To The Daily Sun,
Have you heard that Common Core is the next great thing in education? Have you been told that this curriculum will better prepare students for degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? Believe it or not, you'll have to take that on faith.
Common Core is the latest "faith-based initiative" in top-down government education programs. Robert Scot, former Texas education commissioner, stated that he was urged to adopt the Common Core standards before they were even written. Perhaps his leap of faith was given a push by federal Race to the Top funding ($4.35 billion), the usual carrot-becomes-stick Washington ploy to impose its will.
Proponents of the one-size-fits-all curriculum claim that Common Core will better prepare students for careers in STEM fields, but they have no proof. Their federally incentivized replacement for local control of our public schools was not pilot-tested before being steamrolled into our classrooms.
As with supporters of other big government programs, advocates of Common Core act with unnecessary and unseemly urgency, as if recognizing a narrow window of opportunity to impose their will. Desperate to avoid the inconvenience of having to get buy-in from parents — the ultimate authority in a child's education — they prefer fait accompli to factual debate.
Education historian Diane Ravitch wrote, "The Common Core standards have been adopted...without any field test." Proponents push ahead "despite the fact that no one has any idea how they will affect students, teachers, or schools. We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time."
The irony of this process — especially for STEM standards — is that it runs counter to the scientific method, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses." Would you allow your child to be a guinea pig for an untested medical procedure?
I'm reminded of a conversation with my doctor about treatment alternatives. After presenting and immediately dismissing two options, he told me that surgery was the right choice. I told him that while I valued his expert opinion, the choice was ultimately mine to make. My non-surgical procedure was successful, didn't keep me out of work for two weeks, and cost two-thirds less. Whether as medical consumers or education consumers, we must never abdicate our role as decision-maker.
Show me an expert supporting Common Core and I'll show you an expert who supported "new math" or any of the dozens of other discredited education "reforms" foisted on students, parents, and taxpayers over decades of decline in public education. Each did its own harm, wasting precious education funding before being abandoned. But at least damage from those failures was limited; Common Core's universality could fail us all.
George Will recently wrote of Common Core, "It is the thin end of an enormous wedge. It is designed to advance in primary and secondary education the general progressive agenda of centralization and uniformity." He continued that national standards extinguish federalism's creativity, since "...it is more likely there will be half a dozen innovative governors than one creative federal education bureaucracy. And the mistakes made by top-down federal reforms are continental mistakes." Will also pointed out, "Fifty years of increasing Washington input into K-12 education has coincided with disappointing cognitive outputs from schools. Is it eccentric that it is imprudent to apply to K-12 education the federal touch that has given us HealthCare.gov?"
Common Core advocates erroneously conflate consensus with correctness, touting conformity and uniformity over creativity and the uniqueness of each community and student. The American experience is the triumph of choice over consensus for consensus' sake, one of trusting decision-making at the local, family, and individual levels. Those we hire to advise us should not be allowed to usurp that authority.
The key issue of Common Core implementation (and the inevitable alignment of college-prep testing and teacher assessments with this single curriculum) is the marginalization of parental empowerment, community involvement, and creativity in the learning process by those who may have ideological or financial reasons to support this program. Don't take "expert opinion" on faith. Judge for yourself: Opposition grows as more people learn the details about Common Core.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 February 2014 10:27
To The Daily Sun,
Well, the progressive nonsense machine is already beginning to crank up the heat in advance of the years upcoming elections. Anyone who doesn't tow the liberal-progressive political line is "an extremist" The Tea Party, Republicans, conservatives, Libertarians, anyone who doesn't follow the narrow-minded, regressive, authoritarian governmental program gets labeled and smeared by the all-knowing, all-wise, elites of socialism.
For example the Tea Party (Taxed Enough Already): these folks want low taxes, smaller less intrusive government, our laws to be enforced as intended by Congress, and the Constitution to be followed. Extreme?
Just what the heck is extreme about that? Nothing that I can see, yet these progressives sink to name calling, racist, anti-women, anti-union, anti-poor, redneck anything to try to discredit the people rather the engage in honest debate of ideas.
Now what I think is extreme is a national debt of $17.3 trillion and instead of trying to even slow the rate of growth or, my gosh, try to reduce that debt, the always smarter then you progressives just want to keep on spending and spending and spending. That my friends is extreme. They act like spoiled children at Disney World throwing tantrums when it's time to go home. How much more of this will it take of putting our unborn children into insurmountable debt before their futures will be that of economic slaves to our own or even foreign governments?
I would also suggest that it is extreme to design a health care reform law that increases the cost of insurance to working families, raises the deductibles and co-pays, sometimes by thousands of dollars, to a point that it is nearly impossible to use and then threatens to fine those who can't afford it. I should also mention that it creates something like 18 new taxes, one of which is on new medical devices. A sure way to keep wanted or needed treatments for being affordable or perhaps available. Liberals pass over these things as though they are of no importance, below them to even consider the impact they have on people. That is extremism in attitude to me.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 11:48
To The Daily Sun,
An environmental disaster is brewing on the banks of Newfound Lake and its problem is blowing in the wind. The proposed Wild Meadows Wind Farm project is just a few miles off the lakeshore — the second of its kind on the Newfound Lake — and it has residents fuming.
It's a totally different vibe from what took place in Groton back in 2012, when the Iberdrola company erected a similar project at the north end of Newfound Lake. The Groton Wind Farm was rammed into fruition with little warning to residents.
Local politicians quickly took note after intense political pressure from a well-organized group of local residents came forth in November 2012, when three additional wind farms were proposed.
The questions that remains are: can this area support nine renewable energy projects? Will turbines outweigh potential collateral damage to wilderness, birds, bats and fish — not to mention aesthetic and noise considerations, as well as possible watershed pollution?
Should projects like wind farms in the Lakes Regions be allowed or should they be fast-tracked? Are the lakes in the region worth protecting? Was the word "scenic" removed from N.H. license plates for this very reason? Will wind turbines now be referred to as the state's birch tree on steroids (the great white birch)?
These next few wind projects will bring 100+ turbines, as high as 500-feet tall, to the shores of Newfound Lake. Will this spell disaster for our tourism? Resident are leading an effort to quash further wind development. There are environmental hazards with locating these turbines too close to our watersheds and the lake.
Several lakeshore towns are on the official voting record for opposing them. Town votes have grown exponentially in opposition from first-and-second town hall votes.
Many of us have spent our lives taking care of Newfound Lake and its environment. And we understand that wind developers want their turbines everywhere — it's a simple corporate strategy tied to corporate greed. Investors want more turbines in operation so they can collect more federal subsidies. More federal subsidies equals higher profit margins.
Residents see it a little differently. We view the skies around here as a superhighway in the sky. And we believe a scientific study needs to be performed to analyze the effects of wind turbines on birds, loons and eagles along with other lake ecology tests first.
We simply don't believe that there won't be any negative environmental impacts on our community, especially with Groton residents now identifying their problems.
One Groton resident outlined his simple "bird death formula" for me: He said imagine if each wind turbine kills two birds per year. Groton has twenty-four turbines and Wild Meadows will have twenty-three turbines — over 20 years — that's an estimated 1,900 birds killed. And if all four wind farms are built the "bird death calculator" jumps to 4,000 birds killed. He later identified his formula as being extremely conservative, saying it's more likely a bird or bat is killed monthly by each turbine.
Food for thought...
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 11:45
To The Daily Sun,
When you read the letters to the editor from those on the left, such as the one by E. Scott Cracraft on Saturday, you can't help but notice the blatant hypocrisy.
He considers anyone who doesn't toe the progressive (or liberal) line as an extremist while he shows himself to be an extremist from the left. He tries to make Joe Kenney out to be someone from the dark ages who is going to eat your babies when nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Kenney is an honorable man who has served his country proudly and given his time to public service. He has stood up for the principles that this country was founded on but that is something the Constitution-hating liberals get stomach cramps over.
Now let me see, Joe voted against the greenhouse initiative which caused an increase in energy prices. He worked hard to prevent attempts to pass even more laws against law abiding citizens who possess firearms. He voted against expanding Medicaid which would have cost the taxpayers of this state untold millions of dollars in the future, (oh yeah, Obama promised us it would be paid for for three years and at 95 percent in the future and you know Obama never lies.) He voted in favor of the "stand your ground law" which those on the left cried over and over would turn the state into the Wild West. So I ask Cracraft to show one instance where this law has created a problem.
Kenney voted for the right to work law. I was a member of a union for 25 years, and I am in favor of right to work for numerous reasons which I would discuss with Cracraft if he so chooses. Kenney he is supported by Rep. Worsman who in my view is protecting the taxpayers of Belknap County from the big-spending commissioners. As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I don't believe anyone who is against abortion is anti-women, but that they are pro-life and if you think about it aren't pro life females women? Go figure.
The people on the left believe that co-operation means "agree with us" and will demean anyone who doesn't follow their mantra. When it comes to tolerance, those on the left are completely devoid of it and it is proven every time one of them submits a letter to this newspaper.
Even though there are reasons to vote against Mike Cryans I haven't seen anyone disparage him the way the left has disparaged Mr. Kenney. Those on the left also continuously bemoan the fact that there is some banter included in some letters, which in most cases is meant to add a little humor to the discussion, but one could conclude by their response that someone had performed oral surgery on them without the benefit of laughing gas. Thinking about it maybe a little dose of it would do them all some good.
Although there are radicals on both sides of the aisle you see the word used mostly by people from the left when anyone disagrees with their anti-constitution agenda and they have no legitimate response for it. I have found that most people on my side of the aisle are fiscal conservatives and social moderates who are willing to help those in need but not those who abuse the system, of which there are many. The U.S. Constitution has served us well for over 200 years, and when necessary has been amended to recognize the changes in our society.
The problem we have today is the fact that we have a president who believes he was given the power to make changes to this document without going to the people for a vote. These moves are illegal but when you have an attorney general who himself disregards the law it becomes very difficult to hold him accountable. Sen. Harry Reid is another uncompromising part of the equation. He may be someone who is very soft spoken but there are a lot of people walking around with knives sticking out of their backs which were put in place by him.
In the coming elections vote Republican if you want to return this state and country to prosperity.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 11:41
To The Daily Sun,
Have we reached the breaking point on taxes in Bristol?
Who are we taxing? We are taxing the same base that has not shown any growth in recent years. If we vote to add all the warrant articles and additions totaling over $600,000 at our March town meeting, will add $2 to our tax rate. We need to stop this trajectory we are on and give the taxpayers a break.
Numerous projects and equipment have impacted the budget with increases in the past six years. We need to ask ourselves, "Will this make Bristol a more affordable place to live." Consideration for our taxpayers must be made and not continue to overburden our tax base.
I have heard that raising taxes will be good for Bristol and would not be a problem for people to pay. What's a few more dollars? Or I have heard the argument that they can sell and somebody else will take their place who can afford it. That attitude may have worked in the past when markets were growing, but presently this is not what is happening.
In the end it is up to the voters to show up at the polls (March 11) and Town Meeting (March 15) and make their votes and voices heard. We need to elect individuals that will care to protect the Bristol taxpayers and be prudent to consider the present and future of our town.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 11:31