And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Archive for the ‘AFT American Federation of Teachers’ Category

The following article is from the Heritage Foundation and is a listing of studies made by various groups on the state of our government and social programs.  I found many of them informative and felt that perhaps my Readers would also.  Just check out the listings and click on the topics that interest you.   You may also wish to subscribe and have the Insider Online newsletter delivered to your home page.  sincerely, BB

 

Updated daily, InsiderOnline (insideronline.org) is a compilation of publication abstractshow-to essaysevents, news, and analysis from around the conservative movement. The current edition of The INSIDER quarterly magazine is also on the site.


June 22, 2013

Latest Studies: 38 new items, including a Manhattan Institute report on the student debt problem, and an American Legislative Exchange Council report on environmental overcriminalization

Notes on the Week: Not even low-income workers can count on benefiting from ObamaCare, things to know about the CBO’s immigration scoring, and more

To Do: Keep an eye on Russia

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
• Four Tenets to Less Government Spending – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
• The Municipal Government Debt Crisis – Heartland Institute
• Proposed New Farm Programs: Costly and Risky for Taxpayers – The Heritage Foundation
• Soaring National Debt Remains a Grave Threat – The Heritage Foundation
• Taxing Online Sales: Should the Taxman’s Grasp Exceed His Reach? – The Heritage Foundation
• The Big Choice for Jobs and Growth: Lower Tax Rates Versus Expensing – The Heritage Foundation
• The Many Real Dangers of Soaring National Debt – The Heritage Foundation
• The Simple Economics of Pro-Growth Tax Reform – The Heritage Foundation
• Turn Down the Heat, Switch On the Light: A Rational Analysis of Tax Havens, Tax Policy and Tax Politics – Institute of Economic Affairs
• The Best Solution from Both Budgets: “Reverse Logrolling” Shows the Best Option for Government Spending and Tax Reform – John Locke Foundation
• Creating a Fair Property Tax System: Is it Possible? – Public Interest Institute
• Kansas 2013 Tax Reform Improves on Last Year’s Efforts – Tax Foundation
• New Zealand’s Experience with Territorial Taxation – Tax Foundation
• A Review of the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Virginia Economic Forecast 2013-2014: State to Add Jobs Despite Sequestration – Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

Crime, Justice & the Law
• Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse, But It Is Reality – The Heritage Foundation
• Comeback States Report: Reducing Juvenile Incarceration in the United States – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Scientific Evidence in State Courts: Florida Reform as a Model – Washington Legal Foundation

Education
• Beyond Retrofitting: Innovation in Higher Education – Hudson Institute
• College Credit: Repairing America’s Unhealthy Relationship with Student Debt – Manhattan Institute

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
• Beyond the Border: U.S. and Canada Expand Partnership in Trade and Security – The Heritage Foundation

Health Care
• The Right Way to Fight Obesity – Hoover Institution
• An Analysis of the Proposed Medicaid Expansion in Michigan – National Center for Policy Analysis
• Veterans Affairs Fails to Curb Suicide Epidemic – National Center for Policy Analysis

Immigration
• Advancing the Immigration Nation: Heritage’s Positive Path to Immigration and Border Security Reform – The Heritage Foundation
• Senate Immigration Bill Does Not Require Payment of All Back Taxes – The Heritage Foundation

Information Technology
• FCC Must Maintain Open Eligibility for Incentive Spectrum Auction – Free State Foundation

Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation
• Rethinking the FHA – American Enterprise Institute
• Recent Arguments against the Gold Standard – Cato Institute

National Security
• Obama’s Wish to Cut Nuclear Arsenal Undermines National Security – The Heritage Foundation
• Preventing the Next “Lone Wolf” Terrorist Attack Requires Stronger Federal–State–Local Capabilities – The Heritage Foundation

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
• Efficiency Policy – American Action Forum
• Five Solutions for Addressing Environmental Overcriminalization – American Legislative Exchange Council
• Improving Incentives for Federal Land Managers: The Case for Recreation Fees – Cato Institute
• Denial of Supreme Court Review Leaves Ninth Circuit ESA Case Intact – Washington Legal Foundation
• Ohio Court Limits Localities’ Authority over Energy Exploration – Washington Legal Foundation

Transportation/Infrastructure
• Paint Is Cheaper Than Rails: Why Congress Should Abolish New Starts – Cato Institute
• Moving the Road Sector into the Market Economy – Institute of Economic Affairs

 

 

 

Notes on the Week

Rector on CBO on immigration: The Congressional Budget Office told us this week that letting large numbers of immigrants into the country and changing the status of those currently here illegally will be great for the economy and the federal budget. Robert Rector has a few things to say about the CBO’s scoring of the Gang of Eight immigration bill. Here are the highlights:

[T]he immigration coming in under this bill looks like previous immigration in the sense that its predominantly lower-skilled plus the fact that you’re taking 11 million illegal immigrants and giving them access to the welfare and entitlement states. They have an average education of 10th grade, so it’s very difficult to imagine that those households would somehow pay enough in taxes to equal their benefits […] .

The trick is the CBO 10-year budget window. […] For mysterious reasons, when an amnesty bill is written, the amnesty recipients become eligible for everything under the sun in about the 11th year. So that they pay taxes in the first 10 years and they don’t get additional benefits for some mysterious reason until you move outside the CBO budget window. […]

[T]he federal government, because of Social Security and Medicare, inherently transfers from the non-elderly to the elderly. State and local governments kind of do the opposite. If you just look at state and local governments you would find that they transfer from the elderly to the non-elderly to pay for education. The elderly pay a lot of property tax; they don’t get any education benefits any more. […] Of course immigrants are not elderly themselves. For a limited period of time they pay in but then they take out more than they have paid in. It’s important to put both flows together because the opposite process is happening down at the state and local level. […]

One of the interesting things that CBO does tell us is that the number of illegal immigrants who will enter the country over the next 20 years goes down by only 25 percent. There would have been, they estimate, 10 million illegal immigrants entering over the next 20 years. They estimate that that will drop to 7.5 million illegal immigrants entering the country […] . The net cost of those illegals alone would be about $400 billion over that period. […]

When you look at the Gang of Eight explain their bill they always say: Oh, we’re shifting from low-skill immigration to high-skill immigration. You can trust us. That’s what we do. But in fact the numbers from CBO show exactly the opposite. Roughly 80 … 85 to 90 percent of the individuals getting green card status are not skill-based. [The Foundry, June 21]

 

 

Turn on, tune in, pay up. Online learning may transform higher education someday, but right now it serves mainly as a prop in the familiar university system, say Andrew Kelly and Frederick Hess:

Many online programs generate large revenues because most colleges charge the same price (or more!) for students enrolled online as for those on campus. A survey of 199 universities by the educational technology arm of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education found that 93 percent of universities charged the same or higher tuition for their online programs. This is bizarre, given that online courses are less costly to deliver than in-person courses. But instead of competing on price (meaning that cost savings get passed to the student), institutions have maintained in-person prices for online courses—even as the cost of delivery has fallen.

What do colleges do with that extra revenue? They cross-subsidize activities on the brick and mortar campus: unfunded research, student life, institutional aid programs, and so on. Put more genteelly, they “reinvest” it in their traditional campus.

Real innovation, as Kelly and Hess point out, is about unbundling the research-based university, and that’s not going to happen until the government regulations, subsidies, and accreditation policies that protect that model from competition are reformed. [“Beyond Retrofitting: Innovation in Higher Education,” by Andrew P. Kelly and Frederick Hess, Hudson Institute, June 2013.]

 

 

Not even low-income workers can count on coming out ahead under ObamaCare. Some low-income workers could end up paying a lot more for health insurance than they paid before ObamaCare became law, reports Jillian Kay Melchior. ObamaCare requires employer-provided health insurance to cover at least 60 percent of health-care costs while not costing employees more than 9.5 percent of their household incomes. Since low-income households may have multiple sources of income, it can be difficult for companies to figure out if a particular plan is sufficient to avoid penalties. The federal government has proposed “safe harbor” standards in order to provide clarity: Companies offering plans that have a $3,500 deductible, a $6,000 cap on out-of-pocket costs, and premiums of $90 or less per month would put companies in the clear of any penalties. Under those standards, says Melchior, a low-income worker not eligible Medicaid has few good options:

He could take the employer’s plan — but if it’s a safe-harbor plan, it would cost, at minimum, $1,080 a year. And that’s before the deductible is even factored in. For someone who earns $28,725 a year, falling at 250 percent of the poverty level, these costs are sizeable.

Option two: He could shop around on the health exchange for an alternative. But because his employer provides a sanctioned plan, he’s disqualified from any subsidy he might have received to help offset costs. Even a very basic plan would cost up to $2,316 a year in premiums alone.

Option three: Forgo insurance altogether and pay the steadily increasing penalty to the federal government. In 2014, for an individual, that’s $95 for the year or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater. But by 2016, it will rise to either $695 or 2.5 percent of household income. And that’s not even factoring in whether the worker has kids. In that case, he could face an annual penalty of $2,085 or more by 2016. […]

Before, many employers who paid by the hour offered limited medical plans. These policies often got a bad rap because of their lack of catastrophic coverage. But to their credit, they were inexpensive and contributed to health-care costs immediately, without workers needing to first meet a deductible.

Now, these low-wage hourly workers would be forced to spend at least $5,300 before their coverage really begins to benefit them. [National Review, June 17]

 

 

Who elected those guys? ask teachers in Kansas. Last week, teachers in Deerfield, Kansas, did something that almost never happens, report James Sherk and Michael Cirrotti: They voted to decertify their union:

Unlike most public officials, unions do not stand for re-election, so their members cannot regularly hold them accountable. Workers can remove an unwanted union only by filing for decertification. But bureaucratic obstacles make it difficult to hold a vote on decertification. The hoops Deerfield’s teachers had to jump through illustrate this problem.

Joel McClure, the teacher who led the effort, submitted the appropriate paperwork to the Kansas Department of Labor in November 2012. But Kansas teachers can request a vote only in a two-month window every three years. KNEA officials contested the petition by claiming that the teachers missed the December 1 deadline. (The Department of Labor had misplaced the initial petition paperwork.) Then the KNEA objected that the teachers’ attorney was not certified in Kansas and that they did not have enough signatures. However, the teachers prevailed and voted out their union—in June, just eight months after the initial submission.

When asked why they went through such protracted effort, the teachers said their union ignored their concerns. They wanted instead to be actively involved in negotiations and work collaboratively with the school district. “The desire is for teachers to participate at the [bargaining] table, to have free access to information,” McClure said. “In our little school district, there’s no reason we can’t sit down at the table and work out our issues.” [The Foundry, June 18]

Did we mention that next week is National Employee Freedom Week?

 

 

The death panel is coming. Last week, a federal judge in Philadelphia blocked the enforcement of an age-limit rule on lung transplants, thus allowing a very sick 10-year-old girl to obtain a new set of lungs. Doctors had said the girl, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, would live only three to five weeks without new lungs. Earlier, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius had said she would not to intervene in the case by overturning the rule.

When the ObamaCare-created Independent Payment Advisory Board is up and running in two years, it too will make decisions on matters of life and death, but unlike Sebelius’s decision on lung rules, the decisions of the IPAB cannot be reviewed by courts. Those decisions are also protected from politics in some extraordinary ways. As David Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley explain, the IPAB set-up is certainly unconstitutional, but likely not challengeable in the short run because no one would have standing to sue:

Once the board acts, its decisions can be overruled only by Congress, and only through unprecedented and constitutionally dubious legislative procedures—featuring restricted debate, short deadlines for actions by congressional committees and other steps of the process, and supermajoritarian voting requirements. The law allows Congress to kill the otherwise inextirpable board only by a three-fifths supermajority, and only by a vote that takes place in 2017 between Jan. 1 and Aug. 15. If the board fails to implement cuts, all of its powers are to be exercised by HHS Secretary Sebelius or her successor. […]

The power given by Congress to the Independent Payment Advisory Board is breathtaking. Congress has willingly abandoned its power to make tough spending decisions (how and where to cut) to an unaccountable board that neither the legislative branch nor the president can control. The law has also entrenched the board’s decisions to an unprecedented degree.

In Mistretta v. United States (1989), the Supreme Court emphasized that, in seeking assistance to fill in details not spelled out in the law, Congress must lay down an “intelligible principle” that “confine[s] the discretion of the authorities to whom Congress has delegated power.” The “intelligible principle” test ensures accountability by demanding that Congress take responsibility for fundamental policy decisions.

The IPAB is guided by no such intelligible principle. ObamaCare mandates that the board impose deep Medicare cuts, while simultaneously forbidding it to ration care. Reducing payments to doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers may cause them to limit or stop accepting Medicare patients, or even to close shop.

These actions will limit seniors’ access to care, causing them to wait longer or forego care—the essence of rationing. ObamaCare’s commands to the board are thus inherently contradictory and, consequently, unintelligible.

Moreover, authorizing the advisory board to make rules “relating to” Medicare gives the board virtually limitless power of the kind hitherto exercised by Congress. For instance, the board could decide to make cuts beyond the statutory target. It could mandate that providers expand benefits without additional payment. It could require that insurers or gynecologists make abortion services available to all their patients as a condition of doing business with Medicare, or that drug companies set aside a certain percentage of Medicare-related revenues to fund “prescription drug affordability.” There is no limit. [Wall Street Journal, June 19]

 

 

What is candy? Depends on which state wants to tax it online. Forcing online retailers to remit sales taxes to the state where the purchaser resides, as the federal Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) does, is not going to level the playing field between online and bricks-and-mortar retailers. Rather, as James Gattuso explains, it will tilt the playing field heavily against online retailers—especially smaller ones:

While the legislation does require states to provide retailers with free software for managing tax compliance, that software need only cover the individual state. Retailers are left on their own to get nationwide software, unless they want to integrate 46 individual software packages. No compensation is offered for recurring costs incurred by retailers, such as accounting services or online tax management services.

In addition, internal staff time would be needed for an array of tasks, including handling claims by tax-exempt customers, fielding inquiries from tax authorities, and addressing the inevitable glitches.

Even the simple act of classifying the item being sold can be problematic, with thousands of idiosyncratic distinctions and definitions through each state’s tax code. In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin flag as well as the U.S. flag is not subject to tax. All other flags are taxable. Unless they are bundled with flagpoles, in which case the rules change yet again.

Similarly, candy is defined—under the “streamlined” sales tax agreement, as “a preparation of sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners in combination with chocolate, fruits, nuts or other ingredients in the form of bars, drops, or pieces.” But sellers beware: “‘Candy’ shall not include any preparation containing flour and shall require no refrigeration.” Thus defined, states still vary on whether the concoction is taxable or not.

The problems do not end with the sale. Each of the 46 state tax authorities with which retailers would have to deal directly require tax returns to be completed, on an annual, quarterly, or even weekly basis. To ensure that it is all done correctly, sellers would be subject to audits from each of 46 states. (If tax authorities on Indian reservations are included—as they are in the MFA as passed by the Senate—the number of tax forms and potential audits jumps to the hundreds.) [The Heritage Foundation, June 19]

 

 

Carbon taxers forget the externalities of not using cheap, abundant energy. One reason putting a tax on carbon in order to price its negative externalities is not a free-market idea:

[E]ven if SCC [social cost of carbon] estimates were not assumption-driven hocus-pocus, their use by activists, policymakers, and agencies would still be biased and misleading, because proponents of “climate action” always ignore the social costs of carbon mitigation.

As Cato Institute scholar Indur Goklany explains in a recent study, fossil fuels are the chief energy source of a “cycle of progress” responsible for the amazing improvements of the past 250 years in life expectancy, health, nutrition, safety, comfort, human capital formation, and per capita income. The cycle of progress is to no small extent a “positive externality” of fossil fuels. Thus, policies that suppress the extraction, delivery, and consumption of fossil fuels, or that make fossil energy less affordable, have social costs in addition to whatever compliance burdens and economic losses the policies entail.

For example, the more stringent the carbon mitigation scheme, the more severe the impacts on household income and job creationNumerous studies find that poverty and unemployment increase the risk of sickness and death. Carbon tax advocates never acknowledge this side of the ledger.

Given the continuing importance of fossil fuels to human flourishing and the undeniable connection between livelihoods, living standards, and life expectancy, carbon taxes can easily do more harm than good to public health—even if one accepts the IPCC’s version of the science.

That’s from Marlo Lewis’s excellent summary of the recent R Street-Heartland Institute debate on the carbon tax. [GlobalWarming.org, June 16]

 

 

Progressives make use of rights that progressives think should not exist. It’s a good thing for progressives—and everybody else—that one particular progressive idea hasn’t been adopted, observes Wendy Kaminer:

If progressives had their way, the ACLU’s latest challenge to the NSA’s domestic surveillance would easily be dismissed.ACLU v Clapper, filed in the wake of the Snowden revelations, is based on the ACLU’s First and Fourth Amendment rights, which, according to progressives, ACLU should not possess. It is, after all, a corporation, and constitutional amendments aggressively promoted by progressives would limit constitutional rights to “natural persons.”

“The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities,” the popular People’s Rights Amendment declares. [The Atlantic, June 17]

Arthur Koestler’s protagonist in Darkness at Noon referred to the first-person singular as a “grammatical fiction” because it conflicted with the logic of self sacrifice demanded by the party. Today’s real progressives are now trying to subvert the plural form. By insisting that only individuals, not corporations, have rights, they elide the fact that corporations are made up of individual people. Individuals can’t fully exercise their rights if the things they choose to do cooperatively with others do not have the same protections as the things they choose to do alone. Maybe the American Civil Liberties Union can spread the word.

 

 

To Do: Keep an Eye on Russia

• Find out what Russia is up to with its efforts to construct a Eurasian Union. The Heritage Foundation will host a half-day conference on June 27 in Washington, D.C.

• Reflect on the Battle of Gettysburg and its meaning for the nation, which happened 150 years ago this July. Allen Guelzo of Gettysburg College will make remarks at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., at 4:30 p.m. on June 26.

• If you are a young, professional, conservative woman, come meet other young, professional, conservative women at the Network of enlightened Women’s National Conference. The conference will be held June 27 – June 28 at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Christina Hoff Summers will deliver a keynote address.

• Request a free copy of the movie Amazing Grace, which tells the true story of William Wilberforce’s fight to abolish slavery. The offer is part of the Foundation for Economic Education’s Blinking Lights Project, which educates about the importance of personal character as a vital element of free society. Be sure to check that out, too.

• Don’t forget that next week is National Employee Freedom Week, “a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.”

• Save the dates! These events are no longer classified, are they?
—The annual IEA Hayek Memorial Lecture, delivered this year by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, talking on “The Leave Us Alone Coalition vs. The Takings Coalition: The On-going Struggle” at 6:30 p.m. in London;
—The 42nd National Fourth of July Soiree, featuring barbeque, blue grass, balloon artists, and more at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Va., on July 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
—The Heritage Foundation’s annual Scholars & Scribes review of the Supreme Court’s 2012-2013 term, July 11, in Washington, D.C.;
Freedom Fest, the largest gathering of free minds, July 10 – July 13 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas;
—and Cato University, July 28 – August 3 at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

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Obama’s National Relations Board has again been knocked down in court for one of their rulings.    The fact is that the first court ruling made this particular board  inoperable and illegal and ALL of their rulings to date unlawful.  Of course the Obama administration is appealing this ruling and it is now working it’s way up the courts chain of command probably to the Supreme Court.  I certainly hope it goes that far because the National Relations Board was not meant to be partisan but to be an impartial arbiter between business and labor.  It has worked well up to Obama and his grab for power.  This latest ruling is another win for We the People.   Unions represent a minute number of American citizens and many of those are thru forced membership.  When people have been given the choice of whether or not to join a union many more opt out than in but states like Washington, Oregon and Illinois among a few others actually make union membership a necessary part of employment.

Unfortunately for We the People the largest segment of the population to become unionized are the public workers, or government workers.  these are the people who are supposed to be working for us and we tax payers pay their wages.   In most cases wages far in excess of the average wages earned by the tax payers themselves for similar work.  Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin fought the unions and won thus breaking their strangle hold on the public.  You all may remember the union members taking over the capital building and rioting and the Democrat legislators leaving the state so they couldn’t vote.  It was a big deal and even caused a recall of the governor and another election which he again won!  Now We the people are going to have to break the strangle hold our federal workers now have on us.  The IRS lady worker who has taken the fifth rather than answer questions to our Congressmen about the IRS targeting conservative groups and who  refused to resign but is now on administrative leave but still collecting her $170,000 plus bonuses salary is a prime example of federal workers being unionized.  It is almost impossible to fire a federal unionized worker!  This has to stop.

It is for reason like this that the National Labor Relations Board appointed by Obama must also be stopped because their aim and all their ruling to date have been to strengthen the unions.

Do be sure to go to all the referred articles so you can fully understand what is happening.  BB

National Labor Relations Board Smacked Down in Court Once Again

June 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm

This week, a federal appellate court struck down the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “poster rule,” finding that the agency does not have the authority to issue such a rule.

The poster rule requires more than 6 million employers to post notices at work informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, undercutting employers’ free speech rights to engage in noncoercive speech about unionization. The NLRB threatened to make the failure to comply with the poster rule an unfair labor practice and evidence of an employer’s “antiunion animus” for claims before the NLRB.

In early May, the D.C. Circuit struck down the poster rule, finding that it violated the free speech rights of employers. This week, the Fourth Circuit agreed that the poster rule is invalid, finding that the NLRB exceeded its authority in issuing the rule. This is a much broader ruling, and the Fourth Circuit held that the NLRB’s role is limited to conducting representative elections and addressing unfair labor practice charges.

Unlike many other federal agencies, the court stated, the NLRB lacks the authority to promulgate notice requirements because Congress never intended to delegate to the NLRB “proactive rulemaking.” While the NLRB could require employers who had been adjudicated to have committed unfair labor violations to post such notices, “[n]o provision in the [National Labor Relations Act] requires employers who have not committed labor violations to be subject to a duty to post employee notices.”

Yesterday’s ruling by the Fourth Circuit highlights one reason why President Obama recently turned his attention to packing the D.C. Circuit with judges of his choosing (despite its low caseload compared to other overworked courts): It hears many suits involving federal agencies, and it has repeatedly smacked down the Obama Administration.

From EPA regulations to non-recess appointments and the NLRB poster rule, the Obama Administration has not fared well before the D.C. Circuit, which has laid the foundation for other courts to follow suit. But the confirmation of three nominees to that court could change the balance.

» Kids Win: Colorado School Board Sets Students and Families Free with Voucher Program – Big Government.

YES!  There are still some intelligent men and women in politics in this country.  They won’t be found in Washington because except for a very small handful of newly elected Congress men in 2010 there simply isn’t a brain left in our federal government.  If we are to save ourselves and our nation and our very way of life it will have to be at the grass roots.  That is, if we have the time to do this. ( I heard on FOXNEWS this morning that Obama is planning to share our nuclear missile technology with Russia.)

 

We have turned our children over to what this School Board member in the video calls ‘special interests groups” but I am not so charitable because I call the leaders of our schools who are allowing the brain washing and dumbing down of education evil criminals.  After viewing the first videos please make sure to see the last one where the School Board is actually threatened by a union backed newly form group of  “mother, fathers, sisters, brothers, neighbors.” only concerned with the good of the children and absolutely nothing to do with union dues or tenure of incompetents.    BB

Kids Win: Colorado School Board Sets Students and Families Free with Voucher Program

by Kyle Olson

It’s not every day you will see a governmental body, in this case a school board, create competition for itself.  But that’s precisely what the Douglas County, Colorado school board did.

It created a unique, if not unprecedented, voucher program, allowing tax dollars to follow Douglas County students to the school of their choice.

Every single school system in America should adopt this model.  Sadly, parents who need school choice the most tend to live in troubled urban school districts that fight to keep children trapped within geographic boundaries.

But in Douglas County, leaders understand students have a right to the education of their choice, even if it is not within the public system.

John Carson, president of the school board, said recently at a National School Choice Week event celebrating the move: “We all realize that we’ve made two big mistakes in public education.  There’s no choice – or limited choice – there’s not enough competition, and we’ve ceded so much of our children’s education to special interest groups.  And that needs to end.”

Bravo.  If only we had more governmental leaders like Carson, just imagine the improved impression that Americans would have of public education today.

See EAGtv’s coverage of the program here.

Dr. Elizabeth Carson, the district superintendentm said, “We know when we match students to opportunities to learn that are most appropriate for their strengths and interests, we know that they’re going to be more successful.

“ And when we try to do this sort of batch processing model where we take all of these children according to their date of birth and put them through a process – a one-size-fits-all process – we know there are going to be fewer successes.  We want to make sure that parents have the ultimate choice in making sure that their child is matched with their learning environment.”

Parents and community leaders should demand that every single school district follow in the footsteps of Douglas County and be willing to let kids off the assembly line so they can find the school that best fits their needs.

The changes didn’t come easy and there is a big fight ahead to change teachers pay to excellence based and get rid of the dead wood tenured unionist  baloney.  BB

If you want to see more of what went on with the School Board’s decision to make parents responsible for and in charge of their children’s education check out the  other videos. BB

National Curriculum Battle Joined | Cato @ Liberty.

The Progressives are pushing hard for their take over of our schools and our children’s minds.   Education of children is rightly a  parents  duty and right.  This is why education MUST BE LOCAL!  When the Texas Text Book Selection committee outed the Progressives in determining what  content  would be in Texas text books it was a loud and clear call for the Progressives to become more aggressive (read this: underhanded!). (You may want to look this battle up because the video was a fun watch as the Progressives finally just left the meeting.)

The following article gives background on what is happening now and some push back.    Be sure to read carefully the Related Articles also.  these are your kids and our future.  Please don’t allow them to be lot any more than they have already been compromised and brain-washed.   It is up to ALL parents to demand the right to choose the schools their children attend and not to be herded into what the bureaucracy either national or local dictates to us.   School choice and vouchers are the answer to a free and good education.  BB

National Curriculum Battle Joined

Posted by Neal McCluskey

Remember several weeks ago, when the Albert Shanker Institute released a manifesto calling for the creation of detailed curriculum guides to go with the national standards and tests being pushed and pulled through the back doors of states across the country? Apparently, that was the last straw for a lot of education analysts and policymakers, especially folks like Williamson Evers of the Hoover Institution (and Bush II Education Department); one-time Fordham Institute state-standards evaluator Sandra Stotsky; and Foundation for Education Choice senior fellow Greg Forster. Those three, along with a few others, organized a counter-manifesto being released today, a 100-plus signatory reply which, according to the group’s press release, declares that:

  • These efforts are against federal law and undermine the constitutional balance between national and state authority.
  • The evidence doesn’t show a need for national curriculum or a national test for all students.
  • U.S. Department of Education is basing its initiative on inadequate content standards.
  • There is no research-based consensus on what is the best curricular approach to each subject.
  • There is not even consensus on whether a single “best curricular approach” for all students exists.

These points certainly sum up many of the major problems with the national standards drive, a drive that has been shrouded in half-truths about “voluntary” standards adoption; shorthand pleas for federal coercion; and what appears to be a camel’s-nose-under-the-tent strategy to ultimately impose a detailed, de facto federal curriculum. There is more to the problem than the summary points above cover — for instance, the Constitution gives the federal government no authority whatsoever to meddle in school curricula — but for a consensus-driven document, this new and desperately needed cannon blast against national standards is very welcome.

For a great explanation of why the anti-manifesto ringleaders did what they did, check out Greg Forster’s entry on the Witherspoon Institute’s blog. He hits lots of important points — especially that nationalizing curricula is a surefire way to fuel all-encompassing social strife — and I would quibble with only one thing:

My own view is that the root of the problem is the government monopoly on schools. Governmental monopolization of the education of children guarantees that all our religious and moral differences will be constantly politicized. School choice, in addition to delivering better academic performance, seems to me to be the only way to end the scorpions-in-a-bottle cultural dynamic and create space for shared citizenship across diverse religious and moral views.

But that’s an argument for another day.

Here’s where I think Greg is incorrect: Choice is not an argument for another day. It is the argument for this day.

Until all parents have real, full choice they will have no option but to demand that higher levels of government force intractable lower levels to provide good education. It won’t work thanks to concentrated benefits and diffuse costs all levels of government are dominated by teachers’ unions and administrators’ associations that will never let tough accountability and high standards rein – but it is all that parents can do absent the ability to take their children, and tax dollars, somewhere else. That means choice is essential right now, because it is the only way to take power away from special-interest dominated government and give it to the people the schools are supposed to serve. In other words, it is the only option that will actually work, obliterating the special-interest hammerlock, imposing accountability to customers, and when coupled with freedom for educators unleashing competition, specialization, innovation, and constant upward pressure on standards. In other words, it will do all those things that national standardizers emptily and illogically promise that their reform will do, and much, much more.

  • This video reminded me of the home child care workers who were forced to join the union and pay dues totally against their will.  These people are thugs and any union members who follow their bosses lead in the actions they back are thugs too.

Now the international union  is planning to attack Boeing Air Craft for building a plant in South Carolina a Right to Work State (meaning a person is not forced to join a union in order to get a job! as is the case in union states such as California)  he reason the union thugs give for going after Boeing is because they build a new plant in South Carolina “deliberately” instead of building another one in California.    There were no jobs lost in the Boeing Plant in California because of this move!  The California plant is going strong with no plans to shut it down or move it!   So, this is just an example of union thuggery and by going after a big outfit like Boeing the union bosses hope to warn other companies from moving to Right to Work states.  THIS EFFORT IS BEING LEAD AND ENCOURAGED BY THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD.  OBAMA RECENTLY APPOINTED A FORMER UNION BOSS TO THE NLRB !

We the People have got to be vigilant and watch these underhanded tactics.  It is especially important that decent union members who are indeed the majority begin to recognize what their bosses are doing and demand changes from within.  BB)

» A School Choice Triple Crown – Big Government.

Parents and especially our children should stand up and cheer for this because it may mean the difference for some of our children of an education or being filled up with socialist pablum.  Read on.  🙂  BB

Dr. Susan Berry

A School Choice Triple Crown

by Dr. Susan Berry Let’s understand why school choice is important. As in the free marketplace, competition creates better schools, public as well as private, better teachers, and thus reforms education- unlike pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into public schools to get nothing in return, which is what we do now. School vouchers do not carry any additional expense for a state because they primarily transfer money between schools, a fact that worries most union-loving Democrats because taxpayer money would likely be diverted from failing public schools to charter and private schools.

Advocates of school choice had three good reasons to rejoice within the past week. As reported here, on Capitol Hill, while House Democrats voted to protect public sector unions, Republicans passed the SOAR Act, which followed through with their pledge to reinstate the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, the hallmark school choice program for low income children in the nation’s capital. While it remains to be seen whether the Senate will vote to pass the SOAR Act and, if so, whether the President will sign onto it, the Republicans are sticking to their conservative agenda and using their constitutional authority to promote reform of education through an expansion of charter schools and private school vouchers.

Meanwhile, taking the lead among the states, Indiana’s Republican-led state House passed the most expansive school voucher program in the nation, pushing ahead with school choice not just for low-income families, but for those in the middle-income bracket as well. Parents earning up to $60,000 will be eligible for vouchers and, within several years, there will be no limit on the number of children who can receive them. Despite a five-week walkout to Illinois by Indiana state House Democrats, the bill is likely to pass since Republicans control both Houses and the governor’s seat.

The third portion of this triple crown lies in a positive, but painfully narrow, decision by the Supreme Court. On April 4th, the nation’s highest court decided, in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, that tax credits that pay for children to go to church-affiliated schools cannot be challenged on constitutional grounds.

The 5-4 decision upheld Arizona’s dollar for dollar tax credit, up to $1,000 per couple, for those who donate to organizations that, in turn, pay tuition for students attending private and parochial schools.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a group of taxpayers sued claiming violation of the First Amendment, that religion was being supported with taxpayer monies. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing the majority opinion, ruled that the litigants were not harmed due to the tax credits, because tax credits are not equivalent to spending programs. Justice Kennedy wrote that the litigants’ claim assumes “that income should be treated as if it were government property even if it has not come into the tax collector’s hands.”

While this decision is a victory for school choice advocates, what is disturbing about it, as the WSJ points out, is that four Supreme Court justices- President Obama’s two nominees included- do, in fact, believe that taxpayer income is the government’s property even as it is being earned! Justice Elena Kagan’s dissenting opinion states that there is no difference between appropriations and tax credits.  (And We the People are stuck with these Obama Socialist appointees for a long., long time!  BB

While the high court’s decision contributes in a big way to last week’s triple victory for school choice and, ultimately, education reform, it is also a jarring reminder that the Supreme Court is but one vote away from forbidding school choice where church-based schools are concerned, and from declaring that all money earned by taxpayers belongs, first, to the government.  ( this is the scariest part of all:  my money, my property and even my life belongs to my government according to these freaks of Obama’s.  BB)

Wisconsin Fight Goes to Court – Robert Costa – National Review Online.

The fight goes on in Wisconsin and it is important to all of us because it shows just how far the Left will go to force it’s way on We the people.  There are simply no limits on the dirt and thuggery the Left will use.  I am not against using the court system to right what one sees as a wrong so I am not speaking here of the challenge to the newly passed law in the courts, but I am very much opposed to the  behind the scene thuggery that is going on and has been going on all the way thru this Wisconsin fight for democracy.    And believe that is what is it all about:  will democracy and the democratic system of government win out or will the lawless mobs rule in America?

I am posting the  entire article here because what has happened and is happening now in Wisconsin needs to be understood  as it is sure to be repeated over and over again in every state that opposed  the lawless communist/socialist  union leadership. BB

Wisconsin Fight Goes to Court

And Walker’s big win could ride on a single judicial election.

Listen to the Audio Version

As the dust settles in Madison, Wisconsin Republicans face a troubling coda: Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill is being tripped up in the courts. Union heavies smell blood. And the unruly parade of lefty activists and hulking Teamsters that occupied the state capitol for weeks is back for a bruising final round.

On paper, at issue is whether senate Republicans violated the state’s open-meeting laws. In mid-March, after a three-week stalemate, GOP lawmakers hustled Walker’s bill to the floor. The senate clerk approved the maneuver. But 14 Democratic state senators, on the lam in Illinois, howled in absentia. So did their comrades in Dane County government, who quickly filed suit. A sympathetic county judge put the brakes on implementation.

The Walker administration, appalled, immediately urged a state appeals court to strike down the circuit court’s ruling. But the appellate panel threw up its hands last week and kicked the bill to the state supreme court. Meanwhile, the nonpartisan state legislative bureau, following protocol, published the bill on Friday, sending Democrats into a tizzy.

With fresh legal questions being raised daily, the bill’s status is as murky as a Charlie Sheen tweet. But the tedious tangle over quorum rules and publication guidelines is merely a proxy for enraged progressives. The governor has beaten them at the polls and in the legislature. To topple his signature law, they need a black-robed coup.

Pressure is mounting on the seven-member high court to weigh in. If they do, the bill risks being overturned. For the moment, judicial conservatives hold a 4–3 edge. But that could flip come April 5, when incumbent justice David Prosser, a former GOP legislator, battles JoAnne Kloppenburg, an environmental lawyer and veteran state attorney, for a ten-year term.

The Prosser–Kloppenburg bout has political implications beyond the fate of Walker’s bill. Numerous GOP state senators are facing recalls, and Walker himself could face one next year. If Prosser falls, it will be a heavy blow to Republicans, especially for the backbenchers who stood with Walker, many of whom had hoped to emerge from the fiery budget debate with their careers intact. State lawmakers will also soon redraw legislative districts based upon updated Census data. Republicans control both chambers and the governor’s office, making liberal challenges to reapportionment decisions all the more likely.

“This is for all the marbles,” says Charlie Sykes, a prominent conservative talk-radio host in Milwaukee. “Scott Walker could survive losing the state senate. But it would be devastating if he were to lose in the supreme court. If Prosser loses, almost everything that Walker enacted could be overturned.” The high court, he worries, has a long history of activism, especially when liberals hold the majority.

Prosser, a gruff 68-year-old who has sat on the bench since 1998, has been blindsided by the national spotlight. In February, he coasted in a nonpartisan, multicandidate primary with 55 percent of the vote, more than double that of Kloppenburg, who finished second. Prosser saw a relatively smooth path to victory, especially against a little-known, left-leaning lawyer in a sleepy, springtime skirmish. Besides, Walker, in his second month at the reins, was popular with voters, as were conservatives, who swept the state’s November elections.

Then Madison erupted. Within hours of the primary, Walker began to unveil his budget agenda. The governor and statehouse Republicans went to the mats against the public-sector unions on collective bargaining, not yielding in their stand against unchecked labor power. Democrats, depressed after their poor 2010 showing, suddenly began to show alarming signs of life. Swarms of protesters, huddled like carolers, screamed outside of Walker’s office deep into the night; dreadlocked undergraduates gleefully papered the capitol’s marble halls with anti-Walker messages scrawled onto cardboard posters.

Amidst the melee, the supreme-court race drew scant notice during the first week of rallies, with only a few signs, mostly toted by graybeard professors, urging the throngs to “Vote Kloppenburg.” After the bill was signed by Walker, however, union brass and local Democrat friendlies, bitter and seeking a cause du jour, immediately jumped into the fray.

The buzz did not end at the Dane County border. Voices from the liberal blogosphere, at Firedoglake and the Daily Kos, sat up and started to alert their audiences. Their brethren in Wisconsin began to organize on the ground. Prosser, a tad surprised at the sudden interest, dug in and prepared for the onslaught. “At this point, I do not think that we have the choice as to whether our race is nationalized,” says Brian Nemoir, Prosser’s campaign manager.

Yet Prosser’s ability to respond to the rising interest has been hamstrung. He, along with Kloppenburg, is the recipient of public funds — $300,000 for the general election, to be exact — and both have pledged not to spend a dime more. “Looking back, that was one decision they should not have done,” says one state GOP strategist. “Their ability to respond to charges, and build up a stronger internal organization, has been severely limited.”

But it is a different story for special-interest groups. The Greater Wisconsin Committee, a leftist organizing group with deep union ties, has funneled $3 million into anti-Prosser advertising, taking relentlessly to the airwaves. “They are the Left’s biggest political player in the state,” says Brett Healy, the president of the MacIver Institute, a Wisconsin-based think tank. “They run the ads that no one else wants to run.”

(Understand this People?   Prosser, the Conservative candidate who was winning and the radical Kloppenburg promised not to spend over the state allotted  funds for campaining.  So now the radical union thugs are going after Prosser with their almost unlimited union dues money!  BB)

Indeed. The GWC (The Greater Wisconsin Committee, a leftist organizing group with deep union ties,) is airing ads that tie Prosser to the budget bill. “Prosser equals Walker” is the usual theme. But those political attacks are fluff compared with the group’s latest smear, a dimly-lit, creepy spot that casts Prosser as soft on pedophilia. That ad alleges that Prosser, as a local district attorney three decades ago, failed to properly prosecute a Catholic priest accused of molesting several boys. Prosser, according to those who know him, is said to be furious about the ad, angry with its inaccuracies and how it sullies his name.

At a debate late last week, Prosser, his displeasure barely concealed, urged Kloppenburg to ask the GWC to pull the ad. “It is the worst ad that has ever been run in a judicial campaign,” he asserted. Kloppenburg would not budge. “Like it or not, third parties have a right to run ads of their choosing,” she replied. Prosser fired back: “If some third party ran an ad supporting me and attacking you, and it was despicable, and it was a lie, I would stand up and ask that the ad be pulled,” he argued. “You are not willing to do that, even at the request of the victim in the ad?”

Prosser noted that Troy Merryfield, one of the abuse victims, has spoken out against the clip, and in support of Prosser’s decision to not prosecute at the time.

“I do not appreciate myself or my case being used for political advantage, especially in today’s climate of dirty politics,” Merryfield wrote in a recent statement. “In 1979, as a prosecutor, Prosser made a decision to not file charges against [Rev. John] Feeney due to his concern about the emotional toll that a jury trial would have on my brother and me due to our young age at the time.” Prosser, he added, had his full support.

Regardless, the hit left a mark. Two sources with knowledge of internal GOP polling tell us that Prosser and Kloppenburg are near even, a bad sign for the incumbent. “She has driven his negatives up,” one source says. “It will be hard to drive hers up. Her lack of judicial experience should hurt her, but it also makes her harder to pin down. The question now is: Does the Right have enough resources to counter the Greater Wisconsin Committee’s millions? And even if they do, is it too late? It is going to be touch-and-go for these last few days.”

Brian Nemoir, Prosser’s top aide, reiterates that the campaign will highlight Kloppenburg’s judicial inexperience. Keeping the focus on that, and off Walker, is a must. Her environmental-law record and her associations with leading liberal lights such as Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, Prosser’s main ideological foe on the court, who once hired Kloppenburg as an intern, will be detailed in campaign material.

Prosser will also make Kloppenburg’s not-so-subtle ties to the anti-Walker movement a constant refrain. This tack, Nemoir says, is crucial in pointing out how Kloppenburg’s campaign is being used by liberal interests to manipulate Wisconsin law.

Nemoir points to a recent meeting with the Capital Times, where Kloppenburg ruminated on the state of Wisconsin politics, as a trouble spot for state attorney. “The events of the last few weeks have put into sharp relief how important the Supreme Court is as a check on overreach in the other branches of government,” Kloppenburg said in conversation with editors.

Overreaching?” Nemoir exclaims. That statement, he argues, is a “wink and nod” to the assembling anti-Walker forces aligning behind her campaign. “You would have to be a complete idiot to think that she is referencing anything else. It is a nod to those who are supporting her.”

Perhaps, but for both candidates, avoiding a dip into the budget-bill swamp is getting tricky. Neither wants to risk recusal. Prosser is also being forced to address the roiling political scene, albeit indirectly. At the Friday debate, he was asked to comment on how courts should address cases dealing with legislative procedure (hint, hint). “You have to look with clear eyes whether some procedure was violated, whether there is a real emergency, what was done,” he said. “I pledge, as I have for the last twelve and a half years, that as a justice, that I will look at these things impartially.”

Prosser’s independent cred increasingly is the backbone of his message, especially as portions of the electorate sour on Walker’s bill and the GOP in general. To bolster his cause, he has enlisted strong bipartisan backing from the political establishment. Two former Badger State governors, Tommy Thompson, a Republican, and Patrick Lucey, a Democrat, serve as his campaign chairmen. Four former Supreme Court justices are in his camp, as are a bevy of district attorneys, sheriffs, and lawmakers. Prosser’s kitchen cabinet has been an asset, says Sheriff David Clarke, Milwaukee’s top law-enforcement official and self-described “Kennedy Democrat.” He says that Prosser may find support from more Democrats — and cops — than most liberal politicos realize. “I have been in law enforcement for 33 years in this county,” he says. “I don’t like activist judges who tend to legislate from the bench.”

Kloppenburg, he sighs, “has tipped her hand that she will be an activist judge by her associations and some of her coded language in the debates.” He wants none of that.

Nevertheless, despite cross-party support, Prosser’s reputation has a few nicks. He is known, friends say, for both his sharp mind and his quick temper. In any other year, Prosser’s prickly nature would be shrugged off, but Kloppenburg’s allies are doing everything they can to make an issue out of Prosser’s past outbursts. Last week, leaked e-mails of Prosser’s calling Chief Justice Abrahamson an expletive and threatening to “destroy” her were published. Prosser attributed the harsh words to heated internal court communications and apologized. He added, in interviews, that though he was wrong to have used salty language, he was participating in the give-and-take of a court known for its activism and dysfunction. State GOP operatives say they are confident that Prosser can overcome any slams against his character. As a former assembly speaker and justice for more than a decade, he will be able to dodge the small punches. “He had so much support before this all started,” chimes Rep. Michelle Litjens, a Republican in the state assembly. “He is seen as a very fair, levelheaded, and balanced individual. People supported him before, and I know they will stick with him.”

Republicans are taking nothing for granted. Mark Jefferson, the executive director of the state GOP, acknowledges that the race has become high-stakes drama. Party leaders, he tells me, will be reaching out to voters via social-media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, to campaign for Prosser, since they cannot give directly to his campaign per campaign-finance rules.

With the state Republican apparatus mostly sitting on its hands and wallets, the Wisconsin Club for Growth is planning to step in with more than $300,000 to boost Prosser. They did the same for him during the primary, playing a major role in generating early momentum. Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), a chamber of commerce–type group, will also be instrumental in helping Prosser compete financially with the GWC and its progressive offshoots.

James Buchen, vice president of WMC, says that his organization is prepared to spend millions to lift Prosser’s campaign. “We can’t quite match the $3 million from [the GWC], but we will come very close,” he says. “There is quite of bit of energy on the right — the silent majority, if you will. So this could go either way.”

As the campaign hurtles toward the finish line, “turnout could carry the day,” observes Gary Marx, the executive director of the Judicial Crisis Network. “The Left is making this a blood feud; they are making this about vengeance.”

Any enthusiasm gap, he says, will only be widened, since the April ballot is sparse. “This resembles a special election; it stands alone. Republicans will need to remember the basic blocking and tackling of grassroots politics — mail, phone, and radio.”

According to state-election figures, nonpartisan spring elections usually draw less than 20 percent of the electorate: 18 percent in 2009, 19 percent in 2008, 19 percent in 2007, and 12 percent in 2006. To win, GOP officials say Prosser will need to draw strong numbers from emerging conservative pockets in Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, and Racine counties. If voters from these areas don’t show, but liberals pile into voting booths in Dane County and Madison proper, Kloppenburg could cruise to victory.

“Look, this race is not a referendum on the governor or a specific piece of legislation,” Brian Nemoir says. “It has a much broader scope. supreme-court judges are elected to ten-year terms on purpose. Their elections are not intended to be snapshot responses to the current political environment.”

For Team Prosser, and nervous conservatives, that is the hope.


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