Church and State

June 26, 2022. Founding Fathers never intended U.S. to be secular or hostile to religion – Washington Times

    • “Today, the court leads us to a place… of [dismantling] the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build,” she bemoaned.

      But what is this “wall” of which Justice Sotomayor morns? Where did it come from? What is its context? And why was it considered important to our nation’s Framers?

American Revolution 2.0?

American-Flag-Distress-signal_rt1

Updated July 31, 2022

The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”

July 30, 2022Washington D.C. Is Run By the Enemies of the American People – It Is Time to Take America Back (VIDEO)

July 4, 2022. In the End, It Will Be the Decision of the American People to Fight for our Constitutional Republic or Submit to Tyranny – The Time Is Now , Gateway Pundit,Guest post by Lawrence Sellen

    • True change can only arise bottom-up. In the end, it will be the decision of the American people to fight for our constitutional republic or submit to tyranny
True change can only arise bottom-up.” Could not agree more. The aim for our system of government is to work towards “a more perfect Union” … community and county. This requires that “We the People” identify our vision for “more perfect” and the feedback we require to determine if any needed change is resulting in improvement.
    • Simple question: Should we expect our elected and appointed officials to meet this standard?
    • In Indiana, the Brown County Leader Network (BCLN) offers methods and tools that can be applied in working towards that “more perfect” community, county, and nation.

June 30, 2022. One Solution Against Tyranny Is Creating State Guards to Defend the Constitution and Fight Back Against the Deep State, Gateway Pundit, Guest post by Lawrence Sellen

    • Did not know that Indiana is among the 22 states that have a State Guard in addition to a National Guard.
    • The Indiana Guard Reserve (INGR) is the State Defense Force for the state of Indiana. The purpose of the INGR is to augment the National Guard during emergencies within the state, especially when some or all of the National Guard is deployed.”

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. He had a civilian career in international business and medical research. Dr. Sellin is the author of Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution. (2013) His email address is lawrence.sellin@gmail.com. Excerpt Chapter 11, Taking Back Our Government- Political Insurgency:

county by county

July 4, American Independence

the 56 declaration signers

Share at the Facebook Group – Brown County Matters

Historian and Author Douglas MacKinnon: Tyranny in America Worse Today than in 1776 (VIDEO) By Jim Hoft  Published July 2, 2022

State Defense Forces

state Defense Force

One Solution Against Tyranny Is Creating State Guards to Defend the Constitution and Fight Back Against the Deep State, By Joe Hoft  Published June 30, 2022 at 8:15am

    • At this moment in American history, there is no more important battle than to preserve the Second Amendment, increase state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment and oppose tyranny by the federal government.
    • State Guards, also known as State Defense Forces, which are distinct from a state’s National Guard and operate under the sole authority of a state government, can provide a legal and effective remedy to the violation of our constitutional rights. Such military units are, in fact, authorized by federal statute under Title 32 of the U.S. Code:

Indiana State Guard: The Indiana Guard Reserve (INGR), formerly the Liberty Guard and the Indiana Legion, is the state defense force[1] of the state of Indiana.

Website – Indiana Guard Reserve (INGR)

Joint Meeting RSDs, Jan 28, 2022

Meeting MinutesJoint Meeting – Helmsburg and Brown County Regional Sewer District (RSDs). Jan 28, 2022, 6:30 p.m.

The two boards are in the process of developing a mutual agreement as to roles and responsibilities.

The role of the Brown County RSD (BCRSD) in this project is to collect wastewater. The role of the Helmsburg RSD is to process the wastewater at the Hellmsburg sewer plant.  Consequently, both boards are contracting for engineering support, rate studies, and legal services.  There are other examples of similar arrangements in other communities. No information regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of such an arrangement or analysis that this is the best arrangement for Brown County. Elected officials chose to stay uninvolved in the decision and supported it with funding from the  American Rescue Plan (ARP).

The area to be served by the joint project ranges from Lake Lemon to Bean Blossom to Woodland Lake.  Rate studies will identify the initial monthly charges and rates will increase over time due to maintenance costs. Nashville has recently increased its sewer rates by 25%. Water rates also continue to increase.

The Brown County RSD (BCRSD) began as the Bean Blossom RSD with the intent to develop a new plant in Bean Blossom. They failed in this mission when landowners refused to sell land for a new plant. The state also refused to allow parkland to be used for a sewer plant.  The new role for the BCRSD  in this project is to collect and transport the wastewater from customers to the Helmsburg Plant. The Lake Lemon and Helmsburg customers have a valid need and support from the customer base.

In the Bean Blossom area, motivation includes development. The need has been justified based on speculation as to the age of septic systems that may indicate inadequate systems,  lack of records (not required in many cases), and some systems that may be contributing to E. coli.

 RSDs can mandate sewer hookups that include hook-up fees (undetermined at this time) and monthly rates. RSDs can also charge customers during construction.  RSD board members are appointed officials.  The county has a one-party monopoly on political power and development has been identified by party officials as a priority.

Website: Brown County RSD

School Referendum – Yes or No? Voters will decide

decision making

Updated: July 15, 2022

July 14, 2022. The school board approved a recommendation to adopt a tax levy resolution (12 cents per $100 of assessed value) for the operating referendum. The monthly levy on a 200,000 home is $9.78. ($117.36 year).  The increase for the last referendum was  8 cents per $100 of assessed value

Information: School Tax Increase (Operating Referendum) – Background information on the last referendum

School Information Session – Proposed Referendum,  June 16, 2022. The economic situation is a little different this time around.  Less than half of school districts in Indiana advocate for a tax increase.

As of June 28, 2022, I have yet to see a “business case” that justifies sustaining the tax increase as opposed to providing taxpayers with a reduction in property taxes.

Below are the Letters to the Editor in support of or opposed to the referendum:  During the last referendum, advocates of the tax increase submitted Guest Columns and Letters in the Brown County Democrat and funded the use of Yard Signs to advocate for their position.

Brown County Matters – Facebook Post of this post – June 28, 2022

Letters to the editor for week of June 22

Do not ‘burden’ taxpayers with another referendum

To the editor:

Let me start by saying this letter is not meant to be an anti-school proclamation. I am only asking the Brown County school board to be reasonable and consider the state of the economy before continuing with their request for more money. With inflation at its highest since the Carter administration this is definitely not the time to burden the taxpayers with another “referendum.”

At this time we are faced with a 25% rate hike in water and sewer costs. Also due to the energy policies of the current administration, our utility — heat and electric — costs are predicted to sky rocket in the coming months.

The last couple of years the school system has received a tremendous amount of additional funding from both state and federal programs that were above and beyond regular funding.

One final note: I was taken aback at the last referendum when the previous administration had school children posted at each of the voting locations lobbying for passage. Ironically, those taxpayers’ funds went to teachers’ salaries, not for the students.

Respectfully,

Jim Hahn, Nashville
Letters to the editor for week of June 29

Vote ‘yes’ to referendum, supporting public schools

To the editor:

I read the letter from Jim Hahn in last week’s Democrat with interest. As the “previous administration” who led the successful Brown County Schools’ referendum campaign, I have some different views and recollections.

First, I will comment that the very concept of asking local public school districts to organize a political campaign centered on the theme of asking the local community to support a vote on increasing their property taxes is an annoying breach of responsibility by our state representatives and senators. It is the Indiana Constitutional responsibility of the elected General Assembly to adequately fund our public schools. My administration as well as those of Laura Hammack and Emily Tracy have all had to make significant reductions in staffing and programs for our boys and girls because the Republican super majority has refused to recognize in its funding formulas that countywide rural schools — and urban schools for that matter — have unique situations which require adequate funding. We all pay too much in taxation and to ask education administrators and school boards to shoulder the duty of the General Assembly is offensive to me.

My recollection as to using students at the polls to support the 2016 referendum is quite different than Mr. Hahn’s recollection. The May 3, 2016 referendum law prohibited the use of students in the campaign in any manner. We asked school board members, retired teachers and our political action committee to man the various polling precincts. Students were in school that day, with the exception of those allowed to distribute campaign literature on behalf of individual candidates seeking office. Perhaps those were the students observed by Mr. Hahn and incorrectly interpreted as being there to support the referendum campaign. There were no students designated by our campaign to be present on behalf of the referendum campaign.

The stated intention of the 2016 referendum was to increase teacher salaries for the purpose of retaining effective teachers in Brown County Schools and to make us competitive with area school corporations with whom we compete for talented teachers. Teacher salaries had not been raised for approximately four years and we had fallen behind other area schools. From the first day of the campaign we publicized that the purpose of the operations referendum was to increase the salaries of our teachers. The current campaign is necessary to maintain and increase further those levels of compensation for our teachers. I would suggest that adequate funding for teacher salaries directly impacts our boys and girls in school by keeping us competitive with the hiring and retention of quality teachers to oversee the daily instruction of our boys and girls.

I agree with Mr. Hahn’s assessment of the difficult situation taxpayers are facing throughout our country as well as locally. Inflation, higher utility costs, higher fuel costs and higher costs of virtually all of our goods and services is negatively impacting all of us. It is also negatively impacting all of the public schools in Indiana and throughout the nation. Unfortunately, additional money given to the public schools by the federal government is very specific and, generally, cannot be used to pay salaries. This referendum is a necessity if we want to maintain and improve our local Brown County Schools.

Let me close by adding that the quality of the local school district is the most important factor in maintaining and increasing property values in any locale. We will lose quality teachers and ultimately quality programs without the referendum. Let us remember when we go to the polls in November that one of the main responsibilities of the General Assembly is to adequately fund public education. Since this is not happening, we must vote “yes” to the referendum to support the excellence of Brown County Schools and our children.

David Shaffer, former superintendent, Brown County Schools

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) – Negative Impact

Updated June 27, 2022

Be a listening ear’: Teacher is new equity and inclusion coach, By  Suzannah Couch – 

    • As of late February, Stiles said she had not received any discrimination complaints from employees. “It could be months before someone comes to me, or it could be tomorrow,” she said.
    • Stiles is also a member of the district’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee of staff members that was created in 2018. The school board approved a resolution in November committing to ensuring that every student, staff and faculty member feels respected and welcomed in every school building, no matter what.
  • Holding our students accountable’: Student Group approaches school board about policy for hate speech, symbols,  

    • The school board has been asked by a group of Brown County High School students to consider implementing a written accountability plan to address hate speech and symbols in the school district. Brown County High School Students for Equity attended the May 6 school board meeting via Zoom.
    • There is no legal definition of hate speech in United States law, but Josephine Fields, the chair and founder of Students for Equity, explained that it is generally “any form of expression through which speakers intend to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of people on the basis of race, religion, sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability or national origin.”
    • “Brown County Schools have struggled with incidents of hate speech and symbols in the past, and such speech has become common background noise in the halls. However, we are not the only school in Indiana to have these types of issues,” Shields said.
    • In 2016, the superintendent of Monroe County Community School Corporation banned the Confederate flag in and on Bloomington High School North’s property after having a meeting with students who were made uncomfortable by four students wearing the flag to school one day. … “Some students reportedly cried when they saw the flags, some students reportedly heard usage of anti-LGBT rhetoric from the group, and many students called it ‘intimidating hate speech,’” Shields said.

Regarding banning the confederate flag and free speech: “the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a ban on a students wearing of clothing depicting the Confederate flag did not violate free speech of the student. B.W.A. v. Farmington R-7 School Dist., 554 F.3d 734 (2009). In its opinion, the court relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969) which held that school administrators must demonstrate facts that might reasonably lead them “to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities” before prohibiting a particular expression of opinion.” (ref: Confederate flag in school and free speech, Iowa Department of Education.)

Punishment For Microaggressions at Indiana School District, with Greg Lukianoff

    • Megyn Kelly is joined by Greg Lukianoff, CEO of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression), to talk about the absurdity of an Indiana school districts rule book on “microaggressions,” how these policies go against free speech, how the definition of a microaggression has changed in recent years, and more.

It’s time for data-first diversity, equity, and inclusion BY  ROLAND FRYER, June 20, 2022 Fortune,  

    • The average impact of corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training is zero and some evidence suggests that the impact can become negative if the training is mandated.
    • Our intuition for how to decrease race and gender disparities in the workplace has failed us for decades. It’s time to stop guessing and start using the scientific method. Remember when we thought that the Bubonic Plague was caused by a triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius?
    • Here is a three-step approach that can turn earnest intentions into good science:
      1. Understand disparities, 2. Find the root causes of bias, Evaluate

Jordan Peterson debate on the gender pay gap, campus protests and postmodernism. Jordan introduces multivariate analysis, e.g. assessments based on “data” and application of the scientific method.

Sunday Missive – June 26, 2022. The World is Flat – or Not

discovery 2 36928-Marcel-Proust-Quote-The-real-voyage-of-discovery-consists-not-in

Imagine living at a time in history when everyone just knew the world was flat. When it was proven by the early pioneers that it was not, the reactions may have varied from who cares, so what, where can I buy a ticket to see the new continents, to let’s hang the messengers.  It may have taken over 100 years for the discovery to be considered common knowledge.

  • The modern-day equivalent of a discovery that can open up new worlds is the awareness and understanding that all things vary, no two people or things are ever exactly alike, and that groups of things from a constant system of causes tend to be predictable, e.g., If you, a group, an industry, a county, a nation, always do what you always did, on average, you will usually get what you always got. This discovery (1924) was classified during WWII, and although de-classified after the war, remains a well-kept secret and hidden in plain sight. Estimates are that this knowledge will not be more common until around 2036.
  • So what? Outcomes are the result of actions that are accomplished through processes and systems. Systems determine the majority if not all of the results. To increase the probability that any changes will result in “systemic” improvement requires that variation is reduced. This requires a basic knowledge of common and special causes of variation and tampering.
  • Within the county, examples of “tampering” include discussions and complaints about roads and bridges, taxes, spending, human rights, quality of government, drug abuse and overdoses, suicides, poverty, food security, et.al., that lead to solutions that do not result in systemic improvements.
  • A community approach to supporting the application of better methods is provided through the Brown County Leader Network (BCLN).

Link to more background information and context – Success Through Quality 

Grades in School: Joy in Learning

grade reportcard

Updated: August 17, 2022

This post at FaceBook – Brown County Matters 

W. Edwards Deming’s contributions in the area of quality management were recognized by FORTUNE magazine as being among the 20 that have shaped the modern world of business and by U.S. News and World Report as one of nine turning points in history. The top turning point was identified as “The Apostle Paul, whose preaching and eloquent writings led to mass acceptance of Christianity.”  Deming has been referred to as the “father of the third wave of the industrial revolution.

Deming identified that individual performance rankings and grades in school as among the deadly diseases of management.

Test your knowledge of Variation.  Who are the top performers? You will likely get this question wrong.

Local ApplicationsBrown County Community Corrections: Suicides, Substance Use Disorder (SUD), overdoses, adverse childhood experiences, parental incarceration rates, children in single-parent households.  Would the data indicate common or special causes of variation?  

Background information and context: Success Through Quality – Overview, History, Relevance, Application of the quality improvement principles, methods, and basic tools.

Further Explanation on Grades  – W. Edwards Deming Institute

Exciting new podcast series: Deming in Education with David P. Langford! Over a series of short episodes David and Andrew talk about implementing “Joy in Learning” in classrooms and school systems – not just “why” but also “how.” … One proven tactic is to replace A-F grading with “met/exceeded standards” and “needs more help.”  

 

Joy in Learning: Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 1)

How to Track Progress: Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 2)

How to Track Progress (Continued): Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 3)

    • In the previous podcast, we were discussing tracking learning and the typical way to track learning is grading people; A, B, C, D, and F, and Deming was very adamant that we could significantly improve the education system if we just stopped grading people.

By What Method: Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 4)

    • So today I wanted to talk about, “By what method?” Dr. Deming tattooed that on my forehead, because so many times people would propose things to him and he would say, “By what method?”

Continuous vs Continual Improvement: Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 5)

    • Deming taught us about, you let the system run basically, because you have to understand the data, what is the system producing, and once you understand that data, understand the variation in the system, then you can do a PDSA process and Plan-Do-Study-Act and come up with a small trial method to figure out what could I change to get a significant difference in the system, and then start applying that in a larger and larger scale level.

Quality is the Answer: Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 6)

    • I wanted students to have maximum ownership in everything that they did. From the time they came in the door till the time they left, we were maximizing their ownership, because what… When you have that control, you also have that learning that goes deep within your brain. And it’s not just here today and gone tomorrow.

      0:16:50.0 AS: Fantastic. Well, on behalf of everybody at the Deming Institute, I want to thank you again for this discussion, and that concludes another great discussion. I want to remind everybody to go to deming.org to continue your journey. This is your host Andrew Stotz, and I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Deming.”People are entitled to joy in work.”

Optimization of a System: Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 7)

    • In this episode, David and Andrew discuss going beyond solving problems in schools to preventing them from happening. David also shares a tool for finding the area where optimization of the system would have the greatest impact.

The Problem with Standardized Tests: Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 8)

    • Langford: So one of the reasons these things did evolve, was a quick and easy way that we could rank individuals or rank systems, and that was one of the things that Deming was most opposed to, ranking people, either through performance appraisals, grades, standardized tests, whatever it might be. So a lot of the purpose of why we do it, is a simple way to rank schools and try to understand, “Well, who’s number one? And who’s not?” And that kind of a thing. 

The Taguchi Loss Function: Deming in Education with David P. Langford (Part 9)

    • Genichi Taguchi’s idea that the further you move from a measurable quality target, the more quality is lost, even if the item still “meets specifications.”  
    • I was at a conference with a whole roomful of school superintendents and I asked them, Anybody know what the Taguchi loss function was? And not a single hand went up. 

PQ Systems – Total Quality Transformation – Education Examples 

Community Corrections

Information provided by Joshua Bales, Executive Director, from Community Corrections. Feb 22, 2022.

a. Per DMHA, IN ranks 42nd across all 50 states & DC for higher prevalence of mental illness and SUD and lower rates of access to care

b. IN was ranked 18th for Adults with SUD and preliminary data showed a 47% increase in overdoses in 2020 compared to 2019

c. 17.4% of adults in Indiana reported 2 or more Adverse Childhood Experiences, compared with 14.8% of the U.S. Population

d. IN was ranked 7th for the highest percentage of adults reporting serious thoughts of suicide

e. IYS CRAFFT scores indicated 16.7% of BC Youth age 15 and 21.6% of BC Youth age 16 are at high risk for having a SUD
f. IYS data for BC Students shows that the percentage of Youth who had considered attempting Suicide was higher than both IN & US rates for students in grades 9, 10, 11, & 12
g. IYS data for BC Students shows that the percentage of Youth who made a plan about attempting suicide was higher than both IN & US rates for students in grades 9, 10, and 12.
h. 2020 IYS (only 6th grade surveyed for this ?) showed parental incarceration rates almost 2 times as great as IN youth- (40%) indicated parents had served time in jail and another 12.3% indicated they were not sure. 23.9% of all BC students are identified for special education (IN average 15.9%). BC graduation rate 82.3% (IN 88.25%). US Census report (2019) showed 35.3% of BC children lived in a single parent home.
i. pursuant to a Youth Survey from the Communities that Care, high numbers of BC Youth experience risk factors that can lead to problem behaviors (including A/D use, delinquency, teen pregnancy, violence), & high numbers of BC Youth present with low protective factors against problem behaviors.
j. BCSO had 15 overdoses reported in 2021, 3 resulting in death. 23 doses of Narcan were administered (that BCSO is aware of). Records from Jail commander indicate 147 incarcerations related to A/D in 2021 at BCLEC.
k. BC Health Dept reported 4 suicide deaths in 2020 Annual Report, and 5 more deaths related to opiate intoxication or overdose. BC just experienced a tragic juvenile suicide less than 2 weeks ago
Joshua Bales
Executive Director
Brown County Community Corrections
201 Locust Lane- Upper Level
Nashville, IN 47448
Office: (812) 988-7343
Cell: (812) 340-2467
Fax: (812) 988-8451