Conspiracy Brews 9.13.14

If you like your coffee and your politics flavorful, served with a heaping dose of civility by a diverse group of interesting people from all parts of the political spectrum then you should be joining us every Saturday. Started in 2007 over coffee and lively conversation by a group of concerned friends and neighbors, ‘Conspiracy Brews’ is committed to finding solutions to some of our State’s toughest problems. Our zest for constructive political discourse is only equaled by our belief that the only way forward is to exchange our views in a relaxed and friendly setting. For additional information or to be added to our e-mail list contact: ConspiracyBrews@aol.com.

 

Conspiracy Brews

 

“Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.”

 

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not your average political discussion group!

 

September 13, 2014

 

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
at
Southwest Secondary Learning Center
10301 Candelaria Rd NE
(northwest corner of Candelaria and Morris)

 

We think that government should be open and honest at all times.
People from all political parties are welcome.

 

*** Quotes of the Week ***

 

“War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war, there is no substitute for victory.”

 

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur

 

English: General of the Army Douglas MacArthur...

English: General of the Army Douglas MacArthur smoking his corncob pipe, probably at Manila, Philippine Islands, 2 August 1945. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Any party which takes credit for the rain must not be surprised if its opponents blame it for the drought.”

                         Dwight W. Morrow (in a campaign speech, Oct 1930)

English: Dwight Morrow (1873-1931)

English: Dwight Morrow (1873-1931) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Suggested Topics

 

— When did the National Republican and Democrat Parties become reactionaries rather than visionaries?

 

–We’ve talked about the APS School Board…is it time to act for the upcoming election?

 

— Is New Mexico’s epithet now RIP?

 

(Light Quotes of the week)

 

“His absence is good company.”

 

(Scottish saying) perhaps to Great Britain

 

“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers

 

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso.

Pablo Picasso. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I loathe people who keep dogs. They are cowards who haven’t got the guts to bite people themselves.”

 

August Strindberg

August Strindberg as an older man

August Strindberg as an older man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

——-

Will There Be A M”E”SD?

Editor: Mr. Ueckert is a resident of Edgewood interested in education in the community.  We appreciate his desire to express his opinions on the important issues facing the Moriarty-Edgewood School District (MESD)

The Future of “E” in MESD

By Jerry Ueckert

Who can say what will happen should MESD carry through and shutter Edgewood Elementary? Personally, I would like to see Moriarty and Edgewood grow together in a mutually beneficial relationship, but MESD seems bent on biting the hand that feeds it.

The Great Depression couldn’t kill Edgewood’s school or community spirit. The old Edgewood Schoolhouse was built as part of Roosevelt’s Works Projects Administration and community members joined together to construct the school from indigenous materials on land donated by the Bassett family. That school served generations of Edgewood families from 1938 to 1960, but after consolidation into the Moriarty District, the Edgewood school was shuttered and the community suffered a near death. By the late ‘60s, Edgewood had only an RV park, Paula Donner’s Realty, and the Horn gas station on its main street to serve as a reminder of its former days.

Once I-40 opened, Edgewood saw the addition of businesses on the four corners of the interchange, which brought new families and construction into the community. Within just a few years, Edgewood experienced a surge in population and Moriarty was too small to handle the load. A new Edgewood Elementary had to be constructed and only a few years later, an annex had to be built to keep up with the area’s growth.

Having their own school once again was cause for celebration. A revitalization of creative energy followed. Many artists began calling Edgewood home. New businesses were established and a new vision of Edgewood’s future rose from the dust.

Now it seems as if we’ve come full circle and are threatened once again with losing our elementary school. But rather than being prompted by declining enrollment or poor performance, the closure of Edgewood Elementary is based solely on finances. Evidence supporting the stated concerns of shuttering by Edgewood’s Town Council and Chamber of Commerce abound.

Elaine Simon, author of a project-based education course, “Schools and Community Development,” states, “Schools are often the one institution still surviving in low-income neighborhoods, and they serve as a point of pride and community for families. When a neighborhood loses its schools, it also loses an institution that builds relationships among local residents and binds generations, while it serves local children. Losing schools makes it all the more likely that these neighborhoods will deteriorate further.”

The Atlanta Journal – Constitution reported in 2010, “DeKalb County school officials decided Forrest Hills Elementary was too small to remain open, and neighbors say its closure has changed their community in palpable ways. Formerly active residents and many young parents have moved away. Community gatherings have grown smaller. The recession makes the impact on property values hard to determine, but many residents believe they’ve been damaged.”

Richard Layman, a Washington, DC urban/commercial district revitalization and transportation/mobility advocate, says, “Schools are fundamental anchors which build and maintain quality neighborhoods and communities. Therefore to maintain communities we need to maintain the schools located within them.”

Andy Smarick, a charter school advocate and author of “The Urban School System of the Future: Applying Principles and Lessons of Chartering”, says that closing neighborhood schools can have negative and unintended consequences, stating, “Even if it’s low-performing, at least it’s a stable institution and an indication that the government has at least some investment in that neighborhood.”

So, do we want a school district unwilling to invest in the welfare and future of the community? Faced with these questions, Edgewood residents have legitimate reasons for concern that have not been addressed by MESD. But having faced these questions before, they have proven their willingness and ability to rebuild their future, literally out of the very dirt beneath their feet.

How does that benefit MESD? The short answer is: it doesn’t.

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Paul Gessing’s, “Errors of Enchantment.”

Mr. Gessing previously granted permission for our use of his material from Errors of Enchantment and his Rio Grande Foundation. Needless to say we are are tremendously grateful for his generosity.

Please visit Rio Grande Foundation and Errors of Enchantment frequently. Now enjoy the article below and any related articles found through the links after Mr. Gessing’s post.

Most Principals and Teachers DO work hard for schools, but that doesn’t ensure success

“Recently, a representative of the New Mexico Association of Secondary School Principals wrote an opinion piece in the Albuquerque Journal defending his profession.

The most interesting part of the article comes toward the end where the author makes a clear grammatical error when he states, “Let’s not listen anymore to rhetoric that is being promoted by special interest groups that want us to believe that are schools are failing.” (emphasis added to the faulty wording which should be “our). I’ve certainly mis-typed and even mis-spelled words in my writing before, but having such a blatant error in an article written on behalf of school principals is not comforting.

More important is the sentence itself. “Special interests” want us to believe that schools are failing. I’m sure that as an educator, one gets tired of hearing about the failures of the system they are a part of, but that’s the issue, the system. As Capitol Report New Mexico reported just this week, New Mexico spends 20th most per pupil in the nation, but has some of the worst results when it comes to student achievement. Clearly something is failing.

And, yes, poverty is higher here and we have more minority students than most states, but Louisiana which has many of the same problems as New Mexicoincluding poor performance — has adopted the most robust school choice in the nation and an astonishing 91 percent of parents approve. If New Mexico’s principals really cared about their “customers” and wanted to improve the failing system they are a part of, wouldn’t they consider emulating Louisiana?”

English: Seal of New Mexico

English: Seal of New Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Thomas Sowell: Politics Versus Education

Fair Use Notice

Politics Versus Education

By Thomas Sowell

thomas_sowellOf all the cynical frauds of the Obama administration, few are so despicable as sacrificing the education of poor and minority children to the interests of the teachers’ unions.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempt to suppress the spread of charter schools in Louisiana was just one of the signs of that cynicism. His nationwide threats of legal action against schools that discipline more black students than he thinks they should are at least as damaging.

Charter schools are hated by teachers’ unions and by much of the educational establishment in general. They seem to be especially hated when they succeed in educating minority children whom the educational establishment says cannot be educated.

Apparently it can be done when you don’t have to hire unionized teachers with iron-clad tenure, and when you don’t have to follow the dogmas in vogue in the educational establishment.

Last year, there was an attempt to shut down the American Indian Model Schools in Oakland, California — schools that had been ranked among the top schools in the nation, schools with the top test scores in their district and the fourth highest scores in the entire state of California.

The reason given was that the former — repeat, FORMER — head of these schools was accused of financial irregularities. Since there are courts of law to determine the guilt or innocence of individuals, why should school children be punished by having their schools shut down, immediately and permanently, before any court even held a trial?

Fortunately, a court order prevented this planned vindictive closing of this highly successful charter school with minority students. But the attempt shows the animus and the cynical disregard of the education of children who have few other places to get a comparable education.

Attorney General Holder’s threats of legal action against schools where minority students are disciplined more often than he wants are a much more sweeping and damaging blow to the education of poor and minority students across the country.

Among the biggest obstacles to educating children in many ghetto schools are disruptive students whose antics, threats and violence can make education virtually impossible. If only 10 percent of the students are this way, that sacrifices the education of the other 90 percent.

The idea that Eric Holder, or anybody else, can sit in Washington and determine how many disciplinary actions against individual students are warranted or unwarranted in schools across the length and breadth of this country would be laughable if it were not so tragic.

Relying on racial statistics tells you nothing, unless you believe that black male students cannot possibly be more disruptive than Asian female students, or that students in crime-ridden neighborhoods cannot possibly require disciplinary actions more often than children in the most staid, middle-class neighborhoods.

Attorney General Holder is not fool enough to believe either of those things. Why then is he pursuing this numbers game?

The most obvious answer is politics. Anything that promotes a sense of grievance from charges of racial discrimination offers hope of energizing the black vote to turn out to vote for Democrats, which is especially needed when support from other voters is weakening in the wake of Obama administration scandals and fiascoes.

Eric Holder’s other big racial crusade, against requiring identification for voting, is the same political game. And it is carried out with the same cynical promotion of fears, with orchestrated hysteria from other Democrats — as if having to show identification to vote is like a revival of the Ku Klux Klan.

Blacks, whites and everybody else can be asked for identification these days, whether cashing a check or using a credit card at a local store or going to an airport — or even getting into some political meetings called to protest voter ID laws.

But to sacrifice the education of children, especially children for whom education may be their only ticket out of poverty, is truly a new low. As someone once said to Senator Joe McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is http://www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

 

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Errors of Enchantment: “Education Group,” wants to kill innovation and competition

We are thankful to Mr. Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation for permission to post this article from Errors of Enchantment.

“Education group” wants to kill innovation and

competition

Posted by – March 18, 2014 –

I rarely laugh out loud at Albuquerque Journal headlines, but I did this morning. The headline was “Education Group Protests SF Contract.” What a euphemism! The National Education Association (NEA) is not concerned with “education.” It’s concerned with getting more money out of taxpayers. It does as all government employee unions do: by convincing politicians to hire more dues-paying teachers, limiting competition, increasing pay and benefits for its members, and supporting friendly politicians who will give them MORE.

The case from Santa Fe is a classic example. As the story notes, Santa Fe Public Schools have a new program designed to get dropouts back on track for a diploma. The rub is that they’ve hired a private company (heaven forbid) to run the program. Implied, but not stated in the story is that the teachers in the program are unlikely to be unionized.

The union cites a provision in New Mexico’s Constitution which states that “public schools, colleges, universities and other public educational institutions “shall forever remain under the exclusive control of the state,” and that no part of the funds “shall be used for the support of any sectarian, denominational or private school, college or university.” To say the least, this is a provision of New Mexico’s Constitution worthy of changing, but there will likely be a legal battle over whether it makes the school illegal or not.

The more important thing is that the NEA is attempting to deny students who are not being served by traditional schools a different option for their educational services because the program in question does not serve the selfish needs of the union.

Interestingly enough, an “important” provision of New Mexico’s Constitution is ignored on a daily basis in New Mexico schools. Sec. 8 states “The legislature shall provide for the training of teachers in the normal schools or otherwise so that they may become proficient in both the English and Spanish languages.” I don’t know how many of New Mexico’s teachers are fluent in Spanish, but I have met several teachers who taught in government schools and I don’t believe they spoke Spanish.

National Education Association Headquarters by the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s Note: If you wish to comment at Mr. Gessing’s Errors of Enchantment page you may click on this link 

Be sure to check the related articles below.

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