California parents set to take over failing school thanks to Trigger Laws

Parents in the impoverished desert community of Adelanto, California, will become the first in the nation to seize control of a failing public school under a controversial “parent trigger” law, the parents announced Monday.

The Adelanto School District had fought to preserve control over Desert Trails Elementary School. But on Friday, Superior Court Judge Steve Malone ruled that the parents had met all the requirements under the trigger law by gathering signatures from the legal guardians of at least half the students at Desert Trails.

Judge Malone ordered the district to validate the petitions and clear the way for parents to take over the school.

“This is a huge milestone in our struggle for our children to receive the basic education they are entitled to and deserve,” said Doreen Diaz, a mother who led the petition drive.

Desert Trails, which serves a student population that is mostly low-income and minority, has posted abysmal test scores for years. When they graduate from the school at about age 12, barely one in four students can pass basic proficiency tests in reading, writing and math.

Ben Austin, who helped organize the trigger campaign through a nonprofit group called Parent Revolution, said parents would immediately begin soliciting proposals from private management companies interested in running Desert Trails as a charter school.

via California parents set to take over failing school | Reuters.

The school would continue to be publicly funded and open to all students, but as a charter, it would be free to write its own curriculum and disciplinary rules and hire and fire staff without the constraints of union contracts.

Carlos Mendoza, president of the district’s Board of Trustees, said he plans to urge his colleagues to appeal the court ruling.

Mendoza pointed out that nearly 100 parents who had signed the original trigger petition later signed a second petition asking that their names be removed. Many said they had not fully understood the campaign and didn’t want to convert Desert Trails into a charter. The judge, however, ruled that they could not rescind their names.

Trigger advocates say they’re only interested in improving educational opportunities for their children.

California was the first state to pass a parent trigger law. It lets parents in schools with the lowest student test scores band together to force change: They can fire teachers, oust administrators or turn the school over to private management.

Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana have since passed trigger laws and they are being debated in several other states, including New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Teachers’ unions generally oppose trigger laws, saying there is no proof that mass firings or new management boost student achievement. But the concept of empowering parents to run their schools has gained considerable traction. Last month, the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed trigger laws.

Adelanto is the first community to successfully complete the trigger petition process. Parent Revolution also sponsored another trigger drive in Compton, Calif., but that remains tangled in court.

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Prosperity

I contend that prosperity is not something that can be measured. Prosperity cannot be compared in the way that you might add and subtract numbers. I believe that the root of prosperity is simple. One is prosperous to the extent that he believes that he has acquired those things in life that are of most value to him. It is quite possible that a man of great wealth could feel he has not prospered while a poor man could feel quite prosperous since only the individual himself can determine what he values, to what ends he directs his efforts, and judge the effectiveness of his actions in obtaining his most valued ends.

It’s dangerous to define prosperity in terms of a specific end. For instance, if we define prosperity as how much money someone has, the temptation would be to count the number in individuals within society who have reached the defined threshold and form assumptions regarding the percentage of prosperous to non prosperous people. But this number would not truly indicate prosperity. It would only shed light on the number of people who have valued large hoards of money more than the rest of society. Surely a certain portion of those who had worked to acquired great sums of money may consider themselves prosperous, but others who had not, cannot rightfully be judged by the same scale.

So because prosperity is subjective and only the individual can determine for himself how prosperous he feels his efforts have been, it must be true that in order to achieve prosperity, man must be free to invest his own resources towards ends that he values most. Only within this framework of freedom can society hope to be prosperous.

I believe that for America to return to prosperity, the consensus among the individuals who comprise it’s population must be that, all men have the Right to determine for themselves what actions to take and how to use their personal resources to reach their own personal goals. We have to stop using the force of the State to curb the actions of others to our liking. For true prosperity, mans mindset must be one of tolerance. It must be engrained in every individual’s mind that the freedom that allows them to seek their own passions in life is the same freedom that allows others to act as they desire. To co-opt the power of the state to pass laws intended to legislate morality, does nothing but limit everyone’s freedom and empower the state.

40 Facts About Poverty

Every single day more Americans fall into poverty. This should deeply alarm you no matter what political party you belong to and no matter what your personal economic philosophy is. Right now, approximately 100 million Americans are either “poor” or “near poor”. For a lot of people “poverty” can be a nebulous concept, so let’s define it. The poverty level as defined by the federal government in 2010 was $11,139 for an individual and $22,314 for a family of four. Could you take care of a family of four on less than $2000 a month? Millions upon millions of families are experiencing a tremendous amount of pain in this economy, and no matter what “solutions” we think are correct, the reality is that we all should have compassion on them. Sadly, things are about to get even worse. The next major economic downturn is rapidly approaching…

#1 In the United States today, somewhere around 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.

#2 It is being projected that when the final numbers come out later this year that the U.S. poverty rate will be the highest that it has been in almost 50 years.

#3 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.

#4 Today, one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the poverty level.

#5 According to the Wall Street Journal, 49.1 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial benefits from the government.  Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

Click to read full article and 40 facts about poverty ».

via 100 Million Poor People In America And 39 Other Facts About Poverty That Will Blow Your Mind.

How Government Really Works

If anyone were to publish a textbook explaining how government really works, no school system would adopt it. If it did adopt it, it would probably lose its accreditation. In the interest of assisting some would-be writer/publisher, Chris Sullivan offers the following observations on how the system works.

The first rule is that the government is not bound by the moral law. It can lie, steal, murder, blackmail, torture (as long as you don’t call it torture), imprison, extort or do anything else that seems expedient for achieving its ends. It’s as Rod Serling said, “… it has one iron rule: Logic is an enemy, and truth is a menace.”

Lying is the first tool in the State’s tool kit, but it is important to convey the idea that everything the government says is true.

Stealing of course is the bedrock of the State. Without the ability to steal, the state could not exist. According to our system of income taxation, the State has a prior claim on all income and it will decide how much the rightful owner is allowed to keep.

Most Americans think that our public officials are different from the way they have been throughout recorded history. As a wise man once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” and we certainly have not developed a new kind of government official. They are all concerned with the acquisition and retention of power and will do anything to realize that end.

The importance of these principles is emphasized by the assertion of their opposites. Truth, honor, prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, respect for the individual are all fine until they get in the way of some State objective.

via Civics Lesson by Chris Sullivan.

Irony of Obama’s recent words of sympathy

Some are finding it difficult to square Obama’s recent words of sympathy in Colorado with the reality of the innocent lives lost as a result of drone strikes.

“[W]e may never understand what leads anyone to terrorize their fellow human beings. Such evil is senseless – beyond reason.” ~ Obama in Aurora CO

 


Colorado native Abdulrahman al-Awlaki wasn’t in a movie theater when his life met a sudden, violent end. He was enjoying a backyard barbeque with his cousin in southeastern Yemen when the home was destroyed by a drone-delivered Hellfire missile.

Abdulrahman was sixteen years old when he was murdered by the United States government. He had run away from home in a desperate attempt to find his father, Anwar, a “radical cleric” who was the well-publicized target of the Obama administration’s assassination program.

Despite the fact that Anwar al-Awlaki was never formally charged with a crime – let alone convicted of one – he was assassinated on Obama’s orders two weeks before the Regime slaughtered his son and eight other innocent people.

Seeking to justify the murder of a child, the Obama administration circulated the story that the 16-year-old was actually an adult “suspected” of being a “militant.”

That story was refined somewhat once it was proven that Abdulrahman was a teenager. However, the administration has never dropped the pretense that the summary execution of that innocent U.S. citizen was, in some sense, a strategic success. Since the Regime killed him – and, in its sovereign wisdom, the Regime never errs – the young man simply couldn’t be innocent.Aftermath in Aurora: Child-Killer as ‘Comforter-in-Chief’

Aftermath in Aurora: Child-Killer as ‘Comforter-in-Chief’
by William Norman Grigg

Who is in the best position to defend the individual from imminent threat?

Man, both individually and collectively, does not have the authority or power to rid society of evil. It is obvious that man’s laws and man’s punishments are insufficient to stop someone from doing harm to another. Despite this obvious fact, people continue to believe that the solution to violence is an ever more powerful authority figure capable of enforcing more stringent regulations.

Think this through with me. At some point in history, the first violent act occurred. Society believed that it could minimize such occurrences by tasking a portion of itself to passing laws against such violence and another portion of itself to enforce those laws and apprehend and punish offenders. Yet violence continues to this very day. The way I see it, there is no conceivable, rational scenario where sufficient authority could be acquired or given to any group of men or a single, all powerful leader who could, once and for all, eradicate the possibility of a future violent act.

So who is in the best position to defend the individual from imminent threat? Who is in the best position to calculate risk, prepare for uncertainty, and protect and guard life? The individual himself. No one else. It’s true that even if all restrictions were lifted, and the individual was free to act according to his best judgement, in ways he believed would best sustain his life, so long as his actions did not infringe on that same freedom of others, violence may still be present within society. But the notion that the superior method of curbing violence is through laws and regulations that end up limiting the individual’s ability to defend himself is nonsense. This is just another scenario where I believe freedom and individual liberty serves humanity better than all the best laid plans aimed at protecting society.

This morning, at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, James Holmes used three guns to shoot 71 people in two minutes. Twelve people died. Police report that he acted alone.

Consider this. In Aurora, CO it is:

  1. Unlawful to carry concealed “dangerous weapon”
  2. Unlawful to discharge firearms, unless by law enforcement on duty or on shooting range.
  3. Unlawful to have loaded firearm in motor vehicle.

Maybe, just maybe, if one of those people in that theater had been carrying a weapon this tragic event could have ended very differently. Perhaps, absent laws that prevent lawful, respectable citizens from protecting themselves against the use of violent force, this deranged young man and those like him would think twice before carrying out such unthinkable acts. Gun control laws turn average, honest citizens into sitting ducks for lunatics like this.

Perhaps the old adage is correct. When guns become illegal, only criminals will have guns. What is the likelihood of a safe society in that world?