Saturday, August 9, 2008

Jay P Greene

Jay P. Greene the author of Education Myths What Special Interest Groups Want You to Believe about our Schools And Why It Isn't So has a BLOG.

On said BLOG is a great post titled AFT Goes Up In Smoke by Matthew Ladner guest poster.

Here is a portion of the post.

P.J. O’Rourke once described the early Clinton administration as “running the country by dorm-room bull session.” Some recent ferment among education progressives makes me wonder if they too have fallen back onto some old college habits. Catherine Johnson over at Kitchen Table Math for instance wrote on Randi Weingarten’s first speech as AFT President. Weingarten engages in NCLB bashing, and then lays out a vision for the future of public education:

“Imagine schools that are open all day and offer after-school and evening recreational activities and homework assistance … and suppose the schools included child care and dental, medical and counseling clinics, or other services the community needs,” Ms. Weingarten said. “For example, they might offer neighborhood residents English language instruction, GED programs, or legal assistance.”

Personally, I’m trying to imagine a system of public schools that could teach 4th grade kids how to read after spending $40,000 or more on their education. In 2007, 34% of American public school 4th graders scored below basic in reading on the NAEP. If we can’t trust schools to teach kids how to read, just why would we want them trying to fix our teeth or attempting to resolve our legal issues?

To read the rest of the post go to AFT Goes Up In Smoke.

Quote of the Day" If we can’t trust schools to teach kids how to read, just why would we want them trying to fix our teeth or attempting to resolve our legal issues?" Matthew Ladner

Failures of Our Public Education System,

Our entire school system is based on the notion of passive students that must be "taught" if they are to learn. . . . Our country spends tens of billions of dollars each year not just giving students a second-rate education, but at the same time actively preventing them from getting an education on their own. And I'm angry at how school produces submissive students with battered egos. Most students have no idea of the true joys of learning, and of how much they can actually achieve on their own.
Adam Robinson, co-founder of The Princeton Review

Friday, August 8, 2008

California - Homeschoolers Win Landmark Case

In a 3-0 decision the California Court of Appeal reversed its earlier ruling which would have required homeschoolers to be certified teachers in order to homeschool. To read the rest of the story go to the the Home School Legal Defense Association's website.

Bravo to the homeschoolers of California. I would like to see New Hampshire homeschoolers step up to the plate and work for total homeschooling freedom. How is it a state as large and as regulated as California has friendlier homeschooling laws than little old New Hampshire? Maybe it is time for New Hampshire to get new homeschooling advocates who really care about homeschooling freedom and homeschooling families.

“Tens of thousands of California parents teaching over 166,000 homeschooled children are now breathing easier this afternoon,” Michael Farris, Chairman of HSLDA.


Video that Explains the Argument for School Choice.

Hat tip to Lennie Jarratt of Education Matters to referring CRAFT to this video.

This video is really funny. If you have dial-up I suggest viewing it at your local library of downloading overnight.


A Peek into New Hampshire's Future

If you want to take a peek into New Hampshire's future just look to the south at Massachusetts. While it appears the educrats and many Democrats are paving the road for an income tax in New Hampshire. The people at the Center for Small Government are pushing to get rid of the income tax in Massachusetts.

The Center for Small government reports that "The tax repeal would give every Massachusetts worker a 5.3% after-tax pay raise, or about $3,700 extra income per worker."

The following piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

"Boston Tax Party"
August 5, 2008

Massachusetts is about the last place one would expect a tax revolt, but that's what's brewing in Beantown. The state board of election recently certified that citizen activists have gathered the 125,000 signatures required to qualify an initiative for the November ballot to eliminate the state income tax.

The Small Government Act would repeal the 5.3% income and wage tax, as well as the state capital gains tax, which reaches as high as 12%. The ballot initiative would replace the $12.5 billion in taxes with . . . nothing. "One of the points here," explains Carla Howell of the Committee for Small Government that is driving the referendum, "is to force the state legislators to start cutting the bloated state budget." The political shock of having no income tax would force the pols on Beacon Hill to make the difficult spending choices they now refuse to make.

The referendum may seem the longest of long shots in a state represented by some of Congress's biggest spenders. But the same initiative was on the ballot in 2002, and though the political establishment roared with laughter through Election Day, the measure got 45% of the vote. This time pro-tax forces such as the Massachusetts Teachers Association are planning to spend millions of dollars warning of Armageddon.

They have cause to be worried. A Fabrizio poll for Citizens for Limited Taxation discovered that the average Massachusetts voter believes that 41 cents of every state tax dollar are wasted. Coincidentally, that's the share of the state budget funded by the income tax. One big drain is a pension program that doles out billions each year to double-dipping
pensioners and state workers retiring at taxpayer expense in their late 40s or 50s.

Nine U.S. states have no income tax, including such economic climbers as Florida, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas. These states are doing fine funding schools, hospitals and police without the income levy. Over the past decade 330,000 Massachusetts residents have packed U-Haul trailers and left - more than have even fled Michigan -- and many have gone to
no-income-tax New Hampshire.

"The idea here is to stop being on the defensive in fighting against big government and to start taking the political offensive," says Ms. Howell. She says the tax repeal would give every Massachusetts worker a 5.3% after-tax pay raise, or about $3,700 extra income per worker.* That's attractive when Census data show that, after inflation, state budgets nationwide are up 18% since 2005 while paychecks have remained flat.

The forces of the tax-and-spend status quo will descend on this initiative like British troops after the original Boston tea party, but somebody has to make an effort to stop the relentless growth of government.

* * Corrected for accuracy

Quote of the Day "Government says it has barely enough for necessities. Too many tax dollars are tied up in waste and luxuries." - Michael Cloud

Jim on WNTK today.

Jim will be on 99.7 FM WNTK tomorrow morning at 7:10 a.m. Jim will be discussing education issues and education issues in Croydon.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Public Service Research Foundation

Hat tip to our friend Chris Jenner a fiscally responsible school board member for pointing us to the Public Service Research Foundation website.

The Public Service Research Foundation studies the impact of unionism in government on government.

One of my major bones of contention with the public education system aka the government education system aka the taxpayer paid education system is that it has been hijacked by the teachers unions. The Public Service Research Foundation has a series of studies regarding the impact of teachers unions on education. There is an absolute plethora of information and a must read for all parents and taxpayers.

One of the foundations most recent articles is titled "The PTA, the NEA and Education" another must read for parents considering joining the PTA.

I saw all too well the power of the PTA has over parents and voters during the most recent school board elections in Croydon. When teachers do not like a school board candidate they use the PTA to get parents to vote for candidates who are in the teachers best interests not the parents. I am glad a has third party has research for parents to view for themselves.


Quote of the Day "I say this not to the teachers, but to their unions: If education were a war, you would be losing it. If it were a business, you would be driving it into bankruptcy. If it were a patient, it would be dying. " Bob Dole 1996

Jim on WNTK

Jim will be on 99.7 FM WNTK tomorrow morning at 7:10 a.m. Jim will be discussing education issues and education issues in Croydon.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Taxing issues.

As in many mother daughter relationship my mother and I drive each other crazy, but the one thing my mother taught me was never be ashamed of the work you do as long as you work hard. I will always be grateful for the strong work ethic taught to me by my mother. I started working when I was 14 and worked up until the time I got married, not too long after that along came my children. I put myself through college, over the years I often worked as many as three jobs at a time and did volunteer work as well. I know that all made me a better person.

I guess that same work ethic has lead to my dislike of labor unions. I understand there was a time and a place for unions but now with labor laws as they are, there is just not a need for them. Essentially the union leaders are a group of people who live off the hard work of others just another form of welfare as far as I am concerned.

That same work ethic has lead to my dislike for taxes and those who live off the hard work of others. I was on a homeschooling resource list, on the list was a discussion about socialized medicine and insurance someone pointed out that it appears it is the haves begrudging the have-nots. When reality it is the have-nots begrudging the haves of their hard earned dollars.

Don't get me wrong, I spent a number of years working with physically and mentally handicapped people and in the medical field I know there are people truly in need, I am not talking about those people. I am talking about the bums that live off of those who believe in earning through hard work.

One of my favorite quotes is "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." by Joseph Goebbels. One of those big lies is that the rich don't pay taxes and the poor carry the burden of paying taxes. That is not the truth and it is the so called "have-nots" perpetuating this lie.


The following article appeared in the Union Leader.

Charles Arlinghaus: Who pays taxes, and how much, might surprise you

Don't tax you; don't tax me; tax that fellow behind the tree. Everybody's favorite tax policy is to tax the guy behind the tree. I pay too much in taxes, and I'm willing to believe you do too. Maybe if we take the money of the guy behind the tree, we'll both become richer. This is the same philosophy, by the way, that undergirds the decision of the guy with no neck to take someone's lunch money in sixth grade.

Popular culture suggests to us that rich people take advantage of the dreaded loopholes to get off scot-free while hard-working Americans are forced to shoulder their burden. Or at least they probably aren't paying their fair share. Like Charlie Brown's little sister Sally, all we want is what's coming to us; all we want is our fair share.

To help Charlie Brown's sister figure out what exactly her fair share is, the IRS publishes data on tax liabilities each year. I think you might be surprised by who pays how much.

The most recent data are for 2006. Start by asking yourself how many Americans don't pay any income tax at all -- they either don't have to file or have every dime and sometimes more refunded to them. Maybe 10 or 15 percent?

It turns out that about 41 percent of us have no income tax liability whatsoever, the highest percentage in modern history. Around 32 percent of all tax returns filed have no liability, so they get back everything they paid. An additional group of people don't even have to file.

Of the people who file income taxes, including the third that has no liability, the bottom half pays 3 percent of all taxes and the top half pays 97 percent of all taxes. Narrowing even further, the richest 1 percent of all taxpayers account for 40 percent of taxes paid.

You are probably telling yourself, "they make more so they pay more, that's simple enough." In fact, the top 1 percent of American earners make 22 percent of the income and pay 40 percent of the taxes. That sounds like maybe they're paying their fair share and then some.

The bottom 50 percent of tax filers earn 12.5 percent of all income and pay just 3 percent of all income taxes. No one is suggesting they should pay more, but it seems clear that their burden is getting lighter. Twenty-five years ago, the bottom 50 percent paid 7.5 percent. Now it's down to 3 percent.

Another common accusation is that tax cuts have shifted the burden away from rich people. From 2002 (before the Bush tax cuts) to 2006, the share of taxes paid by the top 1 percent went up from 33 percent to 40 percent.

Tax cuts in the Reagan years also increased the share of taxes paid by the rich. In 1981, the richest 1 percent paid 17 percent of the total tax burden. It had increased to 25 percent by the time Ronald Reagan went back to California.

In recent years, the share of the total income tax burden paid by the richest 1 percent has been increasing and the share paid by the bottom 50 percent has been decreasing. In addition, the number of taxpayers paying no taxes at all is increasing.

Because New Hampshire is one of the wealthier states by average income, many of us will assume that we have many more of the highest earners than average. It turns out that New Hampshire is a very middle-class state with fewer high earners than average and fewer low earners than average, but a big middle.

Our top 1 percent earned only 18 percent of the total for New Hampshire, and the cutoff to be in the top 1 percent was $360,000 instead of $390,000 nationally. At the other end, only 24 percent of New Hampshire filers had zero tax liability compared to 32 percent nationally. New Hampshire's median taxable income was $37,331 in 2006, about 15 percent higher than the national average.

In election years, it has become popular for politicians to seek your vote by turning you against the other guy. He's going to lower your taxes by sticking it to the guy behind the tree. You can vote for me because we both have a common enemy.

Remember, the richest 1 percent of Americans earn 22 percent of the income, but pay 40 percent of the taxes. They didn't get tax rebate "stimulus" checks this year, but they paid for mine.

Tax cuts for everyone who pays taxes, like the Reagan, Bush, and Kennedy tax cuts, are fair. Pitting you and me against the guy behind the tree is not a good recipe for unity or fairness.

Charles M. Arlinghaus is president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank in Concord.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Homeschooling Mom Running for Senate.

As a mom of two and a person who believes in educational freedom and personal responsibility I was thrilled to find a homeschooling Mom running for Senate. The following article appeared in Foster's Daily Democrat. Senators and Representatives should represent the people of New Hampshire not special interests groups who benefit from New Hampshire's taxpayer dollars. I wish only the best of luck to Kelly Halldorson.


New candidate makes it a two-woman race for District 21 Senate

Article Date: Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kelly Halldorson, Republican candidate for state Senate

DOVER - Her brand of political activism saw her walk from her home to Concord to support a presidential candidate. Now Kelly Halldorson is looking to join the state Senate.

The Dover native plans to file this week as a Republican for the District 21 seat being vacated by three-term Sen. Iris Estabrook, making it a two-woman race with Democrat Amanda Merrill, a former lawmaker who's been working on policy in the House majority office in Concord. The district covers Dover, Durham, Epping, Lee and Rollinsford.

Halldorson wanted to run as an independent, but she learned that left the door open for a Democrat, without a Republican opponent, to find a spot on the ballot under both major parties.

"I'm not a big Washington Republican by any stretch," the 35-year-old mother of three said Monday. "I'm not real thrilled with Bush. I'm anti-war" and she doesn't like it when ex-presidential candidates bash the libertarian Republican movement.

Halldorson gained widespread notoriety after she walked 38 miles from her Silver Street home to Concord to protest the media's treatment of Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who built an unexpected nationwide following.

But she says the experience didn't inspire her to get more involved.

In fact, she "can't stand politics" - just like she can't stand overregulation or lawmakers not returning a message.

"I really want to get people who want to have that much control over our lives out" of office, she said. "I certainly don't think that's the New Hampshire way. I'm about living free."

Halldorson, who home schools her children, said the Legislature's treatment this year of a home-school bill sponsored by Estabrook caught her attention - first because of attempts to further regulate the industry, second because of the lack of response from legislators. The bill ended "watered down," with a commission set up to examine the state's home-school laws, she said.

"I plan on being one of the most accessible legislators this district has seen," she said. "I will post my cell phone number on my website and promise to respond to every single email I receive from my constituents."

Halldorson said she's not anti-public education, but pro-educational choice. She said she's for local control of schools - not laws like No Child Left Behind that allow schools to be regulated from afar.

Halldorson said her family's struggle to pay heating and medical bills reinforced the need for lawmakers to lower spending. She's also "terrified" at the notion of a sales or income tax.

Halldorson comes to the race with a story rooted in the community. She was raised in a public housing complex primarily by her mother, Ann Grenier, who worked at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. She entered Dover High School an honors student, but dropped out her junior year feeling "failed" by the system. She returned and graduated the next year, in 1992, before spending the next few years traveling the country. When she got back to New Hampshire, she lived in Somersworth for eight years before returning to Dover in 2004.

A freelance web designer, Halldorson never went to college despite an art scholarship. Throughout the years, she's taken courses in metaphysics, world religions and psychology.

She and her husband, Jeff, a Durham native and self-employed contractor, have three children, Wolf, 13, Griffin, 11, and Zoe, 10.