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Trump’s First 100 Days

18 Nov
This was published earlier today at Breitbart.

A meme currently popular on the internet features President Obama and Vice President Biden sharing a joke on the front steps of the White House.  “Our followers have no idea we handed Trump the right to indefinitely detain people without trial,” said Biden.  “I know it’s hilarious,” says the (meme) President.  “Got ’em!” concludes meme Biden.


And the use of the levers of federal and executive power Democrats have created for years against them by Trump and the Republican House and Senate is likely.  A few days after the election, retiring Senator David Vitter suggested using the federal purse strings to regulate sanctuary cities that take a secessionist approach to immigration law:  “Withholding fed $ from #sanctuarycities puts clear, negative consequences for jurisdictions ignoring federal law.”


But the policy areas that could – or should – feel the pressure of a federal government expanded by President Obama, Senator Reid, and Congresswoman Pelosi but now controlled by President-elect Trump, are numerous.

A prime candidate is education policy.

This is potentially a contentious issue.  Trump supporters include a healthy portion of people who have hated  “common core,” Michelle Obama’s inedible school lunches, and other federal interventions in local schools.  One of Trump’s rumored candidates for Secretary of Education, Stanford University academic Williamson Evers, is one of the chief critics of common core and other federal interventions in education.

But one issue stands out as a more fundamental, often described as a civil rights issue:  school choice.  And school choice was one policy Trump ran on, especially when campaigning in urban areas among minority voters trapped in failed traditional public school systems, with the President-elect proposing shifting $20 billion of the Department of Education’s budget into funding for local school voucher programs modeled on Washington, D.C.’s Opportunity Vouchers.

One of the dirty secrets of education in America is that American students receive separate and unequal educations.

In Washington, D.C., for example, where 45% of the students have left the city’s largely failed traditional public schools  – D.C. ranks last after the 50 states, with a 69% graduation rate – for charter schools (and to a lesser degree private schools using the Congressionally mandated Opportunity Scholars voucher program), a child receives a radically unequal amount of public funding depending on where they choose to go to school.  D.C. traditional public school students earn the public school system $29,000 each (the highest per pupil budget in the nation aside from Manhattan and a few other jurisdictions).  But kids in charter schools are only budgeted in the low $20,000s.  And kids using the Opportunity Vouchers to go to a private or parochial school receive $13,000.  Even more remarkably the recipient of the vouchers in D.C. are overwhelmingly African American, while the most contented parents and students in the traditional public schools are the mainly white bureaucrats and lobbyists who live in the million dollar plus housing in posh sections of Capitol Hill and Upper NW and send their kids to the well tended public schools in their wealthy neighborhoods.

Public school systems don’t like to share the data about their radically unequal school funding (or their sometimes disastrous graduation rates), but school choice reformers tell me the unequal funding one finds in Washington, D.C. is true across the country.

So why not tie federal funding of education (or of highways or anything else), to ending the discrimination against children who choose to be educated outside of the traditional, politician and teacher’s union dominated, public schools?  Why shouldn’t the amount of public money budgeted for a child’s education be the same no matter where she goes to school?

It should be a popular move.  

The number of students attending charter schools is on the rise, and so are the number of politicians running on the issue.

In a little over 2% of the 6,000 races for state houses and legislatures this November, one relatively new political group backed candidates and had an extremely high success rate. “If the teacher’s unions spent more than any other political entity, but can only point to a handful of local races where those they supported won, that speaks for itself,” says Matt Frendewey of the American Federation for Children.

The American Federation for Children supported 120 state and local 2016 candidates who ran on expanding school choice – including charter schools, vouchers, and tax credits – and by Frendeway’s count 108 of them won.

In one race the AFC did not get involved in, a Republican, Ashley Carter, dislodged a 10 year incumbent for the D.C. city wide at-large seat on the school board (in a technically non-partisan race).  (Though she did campaign on school choice issues, Carter says not being the incumbent in such a failed system, and going to hundreds of events and listening to people in every Ward is act helped her win.)

Though school choice is often associated with Republican (and Libertarian) candidates, a growing number of Democrats, especially urban and African American Democrats whose constituents are trapped in failing traditional public school systems, have also come out for school choice.  AFC does not support candidates for federal office, but notes that of the Democratic victories for the House of Representatives last week, three were pro-school choice candidates: Al Lawson (FL), Darren Soto (FL), and Dwight Evans (PA).

AFC, less than a decade old, spent $5 million supporting pro-school choice candidates (down from $8 million it spent in previous election cycles, when it was involved in opposing the recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker).

The American Federation of Teachers, in opposition to whom the American Federation of Children takes its name, also claimed victories in the election.  “When the issue was whether to support its community public schools, communities said ‘yes.’ Voters chose to protect and support the institution of public education. You can see this in the defeat of measures to expand charter schools, in the passage of measures to invest in public education, and in the support of school board members who will work with educators to provide a high-quality public education for all children,” Randi Weingarten, the president of AFT said. “These victories send a strong message that Americans want our schools to use proven, evidence-based solutions to the challenges that hold children back.” 

Yet in the AFT’s press release “Americans Voted for Public Schools over Privatization” the elections where candidates or initiatives favoring more taxes for and investment in traditional public schools and limits on the expansion of charter schools and other education alternatives won were limited to Detroit, San Francisco, and a very small number of other very Democratic jurisdictions.

AFT and the National Education Association had spent nearly twenty times as much money on electoral activities.  The two groups (and their state affiliates), which unlike AFC, do support candidates in federal elections, had concentrated some resources on the presidential race in support of Hillary Clinton.  The NEA’s headquarters building in D.C., located a few blocks north of the White House, was bedecked for months with a large banner in support of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential bid.


Pollsters are widely believed to have failed in their predictions for this election cycle, but the American Federation for Children commissioned a poll in January 2016 that predicted that 70% of American voters would support a pro-school choice candidate.

With such wide support in polls for school choice, and with the number of students leaving traditional public schools growing, making receiving federal funds conditional on treating all students equally should be a popular issue.

Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Mayor, interview with Kwame Holman

1 Nov

Libertarian calendar for July

30 Jul
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July 30
Arlington, VA

Young Americans for Liberty conference
(you must rsvp at YAL.org)
The conference as a whole is not open to the public, just the opening night.

Spectrum Theater
1611 N. Kent St.
Arlington, VA 22209
(Rosslyn metro stop)

Wednesday July 30th
5:45pm  Doors Open
6:15pm Convention Welcome, featuring Jeff Frazee
6:30pm
House of Representatives Panel, featuring United States House of Representative Members
7:30pm Keynote address, featuring Senator Rand Paul

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July 31
Ottowa, Canada

Milton Friedman birthday celebration

We’ll be celebrating the legacy of Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman on the 102nd anniversary of his birth. Light food and drinks will be provided. Join us at 5:30pm upstairs at The Brig (23 York Street). Space is limited, RSVP to Matt Bufton (matt@liberalstudies.ca).

Martin Moulton, Libertarian for Shadow Representative, at National School Choice Week

29 Jan
Martin Moulton, Libertarian candidate for Shadow Representative represented Libertarians at a school choice rally at Friendship Chamberlain Charter School this morning, as part of National School Choice Week, and met Kevin Chavous of Democrats for School Choice (pictured) and other parents and school choice activists.

Many Libertarians favor expanding all forms of school choice, charters, education vouchers, and education tax credits.  In DC almost half of all students have left the traditional government monopoly school system for charter schools.  DC also as a voucher program used by a smaller group of students.

Many failing government schools have lost so much of their students, who have voted with their feet and left, that these large warehouse style schools are no longer functional.  Planning for the devolution is incumbent on DC politicians.

Bullying, a popular topic among education reformers, has been empowered by the traditional government monopoly system, where a bullied student could not leave for a more welcoming environment at another school.  Allowing students and their families more choices and more control over their educations will enhance their well-being, reduce bullying, and give parents more incentive to become involved in their children’s educations.

School Choice Whistle-Stop Tour 2014 Preview

18 Jan

Tuesday’s top libertarian posts on the internet

31 Jul
1) ChillyDogg at Stalon.com

@tom6612 Just look at Detroit to see the real effects of going Galt and all the producers had to do was cross Eight Mile Road.


2) BruceMajorsDC at Stalon.com

Libertarianism is the doctrine that other people are not your property, because they each belong to him or herself. That’s why Mary Wollstonecraft and Frederick Douglas were libertarians.
The early slave trade was a violation of libertarianism, just as it is when you kidnap black children and sell them to educrat cartels to get the major source of financial support for Democratic candidates after bailed out banks. Killing native Americans was a violation of libertarianism just as your hero Obama killing Arab children with drones is.

3) Rand Paul on Facebook 

I want to bring home our tax dollars from Egypt, Pakistan, Libya and other countries that burn our flag. Tomorrow, the Senate will vote to do just that. Call your Senators and tell them to vote in favor of my amendment to stop sending illegal aid to Egypt.

4) John Ingram at Stalon.com

3 hours ago

@jschultz Actually, libertarianism allows different people with different ideas to put their ideas into practice. Libertarians would be perfectly happy with socialists establishing a socialist society inside a libertarian country, so long as the non-socialists can opt out of it.

5) YesWeCan in The Washington Post

As an educator and minority, I favor competition. As we evolve into charters, public educators who felt they had a job for life and therefore didn’t have to do anything but show up, realize that they can’t continue to blame everyone else for their students’ failure. Many now fear losing their jobs! This is healthy and will eventually benefit students at under-achieving schools.

Voluntary sector help for the 41% government school drop out rate

30 Jul
Close the opportunity gap for middle school students! Be a Mentor! www.higherachievement.org/volunteer

We are in need of Mentors and Study Hall Aides at 3 of our Achievement Centers in DC (Petworth, Benning Road, Anacostia) and Alexandria. The greatest need is in Anacostia and Benning Road – and we provide shuttles to and from Metro! The commitment is one evening per week, Monday,Tuesday, or Thursday; Study Hall Aides- 4:00-6:00pm, Mentors- 6:00-8:00pm

100% of Higher Achievement graduates finish high school, and 93% go on to college. In a city where 59% finish high school and only 9% get a college degree, these results are astounding – and desperately needed. Higher Achievement is creating lasting change in the lives of youth – and you can be a part of that change in the DC Metro area!

By leveraging the power of communities, Higher Achievement’s proven model provides a rigorous summer and afterschool learning environment, caring role models, and a culture of high expectations, resulting in college-bound scholars with the character, confidence, and skills to succeed. Scholars commit to 4 years of the program, and are committed to their academics.

For more information or to fill out an application please go to www.higherachievement.org/volunteer. Please call or email Alexis Davis with questions, 202-375-7724 or adavis@higherachievement.org.