To The Daily Sun,
Let's be honest. Taxpayers have been screwed by education at every level for decades. The costs associated with education never stop rising while the quality of the product is mediocre at best, often failed.
It is common to read of schools where 50 percent or more of the children in eighth grade can't read or do math to grade level, while 95 percent of teachers in those same schools give their peers a good or excellent job performance rating. That is where the term "blowing smoke up someone knickers originated." Taxpayers get a "smoke job" after outlaying hundreds of billions for education annually. Kids perform poorly, but teachers are wonderful and deserve a raise.
Higher education experiences the identical problems. Tuition costs have doubled over the past 20 years, pricing college out of the reach of many middle class families without taking on extraordinary amounts of very risky debt. Student loans now total a whopping, record $1.3 trillion while defaults on those loans are also at record percentages. Borrowing the tens of thousands, in some cases hundreds of thousands, needed to finance a college education is as much of a "crap shoot" as the pull of any handle on any slot machine in Vegas. There is zero guarantee the huge cash outlay will result in a higher paying job.
It is a well known fact the education level of the people "unemployed" every year keeps rising. The assured connection between a degree and a high paying job has never been less in America. College degrees produce higher incomes, but the assurance that degree will lead to a high-paying job before it leads to bankruptcy is less than ever.
All too often the public wants to chase the "smoke" of a problem rather than the underlying fire. Attacking a fire can cause intense heat and intense blowback by people who very much benefit from the status quo remaining unchanged. There is no problem so emblematic of "smoke chasing" while ignoring the roaring fire below than education, in part because we all know people who work in education either as relatives, neighbors or friends. Education casts a huge social footprint in every community, making change difficult. Attacking education can be seen as attacking those people, when all that is sought is a better product for a better price through cooperation.
When unions are involved, cooperation for change is near impossible. It costs on average $250,000 to remove the average failed teacher from any classroom in America. That is why so few lousy teachers are fired. It illustrates well the lack of cooperation from teachers' unions to fix the quality and cost problem that haunts our kids.
My daughter works at one of the elite colleges in New England as a senior admissions director. This is her statement to me: "Dad, the people here do not give a rat's you know what about costs, or controlling costs or cutting costs. All they know is they have two thousand openings. As long as those openings keep getting filled after they raise tuition by 4 percent or 5 percent every year, that is all they care about. That funds very generous, continual increases in wages and benefits to everyone from the Ph.D. teacher to the post hole digger in maintenance. If you want costs dramatically cut, boycott this college. Refuse to send your kids here because the costs are over the top. That is the only way they will listen is when their jobs and cushy lifestyles are threatened."
We see the same attitude in public education. Teaching has become one of the most premier jobs in America. What job in private enterprise has four months-plus of vacation, including the entire summer off, solid wages, solid pensions, solid benefits that increase no matter the economy and with an employer who can not go out of business or even relocate.
Teaching has become one of the best jobs in the world. Even better, we tend not to hold them very responsible for the quality of their work and when cost go up we run to the state or the government( the taxpayer) to throw money at them rather than holding them responsible for cost and quality like we do with every other person doing every other job in America.
This has to stop. It is insanity.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 11:32
To The Daily Sun,
It is that time of year again: voting at the polls and town meetings.
I would like to let people know that I am running for one of the two seats on the Moultonborough Board of Selectmen, and I would appreciate your consideration.
I have served on town boards and committees for many years, recently as chairman of the Planning Board, where we endeavored to apply the rules of our land use ordinances fairly and openly. The Planning Board is also responsible for the Master Plan for the town, and we worked on guidelines for the future of our town.
I have also served the citizens of Moultonborough on the Village Vision Committee, which is an effort to develop a consensus opinion of the citizens of our town on the future of our village.
Additionally, I have served on the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Committee for several years. The committee researches and develops recommendations on costly projects and purchases so that the Board of Selectmen is able to make informed decisions on which projects to recommend to the voters at Town Meeting.
I have served on other town committees and boards, including the Library Trustees, and the Central School expansion committee some years ago.
In all these efforts, I have been guided by several principles:
— Government should be as open and transparent as it can legally be.
— The rules should be the same for everyone.
— And the money and resources with which we are entrusted are the property of all citizens and should be used as wisely as if they were our own.
I have formerly served the Moultonborough United Methodist Church as chairman of the Board of Trustees, served on several building committees, and also as a co-leader of Youth Group.
Professionally, I have worked primarily in the construction supply business in sales, management, and as a trainer of architects, engineers, code officials, builders, firefighters, and lumber dealers. I have also owned several small businesses.
I promise you, the Moultonborough citizens, that if I am honored to be on your Board of Selectmen, I will listen to you, and stay faithful to my principles.
Most importantly, though, I urge you to vote, either absentee or at the polls on March 10 and to attend Town Meeting on March 14. It is critical that you make sure that your voice is heard.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 11:24
To The Daily Sun,
At the Shaker School District meeting on March 6, the voters will be asked to pass a warrant article that would provide the money to demolish the Gale School. For about a year now, a dedicated group of people have been exploring different possibilities that would re-purpose this historic icon, thus saving it for future generations. This has not been an easy task because the town does not wish to take part in this project, the Shaker School District does not want to use the building, and views it as "in the way". The building will need to be moved, likely to a lot on Concord Street that the district owns, if they approve (it is too large for a longer move), It would then need to be restored. Any activity/entity that would use the restored building would need to be approved by the district.
Here is where we stand at this point:
We have received an estimate to move the building for approximately $10,000 more than the demolishing costs. The lot referred to on Concord Street is vacant and close enough to make the move possible. The road that would need to be constructed to move the building would be located in the same area as the district's proposed (future) bus loop.
We have been contacted by some very generous Belmont business owners offering materials that will be needed for the road and site preparation. Another business owner has offered to construct the entire site prep work on the lot. The School District's own future plans relate to the need for space for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes, as well as changes that will be needed to relocate the SAU staff currently located in the Memorial Building. (There will more information on this provided by Pret Tuthill /former School Board member now working to save the Gale School.)
At this point, it would appear that the preservation of the Gale School could provide the space that will be needed and an approved use for the building.
Because we do not want this project to become a property tax money pit, we are asking/challenging Belmont alumni who attended classes in the Gale School to please consider a donation of time, material, or expertise, and/or yes, money to help us fund this worthy project. This building was part of so many lives. Some material and expertise that will be needed: Concrete and form work, plumbers and electricians, carpenters, roofers and siding installers, power plant work, other miscellaneous construction needs.
We would also appreciate any donations from other people interested in preserving an important piece of Belmont history. Our group intends to continue raising funds and solicit donations throughout the project.
(Monetary donations can be sent to: Save Our Gale School Fund, Franklin Savings Bank, 387 Central St., Franklin, NH 03235 or brought by any Franklin Savings Bank location.)
The biggest concern of the voters is that even more of a property tax burden will result from this project. This is understandable. We are striving to find ways to ensure this does not happen. Requested donations will offset possible a property tax increase
Voters, please come to the March 6 Shaker District meeting, listen to our presentation, and vote to preserve the Gale School.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 11:18
To The Daily Sun,
Over the past three years it has been reported in this paper that the students of Alton Central School's class of 2016 were raising funds for a class trip to Washington, D.C. The thought was presented to the class while they were in fifth grade, brought to the administration's attention at that time, as well and even brought to the School Board's attention as they had to get permission to raise funds for this trip. It was also approved by town selectmen that the students could hold raffles in order to raise funds for this trip.
The students presented their ideas to the PTSA, American Legion, Rotarians, Alton Business Association, candidates for U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, and governor, as well as local and county Republican committees. All were in favor of this trip and the efforts of the groups of students that brought the information to them. Not once did they hear that this was not a good and worthwhile idea. Of course the alternative over the past few years has been an overnight camping trip. The trip planned to Washington, D.C., would have not only an educational benefit, digging in to our country's history but a trip of reverence where the class would ask for permission to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Much more beneficial than a camping trip.
The reason that the fundraising has been such an important factor was that my daughter, Jordan, did not want anyone to not be able to go due to a lack of means to pay for this trip. It was important to her that anyone that wanted to go would be able to go.
This past Thursday afternoon my wife received a call from Associate Principal Linda Wilman, who informed my wife that the trip was not going to happen. Wilman informed her that another poll was taken by the teachers and just over 50 percent of the students wanted to go camping instead of going to Washington, D.C. This after wo years of raising money from groups, donations from candidates for governor, the Combat Veteran's Motorcycle Association, Walmart, Hannaford's, American Legion, and numerous private donations, funds raised through spaghetti dinners, concession stand sales at athletic events, baked goods sales on the ice for Winter Carnival, Lisa' Dragon Fly Gardens, Rusty Moose Restaurant, Dockside Restaurant and Pub, and Gunstock Mountain Resort.
Everyone thinks this a good idea, except the teachers who decided to take another vote. This is not all teachers as some have donated money and have been on board from the beginning. The total of $4,500 raised so far admittedly is a long way off with only a year left to raise funds, but a significant amount. Jordan and her classmates are very thankful for all the support.
We are not mandating that the teachers have to go on the trip, other teachers could chaperone and the teachers that didn't want to go could be used to cover these teacher's classrooms so substitutes would not have to be used or paid.
Now what else should these students be polled on? Last week they had a field trip to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro. Were they polled to see of they would rather go tubing at Gunstock instead of walking through a hospital during cold and flu season? No. Are they polled to see if the would rather have ice cream for lunch instead of broccoli? No. Are they polled to see if they would rather go to Six Flags instead of the Remmick Farm Museum? No.
Unfortunately the support of the teachers and influence they have on the children has won and they got their way.
It was suggested by Associate Principal Wilman that the money for the D.C. trip, that was raised for the DC trip could be donated to the camping trip. This will not happen. All money that we have tracked from individual or group donations will be returned and as for any remaining money, Jordan's wish is that she will suggest to the students that have been working on these events that it should be donated to a veterans organization, such as the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Please contact the Superintendent of School, Bill Lander at 875-7890 , Associate Principal Linda Wilman 875-7500.
Finally a worthwhile field trip, and it was shot down; what a waste of time.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 11:12
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that our country is being destroyed from within
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that rather than complying with a court ruling that he had exceeded his authority when he put an embargo on off-shore drilling, the president chose to appeal the court's decision until vital off-shore drilling equipment was moved to other countries
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that the Internal Revenue Service has become an enforcement arm of this administration, stalling and delaying congressional requests for information, and punishing organizations it believed might be contrary to the interests of the president
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that cabinet departments have defied the separation of powers by refusing to comply with legitimate congressional requests for information, by destroying records, stonewalling, and lying outright to Congress.
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that we have the lowest percentage of citizens employed than we have had since 1978
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that this administration has pandered to far-left constituencies by stonewalling the Keystone Pipeline decision that every study has shown will create jobs and help us towards energy independence
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that this administration divided this country by manufacturing a "war on women", and abused the First Amendment by forcing religious institutions and others to provide "free" contraception and abortion services in conflict with the tenets of their faith
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that this administration demonized the health insurance industry, claiming they made excessive profits when, in fact, independent studies by the Associated Press and others showed those companies had an average profit margin of 2 percent
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that early requests for security were denied and desperate calls for security assistance were ignored or denied, resulting in the deaths of our ambassador and three other brave Americans . . . and then the families of those killed, and the citizens of this country, were blatantly lied to
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that four star General Carter Ham, U.S. commander of Africom, was fired because he wanted to disobey the order to "stand down"; he wanted to send support troops to Benghazi to rescue our Ambassador and those trying to protect him
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that the president knowingly lied to the citizens when he told them they could keep their insurance, their doctors, and their hospitals
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that, like the war on women, a "war on the police" has been manufactured in an effort to once again divide the citizens, and in both the Ferguson and New York cases, the Justice Department has intervened, stoking the flames of unrest and, by implication, has attacked the very structure of our state and local judiciaries
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that failures in leadership has led to police being targeted by mobs and murdered by deranged individuals
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that the president said early on that he wanted ". . . a national police force equal in strength to our military" and the current war on the police may be the first step in a design to have the federal government usurp local and state police functions
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that under the leadership of Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Democrats instituted the "nuclear option" which permitted cabinet level and judicial appointments (except for the Supreme Court) to be passed with only 51 votes, essentially eliminating the filibuster. The ability to filibuster had existed for over 200 years and was often cited as the tool that helped prevent the "tyranny of the majority".
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that in just five years, the president has removed almost two hundred senior military officers, diminishing the battle level experience in all of the services, causing morale within the military to diminish
Oh, say! Can you see . . . that our natural priorities and loyalties are to God, family, country, and job, in that order
O say, Can you see . . . by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
O say, Can you see?
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00