Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Christmas Reminder of God's Promises To Us

Merry Christmas to all of you!  I just love this time of year, don't you?  To me it's special because I know I'll be baking cookies with the kids and gathering with my family and friends over special, time honored recipes and traditions while celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Which brings me to the reason I'm writing this post today, to discuss the Christmas Story, the beautiful story we find in the books of the Bible known as the Gospels, about how a virgin named Mary was to be blessed by God to carry God's own son, Jesus.  We all know it by heart, I'm sure, but it's one of those stories that I love to hear unfold over and over, time after time.  Each time I read it to my kids, or read it to myself, I find something new or special, a hidden gem, or maybe a forgotten one.  You know, like when you watch your favorite movie and each time you notice something different.  Yeah, like that!

Little back story here, my grandfather on my mother's side was named Simeon.  Our oldest son has the middle name Simeon—to honor my grandfather and to have a living reminder of another man named Simeon who has a very touching role in the Christmas Story.  This brings me to my 'new ' favorite part of the story of Jesus' birth and something that proves just one more time, as if we needed it, that God always keeps his promises.

"Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.  He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ.  Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.  When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arm and praised God, saying:
          "Sovereign Lord, as you have 
            you now dismiss your servant in 
            For my eyes have seen your salvation,
               which you have prepared in the sight 
             of all people,
            a light for revelation to the Gentiles
            and for glory to your people in Israel."

I'm not sure if I'm more amazed by God's promise to Simeon or to Simeon's reaction after he gets to hold baby Jesus.  Simeon recognized God's sovereignty and his promise and then he says, "...you now dismiss your servant in peace..."  I can't honestly read that part without tears welling up in my eyes.  I can't also help but be reminded of the peace that my soul feels when he says that.  I feel a surrender or a freedom that you can't get anywhere else.  Reminds me of the song, "It Is Well With My Soul", because, it was well with Simeon that he had lived his life completely fulfilled.

The next sentence proves to be even more powerful, "...for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people..."  Simeon knew he was blessed, privileged even, to have actually looked into the face of God in the flesh.  I can't even begin to imagine how awesome that must have been.  I love how the salvation was for all people.  Not exclusive to the rich or the pharisees, no 'white privilege' in that statement.   We are all created equal in the sight of God.

I pray that we all find the same fulfillment that Simeon found; the kind of fulfillment that comes from a relationship with Jesus.  I also hope that by reading this that we're reminded again of how God keeps his promises to us; the promise of salvation and the promise of eternal life and how awesome that it will be when we are all called home to heaven to see the face of Jesus. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Time Rewind: A Look Back at My First Year With Texas GOP Vote

We're gonna party like it's 1999...Wait, not really.  As radio stations and music video shows do year end countdowns, I thought I would do a play on a countdown, sort of a look back, at my time as a blogger at Texas GOP Vote.  It's a fun look back at what I've done and which posts got the most attention and which ones, although they may have been my favorites, did not get quite as much attention as I thought they would.

I'll mix it up and start off with some of the not so popularly viewed ones beginning with my personal blog, "Politics and Motherhood: Making It All Work" which was a post about my decision not to run for a party elected position.  It wasn't an easy decision, but as I said in that one particular blog, "Politics will always be there, however, the youth of my family will not."  It only had about twenty page views total.

My very first blog for Texas GOP Vote was titled, "Everything's Bigger In Texas-Including Government" and that had 300 page views.  If you don't remember what that was about, I wrote it about the medical directives and end of life care and the changes that the state was trying to make to laws regulation patient choices when it came to care of their loved ones.  Some argued the new bill would make things better, but I disagreed, and still do.  Thankfully, the bill didn't make it out of committee, so nothing to worry about.  Until the upcoming session starts, that is.

Think back again to the 83rd legislative session, the sweeping pro-life bill that got held off until the very end and caused quite the stir at the capitol building in Austin.  Yep, SB 5 as it was referred to then, was something that I wrote about and that article had almost 1900 page views!  If I remember correctly, after "Will SB5 Have a Fairy Tale Ending" was published, the article made it to the top of Google news.  Needless to say, I was stoked!

Fast forward a bit to the special session that was called as a result of the failure to pass the pro life bill I referred to in the paragraph above, I wrote yet another article titled, "While Texas Senate Talks About Abortion Bill (HB2), Let's Talk About Sex "  Yeah, I did.  I wrote about how abstaining from sex takes abortion out of the equation.  Save yourself for marriage and no need to worry about perceived overreach of the government.  Heh.  That one got over 5200 views and nearly broke the server at Texas GOP Vote.  That was a home run blog that only took thirty minutes to write.  Hey, when you're hot, you're hot!

 If you haven't already figured out that I'm an advocate for citizens to get involved in their local government, then you haven't been reading my stuff!  To back up that claim, my article titled "March 2014 Texas Primary: Why Local Elections Matter" got almost 1300 page views!  Surprised me a little that so many people were interested in that same topic.  Glad I was able to write it and share!

More local involvement blogs revolve around the race for the Harris County GOP Chair position, a campaign that I was involved in heavily.  I titled the blog, "Is Harris County GOP Low Hanging Fruit for the Democrats?" That particular article got about 225 page views, which I was very proud of.  That is one of my favorite articles because it was about a campaign I was very passionate about.  I'm also proud to say that we did elect a new county chairman and as a result of that election, Harris County stayed Republican 'red'!  Paul Simpson is the leader that we needed and still need to keep us going in the 'right' direction.

A few more blogs I'd like to highlight that are recent additions to my repertoire are all about Common Core and the Glenn Beck event.  I was fortunate enough to be chosen, along with four other bloggers, to be present during the Make Common Core History Event put together jointly by Glenn Beck and FreedomWorks.  I did some preparatory work for myself and my readers before the event and the article titled, "Common Core FAQ's: Your Questions Answered" had over 1900 page views. Sweet!

I've had some more additions since I got the stats from Texas GOP Vote, mostly centered around the Texas House Speakers Race; Scott Turner vs. Joe Straus.  I am firmly on Team Turner, and win or lose, I'm proud to say that Ive been a part of their team and all of the hard work we've done together.  My first article titled, "Turner vs. Straus: Who Will Emerge Victorious?" had almost 250 page views, followed by "Is It Murphy's Law To Support Joe Straus" had almost 200 page views.

My work here within the conservative political movement is far from over, however.  This is my first year and a half with Texas GOP Vote and I didn't share all of my blogs.  Thanks to all of you out there who have read and shared and 'liked' my articles.  Thanks to those who have even disagreed with me and shared their views. No such thing as bad publicity, right?   Head on over to www.texasgopvote.com/users/kelly-horsley and check out the rest of my work.  Hope you like!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Grassroots Have Spoken: Scott Turner for Texas Speaker

"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you … you may know that your society is doomed."  Ayn Rand

Texas, we're there.  Need proof?  Look no further than the race for the Speaker of the House.  "The money is flowing to those who deal not in goods, but in favors" has never been more prevalent than in the dynamics of the Speaker of the House race.  Folks, we're in a battle for control of the agenda for the 84th legislative session and the stakes couldn't be higher.

Texas is known as a bastion of conservatism.  It's a Republican 'red' state, but far from conservative, by my standards anyway.  If we want to make it truly conservative, then we the people of Texas have got to keep our eyes on ALL of our elected officials to ensure that they are voting correctly and really and truly taking a stand to protect our freedom to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The Texas Speaker of the House plays a big part in all of these facets of liberty and if you are a friend of liberty, then you are no friend of Joe Straus.

I have written several articles about the speakers race and have discussed how important it is for us to have a say in who is elected speaker.  The handwriting is on the wall, folks.  County Republican parties all over the state of Texas have endorsed Scott Turner for Speaker of the House.  Not only that, but the body of delegates at the Republican State Convention held in June of 2014 voted to pass a resolution in which the vote for Speaker should be a vote cast by none other than the voters of Texas!

To pile onto the sentiment of unrest over the decision for Speaker of the House, on Monday night, the largest county in the state of Texas endorsed Scott Turner for Speaker.   I'm happy to say that I'm a member of the Executive Committee of the Harris County GOP by way of being a precinct chair.  The resolution was written and introduced by precinct chairman David Wilson with three speakers for the resolution and three against.  After some heated debate, the vote was taken and it passed. 

I'm not sure what more proof that the representatives need that we want a change in the Speaker of the House!  We all know the old saying, "Follow the money."  All of the representatives' support for Joe Straus has been bought and paid for.  I included a link in my previous blog, called, "Is the Republican Delegation of the state of Texas For Sale?" of all the different reps who have received  money from Straus.  We need to make a change.  I don't know about you, but I for one am tired of our representation being bought and paid for.  Scott Turner for Speaker!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Is the Republican Delegation of the State of Texas for Sale?

"You were bought with a price." 1 Corinthians 6:20

We all were, if you are a Christian.  Jesus paid the ransom for our sin with his own blood so that we could have eternal life.  Pretty hefty price, if you ask me.

One could say that our delegation of Texas State Representatives have been bought with a price, too.   Not one as noble as the price that Christ paid for our sins.  What I'm talking about here is their vote for the Texas Speaker of the House, bought and paid for by current Speaker of the House, Joe Straus. Follow the money, especially all the lobbyist money Straus distributes with strong strings attached.  See the article just written by a contributor to Raging Elephants Radio with a complete list of state reps who have received contributions from Speaker Straus.

Now, you might accuse me of being extreme here with the parallel I've drawn, but I don't think so.  See, the state of Texas and it's future rests squarely in the hands of the Speaker of the House, which is a position that needs to be held by a true conservative member of the house.  My choice?  Scott Turner, that's who.

Scott Turner understands the responsibility he has as a legislator and where our priorities should be.  From a fellow blogger, Adam Cahnman's most recent blog post he relays some of Scott's legislative priorities:

"...As a candidate for the Office of Speaker of the House, I have spent the last several months traveling across our great state and have heard the voice of the people calling for their representatives to help promote and protect our shared values of faith, family, and free enterprise. It is important that we focus on the future of Texas and not rest on the perceived victories of the past.

As the next Speaker of the House, I want us to focus on securing our borders, fully implementing E-verify, and completely ending the practice of sanctuary cites. Moreover, we can no longer put off giving parents and families a choice to provide the best educational environment for their children. Additionally, we must provide a solid financial environment for our state by repealing the Gross Margins Tax and implementing a fiscally conservative budget that exemplifies responsible stewardship of the taxpayers’ money.

I look forward to working with my fellow members to seize the opportunities set before us, work on the passage of the critical legislation the people are calling for, and move forward in a bipartisan effort to ensure true freedom and prosperity for Texas.”

As someone who's been working with the Scott Turner team, I've been privileged to hear him speak more than a few times.  One of the quotes I gathered from him that I found rather inspiring myself was this one, "Status quo and complacency rob you."  This quote can definitely be applied to the upcoming legislative session.

Sadly, as I mentioned earlier, it seems that the Straus camp has already sent out their talking points to his delegation, and their little army of 'lemmings' has all but regurgitated the information on all of their Facebook walls and at speeches around the state.  Lots of them reflect Scott's perceived inexperience as a legislator.  Another quote from Scott that refutes that claim, "I'm no stranger to scrutiny and accountability."

I believe it is that same scrutiny and accountability that he speaks of that will make him a great speaker.  Win or lose, Scott will take the vote to the floor, because in his own words, once again, "It's time."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

November 2014 General Election: Why Local Elections Matter

Hello, Texas, it's that time of year again!  No, I'm not talking about Pumpkin Spice Latte time at Starbucks or even Halloween, although both of those would apply.  I'm talking election time!  You may be making Halloween plans or even Thanksgiving plans, but for now, I'd like turn your attention elsewhere; to local and statewide elections, that is.

On the eve of early voting in a mid-term general election, I'm writing this to remind you of how important elections really are and how doing your homework on the candidates that are listed on the ballot can make a huge difference in the outcomes of court cases and policy decisions that are made.  Putting liberty minded, conservative candidates into elected positions is a HUGE start! All the candidates on the ballot have websites and they would love to hear from you!  Ask the tough questions and decide for yourself.  Don't rely on the slate mailers, dubbed pay to play by myself and many other local bloggers. Read my write up about them here and another local blogger called Rhymes With Right, whom I just become acquainted with, writes about them and other local issues here.  Another local blogger, Pondering Penguin has even written about pay to play on a state level and you can check it out here.

Now, granted, some of this may be more useful during a primary, but I still think it's important to know who you're electing.  You might be saying, it's too late, early voting starts tomorrow!  To that I say, it's only too late if you wait to make up your mind on November 5th.  Now, I have been part of the liberty movement for the past five years or so and been part of several organizations.  One of which was my own group called Katy Mommy Patriots and while we were a group, we put together a few research projects. First is a  document called, 'Who Are These People?'  Just a basic job description of local elected officials in Harris County.  I don't know about you, but keeping track of what the District Clerk does versus the County Clerk does can make my head hurt.  So we put together a guide to help keep all of it straight.  Your welcome!

The next project was one called 'How to Vet a Candidate' and it is also a great resource on different ways to gather information to make an informed decision on who to vote for.  The two worked really well together, actually.  I hope you find both of them helpful.

There are a myriad of candidates on the ballot; many statewide offices are up for grabs; Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General to name a few.  We also find ourselves voting for lots of judges as well; family court judges, supreme court justices for the state of Texas, etc.

Seeing all of these positions to be chosen, important ones at that,  I hope you will answer the call to get out and vote.  Your voice counts, make it heard. Early voting starts tomorrow and goes until October 31st and election day is November 4th.  If you want freedom, in its simplest form, then why not take an active role during an election?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

So Who Does Congressman Culberson Represent; Constituents or Colleagues?

"Working in Congress is like standing under Niagara Falls"-John Culberson (R) Texas said repeatedly during a town hall meeting on September 22, 2014

Really?  Sounds like a problem to me.  The button on the pants of the federal government has officially shot off into the atmosphere as the bloat and the sheer girth of government has increased to sizes previously unknown.  Houston, we have a problem.

Thankfully we have John Culberson fearlessly representing the good folks of Congressional District 7!  Um, scratch that.  Thankfully we have John Culberson representing the good folks of Congressional District 7!    Nope, wouldn't even go that far.  I think we can boil it down to 'we have John Culberson representing the good folks of Congressional District 7'.

I am not new to blogging about my Congressional Representative, Congressman Culberson.  I have written about him numerous times regarding his voting record, his lack of town hall meetings and about some follow up conversations that we've had about those posts.  Yet here we are once again talking about a town hall that he held here in Houston, this past Monday night.  Except this time, I made it interesting and I hijacked the town hall meeting.

The most recent blog I posted I titled Is John Culberson a Jeffersonian Republican...Or Not?  was about his voting record and his low scores with some of the top freedom groups, groups like Heritage Action, Eagle Forum and Freedomworks.  His score was the lowest with Freedomworks, a 53% rating, which is technically an 'F'.  So in order to make a point, I made copies of his Freedomworks score card and handed them out to the people who were attending the town hall.  Heck, I even handed one to the Congressman himself.  Yeah, I don't think he saw that coming.  Neither did his staff, because when the Congressman showed up, one of his staffers stuck her head out the door and said to him, "We need to talk!".

I could go on and on about the different questions that were lobbed in the direction of the Congressman that evening, but I won't.  I'll spare you and get straight to the point.  I was able to ask him a question about his self-proclaimed Jeffersonian-Republican affiliation and how he reconciles that ideology with all of the votes he's cast to increase or maintain spending on a wide range of programs.  He immediately reached inside his jacket for the Freedomworks Score Card I'd handed him and proceeded to go down the list to explain why he voted for each one.  After hearing his responses, I am personally not satisfied with the idea that there isn't anyone else out there to better represent the voters of CD-7, and here's why.  Each of the reasons he gave for a vote he'd cast were  boiled down to the fact that he'd listened to another Congressman or colleague that he trusted.  

Okay, I guess we all might run our options by another person for their opinion, but ultimately the choice we make is our responsibility.  Same with a vote that's cast; shouldn't the Congressman or Congresswoman be required to stand on his or her own to answer for the consequences?  I mean, have they forgotten the magnitude of their actions and the fact that they are spending our children's and grand children's money?  I think accountability is key to the relationship between a congresscritter and his or her constituents and I for one will not let up until I am heard.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is it Murphy's Law to Support Joe Straus?

"If you aren't willing to fight for what you believe, do not cry about what you will lose."
I have no idea who this quote is from, but I love it.  I think it's fitting of the upcoming Speaker's race for the Texas House.  What do I mean?  I mean that if you aren't willing to fight for a new, conservative Speaker of the House, then don't cry about what you will lose.  What will we lose?  The conservative stronghold that we have maintained here in Texas, despite the current speaker's liberal influence.

Let's introduce the players, shall we?  We have incumbent Joe Straus, with known ties to Democrats and a history of stalling conservative legislation.  We now thankfully also have Scott Turner, a staunch conservative who has vowed to his family and his supporters to see this race through to the bitter end.   Not only that, he has promised to make the vote for speaker an 'on the record' vote for all of the state representatives so that their constituents can see.  No more closed door, back room deals on Speaker of the House.

This race also has a history of pitting conservative activists against each other about whether or not to even 'pick this fight'.  Some say it's not worth the time and energy to help one candidate for speaker over another.  Some say that it doesn't matter who the speaker is, followed by those who say that we're wasting our time because our voice won't be heard with our representatives on this issue.  I used to be in one or a few of those camps, but I've changed my mind, and I hope after reading this, you might decide to get involved, too.

What I hear you saying is, how can we make a difference in this particular race, seeing as how it's perceived as such inside baseball, if you will.  Here's my answer: talk to your representatives.  Call their offices and chat with them about making Scott Turner their choice for Speaker.  Send them a note via e-mail or snail mail asking them to vote for Scott Turner.  Better yet, find out when they might be having a town hall meeting and show up to let them know how important their choice is for Speaker and how much you would like for them to vote for Scott Turner.  

Not being one to ask others to do something I wouldn't do, I thought I'd start us off with a town hall that one of the state representatives was holding here in Houston, Texas.  State representative Jim Murphy hosted a town hall this past weekend to a crowd of about seventy-five people.  He took us through the past session and what he sees on the horizon for the upcoming 84th legislative session, but that's another blog for another day.

Lo and behold, it was time for the question and answer session.  Oooh, pick me!  Pick me!  I raised my hand and after a few questions, he got to me.  With video camera rolling, I asked him about the speaker's race.  I wanted to know if I could get a commitment from him on whether or not he would be supporting Scott Turner for Speaker of the House.  He did the typical political song and dance and never really committed to make a decision.  You can watch the video here.  

So, that wasn't a total loss.  This just proves my point that we need to keep the pressure on our representatives to ensure that Scott Turner is elected our new Speaker of the House.  As Ronald Reagan once said, "When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Turner vs. Straus: Who Will Emerge Victorious?

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."  -Teddy Roosevelt 

This quote provides an appropriate introduction to the beginning of the Texas House Speaker's race; Scott Turner vs. Joe Straus, a race that's actually been a long time coming.  This speaker's race is one with a REAL flesh and blood opponent to Strauss, not a ghost of a man or men who plan to withdraw at the last moment so that we the people of Texas feel that there has been some valiant effort put forth on the part of the so called opponent.  A tactic that's been tried before so as to keep the status quo so that the same house speaker remains in place.

Who may make it a different race this time, you ask?  Scott Turner, that's who.  You're saying, who?  SCOTT TURNER!  A little background on Scott from his website, "Representative Scott Turner, a businessman, national motivational speaker and former NFL player, was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in November 2012.  He represents House District 33 which encompasses all of Rockwall County and portions of Collin County in North Texas."

The mood is different with this speakers race, and I'll tell you why.  As of the most recent Texas Republican Convention held in June, the delegates adopted a new party platform with this change under the section of "Election Integrity" as it pertains to the Speaker of the House Race: "We support an amendment to the Texas Constitution to make the Texas Speaker of the House a statewide election."  Translation: the activists in Texas have had enough of Speaker Strauss and his games when it comes to passing any conservative legislation AND his bullying tactics when it comes to committee chair selections.

Not only has this gained attention from news and media outlets statewide, it's gaining national attention.  Freedomworks, led by President Matt Kibbe have decided it's time to get involved.  From their announcement of their endorsement of Scott for Speaker of the House, "When I met Scott last month he blew me away with his passion for conservative principles, and with his passion for the state of Texas. I don't say this lightly - Scott is the real deal.  But  it’s his leadership that impresses me most. Scott is the type of guy that will bring Texas together. He will unite conservatives against Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in Texas, and keep this state free. Scott will keep Texas red!"-Matt Kibbe  Freedomworks even has a webpage set up for activists to visit and take action at standwithturner.com.

After all, that's the point, right?  Texas is a conservative state and has been a conservative state for quite a while and as long as we keep electing conservatives to represent us, we will remain a 'red' state.  However, there are groups out there, like Battleground Texas and others who aren't content to let Texas go to the conservatives who have called it home for the past few decades.  That's one of the many reasons why this race for Speaker is so important.  Joe Straus has known ties to Democrats.  How else can you explain why he was elected Speaker by 65 Democrats and only 11 Republicans?

Texas is one of the last bastions of conservatism and the Democrats know this.  They are coming after us hard and fast and unless we hold the line by keeping conservatives elected to the state legislature AND make sure we only pass conservative legislation, the Democrats will have their way here.  To do both of those things, we have to crown a new Speaker.  The Speaker has to be someone who isn't going to kill legislation by letting it die in Calendars committee by putting if off to a later date or who isn't going to fall back on the good ole boy system of appointing his buddies, or should I say, cronies to powerful committee positions.  Scott Turner is that man.  He is a man of integrity, he stands on his own; he doesn't owe anyone anything. Like the "man in the arena", he'll strive valiantly for a greater Texas.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Katy ISD: Got Debt?

There are many issues that we encounter and deal with as a community on a local, city, state, and a national level.  Some are more controversial than others, obviously.  There is one issue that can tear apart an education community or school district faster than any of these other issues; a school bond proposal.  Want to make it even more divisive?  Throw in a new football stadium proposal in the bond proposal.  Look. Out.

The Katy ISD bond is no different.  And sadly, it's a statewide epidemic.

However, even the folks that support the bond are coming up short on their logic, seemingly failing to consider what the passage of this bond would do to the local and state economies.  The debt of Texas' cities is comparable to California's cities, even to that of bankrupt Detroit.  Even Breitbart has picked up on it in this article titled, Texas Cities Should Learn from Bankrupt, Spendthrift Detroit.  Jess Fields said, "Texans must work to ensure that our localities do not rack up enormous debt and waste money on pet projects we cannot afford. Taxpayers should demand that local governments spend money on priorities, like good public safety and sound infrastructure."

On the other side, the Katy LiberTea group led the fight in 2013 and helped defeat an earlier bond.  Their desire to see the bond voted down is no different this time around.  Cyndi Lawrence, president of Katy LiberTea has this to say about the state of affairs in the Katy Independent School District: "We acknowledge the fact that Katy ISD is a highly desired community. We need to look at a package that addresses classroom space for our kids and that is fiscally responsible. This community has expanded so much because it is a great area to live, but we want it to remain that way. We do not want our community to be in such a large amount of debt.  This bond reminds me of Bills that come through the U.S. House, the INTENTION is always good, but somehow tons of pork gets added and then the intention of the Bill ends up lost.  We need to be more transparent and fiscally responsible when preparing a bond.  There has been way to much “fluff” money added to this current bond package. This bond should only be addressing growth while respecting the community’s hard earned tax payer dollars. According to debt at a glance, for school districts of similar size in Texas, Katy ISD ranks the 5th highest in debt with the amount of $1,234,844,928.  The cost per student is $19,172."

Cyndi continues: "The community has already voted down the 2013 $99,000,000 bond because most felt like the school district was proposing to spend too much money on things that are not necessities. Here we are a year later, and not only did they NOT listen to the community’s concerns, but they added 700 MILLION more dollars to the bond and MORE “fluff.” This is not representative of what the community wants and what is best for our children. They need to consider our concerns and address the growth needs in a fiscally responsible manner. Our community and our children will be paying this debt off for years to come."

Most people think that conservative groups are always railing against any sort of bond referendum or proposal.  That's simply not true!  To back that up, I thought it would be interesting  to include some quotes from some folks who would like to remain anonymous.  The first person comments concerning the stadium that has been injected into the bond:
"Why is the stadium being forced into a bond that is primarily for education and facilities pertaining to education? Why is it not on its own ticket?"
"The stadium did not make the vote last year and there has been a whole year to prepare for a better solution. Why has Katy ISD not researched and secured corporate sponsors, stadium naming rights, and etc… They could sell seat options, raise ticket prices, and paid parking. There are many ways that this could have been sold to the voters without shoving it down our throats in a bond that includes mass much needed educational components. That's just dirty and unethical no matter what side your on."
"Sometimes you have to pay to play!"
Some people are not even talking about the stadium.  Here's one taxpayer who is concerned about whether or not Katy ISD already has the money on hand to spend without passing the bond: 
"On the KISD Bond issue, I have a house that last year was valued at $92,500 - KISD taxes $1415. This year the same house value was upped to $149,000 - KISD taxes $2279. This appears to me to be a little more than $10-$20 per year. And it's a rental with no exemptions. So, if my KISD taxes are going up $864 per year, I guess that I am accounting for the $10 increase for 86 houses. They should not need any bonds approved inasmuch as the increase in valuations more than makes up for the bonds they want to issue."
Here's more from another concerned citizen about the tax rate:
"KISD tax rate is 1.5266% (1.1266 M&O and 0.400 I&S). This is before the planned tax rate increase in the proposed bond. This current rate is already higher than over 93% of all other school districts in TX and even higher than CFISD. Not sure how that is possible with the behemoth of a Berry Center cost already included in CFISD M&O and I&S rates. Good news is it is still lower than Allen ISD but they already have their 60MM stadium. Well it's really even more than the 60MM when you add the costs they are currently incurring to repair all the cracked concrete in it."

Unfortunately, as is always the case with school bond debates, those presenting rationale, financial reasons to oppose the bond will be labeled “anti-children.” 
These are real concerns from real people.  They are legitimate concerns, too.  None that can just be explained away by the pro-bond side as 'ignorant' or uneducated.  If you live in Katy ISD, please consider a 'no' vote on this bond.  It's time that we stop loving our children to debt. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Politics and Christianity: Can the Two Work Together?

Let me ask you your opinion on something: should Christians be involved in politics?  Moreover, should Christians vote?  There are all kinds of ethnic and religious groups involved in politics, but what about Christians?  Well, I'm a Christian and I see nothing wrong with it.  I've heard other opinions about whether Christians should be involved, often to the contrary.  I have to wonder though, what would those who disagree suggest that we do?

I personally feel that we are co-workers with Christ.  For example, if you need a job, you can certainly pray for a job, yes?  However, you need to submit resumes and make phone calls in order to obtain a job.  You need to put forth some effort on your part.  You can trust that God will help guide you to find the job that's right for you, but YOU have to do something in order to get the job.  Here's a little something that the Bible says about work: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…” Colossians 3:23

How about all the people that God used throughout the Bible to accomplish His work?  How about David and Goliath, one of my favorite stories.  What if David hadn't stepped up to defeat Goliath?  In that same vein, what if conservatives had stayed home and decided NOT to help elect Ted Cruz to win the U.S. Senate nomination against David Dewhurst?  I. Can't. Even.

Christians are involved and have been for a while in the pro-life movement.  I would have to say that there are definitely 'politics' involved there; shaping legislation and staging protests.  So, should Christians stop standing up for life?  Something else that Christians generally stand for is traditional marriage; marriage between one man and one woman. Let us not forget that often times, these are convictions the people feel in their heart that they should fight for.  So, should Christians then also stop standing up for traditional marriage? 

I don't feel that being a co-worker with God to find a job is any different than being a co-worker with God for influencing legislation or attempting to maintain our freedoms.  I can even use another example of a group headed up by a person who listened to the Lord direct his career path and how God has blessed him with many successes.  Ever heard of Liberty Institute?  A man by the name of Kelly Shackelford is the president and CEO of Liberty Institute.  They are a Christian ministry dedicated to providing legal assistance to those being discriminated against when it comes to their first amendment rights and the ability to freely express their faith.

From their website, "In 1972, Liberty Institute began as a small advocacy organization under a different name and advanced the cause of liberty, including religious liberty. In 1997, we added our legal division, once known as Liberty Legal Institute, and Kelly Shackelford became President and CEO. In 2009, we brought our policy and legal division together under one name—Liberty Institute.What began nearly 40 years ago has grown into an influential non-profit law firm, dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America. Liberty Institute is now the largest legal organization in America dedicated solely to defending and preserving religious liberty in America, with clients, attorneys, and donors all across the nation."  If you want to read more about this amazing organization, click on the link here.

To further drive home my point, I looked at the U.S. Pastors Council Website where they have an outline listed for a project called, "Every Christian Votes".  Here are some stats that are somewhat disturbing:
Every American Christian who is eligible to vote does so:
a) By one’s absence; Failing to vote and allowing elected officials to be chosen by those who do not share the same values,
b) Thoughtlessly; By voting out of ignorance, self-serving motivation, etc., or
c) By becoming informed; Studying candidates’ positions on key issues, praying and casting a knowledgeable vote for candidates who most closely conform to Biblical standards of character and on the vital issues of the day.

Here comes the disturbing part:
Most pastors would agree that options A and B are poor stewardship and have led to ungodly, unjust and corrupt leaders being chosen, resulting in unrighteous government. 
It is still an accepted statistic that less than one out of three churchgoing citizens vote in each election, a fact of which we should be ashamed.

Now, don't get me wrong, there has to be a balance of things.  We shouldn't put politics or political involvement before God and our faith.  Prayerfully considered political action is certainly acceptable, because if there's ever been a time for Christian influence needed in the halls of D.C., the Texas Capitol and our local municipalities, it's definitely NOW.  Don't hold back on letting your voices be heard.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Does God's Kindness Lead Us?

Kindness as defined by Webster's is  a state or quality of being kind; specifically beneficence, kind feeling; affection.

"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things.  Now we know that God's judgement against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgement?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"-Romans 2:1-4

That was a mouthful, I realize.  I really just wanted to share that last sentence of the scripture, "..not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance."  It needed the whole verse to give you the context, I think.  I shared with you a scripture verse last week and it made my day to do that, so I'm doing it again.

I have been a Christian for about seventeen years now, but about eight years ago, I came across this scripture verse and it changed my point of view about a great many things.  I guess you could say, life and people in general.  When I came to Christ, there was a motivation to give my life to Christ; an urgency, if you will.  The pastor made such a compelling argument for my soul and others there, I just felt naturally compelled to go down to the altar and accept Christ.  I then began my journey into the Bible and learned as much as I could immediately.  Just like many other new believers and those others to come, I soaked up the word and loved spending time with those who had been Christians for many years and asked lots of questions.

We all have probably made the same mistake I did.  I assumed that most others had come to Christ in that same way; felt the need or urgency to give my life to the Lord.  Or that there was a conviction that they felt in their spirit to confess wrong doing and to get right with the Lord.   

After I read that scripture verse though, it changed my mind.  I came to the realization that not everyone has the same story of salvation.  I'm glad of that fact, to be honest.  We are all unique individuals, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Christ.  I personally LOVE the fact that it's God's kindness that leads us to repentance.  So when we replace one of the words in the definition of, 'kindness' within the scripture verse, it makes even more sense; because of God's affection, we are led to repentance.  Let that sink in for a moment.

It also led me to another realization about people, like I mentioned. I think it gave me a greater understanding of what it means to extend grace.  Not everyone has the same likes and dislikes, and that's okay.  Not only that, but my way of doing things isn't the only way of doing things.  I think that is a hugely important thing for people to realize.  That doesn't mean I'm preaching tolerance here by any means.  Sin should still be called sin.  I think though, that grace helps us to be respectful of others' preferences and their life decisions they may make. 

I'm thankful that God fulfilled the law with his son Jesus and that we are now living under grace which defined is unmerited favor.  If there's just one take away from this blog or scripture verse, I pray that the words grace and kindness are two that you store up for yourselves this week.  Although we may feel a conviction in our spirit or a stirring in our souls, or desire that others would feel convicted to change, I pray that it is ultimately because God is kind and loving that we choose to give ourselves to Him.    

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Come to Me Before You Go Back to School

Does it ever seem to you that God sort of gives you a scripture verse?  Something pops into your head and you immediately know that it was from God.  Well, that happens to me from time to time and I'm always so thankful when it does.  It happened to me again today and I wanted to share it with you to help others who might need this same verse.

We find this verse in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  I'm pretty sure that you've heard that verse before, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you look at each word or word phrase individually.

"Come to me".  That just shows us God's gentle nature.  It doesn't say, "Hey, you, get over here now!"  So many times we do that to our own children.  I pray the next time I find myself being tempted to do that, I'll call this scripture to mind.

How about the part that says, .."all you who are weary and burdened?"  I love that part, almost as much as Jesus giving us rest.  It doesn't say, "all you who are perfect and free from sin."  We would never get to come near Jesus if that were the case.  He created us to need him, to follow him and to trust him; for everything.  This also brought to my mind the verse in Romans 5:8 that says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Proves even more that we don't need to be perfect to approach the throne of God.  That we can lay our problems and our struggles at his feet and he will take care of them.

We live in a culture that doesn't always go to God first.  It's easy to get caught up in the 'world' and for us to become easy targets for Satan.  The devil is really good at planting seeds of doubt in our minds about everything that we should be trusting God for.  (I won't list them all because this blog would never end.) 

Moving on to the part that says "..I will give you rest."  I love His kind of rest, don't you?  It doesn't mean sleep or free time to sit on your posterior all day long.  No, it means real rest; rest from your burden of sin or whatever you may be wrestling with. 

I think we all wrestle with sin from time to time; how about daily?  This is a great scripture verse to keep in mind the next time you find yourself struggling; with anything.  As a matter of fact, this is our family scripture memory verse for the week. This also may be the perfect scripture for this coming week when most of us find ourselves sending our kids back to school. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Is John Culberson A Jeffersonian-Republican...Or Not?

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie down the second with chains of the constitution so the second will not become legalized versions of the first."-Thomas Jefferson.

I share that with you because the person I'm writing about espouses on his website to BE a Jeffersonian-Republican.  This is a direct quote from his website, "As a fiscally conservative “Jeffersonian Republican,” Congressman John Culberson is committed to Thomas Jefferson’s vision of limited government, individual liberty, and states’ rights. Simply put, John Culberson believes in “Letting Texans Run Texas.” 

All of that sounds really good, doesn't it?  Well, friends, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.  Let's look at some of the voting action on the part of our fair Congressman Culberson.

I'm a Freedomworks follower and they have a Scorecard that they use to keep up with all of the House and Senate members voting records, both good and bad.  So, here's the first vote on the list in which Congressman Culberson voted against the Freedomworks recommendations.

On H.R. 3457-Omnibus Appropriations for Fiscal year 2014,  Culberson was a 'yea' vote.  This bill funded the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2014. It spends $45 billion more than the budget caps established in 2011, and perpetuates a vast amount of wasteful spending from previous years. Lawmakers were also given almost no time to read this 1,500 page spending bill.  Reminds me of Democrat Jeff Conyers and his quote about actually reading a bill before passing it.  "What good is it to read a bill that's 1,000 pages when you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you've read the bill?"  Sounds like it might be more than just a Conyers philosophy. 

On the FARM Bill, Culberson was also a 'yea' vote.   This final version of the Farm Bill, reconciled between the House and Senate, actually undoes some of the already modest reforms to crop insurance and food stamps that were previously in the bill. This five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill will spend nearly a trillion dollars over ten years, and remains loaded with corporate welfare and special carve-outs for well-connected agricultural corporations.

His Jeffersonian-Republican framework could be destroyed within the guise of the FARM bill.  Think about it; it expanded government, it spends more money, a trillion over ten years and keeps people on the government dole through food stamps, which is ultimately about the dependency on a hand out.

How about the amendment to House Resolution 4870, to cut Transportation and HUD spending by 1%?  Surely a Jeffersonian Republican would want to cut spending.  Sorry to say, not this time.  He voted NOT to cut spending.

I'll share one more key vote with you and it is on the Highway and Transportation Funding Act.  This bill bails out the nearly depleted Highway Trust Fund through May of 2015, using revenue gimmicks to supposedly offset most of the cost. The Highway Trust fund desperately needs reform instead of merely continuing to receive periodic taxpayer bailouts.  Congressman Culberson was a 'yea' vote on this one, too.  Read my lips, "No more bailouts!"  

Okay, since I've been playing bad cop all this time, maybe it's time for a little good cop.  One of the votes that he got right was to restrict agencies from accessing U.S. citizens' communications metadata.  I guess he felt compelled to do that after he voted for the patriot act, not once, but twice.

These are only four of the votes that earned him a 50% rating on the Freedomworks Scorecard.  To be fair, I went and checked out some of the other really well known scorecards, Eagle Forum and Heritage Action.  He rated a 75% with Eagle Forum and a 68% with heritage Action.  All three scorecards report on much of the same bills, with the exception of a few.  Both Heritage Action and Eagle Forum reported on a bill that Freedomworks did not, which was a bill to establish the Commission to study the potential creation of a National Women's History Museum, a bill that BOTH organizations recommended voting against.  John Culberson voted FOR the bill and it passed.

There's just one more bill I'd like to draw your attention to that he voted against that blows his Jeffersonian-Republican thought process out of the water; a bill to reform the Federal Sugar Program.  From Heritage Action's Website:

Amendment #98 offered by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) reforms the Federal sugar program: 1) repeals unnecessary trade restrictions; 2) eliminates higher price support levels; 3) reforms domestic supply restrictions to provide more flexibility to USDA; and 4) provides flexibility to USDA in administering quotas.

Heritage Action Position

In 2006, the Department of Commerce found that for every job “saved” by the program, the sugar program kills three manufacturing jobs. Despite claims that it is “zero cost” to taxpayers, the current sugar program distorts prices for sugar products for consumers. It also inflates sugar prices by capping the amount that manufacturers and consumers in the U.S. can import from foreign producers.

Again, this increases the role of government in the private sector, kills jobs and no pun intended, artificially inflates the price of sugar.  What was that about letting Texans run Texas?  I fail to see how any of the votes I've listed here and others he's cast over his tenure as a Congressman line up with his own ideology. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Time for a Culberson Birthday Bash, No Time for a Town Hall During August Recess

Happy August recess, Congress!  You know it's that time of year again, Congress is on a 'break' from work, that time of year when they finally have a chance to spend time with their constituents and discuss their voting record.  Wait, what?  What that should read is that Congress will be coming home to fill their coffers with more campaign donations by doling out more empty promises.

That is sadly the case more often than not, and it is the case for my Congressman, John Culberson.  If you've been reading any of my posts over the past few years, you know I'm not shy when it comes to sharing Congressman Culberson's voting record, since I have done so several times.  Now, what has me most upset is so far I have yet to hear of a town hall meeting to be scheduled for his constituents.  What I did get was an invite to a birthday party...wait for it...for HIM.  It gets better, I promise.  In order to attend this birthday bash, as it's called, you have to PAY to get in.  Really?  We live in a bass ackward kind of country when you have to PAY to see your very own congresscritter.

It is supposed to be a really well attended event and it's held every year and we only have to pay $25 to get in.  I don't care!  I don't care how exciting the party might be, or how good the cake is (there's a Marie Antoinette joke in there somewhere, I just know it). There's something wrong with this picture.

I have reached out to his office twice now, once to him personally on his Twitter feed and once in an email to his assistant, to no avail.  Just today, however, I got an invitation to a Meet and Greet for the Congressman.  What do you think of when you hear the words 'Meet and Greet'?  Right, fundraiser.  You can draw whatever conclusion you like, but to me that says that you and I are not important enough to meet with unless we have some money to contribute.

So, what do we want?  A town hall!  When do we want it?  NOW!  Call his office and demand a town hall.  You can reach him at his Memorial Office here in Houston at 713-682-8828 or at culberson.house.gov and go to the contact form.

Lawmakers need to remember who they work for!  It's We The People who employ them, not the other way around.  Remind him who he represents and who he reports to!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2014 RedState Gathering Held August 7th-10th

Attention!  Attention all RedState and Freedomworks fans!  There is a very exciting event coming to Ft. Worth, Texas next weekend!  It's none other than the RedState Gathering which proves to be a very exciting event with a great line up of speakers.  

You may be asking, "What IS RedState Gathering?"  Glad you asked!  From their event website: "In August 2009, RedState hosted the first RedState Gathering. Held annually, the Gathering has quickly become a leading grassroots event and has featured notable speakers such as Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Nikki Haley, Gov. Bobby Jindal, to name but a few. In 2011, the Gathering served as the launch pad for Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential bid. The Sixth Annual RedState Gathering will be held in Forth Worth, August 7-10, 2014."

It starts next Thursday, August 7th with Registration and a Governor's Reception with Governor Rick Perry.

The fun continues on Friday, August 8th, with a list of fantastic speakers: Governor Rick Perry, Former US Senator from North Carolina, Jim DeMint, Former VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Ben Sasse, US Senate Candidate-NEbraska, and John Ratcliffe, Candidate for US House District 4.  Now for the line up from the great state of Texas!  State Representative and Speaker of the House Candidate, Scott Turner, Konni Burton, State Senate Candidate for District 10 and our very own US Senator Ted Cruz from Houston!  Not to be missed is the reception following the event on Friday evening with Senator Ted Cruz at Joe T. Garcias in the Stockyards District.

More excitement, (if you can stand it) on Saturday, August 9th with the following list of speakers: Governor Nikki Haley, Congressman, Jim Bridenstine, Republican National Committee Chair, Reince Priebus, our own Attorney General and candidate for Governor, Greg Abbott.  Also, Ken Buck, Candidate for US House in Colorado's District 4, Paul Dietzel, Candidate for US House in Louisiana's District 6 and last but not least Drew Ryun from Madison Project.

RedState Gathering will also feature the following:

Panel Discussions on Obama Scandals, an Elections Preview and more featuring guests from Towhnhall and our very own RedState Contributing Editors.
    • Saturday Evening Reception with Attorney General Greg Abbott
    • Texas Motor Speedway – Food, Drink and a special surprise
    • Ends with Sunday Brunch at 10 AM
  • Freedomworks, who is no stranger to grass roots efforts is partnering with RedState to put this event together.  I'm a huge fan of both organizations.  

  • I had a chance to meet Erik Erickson at a Grass roots Boot camp back in 2011, also in Ft. Worth. and I'm so happy to see them working together.  

    • "The 2014 RedState Gathering Agenda has come together nicely and is sure to please. Thanks to the speakers, sponsors, and of course the activists who have registered to attend, the 2014 RedState Gathering will be the best yet. Don’t miss your chance to attend."-RedState

    • Just to review: RedState Gathering is happening next weekend, beginning on August 7th at 5:00 PM and going until Saturday, August 10th.  The event is to be held at The Worthington Renaissance Ft. Worth Hotel, 200 Main Street.  For more information for tickets and lodging, click on this link.  I'll be helping out at the Freedomworks booth on Saturday!  See you there!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

We Will Not Conform: Portrait of a Home School Family

We will not conform.  We will not conform.  We will not conform.  No, it isn't a chant or a mantra.  It's a statement of fact.  Something that we as grass roots activists should be used to by now.  How about another group of folks who could be considered full-time protesters?  Another group of people who might be used to not conforming for even longer than the tea party groups have been around.  How about a group of dedicated home schoolers?  This is the portrait of a home school mom and dad.

The home school mom and dad are those parents who decided to throw off the yolk of traditional education and have already chosen not to conform.  They decided to keep their children at home, for whatever reason, but  no matter if you publicly educate your children or privately educate them, we all ultimately want a well educated child.

A home school family consists of parents who decided to go against the grain and took their child's education in their own hands, quite literally. I should know, I'm one of them.

I am fortunate enough to live in the great state of Texas, where home schooling is still legal.  Home schools are considered a private school, and we aren't regulated by the state or required to take standardized testing.  We are free to purchase our own curriculum or to design our own.  Then, we are free to choose our own path to graduation.  In other words, home schoolers have freedom in Texas!  Cool, right?

So, what am I getting at?  I'm saying that all of that could change.  Not through state standards, but through the introduction of Common Core.  Since its introduction into mainstream schools the move has begun to change ACT and SAT tests to meet the Common Core standards.  This means that home schools may be forced to teach according to those same standards.  Here is proof from one of my previous blog posts that this can and will happen:

The Common Core will impact home schools and private schools in at least three ways. First, designers of the expanded statewide longitudinal databases fully intend to collect data about home school and private school students. Second, college admissions standards will be affected: Common Core standards for college readiness will be used by institutions of higher learning to determine whether a student is ready to enroll in a postsecondary course.10 Third, curriculum and standardized tests are being rewritten to conform to the Common Core.   

Unless we act.  Home schoolers, like grass roots activists are usually at the ready when called to action.  I was fortunate enough to be one of five bloggers that were invited to attend the Glenn Beck event called We Will Not Conform: LIVE Making Common Core History that was held last night in theaters across America.  

We Will Not Conform was put together by the Glenn Beck team and hosted with other big names in politics and national grass roots leaders, who are no strangers to not conforming.  Names  such as Michelle Malkin, Dana Loesch, David Barton and Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks.  The event was held in an effort to taking one of many 'first steps' to raise awareness and ultimately defeat Common Core.  

So what now?  The Glenn Beck folks put together a plan for any activist to initiate and employ in their respective communities.  For the link, click hereWe need to start a discussion with your neighbors and friends and your families for that matter so we can stop the march towards common kids and Common Core.  We need to recognize the strength of our own voices and our own actions.  Listen to Matt Kibbe's words of encouragement for us all when he said, "Parents represent a voting block that is unstoppable."  To be unstoppable, though, we have to get started.  As one of the grass roots leaders said last night, "How to defeat Common Core, get the facts, get organized, show up."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Common Core FAQ's-Your Questions Answered

The Common Core.  Now that we've established that you have heard of it before, let's go a little deeper into the topic.  We've all heard that our education system is broken, right?  Then, one would assume that Common Core would attempt to be the solution to the problem.

Since we're talking about solutions here, we would also assume that the Common Core would help improve critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Both of these are something that is so desperately needed in our world that seems to be lacking a whole lot of independent thinkers.  I'll be honest, lately we seem to be all about the collective; the greater good, if you will.  Well, surely something such as Common Core, the alleged solution wouldn't have a socialist or statist agenda.  Read on....  

I have mentioned in numerous posts before that I'm a home school mom, so it shouldn't be surprising to some of you that the article that I'm citing for this particular blog comes from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).  They came up with their own set of FAQ's for Common Core and my intention for this blog was to do that same thing, but I thought, why reinvent the wheel?  I'm going to share it with you.

Good place to start:
What is Common Core?
The Common Core State Standards (“the Common Core”) are two sets of K–12 academic standards that outline what students are expected to learn in English language arts and mathematics each year from kindergarten through high school. The goal of this checklist is not literacy, proficiency, or increased graduation rates but to make students “college- and career-ready.”1 The Common Core was written by the National Governors Association (NGA)—an organization of governors, their head staff members, and policy makers—and the Council of Chief State School Officials (CCSSO). States receive Race to the Top (RTTT) federal funding for committing to adopt and implement the Common Core and to collect student data from preschool through the workforce.

Hmm. "..States receive Race to the Top (RTTT) federal funding for committing to adopt and implement the Common Core and to collect student data from preschool through the workforce."  Sounds like a bribe to me.

 Is the Common Core already being implemented?
The NGA released the Common Core standards on June 2, 2010. Since then, 45 states, four territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Minnesota only adopted the English language arts standards. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia have refused to adopt the Common Core.
As the pedagogical weakness and ballooning implementation cost of the standards becomes evident, many adopting states are scrambling to delay or defund implementation.

So, then you may ask, how is it possible to have the feds involved in this?  Federal Funding for Race to the Top is handed out for states whose schools adopt Common Core Standards.  See the next question.

How is the Federal Government involved in the Common Core?
Three sets of laws prohibit the federal government from prescribing the content of state curricula and assessments, yet the United States Department of Education has propelled the Common Core more than any other organization and is funding the creation of standardized assessments.2 First, the department conditioned education grants on states’ commitment to implement the Common Core.
Second, the department offered waivers from the most burdensome portions of the No Child Left Behind Act in return for states’ promising to adopt the Common Core’s college- and career-readiness standards and corresponding assessments.
Third, the department awarded millions of dollars to consortia of states to craft the assessments based on the Common Core.

Now, the next question probably addresses the biggest concerns of most moms and dads and news outlets like Fox and talk show hosts such as Glenn Beck, who is addressing the issue with his event to be held next Tuesday, We Will Not Conform LIVE: Making Common Core History.

Does the Common Core have a philosophical bias?
Three philosophical threads weave through the Common Core—statism, moral relativism, and progressivism. The statist goals of the Common Core are implicit in the lockstep uniformity that is the central thesis of the program. Relativism’s influence on the Common Core is evident in the open-ended and research-based assessment questions and the expansive new student tracking systems, ideas which have been strongly promoted by relativist Howard Gardner. Progressive educator John Dewey argued for standardized curriculum to prevent one student from becoming superior to others and envisioned a workforce filled with people of “politically and socially correct attitudes” who would respond to orders without question.3 Workforce readiness is one of the Common Core’s main goals.

 Here is an example of the philosophical bias as seen on Fox News with Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  This is a segment describing a fifth grade English class and exhibits the statist goals of the Common Core.  Take a look.

Let's look at the next question.  It's a question that I've been concerned about given my personal choice on how to educate my children and the affect that Common Core (if any) will have on them going forward.  Sadly, it looks like there might be an impact.

Will the Common Core impact private schools and home schools?
The Common Core will impact home schools and private schools in at least three ways. First, designers of the expanded statewide longitudinal databases fully intend to collect data about home school and private school students. Second, college admissions standards will be affected: Common Core standards for college readiness will be used by institutions of higher learning to determine whether a student is ready to enroll in a postsecondary course.10 Third, curriculum and standardized tests are being rewritten to conform to the Common Core. 

Next question:

Does the Common Core lead to a national curriculum?

Implementation instructions for the states written by the authors of the Common Core suggest that a national curriculum is the goal of the standards. NGA recommends that “States and districts…share the costs of developing new curricula and instructional tools and not each develop their own at greater expense for each.”13 The groundwork for a national curriculum is also being laid by groups of states and private organizations—such as the Gates Foundation and Achieve—collaborating to develop common curricula.

Not only has the Common Core not been tested or proven to do what the government and it's creators say that Common Core will do, it's proving to be a means of data collection.  Goodness knows we need MORE data collection, amirite?  See the next question and its answer in its entirety here:

Does the Common Core include a national database?
All 50 states have had statewide longitudinal databases in place to track their students’ scores on assessments for the past decade. Yet the authors of the Common Core are clear: the success of the standards hinges on the increased collection of student data—including demographics and postsecondary education performance—from preschool through the workforce.16 

Massive new databases are already being built. In 2012, the Gates Foundation used $17 million to launch inBloom, a company that has built a $100 million database to track students from kindergarten through college.19 The databases identify students by name, address, and sometimes Social Security number. Combined with the changes to FERPA, the implementation of the Common Core is unleashing what is arguably the most comprehensive tracking of citizens that America has ever seen.

If that doesn't give you pause, then I'm not sure what will.  Sometimes identified by Social Security number???  Remember, the Social Security Card was something that the government assured us would never be used for identification purposes.  See question 8 and it's answer.  Why else would they need all of the data they are collecting?  For a national curriculum and to further their agendas and for financial gain!!

The article by HSLDA also addresses those who support Common Core and who opposes Common Core and why.

What I have found is that the Common Core is NOT about fixing our broken education system.  This is not about improving our children's critical thinking or problem solving skills.  This is just another way to control we the people, to brainwash our children into believing that socialism is the best economic system and maybe the most egregious thing is that they would have our children's information data mined and sold to the highest bidder.  Let me remind you of a quote that I think sums this issue up nicely, "Let me control the textbooks, and I will control the state."-Adolf Hitler  


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

We Will Not Conform LIVE: Making Common Core History-A Glenn Beck Event

Heard of Common Core?  I'll bet you have.  Heard of Glenn Beck?  Two for two?  Not bad!  How about the upcoming event that's being put together by Glenn Beck about Common Core?  No?  Well, stay tuned and I'll give you all the deets! 

Next Tuesday, July 22nd in Dallas, Glenn Beck along with Freedomworks, which is a group I'm sure you've also heard of before, is teaming up to put on an event called We Will Not Conform LIVE: A Night to Make Common Core History.  To better explain what this is, I've taken the explanation directly from the event website.  This event is... "A LIVE interactive experience during which cinema audiences will actively engage with Glenn Beck and other experts as a comprehensive plan to fight back against Common Core is crafted in real time."

"Fathom Events and Glenn Beck invite you to experience a night of action against Common Core when Glenn Beck’s We Will Not Conform is broadcast LIVE to cinemas nationwide on Tuesday, July 22 with a second showing on Tuesday, July 29."

"This isn’t a typical show - it’s an interactive experience and a rare opportunity to make a real difference in America’s education system. We Will Not Conform is your chance to not only hear from experts like Michelle Malkin, David Barton, and others but to join LIVE with fellow theatergoers across the country to develop tangible strategies in the pursuit of enacting real change in our schools. By the end of the night, the brainpower, experience, and passion of cinema audiences nationwide will be captured in a unified plan of action distributed to all participants."

To get more information, I was fortunate enough to send in some questions about the event to Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of Freedomworks.  Kibbe, along with Ellen Wheeler, also from Freedomworks, will participate in the event hosted by Glenn Beck.  Freedomworks has been working on the Common Core issue for a while now, among other things, like trying to defeat and defund Obamacare, promoting conservative candidates for House and Senate races and keeping activists around the country engaged and involved.

Kelly Horsley: When did Freedomworks first start talking about Common Core:
Matt Kibbe: In the fall of 2012

Kelly Horsley: Why do you feel it is important to team with Glenn Beck to do this event?
Matt Kibbe: "It's a live interactive event linking parents, teachers, students, and more from across the country with a live event in Dallas. This will bring everyone together, on the same page, to develop a comprehensive action plan."

Kelly Horsley:  What is the most important point you hope is communicated in this event? What do you hope the audience walks away with after the event?
Matt Kibbe: "The audience will walk away from this live event with an action plan and specific steps that they can take in partnership with others around the country to stop common core."
Kelly Horsley: What can moms and dads do to make sure and keep Common Core out of their schools?
Matt Kibbe: "Stay aware! Constantly communicate with your local officials, read your childs' homework and tests, look at their textbooks. The We Will Not Conform event will provide an action plan for parents to do just this."
Kelly Horsley: How many states and or districts have adopted or implemented Common Core?
Matt Kibbe: "Officially 45 states, DC, four territories, and all Department of Defense Schools. However, we see the influence of Common Core nationwide due to changes to the SAT/ACT/AP programs."
Kelly Horsley: Common Core has been in the news a lot lately as has CSCOPE, which is here in Texas. Briefly for our readers, can you explain the difference?
Matt Kibbe: "Common Core is a national set of standards for which curriculum and testing are based. CSCOPE is a Texas specific curriculum program based on Texas standard with outside influence from common core and other programs. CSCOPE has come under scrutiny in Texas as common core has in other states. The programs are linked because of the influence of companies like Pearson."
Kelly Horsley: Tell us about the event, its release date, and where folks can go and see it and how to get tickets.
Matt Kibbe: "July 22nd, it's a live event so it's released at that point, they can go to wewillnotconform.com for more info and tickets. It will be replayed on July 29th."
You heard it here, folks.  If  you want to get Common Core out of your schools and lives, then get online and go the website listed above and secure tickets to watch this live event.  A plan of action is always a good thing.  Common Core, however, is rotten to the core.