Friday, December 18, 2015

Victory in Croydon: Kids can stay in school this year | New Hampshire

Victory in Croydon: Kids can stay in school this year | New Hampshire

School Choice is about Giving Children Oppurtunities

Some people complain about some children in Croydon receiving a Montessori education. Don't our children deserve an education fit for a prince.  It is still a tax funded public education, the only difference is that parents have chosen what is best for their children.  That is an education fit for a prince afforded to the common man because of school choice.


An excellent education chosen by parents.

Prince George to attend Westacre Montessori School Nursery

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced the nursery Prince George is to attend alongside the release of a new photograph of their family.
The two-year-old will go to the Westacre Montessori School Nursery in Norfolk from January.
A nursery spokesman said: "We are looking forward to welcoming George to our nursery."

The nursery, near King's Lynn, is close to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's home, Anmer Hall.

The BBC's royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the duke and duchess appreciate what they see as the care being shown by the British media around the privacy of their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and are grateful for the public's support in respecting the privacy of their young family.

He said the couple would be pleased George's new nursery was sited in a private road, not a public one.

To read the rest of the story click here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Our Turn: School choice matters, so drop Croydon lawsuit | Concord Monitor

Our Turn: School choice matters, so drop Croydon lawsuit | Concord Monitor

Our Turn: School choice matters, so drop Croydon lawsuit

New Hampshire parents want the best for their children, and that includes a great K-12 education.

The state’s public schools provide a
conducive learning environment for most of its children, but for some
children, the local school does not meet educational needs. They are at
increased risk of falling behind or, worse, not graduating high school.
For these children, an alternative
learning environment is necessary. For some with special needs, this
means taxpayer-funded placement in a private school designed to provide
an appropriate learning environment structured to best meet the child’s
physical and educational needs. For others, a nearby chartered public
school provides the learning environment best suited for the child. And
for some, school districts wanting the best for their children have
contracted with private schools. Coe-Brown and Pinkerton Academy are
examples where public funds pay tuition for students attending these

Our own former governor John Lynch
actively encouraged expanding alternative education programs during his
eight years as governor. In his April 10, 2009, letter to the people of
New Hampshire, Lynch said: “Since becoming governor of New Hampshire, I
have made it a top priority to help every young person graduate from
high school, including working to pass legislation to increase the
compulsory attendance age and expanding alternative education programs
for at-risk students.”
His concern to reduce the state’s drop-out
rate led to changes in the state’s Department of Education and
legislative initiatives providing alternative K-12 educational
opportunities for children.

School choice: It’s not a partisan issue.
Democrat and Republican legislators have long recognized that for New
Hampshire to maintain its high standard of living, and provide the best
environment in which to raise a family, a great education for all
children is paramount. That’s why education laws are specifically
designed as a state-local partnership – where there’s a shared
responsibility between state and local government to provide a K-12
education for children.

RSA 193-E:1, II states: “In this system,
the state establishes, through school approval and student proficiency
standards and curriculum guidelines, the framework for the delivery of
educational services at the local level. School districts then have
flexibility in implementing diverse educational approaches tailored to
meet student needs.”

State law limits authority of the state
government to educational standards and guidelines while authorizing
local school districts (parents, teachers and school administrators)
tremendous flexibility in providing diverse educational opportunities
that best meet the individual needs of their children. That flexibility
includes the legal authority for school districts to contract with
private schools to educate their children. Indeed, RSA 194:22 clearly
states, “Any school district may make a contract with an academy, high
school or other literary institution located in this or, when distance
or transportation facilities make it necessary, in another state, and
raise and appropriate money to carry the contract into effect.”

The Croydon School District recently
determined that a few of its children were at-risk. These children were
struggling in the traditional public school setting. School board
officials, parents, teachers, school administrators and taxpayers came
together in the best interest of these children and offered alternative
educational opportunities for these students. The district used its
legal authority to contract with a few nearby private schools.

The district pays tuition for these
students (which is about half the cost per student of the traditional
public school). By all accounts, these children are now thriving in
their alternative education setting.

Then why, Gov. Hassan, Attorney General
Foster and Commissioner of Education Barry, are you interfering with the
Croydon School District’s lawful practice to provide its children with
educational opportunities that best meet each child’s needs? Why are you
taking the Croydon School District to court and suing the good people
of Croydon, who just want to exercise their legal right to provide the
best educational opportunities for their children? Croydon is not a
large school district with a large tax base and financial resources to
mount a prolonged defense against state resources.

If you use the power of the state to
override the will and wisdom of the people of Croydon to end school
choice there, you threaten every district and child in the state. Each
child in New Hampshire could suffer lifelong consequences of being
forced into an educational environment that fails to meet their needs.
Therefore, we urge Gov. Hassan, Attorney General Foster, and
Commissioner Barry to support the good people of Croydon. End the
lawsuit. Not only for the future of these children, but also the future
of New Hampshire.
(Rep. Greg Hill lives in Northfield. Rep. JR Hoell lives in Dunbarton. Former representative Michael Balboni lives in Nashua.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How ‘twisted’ early childhood education has become — from a child development expert

An excerpt from a Washington Post article.  To view the whole article click here.

I look forward to the day when educrats, teachers' unions, and legislators care more about students then they do their own agendas.  They don't give a rat's ass about children they just want to protect their monopoly.


How ‘twisted’ early childhood education has become — from a child development expert

"So never in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen the situation we find ourselves in today.

"Where education policies that do not reflect what we know about how young children learn could be mandated and followed. We have decades of research in child development and neuroscience that tell us that young children learn actively — they have to move, use their senses, get their hands on things, interact with other kids and teachers, create, invent. But in this twisted time, young children starting public pre-K at the age of 4 are expected to learn through “rigorous instruction.”

"And never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that we would have to defend children’s right to play.

"Play is the primary engine of human growth; it’s universal – as much as walking and talking. Play is the way children build ideas and how they make sense of their experience and feel safe. Just look at all the math concepts at work in the intricate buildings of kindergartners. Or watch a 4-year-old put on a cape and pretend to be a superhero after witnessing some scary event.

"But play is disappearing from classrooms. Even though we know play is learning for young kids, we are seeing it shoved aside to make room for academic instruction and “rigor.”

"I could not have foreseen in my wildest dreams that we would have to fight for classrooms for young kids that are developmentally appropriate. Instead of active, hands-on learning, children now sit in chairs for far too much time getting drilled on letters and numbers. Stress levels are up among young kids. Parents and teachers tell me: children worry that they don’t know the right answers; they have nightmares, they pull out their eyelashes, they cry because they don’t want to go to school. Some people call this child abuse and I can’t disagree."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Children Are Not Creatures of the State: New Hampshire Edition

Children Are Not Creatures of the State: New Hampshire Edition

Children Are Not Creatures of the State: New Hampshire Edition

Politicians across the country like to claim that they’re all in
favor of local control of education—until parents and their locally
elected officials actually start trying to exercise it.

The small New Hampshire town of Croydon is a case in point.

Like many small towns in New Hampshire, Croydon does not have public
schools to serve all grade levels so it contracts with education
providers in neighboring towns. At issue now is the Croydon School
Board’s decision to allow five elementary students to attend the neighboring Newport Montessori School. As’s Steve Mac Donald explains:

State law allows towns to pursue these agreements,
sending taxpayer education dollars to any accredited school, public,
charter, or private, even in neighboring states, with the exception of
religious schools. The local board, at the behest of voters, negotiates
contracts and approves taxpayer-funded tuition payments to those
schools. The money follows the student.
To read more click here. 


Friday, November 13, 2015

Children 1 - Bullies 0

Let us home the students win in Court on November 30th, and not the handful of bullies in Newport and Croydon that started this mess or the bullies in Concord.   The following piece appears in full on Investor's Business Daily website.


Louisiana School Kids, 1; Obama's Anti-School-Choice Fanatics, 0

Republican presidential candidate Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Sept. 25...
Republican presidential candidate Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Sept. 25... View Enlarged Image
Education: In a victory for school choice, an appeals court has thrown out a Department of Justice bid to take over a popular voucher program in Louisiana and thereby deny poor African-American kids a better education.

If the Obama administration and its union allies put as much creativity into ensuring quality education as they do into lawsuits against providers of school choice, we might have public schools worthy enough to end interest in vouchers.

Their latest effort against Louisiana's African-American educators and parents in favor of vouchers to private schools was a doozy.

Insisting it was concerned only with upholding court-ordered desegregation orders from 40 years ago, the Justice Department tried to take over and derail Louisiana's Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Act, a voucher program established by the legislature and Gov. Bobby Jindal in 2012.
The DOJ feared that awarding vouchers to children in failing schools might bring back Jim Crow. Seems that some Louisiana districts are still under a 1975 desegregation order against state-subsidized private schools.

The Justice Department contended the vouchers could tip schools' racial balance. But an outside expert found zero evidence of this. Moreover, the law stipulates the vouchers are for students in failing public schools, and in fact 85% to 90% have gone to blacks.

An angry Judge Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals called the DOJ's approach "disingenuous."

She wrote: "The current Louisiana voucher program is best characterized as aid to poor children rather than aid to private schools. Therefore, (the DOJ argument) is outside the jurisdiction of this case."

"It's rare that you see a judge refer to a Justice Department action as disingenuous," said Clint Bolick, vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute. He represented the Black Alliance for Education Options, a group that joined with parents to fight the DOJ's attempt to take over the voucher program. "The purpose of the desegregation court order 40 years ago was to secure educational opportunity for black kids. The purpose of the voucher program is the same. To use the one to thwart the other is disingenuous."

What was the DOJ's plan of action? "Burdensome, costly and endless" red tape, as Judge Jones put it.
The Justice Department insisted that before any voucher was awarded, the state would have to submit information such as student names, ID numbers, addresses, zoned school districts, previous public schools, grades, races and detailed school histories.

Only then would the DOJ itself decide who gets a voucher.

Such a process is ripe for intimidation, Bolick said, given the vulnerability of the families and the fact that only half the 10,000 applicants get vouchers.

"Parents were desperate to get their kids better education," Bolick said. " None was available to them, and for them the conditions were no better than the Jim Crow era. This program gave them for the first time safe, high-quality schools."

Priority is given to kids from the D and F schools, as well as to families with the fewest resources, he said. "It's the only voucher program in the country that requires a kid to have a low income and attend a low-performing school to get in. In that regard, it's the most remedial in the country, limited to poor kids and limited to poor schools."

Gov. Jindal, who has introduced many educational reforms in Louisiana, opposed the Justice Department's involvement but wasn't as effective as the parents and educators were with their lawsuit, Bolick said.

"What the state didn't do was what we did — challenge court authority to enter any orders against the voucher program in the first place," he said. "That's the issue on which we won."

The real winners, of course, are the kids, who shouldn't have had to fight off the Justice Department to get a decent education.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Why families choose homeschooling - EducationNC

I would add, my children, my responsibility, my neighbors should not have to pay to educate my children.

Why families choose homeschooling - EducationNC

Love Note or Sexual Harassment?

How BAD Did Your Schools Do? Smarter Balanced results are in

I find it rather vile that anyone would deny parents the right to choose what is best for their children, considering these results.   Be sure to click on the smarter-balanced-results in the article.


How BAD Did Your Schools Do? Smarter Balanced results are in

The Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) scores were finally released today after MONTHS of keeping them secret.  They do NOT look good and the New Hampshire Commissioner is spinning the results as expected.

Let’s first go back to when Commissioner Barry was selling us on the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  It was supposed to be a new and innovative way of assessing children.  By using a computer adaptive assessment, we’d get the results right away which meant teachers could use those results to guide their teaching. Six months later they finally release the results and, your children have already moved on.

Then we were told that we can compare our scores to other states. Two consortium (PARCC and SBAC) received federal funding and states got to choose which consortium to join.  Before the assessments were even in the classrooms, states began abandoning the consortiums because of public outrage.  We are down to about 15 states using the SBA now so no, you wont be able to compare New Hampshire to the other 35 states.

They told us these were good quality assessments that would indicate whether our children were proficient in mathematics and English.  Sorry folks, that was another load of garbage you were supposed to believe would be good for your kids.

I was first alerted to the problems with the Smarter Balanced Assessment when Professor W. Stephen Wilson wrote this scathing review.  The professor of mathematics and education at Johns Hopkins University warned that the, “conceptualization of mathematical understanding on which SBAC will base its assessments is deeply flawed. The consortium focuses on the Mathematical Practices of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M) at the expense of content, and they outline plans to assess communication skills that have nothing to do with mathematical understanding.
Steve Rasmussen also confirmed the Smarter Balanced Math assessment was fundamentally flawed and gave detailed examples.

As a parental rights advocate in New Hampshire, I brought this testimony before the House Education Committee on several occasions only to have the bureaucrats at the Department of Education ignore it.  New Hampshire was going to forge ahead regardless of the warning.
Then we began to see other states drop out of the consortium after hearing from experts in the testing and child development field.  It’s not that they were saying testing was bad, it was that this kind of assessment was a way of abusing children.  We were hearing from content experts like Dr. Wilson and eventually from child development experts like Dr. Gary Thompson.

Dr. Thompson is an expert on the use of psychometric assessments and how they can be damaging to children.  As a medically licensed Child Psychologist, he has testified before state legislatures on why the Smarter Balanced Assessment was not validated.  This is a problem since “validation” is a requirement in New Hampshire state law.
As a medically licensed psychologist, Dr. Thompson has explained how licensed child psychologists must follow a code of ethics when assessing children using psychometric assessments.  For instance, within the code of ethics, parents must be fully informed on how their children will be assessed and must then consent.  This means that licensed psychologists must follow this practice or lose their license.  This is something that public school administrators do not follow.

Since the information gathered on these kinds of assessments (your child’s values, behaviors, attitudes, etc) are now collected through standardized testing and sent to the consortium who has a contract to share this information with the federal government, parents are growing more concerned with how this information will be used in the future.

With President Obama gutting the privacy protections that were in place, parents have begun to revolt.  Not only are they concerned about the flawed assessments, will this information be gathered on their children and shared with organizations that do not have their best interest in mind?
Prior to using the SBA, New Hampshire students were required to use the NECAP.  New Hampshire students scored well on the prior NECAP assessments but scores have fallen dramatically using the SBA.  This begs the question, was the NH Department of Education lying to parents when they told them their children were proficient in the core subjects?

This all can be very confusing to parents, however if you really want to know how well your children know the subject material, a good suggestion would be to have your children tested outside the school system using an achievement test.

Achievement tests like the ones we used growing up measure academic knowledge.  They are not data collectors for government bureaucrats and do not mislead parents on proficiency. These tests have been validated and have been around for decades giving parents a fairly accurate tool to gage whether your children have mastered the academic content.

Home schooling families and private schools tend to use achievement tests like the Stanford Achievement Test or the Iowa Basic Skills test.  Parents can contact these companies directly to request an achievement test that is not Common Core aligned.

Testing is not a bad thing it can offer valuable feedback to teachers, parents and students.  In this testing scheme that is harming public schools and teachers, there are ways to avoid some of these problems.

Finally, check to see if your school policy includes tying a teacher’s evaluation to the Common Core assessments being used in the classroom throughout the year.   Now that you know how flawed these assessments are, no teacher should be evaluated in any way based on these misleading results.  No school should be judged on the poor results and no child should be considered “not proficient” and told they are not succeeding.

This is one big set up for failure for our schools, teachers and children. Until Governor Hassan and Commissioner Barry acknowledge there is a problem and work to correct it, parents must now do more to protect their children, teachers and schools from this harmful practice.

Ann Marie Banfield currently volunteers as the Education Liaison for Cornerstone Action in New Hampshire. She has been researching education reform for over a decade and actively supports parental rights, literacy and academic excellence in k-12 schools. You can reach her at:

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Free Boob Jobs for Teachers & Other K-12 Clusterf*cks

"They're not interested in high quality education for children, what they're interested in is protecting their turf."   A perfect example of what the AG's office, some of the bullies in Croydon, and some of the bullies in Newport are doing to the five children attending the Montessori school. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

School Choice vs Education Choice

The following piece appears on the website.
Click the link to listen to the Podcast. 

Heartland Daily Podcast – Lennie Jarratt: School Choice v. Education Choice

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Lennie Jarratt, project manager for education at the Heartland Institute, joins host Donald Kendal to discuss, among other topics, the difference between school choice and education choice.

Often when discussing school reform, several potential solutions are suggested. Some of these solutions include Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs), Vouchers, Income Tax Credits, Parent Trigger, ect. Linked here is a great resource that serves to detail some of these programs. Jarratt helps to explain how these solutions fit into the bigger picture of creating a school system not dominated by the government.

Jarratt and Kendal also discuss Common Core and how it originated. Jarratt describes why conservatives are skeptical of these national standards and elaborates on how they have the potential to become really dangerous.
[Please subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Friday, October 23, 2015

My Turn: School choice works for Croydon students via the Concord Monitor

My Turn: School choice works for Croydon students

In the 2014-2015 school year, New Hampshire taxpayers spent $17,233.48 for every student in public elementary and secondary education.

This is more than most private schools in New Hampshire charge. But it isn’t enough. It will never be enough. We could raise school spending until we are spending approximately $30,000 per student, as Washington, D.C., does. We could spend a million dollars per student, and it still won’t be enough . . . until we let children learn in their different ways. No single cage, no matter how gold-plated the bars, is the right place for all minds.
The necessity of choice is shown by this: The enemies of choice for your children send their own children to private schools.
Gov. Hassan’s children went to private school. Obama’s children go to private school. A long list of anti-choice senators, congressmen, governors and mayors have their own children in private schools.
Educators themselves support choice for their own children. In Philadelphia, 44 percent of the public-school teachers send their own children to private school at their own expense. The figures are disproportionately high for educators in other major cities.
This is because educators know about education. Education isn’t something that is done to you; it is something you do yourself. In the modern world, no one is looking for regimented drones to turn a bolt on an assembly line.
The ability to create your own projects and the persistence to finish them are the ingredients for success. Those abilities can be developed in many different ways: online education, immersive language courses, travel, art, music, robotics. All modern educational roads lead to individual journeys conducted at individual speeds. The idea that most children should be condemned to rote learning of one national curriculum, taught at one tedious speed, doesn’t belong in the 21st century.
So the obvious question is: shouldn’t public-school families have access to the best schools for their children, especially when it would cost less than our current failing system? Authors from Milton Friedman to Elizabeth Warren have asked this question for decades.
To the parents and school board of Croydon, there seemed to be a simple win-win answer. In 2012 they voted to provide access to whatever school best fit their children. Parents in Croydon have had choices for the last two school years.
Most Croydon parents this year chose public middle and high school in nearby Newport. A few chose to send five children to a private Montessori school. The cost is $8,200 per Montessori student. This is less than half the average cost of a New Hampshire public education. But the value to the children and the parents is immeasurable. Access to alternative teaching methods can mean the difference between success and failure, between a lifelong love of learning or the permanent dulling of a creative mind.
The response of the New Hampshire Education Department to the success of the Croydon program has been fear and hostility. Education Commissioner Virginia Barry had Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards send the town a cease-and-desist letter. The state has actually demanded that children be pulled out of their schools in the middle of their school year!
Croydon has naturally refused to disrupt the lives of their children. The town isn’t going without a fight, either. They geared up to take on the state’s legal threats with a crowdfunding site. Croydon’s lawyer is former state Supreme Court Justice Charles Douglas.
All these legal fireworks make little sense, even apart from their destructive effect on education. The larger and richer towns in New Hampshire have been sending their children to private schools for decades. Pinkerton Academy in Derry is a prominent example.
New Hampshire has a long tradition of flexibility in education.
We have had interstate school districts since the early 1960s. Orford is part of Rivendell, serving towns in Vermont and New Hampshire. If we can cooperate with Eriador, why is it so hard to cooperate with a Montessori school in our own state? Is our public education funding actually focused on serving each individual child, or is it just a jobs program for bureaucrats?
Is launching a huge legal battle to drag five happy children out of their chosen school the best use of our education tax money?
(Bill Walker is a member of the Sullivan County Republican Committee.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Teacher quizzes students on porn habits

Teacher quizzes students on porn habits

Common Core? Does it Finish What John Dewey Started?

The following is from the website Henry  One most ask oneself if the top down national curriculum "Common Core" is intended to complete what John Dewey started.  


John Dewey Sabotages American Education
August 12, 2010

by L.C. Vincent

In 1897, the "Father of American Education," John Dewey (1859-1952) wrote his manifesto "My Pedagogic Creed."  One would expect that the author would explain the basis of his philosophy.

On the contrary, Dewey continually repeated the mantra " I believe.... I believe... I believe....".  One could hardly find more extended articles of faith in the Christian Bible.

Author Bruce Deitrick Price wrote that Dewey not only subverted education, he subverted the very language of education with his nebulous and purposely vague concepts and theories.  And he nominates this gem for the most revealing John Dewey quote of all time:  "The mere absorption of facts and truths is so exclusively an individual affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness.  There is not obvious social motive for the acquirement of mere learning, there is no clear social gain in success thereat."

In two sentences, Dewey relegates all art, science, philosophy, history, mathematics, archeology and all related academic fields to the trash heap of irrelevancy.  As Price concludes:  "All the dumbing down we've seen in the last 100 years is right there in that little quote."  And make no mistake:  that dumbing down has been both damnable and deliberate.

John Dewey and his friend,  the influential Jewish Marxist propagandist, Sidney Hook, saw the American school system as the thin end of the wedge in their deceitful game to slowly build a secular society with no moral absolutes.

Using Rockefeller money to establish the Teachers College in New York (1922), their goal was to create a new generation not quite as bright as their parents; and with every succeeding generation, a copy, the actual content of which -- facts, data, objective truth --  faded and became less clear and comprehensible. 

Replacing mathematics, geography, history and science with cooking, sewing, household management and manual training skills necessary to run machinery, Dewey initiated what Price correctly called "...a slow motion coup, carried out, for all practical purposes, in the dead of night.  And thus began 100 years of deceit, disingenuousness and dishonesty."

Educators were now indoctrinated to accept the viewpoint, based on nothing more than Dewey's belief, that "what" they taught was irrelevant; how and why they taught were the main considerations.

Price correctly observes that educators now continue "...concocting an infinitude of programs, methodologies, theories, studies, research, insights, slogans and conceptual breakthroughs...."  yet all are meaningless when the children are still as dumb as a post and as thick as a brick.

Perhaps nowhere in the entire school curriculum is the educational sabotage more evident than in the deliberate destruction of reading skills.   The attack began with John Dewey's 1898 essay, 'The Primary Education Fetish.'

Dewey's disciples took over the major educational colleges of Columbia, Chicago and Palo Alto, and began bringing in their colleagues to the exclusion of all contrary viewpoints.  Phonics expert Sam Blumenfeld states:   "They commissioned books to be written promoting whole-word instruction.  And they got publishers to publish the new programs because the professors were in a position to get these new primers purchased by virtually every public school system in the country.  Many whole-language advocates are simply the latest of the socialists who are willing to destroy this country in order to change it."  Blumenfeld aptly and correctly concludes:  "Evil is a force in this world, and it manifest itself in many different ways.  Including deliberately dumbing down a nation."

The end result of this madness is clear:  by grades 3-4, most children taught to read via the "whole word" method give up in frustration, and become marginal readers for the rest of their lives.  There is no reading for pleasure, for knowledge, for growth, for entertainment, for speculation, for theory, for travel or adventure, or for learning.  Reading is now equated with drudgery, imprecision, guessing, failure and misery.  Lack of reading skills translates into an extremely negative self image with consequences that flow over to every other academic subject in school, which all require reading skills to one degree or another.

As Malkin Dare, founder of the Society of Quality Education, stated: "The result is massive illiteracy and misery."  Don Potter, phonics expert, concludes that memorizing "sight words" as a part of the whole language fraud "...creates a reflex that interferes with later phonics instruction.  Sight words are an obstacle to reading, not an aid."  Boys, especially, have their self-confidence destroyed and give up, often being diagnosed with ether dyslexia or ADD.  It becomes a vicious, downward spiral of failure.  And it is all premeditated!
- See more at:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Citizens for Reasonable And Fair Taxes - Croydon: PTA's and PTO's hijacked by the teachers' unions....

Citizens for Reasonable And Fair Taxes - Croydon: PTA's and PTO's hijacked by the teachers' unions....: Teachers, teacher unions and school administrators do not want what is best for parents and their children they want what is best for their ...

Re-BLOG from 2008. 

Updated web page address for MWHodges.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Are we Becoming a Nation of Pansies?

School Choice Timeline in Croydon

Received this from the SAU to post with agenda for meeting on October 14th, 2015. 
1. Movement to withdraw from the AREA agreement began in 2006.
2. As part of that process a plan was created and submitted to the state Board of Education.
3. All schools Croydon parents requested were included in that plan, which included Mt Royal and Newport Montessori.
4. The BOE reviewed the withdrawal plan twice prior to the town 2012 vote, once in 2010 and once in 2011.
5. The only school the state BOE had an issue with was Mt. Royal, which was promptly removed.
6. The state BOE said that private schools need to be state-approved.
7. The town was operating on the state BOE’s statement that private schools need to be state approved. In addition, the following RSAs support this practice: 194:22, 193:3.
The Croydon School Board’s goal:
To provide adequate school options for all students.

Push for Full Day Kindergarten - Why Kindergarten too Early is bad for Your Child

There has been a push for full day Kindergarten in Croydon.  The following will tell you why kindergarten too early is bad for your child.    The following appears in full on the Washington Post, a link to the paper is offered in the story.


Delaying kindergarten until age 7 offers key benefits to kids — study

A new study finds strong evidence that delaying kindergarten by a year provides mental health benefits to children, allowing them to better self-regulate their attention and hyperactivity levels when they do start school.

The study, titled “The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health” and published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that these benefits — which are obviously important to student achievement — persist at least until age 11.  Stanford Graduate School of Education Prof. Thomas Dee, who co-authored the study with Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Center for Social Research, was quoted in a Stanford release as saying:
“We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11 and it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an ‘abnormal,’ or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure.”
The researchers used data on tens of thousands of students from a mental-health screening survey used to evaluate children across Denmark (and in clinical and academic settings in other countries) and compared it Denmark’s census, according to the Stanford release. Youngsters who were deemed to have better self-control over attention and activity had higher assessment scores.
[Kindergarten teacher: My job is now about tests and data]

In Denmark, children generally enroll in kindergarten during the calendar year in which they turn 6. In the United States, too, kindergartners are typically 5 or 6 years. The researchers wrote in the study that they found “that a one-year delay in the start of school dramatically reduces inattention/hyperactivity at age 7 …. a measure of self regulation with strong negative links to student achievement.” They also found this this “large and targeted effect persists at age 11″  and affects both boys and girls.

There is a loud debate in the United States and other developed countries about the proper age to start formal schooling — with ever-younger students being put into school with formal academic work. Many early childhood experts have expressed concern about forcing very young children to sit and do academic work, arguing that kids learn best through structured play. Dee noted:
“It’s not just a question of when do you start kindergarten, but what do you do in those kindergarten classes? If you make kindergarten the new first grade, then parents may sensibly decide to delay entry. If kindergarten is not the new first grade, then parents may not delay children’s entries as much.”
[Requiring kindergartners to read — as Common Core does — may harm some, study finds]
Indeed, a study released early this year found that the requirement in the Common Core State Standards that kindergartners read could harm the reading development of some kids. It says:
When children have educational experiences that are not geared to their developmental level or in tune with their learning needs and cultures, it can cause them great harm, including feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and confusion.

In Finland and some other developed countries, formal academic education doesn’t start until the age of 7, when children are deemed to be mentally and physically ready for the challenge (though students in Finland have had access to high-quality preschool, which would affect their performance in kindergarten).
Many U.S. parents hold their children back a year — especially boys — so that they start kindergarten at age 6 rather than 5 to give them a chance to mature. The paper says that about 20 percent of kindergarten students are now 6 years old:
This “lengthening of childhood” reflects in part changes in state laws that moved forward the cutoff birth date at which 5 year olds were eligible for entering kindergarten (Deming and Dynarski, 2008). However, most of the increase in school starting ages is due to academic “redshirting”; an increasingly common decision by parents to seek developmental advantages for their children by delaying their school entry (i.e., the “gift of time”).
There have been early studies looking at the same or similar issue, and the results have been mixed. But Dee was quoted as saying:

“This is some of the most convincing evidence we’ve seen to support what parents and policymakers have already been doing – choosing to delay kindergarten entry.”
You can read the paper here.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

37.6 Million Dollars, How the AFT Spends Your Hard Earned Dollars

Trust me it is not for the children!
The following piece appears in full on Watch Dog. org.

American Federation of Teachers union spends $37 million on politics

By   /   October 6, 2015  /

The 2015 American Federation of Teachers annual report shows a left-wing political machine humming on all cylinders — with teachers buying the gas.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, the union reported $37.6 million in political activity and lobbying expenditures, a $12.7 million increase from the previous year.

Even more political spending was tucked away elsewhere in AFT’s annual U.S. Department of Labor filing, reported as “Contributions, Gifts and Grants,” “General Overhead” or “Representational Activities.”

AFT paid union president Randi Weingarten, one of the nation’s most prominent “progressive” activists, a total of $497,118. The union reported only 2 percent of her time as political activity.
Other expenditures suggest AFT’s decision to endorse Weingarten’s friend Hillary Clinton for president — a move that angered many AFT members — had been made long before it was announced in July.

AFT donated $250,000 to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation in February, $125,000 to Clinton Global Initiative in April and another $125,000 to Clinton Global Initiative in May. In December, AFT paid Clinton-allied opposition research group American Bridge 21st Century $100,000.
The American Bridge payment was reported as a political expense. The payments to the scandal-ridden Clinton family nonprofits were not.

Clinton was the only presidential candidate whose affiliated nonprofits got money from AFT in 2015. But, as in previous years, AFT funded a long list of left-wing political action committees, activist groups and think tanks.

In many states, teachers can be required to pay AFT to have a job. Even though mandatory union fees can only legally be spent on representation, the power to take money from non-members frees AFT to spend more member dues on politics.

RELATED: Teacher unions push progressive agenda, but many members aren’t on board

AFT gave the Democratic Governors Association $1.5 million, gave Democratic super PAC Patriot Majority $450,000 and gave the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee $400,000 last year.
The union paid $410,000 to progressive coalition America Votes, $115,000 to MSNBC host Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, $90,000 to the environmentalist BlueGreen Alliance and $15,000 to illegal immigrant advocacy group National Council of La Raza.

Millions of dollars of AFT payments to other political groups weren’t reported as political spending, including $300,000 in donations to Economic Policy Institute and $160,000 to National Public Pension Coalition.

A total of $323,889 in “advocacy organization” expenditures AFT reported as general overhead included a $60,000 payment to leftist donor network Democracy Alliance.

State Innovation Exchange, a pro-union attempt to copy the pro-business American Legislative Exchange Council, received $60,000 from AFT last year; AFT reported only $30,000 as a political expense.

A $50,000 AFT donation to Center for American Progress Action Fund was reported as a political expense, while a separate $50,000 donation to Center for American Progress wasn’t.

The union spent millions more on membership recruitment drives throughout the country, with $7.7 million in payments to “organizing projects” reported to the Department of Labor as representation costs.
Hundreds of thousands of teachers are stuck paying AFT, regardless of whether they agree with the union’s spending and activism. Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, a case before the Supreme Court, could change that within the next year.

If the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in the Friedrichs case, it could end mandatory union fees for all public-sector workers.

AFT may come to regret “doubling down on a highly controversial political agenda,” Gary Beckner, chairman and president of the Association of American Educators, told Watchdog.

“Teachers have had enough and are searching for affordable, professional alternatives” like AAE, Beckner said. “Teachers deserve an organization that supports the modern educator — without the politics.”

AFT’s Washington, D.C., headquarters did not respond to a request for comment on the spending disclosed in the union’s 2015 annual report.

Does your Child's Public School Teach About White Priviledge?


Oct 9, 2015 by Donna Garner Education Policy Commentator

Read more at Education


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Guns in Schools?

Spotted in the Social Networking world.

Crazy idea of the day. How bout we allow schools who wish to have armed security to have it and also at the same time allow schools who object to this to establish gun free zones. Now here's the really complicated part....let's allow the parents and or students to decide which school to attend.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Forum: School Choice in Croydon; Valley News

Forum: School Choice in Croydon; Don’t Publicize Shooters; A Putin Solution | Valley News

Rule of Law in Croydon

Dear Editor,

Much of what’s being said about the Croydon school choice situation seems to miss the fundamental point being raised by the Croydon School Board, which is simply this: If the law clearly
states that you can do something, but an employee of the state claims that you can’t, which do you follow, the law, or the employee? The Croydon School Board (along with the Croydon Selectboard) believes that you follow the law, and that’s what we’re doing. This is called “the
rule of law.”

The editors of Valley News Forum writer Tyler Pierce Harwell of New London, and many others who
have expressed opinions on the matter seem to believe that you should follow the employee. We don’t know what that’s called, but it’s not the rule of law.

Jody Underwood
Chair, Croydon School Board

‘Hit Piece’ Against Croydon

To the Editor:
The dignity of Croydon’s political process and the fate of our children demands that I respond to the hit piece in the Valley News (“Questionable Choice; Croydon’s Legal Fight on Tuition”). The
editorial was long on uninformed opinion, short on constructive dialogue. To characterize Croydon’s motives as “making a point” trivializes the plight of five children otherwise locked in an education
system incapable of meeting their needs. Not one board member, nor the majority of Croydon citizens who support school choice, does so for such petty reasons. Solving a problem (five problems, to be precise), as the editorial dismisses, is central to our decision to fight for parental rights. It is, in fact, more appropriate to ask why any adult believes the needs of these children should be subordinate to an inviolate education bureaucracy.

The editorial reprints some of the state’s arguments, yet ignores all of Croydon’s supportive legal opinion, choosing instead to quote attorney Chuck Douglas only on the occasion
that he veers into commentary. From this uneven treatment we are meant to accept that Croydon chooses not to abide by the rule of law. Nonsense. This is biased cherry-picking at its worst. When small minds dismiss your cause as “ideological” and “quixotic” (Scrabble win, Valley News!),
it’s usually a good sign; it means they have little of substance to counter your arguments. Claiming that a challenge to the state’s interpretation of law amounts to “undermining the foundation of
democracy” is hyperbolic rubbish. Peaceful challenges to government hegemony is the foundation of democracy. The author seems to recommend that we obediently roll over in the face of any challenge, no matter how absurd.

It’s not surprising to read opposition articles on such a hot-button topic. The complete lack of objectivity and disjointed logic is, however, disappointing for a subject of such import. Readers deserve better. I would love to ask the author what prompted him/her to write such a poorly researched, lopsided editorial. Not surprisingly, the author chose not to sign it.

Jim Peschke
Croydon School Board
Editor’s note: Valley News
editorials reflect the opinions of the newspaper’s editorial board,
which includes the publisher, editor, editor-at-large and editorial page

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Granite Grok - Don't Give in to the Bullies.

GraniteGrok  Click here to listen to the Granite Grok podcast.
The Bullies in the AG’s office are prepared to take a small town to court even though the law is against them. We talk more about the intimidation factor, the press, and the likely costs to go to court to defend School Choice.

Croydon School Board Ignores AG’s Private Tuition Deadline | Valley News

Croydon School Board Ignores AG’s Private Tuition Deadline | Valley News

I am very grateful to Chuck Douglas, a former state Supreme Court justice. 

It is my hope that the bullies in Newport, Croydon, and at
the state level trying to stop what is best for these five children,
will not win.  The following piece appears in full on the Valley News website.


Croydon School Board Ignores AG’s Private Tuition Deadline

By Rob Wolfe
Croydon — School Board members on Monday defied the state’s deadline to stop paying
private-school tuition with tax money, gearing up instead for what they
say is a likely court battle.

“I don’t think the state should be telling a local board where they should be finding the best education for their students,” Chuck Douglas, a former state Supreme Court justice who
serves as the board’s attorney, said on Monday. “They should keep their
hands off of Croydon at this point.”

Five Croydon students this year are attending the Newport Montessori School and the families receive reimbursement for tuition from public funds. Since the practice began last school year,
the state has been objecting to it, and Croydon school officials now
believe the disagreement is headed to court.

The School Board has scheduled a meeting on Wednesday night to vote on whether to retain Douglas for the litigation it says is coming from the state. Douglas said the Attorney General’s
Office told him it would likely seek an injunction in Superior Court
this week.

“We feel bad that we have to do this so quickly,” School Board Chairwoman Jody Underwood said in a telephone interview Monday, “but according to our lawyer, we do.”

Assistant Attorney General Anne Edwards signed the Sept. 8 cease-and-desist letter that set Monday’s deadline. Messages for her were not returned.

If the two sides seek a legal resolution, Douglas said, the process could take up to a year and half, potentially involving hearings and appeals in Superior Court and the state Supreme

For Croydon, with a population was 764 in the last census, that could prove expensive.

Underwood has launched a crowdfunding campaign
to support legal costs, which in two days has raised about $2,500 of its
$20,000 goal.
“I’m very excited,” Underwood said of the support, which mostly has come through small donations. “Of course, we’ll have to keep going.”

Other residents have made significant pledges, and some have asked to pay using the digital currency Bitcoin, Underwood said.

The board’s page on the crowdfunding website YouCaring says, “In the unlikely event that the state does not take us to court, we will donate whatever money we raise to a charity or
organization supporting school choice.”

At a meeting last week, the board estimated it would cost about $10,000 to retain a lawyer; Douglas, for his part, said he hadn’t given a firm number, but his retainer could be “several
thousand dollars.”

“They’re a small town,” he said. “We’re not going to charge them anything other than the minimum we can charge to handle the case.”

School Board members  last week estimated that they had up to $18,000 available for legal
fees, though they had also contemplated spending some of that money on
improvements to the Croydon Village School’s playground.

The Croydon Selectboard last week backed the School Board and informed the
Attorney General’s Office that the town government could not legally comply with requests to send municipal checks to SAU 43, not to the School Board.

“We do not do what the attorney general says,” Selectman Steve Cunningham said in an interview last week. “We do what the law says, and I don’t see how they can do anything to us when we’re
obeying the law.”

As the School Board makes what it sees as a defense of school choice, it may end up setting a statewide precedent, Underwood said.

“I’ve gotten calls from all different school boards, because they’re interested in how we’re able to do this,” she said, “but they’re afraid.”

“I think we need to challenge what they tell us,” Underwood said of the state. “We have to keep them on their toes, in my opinion.”
Rob Wolfe can be reached at or 603-727-3242.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Former Plymouth superintendent pleads guilty to larceny - The Bristol Press: Bristol Press

Former Plymouth superintendent pleads guilty to larceny - The Bristol Press: Bristol Press

Add another to the superintendents gone bad list.   Over sight of superintendents is a must.  There is too much blind trust in superintendents.  The following piece appears full on the Bristol Press website. Be sure to click the link to see pictures associated with the story.


PLYMOUTH — Former Superintendent Eleanor Cruz
pleaded guilty to stealing about $15,000 from her previous employer, the
Hebron school district.

Cruz, 64, of Essex, entered her plea to the
single felony charge of first-degree larceny in Superior Court in
Rockville Thursday.

She was accused of using a Hebron school system
credit card at high-end restaurants and online retailers, as well as to
buy groceries, gasoline and gardening supplies. She left Hebron in
December of 2012 to become superintendent in Plymouth.

Tolland County State’s Attorney Matthew Gedansky says he’s seeking a three-year sentence suspended after one year.

Cruz’s lawyer John Gesmonde says he’s confident
she would have been exonerated, but that the financial cost and possible
imprisonment of up to 20 years were too risky.

She is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, Dec. 3.

Cruz started as Plymouth’s superintendent Dec.
17, 2012. She was arrested Aug. 7, 2014, on a charge of first-degree
larceny for alleged misappropriation of funds in connection with her
previous job at K-6 superintendent in Hebron.

After her arrest, she was on administrative leave with pay, which totaled $162,000 in salary and benefits.

The Board of Education paid for an independent
forensic accountant to review school expenditures from the time Cruz was
hired, which ultimately found nothing improper during her short time
heading Plymouth schools.

She officially resigned Sept. 11, 2014, after reaching a severance agreement that cost the district over $70,000 more.

Cruz had taken over as Plymouth superintendent
three days after Anthony Distasio officially ended his 11 year tenure in
the job. After her arrest, former district business manager Michael
Santogatta was acting superintendent until her resignation, when Mark
Winzler took over as interim superintendent. Martin Semmel was named to
the position as of last March.

Before coming to Plymouth, for almost eight years
Cruz headed Hebron’s K-6 portion of the RHAM regional school district,
which also covers Andover and Marlboro.

In 2012, state police received a complaint from
Hebron officials about some $15,000 in possible misappropriated town
funds after Cruz left the job.

The Hebron Board of Education reviewed both
Cruz’s use of the district credit card and some payments made to her
throughout 2012. The review concluded at least $5,905 in charges or
payments were personal in nature and/or made by Cruz in error, and
$9,113 in charges were unauthorized, lacked supporting documentation,
and/or not for district-related purposes.

For many of the charges, receipts were either not
provided, lacked details of the items purchased or were cut to
eliminate the details, the review said.

The Hebron board alleged:
∎ An overpayment of $100 for Cruz’s insurance expenses, with no reimbursement to board for the overpayment identified.

∎ She received a $2,400 travel advance in July
2012, which her new employment agreement negotiated weeks later and
applied retroactively did not cover, but she did not reimburse the board
for the advance.

∎ Cruz used the district credit card to make 10
fuel purchases totaling some $390, although her contract did not contain
any provisions allowing fuel to be charged to board.

∎ She charged two personal purchases at Nordstrom
Rack department store and Wegmans supermarket in Maryland, in November
2012, for about $352.

∎ In the fall of 2012, she used Hebron funds to
pay $2,375 in consulting fees to Kim M. Bennett, of Northeast
Consulting, for interpreting data and information about the Plymouth
school district.

∎ The district credit card was used for two
Federal Express home deliveries, totaling $198.07, which appeared to be
domestic home deliveries.

∎ Cruz authorized 23 charges at Ted’s Foods, a
supermarket in Hebron, totaling about $960. The charges were made to a
house account at Ted’s in the name of Gilead Hill School and include a
charge of $89.72 on Dec. 15, 2012, the day after Cruz’s last day of

∎ She used the district credit card 23 times to pay gardening and landscaping vendors, totaling about $1,406.

∎ The district credit card was used 12 times at Colonial Supermarket in Essex, where Cruz lives, totaling $790.

Additional charges were made, totaling $6,066, at
restaurants, gift and/or jewelry shops or boutiques, pharmacies, food
stores, farm markets, florists, online retailers, a toy store and a car

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-584-0501 ext. 1802 or

Education Department Bullies Croydon Children

Education Department Bullies Croydon Children
The United States spends more than other countries on K-12 education. New Hampshire spends more than most states, and we are proud to do so. For the 2014-2015 school year, NH taxpayers spent $17,233.48 for every student in public elementary and secondary education. (

This is more than most private schools in NH charge. So the obvious question is: why should education choice be restricted to the wealthy? Why shouldn’t small town families have access to the best schools for their children… when it would cost less? Authors from Milton Friedman to Elizabeth Warren have asked this question.

The parents and school board of Croydon found a simple win-win answer.

Croydon uses tuition money to send their children to different schools after they attend the local elementary school. Most use public middle and high school in nearby Newport, but five students attend a private Montessori school. The cost is $8200 per Montessori student. The students are doing well, and property taxpayers suffering less.

Education Commissioner Virginia Barry has had the Attorney General hit the town’s children with an injunction. But not in spring, back when Croydon notified the state of the plan. No, she bided her time until now, after the children had already settled in to their school. Our tax dollars are being used to bully children out of school in the middle of a term.

Precedent and statute are clear; many towns in NH already send their students to private school. There is no statute mandating mediocre education. Croydon Board of Education’s lawyer, ex-State Supreme Court Justice Charles Douglas, will have a solid case.

I have contributed to the Croydon legal defense crowdfunding site ( ). I hope you will do so as well. The only way to end bureaucratic bullying is to stand up to the bullies.

Bill Walker 
Bill Walker lives in Plainfield. His mother was a public-school teacher who sent him to private school.