“We have a simple problem in this country” when it comes to education, says Robert C. Enlow, president of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “And that’s a monopoly. It’s not the people in the system. It’s the system itself.”
How bad is the problem? Consider this: Since 1970, direct per-pupil spending on K-12 public schools has more than doubled in inflation-adjusted dollars while educational outcomes for graduation high school seniors have remained flat at best.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006) introduced the concept of school vouchers in a 1955 essay and, with his wife Rose (1910-2009), created the foundation that bears their name in 1996. Based in Indianapolis, the Friedman Foundation promotes “universal school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America.”
Despite resistance from teachers unions, legislators, parents at well-funded and high-performing schools, and other entrenched interests, school choice is booming in the United States, with the Wall Street Journal dubbing 2011,”the year of school choice.”
Last year, eight new programs were created and 11 existing ones were strengthened or expanded, meaning that students and parents in a total of 12 states plus the District of Columbia could participate in choice programs that have access to some $1 billion in funds. Charter schools – publicly funded schools of choice that receive a fraction of the per-pupil spending given to traditional schools in exchange for greater curricular freedom – didn’t exist until 1996. Now, over 2 million students are enrolled in charter schools, which claim more than 10 percent of school enrollments in over 100 cities. Nearly 2 million children are home schooled and innovative new choice programs including virtual schools, blended learning, and education savings accounts (which allow parents to spend education dollars on multiple providers) are becoming an everyday reality.
“Milton Friedman was right,” says Enlow, discussing who is using the new opportunities. “A universal [school choice] program would benefit the poor tremendously, the middle class somewhat, and the rich hardly at all.” But Enlow also stresses that while the revolution in K-12 education is growing, it’s far from a fait accompli: “We need to amp up the calls for reform across the country.”
Reason sat down with Enlow in January at the start of National School Choice Week in New Orleans.
Unprecedented Social Media Campaign Will Educate Voters About Candidates’ Support For Failed Obama Policies
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — ForAmerica, the largest active online conservative organization, today launched an unprecedented social media campaign to educate voters in key Senate races for the 2012 cycle. Operation ObamaClone will educate voters on how U.S. Senators like Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Bill Nelson (D-FL), as well as candidates such as Tim Kaine of Virginia, have embraced President Obama’s failed policies. Such policies include the Stimulus bill, ObamaCare, and other initiatives that have taken our country down the path to skyrocketing debt, increased job losses, and Big Government expansion.
“For too long, these folks have been cheering on President Obama and his destructive policies at every turn,” said ForAmerica Chairman L. Brent Bozell. “The people of Missouri, Montana, Florida, and Virginia need to know how deeply into denial these officials and candidates have fallen when it comes to worshipping this failed president.”
At the new ForAmerica web sites www.obamaclonemccaskill.com, www.obamaclonetester.com, www.obamaclonenelson.com, and www.obamaclonekaine.com, voters will get valuable information about the candidates’ records, their quotes and comments, press clippings, and videos illustrating how they have morphed into ObamaClones. ForAmerica’s campaign will utilize a cutting-edge social media effort, including online advertising, videos, and more, to keep voters in those four states updated in real time about their incumbent Senators and declared Senate candidates.
Bozell said it is highly likely Operation ObamaClone will expand to other states. ForAmerica, which launched just 18 months ago, has a total budget of $5 million for the 2012 cycle.
ForAmerica (www.foramerica.org) is an online army of over 2 million people. The group is a non-profit 501(c)4 organized to educate Americans about traditional and contemporary American values, to relentlessly fight the growth of government, to oppose any substitute to freedom and self-government, to promote individual liberty and excellence, to promote economic opportunity, and to move America toward her founding principles. ForAmerica is chaired by L. Brent Bozell III, one of the most outspoken and effective national leaders in the conservative movement today.
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By Robert “Bob” Beauprez:
Starting with his State of the Union address last month and carrying into his University of Miami speech, the President has been raising eyebrows and hopes with his seemingly pro-energy stances. From unconventional-gas exploration to adoption of the “all of the above” moniker Republicans have used to describe their approach to energy development, Barack Obama sounded downright, well, Republican. However, actions still speak louder than words, and despite the President’s rhetoric about turning over a new leaf, his administration is still playing the same old tune.
Think for a moment about the President’s praise in his State of the Union for domestic manufacturing: “If you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.”
Considering the hit American manufacturing has taken since the start of the 2008 recession, it seems reasonable that the author of the $800 billion Economic Stimulus would want to stimulate some American jobs this way. That’s why it is somewhat puzzling that he continues to rally for the repeal of so-called “incentives” for oil companies. In truth the U.S. oil and natural gas industry does not receive taxpayer-subsidized payments. They utilize the same tax credits and deductions available to other American companies – regardless of industry – designed to encourage economic growth and expansion.
However, the President’s latest proposals would deny these long-standing deductions to only one industry – and in some instances, only selected companies. This punitive tax policy will discourage domestic production – which means fewer jobs – and, put American companies and energy industry workers at a disadvantage compared to foreign competitors.
The President has surprised both his environmental base and supporters of natural-gas production by publicly supporting the natural-gas exploration technique of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Considering that both the left-leaning Center for American Progress and the Sierra Club have taken money to support this innovation, it seemed like the President was interested in joining the choir. However, even as he publicly voiced support for natural-gas production, his Environmental Protection Agency was actively trying to undermine the practice, both by supporting a flawed report alleging drinking water contamination due to fracking in Wyoming, and drafting rules under jurisdiction of the Clean Air Act requiring gas companies to reduce their emissions by 95 percent. Perhaps even more disturbing, the State Department has chosen to display the widely discredited documentary “Gasland” to overseas audiences – a blatant slap in the face to the domestic energy industry. Both actions seem geared toward severely handicapping a booming industry as it fights to provide jobs and economic development despite the Obama administration’s best efforts.
Yet the clearest indication of the President’s true energy wish-list came when discussing alternatives. Virtually blind to market realities, but obsessively willing to satisfy campaign contributors and his environmental constituency, Obama set aside $80 billion of the Stimulus to distribute like candy on Halloween to anybody that could say “green energy.” Already many of these heavily funded fantasy ventures have collapsed igniting at least five separate federal investigations, including the FBI and two Congressional Committees.
Jobs – that was a big reason Obama gave for the billions he lavished on green energy. But, an investigation by the Wall Street Journal found new permanent jobs were about as rare as the proverbial hen’s teeth. Another analysis by Investor’s Business Daily discovered that each new job cost as much as $20 million for several of Obama’s green funded fantasies.
Yet, when the ultimate no-brainer job creating, energy delivering project was on his desk – the Keystone XL pipeline – Obama killed it.
Energy has become a familiar election-year battleground issue. “Drill, Baby, Drill” was the anthem of the 2008 Republican Convention. The same year, House Republicans, then still in the minority, took over the House Floor to protest the anti-energy policies of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Four years later, President Obama is saying all the right things, but his actions are still the job-killing strategies of an administration with the “most anti-oil and gas record in U.S. history,” according to Steve Forbes. The rapid escalation of gas prices pinches every family’s budget, and will further slow job creation and economic recovery. Come November, Obama may find that his misguided war against energy has cost him his job, too.
(Robert “Bob” Beauprez is a former Republican member of Congress from Colorado.)
Rick Santorum exposes his liberalism on an NPR radio broadcast on August 4th, 2005. His rising was in perfect time for Iowa, but his demise will follow as all other candidates have had, except Ron Paul who is the only one steadily rising in polls.
By the way, individualism succeeds in the USA Mr. Santorum.
Environmental policies are now infringing on property rights.
For more see:
California’s San Joaquin Valley was America’s Breadbasket, producing more than half of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the USA, before the radical leftists controlling the government decided to cut off its water supply on behalf of the Delta smelt, a small inedible fish of no use to anyone. Now it is the Dustbowl That Big Government Created, a.k.a. the Valley That Hope Forgot. Tens of thousands have been thrown out of work for the sake of sanctimonious environmentalist posturing. But maybe there is hope after all:
“Contrary to popular belief, America has more energy than any nation on earth. All that’s keeping us from becoming energy independent is a lack of political will to do so.” – Newt Gingrich
Today’s high gas and energy prices are entirely a function of bad government policies. Newt has an American Energy Plan that would maximize energy production from all sources–oil, natural gas, wind, biofuels, nuclear, clean coal, and more–and would encourage clean energy innovation without discouraging overall energy production.
Newt’s American Energy Plan:[list type="star"] [li]
- 1. Remove bureaucratic and legal obstacles to responsible oil and natural gas development in the United States, offshore and on land.
- 2. End the ban on oil shale development in the American West, where we have three times the amount of oil as Saudi Arabia.
- 3. Give coastal states federal royalty revenue sharing to give them an incentive to allow offshore development.
- 4. Reduce frivolous lawsuits that hold up energy production by enacting loser pays laws to force the losers in an environmental lawsuit to pay all legal costs for the other side.
- 5. Finance cleaner energy research and projects with new oil and gas royalties.
- 6. Replace the Environmental Protection Agency, which has become a job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices, with an Environmental Solutions Agency that would use incentives and work cooperatively with local government and industry to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and the cost of energy.
U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) made the following statement on his vote in support of the Blunt Amendment.
“Our economy continues to suffer and too many Nevadans are out of work. If you need any evidence as to why the American people are so frustrated with Washington, look no further than today. While the Senate has not had the time to pass a budget in three years, Democrats who control the Senate and set the agenda have plenty of time for soapboxing and political speeches. Congress needs to be talking about bolstering economic growth, finding solutions to rising gas prices, and creating jobs. Nevadans and the American people want Congress to solve problems– not more of the same. Both sides should be ashamed we are not having this debate.
“However, the Senate is having a debate as to whether the federal government has the right to bully religious organizations. Let’s be clear, in no way would this amendment deny or interfere with a woman’s access to contraception. This is an absurd allegation. The debate today is about one thing and one thing only; whether the federal government can force religious organizations to provide a service that violates their faith. Supporters of the President’s healthcare law believe the federal government can oppress religious organizations, force individuals to buy a product they may not want, and put personal healthcare decisions in the government’s hands. This issue speaks directly to the intrusiveness of the President’s healthcare law – it is clear that this law was passed without regard to religious or individual freedom. We can reform our healthcare system to provide affordable access and care, but placing the government in between doctors and patients does a great disservice to everyone.
“Americans deserve access to a responsive and affordable healthcare system. Access to care and skyrocketing insurance premiums continue to be challenges that we must solve. I have always believed that healthcare decisions should be made between a doctor and their patient, not by some Washington bureaucrat. Unfortunately, Washington is more concerned with instigating partisan fights than with delivering results,” said Senator Heller.
From the Waterville Morning Sentinel:
Under pressure from the national Democratic organization that is responsible for getting U.S. House members elected, Rep. Mike Michaud of Maine announced Thursday night that he won’t run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Olympia Snowe.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee feared that if Michaud ran for the Senate, it would harm the party’s chances of holding Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat, which Michaud has held since 2002, according to Democratic insiders with direct knowledge of the situation.
“The DCCC folks and Democratic leaders in the House are pushing Mike to stay” in the House, one Democratic operative said earlier Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Michaud’s campaign wouldn’t comment Thursday night on his reasons for not seeking the Senate seat. Michaud said in a release that “I want to continue to represent the wonderful people of Maine’s Second District and keep working on the unique issues and challenges we face.”
After Snowe’s stunning announcement Tuesday that she will not seek a fourth term, Michaud took out nomination papers Wednesday morning to run for Snowe’s seat.
Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree, who represents Maine’s 1st Congressional District, has said she is strongly leaning toward a run for Senate. She, too, took out nominating papers Wednesday.
The good: The Dell XPS 13 fits a glass-covered 13-inch screen into a smaller-than-expected body. The sophisticated design is eye-catching and sturdy, without driving up the price.
The bad: The limited port selection doesn’t include HDMI or an SD card slot; the display should be better; and battery life falls behind other slim laptops’.
The bottom line: Dell packs a 13-inch display into a very small footprint in the XPS 13 ultrabook, making it one of the few slim laptops that actually tops the MacBook Air in some areas.
From the Youngstown Vindicator:
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said he is developing a plan to “rescue the auto industry.”
When asked about the $82 billion government bailout of General Motors and Chrysler in 2009, Mandel said in a Thursday call to The Vindicator, “Our economy has not yet been rescued. So many people are still out of work.”
GM earned its largest profit ever in 2011, two years after the bailout. GM, with a complex in Lordstown that builds the Chevrolet Cruze, made a $7.6 billion profit last year. It received $49.5 billion of the bailout money.
“I’m not saying the bailout didn’t work,” Mandel said.
But Mandel said he “respectfully disagreed” that it saved the American auto industry.
Justin Barasky, spokesman for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the Democrat incumbent who Mandel would face in the November general election if the latter wins Tuesday’s Republican primary, mocked the state treasurer’s comments.
“Mandel’s claim to be putting together a plan to rescue the industry is a laughably candid example of how completely clueless he is as to what’s going on with Ohio’s middle class and how he’ll say anything to get elected,” Barasky said.
Brown was a vocal proponent who voted for the auto bailout, which saved thousands of jobs in Ohio, Barasky said.