Chariho School Parents’ Forum

December 11, 2008

Let Parents Choose

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 9:21 pm

While we watch the video examples of the dictatorial attitude that naturally follows when there is a monopoly, I thought it would be a good time to ask for your involvement in the school choice movement.

The Alliance for School Choice, represented locally by my friends at the RI Scholarship Alliance, have started a campaign to collect 10,000 signatures from people who support school choice, either through vouchers or tax credits.

If you support choice, please take the time to sign up for this campaign by clicking HERE.  I have – and since this is RI, I did it twice, and once for my dead grandfather (kidding).

You can find a lot of information on the site also.



  1. For those “feelings” types who seem to think government employees and politicians should be running businesses, the government school system should trigger screeching alarms in your head. The government is not God. The government isn’t benevolent. Government is a collection of people who have chosen government to advance their own lot.

    Unlike business, government entities such as schools, can fail at their mission, and usually do, but as long as they can convince enough people to “feel” rather than think they can count on sustainability through our vote. Eventually it all comes crashing down, but perhaps not until long after most of us are dead.

    I support school choice because free markets and competition are the only proven winners in the history of mankind. Forcing children, especially children from moderate/low income families, into Chariho is wrong. If you “feel” good about government schools, try to remember the children you are harming just to make yourself feel good. Is it worth it?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 11, 2008 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

  2. Also, for those pondering choice, Mr. Felkner is correct when he says that choice makes every school a public school. But when choice is in play, not every school is a government school. That’s why it works so well.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 12, 2008 @ 10:26 am | Reply

  3. That’s my one problem that I still have with charter schools. They are often public schools with less financial oversight but given the benefits they do seem to help to get the “regular” public schools to function better.

    Comment by CharihoParent — December 12, 2008 @ 11:40 am | Reply

  4. Regardless of the quality, any competition makes you better. Monopolies usually don’t work so well.

    Comment by genedaniell — December 12, 2008 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

  5. RS found the following link to a Boston article on Massachusetts politicians holding two offices. The journalist writes about one guy who has been both state rep. and town councilor since 2001.

    The article is matter-of-fact and doesn’t make a big deal about the legal ramifications of these politicians serving dual roles. Now it would be safe to say the state legislature in Massachusetts has much more to do with town government than the Hopkinton Town Council has to do with the Chariho School Committee. I wonder why Chariho’s solicitor had to go down south to find relevant examples when our neighboring state has a plethora of examples? Oh, that’s right, Mr. Anderson was ordered to justify Mr. Felkner’s ouster…he was not looking to give solid legal opinion.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 15, 2008 @ 9:24 am | Reply

  6. An article on parental choice:

    This website has plenty of resources on education.

    Comment by RS — December 15, 2008 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  7. This comment has nothing to do with school choice.

    A senior from Chariho is putting on a fundraiser for his eagle scout project.

    His planned dinner is to benefit the JIMMY FUND. All proceeds will go to that charity.

    Anyone who has ever planned a dinner for a non-profit organization has an idea about how much time and effort goes into organizing such an effort, nevermind the fact that this young man is only 17 years old.

    If you would like to help out his cause, please call Andrew at 401-741-4033.

    Here are the details:


    3-6 p.m., December 21, 2008
    Parish House of First Seventh Day Baptist Church
    8B Church Street, Ashaway

    Cost: $10 per person

    Hosted by: Boy Schout Troops 112 Charlestown and 21 Ashaway

    Smoked and Roasted Turkey
    Green Beans
    Cranberry Sauce
    Mashed Potatoes

    If you are interested, please call Andrew at 401-741-4033. Calling in advance will help him plan for your attendance.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 15, 2008 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

  8. Nor does this comment Mrs. Buck. If Hopkinton has the right to choose another representative for the Chariho School Committee if the current display of ineptness plays out, lets hope that the Hopkinton Town Council will select Mr. William Felkner to be the School Committee member ‘appointed’ (and ‘not elected’, if that is the twist)and this charade will find immediate closure.

    Comment by Norm — December 15, 2008 @ 8:46 pm | Reply

  9. Great point Norm, appoint Mr. Felkner if the dog and pony show doesn’t work for the fool committee. Hopkinton doesn’t need Bill Day or Andy Polouski (Anti Hopkinton Education proponents)to dictate their personal stupidity to anyone.

    Comment by Connie — December 15, 2008 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

  10. The budget surplus was touched upon at the meeting, but with Mr. Felkner’s saga ongoing it was easy to overlook. The Rag is reporting Chariho ran another multi-million surplus again this year…$2,600,000. They have an accumulated unspent surplus of over $7,000,000. Considering it is the practice of government entitites to 11th hour spend so as not to have huge surpluses, we only wonder how much more of our money Chariho continues to steal every year.

    How could a majority of voters be stupid enough to give these people millions more? I don’t get it? Millions stolen from us every year and few seem to care.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 16, 2008 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  11. The dope is ‘if your not smoking it’ wow look how the white trash just saved up over 2 Mil instead of how do these useless bastards steal money and the councilors of the tri towns allow it! I have a feeling something bad is going to happen. Lets hope I’m wrong.

    Comment by Connie — December 16, 2008 @ 11:02 pm | Reply

  12. The problem is the councilors from Hopkinton keep bringing up the surpluses. Sylvia Thompson gave them document after document referencing their overstating expenditures and understating revenues. Also, Tom Buck and Deb Carney both requested more detailed budgets with budgeted and actuals for the previous 3 years. Problem is the voters by a majority keep approving the budgets. These people attend the budget workshops and make requests, but it is ultimately up to the school committee and the voters. And they both don’t seem to want to listen.

    I think the big fear is that a catastrophe is going to happen. I’ve heard it before. And when Hope Valley had the structural problems, well they felt redeemed. So, you budget expenditures tighter, and you create a line item for capital emergencies. I believe this is the intent for the 2-4% of the operating budget to remain as surplus which was voted on by the school committee this year.

    Deb Carney noted that the undesignated budget surplus is now 8%.

    I am pleased that more people are taking notice. Perhaps, people can get the word out. The budget workshops for Chariho are in January. They usually have 4 of them. I don’t have those dates handy.

    The omnibus meeting is January 22nd.

    Comment by Lois Buck — December 16, 2008 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  13. Mr. Felkner in a Fox News article:,2933,467626,00.html

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 17, 2008 @ 10:49 am | Reply

  14. Thanks for posting, CR> FYI I will be on Fox News National between 5 and 6 tonight

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 17, 2008 @ 11:29 am | Reply

  15. oops, schedule change. Cavuto today at 4, America’s News HQ on Friday @ 5. If you want to get updates on my day job activities, sign up on the website –

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 17, 2008 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

  16. And Fox and Friends tomorrow morning

    Comment by Bill Felkner — December 17, 2008 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

  17. In Wed USA Today, speaking of Education Secretary nominee Arte Duncan:

    “In seven years in Chicago, Duncan has created thousands of public preschool slots for low-income children, expanded teacher training, merit pay and charter schools while shuttering underperforming schools — all with improvements in students’ basic skills.”

    Let’s hope he keeps pushing merit pay and charter schools!

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 18, 2008 @ 12:02 am | Reply

  18. Time will tell. USA Today isn’t known for its objective reporting. Since the Dept. of Ed. is a fairly new government employing machine and probably an unConstitutional imposition upon state government, I’d just as soon see it go away. Realizing there’s little chance of that, I would have liked someone like Michelle Rhee. Dems have a history of being in the pockets of unions, so I don’t hold out much hope this guy will do anything positive, but who knows for sure.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 18, 2008 @ 2:43 am | Reply

  19. Chicago is heavily democratic as well, so any policy action towards charter and merit is a good thing. Rhee is great as well, Washington is probably the most democrat controlled district in the country.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 18, 2008 @ 9:15 am | Reply

  20. I guess even dems reach a point where they are no longer willing to sacrifice children’s future for union employees’ protection. There has been rumbling that they might stop funding Wasthington, D.C.’s choice program. Does Mr. Duncan has hte integrity to buck the unions? Why do politians so often choose private schools for their children while forcing poorer families into government schools?

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 18, 2008 @ 11:21 am | Reply

  21. Well, I hear BF did it due to retalliation concerns. As one with aspirations of SC, I had said that I would prefer the public schools, as part of my general theory of “life can suck, you need to deal with it, not run away”. I think you were the one that told me to reconsider.

    But, to your general point, richer folks can afford better schools and opt out of caring about public. Let’s be fair all the folks over at Chariho aren’t trying to provide a mediocre education at high prices, I’m sure it’s the opposite.

    There are some key realities to human performance, one of those is competition, ergo my support of charter schools and vouchers. Everyone needs a little prodding.

    There is also the political reality of who votes. Union members are good voters, generally informed, and will go out and volunteer time for candidates.
    There has also been miserably awful school administrations that screw good teachers, so I do believe in fair protections for people, however, gov’t worker compensation needs to mirror the rest of us. You can’t have one class of people with guaranteed pensions and the other seeing their 401K’s decimated with little prospect of social security being around for us.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 18, 2008 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  22. I know this is only one soundbite, and I’ve only begun to look into Arne Duncan, but this sounds like the government being involved in social engineering of not only the children, but the parents as well. With little information, I admit I might be overly cynical. I will continue to educate myself on this subject, and education does bring about learning, and learning is defined as a change in behavior, so I may change my mind on this one.

    Comment by RS — December 18, 2008 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

  23. Investor’s Business Daily has a different take than the USA Today on Arne Duncan.

    “Education: Barack Obama’s choice for education secretary tried to run Chicago schools like a business. As with most monopolies without competition, the result was an inferior product at high cost.”

    Here’s some lowlights.

    1. Opposes school choice.
    2. Duncan has been running the school system since 2001, but Chicago has remained below the national average in assessments.
    3. .Proposed a separate but equal high school for gay, lesbian, and transgendered students.
    4. Supportive of the CAC which spent $160 million to supposedly improve schools, but resulted in no improvement. Money down the drain.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 18, 2008 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

  24. To address Gene’s point in #21, I agree that most Chariho employees are not purposely trying to provide a “mediocre” education (although mediocre would be an improvement). What they do is try to take care of themselves and their families first, a natural human instinct, and it is up to us to make sure their self-interests don’t impede the educational mission.

    Administrators and School Committees are the first line of defense, and this is where Chariho comes up woefully inadequate. I don’t blame teachers and other employees for putting themselves before our children. I’m sure most of them have convinced themselves otherwise. If my boss allowed me to make the rules and he let my family and friends decide my salary and compensation, I’d be thrilled…and much richer too.

    We can respect and honor educators, but we must recognize they are humans and not charity workers who only care about other people’s children. This is malarkey. They care about their families first and foremost…as they should. We have to overcome our emotional desire to see government schools as inherently virtuous. They are not.

    Comment by Curious Resident — December 18, 2008 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

  25. I agree, no pressure = no performance in a gross majority of situations. Doesn’t mean people are bad, people need to be challenged, it’s human nature.

    I’ve seen in manufacturing union situations that their isn’t any incentive to work harder than the other guy. UAW is in the end state of this scenario, get too much for too long and you bankrupt the company, then there’s no jobs.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — December 18, 2008 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

  26. Lets hope that those well healed voters of Hopkinton that supported the bonds don’t wine at their council meetings when they realized they committed financial suicide. What a bunch of losers. I guess they didn’t pay attention to their council voices on their lack of support for their bonds. Sad that you would cut your own throats and expect Richmond and Charlestown to bail you out. I wanted us Charlestown voters to break the yoke of the other two towns but our financial IQ is at least a bit higher.

    Comment by Connie — December 18, 2008 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

  27. Mr. Felkner I caught you on representative joseph Trillo’s Issues and Answers show three times in passing or clicking through the remote. you continue to be impressive and back up feelings (wrong word everyone has feelings) concerns and opinions with FACTS, its really refreshing. As a Hopkinton resident I appreciate your candidness and more important your truthfulness with the NUMBERS and where and how to find them. All aboard the transparency train!

    To all the bloggers, be well, be warm, be safe.

    Season’s Greetings

    Comment by James Hirst — December 20, 2008 @ 6:23 pm | Reply

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