Quick Hits

Here we go again with a series of “Quick Hits,” – items that are too short to make full post from, but are worthy of notice. At the same time, we have included the obligatory “Rule Five” image with a football theme for the upcoming Super Bowl.

And we’re off……

Maryland’s “Dream Act” is back in court. The “Dream Act” in Maryland requires the state’s colleges and universities to charge in-state tuition rates to those who are in the country illegally. The student must have attended a Maryland high school for 3 years and their parents must have paid Maryland State income taxes to qualify for the in-state tuition. Many people in Maryland objected to the new law and secured enough signatures to have the Dream Act placed on the November ballot. Proponents of the measure sued to have the measure thrown off the ballot claiming the signatures collected were not legal. That attempt failed when it became clear the opponents did have the required number of legal signatures.

Now the charge is the measure cannot be on the ballot because Maryland law does not allow referendums on government spending. Opponents of the measure say the Dream Act is a spending measure as the amount of money allocated to colleges depends on how many in-state students there are. Opponents claim the Dream Act applies to what the student pays, and not how the state funds the discounted rate.

The irony here is that the proponents of the measure have argued the lowered rates will not affect government spending or cost more in taxes. Now they are saying the referendum is illegal because it deals with spending.

We wish they would make up their mind.

Florida is looking at a law that would allow parents to fire teachers.

Two pieces of education legislation are on the table in Tallahassee. Under the Parent Empowerment Act, parents would have the power to fire school staff if they feel the school is not up to par. Under the Parental Involvement and Accountability in the Public Schools Bill, teachers would actually grade parents on their involvement in childrens’ schooling.

On the flip side, legislator has proposed a bill that would allow teachers to “grade” parents of elementary school children.

Representative Kelli Stargel also filed Parental Involvement and Accountability in the Public Schools Bill, or HB 543, requiring elementary teachers to grade parents on things such as communication, absentee and tardy rates, submission of emergency contact information, and submission of medical records. They’d be marked “satisfactory,” “needs improvement,” or “unsatisfactory.”

We can’t be the only people who see problems with this, can we? Some snowflake fails a course and the teacher is graded poorly and has their job threatened. Teachers suddenly can reach into the home to “grade” the parenting skills of parents?

This is a disaster in the making.

We do believe parents should have a say in teacher evaluations. By that we mean that an educator will grade a teacher on lesson plans, classroom presence, etc which are all valid areas of evaluation. At the same time, how a teacher informs parents and interacts with parents is a part of the job as well. Parents should have an input, but not a final say in the evaluation of a teacher.

Back to Maryland for this next story. Governor Martin O’Malley wants to increase taxes on the “wealthy.” This is not new. O’Malley has been attacking those who are successful for some time. Maryland has a budget deficit of a billion dollars which of course is brought by people not paying their “fair share” as opposed to the government living within its means. This new proposal continues Maryland’s attack on successful Marylanders. It is as if Maryland simply wantst to penalize those who work hard and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

What is causing an uproar in O’Malley’s proposal is the level at which he wants a new tax rate to take place:

Now Gov. Martin O’Malley wants them to pay more in income taxes. Since the McShalleys together earn more than $100,000, they fall among the top 20 percent of Maryland taxpayers — a group the governor calls the state’s “high earners.”

Under this proposal, a combined household income of $100,000 would be considered a “high earner.”

We can’t figure out what is more ridiculous, the fact that $100,000 is a “high earner” or that O’Malley is not worried that 80% of the people in the state make below that level.

O’Malley and the Democrats in the Maryland legislature have a history of penalizing those who work hard instead of trying to inspire others to lift themselves up.

See ya next time on “Quick Hits.”

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