Monday, April 30, 2007

Vouchers and School Choice

As a future teacher and as a parent of two kids, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. It's also an assignment for my advanced composition class at Nevada State College. Hopefully it will get good reviews here and with my teacher.

School choice and vouchers are two new ways that have been developed to help inner city families better educate their children, who are often stuck with poor schools and few opportunities to transfer them to better schools.

There are differences between school choice and vouchers. School choice allows parents to transfer their child from a bad school to a good school. As Richard Whitmire pointed out in Washington Monthly’s March 2004 issue, this is being done in St. Louis, where parents can have their kids attend a good public school, (yes they actually exist) and the state pays the school a fee for accepting inner city students. This program, started in 1983 and renewed in 1999, has been popular and successful. Not only do students who transfer score higher on standardized tests; their graduation rates are twice that of their inner city counterparts.

Vouchers are similar in that parents are allowed to pull their child from a failing public school and place them in one of their choice. Instead of going to another public school, the government pays the tuition for the student to attend private school. Vouchers are aimed at students that are at, or near, the poverty level. Because of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the constitutionality of vouchers, more states are seriously considering these programs.

Teacher’s unions, liberal legislators and public school officials don’t like vouchers and will do anything in their power to defeat them. One argument is the program violates the separation clause of the Constitution because many private schools are religious in nature. They’ll argue that schools will lose money because fewer kids are enrolled in them. Another objection is that private schools aren’t bound by No Child Left Behind standards and don’t have to produce the same test results that public schools do. Because we don’t know what the test scores are we don’t know how good a job those schools are doing educating kids they’ll argue.

Although these sound reasonable, they have flaws that need exposing. First, private schools most often do a better job of educating students than public ones. Why? Because if a private school is not producing educated children then nobody is going to send their children there. Unlike public schools where the amount of money they get is fairly certain from year to year, a private school has to insure that their customers are getting good value for their money or the parents will go elsewhere. The free market forces them to do their best or they’ll be forced to shut their doors.

Secondly, the government is required to be neutral in regards to religion. The government cannot favor nor discriminate against religion. If vouchers could only be used at secular private schools then they violate the constitution and the program would either be forced to allow religious schools in, or cease operation. This has already happened as some state supreme courts has ruled voucher programs illegal because they accept religious schools which violates the state constitution. The Supreme Court has let one ruling stand, but there will be more.

What we’re doing now is flawed to say the least. Education is the best way to lift people out of poverty, yet we place another hurdle in front of them by forcing them to attend schools that don’t educate students for life in the real world. Parents in poverty can’t afford to send their kids to private schools and school choice is no good if there are no good schools to transfer to or not enough spaces for all the kids who want a better education. Vouchers can and do fill that void.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Anti Catholic Bigotry Updated

What the? This really pisses me off. It's bad enough Rosie O'Donnell thinks that Roman Catholics shouldn't be judges but now Tony Auth has added his 2¢ to his view of Christians and Catholics in particular.

Now this cartoon is in response to the partial birth abortion ban that the court upheld. The 5 in the mitres are all Catholics. Notice that the two Jews and the two protestants are not identified in this cartoon by similar garb. Why the hell do people think it's OK to bang on Christians? Because we don't go nuts, starting riots and killing people of other faiths?

I'm sorry this is bigotry pure and simple. The message he is sending with this cartoon is that Catholics cannot be trusted as judges because they get their marching orders from the Pope. What crap, and yet we as Christians are just supposed to get a thick skin and deal with it right? Uh, no. This should not stand and all Christians need to let Tony and the paper know that you cannot bang on Christians without consequence. The cartoon appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer so if you want to let them know how you feel they're the ones to contact.

Update 3:27pm...

Three Christians in Turkey had their throats slit for the crime of selling Bibles last week. Funny how it didn't seem to get any mention in the MSM. Of course had they been Muslim or any other religion aside from Christian it'd all over the place, with pleas for tolerance and understanding. But Christians? You'd be lucky to even get crickets to chirp. Anyone else see the hypocrisy here or is it just me?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Should Teachers or Administrators Have Guns?

Pretty simple question right? If you say yes, explain why, and how would police know who on campus had a weapon if there was an emergency. If, no explain why. Keep in mind that if a student or teacher had been carrying a gun last week at VT lives may have been saved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Forgotten Victims of VT

As anyone with a brain and any connection to reality knows. Monday was a black day for Virginia Tech. A student armed with 2 pistols went on a rampage killing 32 people, wounding about 15 more and finally killing himself. You can read about him and his victims all over the web but or is a good place to start.

But what about the family of Cho Seung-Hui? Is is unreasonable to pray for his family as well? After all they have not only lost a member of their family but he was also responsible for the deaths of 32 people and he tried to kill another 15 or so. That is bad news following bad news. Imagine the shame and embarrassment that family feels because of what their son did. If the country of S. Korea feels ashamed then his family must really be embarrassed. Their only saving grace is that he was an adult and not a minor when he committed this act of evil.

His family is just as much a victim as the families that lost loved ones. Keep them in your prayers as well.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tax and spend...

Well, looks like your friends the democrats are back to their tax and spend ways. In a column at, Rep. Jim McCrery lays out all of the tax cuts the democrats want to either expire or outright get rid of. Many of those don't affect the rich but rather the middle and lower class.

These include lowering the child tax credit from $1000.00/child back to $500.00/child, reinstating the marriage penalty, the estate tax (55%), and eliminate the 0% capital gains tax for the lowest two tax brackets and raise the lowest tax bracket from 10% to 15%. That's just to name a few. And yet they call themselves the friend of the working class. Why does this smell like a dirty diaper? This is why you want a divided government, if all three parts of the government (president and both houses) are occupied by one party we get screwed. Thank goodness that a republican is still in the White House and that the democrats don't have a super majority in the senate. If we as voters don't start putting pressure on the government we're hosed come 2011. Don't say I didn't warn you.

More on this subject...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus... my radio show!

Yea, I'm sure he misses his show. CBS decided to kick Imus to the curb after his infamous 'nappy headed hos' comment he made regarding the Rutgers' Women's Basketball team. Honestly I'm of two minds on this one. I don't like the fact that Imus got canned because of the two Pharisees Jackson and Sharpton, but I do think he deserved at least the suspension. Going after whole groups or famous people is one thing, but to personalize an attack on a bunch of student athletes was so wrong it's stunning. The other thing is that it puts us on a slippery slope of censorship where just a couple of people have the power to censor speech they don't like. Imus used satire and mean humor on his show and no I never listened to him or found him interesting. I didn't even know he was still on the air until this hit. In a free country people are going to say unpopular, bigoted, stupid things. They need to able to say them, BUT we need to be able to not listen, not buy products that are on those shows etc. The good news is that we are again talking about race and the two Pharisees are getting exposed again for the frauds they are. They don't speak for black America, hell they only care about their money and power and how to increase both, who they hurt in the process well they don't care...

A Class Act

One of the commenters on La Shawn Barbers blog mentioned that a reporter had written a column apologizing in public her rushing to judgement and pronouncing the Duke LAX players guilty before all the facts had been revealed. Jemele Hill was able to swallow her pride and utter two of the most powerful words in the English language. "I'm Sorry"

She is to be commended for her actions and her apology. It took guts and showed just what a classy woman she really is. Thank you Jemele, thank you.

Blog Updates

Blogs evolve, at least they should as the blogger evolves. Mine is no exception. I've so many links to blogs and other sites that I needed to break them down into general categories so that you the reader can more easily browse what interests you. I do realize that many blogs touch on more than one category but I put them in the spot that currently best describes the blog itself.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Isreal uses human shields...

Yea, you heard it right. Israel in violation of it's own law has been caught using innocent civilians as human shields. What the hell is wrong with them? Don't they realize that it just drives more people over to the terrorists when they pull crap like this?

One of the things Israel used to have going for it was that it could claim the high moral ground, sadly this is no longer the case. You don't win people over to your side by making innocents walk ahead of you to become bullet catchers when things go wrong. It's bad enough they used the young man in question but an 11 year old girl? What the hell is that about? Can someone smarter than me explain it in short sentences so I understand what's going on? Please?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Don Imus

Update 4/11 4:05pm: MSNBC is dropping the simulcast of the Don Imus show. His radio show for now is still a go, but it remains to be seen what happens next. Sponsors are also pulling the plug, as is their right. Don may come back from his suspension and not have a show to resume. I don't know how I feel about that. Again not a fan, but...

First off, I'm not a Don Imus fan, I don't think he's all that funny or even interesting...

Well, I wasn't sure if I had anything to say about this current incident. For those of you to engrossed in the Anna Nicole Smith saga to know what I'm talking about let me get you up to speed. Last week radio personality Don Imus called the Rutgers Women's Basketball team a 'bunch of nappy headed ho's.' His words not mine. After a few days the whole thing exploded. Don quickly apologized, spent time on the Al Sharpton radio show and has offered to personally apologize to the basketball team, who has accepted his offer. This however, is not enough for Jesse Jackson and Mr. Sharpton who have called for his head on a platter. Imus is lots of things, he's crude, edgy and pushes the envelope on a regular basis and has in his decades long career managed to insult just about everyone on the planet.

Imus on the other hand was very critical of the handling of the Katrina disaster, basically saying that if the city were full of rich white people FEMA would have fallen all over themselves trying to help. In addition, he's spent time raising money for causes such as children's cancer autism and more. Of course, none of this seems to matter now that he's made this statement.

Look, Imus really hosed this one up, big time. He's apologized, gotten a two week suspension and his name has been dragged through the mud. I don't know if he's really a racist or if he just stuck his foot in his mouth. Live radio is like flying on a trapeze without a net, one mistake and you're roadkill.

But Sharpton and Jackson are not really concerned about the plight of black America. They see something like this and then use it to garner money, power and media attention. If they were really concerned about black America, where's the outrage over the crap that BET puts out? What about the image that many rap artists have and the messages in their music? What about how THEY objectify women, glorify drug use and the use of violence to settle a dispute? What about the fact that there are more single black mothers today than there were 50 years ago? Why are they not up in arms over this? Well, what would get them more attention, blaming Whitey McCracker every time someone says something stupid or calling attention to the real problems in their communities? How much power do they stand to lose if they start telling people that the need to be responsible for the lives they lead and not to expect the government to take care of it all for them? Really makes you think doesn't it?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Happy Easter

Hey everyone,
I am taking this week off to spend with my family. I'll be back after Easter with more commentary about the world as it is.