Vol. 26 | No. 1

AFANY Newsleter Spring 2019

May 12, 2019 | Newsletters

Education Secretary Proposes $5B School Choice Tax Credit

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy deVos has proposed federal legislation granting tax credits for donations to private school scholarship funds. The legislation has been introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) & Cong. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala). This proposed bill will help low and middle income students get scholarship aid for attending private/religious schools chosen by their parents. This gives these students a chance to get a better education and it gives parents a chance to have control over the values being taught their children.
In addition, unknown to many, is that this also saves taxpayers significant amounts since most private schools are religious schools doing the job at a cost below that of our public schools. This is a win for both low income students and for taxpayers.
Sadly, most Democrats in Congress are opposing this legislation because they oppose parental choice in education. Why?
Because the powerful PS teacher unions want to keep their monopoly and strongly oppose school choice. The Democrats receive nearly all of the funds donated by our teacher unions.
It should also be noted that the competition that comes with school choice also results in better results for most public schools, since they know that parents will have a better opportunity to pick a private or religious school if their public school does not perform adequately.

Gov. Cuomo Celebrates Allowing More Abortions

With Democrats winning the NY Senate and now in full control of the NYS Legislature, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was able to get his pro-abortion Reproductive Health Act passed, allowing abortions up until 39 weeks. Cuomo was so proud of this act furthering the killing of babies, he had One World Trade Center lit up in pink, “to celebrate this achievement & shine a bright light for the rest of the nation to follow” (Gov. Andrew Cuomo)! The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and is responsible for the evil he has directly or indirectly encouraged.” Gov. Cuomo has also played a key role in legalizing same-sex marriage. Has the Church changed, or is Cuomo simply doing Satan’s work attacking “family & marriage”?

Media Bias at March for Life

In recent years we have seen increases in media bias against pro-lifers as key media outlets give poor coverage to the very large and peaceful pro-life demonstrations that take place in Washington, DC every January in protest of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision allowing the killing of over 60 million unborn babies since then. This year, the media went after some Catholic HS students, without waiting for all the evidence available. Once the facts became available, showing the offensive behavior was committed by some black Hebrew Israelites using terrible language and then this was followed by Nathan Phillips, an anti-Catholic Indian who stood face-to-face beating his drum in front of a Covington Catholic HS student . This unprovoked attack by Phillips on innocent HS boys was ignored by most of the liberal media—NY Times, Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC. Only Fox News reported it. (Catholic League Catalyst, March 2019).

Inflation from 1950 thru 2018

We had not seen a decade with an average annual inflation rate of less than 2% since the 1950’s. But we have seen this in the past 9 years (2010-2018). Here’s our nation’s inflation history since 1950:
Years Avg. Annual Inflation
1950-59 1.82%
1960-69 2.45%
1970-79 7.25%
1980-89 5.82%
1990-99 3.08%
2000-09 2.54%
2010-18 1.80% (InflationData.com; WSJ 3/4/19)

Great Movie Coming Soon

There is a new movie coming out that we believe will be very moving and very inspirational. Its title is Unplanned. It deals with both the pro-life movement and with Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider. It’s the true story about the life of Abby Johnson who supervised over 20,000 abortions at Planned Parenthood (PP), and then had a complete conversion after really focusing on what abortions actually did—killing unborn children alive in their mother’s wombs.
PP had over 332,000 abortions performed in a recent year, or over 6,000 babies killed per week! And they received over $560 million in taxpayer funds as well. But now they face reduced federal funding.

Vagina Monologues Performed
@ “Catholic” Colleges? Crazy?

Vagina Monologues is a vile play with a character recalling happily her own sexual abuse as a troubled 16 year old by a 24 yr old woman. Instead of condemning this abuse, the play glorifies homosexual predation. Why have these 8 “Catholic” Colleges allowed this 2019 performance? Here are the 8 “Catholic” colleges:
Boston College (Massachusetts)
College of the Holy Cross (Ma.)
DePaul University (Illinois)
Gonzaga University (Washington)
Holy Names Univ. (California)
Loyola University (Maryland)
Regis College (Massachusetts)
Xavier University (Ohio)
(Patrick Reilly, Cardinal Newman Society)

NY’s New Fiscal Problem

New York is one of the nation’s highest tax states. As a result of the new federal tax
law limiting federal tax exemptions for state taxes to $10,000, New York is seeing a higher numbers of people leaving the state and moving to lower tax states. The two highest cost components in our state budget are education and healthcare. We have the highest costs for Medicaid in the nation and also the highest per pupil costs for education. Healthcare is indeed a complicated problem to solve. But education is actually quite simple.
A large part of our state budget funds education costs in our school districts, but most of the costs are covered by property taxes. And in downstate NY, including Long Island, school taxes comprise the bulk (over 60%) of local property taxes.
While NYS costs are the highest in the nation, our students performance on national tests generally place us broadly in only the middle of student performance.
New York is also a state with powerful teacher unions that oppose school choice because they want to keep their monopoly,
which gives them the highest salaries in the nation regardless of performance.
But if we gave parents the right to select any state-accredited school, including private or religious schools, and we fund this at a level 40% below the cost of our PS students, everyone wins—-low income families would get to pick a preferred school for their children, and taxpayers would see huge savings, and these savings could be split between the taxpayers and
our PS, giving them even more money per pupil than today. But teacher unions oppose parental school choice, as this would put pressure on them to perform better and could affect the amount of their salary increases. Most PS teachers in Long Island earn well over $100,000/year and have generous health and pension benefits as well.
One key “problem” is that most low income parents—esp. black & Hispanic parents—who want school choice more than wealthy folks, have no idea it’s the Democrats who are stopping school choice and so they vote overwhelmingly for Democrats who are viewed incorrectly as “the party of the poor”. No, they are the party controlled by our PS teacher unions. The result is that NY has a dismal future due to its growing tax problems, and its poor education of low income students in many school districts.
Another question—why do Republicans fail to make this a key issue in elections? Are they fearful of the unions too, thinking the unions will increase their funding of Democrats even more should Republicans make school choice an issue? School Choice is the best way–& possibly the only
way–to help BOTH low income families AND taxpayers at the same time.
School choice played a key role in recent elections for Governor in Florida and Arizona. The Harvard Education Next journal showed 56% of blacks and 62% of Hispanics favored school vouchers for low-income families. (WSJ, 11/14/18). In the recent 2018 elections for Governor in Florida and Arizona, where the Republican candidates were pro-school choice and the Democrats were anti-school choice, many minority voters were educated on these facts and the minority votes for these two Republican candidates went up by about 15% in each state and they both won their elections ! Why aren’t other states (e.g., NY) informing minority voters as to who is for and who is against school choice?
Minority voters, who overwhelmingly want parental choice in education, must be told which candidate supports school choice and which candidate opposes choice. Their assumption that the “party of the poor” (i.e., Democrats) supports school choice is dead wrong, and they must be educated as to this key fact. And taxpayers also must be educated as to how school choice, funded at levels well below the cost/PS student can save taxpayers literally billions of dollars per year. All other ways of helping the poor– food stamps, housing subsidies, Medicaid payments—cost taxpayers MORE. School choice with tax credits/vouchers funded below our PS cost per pupil would save NY taxpayers billions/yr per study by Ron Lauder for NYS Senate (NY Times, 11/24/91). NYS needs this tax reduction now more than ever!

The Transgender Issue

The “transgender issue” was recently discussed by Dr. Michelle Cretella, Exec. Dir. of the American College of Pediatricians (AcPeds), who said it is completely impossible to change from a man to a woman—from a boy to a girl — or vice versa. “Sex” is biological while “gender identity” is learned.
Now that much of our culture is actually supporting the lie that you can change
your sex, we’re seeing a huge increase in those seeking and being given puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. Once kids go down this medical pathway, it’s
more likely they will be permanently sterilized and will have to be on toxic drugs and hormones for life to continue impersonating the opposite sex. This leads to higher risks of heart attack, higher
blood pressure, strokes, diabetes and cancer, said Dr. Cretella. Years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center did fine work. But recently it’s moved to the far-left, especially on issues such as marriage and gender identity. So it now labels groups with traditional moral values on sexual issues as “hate groups.”
(Faith & Justice, Alliance Defending Freedom, Feb. 2019)

Senators Who Hate the K of C

Sen. Kamala Harris (Dem-Cal.) & Sen. Mazie Hirono (Dem-Hawaii) strongly opposed the federal judicial nomination of Brian Buescher because he was a member of the Knights of Columbus (K of C). Specifically, Sen. Harris was concerned that the K of C opposed abortion and same-sex marriage.
Then she wondered, how could such a person ever be a federal judge!
But the entire Catholic Church opposes abortion and same-sex marriage—so does that mean that no person who is a practicing Catholic can ever be a Judge? “The Knights also opposed the KKK in the 1920’s and the Nazis in the 1930’s,” said black Protestant minister Eugene Rivers III. “If the Knights of Columbus can be targeted, what should members of my Pentecostal Church expect?” Rivers asked.
(Columbia, Feb. 2019)

Oil Production in the U.S.

For the first time in 70 years, our nation is exporting more oil and petroleum than it
imports. In recent years oil production on private and state-owned lands more than
doubled through the use of “fracking”, while on federal lands there was no change. Oil produced on federal lands fell from 36% of total production in 2009 to just 22% in 2017.
Our new president reversed certain drilling restrictions and this resulted in far greater oil output on federal lands as well. One positive result—gas prices are now well below $4 per gallon! And if OPEC nations restrict production causing higher oil prices, we’ll see more dollars coming into our country. (The Heartlander, Winter 2018)

How Teacher Tenure Harms
Students & Taxpayers

In the 1880’s teachers (primarily women) were sometimes fired for arbitrary and unfair “offenses” such as becoming pregnant or getting married. Massachusetts was therefore right in implementing “teacher tenure” to properly protect teachers. But today tenure is no longer necessary and is hurting both students and taxpayers.
It has become almost impossible to fire a poor performing teacher. In NY, firing a teacher takes an average of 520 days at a cost of $128,000. For pedagogical incompetence it takes 830 days at an average cost of $313,000, according to NYS School Boards Assn. In addition, tenure places seniority as far more important than teaching performance when staff reductions are made. Well-performing
young teachers lose jobs while poor-performing “tenured” teachers have nothing to worry about. The result—students lose the best teachers. Even when teachers get into serious trouble, it takes
well over a year to remove them, and at a huge cost as well. But our state legislature is too fearful of our teacher unions, so this problem will continue. One way to help change this would be school choice, where the competition that results would put pressure on our government, and public schools, to change this to help our students.
(The Heartlander, Winter, 2018)

What is a “Socialist”?

Newly elected Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seems to be an advocate of “socialism”. She wants to help the “poor”, which, of course is good and moral. We have called her office several times regarding her sincere desire to “help the poor” to ask whether she would support school choice with vouchers or tax credits to give low income parents the ability to select a private or religious school for their children.
But as best we can determine, she is strongly opposed to parental choice in education. Why? Because she puts public union interests above those of poor families. She is a strong “socialist”, who favors the government providing key services, and not “private” institutions. She knows our teacher unions oppose school choice as “choice” would mean more
competition and pressure on government schools to improve performance. But is this acting in a way to help poor children get a better education? Or is it to help public unions keep their educational monopoly?

NYC Reaches Limit
on Charter Schools

Charter schools have been growing in NYC for 20 years. They now have 236 charters serving about 10% of NYC’s 1.1 million PS students. State test results are showing that charter schools overall have better test results than NYC’s public schools. But NY Assembly leader Carl Heastie has said he did not think he’d be able to raise the cap on the number of charter schools serving the students in NYC. Charter school advocates knew this was likely since both houses of the state legislature are now controlled by Democrats who bow to the teacher unions who oppose charter schools and the choice it gives parents. (WSJ, 3/5/19)

Related Newsletters

Newsletter Spring 2021 Vol. 28 No. 1

Frank J. Russo Jr. Retires After 32 Years of Dedicated Service, Abortion – The issue That Will Not Die, Joe Biden Places Women and Children in Danger, School Choice Advances in the States, Arizona Stops Sexual Predators , Killing Babies Is Not Health Care , Support for Socialism Plummets.

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All praise and glory are yours, Lord our God. For you have called us to serve you and one another in love. Bless our sick today so that they may bear their illness in union with Jesus’ sufferings and restore them quickly to health. Bless those who have grown old in your service and give them courage and strength in their faith. Lead us all to eternal glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

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