To The Daily Sun,
I have a few questions in response to Anne Rogers letter where she regurgitates the "party line" on Common Core Standards.
The ONLY reason for expending the massive time and resources instituting any new standards should be that it would benefit the children of N.H., I'm sure you would agree.
You state that these new Common Core Standards are more rigorous than N.H.'s current standards. I'm willing to concede that point however, it is also true (as you yourself seemingly point out) that the Common Core Standards are NOT the most rigorous of existing, time-tested standards that could have been adopted by N.H. State Board (or may still be adopted by individual school districts).
So I ask you, given that we all seem to agree that new standards were needed. . . Why would any school district not adopt the highest standards possible for it's children?
This has been asked of the N.H. State Board of Education time and time again. . . Where is the comprehensive analysis they used to make the monumental decision of using Common Core vs. adopting any of the more rigorous standards from other states (for example Massachusetts)? Surely they did this analysis. Why not share that with the public and the school districts so that they might perform their own critical analysis that ironically the Common Core Standards are designed to instill in our children? I suspect the state board did no such analysis. For shame if that is the case.
The commissioner stated herself on videotape this past week that "school districts should decide whether to use Common Core or another set of standards". She also stated that regardless of the standards used, the state will mandate that every k-12 public school student take the new assessment, Smarter Balance, (which will replace our failed NECAP tests) which are aligned to Common Core beginning in 2015. These Smarter Balance tests are eventually required to be taken on computer (thank you Mr Microsoft/Bill Gates for that!) leading school districts to significantly increase our school budgets for technology (purchases of bandwidth and computers for all). Why, you might ask, is this not unconstitutional? Section 28-a of our N.H. Constitution says that the state must pay for any mandates and yet no money is coming from the state or feds to pay for the outlay taxpayers in N.H. must endure.
Lastly, Ms. Rogers, among a number of inconsistencies in your response, let me point out just one,. You repeat the party line on the desire for commonality of standards across the country to create a "more level playing field" for those that frequently move. The Common Core Standards are supposed to be MINIMUM Standards, meaning that some states/districts will presumably desire to reach higher, in varying degrees, than these minimum Common Core Standards, correct? To continue your analogy of the NFL rules vs. the playbook, wouldn't this mean that some districts have a much thicker playbook and students moving into those districts would have the same difficulty of catching up to the other students? I believe this stated goal of commonality to accommodate transient society is a red-herring.
There is much, much more to contradict in your letter, Ms. Rogers but I would like each responsible parent to ask three simple questions of their school board. If you feel it necessary to change our standards, have you (or anyone else) examined ALL the available standards, weighted those that have a history of working, and chosen the highest standards possible for our children? If not, why not? Where is that analysis?
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 11:45
To The Daily Sun,
As a fellow veteran (and strong supporter of Veterans' programs), I respectfully disagree with my friend Bob Jones in his letter attacking our two congressional representatives for their vote not to separately fund the VA during the government shutdown. In fact, both supported a bill to fund ALL agencies, including the VA, but it was deemed "not germane" (huh!!) by the Republican leadership and blocked from reaching the floor.
The bill in question is part of a cynical effort by the right wing of the Republican party (read, Tea party) to pit groups needing support against one another. We saw this in their pitiful actions at the WWII memorial with Tea Party minions rushing in to exploit Veterans for political gain an effort which the veteran's groups wisely and quickly shut down.
Yes, veterans need and deserve full support from all Americans but anyone who knows veterans know that they would never place their needs above those of a hungry child or a critically ill mother. As is all too often the case, veterans are being used as political pawns in the destructive political tug-of-war in Washington in which right wing Republicans are cherry-picking support for those with the loudest political voices for their own myopic gain.
It is ironic that the Tea Party literally cheered when the government shut down, with their darling Michele Bachman saying "it's exactly what we wanted...and we got it". Their stated goal is to bring the government of the United States of America to its knees. Sounds much like another terrorist group we are fighting doesn't it?
Now that the heat is on, they are claiming that the shutdown wasn't their fault it was someone (anyone) else's fault and they are scurrying for cover with selected funding exceptions. To show how ridiculous all of this is, they have now voted back-pay for all furloughed workers. If we are paying them anyway, why are they not immediately put back to work helping all Americans, including veterans?
And no, I am not one of those "liberal lefties" that the right wing loves to attack. I am fiercely independent. But I am opposed to the juvenile actions of the increasingly strident Tea Party. The funding issue can be resolved easily and quickly but the House speaker refuses to take the simple action of putting a funding bill without political strings attached to the vote, largely because he is also being blackmailed by the Tea Party. And some of these same dimwits think that a debt default is a good thing and will have no deleterious consequences.
Both of our congressional representatives have a record of exceptionally strong support for veterans' programs. They are just not willing to play along with the Tea Party charade. Whether I do or do not vote for either of the two current congressional candidates in the next election will be based on substantive issues, not the irresponsible behavior of the Tea Party during this unnecessary and destructive government shutdown.
(Formerly of Gilford)
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 11:38
To The Daily Sun,
We are entering the fall season and many thanks to the local gardeners who have supplied us with fresh vegetables and fruit. The many anonymous donors who continue to leave food at the drop of centers: Max Realtors, Profile Bank, Spencer Hughes Realty, Alton Home and Lumber a/k/a Reuben's Store. The members of the Alton Community Church, Be Free Church and St. Katherine's and the Senior Center.
If you would like to make a monetary contribution you may mail it to Alton Community Services, PO Box 43, Alton, N.H. 03809. You make made a memorial or honoree gift in someone's name. We are a non-profit organization and your gift is tax deductible.
A reminder for individuals/families to fill our our forms for fuel assistance. If you haven't received your application or if you feel you may be eligible call Community Action Program (524-5512) for an apartment. If your rent includes heat make sure your landlord applies it to your rent.
The new guidelines are in and a family of three making $3,100 a month may be eligible for assistance, it goes up in increments. If your child is eligible for reduced or free lunches you could be eligible to make use of our services.
If you would like to volunteer your services please call 875-(CARE) and leave a message. Diane Eagles is the Volunteer Director.
Dorothye S. Wentworth
Alton Community Services
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 11:34
To The Daily Sun,
The N.H. House must support SB-180 for the victims of the state's multiple failures to enforce the law regarding FRM.
The N.H. Banking Departments made "mistake after mistake, after mistake, after mistake" for nine consecutive years in six banking audits documenting 70 state and federal law violations and insolvency at FRM. Obviously this was more than a simple mistake. The bank commissioner's two brothers were involved with FRM. Did banking turn a blind eye to FRM?
The N.H. Banking Department made another "mistake" by not requiring FRM to acquire and maintain a fidelity bond as required by law to cover employee theft. This failure cost victims significantly.
The second agency to make more than a simple mistake is the AG's office, when their ex white collar crime attorney went to them twice in a one year period and informed them that FRM and Scott Farah were running a criminal scheme, while the same AG's office had just received a similar report from a former FRM employee and another Farah company. There wasn't a single investigation.
People with reasonable judgment or simple common sense must conclude the state is morally and financially responsible to the FRM victims.
Is the state setting a precedent by righting the wrongs it allowed to happen to the FRM victims? It is my opinion and that of many others, if it doesn't, the state admits failure is the acceptable standard and is business as usual.
For more info, see www.sb180.info.
Harry H. Bean
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 11:28
To The Daily Sun,
On Thursday evening, October 3rd, Sandwich's 5/6 soccer team hosted a team from Meredith and it was a wild raucous affair with lots of great plays and tons of cheering. The most important part of this game was in two acts. Early in the game one of Sandwich's players fouled a player from Meredith, missed the ball and whacked him in the shin. Ouch! He had to come out of the game to recover while I sat our player for the rest of the first half just for being a bit reckless.
Later, in the second half, this same young man from Meredith was dribbling towards our goal and got bumped and fell. This by definition is a penalty kick and as the referee put the ball in front
of goal for him to take his earned shot one-on-one with our goalkeeper a remarkable thing happened. He walked to the referee and quietly told him that he had tripped over his own feet and that he had not been bumped at all. This was in a tied game 1-1 that was back and forth with tough play by everyone.
This young man, Brady Malcolm, had the strength to do this by himself. Even I, as the opposing coach, thought it was a foul and had no problem with the probable goal from this penalty kick. In a tied game, with well over a hundred people in attendance, he took it upon himself to do the right thing. How many of us would have done that? In a tied game with the chance to put your team in the lead? I am honestly reluctant to hear my own answer to that. This is what makes youth sports so great, this true learning moment for both players and spectators.
Well done Brady.
Leo Greene, Director
Sandwich Parks & Recreation Department
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 11:21