Sunday, April 19, 2015

NCCM Opposed: LD 956 An Act to Allow Community Schools

The bill, LD 956 "An Act to Allow Community Schools", is so utopian that it is surprising anyone could take it seriously; but certainly many will, because for them the ends will justify the means. This seems to be a desperate attempt to save public schools by making them not just part of the community, but the actual community itself; not just guardians of our children while they are at school, but surrogate parents by forcing the children to live at school. Essentially, our children will be held hostage.

This is a tightly woven master plan to turn the community school into the center of all cradle-to-grave needs. Look at the positions schools commonly now have on the payroll; Police officers, doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, nutritionists, ed-techs, data specialists and many others who arguably are not directly related teaching.

There is a huge moral issue here: Are we going to let our schools, staffed by an army of bureaucrats and social workers, take our children away by keeping them for nearly all their waking hours and acting as their primary caregivers?

Let's look at the practical issues first.

Section 9921

There is no funding mechanism here. So, where will we get the money to provide for all of these services A--X?

  • Has anyone even tried to guess at the cost of providing all of these services? 
  • $250K per year is allocated - seems very low. Is this just to cover salaries for the person appointed in each district to lead the effort? If the community feels this has value, they can contribute directly to fund this effort. Long term success would require 100% commitment – that is best exhibited by willingness to fund.
  • How long will it take to implement these? 
  • Are there any examples?  Are there any model programs that show demonstrable success? 
  • Where will all these providers come from?  Maine already has as shortage of medical and dental professionals; how will this bill provide for more? 
  • Who is responsible for the quality of the services? 
  • Who decides which children and families get which service? 
  • What about Mainers who don't have any children?  Do they get these services too? 
  • Who is responsible for malpractice and abuse claims?
  • Since a "community school" provides access to services A--X "24/7/252", how will schools be structured physically to do this?  Will we have to build new wings for doctors' and dentists' offices?  Will the school districts provide busing to existing facilities?   
  • Using school buses?  And how will districts address the additional staffing needed for doing all of this?
  • What exactly is meant by "Participates in a community-based effort to coordinate and integrate educational, developmental, family, health and other comprehensive services through community-based organizations and public and private partnerships" under the definition of "Community School"? 
  • What exactly do "participate", "coordinate", and "integrate" mean?

Since Maine law gives school board total autonomy from the public, i.e., the boards do not "represent" the members of the community, how can we ethically allow a school board to make such a decision that will literally change the entire structure of the community and binds all of our citizens to this scheme?

Why should we give school boards this power?  Since most boards are nothing but puppets of the superintendents, this will effectively make the superintendent ruler of the district!  Do superintendents have the experience and talent needed to become the next Solomon?

Section 9922

  • How is a school supposed to meet the goals under Subsection 1?  
  • What exactly do these terms mean?  
  • What is the clear definitions and descriptions of when these conditions are met?
  • Some of the initiatives like legal and mental health could raise issues of confidential information breaches that would be illegal. 

How can a board as currently structured perform any of the tasks in Subsection 2?  Will they hire outside consultants?

How much time will the board spend on meeting the conditions of Subsection 3?

  • Who will do the research?  
  • Who will be responsible for the actual work and its accuracy? 
  • Where will the money come from, when our schools are grossly underfunded now?
  • How can the local communities sustain the very likely huge increase in their property taxes?

This is nothing short of the sort of forced collectivization attempted by the Soviet Union in the '20s and '30s. Where is the constitutional authority to do any of this? How can teachers and administrators, who have no experience whatsoever in providing or integrating these services into schools, be asked to do these tasks? What happens to education under the conditions, do proponents of this even care about that?!

Consider the following scenario: You are a father (or mother) of a little daughter, how would you react?

"Daddy, the school is making me have a gynecological exam tomorrow." 
"What!? They didn't tell us!  You're too young!" 
"No, they said it's because of medical science that all girls have to have this because of the averages. And they'll give us the cytomegalovirus vaccine too, because they expect us to start having sex soon; because that's the average." 
"I'm complaining tomorrow and taking you out of school!"  
"No, Daddy, they told me to tell you that if you complain you'll be arrested for child endangerment."

If you have a son, then change the references to homosexuality sensitivity training, including videos.

Since we don't tax anywhere near enough to pay for what we have and need now, where will the money come from to provide all of this?

Let me introduce you to my new company, GCP: Great Communities Partnership.

GCP is funded by Wall Street and Silicon Valley billionaires. We hire the best retired school personnel, nurses, doctors, lawyers, etc.  Everyone needed to provide the services listed in LD 956.

We got so rich, because our lobbyists kept our tax rates near zero for decades, while the public services were starved for cash.

But now we're ready to provide our "business solution to your community needs (TM)".

Of course it will cost money. (Hey!  We're a business.) But don't worry. If you go into tax foreclosure, since you can't afford the property tax hike after we start working for you, then we'll buy your house (cheap) and rent back to you while you work for us (cheap).

But don't call it 21 Century sharecropping. You'll hurt our feeling and be liable for commercial defamation.

Contact the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee and tell them to oppose LD 956, An Act to Allow Community Schools.