One of the things that has confused me quite a bit in the battle for charter school both in general and here in Massachusetts per question 2 is the math behind the opposition.

As a rule the voters who tend so support charter schools the most are the very poor voters whose children are trapped in failing schools that many of the opponents of charter schools have failed to serve.

And while the Teachers unions are almost completely united against charter schools many individual teachers are not all that pleased with their unions decisions and when given the chance to abandon the unions as they were in Wisconsin, left them in drove.

This would indicate a giant contradiction, one would think that rather than opposing and jeopardizing one’s base, one would embrace them, additionally simple math will tell you that even if the teachers were united against charter schools the number of students and parents would benefit from them vastly outnumbers them, after all every kid that goes to a charter school is one less added to an existing classroom.

So why are so many leaders willing to fight against them? the Answer comes from some figures concerning students teachers and bureaucrats put together by Ben Scafidi of Kennesaw State University.

staffing-1992-2014
Yes you are seeing that right, since 1992 staffing has increased at a rate nearly double as students and even more incredibly administration has increased at an even greater rate than teachers.

Now one might argue that the increase in teachers is a good thing as it would result in smaller class sizes but can you really argue that we schools needed that incredible increase in administrators?

and what does that kind of increase in administration beyond the increase in student cost?

what-if-national

That’s an awful lot of money being spent that to provide jobs for bureaucrats.

As far as Massachusetts goes, here are the number

ma-chart

the Numbers of teachers has increased at a rate 100% higher than then number of students, But as you can see the number of school administrators by a rate 150% more than the increase in students.

How much did all those administrators cost Massachusetts?

ma-savings

Now you might say “but datechguy, hasn’t all these administrators and extra teachers paid off?”

Not according to the stats

results

I interviewed professor Scafidi at the amplify choice event in Denver last month about these figures.

The current system is only been successful at one thing, providing patronage and jobs to every bureaucrat that needs it.

And it’s to protect that $395 Million in patronage locally and 27.1 Billion in patronage nationally and the power that patronage provides that those fighting charter schools are really looking to protect.

 ♫ You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store ♫

Sixteen Tons Tennessee Ernie Ford

Ebeneezer Scrooge:  I have been forced to support the establishments I have mentioned through taxation and God knows they cost more than they’re worth. Those who are badly off must go there.

Scrooge 1970

I’m not going to stand by and allow our kids to go to failing schools

Representative Angela Williams Democrat of Colorado

There was a time when Unions and the Democrat party would rail against monopoly and the symbols of monopoly like the “company store” (not to be confused with the actual “company store” seller of fine linnens since 1911) where the workers dependent on the local company for their wages would spend said wages in a store owned by the company for their basic needs at the price the company set.

How times have changed:

The Massachusetts Democratic Party on Tuesday night voted to oppose a ballot question that would expand charter schools in Massachusetts, putting the party at odds with some of its members in the Legislature.

“Our local communities cannot afford to lose even more money to charter schools,” said former Rep. Carol Donovan, a Democratic State Committee member from Woburn, in a statement. “Already, cities and towns forced to make budget cuts every year due to the state’s underfunding of education and the money lost to charters. If this ballot question passes, it will create budget crises in hundreds of Massachusetts communities, and hurt the students who remain in our local district public schools.”

For those not familiar with Question 2 the Lowell sun reports:

upcoming ballot Question 2 would allow up to 12 charter schools or enrollment expansions every year. Preference would go to school districts whose academic performance places them in the bottom 25 percent of the state.

For a moment lets forget that the charter schools ARE in the local community and that they are in fact public schools within the local districts and consider what the committee woman is saying.

She is advocating that any child of a parent who can’t afford to pay twice for school (once for taxes and once for private school)  should be subject to a monopoly where regardless of the quality of the product, the safety of the environment where the product is produced or the end result of the use of the product every such child MUST use it.

That is the very definition of a company store.

Moreover said expansion gives preference to those places where the Monopoly has failed.

It’s interesting to note that, unlike the opposition, the support for Question 2 is bipartisan uniting Massachusetts GOP governor Charlie Baker:

“Closing the achievement gap and ensuring a quality education for all of the Commonwealth’s students is one of my top priorities,” said Governor Baker. “And charter schools, which are producing great academic outcomes, are one of many tools that must be part of the solution.”

‪And longtime democrats like state Senator Michael Rodrigues

“Public charter schools have helped to close the achievement gap by providing kids with longer school days, more personal attention, and outstanding results,” said Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport). “Lifting the cap, and providing more kids with the quality public education they deserve, isn’t about politics – it’s about what’s best for children.”

This is precisely what I saw at Amplify Choice in Denver where Democrat State Rep Angela Williams (now running for state Senate made a presentation on the difficulties of passing Charter school and school choice legislation

And boldly declared during her presentation:

It’s also why parents like Chhorvivoin Sumsethi are manning phone banks to pass it

Her child has been stuck on the waiting list for Lowell Community Charter Public School for two years. She has lost hope, she said, because it seems to take forever.

“I truly believe in competition for improvement of quality of education, and I feel that regular public schools don’t have enough competition,” she said. “And private schools — how many people among the general public can afford that?”

But as long as the Union owns the Public School company store and the Democrat party owns the unions Democrat voices like Rep. Frank Moran of Lawrence and Senator Rodriguez will be the exception rather than the rule.

Until that changes it will take ballot questions like question 2 to give Massachusetts voters a chance to decide if the Union company store has gets any competition.


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and if you want to fight the MSM company store join the Have Fedora Will Travel pledge drive to send me to cover Donald Trump on the road

Dash: But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.
Helen: Everyone’s special, Dash.
Dash: Which is another way of saying no one is.

The Incredibles 2004

Last Sunday when I woke up after getting home from Denver I turned on the TV as I got dressed for the Madonna Della Cava festival and noticed a commercial playing attacking Charter Schools and question 2 which began with the words.

“400 million dollars, that’s how much charter schools will drain from Massachusetts public schools this year”

Under normal circumstances this would be more background political noise that I would ignore but I had just come back from the Amplify choice conference put on by the Franklin Center where we spent a day and a half listening to speakers talk about Charter Schools both in Denver and across the nation.

And having attended said conference I knew that best the “Save our schools” crowd was being deceptive and at worst they were lying through their teeth because that statement ignores a cogent fact about charter schools…

Charter schools are public schools.

That would seem to be a rather important fact for that argument but an ad saying: “400 million dollars, that’s how much money will be spent on some public schools instead of others this year”  is unlikely to scare voters.

From that point the ad argument doesn’t get better.

400 million syphoned from local districts that desperately need it.

Except for the fact the Charter Schools are still part of the school districts that they are located in.

400 million that won’t fund more science and technology…

Actually the 400 million will just fund science and technology at a different school as anyone who joined me in visiting the Denver School of Science and Technology last week would know and met Sheila…

…and some of her classmates

The three wise young women
The three wise young women

…would see that science would not suffer, it will prosper.

arts or preschool, counseling or smaller class sizes

In fact charter that money would not only fund smaller class sizes which are the norm at charter schools but would fund them for groups that traditionally don’t get them as this enrollment chart shows:

In fact the STRIVE charter schools in Denver enrollment is 97% of color reflecting the neighborhoods they operate in.

$400 million unavailable to the 96% of students who don’t attend charter schools

That sentence is funny , it would be just as accurate to say to describe the $1.013 billion budgeted to the Boston Public schools as….

$1.013 Billion dollars unavailable to students who don’t attend Boston public schools”

…which again isn’t going to scare anyone.

The “save our schools” ads when they finish with

“Let’s improve public schools for all students, not just a select few.”

Forgetting for a second that by this argument your public school should not get a new lab because said lab is not for all public school students, just for the select few that go to it. It ignores that fact that the rising tide of Charter schools tends to lift all boats as evidenced by the results in Denver before expansion of charter schoolsDenver mid 2000'sand after
denver after

What is this ad actually arguing? It’s arguing to keep schools that are failing from having to compete with schools that are not, and it’s counting on the fact that most of the people seeing this ad, did not attend the Franklin Center #amplifychoice event this year.

Or to put it another way this “save our schools” ad is completely dependent on its audience being uneducated and uninformed about the results charter schools bring to protect failing public schools

Rather ironic isn’t it?

If you want to find out more about charter schools check out the #amplifychoice hashtag here or check out these posts at DaTechGuyblog:

Denver Day Two The Zoo and then Six #AmplifyChoice Conference Interviews

Denver Day Three Part 1: Panels and speakers

Denver Day Three Part 2: Da Writers at #AmplifyChoice

Denver Day Four Part 1: #AmplifyChoice on the Road


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If you are a conservative in Massachusetts there isn’t a lot to cheer about this morning.

Yes Charlie Baker has won the corner office which means that Big Government in Massachusetts will be run by an honest man who is a competent manager, that’s an improvement.

However he had all the coattails of a streaker at a football game which isn’t the way to build a party, of course considering how little we heard of other GOP candidates one might conclude the state party’s concern was winning all the patronage of the appointed positions by the governor without electing any of those icky conservatives to office who might rock the boat.

There were two bright spots in the evening.

Ballot Question 2 which would have expanded the bottle bill went down to a crushing defeat, while ballot Question #1 passed 53-47 removing the onerous Gas tax linked to inflation allowing taxes to go up without a vote (A hearty well done to all involved particularly Marty Lamb there).

It is that result, combined with Democrats sweep at the state house and the left’s victory on Question 4 which mandates businesses provide earned sick leave for employers that really explains the mindset of voter in Massachusetts. It’s about what is in front of their faces & nothing else.

If Question two, the bottle bill expansion passed every person would have to pay that extra nickel (to start) whenever they purchased a non carbonated drink and to get that nickel back they would have to carry that bottle to a redemption center. It would affect people across party and class and racial lines which is why it lost by almost a million votes out of 2.1 million cast. 73-27%

Question one had even more dire consequences, a Gas tax linked to inflation would mean a regular tax increase every year forever. Every person & company who drives a car or truck and pays for gas was would be affected. Because there are a large amount of people who don’t drive and therefore didn’t see the effect on them (in the form of increased prices for good) the margin was smaller but enough of the general population still fills their tank weekly to allow the question to pass by 53-47% the margin being just under 120,000 votes.

But Question 4 Sick Pay law that passed by 18 points (59-41) was another story. Most voters didn’t understand what it means to supermarkets like Market Basket Restaurants like Singapore and even pizzeria’s like Espresso’s in fact all you might see if you are a bagger, a busboy or a pizza driver all you know is you’ve just got an hour of paid sicktime for every 30 hours you work up to a maximum of one paid 40 hour “sick” week a year. That’s likely why it passed by almost 400,000 votes.

Even when the supermarket inch up their prices the Restaurant cuts your hours and the pizza place decides not to hire the votes won’t make the connection that the cost of that effective 2-3% pay raise that you forced them to give is going to have to come from somewhere.

That disconnect from reality is why the same “highly educated” voters who repealed the onerous Gas tax can re-elect almost every single state senator and representative who voted to impose it upon them without batting an eyelash.

The folks at the statehouse will learn from that result and be smarter next time. They’ll make small gradual changes, and reach into your wallet more subtlety, not stealing over their weight or attracting attention.

They know if they do they’ll be all right, the votes who might notice and the business that employ them moved out of Massachusetts a very long time ago.

I’ll give Governor Baker a chance, but if he doesn’t attempt to build the party on the local or state level my advice to young people of talent when it comes to Massachusetts will remain the same.

Get out while there still isn’t an exit tax to do so.

They, of course, do tend to regard death as the prime evil and survival as the greatest good. But that is because we have taught them to do so. Do not let us be infected by our own propaganda. I know it seems strange that your chief aim at the moment should be the very same thing for which the patient’s lover and his mother are praying—namely his bodily safety. But so it is; you should be guarding him like the apple of your eye. If he dies now, you lose him.

The Screwtape Letters #28

Before anything else let me thank all of you who have wished my mother well and offered prayers on her behalf. It is much appreciated and prayers in he deposit of faith are never wasted.

If one looks in terms of temporal life things are not looking promising. Other than the fall, bleeding on the brain,Leukemia and possible Pneumonia my mother is doing terrible.

I would not be surprised for her to die in the Hospital, however I would not be surprised to see her come home and live to see my son Graduate from college next year, nor would I be surprised to see her live another four years or more beyond her current 88 years.

But no matter the outcome the question comes down to a simple fact, sooner or later (most likely sooner) my mother is going to die, as am I, as is my wife, our kids and is everyone who will ever read this post.

People spend a lot of time pretending this will not happen, but it’s a situation that has to be dealt with.

Near the end of a life is a test for the person at the end of it. They must deal with final days and weeks without crying out at the “unfairness” of a loss of mobility, and ability and the temptation to give away the gift God has given them.

But the real test in may ways is for those who live. The willingness to care, to give time, to help comfort those near their end who are not in a position to ever give a favor back is difficult. To people who have been taught that their time is their own, the concept of simply sitting in a Hospital room for a few hours to give company to one who is alone is not a rewarding activity.

And for the daughter with children, grandchildren and worries of her own, the hours of actual care-giving are full of effort, particularly when the recipient is not responsive or even worse adversarial.

And all the time there are the pressures of the Doctors and of society to “let people go” for the sake of a false sense of “dignity” or to ship someone to a nursing home to be forgotten until the occasional holiday.

This is one of the reasons why Christianity must by necessity be stopped if the secular culture of death is to succeed. The Christian imperative of intrinsic value of all lives turns the popular verdict of society into a test of moral character for the living as surely as the end of the live is the beginning of the eternal trip that the wise man prepares for and the foolish ignores and denies at their peril.

I must confess I didn’t expect to be dealing with this so quickly after the defeat of question 2, I ask Gods help and your prayers to put properly into practice the arguments I have made.

Update: Via Glenn Althouse asks about the plunging birthrate in the US. This deeply Catholic Woman facing death has given you the answer in the form of 5 children, 14 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren ( and my boys haven’t even gotten started yet).

From Friday to Saturday at St. Joseph Church in Medford:

there was a 24 hour Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

For the defeat of Question 2:

Locally where there is daily adoration there is normally one or two folks (sometimes as high as 3) praying, when I came into the church I found two lists. There were 30 people on the list who had come to pray,

After this interview I found a 2nd sign-in sheet that showed a total of 47 by this time.

When I got back we realized that I hadn’t asked at all about question #2 So Geraldine talked about why she opposed it

We shot two different videos to cover all she wanted to say.

Question two is going to cost Massachusetts a lot, in terms of society and I have some advice if it happens.

I’ve already advised my sons to leave the state when they can to get a future. In a one party state where the government stifles business and innovation there is no future for them here.

But if you are 50 or over if question 2 passes, get your affairs in order and get out of this state over the next few years. I’ll stay and fight, somebody has to, but if this passes, don’t wait because if I lose my fight then by that time a generation will have grown up thinking it is acceptable to dispose of the elderly if it saves a buck. Don’t wait until they decide you are obsolete.

You are Obsolete

The Twilight Zone 1961

Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,

C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters #12

Because of the storm which Cancelled the Romney event in NH on Tuesday I was able to attend the weekly game night with the crew I’ve been playing with for decades.

During the course of the evening a Question 2 ad showed up on the TV and a heated discussion took place between me (Catholic and opposed) and everyone else.

While most thought the law poorly written they all agreed the best solution was to pass it then “fix” it.

During the course of the evening a friend at the table brought up his late mothers illness and her pain in the closing weeks and the advantage such a law would have been, I then asked a provocative question:

“If you could do it without legal issues would you have suffocated your mother if she asked?”

My friend reacted very angrily to that argument, and the other insisted that it was not relevant or the point, but I say it exactly IS the point.

The worst thing you can give a person when dealing with a question of morality or ethics is an excuse. With the right excuse people who would normally consider an action immoral or evil will suddenly find themselves not only doing it but justifying it.

If the idea of killing the sick, is just and right and a mercy if they wish it, then the fact that it is your mother, your wife, your child would be totally irrelevant, in fact you would be doing a positive good.

It’s been argued that it would be a burden? WHY would it be a burden? Why should it be any burden at all if it is a positive good.

The reality is this is not about the people who are dying, it is about the people who are living who do not want the responsibility, they want an easy way out. They can put things on a doctor and tell themselves that they didn’t have to go though the expense, the time and the effort to keep an elderly or sick relative alive so much easier to take the simple path. To kill by omission on your part and commission and call it “dignity”.

And to the old, deciding to hang on, to live your life, to continue to fight for the life that God gave you will be “selfish”, expensive, inconsiderate.  They will have all of society telling them to exit with “dignity” and those who do will be celebrated for doing so.

It is a horrible and evil thing and mark my words, as the generations that were taught the sanctity of life age and die, the generations that replace them without such a teaching will find a positive good in these death and it will be this generation that voted this in that will be ushered off by a society that finds them Obsolete.

Today we have a special Bonus commentary where I go through the choices on my ballot and tell you who I will be voting for and why.

As you might guess there are not a lot of surprises here but if you want to know the reasoning behind it here is your chance.

On Thursday Evening at the Hudson Eagles Lodge a small debate took place concerning Ballot Question #2 moderated by John Weston on WCRN. Before the debate Dr. Paul Spiers who appeared in favor of question two spoke to me briefly: Dr. Spiers was opposed by Dr. Linda Brown who while not associated with the opposition to the question volunteered to appear for the event. After the ground rules were set Both side made an opening case First Doctor Brown Then Dr. Spiers Continue reading “The Question #2 (Doctor Assisted suicide) forum in Hudson”