The fight for public education is about money and control; not the kids

Public education is headed for Armageddon.  At least that is what most of my teacher friends are posting on Facebook.

The bane of their existence is HR 610, better known as the congressional bill to allow vouchers for Public Education.  It also calls for the repeal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and limits the authority of the Department of Education.  If the bill passes the Department of Education is authorized only to award block grants to qualified states.”

The bill establishes an education voucher program, so states can distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies based on the number of eligible children within a geographical area. To be eligible to receive a block grant, a state must: (1) comply with education voucher program requirements; and (2) make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect to enroll their child in any public or private elementary or secondary school in the state or to home school their child.

Most people in the public education racket hate vouchers.  They hate giving parents and children a choice in their education. People with choices tend to hold service providers accountable.  Educational administrators hate accountability.

The popular scare tactic is to warn of the demise of public education and claim the poor will be most affected.  They are right in one thing: the poor will be affected by having the opportunity to choose a different school than the one they are forced to attend.

Lost in the hysteria is parents can still choose to send their child to a public school.  It’s about parental choice and giving them the opportunity to send their children to a school that is better for their children.  Think of it as the equivalent to Roe v. Wade.  That was all about choice and so is this bill.

Children choose their college, why not primary and secondary education?

The next dire consequence they scream about is the loss of the Individualized Education Program (IEP).  An IEP is a plan for children with special education needs that public schools design.  Nowhere in the bill does it state special education programs are to be cut but why should the facts matter.

The hysteria stems from those profiting off special education programs fearing a loss of income. It’s not about the kids.  It never was. It’s about their income.  Parents can still send their special needs children to public schools or to other schools that offer special education programs that may be better.

And there is the rub.  School administrators do not want public schools do not want to be known as schools for special needs kids nor do they want private schools to do a better job and take away their grant money.  It’s the anti ying-yang.

If private schools do a better job of educating children public schools will lose “the good students.”  That will leave special education.  But if private schools do a better job with special education programs then parents will choose the better school for their child.

In fact, in President Trump’s budget blueprint he does not cut aid for special education and school districts for the poor.

Those in public education are going nuts trying to convince their friends that HR610 will dismantle public education.  The bill does not do that but the government sure has destroyed it.

Another falsehood is the notion the bill will repeal the No Hungry Kids Act.  The bill repeals a specified rule that established certain nutrition standards for the national school lunch and breakfast programs. It does not abolish the program.

However, another bill, HR899, will terminate the Department of Education on December 31, 2018.  It gives the power back to the states where it belongs.  I’m sure my teacher friends will say it is proof President Trump wants to end public education.  No.  He wants to eliminate the central, overhead bureaucracy and allow the states to manage their own public education.

But since when did facts ever stop his haters?

 

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The choices we make determines the fate we earn

The Devil did not make us do it.  We chose to succumb to temptation.  We made the choice.

Everything in life is based on the choices we make.  Too many people rationalize their decisions and do not take responsibility for the choices they make.  Playing the victim and blaming society has become an art form.

It’s annoying to watch so many people avoid accountability for their decisions.  Rioting and looting is acceptable because the law breakers come from a disadvantaged household.  Illegally entering our country is fine because they are escaping oppression. Stealing must be understood instead of prosecuted.

Bull. There are only so many Jean Valjeans in this world.

The good news is we inevitably must face our decisions. As Billy Joel once opined, it is only a matter of time before the fun falls through and the rent comes due.  There is no escaping that fate.  It doesn’t matter how long you live because it won’t amount to the time you spend dead. And, as Kerry Livgren writes: “forever is a long time to spend agony.”

Depending on your religious convictions there is some sort of comeuppance at the end of your life.  There are always going to be extenuating circumstances to the decisions we make but I do not think victimization will work when faced with our final judgement.

I suspect it won’t matter what kind of car we drove while alive.  I think the barometer will be how many people we drove that did not have transportation.  I don’t think it matters what clothes we wear but rather how many people we clothed that were in need.

I doubt the entrance exam is going to ask how big or fancy our house was but it may ask how many people we welcomed into our home.  I do not think it matters how many times we were right more than how many times we did the right thing.

I don’t think our fancy job titles or the money we make will amount to anything.  I think whether we compromised our principles to attain the title and money will. In fact, I do not think our earthly job titles matter in the afterlife more than how we did those jobs.

Having a large list of friends in social media is great but I think being a real friend is more important.  We put a lot of emphasis on which neighborhood we live in but I think being a good neighbor matters more.

Does skin color, religious affiliation, and sexual orientation matter more than the content of our character?  Fancy weddings last a day; good marriages last a lifetime.  Having a family is good, being a part of a family is better.

Governments cannot legislate human behavior.  Scientists cannot artificially create a human soul.  Let them enjoy the glory of the moment because the reality of life is right around the corner.

In the end, it is all about the choices we make.

 

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All you need is the opposing party in office to help change your opinion

Role reversal is fun until someone goes to jail.

The Democrats were screaming and yelling about the illegal leaks courtesy of WikiLeaks during the campaign.  The Republicans felt the content was more important than the way it was obtained.

Today, the Republicans are screaming about the illegal leaks from the Intelligence community regarding the communications of the Trump Administration with foreign leaders, diplomats and the like.  The Democrats are no longer concerned about the way the leaks came to light.

Such is the way of Washington, DC.  All you need is the opposing party in office to help change your opinion on any topic.  Sometimes turnabout is not fair play.

I’m one of those weird people who think you should maintain the same opinion unless you accept the opposing arguments.  If Republicans had no issues with WikiLeaks during the campaign they should shut up now.

Except, if the Obama Administration actively sought to wiretap Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters that is a clear abuse of power and someone needs to be held accountable.  Will the next Woodward and Bernstein please stand up?  I doubt any reporter from the mainstream media will ever try.

I think it will be poetic justice if Fox News reporter James Rosen took on the story. Rosen, you may recall, was secretly designated a criminal co-conspirator in a crime regarding leaks.  He was deemed a flight risk by then Attorney General Eric Holder giving the Justice Department the right to go through all his records.

The information that led to Michael Flynn’s resignation had to be from wiretaps.  How else would the anonymous source have a transcript.  I have no issue with how the information was gathered.  If Flynn broke the law, then he needs to be accountable.  By the same token, the person who leaked the information also broke the law and should be accountable.

I do not think reporters should be co-conspirators unless they actively break the law to get the information.  Passively receiving the information and acting on it is one thing; illegally gathering information is another.

I think an investigation is in order and if it leads to former president Barrack Obama, so be it.  If he ordered the wiretaps, then he abused his power if far greater proportions than former president Richard Nixon. I do not think he’s that dumb but I believe some zealot on his staff could easily do it as a way “to help.”

The Obama Administration was notorious for abusing its power but that went under the radar thanks to an adoring media.  Lois Lerner targeted conservative groups and Reverend Billy Graham through the IRS.  They went after Reverend Graham for urging voters to back candidates who base their decisions on biblical principle.

President Obama made an illegal recess appointment of Richard Cordray to serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new agency that could issue expansive regulations with virtually no accountability. The only problem was Congress was still in session.

There was no wringing of hands by the media.

Given President Obama’s proclivity to skirt around the Constitution I do not find it a stretch to think he could order the surveillance of a political enemy.  There is no proof he did and there is no reason for conjecture.  But if I am thinking it I’m sure others are doing the same.

An investigation is in order.  And while they are at it they should investigate if there is a Russian connection with the Trump campaign.  If the investigation uncovers nothing and President Trump’s wiretapping allegations are unfounded, he should be an upstanding citizen and apologize. Likewise, if the investigation into the Russian connection reveals no connection, the whole situation should be put to pasture.

However, I suspect the Russian connection is pay back for the birther hoopla.  Role reversal is fun until someone goes to jail.

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How to make America great again

We do not need President Trump to make America great again.  One person cannot do it alone and it should not be up to one person.  It belongs to all of us.  We need to recapture the glory by going back to sound principles.

We need parents to say no to their children and realize a child’s frown today becomes a well-adjusted adult tomorrow.  Children who get their way by emotional blackmail grow up to be college students who need comfort items when a candidate they have been brainwashed to hate wins an election.

We need youth sports coaches to tell their team they lost because the other team was better, had more talent, or played better.  Coaches who blame the game officials or make excuses for a loss create athletes incapable of enjoying the sport they play.  Youth sports is not about the win, it’s about learning what it takes to win.

We need to let our children fail.  No one can understand success until he or she fails.  People need to learn failing at a task does not mean they are a failure. They need to embrace failure as the scars to success.

We need an education system that teaches the essential subjects and worries less about federal funding and more about educating students.  School districts that pass a student despite failing grades hurt the child.  Self-esteem is not bestowed, it’s earned. Students need to learn achievement occurs through hard work and nothing else.

Children need to learn how to make sacrifices today to reach their goals tomorrow.  If junior wants a car when he gets his license tell him to earn money and buy one.  It may sound mean and uncaring but, in reality, it’s the best thing for them.  Remind them patience is a virtue.

It’s OK if children are not the best at everything they try.  All we can ask is that they give their best effort.  If they want to be the best than they need to understand, being the best at something means giving up almost everything else.

Laws are meant to be followed, not broken. They are not suggestions and subject to rationalization when we accept lawlessness.  Entering the country illegally is not a virtue.  Neither is rioting, looting and destroying property under the guise of a protest.

Re-learn the word respect.  Young adults need to respect authority, their elders and themselves.  Using society as a scapegoat to justify poor behavior creates a class of people who will never earn respect because they do not know how to give respect.  You don’t earn it if you don’t give it.

We need a dedication to doing the job right and a passion for helping others.  That does not mean expecting the government to do it for us – we have become a nation of the other guy.  We wait for the other guy to pick up the litter we passed. The other guy to organize the game. The other guy to fix our problems.  At what point should we become the other guy?

Don’t look for motivation from others; look to motivate yourself.  A motivated nation is a better nation.  If you hate President Trump, rather than whine about it or post silly diatribes on social media – get up off your couch and get involved on the local level.  If you love President Trump, rather than spend all day responding to the stupid diatribes of the haters, get off the couch and get involved in government to push his agenda.

Either way, if you want change get up and create it.  That’s how America will become great again.

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Having the choice is better for everyone but the unions

 

The public education world is ending if you listen to critics of newly minted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Education unions are beside themselves with hyperbole and her critics are going as far as to claim her policies will “kill children.” That hysteria is from Vanity Fair film critic Richard Lawson who claims DeVos support of voucher programs will “create systems in which queer kids have literally zero access to support apparatus because they are in religious schools meaning voucher programs will lead to more suicides. Betsy DeVos’s policies will kill children.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

A few points. To begin with, voucher programs do not automatically mean a boon for religious schools or a death notice for homosexual children.  Just saying.  Sure religious schools will see increased enrollments but so will many private, non-religious schools.

And that’s a good thing.

Secondly, it’s about choice.  Parents can still choose to send their children to public schools so what is the issue?  However, if a voucher program ever gets through congress, parents can choose the right school for their children. Liberals love choice so why aren’t they supporting this type of choice?

The minute unions start to say it’s “about the children” you know they really mean “it’s about our paycheck.”  They are fooling no one.  If it was about the children, they would support any program that can potentially give children a better education.

Some of my teacher friend are threatening to move to Finland.  I’m sure they’ll leave just as quickly as all those Hollywood fools who swore they’d leave the nation if President Trump.  Unfortunately, they are still here.

Other friends are swearing they will home school their children.  Help me out here: how does a voucher program create the need for home schooling? My advice to them is to send their children to public school.  Choice is a beautiful thing.

I get the unions’ resistance – it’s their money. I do not understand some of the hysteria from parents.  I think it’s a knee jerk reaction to President Trump and not the merits of the person.

Based on what I saw of DeVos’ confirmation hearing, I was not impressed with her inability to answer questions directly. However, what I saw was through the prism of the mainstream media so I cannot trust it to be accurate. Reading the transcripts gives a different view of the hearing.

What I think most people missed in her responses because they were busy screaming about hypotheticals, is DeVos strongly supports local control of education and has pledged not to impose her own views on states and local school districts.  She prefers to allow school districts -along with parents – to make the decisions that best fit the needs of their children. She has also pledged to implement the laws of Congress.

What more can you ask?

If a public school is better than a charter or private school, it will get the enrolments.  I have never met a parent who actively wants their children to get a bad education.  If the education is good, students will come.

I do not know if she’ll be a good Education Secretary but I heard the same scare tactics when President Reagan chose William Bennett as his Education Secretary. Bennett’s stated goal was to abolish the department.  It didn’t happen.  In fact, the bureaucracy kept on giving.

I hope DeVos can get voucher programs implemented and establish more charter schools.  I think that will be a win for the children and choice. I suspect we’ll get the same result as other Education secretaries.  Nothing but the same old, tired public education system and that is not good for our children.  Parents need choice.

I must admit; I enjoy watching the unions squirm.

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Three sides to every story: Liberal, Conservative and the truth

Is it possible to avoid hyperbole on social media? Can you avoid it from traditional media?

It is getting increasingly difficult to find objective information.  Everyone is upping the ante on hysteria either to get attention or because they forgot their meds. I have never seen anyone change his or her belief system because of a social media post. Sensationalism creates a bigger chasm between objectivity and subjectivity.

The extremes used to reside on the fringe but now the fringe is the middle.  Former president Obama divided the nation along racial lines and his loathing for law and order was evident by his support of criminals over the police.  President Trump seems to be swinging the pendulum the other way.  Neither extreme is optimal.

More damage occurs through ignorance than malice.  We all know the President’s supporters and detractors in our circle of friends.  We tune them out because we know their bias.  I like facts and focus on policy not person. But there are those out there who believe everything they read without researching or understanding the facts.

There used to be three sides to every story. Their side, your side and the truth. There are still three sides but now it’s the Liberal side, the Conservative side and the truth.

Let’s look at the two hot issues of the day. The temporary ban on refugees and the wall.

The Liberal media is spinning the temporary ban as an unconstitutional executive order that discriminates against Muslims, which is un-American.  Meanwhile, the Conservative spin is that President Trump is saving America from extremists who want to kill all Americans

The Liberal media will bombard us with stories of families being broken up, the separation of spouses, and refugees being killed in their homeland because they were unable to escape.  The Conservative media will blast us with stories of the return of law and order, how Americans are taking back our country and promote instances where terrorists were captured because of better vetting procedure.

A fun fact: The policy is similar to what former President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months. In addition, the seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.  I do not recall such an outcry in 2011.

What is being ignored is we need better vetting to stop terrorists from coming into this country by posing as refugees or overstaying their visas.  That is the bottom line.  Everything else is noise.

The Liberal spin contends the wall proves President Trump is a racist who hates Latinos.  He is a heartless person intent on destroying families and condemning impoverished Mexicans to a life with no hope of advancing.  The Conservative spin is President Trump is saving jobs for Americans, improving tax dollar allocation and making the nation safer from a criminal element.

The Liberal media will hit you with sob stories of Mexicans being deported leaving their children alone in America.  We’ll also see stories “proving the executive order is not preventing illegal immigration complete with quotes from border patrol.  You will also see stories of legal immigrants fearing for their safety.  What you will not see is stories of families the incarcerated illegal aliens destroyed through their crimes.

The Conservative media will focus on the deportation of illegal aliens with criminal records and suggesting it makes America safer by default.  It will tout more Americans working at jobs previously occupied by the illegal immigrants.  There will also be stories from legal immigrants saying they are happy about the wall and talking about their journey to citizenship. Those stories will also come complete with quotes.

A fun fact: Former President Clinton proposed the same toughening of immigration laws to deport illegal immigrants in 1995.  He said, “We are a nation of immigrants but we are also a nation of laws.”  The difference is when former President Clinton said it the media treated him as a savior for working Americans but call President Trump a racist for saying the same thing.

The reality is immigration laws have been treated as suggestions the past 16 plus years so Republicans can get cheap labor and Democrats can get votes.  Simply enforcing the laws is a step in the right direction.  I do not know anyone who objects or disagrees with immigration.  We are against illegal immigration.  There is a difference.

In both issues, the media is not trying to inform; it’s trying to persuade.  That is not journalism.

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Protesters or pawns? It depends on whose narrative you listen

Is a protest a protest if most participants do not know the point of the protest?  I have not yet seen the reason for the women’s protests this past weekend covered in media reports.

I asked several of my militant female friends if they knew the reason for the protest and other than calling me interesting names they have not given me an answer.  Luckily, I have a female liberal friend who understands the issues and is rather eloquent in defending her beliefs.  We discuss issues all the time but never seem to agree.  The good news (for me) is we are still friends after eight years of disagreements.

I asked her for the point of the women’s protest.  She sent me a link to a website that outlines their guiding principles.  I am willing to bet a majority of protesters and those in the media have no idea this website exists.  I favor any kind of peaceful activism and applaud the participants’ initiative but I think they were pawns.

In my mind, activism needs to have an end goal presumably to change society.  It seems the majority of people protested for the sake of protesting. Or, they simply wanted to protest President Donald Trump.

If that is the case, then the protest, at best, is meaningless.   I do not have a problem protesting a president’s policies or viewpoints.  That is fair game.  I have an issue with people protesting without knowing why they are protesting.

The principles outlined in the document are good but seem overly general and state the obvious.  The first principle states: “We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights. This is the basic and original tenet from which all our values stem.

Ok.  Who would not agree with that?  I’m guessing the 20 nations under Shira Law but so far no one has protested those countries.  So why now?  It’s not like President Trump created injustice to women.

Where were these women during the past eight years when the same landscape prevailed?  Inequality existed long before any president took office and is not associated with any one person.

I did a little research and, as expected, chief agitator, George Soros, fronted a considerable amount of money to push his agenda.  If the point of the protest is to respect women why did they allow themselves to be used by Soros?

And, while I’m at it, who thought it was a good idea to have Madonna speak?  Madonna has made a living of portraying herself as an object to sell records.  More power to her but credibility to the cause is lost when a former object speaks out against men who view women as objects.

The second principle states: “We believe Gender Justice is Racial Justice is Economic Justice. We must create a society in which all women—including Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women—are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.”

This is another no brainer.  But I’m confused.  President Trump campaigned as a law and order president.  Wouldn’t that by default make society safer for women?

I get it.  The man is a pig and a number of people do not like him.  Heck, I don’t like him but he’s our president so get over it.  The media will not explore the issues being raised by the march because it is too focused on its own agenda.  And that is a shame.

This was a golden opportunity to raise awareness for the issues women face. Unfortunately, the real news of the protest is lost in the media narrative of “Women Hate Trump.”  That narrative is driven by Soros, lapped up by the media but packaged differently to protesters.

More good could have come from the marches if the majority of those protesting actually understood the guiding principles. I encourage readers to read all the principles.  Why didn’t the speakers talk about them?  Why didn’t the media discuss the principles?

I do not think Soros cared about the actual point of the protest.  He used the women and women allowed themselves to be used.

Who’s the real male pig here?

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