A CONSERVATIVE CHOICE FOR THE MINORITY'S VOICE

Politics

Unsinking the Titanic: Repairing the Hole that is America’s Debt Dilemma – Part 1

by Providence Crowder

 The Problem

There is a war of ideologies being waged on the American political scene.  Those on the left and right sides of the political spectrum are simply unable to come to a viable compromise concerning prominent socioeconomic issues of today.  In the meantime, while the politicians in Washington fight, the director of the Congressional Budget Office—Douglas W. Elmendorf—warned in his 2011 Long-Term Budget Outlook that the United States is headed towards the biggest economic downfall since World War II.  He testified:

Policymakers will need to increase revenues substantially as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), decrease spending significantly from projected levels, or adopt some combination of those two approaches to keep deficits and debts from climbing to unsustainable levels.   (more…)


Booker T. Washington on Black Victimhood

by Gary DeMar

Black racists are coming out of the woodwork. It’s hard to imagine how vile and bigoted they are in their attacks on Herman Cain. Such treatment has a long history. Today, it’s an industry. (more…)


Two Kinds of Promiscuity

By Star Parker

Last week the House passed with bipartisan support the Protect Life Act, which amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to assure that no taxpayer dollars will be used to fund abortion. It also assures that health-care providers that do not wish to provide abortions are not forced to by government.

The bill’s Republican sponsor, Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., had co-sponsored essentially the same amendment along with then-Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., when Obamacare was in the making in 2009.

Because a similar provision was not in the Senate version of the bill, and had no prospect of making it through the Senate, Stupak stood as a major obstacle to the passage of Obamacare.

In the end, the ways of Washington prevailed, and Stupak caved to pressure from the White House. He agreed to support the health-care bill without his anti-abortion provision, in exchange for President Obama issuing an executive order prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions in health care provided in the framework of Obamacare.

An executive order is a flimsy substitute for law; thus Rep. Pitt found another pro-life Democrat, Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., to co-sponsor his amendment, which has now passed the House 251-172.

However, Pitt’s new bill faces the same prospects as the amendment that he cosponsored with Stupak in 2009. Its chances of passage in the Senate are remote.

So why bother?

After the bill passed, I was asked on a PBS talk show, “To the Contrary,” if Republicans were being frivolous in taking up congressional floor time to deal with abortion when what Americans want today is congressional action on the economy.

My response was “no, we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and actually in light of Obamacare, it is critical for lawmakers to protect health-care workers and hospitals with a conscience clause.”

In fact, the attention the bill has gotten in the short time since it passed the House indicates that the level of interest in abortion, and the potential use of taxpayer funds for it, remains high.

Two high-post Democrats – former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Democratic National Committee chairwoman – issued statements criticizing the bill shortly after it passed.

According to Pelosi, the provision assuring that health-care providers, including hospitals, are not forced to provide abortions, even though they receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, means “that women can die on the floor and health-care providers do not have to intervene.”

Wasserman Schultz said, “This extreme legislation is dangerous for women’s health and does nothing to address the jobs crisis facing American families.”

Liberals love to frame the killing of developing humans as being about women’s lives, health and rights.

But, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 3 percent of abortions are performed for reasons of a woman’s health. Abortions that are performed because a woman’s life is in danger amount to a fraction of 1 percent. That leaves more that 96 percent for convenience with some 50 percent repeat customers.

Regarding abortion, the liberal agenda is really about two things – 1) an alleged right to sexual promiscuity and, 2) an alleged right to have others bear social and financial responsibility for that promiscuity.

Fortunately, a sizable part of the American population doesn’t see things this way. And, fortunately, a sizable part of our population remains in awe of the miracle of life and our responsibilities toward all aspects of life, both in and outside of the womb.

It doesn’t take that much thought to realize the fallacious thinking that suggests that matters of economy and matters of morality have nothing to do with each other.

The “right to abortion” culture is simply a subset of the entitlement culture, the culture that says your life is about making claims on others rather than personal responsibility.

Disrespect for life and disrespect for property go hand in hand. We can’t divorce our sexual promiscuity from our fiscal promiscuity. Restoring personal responsibility in both areas is what we need today to get our nation back on track.


Star Parker is president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, and author of the recently re-released “Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can Do About It.”


Personal Philosophy of Christian Education as it Relates to Blacks

by Tommy Davis

I think now more than ever in America, Christian education is the very schooling that would provide a form of consensus in the Christian community that transcends culture.  In a time when liberalism and contemporary philosophy have taken over our schools and seminaries, there needs to be an evaluation and action taken that would allow our educational conclusions to be shaped by historic Christianity.  Deeply affected by the storm of conflicting ideas are the contemporary predominantly black American churches which have allowed it to be taken over by emotionalism rather than doctrinal orthodoxy and Christian educational thoughts.   This has led to a higher murder rate among black Americans, a massive school drop-out rate, a high incarceration rate, political ignorance, and contemporary segregation in the inner cities and the church.

As a jail chaplain, I am deeply troubled by some of the strategies used by volunteers who are involved in jail ministry which include Bible studies and worship services.  The flaws that exist in their educational philosophy are only making discipleship more difficult to accomplish.  Therefore, I wish to apply my philosophy of Christian education where volunteers of all ages are trained for jail ministry, and during training seminars in churches where tutoring programs are chartered for those at risk of dropping out of school or going to jail.

This educational initiative does not target black Americans as the only group.  It is prepared to emphasize and address the educational deception prevalent in clustered and crime ridden communities.  Generations of ignorance have consequences such as fatherless homes, poor education, and crime.  Therefore, this educational philosophy would have to incorporate and answer correctly the philosophical questions in the area of metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology.

Metaphysics is the study of being or reality.  Metaphysics is the most notional and abstract branch of philosophy.  Since metaphysics basically means “beyond physics” or beyond the natural realm of things, it is a speculative area.  Also, metaphysics is a theoretical construct; it is subject to unreliable presuppositions if not Scripture.  It is safe to build ideas upon what is revealed in the pages of the Bible.  Therefore, a theological groundwork must influence our metaphysical deductions.  According to James Wilhoit,

“Often Christian education has been accused of drifting far from orthodox theological teaching, particularly in regard to the Christian view of human nature and spiritual growth.  This drifting is unfortunate, for Christian education is lost unless grounded in biblically based teaching.  No matter how much zeal a Christian educator may have, it is of little use without an awareness of the essential theological underpinning of the faith.”

God is spirit, but He revealed Himself in the physical, in the Person of Jesus Christ.  Metaphysical questions regarding the existence of God were answered in God becoming flesh.  The Bible says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 KJV).  Our definition of a Spiritual God must come from the Scriptures.  If Jesus is the sinless God/man come down from heaven, then who are we?  Since Jesus came from God, the position to adopt is for mankind to understand that God had something to do with our existence as well.

Since epistemology deals with how we arrive at our conclusions, it is important to establish a guiding principle that would help us arrive at intellectual destinations that corroborates all areas of what we already know to be truth.  Epistemology is closely related to teaching and the learning process.  How do we know something?  One way to arrive at judgments is to seek information outside ourselves or from sources that are credible.  The Bible provides a set of eternal truths; and it is from this source that educational pursuits must be subjected.  It is the Bible that reveals God’s paradigm.

The Bible must be the check and balance in the quest for answers.  If Christian education is to be truly Christian, it must derive from the Christian creed.  In the Book of Acts, Luke records that the believers devoted themselves to the apostle’s teachings (see Acts 2:42-47).  It is important to note that the disciples acted upon what they learned from the apostles.  The relationship between apostle and disciple is that of trust and truth.  The disciples believed (trusted) that the apostles were transmitting truth.  The truth came from the Old Testament Scriptures as the apostles taught and interpreted the events that now make up what we call the New Testament.  The apostles’ epistemology derived from revelation rather than a political sect or some worldly philosophical idea.

Black Christians in America seem to overwhelmingly vote Democrat, but display a form of conservative values.  It may be safe to say that the majority of black Christians are against homosexual marriage, abortion, and racism when it comes to black people.  Yet, black Christians vote for the very liberal Democrats they do not agree with.  This may be due to getting a fiscal advantage with all sorts of Democratic programs like housing projects and extended welfare benefits.  Also, blacks are taught that Republicans were responsible for racism and slavery, when in fact, it was the Democratic Party that promoted slavery, segregation, and all sorts of Jim Crow discriminatory laws.

It will not take much investigation to find that Christian education is the antithesis of liberal political philosophy.  Voting values also falls into the area of axiology because if one says they are against homosexual marriage, and yet vote for politicians who promote pro-homosexual legislation, it proves that some are dishonest regarding values, or ignorant of the facts.  An axiological statement is still being made if we place fiscal opportunities over morality.  A holistic Christian education is neither white nor black, rich nor poor, Democrat or Republican.  Therefore, judgments should be arrived at using Scripture as the controlling criterion.

Axiology is concerned with values and aesthetics that specify what is good and right.  The issues of ethics and religion also fall under the grouping of axiology.   Axiology is a very important philosophical position because people are motivated by what is important to them.   Moral values are under attack in the world as people seek to redefine the value system based on faulty presuppositions rather than biblical revelation.  For example, the State of New York recently passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage.  Obviously, homosexual marriage is non-existent in the Bible but people have adopted a value system based on an incorrect epistemology.  Crucial to the development of our axiological judgments are correct metaphysical and epistemological positions.   Christians must believe the right things about God and the right things about people.

In order to transfer the proper ideas, we must have proven positions and valuable relationships.  Transmitting truths is a great task.  The Bible is the foundation for all truth.  To educate people is to imply authority.  Christian education is unique because the primary textbook in which all knowledge must flow is from the Bible.  The Christian educator must take command as an authority figure.  The student must take a subordinate intellectual position.  Even though the student/teacher relationship is based on transferring intellectual capital, there must be some form of trustworthiness in the relationship in order for credibility to increase the effectiveness of communication.

Education implications penetrate the New Testament.  In Philippians 4:9 the apostle Paul reminds the Church at Philippi to practice what they had learned from him.  In 1 Timothy 4:11 the apostle Paul presses young Timothy to command and teach the things written in Paul’s epistle.  In Ephesians 4:11 it is stated that God gave teachers and pastors to the church in order to build her up.  We are built up by the truths found in revealed revelation.  God’s truths are objective truths.  Information is transmitted for a reason.  According to George Knight,  “The aim of the Christian teacher is not to control the minds, but to develop them,  The use of questions can be a major instrument in that development process.”   This is a great observation by Knight because pupils should become more intellectually independent of the teacher as they apprehend truths.  That way the development process can lead to maturity.  Maturity leads to the ability to make informed decisions.

In the book of Hebrews, the author chided the believers for their lack of spiritual development.  After the biblical author explained the eternal priesthood of Christ, the author expressed interest in sharing more with the Hebrew believers but stated that they were slow of learning.  The author also stated:

“For when the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and have become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  For every one that useth milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).

The above passage of Scripture also speaks volumes in regards to pastor and parishioners.  Some believers attend church for twenty or thirty years and never participate in any form of ministry.  They have not grown to the point of serving in or outside the church. The objective of transmitting truth is to produce some form of action later on in the pupil.  Therefore, teaching provides the Christian with the ability to be obedient and serve Christ.

To the wise Christian educator, certain philosophical concepts can be incorporated into the curriculum as long as the Scriptures remain the controlling authority.  I have been influenced by realism, the philosophical model that holds there is a real external world that can be known.  But realism alone is just a reality and must not reject the metaphysical.

I have also been influenced by essentialism, which is a philosophical concept that arose in the 1930’s that found interest in transmitting truth in the classroom.  Essentialism is the idea that reliable basic truths must be transmitted in order for students to engage and contribute to the culture in which they must live.  Essentialism takes into account that life is a building block and certain agreed upon facts must be shared that allows the next generation to continue the advancement of society.  The definition regarding what is fundamental or essential must be acquired from Scripture.

Another feature that impresses me about essentialism is the fact that this educational concept recognizes that learning is hard work and requires effort.  In one of my previous response papers I wrote that the essentialists incorporate the perspective that learning requires discipline and sometimes is accomplished through much effort.  I also wrote that scientists have determined that our brains change as we acquire news skills and information.  This is opposed to being hardwired in which we would function based on a predetermination rather than cognitive development.  In addition, I made the point that musicians are not born musicians; they become instrumentalists’ through practice.  Athletes become good at sport through a willful interest and rehearsal that allows them to utilize the brain’s flexibility to acquire new habits and develop their skills.

By highlighting essentialism, I am not agreeing that other concepts are not important.  The position of essentialism emphasizes the authority of the teacher.  While it may not clearly define truth, essentialism characterizes the relationship between student and teacher that find some biblical support.  For example, in his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul instructs him to train qualified men who will teach others (see 2 Timothy 2:2).  In the book of Titus the elders were told to hold firmly to what they have been taught (1:10).

While I do emphasize the authority of the teacher, the primary matter should be on what is taught.  In order for me to have a great influence in the area of Christian education, I must teach in a manner that glorifies God.  The right things must be said about political parties in relation to the Bible.  The correct things must be communicated about God, about mankind, and about the world whether seen or unseen.  Thus, the core purpose of Christian education is to produce disciples among those who have given their lives over to Christ, therefore fulfilling the Great Commission given in Matthew 28.


Politics over policy

ECONOMY | President Obama’s plan goes after the wealthy while leaving entitlements alone | Edward Lee Pitts

 WASHINGTON—House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama have now delivered two speeches in five days seemingly aimed at targeting our nation’s economic woes. But what did the two party leaders really accomplish? They bluntly threw down their policy gauntlets ahead of next year’s crucial election.

Obama delivered his speech on Monday in the White House Rose Garden before just as many laughing partisans as reporters. Like a well-trained sitcom studio audience, they chuckled at all the right lines—at least from a Democratic perspective.

In unveiling his $1.5 trillion in new taxes, the president lectured Republicans that raising taxes on the wealthy “is not class warfare. It’s math.” He then threatened to veto any deficit reduction plan that does not include new tax revenue.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

“We can’t just cut our way out of this hole,” Obama said. “It’s only right we ask everyone to pay their fair share.”

But rewind to last Thursday when, during a speech to the Economic Club in Washington, D.C., Boehner laid down his own marker. Tax increases, Boehner said, “are off the table. It is a very simple equation. Tax increases destroy jobs.”

These strong lines in the sand place in a pickle the joint congressional committee now meeting to find, by Nov. 23, at least $1.5 trillion in mandatory deficit cuts over the next decade.

“The good news is that the joint committee is taking this issue far more seriously than the White House,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement released soon after Obama’s speech Monday. McConnell attacked the president for the “massive tax hike” and for “punting on entitlement reform.”

Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit by a little more than $2 trillion during the next decade would increase revenue by $800 billion just from letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire for families making more than $250,000. It also adds more revenue to the federal coffers by reducing tax deductions and loopholes available to wealthy earners and corporations.

Republicans have signaled a willingness to pursue an overhaul to the tax code. But Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who is his party’s go-to budget guy, warned on Fox News Sunday that “permanent tax increases on job creators doesn’t work to grow the economy.”

Ryan continued, “It’s actually fueling the uncertainty that is hurting job growth right now. And don’t forget the fact that most small businesses file taxes as individuals. So, when you are raising these top tax rates, you’re raising taxes on these job creators where more than half of Americans get their jobs from in this country.”

Republicans also criticized Obama’s plan for largely neglecting mandatory spending.

The plan does reduce spending by $580 billion in entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. But these cuts go after the medical providers and not the growing rolls of beneficiaries.

Conservatives warn that reimbursement cuts to doctors treating Medicare and Medicaid patients may harm the needy by driving medical providers away from high need areas.

Obama’s plan does not touch Social Security and does not propose erasing the eligibility age for any entitlement beneficiaries—something his own deficit reduction panel last fall suggested.

Republican lawmakers are calling for a greater focus on reforming an open-ended benefit system that does not foster efficiency.

“In a three-and-a-half-trillion dollar budget, two–thirds of which is entitlements, there is enough slop in the system that you can find a trillion and half in savings,” said Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., who also sits on the new super committee. “People kid about waste fraud and abuse. But it’s real.”

Obama’s plan has vitally no chance of passing a Republican House. And the president and his White House staff obviously know that.

So Monday’s proposal and speech became more about bolstering Obama’s chances for a second term by reassuring his liberal base. Democrats believe that their storyline of going after the wealthy and protecting entitlements will resonate with voters next fall.

The differences between the two parties are now clear to anyone still confused after nearly three years of Washington partisanship. Obama’s economic-plan-turned-campaign-speech on Monday hammered home the sentiment that solving the nation’s job problems will play second fiddle during the next 14 months to the top goal for all lawmakers, from the White House to Capitol Hill: protecting their own jobs.

Copyright © 2011 WORLD Magazine
Articles may not be reproduced without permission
Published September 19, 2011


The 2012 Republican Candidates (So Far)

What they’ve said and done on
education in the past, and what they might do about our public schools if
elected

By Allison Sherry

Two months before his 2008 election, Barack Obama addressed a roomful of Ohio
public school teachers, praising their long hours and talking about his
daughters’ starting 2nd and 5th grade. It was a typical Democratic education
speech, with vows of support for early childhood education, for building up
programs that help students from “the day they’re born until the day they
graduate from college.”

Then Obama departed from the usual feel-good talking points. He touted
competition, charter schools, and school choice. “I believe in public schools,
but I also believe in fostering competition within the public schools,” he said.
“And that’s why, as president, I’ll double the funding for responsible charter
schools.”

That wasn’t an applause line, for sure, but it did serve another purpose: to
position the candidate as a different kind of Democrat, one willing to embrace
ideas from across the aisle and push back against his own teachers union base.
It also put Republicans on notice: Obama wouldn’t be bashful about encroaching
on their territory on education.

Two and a half years later, Republicans are still trying to figure out how to
respond to Obama, a Democratic president with education reform bona fides. To
date, the most prominent leaders of the GOP have either been mute on the topic
of education or heaped praise on the president. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels
lauded the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a
speech he made in April 2011: “We need to prepare our young people with the
highest possible preparation wherever they come from, wherever they are headed,”
he said. “[Duncan] is the nation’s champion, along with the president he serves,
of that ideal.”

As the winter primaries get closer, don’t expect much more of that.

The One That Got Away

Republicans began this election season in search of a candidate and a
message. The May withdrawal of Mitch Daniels from the Republican primary race
left the GOP without one of its most visible education leaders. The Midwestern
governor had become a darling among education reformers for making school choice
and quality teaching his top priorities.

In his final State of the State speech in Indianapolis, Daniels said that if
he did nothing else in 2011, he wanted to “hitch his legacy” to education
reform. Watching from the audience that day were students on waiting lists to
get into various charter schools. He urged state lawmakers to create a voucher
program that would allow kids to use public dollars for private school tuition.
He talked for 30 minutes about improving teacher quality. And by the end of the
legislative session, he got just about everything he wanted in a school reform
plan: expansion of charter schools, private school vouchers, and college
scholarships for students who graduate high school early.

But after flirting with a presidential run, Daniels bowed out, leaving to
those still in the running the task of building a GOP education platform.

The Race Is On

After a slow start, the Republican field is finally starting to take shape.
Former governors Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have announced their election
bids, and former GOP house speaker Newt Gingrich is also running. As of June
2011, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Pennsylvania
senator Rick Santorum had entered the race. Republicans await announcements from
Sarah Palin and Texas governor Rick Perry.

In staking out platforms in the coming months for what will likely be a
feisty GOP primary, Republicans face two quandaries regarding education policy:
They need to distinguish their positions from Obama’s centrist education
reforms, and they need to win over the Republican base, fueled by some Tea Party
energy, that will push for the U.S. Department of Education to be dismantled
altogether.

Former education secretary Margaret Spellings says gaining ground may not be
easy, but it has been done before: by George W. Bush, her former boss.

“I commend President Obama for adopting the GOP playbook and building on the
groundwork that we’ve laid,” said Spellings, currently a consultant in
Washington, D.C. “It’s time for us to develop some new material that pushes even
further.”

If Republicans want an advantage, Spellings argues, they need to push choice
and the hold-schools-accountable platform because “that’s safe territory for
Republicans of all stripes,” she said. “Unite Republicans by talking about the
kind of public policy that ties very closely to accountability.”

One likely Republican target is school spending. Days after entering office,
President Obama signed into law the sweeping stimulus bill, which included a
$100 billion bailout of the K–12 system. A year later, the smaller “edujobs”
bill pumped another $10 billion into the schools. While this money was
ostensibly linked to reform via the Race to the Top, there’s very little to show
for this huge influx of federal funds. Most studies show that it merely saved
teachers’ jobs, or kicked layoffs down the road a year or two. In lots of places
where layoffs were not on the table, it allowed school districts to give
teachers raises, at a time when America suffered through the worst unemployment
crisis in a generation.

By pointing at the fat in the education system, GOP candidates could argue,
as Governor Pawlenty did in 2007, that American schools are “costing us a lot of
money and it’s costing them their future.”

Expect to see the candidates applaud governors in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and
Ohio, who took on collective bargaining rights and insisted that money is best
used to reward good teaching for the children’s sake.

“We have built a system…that cares more about the feelings of adults than the
future of children,” said New Jersey Republican governor Chris Christie, widely
expected to run for president in 2016, at the American Enterprise Institute
earlier this year. “Tell me, where else is there a profession with no reward for
excellence and no penalty for failure?”

In a 2011 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Romney
berated Obama for failed economic policies, saying afterward that he’s “seen the
failure of liberal answers before…liberal education policies fail our children
today because they put pensions and privileges for the union bosses above our
kids.”

Defining the Federal Role

A candidate like Romney or Pawlenty is still going to have to explain to the
Republican base why they’re not going to shutter the U.S. Department of
Education. During the 2010 midterm elections, Tea Party Senate and House
candidates across the country promised on the campaign trail that they would
shut down the U.S. Department of Education and hand control over to state
governments. Many of them are now members of Congress.

A related issue is where to land on the “Common Core” standards, a set of
expectations in reading and math developed by the nation’s governors and state
superintendents, but viewed by many conservatives as a federal plot to take over
the schools.

“Post-Obamacare, post–Dodd-Frank, in the Tea Party world, Republicans aren’t
interested anymore in a robust federal role in education,” said a senior GOP
Capitol Hill staffer, who could not be named because he is not authorized to
talk to the media. “Bush liked it and talked about it, fine. Now that he’s not
there hitting us over the head with it, we’ll move to empower and trust state
and local officials to make decisions.”

The Candidates

No matter who else enters the race, it is unlikely a newcomer will have a
ready-made education platform. Romney, Bachmann, Pawlenty, Perry, and Gingrich
have all, in their careers, been outspoken on key issues of education policy.
It’s worth considering what each of these (potential) candidates might do, were
he or she to become the nation’s 45th president.

MITT ROMNEY, like many Republican leaders in the 1990s, called for abolishing
the U.S. Department of Education.

Once he became governor of Massachusetts, Romney plotted out a more
sophisticated education platform. He pushed school choice when a
Democratic-controlled state legislature was moving away from it, and extolled
the virtues of No Child Left Behind.

“I’ve taken a position where, once upon a time, I said I wanted to eliminate
the Department of Education…. That’s very popular with the base,” Romney said at
a 2007 Republican debate in South Carolina. “As I’ve been a governor and seen
the impact that the federal government can have holding down the interest of the
teachers unions and instead putting the interests of the kids and the parents
and the teachers first, I see that the Department of Education can actually make
a difference.”

As governor, Romney proposed education reform measures that lifted the state
cap on charter schools and gave principals more power to get rid of ineffective
teachers.

In his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, he darkly
warns about American students’ low achievement in reading and writing. He writes
that money does not play a pivotal role in education quality and achievement,
perhaps a harbinger that Romney’s education-reform platform wouldn’t include new
money, as Obama’s plan did.

“The average amount spent per pupil, adjusted for inflation, rose by 73
percent between 1980 and 2005, and the average class size was reduced by 18
percent,” he wrote. “But during that same period, the educational performance of
our children has hardly budged. Why not?”

In Massachusetts, Romney defended statewide graduation requirement tests,
which started during his first year as governor in 2003. When one mayor declared
he would dole out diplomas even to students who didn’t pass the tests, Romney
threatened to withhold state dollars.

He also defended English immersion after visiting a Boston school where many
students enrolled in bilingual classes had actually been born in the United
States.

If Romney talks education in the next year, he will blend the importance of
accountability and of governing with a stick if needed. He is widely credited
for raising test scores. In his third year as governor, 4th and 8th graders
scored first in the country in math and English (see Figure 1).

It was in education that MICHELE BACHMANN got her political sea legs.
Disappointed in the school work brought home by her foster kids attending public
school, the now Minnesota congresswoman decided to get involved because the
school system didn’t have an “academic foundation,” according to Bloomberg
News
.

She started a charter school in the early 1990s, but abruptly resigned from
its board—along with other board members—after the school district accused the
charter of teaching religion in its classrooms.

In 1999, Bachmann ran for Stillwater school board with a platform to dump
Minnesota’s “Profile of Learning,” the state’s graduation standards. It is the
only race the three-term congresswoman has ever lost.

Under a Bachmann presidency, expect the U.S. Department of Education to be
all but shuttered. In 2004, she authored legislation that would remove Minnesota
from the requirements of No Child Left Behind. (It didn’t pass.) In a 2009
letter to constituents posted on her website, Bachmann wrote, “I entered
politics because I want to give my children the incredible educational
experience I received from public schools as a student. No Child Left Behind
must be repealed and control of our education returned to the local level.”

As his eight years as Minnesota’s governor wore on, TIM PAWLENTY’s push
against the teachers union grew stronger and more publicly divisive.

Shortly after his election in 2002, in an impromptu speech to business
leaders, Pawlenty called for tying teacher pay to performance and bringing up
the state’s standards. He also urged state lawmakers to authorize the use of a
transparent growth model to see how well schools are really doing to improve
student achievement. Yet, maybe because teachers union officials were in the
audience, Pawlenty carefully parsed tenure, saying, “Seniority can remain a big
factor, maybe even the main factor, in setting pay scales,” according to news
reports.

The speech underscored Pawlenty’s sometimes mixed message to unions
throughout his tenure: I’ll try to work with you. That is until you don’t work
with me.

In 2005, Pawlenty passed a Minnesota-wide teacher pay-for-performance plan
called “Q Comp,” which rewards teachers based on evaluations. Though passed by
the state legislature, the plan gave school districts and charter schools the
choice of whether to participate and allows a district to collectively bargain a
pay agreement that looks at professional development, teacher evaluation, and an
alternative salary schedule.

When federal Race to the Top dollars became available, Pawlenty launched a
statewide charter school initiative and moved to hone math and science
instruction in schools. Still, Minnesota lost out, most notably because the
application lacked support from the teachers union. Like all states, Minnesota
had an opportunity to go for the second round of grants, but Pawlenty drew a
line in the sand, saying he would only apply again if the union, and Democrats
in the state legislature, agreed to more reforms.

At the time, Pawlenty also dialed up the rhetoric. The timing may have been
personally fortuitous: He had declared he wasn’t seeking another gubernatorial
term in Minnesota and was flirting with a presidential run. It was good press:
He was out there staking pitch-perfect positions on education reform.

“If they [the teachers unions] don’t buy in and aren’t partners in change,
it’s not going to work,” Pawlenty said at a United Negro College Fund event in
February of 2010. “We have to constructively and gently, or maybe not so gently,
nudge them toward change.”

Texas Governor RICK PERRY, if he runs,  is likely to use his own state’s
successes to argue that the federal government should dramatically downsize in
education.

While Perry has been outspoken against the Common Core, he and his education
commissioner have pulled the quality of Texas tests up to a level respected
among education reformers. Test scores among kids of all racial and ethnic
backgrounds are higher in Texas than in Wisconsin, for example, which has fewer
students qualifying for free- and reduced-price lunch.

Though Perry will probably make this point on the campaign trail, he’s not
likely to promise to take over the nation’s schools.  On the contrary, he’ll
likely pick up on his recent call to repeal No Child Left Behind and let states
take charge of their education systems. In his book released last year, Fed
Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington
, Perry argues that Washington
has taken power away from states. At a speech in November in Washington, Perry
took aim at two of former President Bush’s signature accomplishments, No Child
Left Behind and the Medicare drug benefit program, saying they were examples of
areas in which Washington need not be.

“Those are both big government but more importantly, they were
Washington-centric,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “One size does
not fit all, unless you’re talking tube socks.”

Since the start of his career teaching college in Georgia, former GOP House
Speaker NEWT GINGRICH has cast education among the nation’s most important
domestic policy problems.

His views have developed through the years: In 1983, when the hallmark “A
Nation at Risk” was released, Gingrich, a member of Congress at the time,
traveled the country holding town hall meetings. He criticized American schools
as “no more than holding pens for our children.” In the 1990s, he called for the
abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and opposed direct government
loans to students.

In 2001, he authored a report that called the failure of math and science
education among the greatest threats to national security, “greater than any
conceivable war,” he said.

Then in 2008 and 2009, his political ambitions on hiatus, Gingrich joined
some odd bedfellows, among them civil rights activist Al Sharpton and former
Democratic Colorado governor and Los Angeles schools chancellor Roy Romer, in a
yearlong initiative to push education reform nationwide.

“I’m prepared to work side by side with every American who is committing to
putting children first,” he said in 2009 in a White House press conference,
before praising President Obama for “showing courage” in pushing unions against
charter school caps. “Not talking about it for 26 more years…. We could
literally have the finest learning in the world if we were to systematically
apply the things that work.”

He continued, “I think we need to move forward from No Child Left Behind
towards getting every American ahead.”

But how we move toward providing each child with an appropriate education is
the question.  The Republican candidates all stress accountability and favor
school choice, though they prefer leaving the federal government out of
education policy decisions.  Most of them emphasize reforms to enhance teacher
quality, and they question the influence of teachers unions.  They support high
standards, if delegated to the states to devise and enforce.  What they all have
in common is a belief that education needs deep reform that goes beyond anything
Democrats have proposed.

Allison Sherry is Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the Denver
Post.


Democrats Should Know Jim Crow, They Created Him

Jerome Hudson by Jerome Hudson With a bit of Chicago-machine swagger about him, Bill Clinton, a “war room” veteran, is back in the spotlight and stumping for Obama.

Speaking to Campus Progress last Wednesday, Clinton asked the crowd of young progressives, “Are you fighting?”  Taking talking points almost directly from the mouth of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D.-Fla.), the former President asserted, “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the voter Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit a franchise that we see today.”

Likening Republican policies aimed at preserving voter integrity in states from Florida to California to poll taxes and literacy tests of the Jim Crow era proves Democrats are desperate.  Obama’s tax-and-spend agenda stinks on ice.  So his segregation mudslingers—in this case, Clinton—must rely on shopworn clichés that stir racial animus to fire up his left-wing base.

Are Clinton and Shultz insinuating that minorities, college students and the elderly are all born Democrats, that they are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates than Republican candidates?  Is this what Democratic elites think of their constituents?  Do Democrats believe blacks and Latinos, old people and youngsters, are too stupid to acquire a photo I.D. by next November?

Moreover, decrying all Republicans as racists is a Democrat article of faith.  But why dredge up Jim Crow?

In 1832, the phrase “Jim Crow” was born.  By 1900, every former Confederate state (including Wyoming, Missouri, Ohio, Utah, Kentucky, Kansas and Oklahoma) had enacted “Jim Crow” laws prohibiting everything from interracial marriage to racially integrated public school systems.  These state laws served to place blacks back on a virtual plantation.  Similar to the “Black Codes” that came before them, Jim Crow laws were numerous.  However, one denominator codified their sound support in Southern states:  They all resulted from Democratic legislators of the “Solid South.”

When Bill Clinton was 18, his future vice president’s father, Sen. Al Gore Sr., was locked arm-in-arm with other segregationist Democrats to kill the Civil Rights act of 1964.  Clinton’s “mentor” and “friend,” klansman J. William Fulbright, joined the Dixiecrats, an ultra-segregationist wing of Democratic lawmakers, in filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and in killing the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Clinton, now 64, in his dotage, probably forgot (or was too embarrassed) to mention to the far-Left crowd of youngsters that his party is the party of segregation.  Or as Congressman Jessie Jackson Jr. (D.-Ill.) explained in an interview with Fox News contributor Angela McGlowan in her book Bamboozled:

“There is no doubt that the Democratic Party is the party of the Confederacy, historically, that the Democratic Party’s flag is the Confederate flag.  It was our party’s flag.  That Jefferson Davis was a Democrat, that Stonewall Jackson strongly identified with the Democratic Party, that secessionists in the South saw themselves as Democrats and were Democrats.  That so much of the Democratic Party’s history, since it is our nation’s oldest political party, has its roots in slavery.”

How did the same Jim Crow Democrats who fought tooth-and-nail with segregationists to keep blacks on a virtual plantation become the party that now wins 95% of the black vote?  Republicans passed Civil Rights laws, Democrats wrote revisionist history.

Nevertheless, deception—what all warfare is based on, according to ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, won’t work with independents.  Obama’s reelection strategy of slander and defaming all conservatives and Republicans as racists won’t win him that all-important center.

With a “recovery” missing 8.5 million jobs, unemployment going in the wrong direction and no perceived end to our economic misery in sight, Obama obviously doesn’t see winning a second term without getting down in the gutter to inspire his bulwark leftists.

This latest attempt to stir up Obama’s base by former President Clinton is just the beginning.  Digging up the ghost of Jim Crow Past may have worked before, but the political landscape has changed.  And Americans are seemingly ready to vote their wallets in 2012.

This contest will be a battle between the Democrat Party of higher taxes, more spending and backbiting, and the Republican Party of lower taxes, job creation and solving America’s problems.


Jerome Hudson is a member of Project 21 a sponsorship of the National Center for Public Policy Research. He is the editor of OurLastStand.com and can be reached at Jeromehudsonspeaks.com.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 156 other followers