Yellowstone County News won thirteen awards in the Montana Better Newspaper Contest which were presented at The Montana Newspaper Association’s annual convention in Helena last Friday and Saturday.

The event brings together newspaper publishers, reporters, designers, advertisers and marketers from across the state to discuss the state of their industry, compare notes and share ideas. Weeks ahead of the convention, statewide daily and weekly newspapers submit the best of their work in the past year to be judged by industry leaders in other states.

Yellowstone County News publisher, Jonathan McNiven, was also voted onto the Montana Newspaper Association’s board of directors for a three year term. He already serves of the Association’s Advertising Services Board of Directors.

In Division 3, Yellowstone County News took the first place award in five categories: Jonathan McNiven and Elisa Schlosser won the top award for Best Marketing Campaign; Elisa Schlosser won the Best Ad to Sell or Promote Merchandise Black and White award; Jonathan McNiven won the Best Breaking News Photo, Best Digital Presentation and Best Video.

Elisa Schlosser won second place for the Best Graphic and the Best Ad to Sell or Promote Services Black and White award. Jonathan McNiven won second place for Best Website. Evelyn Pyburn won second place for Best Headline Writing and third for Best Editorial. Michael Marino won third place for Best Headline Writing. David Crisp took third place for Best Column Writing. And, the Yellowstone County News Staff won second place for the Best Niche Publication.

This year’s top newspapers in Montana—winning the General Excellence Award — are: the Boulder Monitor, Choteau Acantha, Belgrade News, Havre Daily News and the Billings Gazette.

Among other awards, The Belgrade News was awarded the Thomas Dimsdale Award for the Best Montana Weekly Newspaper.

Thomas Dinsdale is noted as Montana’s first newspaper editor, who made an amazing impact on the state given that he died at the early age of 35. He was editor of The Montana Post, from September 17, 1864 until August 30, 1866 when ill health forced him to resign. He is probably best known as the author of “Vigilantes of Montana.”

The Mel Ruder Photograph of the Year award was presented to Amy Nelson of the Billings Gazette. Ruder was a Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer who founded the Hungry Horse News in Columbia Falls, in 1946, and served as its publisher until 1978, when he sold it. Ruder died in 2000 at the age of 85.

The Billings Gazette was awarded the Sam Gilluly Award for the Best Montana Daily Newspaper. Gilluly was born in Billings in 1908 and followed in his father’s footsteps, who was a pioneering Montana newsman. Gilluly served for 28 years as editor of the Glasgow Courier. He served as Executive Director of the Montana Newspaper Association from 1974 through 1978.

The Montana Newspaper Association, of which Brian Allfrey is Executive Director, also recognized other outstanding leaders in the newspaper industry. Charles “Chuck” Johnson, a veteran Montana reporter for 45 years, was named to the Montana Newspaper Association’s Hall of Fame. Johnson unexpectedly died in March at age 74. He was known as the “dean of the capitol press corps,” and Gov. Greg Gianforte called him “a giant in political journalism.”

The recognition comes of a life time of reporting on Montana politics, government and culture and his mentoring of many young journalists. In May 2022, Johnson received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Montana State University. At the time of his death a local news report stated that “he had covered 22 Montana legislative sessions, seven governors, nine U.S. senators and 10 U.S. representatives, in addition to countless state legislators, elections, conventions and policies.”

The 2023 Master Editor & Publisher award was presented to Jacques Rutten, who in 2022 was named Regional Editor for Yellowstone Group Newspapers by Adams Publishing Group which acquired that group of newspapers in the past year. Prior to that Rutten was editor and publisher of the News-Argus in Lewistown, where he first began working as a sports reporter in 1997. Edward Renaud was presented with the 2023 Dick Crockford Distinguished Service Award.  Renaud is the Regional Production Manager for the Yellowstone Group Newspapers since its purchase by Adams Publishing Group in 2022. He is noted as a dedicated pressman and became Pressroom Foreman in 2004 and then Production Manager for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

In a unanimous vote, Yellowstone County Commissioners named Marci Shafer, Billings, as the Treasurer for Yellowstone County, replacing Sherry Long who is retiring. Shafer will assume her new position on August 1.

Shafer was one of five people who applied for the position.

The appointment is the fulfillment of a goal for Shafer. Ten years ago she ran as a Republican candidate to be county treasure but was defeated by Sherry Long in the primary. Shafer in fact worked in the County Treasurer’s office prior to that — 6 years in the motor vehicle department and 7 years in the treasurer’s department.

In the interim, Shafer has remained in public service having worked for the past 7 years in the Department of Revenue’s property assessment department.

Shafer commented that she hopes the transition will go smoothly in order to maintain great public service for the taxpayers and to continue good relationship with the departments in Yellowstone County and with the Department of Revenue.

Shafer is a native of Billings, having left the city to live in Huntley a few years ago. She and her husband, Ole, of 44 years, have two children. During her spare time Shafer enjoys motorcycle trips and riding horses and most outdoor activities. 

Among the other candidates who applied for the position was Henry (Hank) Peters, who currently works in the Treasurer’s office. He was among the three the commissioners interviewed, which besides Shafer, included Katherine (Kate) Becker. The other candidates were: Tamara E. Parnell and Lorena (Rena) Rickard.

US Congressman Matt Rosendale commented to the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on their proposed Conservation and Landscape Health rule that will lock up swaths of public land for “conservation leases”.

“This rule is just another example of the Biden Administration weaponizing the government to appease radical environmentalists at the expense of the people of Montana,” said Rep. Rosendale. “This expansive rule will limit recreation, timber, grazing, and important energy development on public land. Even more consequential is the impact this will have on cattle ranching, which will require Montana ranchers to compete with coastal corporations for the limited number of available leases.

He sent the letter on June 28 to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning objecting to the proposed Conservation and Landscape Health Rule claiming the rule will negatively impact the people of Montana.

“The BLM has limited public input on this disastrous rule by only allowing five public forums in urban city centers rather than the communities that would be impacted and did not even provide concerned stakeholders with the opportunity to ask questions to federal employees. I seek to remind Secretary Haaland and the Bureau of their “multiple use” obligations and implore them to look toward the devastating impacts this will have on my state. I urge BLM to immediately withdraw this harmful rule.” said Rep. Rosendale.

The BLM’s Conservation and Landscape Health Rule, proposed in April, will establish conservation leases that will lock away large areas of land that could be used for outdoor recreation, grazing, timber, and energy development.

The rule, said Rep. Rosendale, is in direct violation of the Taylor Grazing Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which requires a “multiple use” policy on public lands.

Changing the BLM’s multiple use mandate without the proper input from Congress or state and county governments is an unprecedented power grab, he said. It will empower the Bureau to approve acreage limitations that could limit critical vegetation management and harm the people of Montana.

From National Federation of Independent Business

The U.S. Supreme Court concluded its 2022-2023 term on June 30. Overall, the term was a convincing success for small business. NFIB filed amicus briefs in seven cases this term. Of these, six cases were decided in favor of small businesses. From civil penalty prosecutions to the jurisdiction of federal agencies, many of these decisions will have an immediate and positive impact on the small business community.

“In many ways, the U.S. Supreme Court acts as a final safeguard for the rights of small business owners,” said Beth Milito, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “Burdensome mandates, inconsistent regulations, and costly penalties can make it impossible for small businesses to thrive. Thankfully, the Supreme Court agreed this term and acted largely in defense of the small business community. In several decisions, the Court reinforced the importance of small businesses nationwide to their communities and the national economy.”

Bittner v. United States

In this case, the Supreme Court protected small businesses from incurring numerous penalties under the Bank Secrecy Act. The case questioned whether the failure to file a required report is considered a singular violation in itself or if an individual should incur multiple violations for each unreported account. Ultimately, the Court concluded that violations under the Bank Secrecy Act should not result in multiple, extraneous penalties. This will benefit the many small business owners who mean to comply but lack the resources to navigate the complex regulatory requirements.

Wilkins v. United States

This case questioned whether the Quiet Title Act’s statute of limitations is a jurisdictional requirement, which would prohibit small business owners from filing a suit against the government after the 12-year time period expired. Instead, the Court agreed with NFIB that the statute of limitations was not jurisdictional and was instead a claim-processing rule. This decision reinforced the importance of property rights and the balance between the government and property owners, ensuring that small business owners could have their day in court.

Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency

Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency was perhaps the most awaited decision from this Supreme Court term for small businesses as it coincided with the enactment of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the Department of the Army’s final rule on the waters of the U.S. The case concerned whether wetlands are considered “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Before this decision, small business owners had no clear way to determine if their land was under the jurisdiction of the EPA. This impeded their ability to run their businesses or improve upon their land. Thankfully, the Court unanimously rejected the standard courts and the government have used to expand the EPA’s jurisdiction over private property in favor of a narrower test. The decision creates a clearer picture of WOTUS and the authority of the EPA and the Department of the Army, saving many landowners from bureaucratic confusion and unfair penalties.

Tyler v. Hennepin County

The case questioned whether the Takings Clause prevents the government, after seizing and selling a person’s property to collect back taxes, from keeping the surplus amount collected from the sale. This government practice is commonly referred to as “home equity theft.” The Court unanimously ruled in favor of Tyler on her Fifth Amendment takings claim, ensuring that small business owners are protected from this unfair government practice.

Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters

In our amicus brief in the case, NFIB argued that multiple court precedents had already determined that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not immunize unions from state tort suits involving the intentional destruction of private property. The Supreme Court agreed, solidifying the established balance of power between labor unions and employers. This decision ensures that small businesses have the right to seek compensation via legal action following the vandalism of their property.

Coinbase Inc. v. Bielski

In Coinbase Inc. v. Bielski, the Supreme Court considered whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires trial courts to halt trial court proceedings once a party appeals the court’s decision on a motion to arbitrate. In answering that it does, the Court saved business owners from enduring the costly litigation that they seek to avoid by requesting arbitration in the first place.

Stoney Field of Montrose County Colorado has been named as MetraPark’s new general manager.

According to a press release, the choice was unanimous among Yellowstone County Commissioners.

Field most recently served, for the past six years, as the Fairgrounds and Events Center Director in Montrose County, Colorado. Field’s first day on the job will be August 7.

His experience includes background in rodeo, livestock and ag related events and programs, along with community events and concerts. 

Field has worked at every level of events from being a participant, to organizing, promoting, staging and conducting numerous types of shows and productions. 

“We had a number of well qualified candidates for this important opening”, said Yellowstone County Commission Chairman John Ostlund. 

“It speaks well to the reputation earned by Metra and its staff over the years as a premier venue in our region. We sought creative leadership, the ability to build and manage successful teams, a track record that demonstrates to us that the general manager selected has the ability to involve our entire region in the mission of MetraPark, while keeping an eye on increasing revenues and keeping expenses in line in order that we give our taxpayers the best bang for their buck. Stoney has built strong ties with promoters, vendors, volunteer groups and especially his customers. We are confident that Stoney will help us grow in ag events, along with fair profitability, concerts, sporting events and family friendly events equally, giving our region a wide range of opportunities to spend their entertainment dollars with us.” s

The  YWCA Billings has announced the appointment of Erin Lambert as the new CEO of YWCA Billings. Lambert has extensive experience with the YWCA having served YWCA Billings over the past 18 years.  Lambert is a non-profit management professional with a deep-rooted familiarity of YWCA Billings. She has expertise in trauma-informed care and is dedicated to the field of domestic and sexual violence, as well as human trafficking. Her tenure with YWCA has allowed her to develop expertise in trauma-informed care program delivery and design. Lambert’s dedication to the field of domestic and sexual violence, as well as human trafficking, has earned her recognition throughout the community.

Newly Licensed Businesses June 2023

Stillwater Machine LLC, 2931 Stillwater Dr, 59102, 579-3387, Jake Johnston, service

G Bell LLC, 14 E Almadin Ln, 59105, 208-4693, Gard Bell, service

Avis Budget Car Rental LLC, 1801 Terminal Circle, 59105, 973-496-4700, Jeannine Pallumbo, service

BD Equipment Services Inc, 4712 Rimrock Rd, 59106, 201-7711, Bill Beede, service

CORE Volleyball Academy, 3465 AJ Way – Unit 111, 59106, 201-9585, Ran Dee Ochinero, service

Cobblestone Landscaping LLC, 1480 Uniontown Rd, Genesse ID 83832, Jake Osborne, service

Totally Whipped, 2144 Eagle Rock Dr, 59101, 647-5971, Kenneth Weher, restaurants

LKeller Photography, 3360 Hidalgo Dr, 59101, 698-9233, Laurena Keller, service

Flow Riders LLC, 3819 Drury Ln, 59105, 901-3270, Jami DeHaven, service

Candy King Group Corp., 11100 Valley Blvd #220, El Monte CA 91731, Jian Liu, restaurants

The Frybread House LLC, 1503 Rosebud Ln, 59101, 672-9388, Leonard Cochran, restaurants

Custers Retreat, 1043 Custer Ave, 59102, 625-0002, Matt McAlvain, real estate rental

360 Pressure Washing, 139 Terry Ave, 59101, 413-1125, Christina McCulley, service

Ross Construction, 6 Walnut Grove Dr, 59102, 894-3797, Arron Ross, general contractor

Bluecore Power LLC, 2001 Sixth Ave – Ste 1776, Seattle WA 98121, 206-201-0300, Sandra Blackburn, electrical contractors

Piece O’Cake, 2160 Skyview Dr, 927-4515, Kristina Morton, retail sales

Rubies and The Fig Trees, 933 Edgehill Vista Rd, 59101, 679-3642, Sarah Hosa, retail sales

CWI, LLC dba Camping World, 976 Rosebud Ln, 59101, 270-781-2718, Donita Kirby, retail sales

Tam3 Consulting LLC, 2626 Cook Ave, 59102, Thorton McGill, service

PG Marketing LLC, 3217 E MacDonald Dr, 59102, 697-1391, Perrin Grubbs

Inspire Medical Systems Inc, 5500 Wayzata Blvd – Ste 1600, Golden Valley MN 55416, 612-670-8772, Marc Ertl, retail sales

3 Kings Excavation & Asphalt LLP, 745 Henesta Dr, 59101, 696-8393, Justin & Jessica Bickham/John Hankinson, service

Uncle Josh’s Smoke Shack, 5179 Midland Rd, 59101, 763-244-0321, Joshua Nestrud/Heather Ackerman, restaurants

Big Sky Costume Jewelry, 5305 Sundance Mountain Circle, 59106, 432-294-4142, Liliana Harris, service

HP Communications Inc, 13341 Temescal Canyon Rd, Corona CA 92883, 951-572-1200, Marisa Eventes, service

Zeren Electric LLC, 2050 Hwy 91 North, Dillon MT 59725, 498-4509, Ryan Zeren, electrical contractors

Casablanca International Consultations, 816 Rock Moss Dr, 59101, 591-5615, Bailey Brown, service

Tellworks Communications LLC, 415 N 16th St, 59101, 550-3204, Shanon Ruff, service

JI Hot Dogs Pizza and More, 2719 1st Ave N, 59101, 425-3091, JoJo Tobias, restaurants

Decks Gone Wild LLC, 3050 Helen Dr, 59101, 670-4862, Tory Nick, general contractor

LNS Rentals, 388 Sahara Dr, 59105, 916-8380, Tamari Rutledge, real estate rentals

The Daily Crunch Bookkeeping Services, 2451 Bonito LP, 59105, 775-455-6783, Jill Detwiler, service

Nevada Countertops Supply LLC, 3251 E Warm Springs RD – Ste 400, Las Vegas NV 89120, service

JPW Brick Slayer, 24 S 8th St W, 59101, 690-9362, Jeremy Pretty Weasel, service

Cerus Enterprises LLC, 3755 West Accipter Dr, Coeur D’Alene ID 83815, 208-503-5333, Joshua Fledderman, general contractor

DHB, 526 Burlington Ave, 59101, 901-0801, David Hill, general contractor

Shimmering Heights, 501 S 44th St W #1106, 59106, 925-3661, Caleb Mills, service

Deanna Young LMT, 2116 Broadwater Ave, 59102, 598-1804, Deanna Young, service

Your Home Away from Home II (2), 1228 Maurine St, 59105, 534-3511, Jessica Robinson, service

Blue Heron Construction, 2311 Kings Dr, 59101, 927-3650, Simon Harris, general contractor

Lukas Rentals, 1026 Nutter Blvd, 59105, 655-4445, Lukas Martinson, real estate rental

Grey Finn LLC, 2311 Spruce St, 59101, 600-1117, Daniel Faaborg, real estate rental

Skyline Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation, 1807 24th St W, 59102, 801-601-1450, Rachel Winder, service

Petco #1299, 2618 King Ave W, 59102, 210-201-9387, n/a retail sales

MK Mechanical LLC, 8732 Suzanna Dr, 59101, 208-3234, Matthew Kottke, services

The Shear Shack LLC, 1350 Panners Pl Apt J, 59105, 307-899-4750, Danielle Uchtman, service

AJC Properties, 1521 Lewis Ave, 59102, 694-5951, Asa Campbell, real estate rental

Dick Zier Brokerage Inc, 2139 Broadwater Ave – Ste F, 59102, 698-3153, Alex Zier, service

Elevate Solar, 425 S 2nd ST, Livingston 59047, 704-305-5919, Ben Caylor, service

Alikat Kleaning, 3912 Victory Circle #136, 59102, 598-1988, Alison James, service

Bad Canyon Excavation and Construction, 2205 58th St W, 59106, 647-1000, general contractor

Anyway Energy LLC, 3221 110K Ave SW, , Dickenson ND 58601, 701-495-1161, Darcy Schmidt, service

EC MT Customs, 4340 Phillip St, 59101, 860-6746, Elizabeth Chaffin, retail sales

Rise Above Cleaning LLC, 620 W Main St #3, Laurel 59044, 927-2193, Melissa Emery, service

Continental Cleaning Company LLC, 825 Ahoy Ave, 59105, 671-6902, Vicki Eubank/Mark Engeron, service

City Blue Productions LLP, 2049 Interlachen Dr, 59105, 670-2329, Pam Goodridge, service

Goodgulf Consulting, 3075 Winchester Trail, 59106, 672-5099, James Leaphart, service

Jones Covey Group, 9595 Lucas Ranch Rd, Rancho Cucamonga CA 91730, 888-972-7581, Ellen Collins, general contractor

Leonardson Inc, 3006 17th St W, 59102, 606-9357, Scott Leonardson, general contractor

Nathan Clouse Construction, 404 South Moorehead, Miles City 59301, 853-3522, Nathan Clouse, general contractor

Branded Construction, 516 9th St W, 59102, 697-0378, Kumba Gould, service

804 Clark LLC, 804 Clark, 59101, 208-6407, Rachel Moorehead, real estate rental

TCA Group Inc, 2223 Montana Ave, 59101, 442-8594, Amy Strainer, general contractor

Nations Roof Mountain LLC, 10621 W Executive Dr, Boise ID 83713, 208-322-2474, Kent Tolley, general contractor

Absarokee Development LLC, 1110 Poly Dr, 59102, Glenn Plenty Hawk,  restaurants

The Cleaning Edge, 120 S 35th St, 59101, 839-6892, Tiphani Stambaugh, service

A’s and B’s preschool, LLC, 1536 Mullowney Ln Ste 201, 59101, 855-6833, n/a, schools

Elan Medspa LLC, 1537 41st W, 59102, 855-4002, Kaciey Tisdale, services

Big Sky Marine Sales LLC, 2561 Monad Rd, 59102, 633-0456, Jaymi Rooyen, retail sales

MAKK LLC, 1030 Yale Ave, 59102, 869-4180, Kevin Kraft, 869-4180, real estate rental

   MC Concrete Lifting, 2252 Ave C, 59102, 970-4098, Caleb Borgstrom, general contractor

Balance & Bloom LLC (Healing), 1721 Wicks Ln, 59105, 598-7748, Amber Emmons, service

Balance & Bloom LLC (Retail), 1721 Wicks Ln. 59105, 598-7748, Amber Emmons, retail sales

Princeton Street Charmer Airbnb, 661 Tumbleweed Dr, 59105, 694-7475, Cheryl and Brian Emmons, real estate rental

Zomi Inc, 515 Leopard St, 59106, 850-3855, Gideon Holmes, service

Beacon Air Group, 2390 Overlook Dr, 59105, 800-700-5107, Joel Simmons, service

Blue Elk Advisors LLC, 434 Calle Gomez, San Clemente CA 92672, 949-838-4807, James Chalmers, service

Chaikhana, 300 S 24th St W #D03, 59102, 304-8987, Sadi Chaikhana, restaurants

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), along with members of the NAM’s Council of Manufacturing Associations and Conference of State Manufacturers Associations, has launched Manufacturers for Sensible Regulations, a group aimed at addressing the unworkable onslaught of rules that has emerged from the Biden administration in recent months.

—More than 63% of manufacturers say they spend more than 2,000 hours a year complying with federal regulations, according to the NAM’s Q2 2023 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey.

—The percentage of manufacturers with a positive outlook on the future of their business is at its lowest in almost four years, according to the survey.

 “Washington is creating tremendous doubt across our sector at a time when we’re still dealing with economic uncertainty,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said.

“The unbalanced regulations coming out of this administration threaten to undermine our ability to grow, compete and win on a global scale,” added American Cleaning Institute President and CEO, NAM board member and CMA Chair Melissa Hockstad.

The new coalition is already meeting with key members of the Biden administration and Congress to share the impact the numerous regulations have had on the manufacturing industry.

“We will work with our state partners and the White House to find solutions to help grow our sector in the most responsible way possible,” said Utah Manufacturers Association President and CEO, NAM board member and COSMA Chair Todd Bingham

Dr. Chengci Chen, MSU-EARC professor of agronomy and superintendent recently presented, in Sidney, the results of a study of camelina and canola as potential rotational crops for dryland and irrigated production systems. The study is being conducted at Montana State University Eastern Agricultural Research Center’s (EARC).

“Demands for oilseeds has increased in recent years; canola and camelina could be profitable alternatives to sugar beets, especially because the demand for camelina for biofuel production is surging,” said Chen, adding that several companies are seeking millions of acres for camelina production.

Camelina is a new crop to this area and both canola and camelina are suitable in rotation with crops such as wheat and barley and could potentially make a more profitable and resilient crop system. They are suitable for dryland and irrigated farming, though they have a higher yield under irrigation but plant disease is a concern. Research at EARC also aims at selecting cultivars that can produce higher yield with less input, especially nitrogen input. 

Chen’s research will offer vital information including cultivar adaptability and yield potential and agronomic management strategies for these alternative crops including fertility needs, planting time and rate, irrigation management, weed control, harvesting method, and disease management.

“Agriculture is very important to our community. With sugar beets out, and a lot of uncertainty, we want to find alternatives for growers that are profitable,” Chen explained. He went on to add of their research, “We don’t want farmers to fail on a large scale. Our research in small plot-scale allows us to figure out what cultivators can and what can’t grow in this environment and the agronomic strategies for these new crops before farmers take these crops to their farms for large-scale production.”

Dr. Chen welcomes farmers and the general public to attend the field to learn the work the scientists are doing at EARC and see the crop performance. Dr. Chen also wants to thank local businesses for sponsoring the luncheon at the field day.

By Lawrence Reed, Director of Frontier Institute

“On this important question, the verdict is in and it is definitive: The one ingredient that makes the most difference in educational outcomes is parental involvement.”

Of all the ingredients in the recipe for educating children, which one has the greatest potential to improve student outcomes?

Teacher unions would put higher salaries for their members at the top of the list, to which we should all respond, “Been there, done that!” Teacher compensation has risen generously around the country, while indicators of pupil performance have stagnated or fallen.

What about smaller class size, a longer school year, more money for computers, or simply more money for fill-in-the-blank? Evidence strongly suggests that those elements bear little or no connection to student success. On this important question, the verdict is in and it is definitive: The one ingredient that makes the most difference in educational outcomes is parental involvement. 

Homeschooling is the ultimate in parental involvement. Parents who give up time and income to directly supervise the education of their children are exercising the ultimate parental responsibility. Recognizing these heroes in our midst is long overdue.

The California-based Reason Foundation reports that in the 18 years between 2002 and 2020, spending per pupil in Montana public schools rose to nearly $14,000—an increase of 25 percent in real terms, after accounting for inflation. That means that the state’s roughly 7,400 home school children (as reported by the Associated Press) are saving Montana taxpayers well over ten million bucks this year. Nationwide, home schoolers save the public upwards of $56 billion. The average homeschool household spends under $1,000 of its own income to educate a child, even as it still pays taxes to a system it doesn’t use. 

Study after study show that home education gets far more bang for the bucks than schools run by government do. Scores on achievement tests are off-the-charts but perhaps most remarkably, according to the National Home Education Research Institute, are these facts: “Whether homeschool parents were ever certified teachers is not related” to those test scores, and the “degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement” either. And the best colleges and universities are eager to recruit homeschooled students.

As explained by Marianna Brashear of the Foundation for Economic Education: “The word ‘schooling’ in homeschooling is misleading because education takes place in and out of formal lessons, including field trips and hands-on learning. The biggest waste of time in schools comes not just from questionable or one-sided content, but also from ‘teaching to the test,’ where kids memorize, regurgitate, and forget.”

Teaching children at home isn’t for everyone. There are good schools—private, and public—that are doing a better job than some parents could do. But homeschooling is working very well for the growing number of parents and children who choose it. You don’t hear much about this because parents don’t have their own tax-funded PR departments.

Parents who homeschool often want a strong moral focus. Others are fleeing unsafe schools where discipline and academics take a backseat to silly fads and politically correct dogma. Many homeschool parents complain about the pervasiveness in public schools of instructional methods that border on pedagogical malpractice, including drag queen story hours and far-Left indoctrination. Others value the flexibility to travel with their children for hands-on, educational purposes; the ability to customize curricula to each child’s needs and interests; and the potential to strengthen relationships within the family.

There’s no evidence that homeschooled children make anything but fine, solid citizens who respect others and work hard as adults. At least instinctively, we all seem to know that. When we hear of bullying, rioting, drug abuse or unruliness, nobody thinks, “Oh, there go the home school kids again.” 

Treasure State parents who are interested in exploring this proven education option should take a look at the website of the Montana Coalition of Home Educators. How to get started, how to comply with the law, what resources are available—it’s all there. Do your children a favor and give it a look.