Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Obamas can choose to put their children first and send them to private school, a choice denied to many other Americans

The following piece appeared at World School choice should be a civil right for all not only the rich and politicians. I must say I totally agree with Rudy Giuliani that school choice "is one of the great civil rights issues of our time."


Practicing school choice
OPINION: The Obamas can choose to put their children first and send them to private school, a choice denied to many other Americans | Cal Thomas

President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, came to town and did what people with young children usually do before moving. They looked at their new house and then Mrs. Obama checked out the school choices for their two young daughters.

The schools Mrs. Obama visited were private, not public. While no decision has yet been made, it seems obvious the girls enjoy their private school in Chicago and have flourished in it. Would the Obamas, in order to pander to the teachers unions, place their daughters in one of Washington, D.C.'s miserable public schools? Let's hope not. That would be a form of intellectual and social child abuse.

Should they choose either Sidwell Friends School (where Chelsea Clinton attended) or Georgetown Day School—Mrs. Obama visited both—or a public school, the Obamas have the ability to make a choice for their children, a choice the president-elect would deny to every other American who cannot afford to pay private school tuition. This is not the vaunted fairness for which Obama campaigned. This is not spreading the educational and intellectual wealth around.

During the campaign, Obama praised D.C. School Superintendent Michelle Rhee for her commendable attempts to improve the Washington public school system, but the schools still have a long way to go and continue to underperform the rest of the country. Surely the Obamas care more about their daughters than the teachers unions and will place them in private schools.

Parents who put their children first are to be admired and emulated. Politicians who are parents and who have the power to let others make the choices they can make, but refuse to do so, are inconsistent at best and hypocrites at worst.

Throughout the campaign, Obama presented himself as a champion of the poor and middle class. Poor and middle-class parents do not love their children any less than the Obamas love their daughters. They want their kids to have a good education, realizing it is their ticket to a better life. But liberal politicians deny them that right. Is that fair?

This year, 1,900 D.C. schoolchildren were allowed to attend private schools, thanks to congressional vouchers. With Democrats about to be in charge of all three branches of government, will Obama and his fellow Democrats send them back to failed schools? D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has suggested as much. Parents interviewed by Washington TV stations overwhelmingly want their children to remain where they are. Is it not cruel to force them back into a broken system?

Many Members of Congress choose private schools for their children. Sens. Edward Kennedy and Hillary Clinton have been outspoken opponents of school choice yet have sent their children to private schools. According to a 2007 Heritage Foundation survey, "... 37 percent of representatives and 45 percent of senators in the 110th Congress sent their children to private schools—almost four times the rate of the general population." Yet many of them vote against letting the rest of us have the same choice.

In its recently released annual report, the privately underwritten Children's Scholarship Fund outlines the assistance it is offering parents of disadvantaged poor and minority students. It isn't welfare, because parents contribute to the cost of their child's education. As the annual report states, after 10 years "the lives of 96,000 children across the United States have been changed for the better by CSF scholarships worth $315 million."

What do the children think? Fatouma D., a CSF sixth-grader says, "I love my school so much. We have so many programs. The best part is the fun never stops until 6 o'clock." Here's Jonathan C., a second-grader: "When I grow up I want to be a Marine so I can save people trapped in water." And Madysen D., a first-grader, "I can't wait to start working on fractions."

If Obama and his fellow Democrats won't "let our people go," the rest of us have options. We can send our children and grandchildren to private schools—or home school them—and act compassionately toward the less fortunate by contributing to the Children's Scholarship Fund (8 West 38th Street, 9th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018).

This will offer children trapped in bad schools the brighter future they deserve and the country will get the better educated citizenry it desperately needs.

© 2008 Tribune Media Services Inc.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Will Homeschooling Continue to be Legal Under the Obama Administration?

One of my biggest fears about having Obama elected president is that he would take away Americans right to homeschool. Obama's politics are socialist in nature and socialist do not like homeschoolers. You can not indoctrinate people into the socialist mindset if parents homeschool. I received the following from the Home School Legal Defense Association. The email below is their take on Obama's mindset regarding homeschooling.


Dear HSLDA Members and Friends of Homeschooling:

Since the election of Barack Obama as U.S. president, HSLDA has received more than a few calls from both members and nonmembers. Some are quite concerned about the future of homeschooling under an Obama presidency.

First of all, let us always remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). He also instructs us to be wise, plan, and be prepared in everything we do.

Despite HSLDA’s efforts prior to the election to get an official statement from the Obama campaign regarding their position on homeschooling, we received no response.

So where does that leave us?

We do know that the Democratic Party has an official position of supporting public education. The National Education Association (NEA), which is the national teachers union, is a major supporter of the Democratic Party. We know that the NEA’s position is that every child should be either taught by a certified teacher or supervised by one. Additionally, their position is that the curriculum used by all homeschoolers should be approved by the state, and children should only be able to continue to be homeschooled based upon systematic evaluation by the state.

It is important to remember that under the United States Constitution, the federal government has no authority over private and home education. This is not to say that they will not attempt to exercise authority in these areas. And whenever private educators accept grants and benefits, there are conditions to receiving those benefits, including being subject to regulation.

Just because the federal government has no constitutional authority over home education, however, doesn’t mean that federal bureaucrats or legislators might not attempt to impose some form of regulation over private and home education. We saw this back in 1994, when the reauthorization of the Secondary and Elementary Act (H.R. 6) contained an amendment which would have conditioned funding to the states for public education to require that all teachers be certified in every subject area they teach. The homeschool community rose up; over a million phone calls were made to the U.S. Congress, and the amendment was defeated. During that process, Representative Dick Armey from Texas introduced an amendment which stated that the federal government and Congress have no authority over private and home education. This protective language was passed by the House of Representatives.

With your help and the help of homeschoolers all across America, we will vigorously resist any effort on the part of the federal government to regulate home education. Obviously, this will take resources—which come from our membership—and we would encourage our current members to continue standing with us, and encourage others to join us.

An immediate concern to watch is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Although we do not know what Barack Obama’s specific position on the treaty is, we know that future Vice President Joe Biden has publicly indicated that this UN Convention should be ratified by the United States.

It does appear that we will soon have the challenge of keeping the UN Convention from being ratified by the U.S. Senate, ratification requiring a two-thirds majority to pass.

Should the UN Convention be ratified, it would impose the United Nation’s view of children’s rights on America. Under the U.S. Constitution, treaties become the Supreme Law of the land, taking precedent over state laws and state supreme court decisions.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is not in the best interest of parents or children, as it would undermine the parental authority that our laws currently recognize. For further information on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child visit

To summarize, homeschoolers should not live in fear, but we do need to be wise, and we will need to be vigilant to protect parental rights and homeschooling freedoms in the future. We stand prepared, with your help, to do that as we’ve done for 25 years.

Michael Smith
HSLDA President

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The following email was sent to me by Small Government News. When reading the story below keep in mind that the 7,258,816 million dollars is tax money from homeowners that was sent to schools used to educate our children. But instead it ends up in union hands to be used against the taxpayer.


Small Government News*
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Publisher: Carla Howell
Editor: Michael Cloud

By Michael Cloud

Teachers Unions and their allies spent $7,268,816* to defeat our Ballot Question 1 to END the state income tax.

They won the vote.

That’s supposed to be the end of the story.

But it’s not. The Teachers Unions and their tax-profiteering allies have already gotten more than they bargained for.

Teachers Unions and their allies have incurred huge costs – immediate and long-term - from their campaign against ENDing the state income tax.

Taxpayers have lost nothing and gained much from the Teachers Unions’ NO on 1 campaign.

Massachusetts state income taxes are the same today as they were the day before the vote. Taxpayers didn’t lose a dime. Government didn’t gain a dime.

Taxpayers are no worse off than before the vote. Teachers Unions and their tax-benefiting allies are no better off.

The $7,268,816 we forced the Teachers Unions to spend to keep the state income tax is $7,268,816 they could NOT spend elsewhere to raise property taxes and other taxes.**

This year, the Massachusetts state legislature and Governor postponed government spending increases, announced spending cuts – and did NOT increase taxes. Our Ballot Initiative and our campaign for it are a key reason why.

The Teachers Unions regularly and repeatedly campaigned against ENDing the income tax on the grounds that it would raise property taxes. So did their allies. So did newspaper articles and editorials.

Hundreds and hundreds of advertisements by the Teachers Unions claimed:“YES on Question 1 = Raising Property Taxes.”

These ads aroused and reinforced opposition to raising property taxes.

The Teachers Unions campaign against our tax cut just might stop their 2009 campaigns for property tax increases.

Unintended consequences. Sweet silver linings.


* As of 11-1-08 Campaign Report.

** See Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt or “What is Seen and What is Not Seen (The Broken Window Fallacy)” by Frederic Bastiat.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

School Board Meeting Tonight

Just a reminder the Croydon School Board meeting is tonight. Jim will present the recommendations to the school board from the long term planning committee.

Will the students, parents and taxpayers of Croydon interests be placed ahead of the school district and SAU's employees? Or will job security of Newport teachers and the SAU be the first priority of the school board?


Great News

Gayle Hedrington Eagle Times reporter is reporting that "Croydon residents will see a decrease of $1.75 per thousand in the tax rate due to a surplus in the school budget." This decrease in taxes will result in an increase in our children's college funds.

In other news Gayle is reporting sightings of black bear and wild boar in our neighborhood and by Spectacle Pond. We live in such an exciting little town. I will need to keep a close eye on our dachshund.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Funny of the Day

Filed under kids say the funniest things.

Our four year old Anastasia has already learned all the 50 States. She is in the process of learning the capitals of the states.

Anastasia said she would like to visit Kentucky. Jim told her that we could go to the Patton Museum and see a lot of tanks. Anastasia responded back "Will we see a lot of fish in the tanks?"


Monday, November 10, 2008

NEA's True Service to Democrats: Incumbency Insurance.

Mike Antonucci over at The Education Intelligence Agency is always spot on with his analysis of the NEA. The following was in his November 10 email update. Until we curb the NEA socialism will remain on the rise.


NEA's True Service to Democrats: Incumbency Insurance.

There is no question that last Tuesday's election results came as close to a total victory for the National Education Association as one could possibly expect. Its presidential candidate won an electoral landslide. Its Democratic majorities grew stronger in both houses of Congress. Of all the ballot initiatives across the country that received NEA and affiliate support, I could find only three in which the union side was defeated. Two of these occurred in California – Prop 8 (gay marriage) and Prop 9 (crime victims' rights). Both passed despite opposition from the California Teachers Association, but neither has a direct effect on public education or organized labor. The only other defeat was the passage of Amendment 54 in Colorado, which bans political contributions by contractors or organizations that do business with the government. A court challenge has already been filed.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel lauded the victories. "NEA members played a vital role in critical congressional races across the country that helped expand margins in the House and Senate for pro-public education allies," he said in a press statement. "As a bipartisan organization, the National Education Association was pleased to return many friends from both sides of the aisle to Congress and elect new ones as a part of a growing Democratic majority."

Aside: If you parse that last sentence, you get NEA "as a bipartisan organization" being pleased about "a growing Democratic majority."

Along with everyone else, NEA believes its "vital role" requires some form of compensation. Merit pay, you might call it. And there are already fights in the blogosphere about how well-deserved it is.

I don't find persuasive the argument that the efforts of NEA, or any other union, were so far superior this election cycle than previous ones that it resulted in an Obama victory or additional seats. But it is indisputable that NEA played a "vital role." It's just not the role you might believe.

The union's political action committee will laud its 79% success rate in electing recommended candidates. You have to go inside the numbers for the real story. While some of the results may change, for the purposes of this article I am going to assume that whichever candidate is ahead right now in the too-close-to-call races will end up winning.

The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education recommended 328 candidates for Congress, of whom 260 won. It's impressive, but not that impressive.

Of those 328 candidates, 230 were incumbents, of whom 39 ran unopposed. NEA's record in those races was 226 wins and 4 losses, dropping only Florida 16th, Kansas 2nd, Pennsylvania 3rd and Texas 22nd.

NEA recommended 38 candidates for open seats, and its record in those races was 20 wins and 18 losses.

NEA recommended 60 challengers, and its record in those races was 14 wins and 46 losses, which was actually better than usual.

When people criticize the teachers' unions as being defenders of the status quo, they generally mean the status quo as it applies to education policy and labor affairs. It seems, however, that NEA's power and influence among Democrat politicians (and some Republicans) is due to its defense of the political status quo. For example, virtually all of its ballot initiative victories were on the "no" side.

The union's ability to capture open seats or defeat incumbents is no better than that of many other special interest groups. There is little reason for a new candidate to seek out NEA support instead of support from other ideologically compatible groups. But once elected, staying on NEA's good side is a path to easy money and campaign support for a friendly politician.

With Democrat incumbents impervious, the battles continue to be fought over marginal GOP seats. When these are lost with some regularity, some safe GOP seats inch over to the marginal column and you end up with decades-long Democratic majorities in Congress.