School Choice Comes To New Hampshire

By: Bill Walker
New Hampshire Liberty Alliance
Bill Walker lives in Plainfield and works at M2S in West Lebanon. He is a Republican candidate for state representative in Sullivan County District 1.

With the passage of SB 372 over the governor’s veto, school choice has come to NH. What does this mean for parents?

Actually, of course, we already had school choice… If we could afford it. The better off already send their children to private schools or select schools in wealthy suburbs. What the new education bill will do is extend those same choices to lower-income families. SB 372 allows a scholarship funded by tax credit to go to any family with an income less than 3 times the Federal poverty level, making the current income limit roughly $67,000.

The governor tried to confuse the issue in his veto message, claiming that the school choice bill was for wealthy families. This is not true; no one with an income over the limit is eligible. The money can come from a family’s taxes or from corporate tax contributions to scholarship funds.

According to the US Dept. of Education’s NCES website, from 1993 to 2007, the percentage of children attending a “chosen” public school (a public school other than their assigned public school) increased from 11 to 16 percent. The percentages of children attending private schools also increased (9 percent attend private church-related schools, 3 percent go to secular private schools). An additional three percent are home schooled.

So 15 percent of US students are already educated privately. Interestingly, private education costs less per student. The NAEP reported that the average private school tuition in 2003-4 was $6600 (for comparison, NH spent $9413 per pupil that year in public schools; last year it was $15,585). Yet private school students get higher ACT and SAT scores than public-schooled children.

The NCES website also points out: “Another form of parental choice is to move to a neighborhood so one’s child can attend a particular school. In 2007, the parents of 27 percent of public school students reported that they had moved to their current neighborhood so that their child could attend his or her current school.”

Kudos to parents who make the sacrifices necessary to take on an $800,000 mortgage so that their children can go to a safer, better-equipped school. However, obviously not everyone has the option to spend 100 times the cost of private-school tuition in order to switch schools.

School Choice Helps the Public Schools

The $2500 tax credit is much less than the variable cost per pupil in a public school. (Remember, last year NH spent $15,585 per pupil, and it will be more next year).). One study shows that variable costs can average 64% of total costs nationwide, and the lowest variable cost estimate from a state was well over $5000… in Utah, a state that spends less than NH.

Parents who take advantage of the home-schooling option will save school districts even more money, as the tax credit for home-school supplies is only $650. So the effect of school choice on public schools will be to help their budgets while reducing their class sizes. Who doesn’t want better teacher-pupil ratios in public schools?

The family has to chip in the difference between the $2500 and the private tuition. So overall, the proposed bill INCREASES the overall amount spent on education. School choice isn’t about money, it’s about helping children succeed.

Children Aren’t Clones

Instead of beating the student into the shape of a school desk, maybe the school should be tailored to the student. Despite what George Bush said, maybe children don’t come in standardized packages. The “nationwide standardized tests” don’t measure a child’s ability in ballet, violin, or web design. (Of course, public schools aren’t passing the standardized tests either. In April, NH commissioner of education Virginia Barry announced that 71% of NH public schools have failed the federally required NCLB tests.)

Some children will do well in public schools. School choice makes more resources available for those public schools by strengthening their budgets and reducing class sizes.

Other children need different educational styles. Public school teachers are well aware that children have different needs. A Fordham Institute study in 2004 showed that a high proportion of public school teachers send their own children to private schools. In Obama’s hometown, 38.7% of Chicago teachers sent their children to private schools at their own expense.

Shouldn’t educational choices be available to all children, not just those lucky enough to have wealthy parents? The NH legislature has said yes. If I am elected this November, I will work to support and expand school choice.

Bill Walker lives in Plainfield and works at M2S in West Lebanon. He is a Republican candidate for state representative in Sullivan County District 1.


Naval & Air Movements Point to U.S. War Posture Aimed at Syria

By: Arlen Williams
Gulag Bound

Map of Turkey & Middleast from arabnewsblog.net “Could Syria-Turkey Conflict Pull NATO In?”

Within the last few hours, I received a tip from an anonymous source pointing out movements of U.S. Naval aircraft carriers which he and as he relayed, friends within the military believe, are of a kind that is posturing for war. They are speaking of a focus on Syria, or perhaps Iran.

This source was validated by another person. Personally, I am not a fan of journalism and blogging that often goes to the “unnamed sources” well and I try to do that very sparingly. The evidence may be seen here, in an ongoing though vague report of those deployments by the Navy, itself:

This corresponds to reports days ago now, of the movement of military hardware from Russia and scuttlebutt in social media of this:

Keep an eye on the #Turkey / #Syria border! Reports claim both sides have jets and choppers scrambling to border!

Turkey has also sent troops to their Syrian border, according to reports. They involve camps of Syrian refugees in Turkey and possibly more. A June 22 report in dailymail.co.uk reported Syrians downed a Turkish F4 Phantom aircraft and that Turkey was promising a reprisal.

Also, an international plan for Syria championed by former U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan has just been rejected by Syrian opposition, apparently for its failure to bar Syrian President Bashar Assad from participation. (Where Annan has gone, corruption has grown.)

See more in tags, below, including the intrinsically evil “responsibility to protect” doctrine, as implemented by the Obama administration and their Muslim Brotherhood and George Soros-connected allies, closely associated with the “Arab Spring” and “Civil Societies” campaigns and Hillary Clinton.

We may or may not update this GulagBound.com log entry.


Communist Belorussia Wants Bases in Venezuela

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

The encirclement of the US continues as neo-communist Belorussia cozies up the Cuba and Venezuela.

From Cuba’s Granma:

PRESIDENT Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus stated at the end of an official visit to Cuba that his stay had been a highly positive one, while emphasizing his government’s major prospects in terms of relations with ALBA and other Latin American countries.

Presidents Raúl Castro and Alexander Lukashenko during their meeting

Lukashenko, who was continuing his tour in Venezuela, stated that Belarus hopes to establish bases there for economic cooperation with the rest of Latin America.

President Raúl Castro bade farewell to the leader at José Martí International Airport, and asked him to convey an embrace to the Venezuelan people from the peoples of Cuba and Belarus.

The Belarusian and Cuban Presidents had a fraternal meeting in which they discussed the excellent state of bilateral relations…

Before leaving, the Belarusian leader placed a wreath at the José Martí Memorial in Plaza de la Revolución, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Dagoberto Rodríguez and other members of the Cuban and Belarusian Foreign Ministries.

Bilateral activities included the signing of two agreements and three memoranda of cooperation in science, technology, health and agriculture.

Vladimir Semashko, Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister, described Cuba as a world leader in pharmacology and biotechnology and affirmed his country’s interest in the island’s advice in this context.

Semashko added that the two countries agreed to discuss projects for repairing Belarusian transportation and freight means acquired by Cuba and to plan deliveries of spare parts and maintenance equipment.

In May of this year, Cuba and Belarus celebrated the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Bilateral trade reached a total of $50 million in 2011.

While America focuses on its many internal problems, its numerous enemies are conquering the US’ own back yard.


Evidence of Covert North Korea/China Missile Cooperation

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

There is a commonly held (but very false) view that North Korea, Iran, Syria etc., are rogue nations that set their own foreign and military policies.

I believe that they are all effectively puppets of Russia and China.

Russia and China are able to sit back and feign friendship with the West, while keeping their minions in Pyongyang, Damascus and Tehran at arm’s length at least for public consumption.

Here is evidence that China and North Korea have been secretly cooperating to arm Syria.

From Russia Today:

There is evidence North Korea exported ballistic missile-related items through China to the Middle East in breach of its sanctions, says a UN report. The document is the result of an ongoing investigation into possible N. Korean arms deals with Syria.

The report was published by a team of independent investigators and presented to the United Nations on Friday after a month’s delay due to Chinese objections.

The document labels China as a middleman for the export of illicit North Korean arms-related breaches and cites evidence of shipments passing through Chinese territory.

The panel cites the case of a shipment of missile-related articles that was seized in October 2007 which originated from North Korea. It was reportedly trans-shipped in Dalian, China and was headed for Lattakia in Syria.

The team of investigators is currently looking at possible arms deals between the Asian nation, Myanmar and Syria. It underlined the fact that although North Korea continues to violate UN sanctions, there were no new reports of “violations involving transfer of nuclear, other (weapons of mass-destruction)-related or ballistic missile items.”

The West needs to stop treating North Korea as an independent nation and confront the fact that it is a tool of Chinese foreign and military policy.