Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another Chapter in the Educrats Gone Bad Book

Why is this woman still getting paid with your tax dollars? A private sector employee would have been terminated immediately.

What was she thinking, she has been working as a teacher since 1999 so she is making decent bucks probably close to 55,000 if not more. She has outstanding benefits and in retirement her total pension compensation would have been close to 2 million bucks at least if she stuck it out. Her pay is way above what the average person makes in the private sector.

Only a government employee would still be getting paid after being charged with robbing two banks.

Cathy Peschke
Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

The following story appeared in the Union Leader.

Teacher charged in two bank heists
Union Leader Correspondent
11 hours, 15 minutes ago

BROOKLINE – A Hollis-Brookline Middle School teacher was charged yesterday with robbing two banks in Massachusetts.

Gail Rasmussen, 49, of 17 Winterberry Road, Brookline, was arrested and charged with two counts of unarmed robbery after turning herself in at the Concord, Mass. police station yesterday. School officials said she has been placed on paid administrative leave.

She was arraigned in Concord District Court yesterday afternoon and released on $500 cash bail, Concord police Sgt. Brian Goldman said.

No one answered phone calls last night at Rasmussen's home, which is in the Winterberry Estates housing development.

Rasmussen, a seventh-grade English teacher, is accused of robbing the Washington Savings Bank in Tyngsborough, Mass. on Dec. 16 and the TD Bank in Concord, Mass., on Dec. 20.

The robber is seen in a surveillance camera image at TD Bank, Concord, Mass.

Susan Hodgdon, superintendent of the Hollis-Brookline school district, said Rasmussen has worked for the district since 1999, with the exception of a brief teaching stint at the Wilton-Lyndeborough school district.

"It's startling news," Hodgdon said last night, "and tragic in many ways."

In her education career, Hodgdon said she's encountered teachers in trouble with the law, but "nothing like this."

"This is a first," she said. "But what I find is that there is always information that comes to light to help us understand. I'm anticipating that will happen with this."

Witnesses to both robberies provided police with similar descriptions. Both robberies involved a white female, wearing an all-black winter coat, who was seen fleeing the banks in a grey-colored sedan.

A note was passed to the bank tellers demanding money, but no weapon was shown or implied in the heists, police said.

The amount of money taken from the Tyngsborough robbery was not disclosed by police; $1,200 was reportedly taken from the Concord bank.

Police from Brookline and the two Massachusetts towns carried out a search warrant at Rasmussen's home on Tuesday.

Hodgdon said she provided police with information about Rasmussen at the request of police before they carried out the search warrant.

"They informed me of the investigation and I supplied the information that they needed," Hodgdon said. "Throughout the day today (Wednesday), as things developed, [police] informed me that Gail had turned herself in."

Hodgdon said she attempted to speak with Rasmussen by phone late yesterday afternoon, but was unable to do so.

"I have sent her a letter to let her know that she's on paid administrative leave," Hodgdon said. "I need to meet with her to find out more information. She'll stay on paid administrative leave until I finish that portion of the next step."

Kirsten Werne is a fellow seventh-grade teacher at Hollis-Brookline Middle School.

"This is the first I've heard," Werne said last night when reached by the New Hampshire Union Leader. "Everybody at our school is excellent. That's all I can really say."

School faculty and staff will meet Monday before classes to formulate the best response to the situation, Hodgdon said. She said students have not been notified of Rasmussen's arrest.

"Students are on vacation and I don't like to send out that type of information without adults being able to meet with students directly," Hodgdon said. "Our plan for Monday is to maintain as normal a schedule as possible."

End of story.

Everyday I receive news alerts for the words "teacher arrested", these are the results just for today. How many of our tax dollars are being wasted on educators who should be in jail?

=== Google News Alert for: teacher arrested ===

Teacher charged in two bank heists
The Union Leader
By DAN O'BRIEN BROOKLINE – A Hollis-Brookline Middle School teacher was
charged yesterday with robbing two banks in Massachusetts. Gail Rasmussen,
49, of 17 ...

Greensboro middle school teacher charged with sex crimes
Greensboro, NC — A Greensboro middle school teacher was arrested
Wednesday and charged with sex crimes against children. Harold Robert Grant
Jr., 57, ...


Gun battle erupts as Yemeni forces raid Al Qaeda hideout
Los Angeles Times
"I saw him once tenderly kiss a baby," said Ahmed Mohammed, a teacher at
the institute. "Today, he's turned into a monster who would have killed
children if ...

Abdulmutallab grew more religious, teachers and classmates say
Seattle Times
The teacher spoke on the condition of anonymity because Yemeni security
officials had ordered staff not to talk to journalists. "In 2009, he barely
came to ...

Tainted brownies at Stonington High lead to 2 drug arrests
The episode recalled a 2004 incident at the school in which police arrested
a student who they said had given a marijuana-laced brownie to a veteran
teacher ...

The South Florida Times
Lemika Watkins, 29, a substitute teacher at Sunrise Middle School, is
arrested and charged with one count of battery, after allegedly pushing a
student's ...

See all stories on this topic:

Kingsport man charged with blackmail, extortion of $30000 from Bristol, Tenn ...
Kingsport Times News
... been arrested on charges of blackmail and extortion after allegedly
demanding money from a Bristol, Tenn., teacher to remain silent about
“past actions” ...

Ashley Jo Beach, Middle School Teacher, Sentenced to 20 Years for Seducing 13 ...
CBS News (blog)
During the course of the investigation against Ashley Jo Beach, her
husband, Shawn Beach, was also arrested. Prosecutors say Shawn Beach, a
former employee ...

Teacher, Football Coach Indicted On Drug Charges
WFMZ-TV Online
Kevin Kane and dozens of other people were arrested in July. Two other
teachers and one former teacher were among them. Kane was a math teacher
and ...

Coach charged with 6 counts of sexual battery
Laurel Leader Call
By Charlotte A. Graham, A Wayne County
High School teacher and softball coach that was arrested and charged with
six ...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Interesting Statistics

1.) During the 2007-2008 school year what percentage of schools reported one or more incidents of crime?

2.) What percentage of students were diagnosed with a disability during the 2006-2007 school year nationwide?

In Croydon if my recollection is correct 50% of the students are labeled with some sort of disability or another. If my recollection is correct, as I suspected too many students are being labeled with a disability in order to funnel more taxes dollars into the school system in my opinion.

3.) What percentage of the U.S. student population that received corporal punishment at school in 2006-07?

To see the answers click on read more.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Answer 1.

85% of public schools in 2007-08 that reported one or more incidents of crime at school.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2009"

Answer to 2.

13.7 % Of the U.S. student population in 2006-07, the percentage diagnosed as having disabilities.
Source: "Impairing Education: Corporal Punishment of Students with Disabilities in US Public Schools," American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch

Answer 3.

18.8% of the U.S. student population that received corporal punishment at school in 2006-07.
Source: "Impairing Education: Corporal Punishment of Students with Disabilities in US Public Schools," American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Look for Fees and Taxes to go up in Your City

According to the American City & County website city budgets will be in trouble through 2010. Well that is a big no duh! Will they cut spending? Heck no! Expect more fees and property taxes to go. God forbid the public sector oligarchies across the Country give a little.

Pretty soon the government is going to put us in money machines with the money we earn throughout the year. What you can grab you keep, what you can't grab the government keeps.

I am grateful that we live in a town where the selectmen are serious about controlling spending. Now only if we had a school district that would do the same.

Cathy Peschke
Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Quote of the Day - A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures? ~ Marcus Tillius Cicero

NLC survey: Cities' financial distress will continue beyond 2010
Sep 3, 2009 1:40 PM

The effects of the recession will continue to drag down city budgets beyond 2010, according to a survey by the Washington-based National League of Cities (NLC). The situation reflects the typical 18-month time lag seen in the effects that economic shifts have on city budgets that results from the collection of tax revenues only at certain times of the year, according to NLC.

The report, "City Fiscal Conditions in 2009," found that cities face significant budget gaps this year because of a 1.3 percent decline of income tax and a 3.8 percent decrease in sales tax collections. Those taxes are typically the earliest source of city revenue to decline as job losses increase and consumer purchases decrease, according to NLC. Property taxes, which make up the bulk of city revenue nationwide, are beginning to slow, growing only 1.6 percent as real property assessments are adjusted to reflect declining housing values.

To read the rest of the story go to the American City & County website.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Where is the Porkulous Being Spent in New Hampshire?

Read it and weep. Look how your tax dollars are being spent. Who will pay it off? Your children, your grandchildren and/or your great grand children?

$340,920 for research to answer the question "How does changing seasonality affect the capacity of Arctic streams networks to influence nutrient fluxes from the landscape to the ocean?"

$772,709 to examine the "use of genome enabled tools to understand symbiosis?"

The state received $39 million in regular educational funding, $31 million in stimulus Title I funds and $51 million for special ed and 3 to 5 year old program, $3.2 million in educational technology, etc., etc.

To top it off Newport and the SAU want to increase the amount Croydon residents pay by 29%. Does the greed of educrats ever end?

The following piece appears in the Union Leader.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Quote of the Day - "A child educated only at school is an uneducated child." - George Santayana

The follow piece appeared on the Union Leader.

Stimulus proves to be a windfall for schools

Senior Political Reporter
Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009

CONCORD – First of two parts

Ten months after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was enacted, where is the stimulus money going?

In New Hampshire, much has gone to projects you might have expected -- road paving and repair, for example, and extra unemployment benefits.

Some is going to college students and local school districts in big aid programs -- recipients you might think worthy but might not equate with emergency spending to spur the economy out of a deep recession.

And significant millions of your tax dollars are going for things you might not have expected to be part of a stimulus plan at all.

Did you think, for instance, that $340,920 in stimulus funds would go to research aimed at answering the question "How does changing seasonality affect the capacity of Arctic streams networks to influence nutrient fluxes from the landscape to the ocean?"

Or that $772,709 would examine the "use of genome enabled tools to understand symbiosis?"

Or that $693 in economic stimulus money would buy a hot-food counter at the Lamprey River Elementary School in Raymond?

The federal government says it paid out more than $414 million in stimulus money to public and private entities in New Hampshire as of Dec. 1 and that an announced total of $1.4 billion will be available to those entities by the time the program ends in mid-July 2011.

According to the state Office of Economic Stimulus, the stimulus program has provided nearly $140 million for roads and other transportation-related items and more than $120 million for energy- and environment-related projects, with the biggest chunk of the stimulus-fund pie -- more than $160 million -- going to education.

Public schools

In addition to $39 million in regular funding, according to the state Department of Education, scores of New Hampshire school districts have received a combined total of nearly $31 million in stimulus money through the federal Title I program. According to the federal Department of Education, the additional funding "provides financial assistance to (local education agencies) and schools with high numbers of poor children."

More than $51 million in stimulus money is targeted to supplement about the same amount of existing federal funding for special education, according to the state Department of Education. The federal government says that money is to ensure that "children with disabilities, including children ages 3 through 5, have access to a free appropriate public education to meet each child's unique needs and prepare him or her for further education, employment and independent living."

Additionally, the federal Department of Education has sent New Hampshire $3.2 million in education technology grants, $1.9 million for vocational rehabilitation, $323,000 in independent-living grants, and $190,000 to assist school districts in helping homeless children get to and from school and perform well.

Kathleen Murphy, director of instruction for the state education department, said these millions are worthy expenditures of taxpayer money.

She said all Title I and IDEA grants require applications that meet "the specific criteria they are targeted to help, and, when they get it, the school districts must focus it on students who are low-income."

Manchester, for instance, received $5.9 million in Title I and $4.4 million in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding as of Dec. 1, according to the state stimulus office.

The city's superintendent of schools, Thomas Brennan, said the money allowed "some personnel hires," including 20 kindergarten teachers, seven high school and middle school assistant principals, and seven elementary school principals, "all working with specialized students under IDEA."

Brennan said the district hired three transition counselors at the high school level, also under IDEA, to support "specifically identified students."

He said the district also used stimulus money for "additional training for teachers in the development of individual education plans."

Murphy said she understands that the stimulus program is controversial, but said, "It is unprecedented for us to do the kind of work for the kids in New Hampshire that we've been able to do. It is terrific."

Broad definition

But these are not the types of programs that the most Americans expected stimulus funds to be used for, said David Williams, vice president of the national watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

"When people think of stimulus, they think of jobs being created quickly," Williams said. "Fifty people out there pouring cement -- that's what people originally think of a stimulus bill trying to do."

Little known to the average taxpayer is that, according to the federal government, the stimulus has a dual purpose: "To stimulate the economy in the short term and invest in education and other essential public services to ensure the long-term economic health of our nation."

The broad heading "invest in education" has resulted in some intriguing uses.

According to public state documents:

-- $68,590 was awarded to the Henniker Youth Theatre group, more than twice the amount it usually raises privately.

"We had a great time with it," said director Thomas Dunn, who said the program was able to double its summer minimum-wage counseling staff from four to eight 18- to 24-year-old actors/singers and expand into Hillsborough. He said the stimulus money headed off a planned hike in fees for participants.

"It was just wonderful," he said, looking forward to applying for more stimulus money next year.

-- In Manchester, besides the millions used for Title I and IDEA, there was $35,008 for a pot washer and $9,375 for a freezer at the Beech Street School.

-- In Rumney, $1,949 was awarded for a hot-food table and shelf at the Russell Elementary School.

-- Peterborough collected $539 in stimulus funds for a heater and $949 for a freezer at the South Meadow School.

Murphy said such funding, under the federal school lunch equipment assistance program, gives districts "a chance to replace equipment that is sometimes ancient and can be costly."

And in Manchester, superintendent Brennan said the Beech Street School's walk-in freezer, for instance, was necessary to replace an older piece of equipment.


Tomorrow: Much of federal stimulus money targeted for education has gone to public elementary, middle and secondary schools, but large grants also are going to the state's universities -- public and private -- and to their students.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Just Throw Them Under the Bus

Just Throw Them Under the Bus - That is the motto of many of our legislators and the teachers' unions. If education were for the kids, there would be no unions in public schools. There would be school choice and the tax dollars would follow the child and not the institution. If you really want to make a difference in school children's lives, lobby the legislators to the same extent that the teacher union thugs do. Don't condone the behavior of those who care more about protecting their little entitlement program than they do about actually educating the children of America.

The following piece appeared at the Business Wire.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Quote of the Day
"Academies that are founded at public expense are instituted not so much to cultivate men's natural abilities as to restrain them." - Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)

D.C. School Choice Leaders Blast Appropriators’ Decision to Kill School Voucher Program

Call on Obama and Durbin to Stand with D.C.’s Low-Income Families

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The leaders of D.C.’s school choice movement, Kevin P. Chavous (former D.C. Councilman) and Virginia Walden Ford (executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice), today issued the following statement:

"House and Senate Appropriators this week ignored the wishes of D.C.’s mayor, D.C.’s public schools chancellor, a majority of D.C.’s city council, and more than 70 percent of D.C. residents and have mandated the slow death of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. This successful school voucher program—for D.C.’s poorest families—has allowed more than 3,300 children to attend the best schools they have ever known.

The decision to end the program, a decision buried in a thousand-page spending bill and announced right before the holidays, destroys the hopes and dreams of thousands of D.C. families. Parents and children have rallied countless times over the past year in support of reauthorization and in favor of strengthening the OSP.

Yet, despite the clearly positive results and the proven success of this program, Sen. Dick Durbin, Rep. Jose Serrano, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Secretary Arne Duncan worked together to kill the OSP. Funding the program only for existing children shrinks the program each year, compromises the federal evaluation of the program, denies entry to the siblings of existing participants, and punishes those children waiting in line by sentencing them to failing and often unsafe schools.

What is incredibly disappointing to low-income families in Washington, D.C. has been the silence of President Barack Obama. The President, who benefited from K-12 scholarships himself, worked on behalf of low-income families in Chicago, and exercises school choice as a parent, has stood silently on the sidelines while his Secretary of Education belittled the importance of helping such a small number of children in the nation’s capital.

Now, the fate of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and the low-income children it serves and could serve depends on the willingness of Congressional supporters to insist that the FY 2010 budget allows additional children to participate in the OSP. We call on President Obama and Senator Durbin to stand up and do the right thing. Stand with the children of low-income families in Washington, D.C. who deserve access to a quality education right now—not five years from now—but right now. These children deserve that opportunity."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Taxes will go up way up in Croydon

Taxes will go up way up in Croydon way up, if you do not let your voice be heard. The SAU administration presented the Croydon School Board a budget that included a 29% increase in the monies they are asking from Croydon taxpayers. We have.....

Rising unemployment - "The unadjusted November 2009 unemployment rate for New Hampshire was 6.5 percent, unchanged from the October rate, which was unchanged with revision. The November 2008 unadjusted rate was 4.0 percent."

Decreasing home values - Just ask anyone who has tried to sell a home or refinance their home.

Uh we are in a recession folks.

But the greed of those who want Croydon tax dollars is unrelenting and the insensitivity to the taxpayers of Newport's feeder district appears never ending. Those on social security are not getting a raise this year, but Newport and the SAU wants 29% increase in the tax dollars they receive from us. Many of us are lucky to even have a job or even get a raise. Make sure you tell these people how you feel at the next School Board Meeting and the Town Hall Meeting this year. Seriously have they no sense of shame?

Cathy Peschke
Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Quote of the Day - "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. " ~ Thomas Jefferson

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas All. Will try again to do regular posts and updates, family comes first and I also have been posting on facebook. There are many patriots and tax fighters young and old on facebook, feel free to friend me on facebook.

Cathy Peschke

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Busy, busy, busy.

Apologies to my readers I have been busy homeschooling my five year old and with other activities. I will post when I can I will try not to let more than a week lapse in my posts, I may even forward and back post. Yes, I know that is not the point of a BLOG.

"The ability of what a child can learn is only limited by the minds of those around said child."

Cathy Peschke
Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Anastasia's Chemistry Quiz Results, yes she is only five. Click on the image to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why should Croydon Stay with the SAU?

Why should Croydon Stay with the SAU, if the SAU won't do their job. At several meetings they have reported how much they do for Croydon. I don't see it.

Stop wasting our tax dollars and do your job.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

SAU to Raise Budget by 13.4 % are they kidding?

There was an SAU meeting last Thursday. The current SAU budget is 683,297 dollars. The SAU wants to raise the budget to 775,000 dollars or a 13.4% increase. Jim was the only SAU member to object to this increase. A public hearing on the budget will be held in Newport on Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. You can try to reach the SAU board members via this site. Also voice your opinion at the next Croydon School Board meeting on October 21st.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

School Well Update - Gayle Hedrington

Gayle wrote the following piece on To also read an interesting story about Croydon's own Bardo Project read the Story on

School Well Water Update

Health Officer Steve Cunningham reports that the well used by the school, town hall and Croydon Congregational Church is 45 years old, of unknown depth, and that the water system is maintained by certified water system manger, Pathways Consulting in Lebanon NH.

Steve Cunningham performed his own tests after flushing the system, and sent the water to the NH DES Laboratory, the only federally certified lab in NH. From the test results, Cunningham had the following recommendations:

"In spite of the negative results recently, the issue of a lack of free chlorine should be addressed. The town should be assured that sufficient chlorine went throughout the system. I would suggest a re-treatment of the well with a chlorine concentration of 50ppm or one gallon of sodium hypochlorite 5.25% bleach for 1000 gallons of well reserve, a NH recommendation. If our well is 500' deep, one gallon for the well, the immediately surrounding water bearing substrate, and the water system would be about right. Then testing for both free and total chlorine should be done over the next several days to determine the presence of free chlorine and chlorines compounds.

"If, by some chance, water is still considered to be chronically contaminated two solutions present themselves. First is to install a treatment system (liquid chlorine insertion would probably be simplest). Second is to connect the well at the Morse House (after testing) and disconnecting the school's well.

"I would also suggest allowing the schoolchildren to use the water for hand washing followed by use of an alcohol base hand disinfectant."

Go to to view the rest of the story.

To my knowledge the problem has not been resolved. We pay a good portion of the SAU budget of over 600,000 dollars to the SAU what is the point of paying all of these tax dollars if the SAU does nothing for Croydon. Last year the cost of the SAU went up dramatically for Croydon yet we are getting less services in return.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Funny Research Finding - Going Green? You are more likely to steal!

The following story appeared on the Rotman School of Management website.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Buying green can be license for bad behaviour, study finds

Toronto, October 6, 2009 –Those lyin’, cheatin’ green consumers.

Just being around green products can make us behave more altruistically, a new study to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science has found.

But buying those same products can have the opposite effect. Researchers found that buying green can lead people into less altruistic behaviour, and even make them more likely to steal and lie than after buying conventional products. Buying products that claim to be made with low environmental impact can set up “moral credentials” in people’s minds that give license to selfish or questionable behavior.

“This was not done to point the finger at consumers who buy green products. The message is bigger,” says Nina Mazar, a marketing professor at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and a self-admitted green consumer. “At the end of the day, if we do one moral thing, IT doesn’t necessarily mean we will be morally better in other things as well.”

Mazar, along with her co-author Chen-Bo Zhong, an assistant professor of organizational behaviour at the Rotman School, conducted three experiments. The first found that people perceived green consumers to be more cooperative, altruistic and ethical than those who purchased conventional products. The second experiment showed that participants merely exposed to products from a green store shared more money in a subsequent experimental game, but those who actually made purchases in that store shared less. The final experiment revealed that participants who bought items in the green store showed evidence of lying and stealing money in a subsequent lab game.

But are people conscious of this moral green washing going on when they buy green products and, more importantly, the license they might feel to break ethical standards? Professors Mazar and Zhong don't know – and look forward to exploring that in further research.

The complete study is available at: .

For the latest thinking on business, management and economics from the Rotman School of Management, visit .

The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto is redesigning business education for the 21st century with a curriculum based on Integrative Thinking. Located in the world’s most diverse city, the Rotman School fosters a new way to think that enables the design of creative business solutions. The School is currently raising $200 million to ensure Canada has the world-class business school it deserves. For more information, visit

Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
Voice: (416) 946-3818

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Correction SAU meeting Thursday - Newport

Just a reminder there is a SAU Meeting on Thursday.

When Jim ran for the school board he ran on the platform of being more open with the community about the schools finances. Shortly after Jim was elected to the School Board, Jim asked Jim Vezina Newport School District Business Administrator for an electronic form of the finances so he could post it on the Croydon website. Jim Vezina has failed to give that information to Jim after repeated requests.

Newer posts appear below this post. This post will be at the top for four days to remind the community about the school board meeting.

Quote of the Day - "As for money, the relationship between it and effective schools has been studied to death. The unanimous conclusion is that there is no connection between school funding and school performance." -- Brookings Institution scholars John Chubb and Terry Moe, 1990

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Big Government Understands Big Education is bad for Education

The following piece appeared on one of my new favorite websites Big Be sure to visit the Big Government website to see the embedded video. Teachers' unions are only concerned about themselves and an agenda they are not concerned about what is best for our children.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Teachers’ Unions Block Reform For Their Own Benefit
by Kyle Olson
Earlier this year Robert Chanin, the recently retired general counsel for the National Education Association, discussed the effectiveness of teachers unions at a gathering in San Diego:

Despite what some of us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child.
NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

You can see that portion of his 20 minute speech here:
embedded by Embedded Video

Chanin’s honesty was, in a way, refreshing. For too long the NEA, as well as the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), have been hiding their intentions behind the guise of student advocacy, using children as human shields to block criticism.

But the truth is that the NEA and AFT are huge national labor unions with political agendas and have a great deal of influence with state and national lawmakers. and are designed to bring attention to those facts.

It’s important for the American people to understand how they use that power to obstruct desperately needed educational reforms, particularly those involving school choice and increased teacher accountability. They fear reform will threaten their guaranteed clientele of students and job security.

The unions’ militant strategy is putting them at odds with leaders of both political parties. Many Democrats, including President Barack Obama, have joined Republicans in calling for fundamental changes in education.

Last year NEA members stood in silence at their national convention when Obama called for merit pay. This year they booed Education Secretary Arne Duncan when he called for more teacher accountability.

But political isolation only increases their determination.

Consider their position on charter schools, the independent public schools. The unions tried to kill charters in their infancy, but now that it’s clear they’re here to stay, the NEA and AFT have a new strategy.

They’re recruiting charter school teachers as members, so charter schools will be plagued with the same labor upheaval that has damaged so many traditional schools. The goal is death by infiltration.

There are many other examples of union anti-reform efforts. The NEA recently contacted every U.S. senator, suggesting political retribution if they voted to reauthorize the District of Columbia’s successful Opportunity Scholarship Program, a voucher initiative that helps inner-city children escape failing schools.

In Detroit Public Schools, the Detroit Federation of Teachers threatened to strike when the emergency financial manager called for teacher merit pay and an end to the seniority system. The manager and union currently have another month to go in a two-month extension of bargaining talks.

In Wisconsin, the NEA is using its clout to block legislation that would allow teacher evaluations to be linked to student performance. Obama won’t provide education stimulus dollars to states that refuse to link the two, but that doesn’t bother the union.

Reasonable leaders from both parties are calling for changes in education, while the unions are using their political muscle to defend an outdated system. It’s time for the American people to demand education policies that benefit students, not the self-serving teachers unions.

The Greatest Country in the World does not have Enough Skilled Workers

How is it that the greatest Country in the world does not have enough skilled workers to meet the needs of employers? We spend between 90,000 to 168,000 tax dollars to educate one child in the K-12 system. How is this not enough money to adequately prepare a child for college so he can get a degree to prepare him for a skilled job in America? Perhaps this is a key to the answer.

The following piece appears on

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Even as Layoffs Persist, Some Good Jobs Hard to Fill
Associated Press
Sunday, October 04, 2009

In a brutal job market, here's a task that might sound easy: Fill jobs in nursing, engineering and energy research that pay $55,000 to $60,000, plus benefits.

Yet even with 15 million people hunting for work, even with the unemployment rate nearing 10 percent, some employers can't find enough qualified people for good-paying career jobs.

Ask Steve Jones, a hospital recruiter in Indianapolis who's struggling to find qualified nurses, pharmacists and MRI technicians. Or Ed Baker, who's looking to hire at a U.S. Energy Department research lab in Richland, Wash., for $60,000 each.

Economists say the main problem is a mismatch between available work and people qualified to do it. Millions of jobs with attractive pay and benefits that once drew legions of workers to the auto industry, construction, Wall Street and other sectors are gone, probably for good. And those who lost those jobs generally lack the right experience for new positions popping up in health care, energy and engineering.

Many of these specialized jobs were hard to fill even before the recession. But during downturns, recruiters tend to become even choosier, less willing to take financial risks on untested workers.

The mismatch between job opening and job seeker is likely to persist even as the economy strengthens and begins to add jobs. It also will make it harder for the unemployment rate, now at 9.8 percent, to drop down to a healthier level.

"Workers are going to have to find not just a new company, but a new industry," said Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director of Moody's "A fifty-year-old guy who has been screwing bolts into the side of a car panel is not going to be able to become a health care administrator overnight."

It's become especially hard to find accountants, health care workers, software sales representatives, actuaries, data analysts, physical therapists and electrical engineers, labor analysts say. And employers that demand highly specialized training — like biotech firms that need plant scientists or energy companies that need geotechnical engineers to build offshore platforms — struggle even more to fill jobs.

The trend has been intensified by the speed of the job market decline, Koropeckyj said. The nation has lost a net 7.6 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. Yet it can take a year or more for a laid-off worker to gain the training and education to switch industries. That means health care jobs are going unfilled even as laid-off workers in the auto, construction or financial services industries seek work.

"So we have this army of the unemployed" without the necessary skills, Koropeckyj said.

Sitting in his office overlooking the Clarian Health complex, Jones leafed through some of the applications he's received. One came from a hotel worker who listed his experience as, "Cleaning rooms; make beds, clean tubes, vacuum." Another was from a fitness instructor whose past duties included signing up gym members.

Many of the jobless seem to be applying for any opening they see, Jones said.

"You just don't have the supply to fill those particular positions," he said of the more than 200 "critical" jobs he needs to fill at Clarian, including nurses, pharmacists, MRI technicians and ultrasound technologists.

Contributing to the problem is that in a tough economy, employers take longer to assess applicants and make a hiring decision. By contrast, "in a healthier economy, you don't wait around for the perfect person," said Lawrence Katz, a professor of labor economics at Harvard.

To be sure, employers in most sectors of the economy are having no trouble filling jobs — especially those, like receptionists, hotel managers or retail clerks, that don't require specialized skills.

But as more jobs vanish for good, the gap between the unemployed and the requirements of today's job openings is widening. Throughout the economy, an average of six people now compete for each job opening — the highest ratio on government records dating to 2000.

Sifting through applications for jobs at the U.S. Energy Department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington state, Baker said he sees "people that have worked in other areas, and now they're trying to apply that skill set to the energy arena."

"Unfortunately, that's not the skill set we need."

The jobs opened up after the lab received federal stimulus money to research energy-efficient buildings. Baker needs employees with backgrounds in city management and a grasp of the building codes needed to design energy-efficient buildings. Yet even a salary of $140,000 for senior researchers isn't drawing enough qualified applicants.

Baker said he's getting resumes from well-educated people, including some from information technology workers who want to enter the green-energy field. But he said it could take a year to get an unqualified employee up to speed on all the building codes they need to know.

"We're running out of people to train" new employees, he said. "We simply cannot attract enough (qualified) people."

The lab has hired a recruiter for the first time to fill dozens of positions. Rob Dromgoole, the recruiter, is going so far as to make cold calls to college professors. He's also visiting academic conferences to pitch jobs.

The trend has left jobseekers like Joe Sladek anxious and frustrated. Sladek's 23 years in the auto industry haven't helped his efforts to land a job in alternative energy since he was laid off a year ago.

As a quality control engineer for auto supplier Dura Automotive Systems Inc. in Mancelona, Mich., he made about $75,000. Sladek would review technical reports to make sure the factory's auto parts matched the specifications of clients like General Motors and Toyota.

He hoped to parlay that experience into a similar job at a factory making windmill blades or solar panels. Several factories were hiring, and Sladek landed a few interviews. But he never heard back.

At PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago, there's a shortage of qualified applicants for management jobs in tax services, auditing and consulting. Rod Adams, the company's recruiting leader, said huge pay packages on Wall Street siphoned off lots of business school graduates earlier this decade.

"That made our pipeline more scarce," he said.

Some of the openings at PricewaterhouseCoopers pay around $100,000 and don't even require graduate degrees — just specialized accounting certifications or other credentials.

Formerly successful bankers or hedge fund managers don't necessarily qualify.

"We've gotten a lot more resumes, but they haven't been the right people," Adams said.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Something to Ponder - If it Walks Like a Duck

I have never been a good writer. I always thought someday I would like to write a book, but the fact is I am a crappy writer. I went to public schools and yes people in public schools do learn to write but I never was required to write much in public school or when I went to college or grad school. But I digress, the piece below is not only well written but well thought out. The following piece appears on the American Thinker. I of course agree with the sentiments of the writer.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Sympathy for the Devil
By Robin of Berkeley
October 01, 2009

How concerned should we be about Obama? Is he a potential dictator with a weird cult following who could destroy this country?

To put it more bluntly, does Obama have the potential for inflicting evil on us? Or, if he's a puppet, are the ones holding the strings malevolent?

These may be the most crucial and urgent questions of our times. Is Obamaphobia a legitimate reaction to an angry president with a vendetta, surrounded by psycho czars? Or is the imagination running amok?

Given that I have a stack of books on my desk about evil, let's take a look at how the experts define it.

Dante: Evil is the "sins of the wolf;" an inner black hole so vast that nothing will fill it.

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: "Evil consists in intentionally behaving in ways that harm, abuse, demean, dehumanize, and destroy innocent others -- or using one's authority and systemic power to encourage or permit others to do so on your behavior."

Philosopher Hannah Arendt: She coined the term the "banality of evil," after Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann was pronounced normal by psychiatrists.

Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie: "Evil people are chronic scapegoaters."

St. Augustine: Evil is "an essential nothingness."

Ralph Waldo Emerson: "An absence of light; shade; no essence."

Goethe: Evil is "to render invisible another human consciousness."

Baudelaire: "The Devil's cleverest wile is to convince us he doesn't exist."

John Milton: "A tortured soul who makes others dance to the music of his own despair."

But to discern evil, we need to go beyond the guidance of the experts. We must decide with our own eyes, ears, and nose, whether a person passes the "stink test."

Humans possess an extraordinary sixth sense -- our intuition. St. Jerome called intuition, "synderesis:" an infallible God-given ability to distinguish between good and evil.

Yet, we're told not to trust our gut because it's not nice to be judgmental. In these politically correct days, where everybody is good, even terrorists, we're supposed to dismiss our intuition, shove it underground, lest we offend anyone.

Thus, if Obamaphobia gives us insomnia, headaches, or the heebie jeebies, it's all in our heads. We're being paranoid.

But isn't this how the Soviets dealt with dissidents? The leaders labeled them paranoid, and then had their fiendish psychiatrists forcibly drug, shock, and hospitalize them.

As the expression goes: you're not paranoid if someone is following you.

Criminologist Gavin De Becker, in his seminal work, The Gift of Fear, urges us to never ignore our intuition. Most of the time, victims sense that their attacker is a threat but ignore this inner knowing.

De Becker's wise words:

Can you imagine an animal reacting to the gift of fear the way some people do, with annoyance and disdain instead of attention? No animal in the wild, suddenly overcome with fear, would expend any of its mental energy thinking, "It's probably nothing." . . . We, in contrast to every other creature in nature, choose not to explore -- and even ignore -- survival signals.

I think that deep down most of us know who is good and who is evil -- who will bring joy and who will usher in disaster.

Because many of us have been touched by evil at some point in our lives. And it changes you; it pierces your soul. Because you behold something so startling it leaves you breathless: that there are people, sometimes in your own family, who wish you harm.

People ask me how I could go from Left to Right so quickly, and I've written about the main factors. But, now that I contemplate evil, I realize I left out the pivotal reason.

It's because I saw evil up close and personal starting from a young age. And when you're exposed to danger when you're little, and you don't push it away or blame yourself, something essential in you is altered; you're able to see what many others conceal.

I saw this darkness first in the devilish laughter of my brother when he realized we were alone in the house and he could terrorize me.

And I saw it again in my middle school, where the liberal experiment of forced busing unleashed a torrent of hate and mayhem. When roars of "f---cking white bitch," and assaults and fondling were as commonplace as English class.

And after I moved to squalid New York City in the late 70's, and lived through the reign of Mayor Dinkins, I saw it in the uncontrolled assaults on the citizen's bodies and souls.

I saw it on the streets of Berkeley when, on a perfect, blue sky day, a man smiled that same devilish grin before he mugged me, breaking my nose and blackening my eyes.

And when a friend glossed over my mugging because the assailant was black ("He's a victim too,"), I saw evil there.

I've seen it professionally in the face of the man who molested all five of his children; and in the visage of his wife, who chose to stay with him and was pregnant once again.

And now that I'm writing for American Thinker, I see it in some of the trolls, although not all of them. Some are just jerky people who write drivel like, "I just wasted five minutes of my life," and "You're a fake."

No, I'm talking about the people who post comments aimed not at disagreeing or offering an alternative viewpoint. They're designed to destroy my humanity.

They can't defend Obama, so they go after me. They call me paranoid or narcissist. They accuse me of throwing my dead parents under the bus. Or of betraying my Jewish ancestors by embracing other religions, like Christianity.

Or this bile: the person who wrote that she/he's glad I'm writing because it's therapeutic, since obviously I'm psychologically disturbed and could be a danger to society.

Fortunately I'm a therapist so I know who these people are. I can diagnose them a mile away. I've worked with them before, although each time, they chill me to the bone.

Having some hate spewed in my direction, I think of Sarah Palin and the wilding she endured.

And I think she resigned because, when her church was torched, her body ogled and threatened, and her children debased, she looked into the face of evil.

She saw something so dark and blood curdling that she did what any God fearing, God loving person would do: she put up her hands, yelled "Stop," and got out of there as fast as she could.

Because evil is the most dangerous of the toxins. It can harden, and infect, and change a person before he or she knows it. Evil desecrates the places inside that are holy and sacred.

More and more, each day, I smell the stench of wickedness. It's omnipresent in our government, and it's spreading like wildfire throughout the land, threatening everyone in its path.

M. Scott Peck so eloquently captures the consequences of evil in high places: "The evil create for those under their dominion a miniature sick society."

We have a man who has been privileged with the greatest honor, the Presidency, and what does he do? Does he demonstrate an ounce of gratitude or humility?

No, he betrays us in the most profound way possible: by not protecting and defending us.

Obama is doing to the American people just what his caregivers did to him when they dragged him around like a rag doll, and exposed him to a pervert like Frank Marshall Davis. Now Obama's a rage doll who's throwing us to the wolves.

People claim Obama isn't a serious threat because his personality is not like Mussolini or Che. He doesn't have the fire in his belly to be a true dictator.

But I will share with you a surprising truth I learned after working in the child abuse field: severe neglect is even more traumatic than serious physical abuse (not sexual abuse, though). People can be mortally wounded by crimes of omission.

Abuse is terrible but at least the abuser cares enough to pay attention, to know the child is alive. With neglect, the people who should care, don't give a damn; leaving the child abandoned and unguarded in a perilous world.

What worries me the most about Obama is this: the part of him that should want to shield us from harm seems chillingly absent.

The economy is tanking -- Obama laughs. We are accumulating crippling debt -- he and the other Democrats go on a spending spree.

Millions take to the street for a peaceful 9/12 march. He doesn't notice. We oppose the government controlling our lives, especially health care, but he rams legislation down our throats anyway.

Our allies have started to realize that Obama doesn't care about them either. He snubs Gordon Brown, returns a statue of Winston Churchill (how disturbing is this?), and insults the Brits with DVDs and iPods. He betrays the Poles and the Czechs, and leaves Israel hanging from a limb.

Obama does have sympathy for the devils, though, the Chavez's and Castro's of the world. Maybe he views them as brothers, fellow victims of the monstrous United States. Perhaps Obama is all Vive le Revolucion.

There are endless red flags, aren't there? The covert government of antisocial Czars; the cozy ties to Bill Ayers, maybe George Soros. And who knows what else, because Obama's private world has been hermetically sealed.

So is this what am I saying: that President Bare Heart is at the helm, with a bunch of loose cannons possibly running the show? That he's giving a wink-wink to miscreants both here and abroad?

That the New Weird Order is starting to unhinge the already unbalanced, and bring new, vulnerable people, into its fold?

That Obamaphobia is real, and we ignore it at our peril?


But don't listen to me. Don't listen to anyone: not the mental midgets who call you "racist;" not your brother in law who says you're nuts; not the Talking Heads who paint you as stupid trash.

Pay attention to no one, to nothing, except the light of truth revealing itself to you.

"Truth crushed to the earth will rise again:" William Cullen Bryant

A frequent AT contributor, Robin is a recovering liberal and a psychotherapist in Berkeley.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Question: Why would any parent oppose school choice and educational freedom?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Main Stream Media Finally Catching On - Teachers' Unions are Bad for Education

The following piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal. The media is waking up will more Americans wake up too? The government has given the unions essentially monopoly control over public education. Until the money follows the child and not the institution we will see flat or declining results in public education. It is time for legislators to stop pandering to the unions and special interests groups and put our children first.

Quote of the Day - "As we all learned from the sorry experience of state-sanctioned bureaucracies in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, decentralization is crucial to both freedom and excellence." -- Mayor Jerry Brown, on why he opposes unionizing Oakland, California's charter schools.

Happy Birthday Mom

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

How Teachers Unions Lost the Media

Quick: Which newspaper in recent editorials called teachers unions "indefensible" and a barrier to reform? You'd be excused for guessing one of the conservative outlets, but it was that bastion of liberalism, the New York Times. A month ago, The New Yorker—yes, The New Yorker—published a scathing piece on the problems with New York City's "rubber room," a union-negotiated arrangement that lets incompetent teachers while away the day at full salary while doing nothing. The piece quoted a principal saying that union leader Randi Weingarten "would protect a dead body in the classroom."

Things only got worse for the unions this past week. A Washington Post editorial about charter schools carried this sarcastic headline: "Poor children learn. Teachers unions are not pleased." And the Times weighed in again Monday, calling a national teachers union "aggressively hidebound."

In recent months, the press has not merely been harsh on unions—it has championed some controversial school reformers. Washington's schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee, who won't win any popularity contests among teachers, enjoys unwavering support from the Post editorial page for her plans to institute merit pay and abolish tenure.

Editorial pages of major papers nationwide have begun to demand accountability for schools, despite objections from vested interests. Since the Obama administration took an unexpectedly tough line on school reform, the elite media response has been overwhelmingly positive.

"All the reforms unions oppose—charter schools, testing, accountability, No Child Left Behind, performance pay—have been around for a while now and the disasters the unions predicted have not come to pass," said Richard Colvin, who runs the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media in New York. "The unions are out of touch and are courting irrelevance."

Teachers and administrators who once relied on a steady stream of critical stories about charter schools (which they see as competitors) now witness a flow of laudatory articles. Fly-by-night charter operators still get their comeuppance in the press, but these days reporters are just as likely to profile the high-performing charters saving thousands of inner-city children from near-certain academic death . . . and then to ask why regular public schools can't do the same.

"Through the growing list of high-profile success stories, like KIPP [charter schools], the public is starting to understand that reform is actually possible," says Joe Williams, a former journalist who is now executive director of Democrats for Education Reform. "That's a big deal," argues Mr. Williams, "because the hopelessness that marred previous reform eras took a lot of people's eyes off the prize."

This new attitude in the press has little to do with the media and everything to do with changed public opinion. Parents are familiar with headlines about the educated work force in the U.S. falling behind international competitors. The public, for the most part, no longer sees school accountability measures as a plot to harm public schools. Indeed, according to a recent poll by the journal Education Next, almost three in four Americans support a national test for students.

Plus, as school reform moves from the abstract to the concrete, reporters have more to write about. Take charter schools as an example. For years, they were a messy story for reporters. Of the 4,600 charter schools around the country, most do no better than comparable traditional public schools. Some, in fact, do worse.

But that's not why charter schools are changing the education conversation. Among those schools, roughly 300 high-performing charters have emerged to accomplish something once thought impossible. They take low-income urban students previously viewed as a lost cause and turn them out college-ready. The success of these charters shows that being born black or Hispanic in poverty to poorly educated parents won't necessarily lead to bad educational outcomes. Good teaching might be able to overcome all of these factors. And if charter schools can close the education gap, why not traditional public schools?

How the teachers unions are answering that question explains much of the negative backlash against them. Recently, when the Baltimore education establishment witnessed a highly effective charter school blossom in that city, the union—saying it was responding to complaints from teachers at the school—forced the union-represented school to pare back its longer teaching hours, a key ingredient of its success. The resulting press coverage was brutal: In an editorial called "Don't fix what works," the Baltimore Sun noted that the teachers union "[lost] sight of what's important—the kids."

One of the aforementioned New York Times editorials was prompted by the teachers union's strong-arming of the New York Legislature to outlaw any use of student test scores in evaluating teachers for tenure. (Several states have similar bans, and right now just a few states use data on outcomes to evaluate teachers.) Unions are asking the public to believe that teachers should never be judged on their effectiveness. Even if the media were in the tank for the unions that would be a tough sell.

Of course, in the past it was difficult to measure teacher performance. But now, as a result of data collected under No Child Left Behind provisions, it is easier to figure out which teachers are succeeding. "Data and results are challenging an industry that was traditionally driven by hope, hype and good intentions," says Jane Hannaway, the director of education policy at the Urban Institute. Ms. Hannaway argues that in the long run these emerging databases may be the most important dividend of today's school accountability policies.

The press loves to write about numbers because data make stories easier to quantify. But as more and more journalists—and Americans in general—learn that barely half of minority students complete high school in four years or that only about 15% of low-income students earn a college degree within nine years of starting high school, they're realizing the gravity of the nation's educational problems.

"It's always been hard to get rid of bad teachers," says Linda Perlstein, public editor for the National Education Writers Association. "But now people are realizing it doesn't have to be—especially at a time they're hanging onto their own jobs with their fingertips."

—Mr. Whitmire is immediate past president of the National Education Writers Association. Mr. Rotherham writes the blog

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Charles Arlinghaus Nails it Again

The following piece appears in the Union Leader. I really do not think the average joe is aware of how fairly government employees are compensated or aware of their outstanding pensions which is constitutionally protected and paid for by taxpayers. Dare I say overcompensated.

Quote of the Day - "Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned." - Milton Friedman


Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Charles M. Arlinghaus: State employees are not shortchanged

The biggest issue in state government right now is the struggle between state employees and the governor. The details about state employee compensation and its impact on the state budget are not often discussed, and this leads people to make assumptions that may or may not be accurate.

We must do something about the cost of state employees because they are the lion's share of the cost of having state government, we're told. The exact cost is hard to track down, but in 2008 the state employed about 12,000 people who make an average of $42,000, for about $504 million in salary cost. Add to that some additional people not included in the list of 12,000, a raise in 2009, increased pay step levels, and salaries still total less than $600 million.

The largest other employee cost is medical insurance. In New Hampshire, medical insurance had been growing rapidly. From 1999 to 2004, premiums paid for state employee medical benefits increased by about 20 percent a year -- from $49 million to $117 million. During the Benson administration, the state switched to self-insurance to try to better control costs, as many large companies do. As a result, premium growth slowed dramatically to about 7 percent each year. Medical coverage cost $156 million in 2008. At the old rate of growth, it would have been $80 million higher.

If we add together salary costs, health insurance and a few other items such as retirement contributions and retiree health costs, the total is around $800 million in an annual budget of around $5.7 billion -- about 14 percent of the total. Mind you, it may be a smaller percentage than people often think, but $800 million is nothing to sneeze at.

While its growth is not nearly as fast as state government itself, the state employee work force is still growing. Between 1998 and 2008, the number of filled permanent positions increased by 16.7 percent -- about 1,600 additional employees. The state budget in the same time period increased by 85 percent -- about $2.3 billion.

It is true that at one time the average state employee made less than the average citizen. That's no longer the case. From 2003 to 2008, state employee average pay increased from $33,600 to $42,500 -- about 4.8 percent per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that average pay in 2008 in all occupations in the state was $42,600. In 2009, a pay raise sent state employee pay past the state average.

So salaries are almost exactly average, but benefits are much higher. Private sector insurance is much less generous and involves higher co-pays than the typical state government plan. Even among state government plans, New Hampshire's is among the most generous. According the National Conference of State Legislatures' annual survey, only one state has a higher total cost, and it has significantly higher cost-sharing.

Family coverage costs about $20,800 for a state employee here compared to the national average of $12,700. The NCSL also estimates that average cost-sharing is 18 percent of that total, but only 2 percent in New Hampshire. So it costs taxpayers about $10,000 more per state employee than average.

In New Hampshire, this is a conscious decision. State employees have chosen to forgo higher pay in exchange for a more generous health insurance policy. Even so, an employee with family coverage has salary and medical benefits that are a good 20 percent higher than the average worker in the state.

There is much consternation over the possible layoff of 750 state workers. Yet history suggests that most of those workers could be rehired relatively quickly. Despite attractive pay and benefits, state government is not an unchanging monolith. Each year an average of 1,100 employees leave state service. Combined with the regular growth in the total number of employees and the creation of temporary positions, it means about 210 new employees are hired each month.

The state has been in the middle of a nominal hiring freeze for more than a year, but that doesn't stop positions from being filled. The freeze only applies to general funds, which cover fewer than half the employees. Even then, exceptions are granted. For example, during the four months of 2008 covered by the freeze, 71 exceptions were granted. In addition, another 100 or so other positions were filled. Combined with temporary and seasonal positions, about 1,000 people were hired in those four months.

Government has to be mindful of state employees both to ensure it attracts a dedicated work force and to make sure it isn't overcharging taxpayers. A look under the hood of state government suggests that we certainly aren't shortchanging the workers. But it also shows that 86 percent of the cost of government lies elsewhere and needs the same tough scrutiny that contracts are undergoing.

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

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I thought everyone know about this video - video proves opponents correct

By now you may have seen the video of children singing praise to Obama in NJ schools. I actually saw this video earlier in the month and thought others had too. Now I almost wish I bought attention to the video back than, but I digress.

If the video had been about Bush the Left would have been in an uproar. With regards to Obama's policies substitute Bush and say would it be okay if Bush had try to do the same thing. Look at the policy and situation and not the person to decide if it is right or wrong. Heck if the children sung "We wish you a Merry Christmas" in this video the ACLU would be knocking on some doors.

The following piece appears in the American Thinker.

Quote of the Day - “The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief” - Jacques Ellul

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

September 26, 2009
NJ video proves Obama's school-speech opponents right
William Tate
The video of New Jersey teachers drilling schoolchildren to chant paeans to "Barack Hussein Obama"--adult Obamatons training impressionable children to become little Obamatons--proves that conservatives were right to oppose Barack Obama's nationwide speech to school children.

No, Obama didn't try to convert them on particular policy decisions when he spoke to students earlier this month, but no thoughtful person believed he would. Despite attempts by the Democrat Party's Big Media wing to portray opponents as paranoid, we didn't send kids to school wearing aluminum-foil hats to prevent Obama's broadcast from filtering into their brains--although I have suspicions that the sportscaster at MSNBC may have worn such a contraption during the Bush years.

But what was apparent then, and the New Jersey video proves now, is that Obama's unfettered direct access to students was part of an effort to inculcate a cult of personality about Obama. After all, Obama was elected primarily because the media worshipped at the cult they created around him. Well, that and about a billion of George Soros's dollars. 'Hope' and 'change' being no substitute for an actual platform.

The real motive behind Obama's school address was demonstrated by the infamous 'lesson plan' developed by the Department of Education, which asked students to write about how they could help Obama. That instruction was eventually deleted after word of it leaked out and large segments of the public protested, but other, blatant cult-of-personality instructions remained in the lesson plan:

*Teachers may post in large print around the classroom notable quotes excerpted from President Obama’s speeches on education.

*Based on these excerpts, what can we infer that the president believes is important in order to be educationally successful?

*Teachers may ask students to think of the following: Why does President Obama want to speak with us today? How will he inspire us?

*Teachers might conduct a 'listening with purpose' exercise based on the following ideas: personal responsibility, goals, and persistence. Teachers might ask pairs of students to create a word bank... to increase retention and deepen their understanding of an important aspect of the speech.

*Teachers... could focus students on quotations that either propose a specific challenge to them or that inspire them in some meaningful way. Students could do this activity individually, in pairs, or in groups.

*Is President Obama inspiring you to do anything? Is he challenging you to do anything? (Emphasis added.)

Much of the lesson plan specifies class discussion in front of the students' teachers. How much of that classroom discussion was directed by the same sort of teachers who were organizing the students in that New Jersey video? Do you have any doubts about how those discussions went?

This even as the Obama administration's profligate spending bankrupts the students' futures.

The New Jersey video, showing teachers teaching kids to sing paeans to "Barack Hussein Obama," has been described as bone-chilling. Some have said that it evokes nightmarish memories of Hitler youth, others have observed that it reeks of the adoration drummed into Chinese youth for Chairman Mao.

To this journalist, it called up other memories, not so much from the pictures, but of the rote chant. "Mmm, mmm, mmmm, Barack Hussein Obama." Voices drone on and on. I couldn't help but think of a single voice some years ago, monotonously urging his followers to drink the Kool-Aid.

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why Our Children Are Failing

The following piece appears at which they received from Machine, I too copied the article in full. Like many researchers have found the root problem with our education is the unions which stifle real education reform so their interests are served and not the children's interests.

If anyone is interested we have a whole list of books to the right side of our BLOG for readers interested in education reform and learning about teachers' unions and their impact on the public education system.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Quote of the Day - "Do you think nobody would willingly entrust his children to you or pay you for teaching them? Why do you have to extort your fees and collect your pupils by compulsion?" - Isabel Paterson

Why Johnny Can’t Do Algebra by Leland E. Teschler,machine Design magazine

The algebra teacher I had in high school left a lot to be desired. He struggled to explain basic concepts in class, and those of us stuck with him as an instructor always had the impression he was just one chapter ahead of us in the algebra book. He was a nice guy, but he had no business teaching math.

I suspect most Machine Design readers can recall similar experiences with less-than-competent teachers. This is good to keep in mind as you review the results of the Trends in International Math and Science Study. TIMSS is a measure of how U.S. students stack up in math and science proficiency against their counterparts in other countries.

Generally speaking, U.S. students just don’t look good on these evaluations. Eighth graders, for example, score well behind kids in Singapore, Taiwan, Russia, Hong Kong, and 11 other countries. And the poor scoring is nothing new. As far back as the 1960s, the U.S. has done poorly compared with other developed nations. Although U.S. test scores have improved a bit over the years, those of other advanced nations have improved more. The hand-wringing over U.S. academic performance has gone on for decades. In 1983, a “widespread public perception that something is seriously remiss in our educational system” gave rise to a widely noted report called A Nation at Risk, The Imperative for Educational Reform. Produced by a presidential commission, it called for a wide range of educational reforms.

One of those reforms was to pay teachers for performance and to devise a mechanism that would weed out incompetents. But the Wikipedia page on Nation at Risk notes that “stunningly few” of its recommendations were ever implemented. For an idea why, consider the comments of Terry Moe, a professor of political science at Stanford University, and John Chubb, founder of EdisonLearning Inc. They blame the lack of reform on teachers’ unions that are “extraordinarily powerful.” They quote a study of state-level politics that found teachers’ unions to be the single-most-powerful interest group in the entire country throughout the 1990s. This lets unions block reforms, like pay for performance and the firing of incompetents, which are not in the interest of their members.

Moe and Chubb also point out that a simple way to boost teacher quality would be to test veteran teachers for competence in the subjects they teach. This almost certainly would have exposed the shortcomings of my algebra teacher. But unions have opposed these sorts of tests. They claim that all teachers with formal certification are competent to teach.

Well, my algebra teacher was certified, as were all the teachers in my school system, even back then. At least to me, the suggestion that certification is a proxy for competence is nonsensical.

It is ironic that the United Auto Workers union has taken so much heat for contributing to the economic woes of U.S. manufacturing. One might argue teachers’ unions should get a bigger part of the blame, simply because they’ve put their members’ interests ahead of enhancing the nation’s cognitive skills. And there is a direct connection between cognitive skills and economic growth. Moe and Chubb put it this way: Had the U.S. spent the last decade boosting its educational performance to that of international educational leaders, its gross domestic product by 2015 would be 4.5% higher than otherwise. That’s something to remember as you read the latest unemployment figures.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Big Government

Today's post is dedicated to Big As my readers know I am a news and politics junkie. Big is a new news source dedicated to investigating Big Government. You will find stories here that you will not see in the main stream media. Big is on my daily reading list sometimes I visit the site a couple times a day.

Quote of the Day - "All the public business in Congress now connects itself with intrigues, and there is great danger that the whole government will degenerate into a struggle of cabals." John Quincy Adams

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh I Forgot to Post This- One of Croydon's Very Own

Barbara Kresse went to the DC March this was the report she sent me. She gave me permission to post her email. Boy I wish I could have been there.

"The march in DC was awesome, impressive, passionate, orderly, just wonderful. Everyone was there for the same reason. Nice, Nice, respectful, hard working, concerned citizens just afraid for their country. The speakers were great. The signs were great. No police incidents, except I heard one ( T shirt fellow) trying to beat upon peaceful marchers. He was hauled off by the law. No litter. LOTS OF PEOPLE. I'm really anxious to find out how many is the REAL estimate. My bus had 54. Old people, infants, families, from all state, even Hawaii! So many in wheel chairs, scooters. Fathers came with their teens. Single mothers with their children. It was wonderful to be with a HUGE group of people thinking on the same page!
All want the corruptiion to stop! Get back, our America. I took about 75 pictures.
It was a great 'life experience' to be there on the 9/12/09 walk in DC."


It sounded like Barbara had an awesome time. We had a very and the children and I have been sick and now she is busy hopefully we can get together soon so I can get some pictures from her. I believe that Barbara has caught the activism bug.

Quote of the Day - "The most important political office is that of private citizen." - Louis Brandies

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Indoctrination in Public Schools A Film You May Not Have Heard About

Have you heard of Story of Stuff? Story of Stuff is a film that is being shown in 7000 public schools and churches across the Country. Some students already saw the film last year.

Jim and I watched Story of Stuff , Jim and I both noticed numerous errors in their scientific and economic claims in the film. Jim thought the errors were so blatant that people would catch them. I reminded my genius husband that people were not as smart as he. I digress there is a 4 part series of videos debunking the story of stuff on You Tube. I have given you a link to the first one. Once on You Tube you can locate the other three in the series of four. If you don't have access to high speed internet please visit your local library. I personally feel the Story of Stuff is propaganda and your children must hear the truth.

Please go to the links and view the debunking of Story of Stuff. If your child has seen this video at school it is important to show him the debunking video and clarifying both the scientific and economic errors in the videos.

Quote of the Day - "What matters is not what any individual thinks, but what is true. A teacher who does not equip his pupils with the rudimentary tools to discover this is substituting indoctrination for teaching."
-Peters, Richard Stanley
Ethics and Education.

Update 9/24/09 I saw this Fox News piece after my post yesterday. This piece debunks more of the Story or Stuff video.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No Wonder Our Country is in a Tailspin

The Following Piece appears at Tulsa It is no wonder we have become a country that accepts socialism as normal.

If you google citizenship test you can take the test yourself to see how you would do. Both Jim and I have taken the test he of course scored 100%, I scored 88%.


3 in 4 high schoolers can't name first U.S. president

By Staff Reports

Oklahoma high school students are ill informed on the constitution, and only one in four can name the first president of the United States, according to a recent survey.

The survey was conducted to find the students' level of basic civil knowledge. It took 10 questions from the test candidates for U.S. citizenship take. It was sponsored by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs think tank to coincide with Constitution Day on Thursday.

The passing rate for Oklahoma high school students was 2.8 percent, compared to 92 percent of candidates for U.S. citizenship.

"In that miracle at Philadelphia 222 years ago, the Framers gave us a document which they hoped would secure our freedoms," OCPA Vice President Brandon Dutcher said in a statement. "But they knew that only a well-informed citizenry could remain free. If these survey results are any indication, we are very much a nation at risk."

OCPA promotes public policies favoring free enterprise and limited government.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Monday, September 21, 2009

In case you missed it - SAU 43 students didn't watch Obama's Speech

The following piece appeared in the Valley News on September 15, 2009.

Newport, Croydon
Students Weren't Allowed to Watch
Obama's Speech
By Alex Hanson
Last Tuesday morning, Charen Urban was planning to watch President Barack Obama's address to the nation's schoolchildren with a Running Start college-level sociology class she teaches at Newport High School.

But during the first block of classes, an announcement came over the loudspeakers that the speech would be taped and shown at a later date, and that teachers were not to screen it live in their classrooms.

Urban was surprised. She had planned her lesson for the Running Start class around the speech. She did download and print the text of the speech and she had her students read it and discuss it, but that's not the same as having the president talk to you.

“I thought that it was an opportunity lost,” Urban said.

Marilyn Brannigan, interim superintendent of Newport and Croydon schools, told the Valley News last Tuesday that she supported the message of the president's speech. “Is encouraging kids to study hard and do their best bad? People say it's political, but I don’t know. Encouraging kids to study hard, work hard, is a good thing,” she said.

She also said the schools were offering the option to any class or students who would like to watch the speech. But early in the school day, Brannigan preempted the live broadcast.

Newport and Croydon students will see Obama's speech as part of this Thursday's Constitution Day activities, Brannigan said in an interview Friday.

“We didn't have time to do any planning” before the speech aired, Brannigan said, noting that students had been out of school the previous Friday and Monday. The delay will give teachers time to prepare, she said.

“We also had 10 parents call and say, ‘You can't show it to my kids,' ” she said. She and the school principals “decided on the morning (of the speech) that we hadn't had the opportunity to preview” the president’s remarks. “We didn’t know how many people were out there” who objected to having their children watch and discuss the 15-minute speech, she added.

Preparation time, and not pressure from parents, was the prime reason for the delay, Brannigan said.

Croydon School Board member James Peschke was among those who questioned whether the district should show the speech live. He sent an e-mail to Brannigan, and posted his objections on the blog he and his wife write on behalf of Croydon Citizens for Reasonable and Fair Taxes.

“I don't know if my letter altered their plans in any way,” Peschke said. Brannigan cited the letter in a conversation with the Valley News.

Peschke opposed the speech on several grounds: It isn't the president's job to talk to students, schools and parents wouldn’t have adequate opportunity to review the speech beforehand, and the speech was directed at students in kindergarten through 12th grade, too wide an age range.

“The lack of review was my largest concern,” Peschke said in a phone interview, adding, “I had concerns that (the speech) was propagandistic in nature.”

Asked to clarify how the president's speech, which urged children to stay in school and work hard, might have contained propaganda, Peschke said, “You could make the case that ‘stay in school' is propaganda.” It might be for a good cause, “but it's still propaganda,” he said.

“My personal view is that parents should make that individual decision” about whether their children should watch the president's speech, Peschke said, noting that he “would do that for any president.”

Peschke said he has read the speech and found it “relatively harmless.” Still, he's glad the district taped it.

Not all parents share Peschke's views.

“If it was a speech directed to the young people, then I thought they should be able to hear it,” said Rick Cota of Newport, who talked to a reporter while watching the Newport High School girls soccer match on Saturday. Even watching a taped speech wouldn't have the same impact as a live address, he said. “It's when it’s live that you’ve got everybody talking about it,” said Cota, who has a third-grader and an eighth-grader in Newport schools.

“I thought it was absolutely ridiculous,” said Lisa Clivio-Wentrup, a guidance counselor at Indian River School in West Canaan and the mother of two daughters in Newport schools.

“It's a prime example of how divided our country is,” said David Clivio-Wentrup, Lisa's husband and a teacher at Newport High School. “I'm 56 years old and I’ve never seen it as bad as it is now,” he added.

Would most Newport and Croydon students still have a chance to see the speech?

“I think everyone is planning to show it in some form,” Brannigan said.

“I guess we'll see,” David Clivio-Wentrup said. “Why wasn't it done in the first place, knowing for how long this speech would be done?” The White House news release about the speech was dated Sept. 2, the Wednesday before.

Brannigan said that the timing of the speech, on the Tuesday after a four-day weekend, left school officials with little time to plan. In the absence of central planning, teachers made their own plans to watch the speech.

“My principal and I had conversations via e-mail about it over the weekend,” said Debra Beaupre, a fifth-grade teacher at Newport's Towle Elementary School. Teachers “were thinking we could do what we wanted,” she said in a phone interview.

“I was looking at this as a gimme, a free little pep rally from the president of the United States,” Beaupre said. For some children, the speech might be one of those times when they might say “I remember when… .”

“The thing that was frustrating was I thought that we missed a chance to celebrate a free moment,” she said.

Showing the speech on Constitution Day, as the district now plans to do, doesn't hold the same appeal. “Maybe there's a point there, but I don’t see it,” Beaupre said, adding that as of the end of last week, there had been no talk in the school of curriculum in which to situate the speech.

Urban, who has made a point of reaching out to students in poverty, said she doesn't know what the plan was for showing the speech. She was ready last Tuesday. “I feel it was a very appropriate part of my curriculum,” she said.