Posts Tagged ‘Poor’
Common Core is a federal attempt to nationalize curriculum. We MUST oppose this, from every school board!
Critics of the Common Core State Standards had our fears confirmed on Monday when Education Week reported that the Department of Education will oversee the assessment test design for the new national standards. This is no April Fool’s joke: Washington will soon be directly regulating what America’s schoolchildren learn and on what they are tested. This massive expansion of federal power is concerning considering the federal government’s failed history of intervening in public education.
As I recently explained in AFP Foundation’s school choice policy report, the federal government has had its meddling hands in America’s public schools for decades. From the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to No Child Left Behind today, Congress has provided Title I federal funding to schools with low-income student bodies for the past half-century. But, this money is by no means free. As is often the case with federal funds, Title I comes with strings attached – which explains how Washington has been such a major player in American education despite the fact that public schools are function of the states.
[...] After decades of failed federal intervention in America’s public schools, Common Core’s similar approach of centrally planning public schools has worried education reformers since the initiative was launched in 2009. For years, proponents of the standards have tried to soothe these fears by emphasizing that they are not administered by the federal government. Common Core’s official website, for example, downplays the protests by claiming “[t]he federal government had no role in the development of the Common Core State Standards and will not have a role in their implementation.”
Perhaps this claim could hold water four years ago, but today it’s evident that Common Core is nothing more than a federal ruse to exert even greater control over America’s classrooms. [...]
[I]t looks like Common Core is poised to repeat and amplify the federal government’s failed educational interventions by giving the central government even greater control of what American schoolchildren are learning. If the success of school choice has taught us anything, it’s that education is most effective when controlled by actors on the local level, like teachers with freedom in how to teacher their students at charter schools, or parents with options of where to send their child to school through opportunity scholarships. Choice from the bottom, not force from the top, leads to effective learning.
Boomtown 2: The Business Of Food Stamps
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For the Left, this is all part of the Cloward-Piven strategy to overwhelm the system with impossible demands, bringing about an inevitable collapse that will set the stage for a Communist revolution.
For corporations vying for their turn at the taxpayer trough, this is a dance with the devil…and they don’t even realize it.
“Boomtown 1: Washington, The Imperial City” exposed the cronyism and luxurious lifestyle of Washington, DC’s power elite. On Friday “Boomtown 2: The Business of Food Stamps” Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President Peter Schweizer and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon exposed how politicians and corporations have used the country’s food stamps program to profit on the backs of tax payers.
Though the food stamps program was always meant to be a “safety net” to provide temporary assistance, Schweizer pointed out that it has “become an insider game of power and profit” for corporations who are attempting to get a slice of the $75 billiion provided by the taxpayers.
[...] The GAI president points out that the food stamps program was intended to provide basic foods, but has grown to include all types of things including soft drinks and fast food. We have also pointed out that the food stamps program has been used to purchase guns, drugs and pay for strippers and massage parlors, not to mention that the USDA has targeted illegal aliens for the program.
The fraud of the food stamps program has grown since EBT cards were issued in 2002, which gave no reason for either government or corporations to look to reform the system or limit the fraud.
The Obama administration is proudly shattering welfare records with an astonishing number of people collecting public benefits long term, especially food stamps.
In fact, as I discussed in a special to be aired on Hannity tonight, Obama and his friends have actually found a way to meld corporate cronyism with food stamp abuse to line their pockets while undermining our election systems at the same time.
Under Obama, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, has exploded with a record number of people – 46 million and growing – getting free groceries from the American taxpayer. Adding insult to injury, a federal audit revealed last year that many who don’t qualify for food stamps now receive them under a new “broad-based” eligibility program that disregards income and asset requirements.
Obama says the food stamp extension is part of his intention to eradicate “food insecure households.” However, it’s really part of a massive redistribution of wealth. Last year, taxpayers were forced to pay more than $80 billion, including an estimated $750 million a year in outright fraud.
[...] According to the study, the current food stamp Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card industry is dominated by three main players: J.P. Morgan Electronic Financial Services, Affiliated Computer Services, and eFunds. Together they collect money from 49 states and three territories. In fact, since 2004, 18 of 24 states that contract with J.P. Morgan have paid more than $560 million to the financial monolith.
There is little wonder then that those three companies appear to be perfectly content with the exploding food stamp rolls – and wholly unconcerned about rampant fraud and abuse. As the GAI study observed, “The more persons enrolled in the program, the more money the EBT industry makes.” That may also help explain why, when the state of Florida initiated an eight-month program to detect and prevent fraud among its three million EBT card users, J.P. Morgan saw fit to assign just one employee to the program.
And then there is this: During the 2008 election, Barack Obama received more than $800,000 from J.P. Morgan alone. After his election, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, initiated by Obama and passed by a compliant Congress, made two major changes to existing food stamp policies. First, it increased benefits by 13.6 percent. Second, it actively encouraged states to add more recipients to their food stamp rolls.
And the corporate cronyism and political payoffs don’t end there. The House and Senate Agricultural Committees have jurisdiction over all food assistance and distribution programs, including the food stamp program. So, just as one might expect, analysis by the GAI uncovered a clear trend of increasing contributions to Agriculture Committee members of both the House and Senate on the part of J.P. Morgan that clearly coincides with their entry into the lucrative EBT card, food stamp market.
Between 1998 and 2002, JP Morgan’s total contributions per election cycle averaged $82,897. After the bank entered the EBT services market until the 2010 election cycle, their average donation per cycle more than doubled to $215,120. And the Agriculture Committees, in turn, have broadly expanded the number of food stamp recipients.
Of course, the more recipients that are added to the food stamp rolls, the more voters Obama can count on at election time. And the offshoots of Obama’s former client and campaign partner ACORN not only assure that those voters are registered but also that they know to whom they are beholden for their government handouts.
Creepy doesn’t begin to describe this.
As part of the government’s initiative to institute Common Core standards for education, so comes a system that would mine information about students to establish best practices for effective teaching. But some think the technology that would conduct the mining crosses a line.
[...] In the draft “Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century” report released in February by the Department of Education is a section detailing how to measure such qualities in a student through Behavioral Task Performance.
“Behavioral task performance measures are the broad set of methods used to capture behaviors consistent with perseverance or lack thereof—and in many cases, associated emotional experiences, physical movements or facial expressions, physiological responses, and thoughts— that students do in response to a particular challenge,” the report states.
[...] Understanding the emotions or physiological state of a student while they’re presented with a challenge, the report said, can be measured through “analysis of facial expressions, EEG brain wave patterns, skin conductance, heart rate variability, posture and eye- tracking.”
The report presents this figure showing a variety of sensors that could be used to determine the emotional state of a student while performing a certain task:
“Sensors provide constant, parallel streams of data and are used with data mining techniques and self-report measures to examine frustration, motivation/flow, confidence, boredom and fatigue,” the report states.
It presents MIT’s Mood Meter — a device that captures facial expression through a camera on a laptop while software analyses the mood — as an example of technology that can conduct these measurements. [...]
A study in 1999 published by MIT researchers delved into the use of a posture-sensing chair to evaluate a student. The experiment using a chair with pressure sensors on the seat and back evaluated student interest in order to better learn how to improve the experience for students in a computer-learning situation.
But a camera, chair, mouse and wristband equipped with sensors to track different metrics isn’t not all. The report also highlights the value of FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imagery), which would reveal different areas of activity in the brain through scans.
Apparently they see classrooms full of children as guinea pigs who can be used for their Frankenexperiments – a captive audience that can’t leave once they find out that they have become the show.
Republican Establishment Blames Social Conservatives, Tea Party For GOP Being Viewed As ‘Out Of Touch’
Hmmm…could it be that the reason people think the GOP is ‘out of touch’ is that they keep ignoring the American people’s concerns about massive debt, out-of-control spending, the erosion of constitutional liberties, and massive power-grabs like Obamacare?
Karl Rove has founded an organization for the specific purpose of bulldozing Tea Party candidates and replacing them with those hand-picked by the GOP establishment.
House Speaker Boehner has caved on Obamacare, illegal immigration, and a host of other issues, and even says that “trusts Obama completely.” WTH???
And he’s not the only one. Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have all waved the white flag on Obamacare.
The conservative base has been betrayed again and again by their own party. But who does the party blame for their losses? Their base!
I believe that the disappointing results for Republicans in the 2006 elections and probably the 2012 elections, as well, were in no small part attributable to frustrated conservatives staying at home.
The thinking among many conservatives has been that the party has consistently fallen short by failing to restrain the growth of the ever-expanding federal government and by failing to nominate sufficiently conservative presidential nominees. That is, if we would just nominate and elect Reagan conservatives and govern on Reagan principles, we would recapture majority status in no time.
The main opposing view — call it the establishment view — holds that Republicans need to accept that the reign of small government is over, get with the program and devise policies to make the irreversibly enormous government smarter and more energetic. In other words, Republicans need to surrender to the notion that liberalism’s concept of government has won and rejigger their agenda toward taming the leviathan rather than shrinking it.
I’d feel better if the ongoing competition between Reagan conservatives and establishment Republicans were the only big fissure in the GOP right now, but there are other cracks that threaten to break wide open, too. Our problems transcend our differing approaches to the size and scope of government and to fiscal and other economic issues.
Reagan conservatism is no longer under attack from just establishment Republicans; it’s also under attack from many inside the conservative movement itself. Reagan conservatism is a three-legged stool of fiscal, foreign policy and social issues conservatism. But today many libertarian-oriented conservatives are singing from the liberal libertine hymnal that the GOP needs to remake its image as more inclusive, more tolerant, less judgmental and less strident. In other words, it needs to lighten up and quit opposing gay marriage, at least soften its position on abortion, and get on board the amnesty train to legalize illegal immigrants. I won’t even get into troubling foreign policy divisions among so-called neocons, so-called isolationists and those who simply believe we should conduct our foreign policy based foremost on promoting our strategic national interests.
[...] I belong to the school that believes the Republican Party must remain the party of mainstream Reagan conservatism rather than try to become a diluted version of the Democratic Party. This does not mean Republicans can’t come up with creative policy solutions when advisable, but it does mean that conservatism is based on timeless principles that require no major revisions. Conservatives are champions of freedom, the rule of law and enforcement of the social compact between government and the people enshrined in the Constitution, which imposes limitations on government in order to maximize our liberties. If we reject these ideas, then we have turned our backs on what America means and what has made America unique. What’s the point of winning elections if the price is American exceptionalism?
Rush Limbaugh is calling the Republicans to task for their “blame the conservative base” mentality:
The Republican National Committee released earlier on Monday an “autopsy” of its 2012 election failures and pinned the blame on the party being out of touch with voters, particularly minorities.
Limbaugh said the opposite was true. “We are in touch with the founding of this country. We are in touch with the greatness in this country and its people,” the popular radio commentator said, according to Politico.
Limbaugh said that if the party moves away from championing values, such as traditional marriage, it will lose support among its base.
“If the party makes that [gay marriage] something official that they support, they’re not going to pull the homosexual activist voters away from the Democrat Party, but they are going to cause their base to stay home and throw their hands up in utter frustration,” Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh said it was party leaders who were out of touch with its own base.
Jonathon Moseley writes that the problem isn’t conservative values, but a failure to effectively market them to a new generation:
The Republican Party is violating time-tested, basic principles of sales and marketing. That’s why the GOP is failing to communicate its messages. On Monday, the Republican National Committee released a massive reform strategy, whimsically labeled an “autopsy” or “reboot,” to completely overhaul the GOP. Like Democrats in 1992, Republicans are growing hungry to win in 2014 and 2016.
Here is what is wrong with the Republican Party. This author taught in a sales training seminar firm in Eastern Europe, International Trendsetters. The solutions are overwhelmingly time-tested and proven in real life. This is not theory. Republicans are chronically making classic rookie sales mistakes.
“FAB” — Features, Advantages, Benefits. You must explain how a policy benefits the voter. Bad salesmen talk about features – the radio has a better tuner. Good salesmen talk about how the radio benefits the customer – you will enjoy the music more and set a better mood for your love interest because it sounds better and clearer. People don’t buy a mattress. They buy a good night’s sleep. And maybe good décor.
On Monday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus explained that we must talk about how Americans benefit from low taxes and lower national debt. We have to talk about how Republican policies will put more people to work, at higher salaries, improve our economy, and strengthen our country. Republicans talk about details — lower taxes, lower regulations, lower deficits. We fail to explain why those details actually matter to the voter.
But isn’t it obvious? No. Classic rookie mistake. It’s obvious to you if you spend lots of time thinking about these things. It’s not obvious to busy people who have other things to think about, which they feel are more important in their lives. Yes, you have to draw them a map.
There is an imbalance between the speaker who is extremely familiar with a topic and the listener who isn’t. The speaker needs to understand how the speaker really sounds to the listener. Republicans skip over too many steps and assume too much. The American voters are smart. But they haven’t spent as much time thinking about your topic as you have. We have to be able to empathize with the busy listener and even remember how we were when we first learned about these issues.
It is amazing that the GOP has been so bad at this, when Ronald Reagan was so good at it. If anyone is thinking of running for office, Step #1 is to listen to every speech Ronald Reagan ever gave. Several times. Reagan “got” it. Then the GOP lost it.
Next, the mind abhors a vacuum. What you don’t say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion. People have never stopped talking about cuts in education, even while education spending soars year after year. People will assume you want to help the rich by lowering taxes. They will assume you hate immigrants. They will assume you want women barefoot and pregnant. If you don’t explain how GOP policies benefit the listener, their minds will fill in the vacuum with other explanations. If you don’t provide a reason, their minds will provide one for you.
Third, love objections. This is one of the most powerful principles good salesmen know. We view objections with dread. A voter tells you why they don’t like the GOP. Time-tested sales techniques have proven that objections are opportunities. When a prospect tells you what he is concerned about, you now have the opportunity to address his or her concerns.
This is especially true when a voter believes something that isn’t true about Republicans — if they are willing to talk to you, that is. Proven sales experience shows that when someone is willing to tell you their negative views, and talk to you about it, you have an open door to dramatically turn around their perceptions.
Of course you have to treat them as a future friend, not as a current enemy. But the overwhelming majority of successful sales are closed after the third or fourth objection. That’s right, most sales succeed after not just the first negative response, but after several negative issues are raised and discussed. But you have to care about the other person as much as you care about yourself to answer their concerns fully, fairly, and respectfully.
Fourth, “ask for the order” as RNC Chairman Reince Priebus described on Monday. In other words, you have to show up. You are not going to win over any hearts or minds sitting in your office across the street from the Capitol South Metro station (the RNC headquarters). It is common sense that you have to go out and talk to Hispanics, Blacks, and other groups.
The GOP’s “outreach” efforts have often been embarrassing. Republican campaigns appoint leaders of, say, “Korean-Americans for Bush,” then order bumper stickers and campaign pins. And that’s about it. Pretending to be doing outreach, but not really, is a Republican specialty.
As a parent, it is chilling to see how much government bureaucrats presumptiously claim the right to intrude into our children’s lives. Since the moment the federal government took control of education (thanks, Jimmy Carter!), it has been progressively demanding more and more control over the system, the content, and even the most personal matters of the students themselves.
Children are the future. If the state gains absolute control over the hearts, minds and choices of future voters and citizens, they will learn look to the state to be their provider, caregiver, and master. It’s already happening. If we don’t stop them, we will wake up one day to discover that our children have become wards of the state, with parents having little – if any – input.
While many Americans worry about government drones in the sky spying on our private lives, Washington meddlers are already on the ground and in our schools gathering intimate data on children and families.
Say goodbye to your children’s privacy. Say hello to an unprecedented nationwide student tracking system, whose data will apparently be sold by government officials to the highest bidders. It’s yet another encroachment of centralized education bureaucrats on local control and parental rights under the banner of “Common Core.”
As the American Principles Project, a conservative education think tank, reported last year, Common Core’s technological project is “merely one part of a much broader plan by the federal government to track individuals from birth through their participation in the workforce.” The 2009 porkulus package included a “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund” to bribe states into constructing “longitudinal data systems (LDS) to collect data on public-school students.”
These systems will aggregate massive amounts of personal data — health-care histories, income information, religious affiliations, voting status and even blood types and homework completion. The data will be available to a wide variety of public agencies. And despite federal student-privacy protections guaranteed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Obama administration is paving the way for private entities to buy their way into the data boondoggle. Even more alarming, the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging a radical push from aggregate-level data-gathering to invasive individual student-level data collection.
[...] Home-schoolers and religious families that reject traditional government education would be tracked. Original NEDM data points included hair color, eye color, weight, blood types and even dental status.
How exactly does amassing and selling such personal data improve educational outcomes? It doesn’t. This, at its core, is the central fraud of Washington’s top-down nationalized curricular scheme. The Bill Gates-endorsed Common Core “standards” are a phony pretext for big-government expansion. The dazzling allure of “21st-century technology” masks the privacy-undermining agenda of nosy bureaucratic drones allergic to transparency, accountability and parental autonomy. Individual student privacy is sacrificed at the collective “For the Children” altar.
Fed Ed is not about excellence or academic achievement. It’s about control, control and more control.
However, there is currently a way for parents to opt out:
The good news: An independent grassroots revolt outside the Beltway bubble is swelling. Families are taking their children’s academic and privacy matters out of the snoopercrats’ grip and into their own hands. You can now download a Common Core opt-out/disclosure form to submit to your school district, courtesy of the Truth In American Education group: CLICK HERE.
Parents caught off guard by the stealthy tracking racket are now mobilizing across the country. Echoing families across the city, Big Apple public advocate Bill de Blasio blasted the tracking database in a letter to government officials: “I don’t want my kids’ privacy bought and sold like this.” On Wednesday, prompted by parental objections, Oklahoma state representatives unanimously passed House Bill 1989 — the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act— to prohibit the release of confidential student data without the written consent of a student’s parent or guardian.
[...] Research fellow Joy Pullmann at The Heartland Institute points to a February Department of Education report on its data-mining plans that contemplates the use of creepy student monitoring techniques such as “functional magnetic resonance imaging” and “using cameras to judge facial expressions, an electronic seat that judges posture, a pressure-sensitive computer mouse and a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists.”
The DOE report exposes the big lie that Common Core is about raising academic standards by revealing its progressive designs to measure and track children’s “competencies” in “recognizing bias in sources,” “flexibility,” “cultural awareness and competence,” “appreciation for diversity,” “empathy,” “perspective taking, trust (and) service orientation.”
That’s right. School districts and state governments are pimping out highly personal data on children’s feelings, beliefs, “biases” and “flexibility” instead of doing their own jobs imparting knowledge – or minding their own business. And yes, Republicans such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bushcontinue to falsely defend the centralized Common Core regime as locally driven and non-coercive, while ignoring the database system’s circumvention of federal student privacy laws.
Why? Edu-tech nosy-bodies are using the Common Core assessment boondoggle as a Trojan horse to collect and crunch massive amounts of personal student data for their own social justice or moneymaking ends.
Don’t waste any time. OPT OUT NOW!
The last pope, Benedict XVI, blamed capitalism for poverty and was a staunch advocate for socialized medicine. Apparently he didn’t see the connection between that and violations of religious liberty such as the HHS mandate.
Argentina, like most of Latin America, is a hotbed of Marxist “Liberation Theology” (Obama is an adherent of the racist version, Black Liberation Theology). But does Francis I subscribe to it? Unfortunately, the reports are contradictory and somewhat cryptic.
The Guardian calls him “a champion of liberation theology.”
Catholic Online says “Bergoglio is an accomplished theologian who distanced himself from liberation theology early in his career.”
According to John L. Allen Jr. of National Catholic Reporters, the Jesuit Bergoglio has long spoken out on behalf of the world’s poor and criticized free-market economic policies.
“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least,” Bergoglio told an assembly of Latin American bishops in 2007.
“The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”
Here’s Lynch quoting from that 2011 speech delivered by, now, Pope Francis I:
Said Cardinal Bergoglio in said speech that “The economic and social crisis and the consequent increase in poverty has its causes in ways policies inspiredneoliberalism considering profits and market laws as parameters, to the detriment of the dignity of individuals and peoples. In this context, we reiterate the conviction that the loss of the sense of justice and lack of respect for others have worsened and led us to a situation of inequity. ” Later stressed the importance of “ social justice ”, the” equal opportunity “damage” transfers of capital abroad, “which should be required” distribution of wealth ”, said the damage of economic inequalities and the need to “prevent the use of financial resources is shaped by speculation,” especially in the context of the “social debt”-which in his opinion is of eminently “moral” – is to reform “economic structures” in expressed the sense before.
Again, I may have lost something in the translation, but it appears the new Pope fails to understand markets and holds the concepts of social justice, equal opportunity and distribution of wealth, as important. Concepts which, of course, generally lead to advocacy of much government intervention and much central planning. It as though the new Pope has somehow given up on the good in people, and perhaps even in God, and has decided to replace both with a central role for the coercive state.
The Investors Business Daily editorial board, however, contends that Francis I is no friend to Big Government:
The change that swept Eastern Europe in the 1980s and fueled the collapse of the Soviet Union may find itself repeated by a new pope with similar disdain for the authoritarian governments of his region.
When Cardinal Karol Wojtyla stepped out on the balcony of St. Peter’s in 1978 as Pope John Paul II, Soviet communism still stood astride Eastern Europe and his native Poland.
He would be the moral force helping to lead half a continent out of the human bondage of totalitarianism.
Argentina’s 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, is no stranger to — or compromiser with — the oppression of authoritarian government.
During his tenure as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and head of Argentina’s Conference of Bishops, the new pope had a strained relationship with the governments of President Cristina Kirchner and her late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, who once called Bergoglio “a real spokesman for the opposition.”
The cardinal who eschewed limousines to ride his bicycle or take the bus, is known as a man of the poor and of the people.
He gained admiration for living in a modest apartment instead of the palace in Buenos Aires that was adjacent to the Casa Rosada where the president resides (and where Juan and Evita Peron often harangued the Argentine people).
The new pope has fought a long battle in Argentina against leftist government, Peronist anticlericalism, the spread of evangelical Protestantism and the secular temptations of modern society.
Like Pope John Paul II, he is likely to resist calls to “modernize” the church, to make it more “popular” and “appealing.”
Like Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis is a strong opponent of what is called “liberation theology,” a bizarre mix of Marxism and Catholicism often embraced by left-leaning politicians and clerics in Argentina and elsewhere in the hemisphere.
Rosendo Fraga, a well-known Argentine political analyst, told the Miami Herald’s Andres Oppenheimer that Pope Francis “is definitely bad news for the Argentine government. His homilies, as recently as two weeks ago, were very critical of economic and social conditions, and of corruption in Argentina.”
“Francis may become a critic of governments such as those in Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia, in the same way that John Paul II became a critic of communism in Eastern Europe,” says Daniel Alvarez, a professor of religious studies at Florida International University.
[T]o be sure, South American governments are, with certain exceptions, nothing like the monolithic, totalitarian USSR.
Moreover, Pope Francis I is not as young as Pope John Paul II. Nor does he have a Ronald Reagan and a Margaret Thatcher to work with.
Even so, he does provide a rallying point for a region beset by authoritarianism that badly needs one.
Who knows whether this pope will stand up against the unscriptural tenets of Socialism? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Once upon a time in America, parents – not the state – were recognized as being primarily responsible for their own child’s education, and children were viewed as individuals with hearts and souls, instead of merely cogs in a collective “workforce.”
President Obama announced a major effort to expand government preschool early this afternoon. The plan would create a “continuum of child care for children from birth to age 5.”
Expanding government preschool, particularly federal preschool, is wrought with problems. Any expansion of government preschool, whether state or federal, comes at the expense of private providers, who must compete with “free” government programs. When the private provision of care is pushed out of the market, that ultimately means fewer choices for families.
Moreover, taxpayers and parents already know what big government preschool looks like: the federal Head Start program. Head Start has had no long-term impact on the cognitive abilities of participating children, has failed to improve their access to health care, has failed to improve their behavior and emotional well-being, and has failed to improve the parenting practices of parents. And this is according to scientifically rigorous evaluations by the program’s own administering agency, the Department of Health and Human Services.
Sadly, the limitations of preschool aren’t unique to Head Start. Georgia and Oklahoma—the two states in the nation that currently have the type of expansive preschool President Obama is proposing—have failed to see benefits accrue from the hundreds of millions of dollars their taxpayers spend annually. In Oklahoma, families have actually seen reading scores decline among children after implementing universal preschool.
I so admire this man! Listen to the amazing speech he gave at the annual Prayer Breakfast:
View on YouTube
No doubt Obama was angry, but he managed to stay relatively straight-faced through the whole thing. Guess he didn’t want the pictorial proof of his rage hitting the social media circuit.
With President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and other national leaders in attendance, Dr. Carson spoke plainly about the great challenges America faces today: “moral decay and fiscal irresponsibility.”
“One of our big problems right now is our deficit,” Dr. Carson states. “Our national debt, 16 and a half trillion dollars—you think that’s not a lot of money? Counting one number per second, you know how long it would take to count to one trillion—507,000 years.”
Dr. Carson continued:
I don’t like to bring up problems without coming up with solutions… What about our taxation system? It is so complex, there is no one who can possibly comply with every jot and tittle. That doesn’t make any sense.
What we need to do is come up with something that’s simple. The inherently fair principle is proportionality: you make 10 billion dollars, you put in a billion. You make 10 dollars, you put in one. Of course, you have to get rid of the loopholes.
Some people say, ‘That’s not fair! It’s doesn’t hurt the guy who made 10 billion dollars.’ Where does it say you have to hurt that guy? He just put a billion dollars into the pot!
Growing up in dire poverty, Dr. Carson tells of taking responsibility for his own decisions thanks to “a mother who believed in me, who would never allow herself to be a victim no matter what happened—she never made excuses, and she never accepted excuses from us.”
Later, Dr. Carson went on Hannity to explain why he said what he did in front of the president:
View on YouTube
What liberals call “compassion” actually ends up destroying the very people they claim to want to help. The evidence is crystal clear. If they REALLY cared about poverty, they would change their policies to ones that actually work. But they don’t. Because all they REALLY care about is staying in power – and keeping people in a position where bribing them with government hand-outs guarantees their votes is too beneficial a racket to dispense with.
It was under Johnson, who championed the “Great Society” in the 1960s, that a good portion of the runaway government spending we are trying to get under control today originated.
Johnson signed into law Medicare, Medicaid, the War on Poverty programs, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Moyers recounted that for Johnson, Social Security and Medicare “were about a lot more than economics.”
He recalls a time when the Johnson administration was supporting retroactive increases in Social Security payments. Moyers said he argued for the increases as economic stimulus. But Johnson called him and said:
“My inclination would be … that it ought be retroactive as far back as you can get it … because none of them ever get enough. That they are entitled to it. That’s an obligation of ours. It’s just like your mother writing you and saying she wants $20, and I always sent mine $100 when she did. I always did it because I thought she was entitled to it. … We do know that it affects the economy. But that’s not the basis to go to the Hill, or the justification. We’ve got to say that by God you can’t treat grandma this way. She’s entitled to it and we promised it to her.”
I don’t think we could have a clearer picture of Johnson’s muddled thinking about his job and the role of government, which contributed so much to the problems we have today.
Johnson’s words sound so wonderfully compassionate. But let’s get things in perspective.
He saw no difference in his relationship and responsibilities toward his own mother, and sending her his own money, and his responsibilities as president of the United States and the relationship of government to citizens.
There is a world of difference between the appropriate responsibility of parents toward their children and children toward their parents, and politicians deciding on how to spend someone else’s money for someone else’s children, parents or grandparents.
Johnson didn’t seem to grasp, or care, about the fact that family and government are two entirely different social institutions that serve very different purposes.
So the Johnson administration years marked not just the beginning of many huge government programs that we can’t pay for today, but they also marked a major cultural change where government began displacing family and personal responsibility.
It is no accident that as the American welfare state grew, the American family collapsed.
It is maddening how a century of “progressive education reform” has conditioned American parents to unquestioningly surrender their children to a system that has proven to fail no matter how much money it gets or reforms are tried.
It’s maddening that we have tacitly accepted the notion that government bureaucrats should decide where, when, how, and even what our children learn.
It’s maddening that no matter how much their child’s needs are not being met, poor parents are virtually powerless to do anything about it, while their children remain trapped in failing and – often dangerous – government schools.
Every parent deserves a choice. Every child deserves a chance. It’s LONG past time to take back the power that rightfully belongs to parents to determine what is best for their children when it comes to education.
The third annual National School Choice Week is officially underway. Once again, school choice advocates—including parents, teachers, schoolchildren and administrators, and many others—will come together to promote educational choice, with more than 3,600 events taking place nationwide.
School choice is something to celebrate, because it gives families the power to choose the best schools for their children—helping children to improve educational outcomes and increasing overall parental satisfaction.
School Choice Students Graduate at Higher Rates
For example, students who participate in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP)—a private school voucher program for low-income K-12 students—graduate at significantly higher rates than their peers, according to the results of a “gold standard” (randomized, control group) study. More than 90 percent of DCOSP students graduate high school, compared to just 70 percent of their peers.
Similarly, research reveals that students who participate in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP)—the nation’s longest running school choice program—for all four of their high school years had a 94 percent graduation rate, compared to a 75 percent graduation rate for their peers who attended four years of public high school.
School Choice Means Academic Gains
Research also shows that students who participate in school choice programs do better in school. In a review of all the “gold standard” evaluations of school choice programs in the United States, researchers found that nine of the 10 studies revealed positive, albeit generally modest, academic improvement for school choice students.
Parents Are More Satisfied with their Child’s Academic Experience
Parents of school choice students also report high levels of satisfaction with their children’s schools. In Florida, 93 percent of parents whose children participate in the McKay Scholarship Program—a voucher program for special-needs students—report being satisfied with their child’s school, compared to just 33 percent of parents whose special-needs children were enrolled in public schools. DCOSP parents are also more likely to report satisfaction with their children’s schools and are more likely to describe their schools as safe. And Milwaukee school choice parents also report high satisfaction rates with the schools their children attend.
Education comes in many forms—from private school choice to online learning, to charter schools and public schools and home schooling. Parents should be empowered to give their children the education that best meets their child’s unique learning needs. School choice makes this possible by giving families from every background the ability to set the course for the brightest educational future for their children.
This week, find out how you can get involved in National School Choice Week.
Learn more about Freedom of Education
Learn more about the Separation of School and State
Contrary to the lies of “pro-choice” activists, the pro-life movement works to provide REAL choices for women: crisis pregnancy centers, adoption services, foster homes for unwed mothers, assistance for single mothers, counseling, and dozens of other services provided by people who care for both the baby AND the mother.
Liberal writers such as Matthew Yglesias are given to observing that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” At Commonweal, David Gibson, a journalist who frequently covers the abortion debate, asks how much pro-lifers do for mothers: “I just want to know what realistic steps they are proposing or backing. I’m not sure I’d expect to hear anything from pro-life groups now since there’s really been nothing for years.”
This lazy slander is as common as it is untrue. Of course, there is much more that needs to be done, but in the decades since Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers have taken the lead in offering vital services to mothers and infants in need. Operating with little support–and often actual opposition–from agencies, foundations, and local governments, pro-lifers have relied upon a network of committed donors and volunteers to make great strides in supporting mothers and their infants. It’s time the media takes notice.
In the United States there are some 2,300 affiliates of the three largest pregnancy resource center umbrella groups, Heartbeat International, CareNet, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA).
Over 1.9 million American women take advantage of these services each year. Many stay at one of the 350 residential facilities for women and children operated by pro-life groups. In New York City alone, there are twenty-two centers serving 12,000 women a year. These centers provide services including pre-natal care, STI testing, STI treatment, ultrasound, childbirth classes, labor coaching, midwife services, lactation consultation, nutrition consulting, social work, abstinence education, parenting classes, material assistance, and post-abortion counseling.
[...] If pro-life Americans provide so many (often free) services to the poor and vulnerable–work easily discovered by any researcher or journalist with an Internet connection–why are they sometimes accused of caring only for life inside the womb? Quite possibly, it is the conviction of abortion advocates that “caring for the born” translates first and always into advocacy for government programs and funds. In other words, abortion advocates appear to conflate charitable works and civil society with government action. The pro-life movement does not. Rather, it takes up the work of assisting women and children and families, one fundraiser and hotline and billboard at a time. Still, the pro-life movement is not unsophisticated about the relationship between abortion rates and government policies in areas such as education, marriage, employment, housing, and taxation. The Catholic Church, for example, works with particular vigor to ensure that its social justice agenda integrates advocacy for various born, vulnerable groups, with incentives to choose life over abortion.
One of the significant ironies of accusing pro-lifers of being “anti-vulnerable,” “anti-women,” and “anti-poor” is that poor women tend to be more pro-life than their more privileged counterparts. It is especially important, therefore, to offer them options that do not simply appeal to their economic interest or personal autonomy narrowly understood, but rather that accord with their moral outlook and overall wellbeing.
PJTV: How the Obama Administration Is Dumbing Down Education
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Wouldn’t want the little comrades to read classic literature and get any ideas that don’t fit the government-approved narrative, now would we?
A war of words is brewing. But this one doesn’t involve slinging insults. It’s a battle over what forms of writing – novels, poems, and non-fiction – will define English instruction for millions of American schoolchildren in the years to come.
Sparking this war is the Common Core standards push – an effort to nationalize the standards and assessments upon which every public school in America would base its curriculum. The Obama administration has poured billions of dollars into the effort via federal “Race to the Top” grants.
As always when it comes to federal largesse, there are strings attached. And in this case, it’s pulling the rug out from under classic literature.
Literacy experts point out that The Common Core denigrates the value of teaching literature in the classroom. Instead, English teachers are being told that 50 percent of their course material must be derived from “informational texts.” (Actually, the informational text requirement starts at a “mere” 25 percent of reading material for kindergarteners. It rises to 70 percent for high school seniors.)
What, exactly, meets the definition of informational texts? Among those recommended on the national standards list we find The Federal Reserve Bank’s “FedViews,” “The Evolution of the Grocery Bag,” and “Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas.” And, roll over “For Whom the Bell Tolls” it’s time to make way for that GSA classic: “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.”
Thus is the literary genius of Washington bureaucrats elevated over that of Hugo, Heller, and Huxley.
This is already happening at my husband’s company. They are no longer permitted to hire full-time workers for non-salaried positions.
The threat of fines totaling $2,000 a year for not providing health care to full-time workers will be a great subsidy for companies that supply part-time workers. They will be in greater demand.
Workers who already work less than 30 hours a week will find lots of new competition. They are likely to be locked into their positions permanently.
Any firm with 50 employees comes under the law. So, the smart move for businesses with 50 to 60 workers is to fire them.
Economics teaches that decisions are made at the margin. What does one more unit of this or that cost? That is the key price for all of the units.
Businesses can take two approaches. First, they can cut workers who work 30 hours a week to 29 hours. Or, just to be safe, 25 hours. Second, they can fire workers who work 30 hours a week and refuse to hire replacements. Both approaches are legal. Both make economic sense.
We are in a tight job market. We have been ever since 2008. The recovery is slow. This will make it slower.
I know there are a lot of Protestants who buy into these ideas as well, but we’re so dispersed that it’s easy to dismiss a Protestant like Jim Wallis who peddles this garbage. Where are the conservative Catholics supposed to go?
Earlier in his homily, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics decried “hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor“.
The idea that economic inequality is the root of most conflict is a Socialist idea, not a Biblical one. The Bible makes it clear that man’s sinful nature is the source of mankind’s broken relationships and conflicts.
Also, the Pope appears to mistakenly assume that economic inequality is automatically a form of injustice which creates resentment, not recognizing that poor people are not made poorer by other people getting richer, because wealth is not a zero-sum game. Any resentment over inequality is either based in envy, or anger over being cheated and exploited (in which case, it is the dishonest manner in which the wealth was gained, not the wealth disparity itself, which is the problem).
He also denounced “the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism, various forms of terrorism and criminality”.
Funny how Socialists believe that it is “selfish” for people to want to keep what they earn, but neglect to recognize selfishness in those who demand that money be taken from those who earned it and given to themselves (who didn’t earn it). The Bible has a word for that, however: theft.
Also, Socialists denounce any rejection of collectivist control over goods and services as “individualist” and selfish, completely ignoring the fact that God Himself established private property rights when he gave the 10 commandments, including “Do not covet” and “Do not steal.”
Socialists also assume that pure Capitalism is an “unregulated,” winner-takes-all affair. Nonsense! True Capitalism requires law and order to make sure that all transactions are conducted honestly and voluntarily, without coercion or deceit. Free enterprise is not anarchy. Nor is it a form of “terrorism and criminality.”
Guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the Pope completely misses these points. He’s a former Nazi youth, after all, and like most Germans has never fully rejected the Welfare State or many of the other Socialist underpinnings of the Nazi party. Also, like most Christians across the theological spectrum, he has never studied Biblical Economics.
Sadly, millions will hear his ignorant statements and become even more firmly entrenched in the unscriptural idea that Socialism is Biblical and free enterprise is evil.
Even more sadly, millions of Catholics are fighting for religious liberty against the very kinds of oppressive Socialist governments the Pope is supporting with these statements. At a time when he should be denouncing abuses of government power, he denounces the “individualism” of those fighting for their God-given rights of economic and religious liberty instead.
Isn’t it ironic that Obama is targeting private charities at the very time millions of Americans need them most – during the longest recession since the Great Depression, which has been exacerbated by his own policies?
Charities are competition to the Messianic Welfare State. If there’s one thing government demands, it’s absolute monopoly power over any area where it decides to stick it’s nose.
For nearly two years now, we have heard about the divide between wealthy America and the rest of us. We are told that the rich don’t pay their fair share in taxes. We hear that the wealthiest one percent run the country for their own benefit.
Whether you agree with this or not, there is no shortage of proposals in Washington targeted to address this sense of inequality. But my personal experience as a former corporate CEO and now as president of one of the country’s largest charities, is that many wealthy women and men are voluntarily bridging this gap through their charitable giving.
For nearly as long as the income tax has existed, the U.S. government has allowed individuals to deduct their giving from their taxes, recognizing that private organizations contribute to the common good and to economic growth. Our country does need to get its fiscal house in order, but policy makers need to be extremely careful in their zeal to find new government revenue. Raising taxes on the wealthy by taxing their giving is likely to hurt the poor the most.
Under any of the various proposals to remove or cap the charitable deduction, the government would be weakening charities and threatening to shred America’s safety net for the poor. With half of Americans either below the poverty line or considered to be “low income,” we are in a time when charities’ services are most urgently needed. Food banks are tapped out. Homeless shelters are full.
Any scheme to cap or reduce the charitable deduction will ultimately hurt our economy and those on its lowest rung. Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute and author of “Who Really Cares,” estimates that every dollar in charitable giving increases GDP by as much as $15. In addition, non-profit organizations employ 10 percent of the workforce.
It is clear that the proposals to limit the deduction will hurt giving. According to Independent Sector, a coalition of non-profits, removing the charitable deduction could cause a 36 percent decline in giving. Even the White House, which has proposed a cap on the amount the wealthy can deduct, agrees that such a move could cause a $10 billion decline in giving.
Unfortunately, rather than act as a deterrent, the fact that capping charitable deductions would hurt private charities is rather an incentive for those who worship at the altar of the Almighty Welfare State. They truly believe that if government was “doing its job,” private charities wouldn’t be necessary. They WANT to drive private charities out of business, so that everyone depends on their Utopian Nanny State.
As government grows, the private sector wanes, a situation created by the decline of strong families and abetted by progressive programs designed to make families irrelevant.
When it comes to serving the needy, there are two basic approaches. The first, inspired by Jesus Christ and required in the Old Testament, is sacrificial giving of oneself. This has been the cornerstone of American charity since the nation’s founding, and it remains the most effective way to assist the poor.
The diametrically opposite approach is socialism, in which income is forcibly seized and then redistributed to groups and individuals favored by government officials. Socialism is rooted in the formula from Karl Marx—“from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.”
That’s a fine arrangement when voluntary, such as in families, churches and private charities. However, when imposed by force—and socialism is always accompanied by force since it violates human nature—it is soft tyranny masquerading as charity.
Since the 1930s, with the advent of the New Deal, the federal government, along with local and state governments, has taken on more and more functions that were handled by families and faith-based charities. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society sent this into overdrive, and Barack Obama is intent on nailing America to a third-stage rocket into socialism.