Gullible citizens and prudent citizens

Proverbs 14:15  “The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.”

As the first session of our 29th state legislative session comes to an end, I wanted to share some of my thoughts.  This is not intended to come close to a comprehensive review of every bill presented over the past few months, or every legislator’s move.  What I do intend to address are the bills which were most important to me and the communications I had with legislators concerning those bills.

First up is Senate Bill 89, now being called CSSB89.  Below, you can read the sponsor statement on this committee substitute bill, and following that is a video of Senator Dunleavy which puts into words my own thoughts and findings.

SB89 Sponsor Statement for CS(EDC) Version

It is my firm belief that education of one’s child(ren) is not only a parental right, but also their obligation.  While some parents choose to hire out that responsibility to a public/private/charter school for one reason or another (I’m not judging individual situations here), others choose to take the lead and educate their children based out of their home.  In the end, it is parents who are held responsible for the education and direction of their child, regardless of who they chose to raise their child.  SB 89 reinforces this idea, while at the same time ensuring that the most involved parents are not penalized in some way for their awareness and sobriety in raising their future adults.  Also included in this bill is direction to keep abortion service providers and their materials out of schools.  I’m all for a qualified science teacher addressing the biology of human procreation and answering questions raised by their students.  I’m even for these teachers addressing the risks involved in physical intimacy, especially before marriage, and especially with multiple partners.  I am not for outside organizations who make money from the murder of infants and the destruction of families entering into the schools under the guise of educating the high-risk youth population.  Abortion service providers are attempting to put a band-aid (albeit one that causes more damage) on a problem that runs far too deep for them to come close to touching.

Now for Senate Bill 80, also sponsored by Senator Mike Dunleavy…

SB 80 Sponsor Statement

For many people, it may seem that education reform snuck up on us overnight.  I contend that the greatest atrocities to public education in the United States have been implemented within my own generation.  Standards have dropped, been adjusted, re-worded, slid up and down scales, and who knows what else.  Test have been created in order to collect data on school and teacher performance, thereby placing children into little boxes that must perform accordingly.  The jobs of teachers and administrators are now on the backs of our children, and schools that fail to perform according to varying formulas must create ridiculous plans in which they outline how they will fix whatever they perceive to be the problem.  Madness.  All madness.  How much better would it be to apply the absurd amount of funds currently applied to teaching teachers how to teach every new set of standards, implementing new tests and exams, and conforming to the federal government’s latest programs, to the paychecks of those educators on the front lines?  How much better off would we all be, if we were to go cold turkey from the strings-attached cash flow from the federal government, and take care of our own darn selves?  How much better off would our schools be – can you imagine?! – if we were to jump off the “latest and greatest curriculum” train and educate our children using *gasp* traditional texts and classic literature?  What if…?

What I appreciate about SB 80 is that AK DEED would no longer be allowed to quietly implement new standards and tests, nor accept federal monies, without being questioned about it and having the legislature approve the decisions.

On the house side, from the bold and courageous Representative Lora Reinbold, comes House Bill 85, and from Representative Gattis, House Bill 80.  I’m running out of time today that I can spend here on the computer, but I strongly urge you to read about these bills for yourself.  Here are the sponsor statements for each:

HB85 Sponsor Statement

HB80_Sponsor Statement

Perhaps education isn’t on your radar, but sport fishing is.  Is the oil industry important to you?  Whatever issues face our state and Alaskans as a people are likely being addressed to some degree in our state legislature.  Familiarize yourself with this website, which holds all working documents and has many archived documents, contact information for legislative members, and much more.  As the Proverb heading above attests to, those who are simple are easy to persuade – gullible.  Those who are prudent take time to consider the different sides of an issue and think through their words and actions.  May we all be found prudent in our lives, and not gullible, believing anything that tickles our ears.

~VRae

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