[This is how to profoundly change the political landscape over time.]
In North Carolina, the number of homeschoolers has now surpassed the number of students attending private schools.
That statistic may seem shocking if you’ve been a stranger to the growth of the homeschooling movement, which has rapidly increased in recent decades.
In 1973, there were approximately 13,000 children, ages 5 to 17, being homeschooled in the United States. But according to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of the 2011-2012 school year, that number has grown to almost 1.8 million or approximately 3.4 percent of the school age population. Other sources report numbers well over 2 million.
In the Tar Heel state alone, homeschooling has increased by 27 percent over the past two years.
Those are pretty impressive numbers for a movement considered “fringe” not that long ago and that has only been legal in all 50 states since 1996.
So, why are more parents making the choice to homeschool? As with many decisions, it’s rarely one single factor. The Department of Education, which surely isn’t happy with the trend, has tracked the issue since 2003. According to its findings:
- In 2003, 85 percent of parents said they chose homeschooling because of “a concern about the school environment” which included worry about safety, drugs or negative peer pressure. That number jumped to 91 percent by 2011.
- In 2003, 72 percent said “a desire to provide religious or moral instruction” was a major reason. In 2011, that number had increased to 77 percent.
- In 2003, 68 percent said “dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools” contributed to their decision. By 2011, that was up to 74 percent.
And my guess is when the figures are reported related to the past two years you’ll see the number of parents citing “dissatisfaction with academic instruction” spike with the growing uprising against Common Core and national standards. Those who run local homeschooling groups in North Carolina say Common Core is a big factor.
Naturally, those representing the public education establishment don’t find homeschooling up to their standards. The National Education Association, the country’s largest teacher’s union, declared in a 2011 resolution: “The National Education Association believes that homeschooling programs based on parental choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience.”
But, there is quite a gap between what the NEA believes about homeschooling and the actual results from homeschooling. According to Education News:
Recent studies laud homeschoolers’ academic success, noting their significantly higher ACT-Composite scores as high schoolers and higher grade point averages as college students. Yet surprisingly, the average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students.
What is not calculated in the cost line above for homeschooling is the time spent by a parent teaching. But the bottom line is still the same – overall, homeschooling costs less than public education and produces better results.
Add that to the growing list of reasons fewer children are getting on a school bus this year.
By Greg Barnes
Monday, August 04, 2014
The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) did not tell the owners why they confiscated their vehicle. The $60,000 Land Rover was one of 40 vehicles seized that day by DHS.
by Paul Joseph Watson
In another example of how the Department of Homeland Security has expanded far outside the purview of its original function, six vehicles full of DHS agents were required to seize a Land Rover from a couple in Statesville, N.C. due to the fact that the vehicle allegedly violates EPA emission standards.
As part of its mission to “protect the Homeland,” the DHS has been busy seizing imported vehicles that don’t comply with safety and CO2 regulations.
Jennifer and Bill Brinkley were satisfied that their $60,000 dollar purchase of a Land Rover Defender on eBay complied with regulations because it fell into the exemption category of a vehicle 25 years or older.
However, when DHS agents turned up at the property, they compared the car’s Vehicle Identification Number to a list and immediately seized the Land Rover. The couple were not given “a chance to debate the issue.”
WBTV’s Steve Ohnesorge said DHS agents conducted “almost like a raid to get the car.”
“it’s just unnerving the way they did it,” said Bill Brinkley.
The feds have given the Brinkley’s 35 days to appeal the seizure but refuse to tell them where the vehicle is located. The DHS has also failed to respond to media requests about the incident.
The Department of Homeland Security, created in the aftermath of 9/11, was tasked with the role of protecting America from terrorists, man-made accidents and natural disasters. However, the DHS has been turned into a national police force with a remit that extends from seizing websites for copyright infringement to confiscating fake NFL merchandise.
As the Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead explained in a widely circulated article last month, the DHS is becoming America’s domestic standing army.
“The menace of a national police force, aka a standing army, vested with so much power cannot be overstated, nor can its danger be ignored,” wrote Whitehead, before listing numerous examples of how the DHS is instrumental in pushing America’s decline into a militarized police state.
One such example occurred earlier this month in Greenville, North Carolina, when teams of armed DHS agents showed up outside a courthouse building. There was no threat to the building – the purpose of the agents’ presence was to “let people know they’re in the area,” while encouraging residents to snitch on their neighbors via the ‘See Something, Say Something’ program.
In another incident, the DHS conducted a military-style invasion of a small town in Illinois complete with armored vehicles, a Black Hawk helicopter and a phalanx of heavy duty equipment and weaponry. It subsequently emerged that the reason behind the show of force – which spooked locals – was to apprehend one man for downloading indecent images on his computer.
Given this history, the Brinkleys should probably count themselves lucky that they didn’t have guns pointed at their head during the seizure of the Land Rover, which the DHS apparently sees as a bigger threat to America than the nation’s porous borders and the fact that the TSA, a subdivision of the DHS, allows illegal aliens to board planes without identification.
ORIGINAL SOURCE WBTV.COM
By Bruce Siceloff
Originally posted March 31, 2014
RALEIGH – North Carolina leaders are trying earnestly to identify a dependable source of transportation revenue that will keep pace with the needs of a fast-growing state – but at the same time, they’re skittish about what they’ll find.
A state Board of Transportation committee this week will receive a recommendation that North Carolina test-drive an approach that seems both daunting and inevitable: Start taxing drivers by the mile instead of by the gallon.
The idea of a mileage fee is simple. But the execution is complicated, and the politics are dicey.
At least 10 other states have considered mileage fees. A few hundred Triangle area drivers took part in a national study done by the University of Iowa several years ago, with GPS technology installed in their cars to count the miles as they traveled in each state and each local jurisdiction.
In theory, with such a system in place, one day you might pay X cents a mile to the federal government for the 100 miles you added to the odometer last week – plus state taxes at different rates for the 80-mile share that took place in North Carolina and the 20 miles in Virginia. Meanwhile, Raleigh might claim a piece of the action, too, because you spent 50 of those miles on city streets.
It could be easy to set these per-mile rates so that the average driver pays about the equivalent of today’s per-gallon fuel tax. You could decide how much higher the per-mile charge would be for the heavy trucks that do most of the damage to our highways and bridges.
That sounds fair. And it sounds creepy. If the tax collectors know where we’ve been driving, who else knows?
“Our participants, even though they saw the mileage charge being a fair and equitable move, they were concerned about privacy and what’s going to happen to that data,” said Paul Hanley of the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, who directed the Road User Charge Study.
Drive more, pay more
Ever since the state collected its first penny per gallon in 1921, the fuel tax has resembled a user fee: The more you drove, the more you paid. The more gas we burned, the more money we had for road-building and other transportation needs.
But this is changing fast as our cars squeeze more and more miles out of every gallon. And in 2012 with support from automakers, the Obama administration announced aggressive new rules that will push the average fuel-economy standard even higher, to 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025.
This trend is good for plenty of reasons but not for North Carolina’s ability to fix bridges and widen freeways. We rely more heavily on the gas tax and less on other sources than most states do.
The state Department of Transportation figures that gas and diesel fuel consumption will decline only a little in coming years – falling from a peak of 5.6 billion gallons in 2007 to 5.1 billion gallons in 2025. But during that same period, the state population is expected to swell from 9 million to 11.1 million people – almost enough to offset the improvement in fuel economy.
As transportation costs rise, DOT expects revenue collections to fall about $1.7 billion short of what we’ll need over the next decade.
Other states are coming up with their own ideas. Virginia has decided to collect a big share of its transportation money from new sales taxes. Pennsylvania’s solution will effectively raise the state gas tax by about 27 cents a gallon over the next three years.
North Carolina leaders aren’t crazy about increasing a gas tax that already is among the highest in the nation.
“So far as I can see, there’s not a lot of political appetite for changing a tax rate that people are reminded, every time they fill up, that they’re paying,” said Nick Tennyson, DOT’s chief deputy secretary.
We’ve had several studies of this problem over the past decade, when Democrats were in charge and the looming problems were farther in the future. Now the Republicans want their own take on it, and they are expressing a greater sense of urgency.
“We always thought we had a few more years, and now I don’t think we feel that way any more,” said Cheryl McQueary of Greensboro, a retired U.S. DOT official and private sector executive appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to the Board of Transportation. “We need to find some alternative revenues, such as tolling – or we need to deal with existing options for revenue, like the gas tax, like vehicle registration fees.”
McQueary chairs a board committee charged with finding answers and making recommendations. On Wednesday, her panel will hear “revenue enhancement” proposals from Larry Goode, a former state highway administrator, and Leigh Lane of the N.C. State University Institute for Transportation Research and Education.
Lane and Goode could not be reached for comment, but their ideas are sketched out in a file posted on the DOT website.
The big options
Among the big-dollar options: Add a percentage point to the highway use tax on car sales, which is lower in North Carolina than in neighboring states, to generate another $170 million a year. Halt the transfer of $255 million a year from the Highway Fund to the state’s General Fund.
One likely prospect is congestion pricing, already used in several states and planned for an Interstate 77 project in Charlotte. It would employ North Carolina’s electronic toll collection technology to set variable rates for travel in special freeway lanes for drivers willing to pay higher tolls when the other lanes are more heavily clogged.
The Lane-Goode report suggests North Carolina could raise $495 million a year from a tax of one-half cent per mile on cars. This is a lot lower than the mileage tax suggested in DOT’s 2040 plan, 2 cents a mile.
Whatever the rate, Lane and Goode recommend that DOT launch a pilot program to test a system for collecting mileage fees. They mention a 1-cent fee for trucks, but other studies have suggested higher rates.
Rather than get tangled in Iowa’s GPS technology, North Carolina might test the water with something simpler, like an odometer reading every year when we get our cars inspected. That would be easier to administer, but it wouldn’t give car owners credit for those miles they drove in Virginia last week. It’s not clear what Lane and Goode will suggest.
“Mileage fees are attractive until people start to struggle with exactly how they would want to implement them,” Tennyson said. “The issues get down to things like if you want to have the most accurate system, then the vehicle has to report where it’s been and at what hours of the day or night, and people don’t want to do that.”
Americans are known to be concerned about their privacy – even as they give away more and more of their personal information. Auto insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who agree to install technology that records information about how fast they drive and other safety indicators.
McQueary is noncommittal on the idea of a pilot study for some kind of mileage fee in North Carolina. She hasn’t heard the recommendation, and her committee has not discussed it. But she mentions a McCrory administration priority to postpone recommending new transportation taxes until DOT publishes a new 25-year plan later this year, with updated projections of its long-term revenue needs.
“I guess we’re all hoping that there’s going to be a needle we can find in this haystack that’s going to solve this problem,” McQueary said. “So far, nobody has the magic answer. But we’re looking.”
First highlighted by Daren Bakst, my friend and former colleague here at John Locke, North Carolina’s forced-sterilization program was a complete failure by all three branches of government to protect citizens. The legislature approved it, the executive branch implemented it, and the judiciary deemed it constitutional (the ruling in In Re Moore of 1976 is especially atrocious; it declared it the legislature’s “duty” to enact sterilization laws and “limit a class of citizens in its right to bear or beget children with an inherited tendency to mental deficiency, including feeblemindedness, idiocy, or imbecility,” so as to “protect the public and preserve the race from the known effects of the procreation”).
The eugenics program, which spanned five decades, from 1929 to 1977, was an idea pushed by “progressives” whose intent was to further human evolution by preventing “undesirables” from reproducing, leaving reproduction to “desirable” members of society. North Carolina wasn’t alone, as we were joined by 30 other states in an idea that also fascinated and occupied Nazi Germany.
North Carolina‘s forced-sterilization program began before the Nazis’, and it lasted longer — in fact, over three-fourths of the approximately 7,600 victims were sterilized after 1945. The eugenics campaign included campaign literature that would sicken anyone with a healthy appreciation of human rights and liberty. The appendices of Bakst’s report offer a couple of examples. For sheer creepiness, nothing beats the pupil-less blue eyes of what I dubbed “Baby Eugene” in the “You Wouldn’t Expect…” cartoon booklet of 1950. And then there is “The Lucky Morons” poem by Dr. Charles Gamble, a prominent member of the Human Betterment League of North Carolina, which concludes:
… And there weren’t any children’s
mouths to feed — although
they wouldn’t have
known why if
the operation hadn’t
been explained to them.
And with just the two in the
Family, they kept on
being SELF SUPPORTING,
and they were very thankful they lived
in NORTH CAROLINA.
And the WELFARE DEPARTMENT
DIDN’T have to feed them
and the SCHOOLS didn’t
have to waste their efforts on
any of their children who weren’t very bright.
And because they had been
STERILIZED, the taxpayers of
North Carolina had
THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
and the North Carolina MORONS LIVED
HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
As Bakst and others have argued, because the forced-sterilization program was a government-wide abuse of her own citizens by the State of North Carolina, it was incumbent upon the state to acknowledge its wrong and take steps to address it. Compensating the living victims of the forced-sterilization program is a proper response, but getting the state to that point hasn’t been easy. It was a late casualty of budget negotiations last year, for example.
Not this year. The state budget bill recently finalized sets aside $10 million in a reserve fund for compensating victims of the state’s forced-sterilization program, to be divided equally among qualified recipients. This compensation would be excluded from consideration as income, resources, or assets. Also, the state would guard the confidentiality of claimants, whether or not they are proven qualified to receive compensation.