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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.

Rand Paul wants more school choice for poor, minority students

30 Jul

Timothy D. Easley/AP – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks with reporters in Louisville, Ky. July 22, 2013.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants children — especially minority and poor children — to have more choices in education.
He wants more public charter schools. He wants more vouchers, so that students can use tax money to enroll in private schools. He says students ought to be able to attend any public school in a community, regardless of their neighborhood and property lines.
More news about education

Rand Paul wants more school choice for poor, minority students

Rand Paul wants more school choice for poor, minority students

Possible GOP presidential hopeful pushing charters and vouchers in effort to connect with minorities.

Stolen laptop contained 2,000 Fairfax student health records

Thief broke into a school nurse’s car, taking health department laptop and briefcase that had paper records.

Former coach says Joe Paterno blamed Penn State administrators

Former coach says Joe Paterno blamed Penn State administrators

McQuery testifies that Paterno believed school leaders responded badly to Sandusky sex abuse claims.
“I’m talking about opening up all of the lines, so that kids can go to public, to private, wherever,” said Paul, a tea party favorite and potential 2016 presidential candidate. “Some of these schools are absolutely pitiful, absolutely. What I’m really proposing is helping these kids get out from the grind.”
President Obama and Democrats oppose vouchers, saying that public money should not be used for private schools.
“The president has the money to [send his two daughters] to Sidwell Friends,” Paul said in an interview last week, referring to the prestigious private school in the District. “It’s unfair to tell a poor inner-city kid that he can’t choose to go to a suburban school. Preferably, the more choices, the better.”
Paul is scheduled to host four fellow Republican senators — Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Tim Scott (S.C.) — at a school choice forum Tuesday to try to draw support for GOP legislation to update No Child Left Behind, a federal education law that expired in 2007.
The lawmakers plan to discuss charters and vouchers with representatives from some high-performing public charter schools in D.C. — including D.C. Prep, KIPP D.C. and Washington Latin — as well as several Catholic schools that educate poor students through the D.C. school voucher program Congress created.
It is the latest in a string of appearances Paul has been making to promote alternatives to traditional public schools. On Monday, Paul and Alexander visited a KIPP public charter school in Nashville. In June, Paul delivered the commencement address at a Philadelphia charter school.
The school appearances fit into a larger effort Paul has been making to win over minority voters, who overwhelmingly chose Obama in 2012. He has been arguing that the criminal justice system unfairly punishes African Americans more harshly for marijuana possession, and that public education is harmful to minority students.
“The people being hurt aren’t the rich white kids in the suburbs,” said Paul, who sends his two teenage sons to a traditional public school. “It’s poor black and brown kids in the inner city.”
Paul shrugged off findings by The Washington Post about quality and oversight problems at some of the 52 private schools where D.C. parents have enrolled their children at a cost of $133 million to the federal government since 2004. The schools are not required to publicly report student performance, and some have questionable curricula and inadequate facilities.
Parents participating in the voucher program should be allowed to send their children to the private schools of their choice, Paul said.
“They’re not using government money,” he said, referring to the tax dollars funneled to vouchers. “It’s our money. We’re getting back some of the money taken from us. I think when you have choice, people choose the better product. I think it’s presumptuous of anyone to question parental authority.”
Paul dismissed new research by Stanford University experts, who found that the nation’s charter schools are growing more effective but that most don’t produce better academic results when compared with traditional public schools. Charter schools are public schools that are privately run, independent from local school bureaucracy. They are often not unionized.
“There’s lies and lies and statistics they say,” Paul said. “People can manipulate statistics all they want. Have you seen the movie ‘Waiting for Superman’?” he asked, referring to a 2010 documentary that was critical of U.S. public education. “I was really moved by ‘Waiting for Superman’. You see the kids and you see their faces. Statistics are one thing, but I think these stories are really powerful.”

    PRESIDENT’S BUDGET PROPOSAL FAILS TO FUND D.C. VOUCHER PROGRAM

    14 Feb

    PRESIDENT’S BUDGET PROPOSAL FAILS TO FUND D.C. VOUCHER PROGRAM

     

    Posted on Monday February 13, 2012 | Washington, D.C.

    Despite reauthorization agreement, Obama aims to halt highly-successful Opportunity Scholarship Program
    WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 13, 2012)—President Barack Obama’s newly-released federal budget would not provide funding to the highly-successful D.C. voucher program, despite an agreement signed by the president last year that reauthorized the program.
    The American Federation —the nation’s voice for school choice—strongly decries the president’s failure to provide funding to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), which currently provides scholarships to more than 1,600 children from low-income families across the nation’s capital to attend the private schools of their parents’ choice.
    Though the OSP is in little danger of going unfunded—Congress is charged with appropriating funds, and House Speaker John Boehner is an ardent defender of the program—the move by President Obama is effectively a reneging on the promise he made last April in a budget agreement he signed that helped avert a government shutdown.
    “The president says he’s for education reform, but his actions continually aim to send low-income and minority students back to schools that are failing them academically, are unsafe, or are otherwise not meeting their needs,” said Kevin P. Chavous, a senior advisor to AFC and a former D.C. Councilman. “This latest hypocrisy is just the most recent instance in which the president has stood in the way of students who are improving test scores and graduating in higher numbers.”
    Since barring new students from entering the program in 2009, Obama has made a number of statements expressing support for reform that have contradicted his actions regarding the OSP. In 2010, President Obama publicly stated that he would not send his daughters to D.C. public schools, despite actively working to bar low-income families from having that choice.
    And while the president rightly talks about the nation’s severe dropout crisis—as he did in his State of the Union address last month—he’s unwilling to support the OSP, where students’ 91 percent graduation rate is 21 percentage points higher than those who applied but couldn’t get a scholarship. And according to the Institute of Education Sciences—the primary research arm of the U.S. Department of Education—the OSP has the second highest achievement impact of any of the programs it has studied so far.
    Since the program’s inception in 2004, more than 10,000 families have applied to participate in the OSP. Four years of studies done by Georgetown University and the University of Arkansas have shown overwhelming parental satisfaction, and 74 percent of D.C. residents polled a year ago supported reauthorization.  More than 700 participants participated in a signup event for the program on Saturday, hosted by the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation. The Trust received more than 520 applications at the event.
    “By any reasonable measure, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has been an overwhelming success,” Chavous said. “President Obama wouldn’t be where he is today without a private school scholarship. He needs to stop playing politics and do what’s right for kids.”