To The Daily Sun,
Franklin resident Stephen Pascucci has publicized his letter against Hydro-Quebec's "business practices" and against its plan for degradation of New Hampshire's scenic beauty. I heard Mr. Pascucci, at the Plymouth DOE hearing, enter his statement into the record. He received deserved applause.
He made me remember the scene in the "Northern Trespass" movie shown recently at Franklin Opera House, and that Hydro-Quebec's big guns, one of them, used the word "conquer," as in, "We feel we have conquered Quebec's northern wilds!" Something like that, glossing over that Hydro-Quebec took from the Cree and Inuit peoples and the caribou herds, too, the place they need for their survival and have always had. When the movie was made, Hydro-Quebec had dammed thirteen of 16 formerly wild rivers, made them cement-sided and stone-cut sided water sluices with machinery and buildings, where once they were fordable and inviting waterways with life-supporting shoreline, quiet.
The water bodies created behind the new dams cover over forests, so now the water releases methane gas into our planet's air. So much for full-page newspaper ads that make everything seem right with the Northern Pass project. Those ads give good revenue to our newspapers, yes, but the lies and deceptions are ugly testimony to the company's disregard for New Hampshire's people and land.
Our accepting Hydro-Quebec's destruction of a place that we cannot see, for electricity-generation, would be like a reputable museum dropping former standards and knowingly accepting art masterpieces looted from Jewish owners during WWII. As if having them overrides the means to having them.
Executive Councilor Ray Burton said it well when, at one DOE hearing, he said Northern Pass should pack up and go home. Franklin residents might want to look into the height of the new towers that would invade their town if they have the converter station, and also that existing lines would be replaced with very high towers. Franklin residents might at last agree with Ray Burton, but don't want to wait until it is too late and they have sold off for tax revenue what they'll regret losing.
Lynn Rudmin Chong
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 01:11
To The Daily Sun,
Just a gentle reminder. In this pro-choice world, where abortions are still legal, pregnant moms have the option of choosing to have their babies. A baby is a gift, a small bundle of joy to cherish. Having an abortion kills your own child, murders your own baby. If you don't think that you have the ability to raise the infant yourself, please choose adoption, not abortion. Choose life.
Abortion kills! Life is precious.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 01:04
To The Daily Sun,
To work in the classroom it has to be right in the board room. So what is effective school board governance?
In a "non profit "Board of Trustees" (like public education) the school board's overarching OBLIGATION and RESPONSIBILITY is in representing, protecting and benefiting the interests of the district education stakeholders. Education stakeholders include almost everyone in the community. (Then acting on their behalf and serving as their agent to clearly identify the stakeholders and their primary needs and wishes). This is the "Bed Rock" of "not for profit" high performance and very effective board governance.
High performance board governance begins with a clear, precise and shared notion of why and for what purpose the school board exists. The board develops a stakeholder-supported education vision for the community, including the key strategic outcomes, with clear metrics of success and projected time lines to completion. Only with clarity and community consensus can the school board determine what it must do and how it will go about doing it. The board decides and acts on behalf of the stakeholders having a fiduciary duty of loyalty.
Who are the typical STAKEHOLDERS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION?
Almost everyone in the Community wants:
1. A community reputation for delivering high quality public education combined with solid annual improvement for each student.
2. Parents — a strong academic performance of students (with extra help as needed) compared with other districts in New Hampshire and providing a solid preparation for life.
3. Home owners — A reasonable local cost of good public education and an improved reputation of the school district in the state.
SOLID BOARD GOVERNANCE IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS TWO MAJOR FACETS:
A. FULFILLING 5 KEY BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES.
1. With strong community "stakeholder support", develop and clearly articulate The Vision of what the organization can become at its very best. If you can not envision what the organization can become at its very best then you are very unlikely to achieve it. The Board then determines the key specific strategic outcomes necessary to achieve the vision by achieving the metrics of success and the planed time lines of completion for accountability.
2. Ensuring executive (superintendent) performance oversight, primarily of the construction and implementation of the board-approved strategy to fulfill the board's vision. Transparency of the measured progress is very important.
3. Oversight of the effectiveness of system wide process and procedures and the empowerment of all employees.
4. Ensuring the organizations financial health. Quality and cost determines stakeholder value.
5. Ensuring the board's own ongoing effectiveness and credibility.
B. PERFORMING 3 KEY ROLES.
1. Policy formulation — specifying its expectations and outcomes.
2. Decision making — choosing among alternatives.
3. Oversight — assessing and reporting key aspects of organizational performance to the stakeholders.
Public school board and district superintendent key responsibilities include:
A Public School Board is responsible to the community to develop an Educational Vision Statement that the stakeholders have helped to develop and strongly support. I cannot overstate the importance of stakeholder involvement. Increased community transparency is crucial.
The key specific responsibilities of the school board and the superintendent below are important to clarify and understand in order to attain solid board governance for all non-profit types of organizations. In public education they are particularly important to understand prior to the interview and hiring of a new superintendent. The superintendent is often tasked to design and implement a strategic plan to achieve the key strategic outcomes determined necessary by the board to deliver the education vision for the district. The mission of the school board is to achieve the communities education VISION for the future. In order to discuss and then execute the proper focus, plans for effective oversight and accountability for the desired education outcomes needs to be determined prior to the superintendent being interviewed and selected. Often this is not done.
1. The Education Vision of the future (3-5 years) for the district stakeholders (Is a school board responsibility) First listen and then to produce.
2. Determine the school district's Key Strategic Measurable Outcomes necessary to achieve the vision (Is a school board responsibility).
3. Develop a Specific District System Strategy to achieve the board-required outcomes and achieve the vision (Is a superintendent responsibility).
4. The implementation of the strategy (Is a superintendent responsibility).
5. The achievement of the individual Key Strategic Outcomes (Is a superintendent responsibility).
6. The progress and achievement of the school board's vision (is a school board responsibility to transparently report progress of the Key Strategic Outcomes to the community stakeholders).
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 12:38
To The Daily Sun,
There can be nothing more vital and essential to a society than meeting the educational needs of its children. Teaching is not only noble, but also essential to the fundamental ideals of our community. Ashland Elementary School's teachers have been tirelessly serving the children of Ashland and been a part of this most noble endeavor. As the needs of the community change, the district looks for educational solutions that have the greatest positive impact on children. We recognize that an educational system thrives when it continues to evolve with the needs of the students it serves. Along with their work and with children, the teachers have also spent many years supporting parents and the community. The work of the Ashland School District's teachers has touched children, parents, and the community. Their service has had an impact to all.
On October 1st, the teachers' contract will, once again, be before the voters. Please make the time to vote and, with one voice, support the educators that have nurtured and educated the children of Ashland. Tell the teachers of Ashland that your are grateful for their noble service and the work that they have done in shaping the future of the Ashland community through their classrooms. Support the people who give their energies to making the future better for all of the students at Ashland Elementary School.
Mary Ellen Ormond
Superintendent of Schools
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 12:32
To The Daily Sun,
Another pertinent case to Bill Duncan et al. v The State of New Hampshire et al. & Network for Education Opportunity et al.( suit brought in Strafford County Superior Court against the Tax Credit Education Program, SB 372), is the 1925 U.S. Supreme court case of Pierce v Society of Sisters — in which Justice McReynolds, in striking down the Oregon law which would have required all of Oregon's children to attend public schools, writes that it, "unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control. As often heretofore pointed out, rights guaranteed by the Constitution may not be abridged by legislation which has no reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the state. The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."
In conclusion, the ruling seems to rest on if the donations given for these scholarships are to be considered as tax money. Do they constitutionally need to be considered as tax money? I think the answer to that question is a clear "no", for the Amendment reads, "no money raised by taxation" in the past tense. It does not say no money that would have been raised by taxation. It seems then that the circumstance of the presentation of the Blaine Amendment to voters of N.H. back in 1876, and their understanding of the purpose of this amendment would require a literal rendering here for the spirit of our constitution to prevail, and the letter of it to be met. For we have in our Constitution
a document that instructs use to cherish religious instruction. The antagonism toward religion that buttresses Judge Lewis's view of the Blaine Amendment comes from outside of our Constitution. And his decision embodies a complete denial of the difference in the essence of public education then in 1876, and now, and a refusal to acknowledge that public education in its current state presents moral teaching that gives legitimate rise to issues of conscience, held as unassailable in our constitution. If we start here to stem the tide of constitutional abuses that we have seen over the past decades, who knows perhaps, we may avert, at some later date, our citizens from invoking Article 10 of our Constitution.
A somewhat detailed yet concise history of NH's Blaine Amendment is available to anyone who is interested at glenn-on-nh-blaine.pdf
Judge Lewis' ruling can be viewed at dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 September 2013 12:27