Thursday, February 25, 2010

All Representatives Should Support Homeschooling Freedom and HB 1580

Below is a copy of an email letter I sent to Representative Tom Howard.

Dear Honorable Representative Howard,

I am writing you to ask you to support homeschooling freedom and vote against the HEC recommendation to ITL HB 1580.

Key Points -

HB 1580 would restore the compulsory attendance law, RSA 193:1 to its original purpose. This compulsory attendance law was never intended to apply to parents who were responsibly instructing their children. It was intended for parents who were not undertaking this important obligation; it was intended for parents, who were derelict in their duty, their fundamental right and responsibility, to instruct their own children.

· HB 1580 restores this unencumbered exemption for children instructed by their parents as written in the original compulsory attendance statute of 1871.

· HB 1580 also restores a parent’s due process rights, which date back to the Magna Carta, and include: equal treatment under the law, the presumption of innocence, no searches or seizures without probable cause, etc. Due process holds the government subservient to the law of the land, protecting individual persons from the state.

· HB 1580 enumerates compulsory education requirements, which include instruction in science, mathematics, language, etc., ensuring that the state interest in education is satisfactorily met, while existing statute, RSA 169-C:3 XIX(b), protects children from abusive or neglectful parents.

· The House Education committee admits that HB 1580 contains valid constitutional language, yet the majority of the committee claims that placing this valid constitutional language into statute is “inappropriate” as it would create “problems” with the current home education statute. No, kidding! The current home educational law is unconstitutional! That is exactly the problem. Yet the majority of the committee rejected HB 1580, which would resolve this constitutional problem.

· On Feb. 2, 2010 Chairwoman Rous sent a letter from the House Education Committee to the Department of Education, endorsed by eight other committee members, seeking increased regulation of home education similar to those regulations found in the recently defeated and controversial HB 368, which was voted ITL 324-34 on Jan. 13, 2010. These House Education Committee members display little respect for decisions of the House.

You might want to know that parents are free to educate their children at home:
----without notifying the state in AK, CT, NJ, ID, TX, MO, IL, IN, MI and OK.

---- with notification requirements only in DE, KY, AL, MS, WI, NE, KS, NM, WY, MT, UT, NV, CA and AZ.

That's about half the country that allow parents to instruct their children at home without any supervision whatsoever. (Actually, NH has one of the worst laws in the country.)

Thank you,

Cathy Peschke

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Seriously How Come One of the Adults did not Stop this Sooner

Seriously how come one of the adults watching did not stop this immediately? Kudos to suspending the teachers without pay. That does not happen enough in the USA because of the unions they are often just sent to "rubber rooms."

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

The following article appeared on Fox News. Go to the Fox News website to see the picture and you will know why I asked why didn't someone stop this.

Teachers' Lap Dance Video Sparks Uproar at Canadian High School
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Teachers performa a lap dance that sparked an investigation at a Winnipeg school.
Two teachers' performance of a dirty dance at a Canadian high school rally has led to their suspension without pay, The Globe and Mail reported.

After footage of the graphic lap dance was posted online, the Winnipeg School Division launched an investigation into the incident at Churchill High School.

The video, "Two Teachers, One Chair," features physical education instructor Chrystie Fitchner and an unidentified male teacher in a sexually explicit routine that had students turn from laughter to disbelief.

"At first we were laughing and then it was like, ‘Oh that's a little too far,'" The Globe and Mail quoted 14-year-old Freshman Saigha Vincent.

Winnipeg school trustee Mike Babinsky expressed his outrage at the teachers' behavior, and said he will wait for the results of the investigation before deciding whether to lobby for further disciplinary action, The Globe and Mail reported.

"He is sticking his head into her crotch, into her private area," Babinsky told The Globe and Mail on Tuesday. "I don't know if they're making contact, but it's way too close."

Thirteen-year-old student Montana Fortier said the "whole school was rattled" after the assembly.

Click here to read more on this story and watch the video at

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Time for Pay Cuts

The town of Croydon does a great job keeping salaries of our public employees in check, not so much in the Newport schools. Last year at the Town Hall Meeting we were told the salary increases at Newport would result in 10 teachers being laid off they were not, we were also told that the pay increases would not increase Croydon tuition but our taxes are expected to go up 20%. Are these lies, lies and more lies? Newport School employees get excellent pay, benefits and retirement and Croydon taxpayers must always give yet we who work in the public sector continue to see pay cuts, job losses and reduced benefits. Why should we continue a relationship with Newport when they look at Croydon as a cash cow? Further the thought that Newport employees want to close Croydon School and send all of our children there because their student population is declining is not only just plain greedy on their part but appalling.

Quote of the Day -
"Forcing one person to bear the burden of health care costs for another is not only a moral question but a major threat to personal liberty" -- economist Walter Williams.

The following piece appeared on City Watch.

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

Mr. Cortines, Tear Down This Wall!

By Ken Alpern

Just because the old Soviet Union is now confined to the history books, it doesn’t mean we don’t have any “Evil Empires” right here at home that victimize us on a daily basis. I’d say that the public unions, the LAUSD, and their enabling elected politicians just as effectively keep us “Comrades” suppressed, with our taxes misspent and any dissenting voices stifled. As the debate goes on whether to lay off good, hard-working City workers and good, hard-working LAUSD teachers, I remind you all that it’s just a simple matter of math: we either make a pay cut for City workers (ditto for the LAUSD, county, state and federal work forces) or we have to make layoffs.

As the proud son of a Los Angeles civil servant and of a teacher, I very much prefer the former, and NOT the latter, with a broadening of options for motivated public sector individuals to work more than a single job to make more money and help balance the City and LAUSD budgets.

I’ve been through rounds of pay cuts, and I now work six days a week and volunteer countless unpaid hours in my neighborhood council and in grassroots organizations (as do many of you reading this), so I think I’ve earned the right to ask the public unions and elected officials to Do The Obvious and agree to pay cuts…especially because these pay cuts reverse years of salary and pension pay hikes that never, ever EVER could have fit into any reasonable City or LAUSD budget.

Furthermore, I’m sick and tired of walking past fenced-off schools and seeing my children and their friends robbed of the same easily accessible, taxpayer-funded and public school playgrounds and fields that I once enjoyed daily usage when I was a child.

I’m sick and tired of public libraries and parks having to have budgets, staff and hours trimmed while other “Sacred Cows” such as Police and Fire declare themselves off limits to any cuts...while hinting they might not protect us, and guilting/bullying us into submission by suggesting we don’t appreciate their services, if we don’t give them more money.

I’m sick and tired of a LAUSD bureaucracy and the endless whining of the bullies and thugs at the teachers unions tell the taxpayers they have to pay MORE while we get less for our hard-earned dollars. Ditto for the LADWP.

What kind of socialist, statist hell have we gotten ourselves into?

But enough about whining—we need to have ideas, and the discussion needs to have occurred years ago, but to start NOW is better late than never:

1) While a few departments and positions can be streamlined, combined or eliminated, layoffs can be avoided--however, the public sector union leadership needs to have its collective shirt grabbed by the lapel and "get it" that a 5% pay reduction can keep all necessary City, LAUSD and LADWP workers on board and make Los Angeles a great place to live.

2) It's my contention that parks, libraries and neighborhood councils do better with their limited budgets than most of City Hall and other departments do with theirs—cuts have to be across the board, but nailing a few departments because they’re easy targets won’t get the job done

3) Library and parks hours and services need to be extended. With a shortage of open space and educational opportunities, the time is truly ripe for the LAUSD to do a much better job of partnering with the City and County of Los Angeles to fund and provide educational and recreational services.

4) There are too many turf wars between the LAUSD and the City of Los Angeles, and now more than ever we need to have schools and parks and libraries work together to support each other, and not rival each other with duplicated services and facilities.

5) Most importantly, the need to open more evening and weekend hours for schools, with their publicly-funded green spaces and playgrounds, is paramount to restoring the quality of life, trust and connection of taxpayers to the schools they’ve shelled out billions for over the past decade

Whether it’s with a fee and a legal waiver to allow kids and their parents to enjoy these facilities, and to pay for supervisors and security guards to make sure that all legal and security issues are addressed, it’s time to open up the wonderful facilities to the taxpayers who paid for them.

I’ve heard the arguments against this idea, and I’ve also heard the arguments against better coordination and joint funding between City and LAUSD park and library services, and I reject them all—as do, probably, most taxpaying parents who have to put up with this inefficient, taxpayer-hostile way of doing things.

LAUSD Superintendent Ray Cortines is, in my opinion, one of the good guys—and I think that his relationship with Mayor Villaraigosa is one that bodes well for better coordination between the City and the LAUSD. I also think that Mayor Villaraigosa’s idea of a joint LAUSD/City of Los Angeles relationship to improve the education and quality of life for children and their families was, is and will always be an idea that merits a great deal of attention and discussion.

More than ever, we need leaders who are brave and are willing to break the boxes around which we’ve walled ourselves and different layers of government into. We need the decency to tear down the barriers between LAUSD facilities in a park-poor City of Los Angeles, and we need the wisdom to tear down the blockades between rival City and LAUSD departments who provide the same services, and we need the courage to tear down the stifling obstruction between the public sector unions and the taxpayers who provide their salaries.

Mr. Cortines, please tear down this wall!

(Ken Alpern is a Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) and is both co-chair of the MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee and past co-chair of the MVCC Planning/Land Use Management Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and also chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) -cw

Vol 8 Issue 15
Pub: Feb 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Are Teachers Underpaid?

You decide. No wonder Illinois' Pension System is a Trillion dollars underfunded. Any teachers worth the paper their diploma is written on knows you can not pay teachers like this and not bankrupt a State.

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

Top 100 paid Teachers in Illinois.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Homeschoolers are Heros and they save Taxpayers Billions to Boot

The following piece appeared on Foundation for Economic and speaks for itself.

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

Home School Heroes

By Lawrence W. Reed
President, Foundation for Economic

(The following essay first appeared in FEE’s journal, “The Freeman,” in February 1997. In the years since, the author’s estimation of the importance of the homeschool option has only increased. Though the numbers cited in the essay are now dated, the principles expressed herein are as valid as ever.)

Of all the ingredients in the recipe for education, which one has the greatest potential to improve student performance?

No doubt the teachers unions would put higher salaries for their members at the top of the list, to which almost every reformer might reply, “Been there, done that.” Teacher compensation has soared in recent decades at the same time every indicator of student performance has plummeted.

Other answers include smaller class size, a longer school year, more money for computers, or simply more money for fill-in-the- blank. The consensus of hundreds of studies over the past several years is that these factors exhibit either no positive correlation with better student performance or show only a weak connection. On this important question, the verdict is in and it is definitive: The one ingredient that makes the most difference in how well and how much children learn is parental involvement.

When parents take a personal interest in the education of their children, several things happen. The child gets a strong message that education is important to success in life; it isn’t something that parents dump in someone else’s lap. Caring, involved parents usually instill a love of learning in their children—a love that translates into a sense of pride and achievement as knowledge is accumulated and put to good use. Time spent with books goes up and time wasted in the streets goes down.

American parents were once responsible for educating their children. Until the late nineteenth century, the home, the church, and a small nearby school were the primary centers of learning for the great majority of Americans.

In more recent times, many American parents have largely abdicated this responsibility, in favor of the experts in the compulsory public school system. According to a 1996 report from Temple University in Pennsylvania, nearly one in three parents is seriously disengaged from their children’s education. The Temple researchers found that about one-sixth of all students believe their parents don’t care whether they earn good grades and nearly one-third say their parents have no idea how they are doing in school.

Amid the sorry state of American education today are heroes who are rescuing children in a profoundly personal way. They are the home schoolers—parents who sacrifice time and income to teach their children themselves. Home schooling is the ultimate in parental involvement.

Teaching children at home isn’t for everyone and no one advocates that every parent try it. There are plenty of good schools—many private and some public—that are doing a better job than some parents could do for their own children. But the fact is that home schooling is working—and working surprisingly well—for the growing number of parents and children who choose it. That fact is all the more remarkable when one considers that these dedicated parents must juggle teaching with all the other demands and chores of modern life. Also, they get little or nothing back from what they pay in taxes for an appallingly expensive public system they don’t patronize.

While about 46 million children attend public schools and more than 5 million attend private schools, estimates of the number of children in home schools nationwide range from 900,000 to 1.2 million. That’s a comparatively small number, but it’s up from a mere 15,000 in the early 1980s. In fact, home school enrollment has been growing by an astounding 25 percent annually for several years.

Parents who home school do so for a variety of reasons. Some want a strong moral or religious emphasis in their children’s education. Others are fleeing unsafe public schools or schools where discipline and academics have taken a backseat to fuzzy feel-good or politically correct dogma. Many home school parents complain about the pervasiveness in public schools of trendy instructional methods that border on pedagogical malpractice.

Home school parents are fiercely protective of their constitutional right to educate their children. In early 1994, the House of Representatives voted to mandate that all teachers—including parents in the home—acquire state certification in the subjects they teach. A massive campaign of letters, phone calls, and faxes from home schoolers produced one of the most stunning turnabouts in legislative history: By a vote of 424 to 1, the House reversed itself and then approved an amendment that affirmed the rights and independence of home school parents.

Critics have long harbored a jaundiced view of parents who educate children at home. They argue that children need the guidance of professionals and the social interaction that come from being with a class of others. Home schooled children, these critics say, will be socially and academically stunted by the confines of the home. But the facts suggest otherwise.

A 1990 report by the National Home Education Research Institute showed that home schooled children score in the 80th percentile or higher, meaning that they scored better than 80 percent of other students in math, reading, science, language, and social studies. Reports from state after state show home schoolers scoring significantly better than the norm on college entrance examinations. Prestigious universities, including Harvard and Yale, accept home-schooled children eagerly and often. And there’s simply no evidence that home-schooled children (with a rare exception) make anything but fine, solid citizens who respect others and work hard as adults.

Home school parents approach their task in a variety of ways. While some discover texts and methods as they go, others plan their work well before they start, often assisted by other home schoolers or associations that have sprung up to aid those who choose this option. Common to every home school parent is the belief that the education of their children is too important to hand over to someone else. (My personal belief is that many inner-city government schools are so rotten to the core, so riddled with corruption, incompetence, waste, indoctrination, union goonism and nonsense curriculum that trusting a child to such an environment is nothing less than child abuse. My heart goes out to the many parents and children who have no option but to be captives.)

Writing in the July 1996 issue of Reason magazine, Britton Manasco argues that the growth of CD-ROMs, Internet services, and computerized educational networks is likely to make homeschooling even more attractive to parents. For a tiny fraction of what a printed version might cost, one software publisher is offering a classic books program that incorporates more than 3,500 unabridged literary works, complete with hundreds of video clips and illustrations. A support group in Ann Arbor, Michigan, provides inexpensive on-line help, resources, and evaluations for thousands of home school children worldwide. Another organization links first-rate instructors and home school students from all over the country via computer in a college preparatory program that includes a core curriculum for about $250 per course.

In every other walk of life, Americans traditionally regard as heroes the men and women who meet challenges head-on, who go against the grain and persevere to bring a dream to fruition. At a time when more troubles and shortcomings plague education and educational heroes are too few in number, recognizing the home school heroes in our midst may be both long overdue and highly instructive.