teacher from parents. Problems arise when our children our shipped out of Croydon and when we have undo interference from those that benefit financially from our Croydon education tax dollars.

When I look for solace I remind myself of Joe Williams book Cheating Our Kids: How Politics and Greed Ruin Education.

Mr. Williams offers up "12 Rules to Help Parents Take Back Their Public Schools"

Rule 1 "Never ever be ashamed of the fact that you want a good education for your child."
Rule 2 "If you don't blow the whistle on school problems, no one will.
Rule 3 "If parents want to be treated like customers, they must start acting like customers."
Rule 5 Don't trust the PTA's ( I took the liberty of paraphrasing this one.)
Rule 7 " If the facts are on your side, share them with the world."
Rule 8 "Fight for transparency throughout the system.
Rule 9 " If an administrator tells you something can't be done, assume they are wrong and plow forward."
Rule 11 "If you've tried steps 1 through 10, and your kids still aren't a priority, it's time to demand your tax money back." (My personal favorite rule.)

To read the rest of the 12 rules and instructions for those rules I suggest reading Joe Williams book Cheating Our Kids: How Politics and Greed Ruin Education.

Cathy Peschke

Sunday, April 6, 2008

School budgets: Sometimes they get cut

I was up very, very early this morning because my nine month old is still not sleeping through the night. He went down for an early morning nap so I thought I would get in some early morning reading before my three year old woke up. To my joy I saw the following editorial in the Union Leader. After 5 1/2 years of fighting for education reform and education spending reform it is so nice to see a newspaper not print the public school propaganda feed to them by educrats.

This is my favorite quote from the below article "Aliberti and other school administrators need to remember that they serve the taxpayers, not the other way around."


School budgets: Sometimes they get cut

Are public school budgets sacred? Manchester's public school administration acts as if they are. And that presents serious problems for taxpayers.

Mayor Frank Guinta says the city is facing a roughly $13 million hole in next year's budget. To make ends meet, he has proposed a $7.3 million reduction in the school budget. That's a cut of 5 percent.

In response, Superintendent Henry Aliberti immediately put the school bureaucracy into opposition mode. Instead of announcing that he would work with the mayor to try to find savings and efficiencies, he released a list of services that might be cut and presented the cuts as devastating to the children.

That's not helpful. It's also offensive.

Taxpayers are hurting. They have to cut their own budgets to deal with the rising cost of food and fuel, and many are experiencing reductions in their income. Aliberti's position is: Tough. You have to pay more because I refuse to cut spending.

School budgets cannot be immune from downturns in the economy. They have to face economic reality just as the rest of us do. And the reality is, the city doesn't have the money to provide the same level of funding it has in the past. So the schools have to make do.

Aliberti and other school administrators need to remember that they serve the taxpayers, not the other way around.