Thursday, August 27, 2015
Thursday, August 13, 2015
“I watched the GOP presidential debate because my students are counting on me” is the title of a piece posted on the National Education Association website by “guest writer” Tom McLaughlin, a high school drama teacher from Council Bluffs, IA. He claims that “… in addition to this debate, I had an obligation to watch future debates, take notes, and share the truth. I have a responsibility to do that for my students.” (Hmm – just why is a drama teacher delving into politics with his students? Brought back memories of a Che Guevara poster prominently displayed in the music teacher’s class at my former middle school.)
So in any event, I’m thinking this will be a commentary about Common Core, since it garnered the only discussion of education at the first Republican debate in Cleveland last Thursday. In reality, that issue provoked a brief back-and-forth between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio which really didn’t shed much light on the subject. But the words “Common Core” never appear in the piece by McLaughlin. Instead, the drama teacher’s “truth sharing” includes comments like:
Many of the candidates on last night’s stage have clear records of draining critical funding away from public schools to give to private schools, supporting charter schools that are unaccountable to students, parents and taxpayers, and slashing education funding and those programs that serve students and help them in the classroom.As educators and trusted messengers in our communities, we must make sure the public is informed and not fooled by presidential candidates who say they believe in a world-class education system but have a history of starving our public schools of critical funding and supporting flawed so-called reforms that don’t work.
Obviously McLaughlin never intended to report on the debate, but rather to deliver a diatribe infused with standard teacher union talking points against any and all who favor reform and dare have an “R” after their names. (Curiously, Chris Christie, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush all took shots at the teachers unions during the debate and there was no mention of them in McLaughlin’s critique.)
Over at the “NEA Votes” Facebook page, the union faithful were having a field day with McLaughlin’s post and the debate. With one or two exceptions, the comments were posted by pro-union mouthpieces using the same tired talking points that the union elite use. Perhaps the loopiest of all was a post that equated conservatism with Fascism:
The scary part of all this is that these teachers, who don’t seem to have an objective bone in their collective bodies – and are proud of it – have a captive audience of children, many of whom will be the recipients of their teachers’ anti-reform, anti-school choice and anti-Republican rhetoric leading up to the presidential election in 2016.
If you are a Republican parent (or just a fair-minded one of any political persuasion), please be ready for the political onslaught supporting the Big Government-Big Union complex (aka the Blob) your kids may be in for. When the indoctrination starts, don’t be shy about speaking up. Please mention to anyone who is spouting the union party line (and your kids) that in Jeb Bush’s Florida, there are more than 40,000 teachers who do not work for school districts and 14,000 of them have chosen to work in charter schools. They’ve made these choices for the same reason parents do – because charters offer a better fit for their individual needs.
Tell them that despite McLaughlin’s absurd comment, charter and private schools are indeed accountable … to parents. If parents aren’t happy with those schools, they close, unlike traditional public schools which are accountable to no one and typically get more money thrown their way if they are failing.
Tell them that we have tripled our public education funding nationally – in constant dollars – over the last 40 years and have nothing to show for it.
Tell them that Wisconsin’s test scores have risen since the teachers unions’ favorite Republican punching bagScott Walker has been governor.
Tell them that homeschooling is advancing across the country – especially in big cities – because parents of all political stripes are tired of a one-size-fits-all Blob education.
Tell them that in California, the Blob is under attack and that the effort is bipartisan. The Stull, Reed andVergara lawsuits, all of which have successfully challenged Blob work rules like tenure and seniority and fought to get a realistic teacher evaluation system in place, have seen Republicans and Democrats working together to undo the mess that McLaughlin and his ilk have helped to create.
Perhaps most importantly explain that when it comes to education policy reform, the battle is not typically between Democrats and Republicans or liberals and conservatives, but rather between those who defend the status quo and those who are demanding reasonable reforms to an outsized, outdated, outmoded and out-of-touch educational system.
When I was growing up, I never had a clue what my teachers’ politics were. They understood they were not there to indoctrinate me. Accordingly, I followed suit when I taught public school for 28 years. But there are many now who have decided not to check their politics at the classroom door, instead bringing it to their students with a religious zeal that makes Elmer Gantry look like a wallflower. Many teachers now take their cue from the likes of National Education Association Executive Director John Stocks who, at the recent NEA convention, told his flock that teachers need to become “social justice warriors.”
Silly me, all along I thought teachers were there to teach.
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.
Monday, August 10, 2015
If you thought Donald Trump’s boisterous debate performance and subsequent comments about Fox News’ Megyn Kelly might hurt his standing in the polls, you might be very wrong.
In the first major poll to be released since Thursday night’s debate, NBC News and Survey Monkey found Trump holding onto his first place position with 23% of the hypothetical vote. Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, who were each at 10% in the same survey a week earlier, both dropped three points to 7% each, tied for a disappointing fifth place.
Ted Cruz saw the biggest post-debate bump, up seven points to 13%, putting him second to Trump.Carly Fiorina saw a six point bump to reach 8%, her highest position in any national poll to date.
Ben Carson came in third place with 11% in NBC’s poll, while Marco Rubio was tied for fourth place with Fiorina at 8%. However, a margin of error at 3.4% helps put these shifts in a bit more perspective.
Fiorina was deemed the winner of debate night despite not appearing on the primetime stage, with 22% of respondents saying she did the best job. And while Trump came in second place in that contest with 18%, he also topped the list of candidates who did the worst job with 29%.
Given the surprising results, some are questioning the poll’s methodology. Unlike most major national polls, this one was conducted entirely online, using a national sample of 3,551 adults aged 18 and over who were “selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day.” NBC’s Chuck Todd has responded to those on Twitter who are hesitant to believe the results:
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Sunday, August 2, 2015
As you might imagine, for obvious reasons, an extensive interview between Donald Trump and Fox’s Eric Bolling would carry a remarkably friendlier tone than other media rounds the GOP candidate has made.
Indeed, the pair discussed how “unfair” the media has been to the billionaire real estate mogul and his controversial presidential run. But the latter half of the interview contained an interesting “roleplay,” prompted by Bolling, in which Trump got to ask one question of each of his probable debate opponents.
For Jeb Bush: “Do you have the energy to get out there” and “straighten this country out”? Bolling was perplexed by this one.
But then the question-and-answer routine ended, as it became yet another Trump talking smack about each opponent.
On Marco Rubio: “He was very much in favor of a weak immigration policy.”
Scott Walker: “His state, Wisconsin, has tremendous problems with debt,” and he somewhat blamed the governor for “extreme divisiveness” in his state.
Then a question for Chris Christie: “New Jersey is not doing very well.”
And then Trump ranted about how he’d be a great president and would “treat the vets properly with Donald Trump.”
Sunday, July 26, 2015
This week, three of the Republican candidates showed their mettle and had very good weeks. Majority leader Mitch McConnell and both the Democrat’s “inevitable” Hillary Clinton and the president’s standings sagged.
Carly’s ability to handle the press and make a name for herself without a large staff or campaign chest continues. This week, she capitalized on videos showing Planned Parenthood to be involved in a distasteful racket, negotiating for the best price for aborted fetal tissue.
Mainstream news outlets pretty much ignored the story, as Michael Barone noted:
The 2012 Obama campaign appealed to single women by suggesting that without Obamacare’s contraception mandate, contraceptives would somehow be unavailable -- a favorable way to frame the abortion issue. But the Planned Parenthood videos are, in the words of Democratic columnist Kirsten Powers, “stomach-turning stuff.”
Most mainstream media outlets are carefully avoiding the subject, as the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway points out. The New York Times and Washington Post ran 773 stories on the Confederate flag over the last month but only 31 on the Planned Parenthood video. Heavily pro-choice newsrooms have no appetite to discredit the nation’s leading abortion provider, but may be forced to as members of Congress hold hearings and propose legislation
Carly Fiorina, however, with her penchant for the main shot, did not ignore the issue. In interviews with CNN’s Jack Tapper and Fox and Friends, she refused to bite the usual media bait and instead turned tables on the interviewers, reminding viewers that it is the leading Democrat’s positions which are extreme and out of the mainstream.
“Let’s also talk about Hillary Clinton’s position,” Fiorina said. “Let’s talk about what ‘extreme’ is. It’s not a life until it leaves the hospital? That’s Hillary Clinton’s position. It’s Hillary Clinton’s position that a 13-year-old girl needs her mother’s permission to go to a tanning salon or get a tattoo, but not to get an abortion. It’s Hillary Clinton’s position that women should not be permitted to look at an ultrasound before an abortion, and yet people who are trying to harvest its body parts can use an ultrasound to make sure that those body parts are preserved, so they can be sold. That, Jake, is extreme.”
She was as deft in refusing to attack Scott Walker, in expressing concern about domestic security, and in agreeing with Trump and public sentiment on immigration policy.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
As immigration continues to be a contentious issue on the campaign trail, many politicians are calling for changes in "sanctuary city" policies, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.
The idea of the policies is to support immigrants and provide assistance if they became involved with minor offenses. But the policies have come under scrutinysince the murder of a San Francisco woman, allegedly by an undocumented immigrant.
"We ought to eliminate 'sanctuary cities,"' former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said.
On this immigration issue, Republican presidential candidates agree.
"One of the things we've talked about in the past, and we've tried to get included with negotiations with Democrats in the past, is the idea of getting rid of the 'sanctuary city' situation," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said on Fox News.
Now Congress is considering action.
"I don't think you can have whole cities or whole states just not obeying the law," Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said.
It became front-page news after the murder of Kathryn Steinle, allegedly shot and killed by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a convicted felon who had been deported to Mexico five times.
Lopez-Sanchez was released from jail in April. But he was on the streets because San Francisco officials, under city policy, ignored a request from federal immigration officials to notify them before he was set free.
The crime even has Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton softening their previous support for "sanctuary cities."
"The city made a mistake, not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported," she said.
But for Republicans, it's a chance to reset the crucial immigration debate and move away fromDonald Trump's incendiary comments about illegal immigrants.
San Francisco is one of more than 200 sanctuary jurisdictions, including New York, Miami and Los Angeles, that can offer a safe harbor for undocumented immigrants who otherwise might face deportation.
Monday, June 29, 2015
If you were a tree, what kind of a tree would you be? I’d be a weeping willow because… sigh. More important question about personifying inanimate objects: If the 15 or so Republican presidential candidates were conservative news websites, which ones would they be?
Let’s attempt to answer that question because it’s Monday and we’re all in for a long 497 days until Election Day 2016.
Note: We’d make a companion piece for the Democrats and liberal news sites, but there are only four options. So here goes: Hillary Clinton is the Huffington Post; Bernie Sanders would be Democracy Now!; Martin O’Malley would be ThinkProgress; and Lincoln Chafee would be… oh man, is there even a site out there that would fit the profile?
And now the Republican field (yes, some haven’t announced yet)…
Donald Trump – Breitbart
Think of the most common words used to describe Donald Trump: “Blowhard,” “obnoxious,” “clownish,” “troll,” “windbag,” “xenophobic.” Sounds exactly like the preponderance of material coming out of Breitbart, right? (It also doesn’t hurt that Trump’s unofficial stenographer is the site’s most prized reporter.)
Marco Rubio – IJReview
Ted Cruz – The Right Scoop
Lindsey Graham – Washington Free Beacon
Mike Huckabee – NewsBusters
Scott Walker – NRO
Slightly wonkier than the rest, slightly more buttoned-up, classically conservative in the William F. Buckley tradition, and definitely opposed to unions.
Rick Santorum – TheBlaze
TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck once described former Sen. Rick Santorum as “the next George Washington,” and while it’s not a perfect fit, both the site and the candidate have an obvious appeal to “Real American” religious conservatives who homeschool their children and are terrified of the coming apocalypse.
Bobby Jindal – The Daily Signal
Because he got in the race way too late and no one really cares.
Jeb Bush – The Weekly Standard
Because anything with the name “Bush” or “Cheney” would get the thumbs up from Bill Kristol & Co.
George Pataki – Power Line
Think of it this way: Years ago, Power Line had its time in the conservative spotlight when it broke the scandal that ended Dan Rather‘s CBS News career. Now, though? No one cares.
Ben Carson – WorldNetDaily
Carly Fiorina – The Daily Caller
Chris Christie – Wall Street Journal
Well-moneyed, at one time considered the mainstream, and decidedly east coast when it comes to politics. Also because Jeb Bush was already taken.
Rand Paul – The Federalist
Just like Sen. Paul, conservative website The Federalist has “a viewpoint that rejects the assumptions of the media establishment” and will sometimes surprise you by seeking to engage ideological opponents.
Rick Perry – RedState
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday joined calls for a federal investigation into the California-based anti-...
For the third time in just a few months, another one of President Obama’s alternative energy ventures has failed after getting tens of mill...
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump just gave the greatest comeback of all time to Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton....
Top White House economics adviser Jason Furman on Thursday dismissed elements of a potential budget offer by Senate Republicans as “another...
BERLIN—The elections set to take place here in Germany Sunday are expected to turn largely on the country's solid economy, Chancellor A...
Republican battles to revive his fortunes in Ohio as allies turn their anger on candidate Even as he prepared to answer calls fr...
Wikileaks has released nearly 20,000 emails it says are from the accounts of Democratic National Committee officials. Add caption ...
The leftist bias of the New York Times beautifully encapsulated in seven words used about a week before two presidential elections. Head...
Don’t be fooled by the supposedly bipartisan effort to investigate the Obama administration’s actions after the attack on the U.S. Con...