To The Daily Sun,
I attended the annual Winnisquam Regional School District meeting and someone proposed an amendment to cut the budget by 10 percent, which would mean a cut of approximately $2.47 million. The person who proposed the amendment talked about cuts made on the state level. The challenge was made to the school board to go out and find the money. After just a little thought, I wondered if he wanted the school board to go into the forest and look for the money tree, or search for a map leading to pirate treasure, or ask great Uncle George for a gift of $2.47 million, and then again, did he want them to ask the state of New Hampshire for it?
Personally, I think he knew full well that a cut of this magnitude means pink slips and cuts in programs. In the process, good people are hurt and student programs suffer. Remember now, it is the bottom line that counts.
There is a major move in this country to cut social programs and run everything as a business. It is a point of view leading to the destruction of safety nets like Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans and let's not forget the public schools. It's all about "lean and mean," "the bottom line," and "the survival of the fittest."
I prefer a different point of view. I feel that we have a responsibility to other people. We need programs that help our society function better. Social Security and Medicare were a big help in 2008 when the economy went sour. As we look back over the years, how do we measure the impact of public schools? Please do not misunderstand. We need to be responsible in the way we handle money, but the bottom line is not the only issue.
Because of changes in the law, public school have become very complex. Schools are required to work with severely handicapped students and with behavior issues that were not there in the 1960s and '70s. It is not just reading, writing and arithmetic now. We need to be concerned with behavior modification and basic social skills like never before. The schools need the help and support of the community, and certainly not a 10 percent cut.
I am very thankful that the voters decided to go with the recommendation of the budget committee. The school board and budget committee are elected by the voters and do a good job. This is not a high spending district and does not deserve to have its budget slashed in this manner. Thank you voters for looking at the big picture.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 09:43
To The Daily Sun,
The late French author-philosopher-anarchist, Albert Camus, had it right when he said, "For the people has always been the alibi of tyrants. And is has the further advantage of giving them a good conscience."
I find it interesting that some people on the left politically, often try to relabel the more distasteful political organizations as "right-wing," even though those organizations were founded on socialist, or left-wing ideals. For example, Nazi Germany and Communist Russia were founded as socialists who were going to bring equality to all but, somehow, it didn't work out that way. Many of today's liberals cannot acknowledge those foundations and therefore set about re-labeling them as "right-wing."
As the old adage goes, if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it to be the truth. Seems like Mr. Vazzana has been sold on the idea that if the "left" fails, that's okay, just re-name it the "right."
In his letter to The Daily Sun on Saturday, Mr. Vazzana cites a professor who lived in Germany in the 1930s, who posited that those who believed in absolute equality as desirable, would naturally be further left on the ideological spectrum, and those who considered inequality unavoidable or even desirable, would be on the right. I think that's a fairly accurate statement . . . not that it's right, just accurate.
We are all born with a different set of genes. Some are smarter than others. Others may be more athletic. Some may be gifted in certain academic areas. A number will be diligent in their work habits while others are satisfied with sloth. Comparisons that show how "unequal" we are to one another abound. Expecting equal outcomes is nonsense. In school, papers are graded on a curve. College admissions are largely based on test scores. Businesses rate and rank managers based on a performance bell curve. Athletes earn based on their performance, and so on. In my view, we will all be measured based on what we did with the gifts we were given, the ultimate bell curve, if you will.
None of us can accept responsibility for another choosing sloth over effort. Only the person who makes that choice is responsible. Take a look at what we spend on education, and what the results are. If Washington D.C. spends over $14,000 per student per year, but has a drop-out rate in the 50 percent range, who is responsible? If Chicago pays many of its teacher in excess of $100,000 per year and test scores are abysmal, who is responsible? If our country struggles to reach a high school graduation rate of 70 percent, who is responsible? And if colleges need remedial classes to teach incoming freshmen how to read, who is responsible?
The family and the individual. Pay attention to what Camus said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 09:37
To The Daily Sun,
Let me be the first to thank New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio for smacking all of us up side the head with the harsh reality of just how broken our education system is in today's highly charged political climate.
He thinks it's a good idea to close some of the city's best charter schools. Why of course, because it is causing harm to some of the public schools. John Hawkins brings this progressive mendacity into crystal clear focus: "The primary goal of our education is not to educate our students; it's to sustain the teachers' unions and fatten the bank accounts of college professors and administrators. This is why the education establishment hates private schools, school vouchers and charter schools, even though they do a better job of educating our students than our public school system."
As John C. Goodman notes, "Success Academy 4 in NYC is where 80 percent of the students passed the math test and 59 percent the English test. The co-located middle school the mayor is protecting and where many of those 194 charter students would end up is where 5 percent of students passed the math test and 11 percent passed the English test. "Clearly, this progressive Democrat and many of his brethren appear willing to sacrifice millions of poor children in order to support teacher's unions, big government, higher taxes and more government spending.
As the Brookings Institution, the CATO Institute, Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell among others remind us, parents of financial means already have school choice. They can afford to move to a neighborhood that has better schools or send their children to private schools. Of course there are some on the left who genuinely want to liberate poor children from bad schools, but they risk the wrath of their party, the unions and headstrong school administrators.
If we can just for a minute, push all the bureaucratic power and control issues off the table and look at the issue through the lens of an innocent child, where does it lead? In my opinion, the inequality of educational opportunity in this country rests primarily on the shoulders of progressive pigheadedness and a controlling, collectivist mindset. John Goodman appears to be painfully correct when he describes this issue in layman terms: "poor kids are almost always enrolled in bad schools. Rich kids are almost always in good schools." In some large inner-city schools, our biased education system has caused some schools to become more segregated than schools were in 1954 when the Brown vs. the Board of Education Supreme Court case outlawed state schools that segregated black students from white students. So, just where are those civil rights leaders now?
Almost everyone with a clear eye can see that our high school education is not what it used to be decades ago. A column in the Jan. 26, 2014, edition of the Washington Post reported, "In almost every state, the amount of money spent per pupil has more than doubled in the past 40 years." Neal McCluskey of the CATO Institute brings us the shameful cost analysis, inflation adjusted for 2013 for K through 12 education: 1970 - $56,903 and 2010 - $164,426. Perhaps this is due to a perverse paradoxical incentive. "We just can't possibly do any better unless you give us more money."
Chad Mathis, physician who is now running for elected office in Alabama notes, "Real education reform starts by getting Washington out of every parent's business. Local control, expanded choice, and an experience that fits the needs of every student should be the goal." Common Core is the central planners latest attempt at putting the government squarely between parents and their children. Behind the sweet-sounding rhetoric is a plan to wipe out free market school choice.
Melissa Harris-Perry, professor of political science at Tulane University and MSNBC host, gleefully reveals the true liberal progressive agenda: "We have to break through our private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families." She goes on to say that kids belong to whole communities and once we realize this, we'll make better investments in government indoctrination of children. If that doesn't chill you to your "uncommon core," then you must be comatose or a liberal ideologue.
Check out the wonderful documentary, "Waiting for Superman" which reveals how the bureaucratic tentacles of the powerful teachers' unions have stymied educational choices and diminished the possibility that children from poor families will get an equal chance at a good education. The bottom line is that parents must be empowered through more choice with private schools, charter schools, vouchers, competition and local control for all families, not just the the upper classes. That is the way to provide the impetus for positive change in our stagnating school systems. It won't be easy to get there, especially with so many Republicans having bought into the fraud that is "Common Core."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 09:23
To The Daily Sun,
In 2007 Gov. John Lynch launched his "25 in 25" initiative with the goal of having 25 percent of New Hampshire's energy from renewable sources by 2025. New Hampshire's total in state energy consumption in 2010 was 295 trillion BTUs. Of that 27 percent comes from buildings, 36 percent comes from transportation and 37 percent comes from electricity. To achieve the 25 percent goal, 74 trillion BTU's will need to come from renewable resources. 43.5 trillion BTUs (14.7 percent) of New Hampshire's energy already comes from renewables (32.6 trillion BTUs from electricity), so 31 trilliom BTUs of additional renewable energy needs to be developed in the next 12 years.
Generating renewable energy from transportation has proven to be very difficult and renewable building energy, primarily from solar and wood, also has limited capacity. The only area with the possibility of substantial renewables growth is in the generation of electricity. According to Professor Mike Mooiman of Franklin Pierce University an additional 31 trillion BTUs of renewable electrical energy could be generated by 135 25MW wind farms the size of Lempster Mountain or 80 15MW wood burning plants like Bethlehem or 780 10MW solar voltaic farms of 100 acre size.
It is reasonable to assume that at least two-thirds of the 31 trillion BTUs required will need to come from wind power. New Hampshire currently has three operational wind farms: 24 MW 12-turbine Lempster Mountain, 99 MW 33-turbine Granite Wind and 48 MW 24-turbine Groton Wind. The 75.9 MW 23-turbine Wild Meadows and 60 MW 24-turbine Spruce Wind are planned for the mountain ridges surrounding Newfound Lake over the strong objections of the local residents. If these two proposed projects are built New Hampshire will have five wind farms with a total capacity of 307 MW and 116 wind turbines.
Based on Professor Mooiman's estimates we will need an additional 2,250 MW of capacity consisting of an additional 900 2.5 MW 500 foot wind turbines on the scenic mountain ridges of New Hampshire to generate two-thirds of the required 31 trillion BTUs to meet the 25 in 25 goal.
If you are sitting at home looking out at the scenic mountains around Squam Lake or Lake Winnipesaukee and you think that all of the fuss over putting wind turbines around scenic Newfound Lake doesn't affect you, think again. If Newfound Lake can be sacrificed for the state's 25 in 25 goal, do you really believe the mountain ridges around your lakes can escape the march of the wind turbines?
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 03:23
To The Daily Sun,
It's back — Mediscare. And it's just as false and misleading as ever. In December 2013 New Hampshire began being bombarded with ads attacking Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter which tried to scare us into believing that the Affordable Care Act was denying us the opportunity to renew our policies and keep our doctors.
Shea-Porter immediately responded saying, "Washington Republicans should take down their misleading attack ads and stop frightening Granite Staters who hold individual policies from Anthem, because they can indeed renew their policies and keep their current doctors and hospitals." She added that she'd worked successfully with Anthem to extend the renewal deadline for individual policy holders.
The fact-checking organization Politifact investigated the attack ads and found them to be false, stating that, "New Hampshire policy holders were always able to extend their current policies 12 months, thanks to the state's early renewal option." For that reason and also because Shea-Porter had convinced Anthem to extend its renewal deadline to December, Politifact rated as true Shea-Porter's December statement that, "Granite Staters who hold individual policies from Anthem ... can indeed renew their policies and keep their doctors and hospitals."
Of course most people in New Hampshire don't hold individual policies — only 5 percent do — so the majority (with employer based insurance) are not affected by any of this. We are so fortunate to have such a hard-working congresswoman who cares about that 5 percent of New Hampshire citizens and fought to prevent New Hampshire's one individual-policy insurer from harming them.
Gilmanton Iron Works
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 09:08