Friday, February 29
It was a widely held belief that the original Uncle Sam was one Sam Wilson, a meat packer in Troy, New York, who supplied rations to the U.S. military during the War of 1812. The letters "U.S." were stamped on all the army-bound food Wilson supplied. Asked one time what the letters stood for (the abbreviation U.S. supposedly was unfamiliar at the time), one of Sam's workers joked that it stood for "Uncle Sam," meaning the jovial Wilson himself. The joke was quickly picked up by Wilson's other employees. Many of these men later served in the army during the war, and the story spread from there.
According to Wikipedia, the 87th United States Congress adopted the following resolution on September 15, 1961: "Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives that the Congress salutes Uncle Sam Wilson of Troy, New York, as the progenitor of America's National symbol of Uncle Sam."
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Thursday, February 28
Wednesday, February 27
So I searched on the three names I listed above plus one other (b*tch) and came up with nearly 250,000 hits directly tied to Hillary's name.
So let me throw out a few questions for fodder:
1. Is Hillary being treated unfairly just because she is a woman? Would we ever characterize a male candidate in similar terms?
2. I think most people would agree Hillary is one of the leading feminists of this era. So, then, is her waning support with women for the presidential nominee an indication that women are moving away or even rejecting feminism?
On last weekend's SNL, they made fun of the media's love affair with Obama as they lobbed him softball questions and swooned at his answers. Clinton? She was passed over completely.
Are we seeing a double-standard? Would the other Clinton be receiving the same type of treatment if he was running again?
The federal government decided long ago that it knew how to manage your health care better than you and replaced personal responsibility and accountability with a system that puts corporate interests first. Our free market health care system that was once the envy of the world became a federally-managed disaster.
Health care should not be left up to HMOs, big drug companies, and government bureaucrats.
- Making all medical expenses tax deductible.
- Eliminating federal regulations that discourage small businesses from providing coverage.
- Gving doctors the freedom to collectively negotiate with insurance companies and drive down the cost of medical care.
- Making every American eligible for a Health Savings Account (HSA), and removing the requirement that individuals must obtain a high-deductible insurance policy before opening an HSA.
- Reform licensure requirements so that pharmacists and nurses can perform some basic functions to increase access to care and lower costs.
Tuesday, February 26
"It is time to recognize that jobs don't need health care, people do, and move from employer-based to consumer-based health care."
- reforming medical liability
- adopting electronic record keeping
- making health insurance more portable from one job to another
- expanding health savings accounts to everyone, not just those with high deductibles
- making health insurance tax deductible for individuals and families as it now is for businesses. Low income families would get tax credits instead of deductions.
Huckabee also points out that our health care system is making our businesses non-competitive in the global economy. How?
- General Motors spends more on health care than it does on steel, $1,500 per car.
- Starbucks spends more on health care than it does on coffee beans.
Monday, February 25
McCain believes that bringing costs under control is the only way to provide affordable health insurance, save Medicare and Medicaid, protect private health benefits for retirees, and allow our companies to effectively compete around the world. Here are the three main elements of his plan:
- Take better care of our citizens with chronic illness and promote prevention that will keep millions of others from ever developing deadly and debilitating disease.
- Provide access to health care for all our citizens---whether temporarily or chronically uninsured, whether living in rural areas with limited services, or whether residing in inner cities where access to physicians is often limited.
- Give Veterans the freedom to choose to carry their VA dollars to a provider that gives them the timely care at high quality and in the best location.
- Reform federal policy and programs to focus on quality while controlling costs
- Promote competition throughout the health care system between providers and among alternative treatments.
- Give patients a larger role in both prevention and care, putting more decisions and responsibility in their hands.
- Give public more information on treatment options and require transparency by providers regarding medical outcomes, quality of care, costs, and prices.
- Facilitate the development of national standards for measuring and recording treatments and outcomes.
- Reform the payment systems in Medicare to compensate providers for diagnosis, prevention, and care coordination. Medicare should not pay for preventable medical errors or mismanagement.
- Dedicate federal research on the basis of sound science resulting in greater focus on care and cure of chronic disease
- Give states the flexibility to experiment with: alternative forms of access; risk-adjusted payments per episode covered under Medicaid; use of private insurance in Medicaid; alternative insurance policies and insurance providers; and, different licensing schemes for medical providers.
- Build genuine national markets by permitting providers to practice nationwide.
- Support innovative delivery systems, such as clinics in retail outlets and other ways that provide greater market flexibility in permitting appropriate roles for nurse practitioners, nurses, and doctors.
- Where cost-effective, employ telemedicine, and community and mental health clinics in areas where services and providers are limited.
- Foster the development of routes for safe, cheaper generic versions of drugs and biologic pharmaceuticals. Develop safety protocols that permit re-importation to keep competition vigorous.
- Pass tort reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits and excessive damage awards.
Protect the health care consumer through vigorous enforcement of federal protections against collusion, unfair business actions, and deceptive consumer practices.
- Reform the tax code to eliminate the bias toward employer-sponsored health insurance, and provide all individuals with a $2,500 tax credit ($5,000 for families) to increase incentives for insurance coverage. Individuals owning innovative multi-year policies that cost less than the full credit can deposit remainder in expanded health savings accounts.
- Families can purchase health insurance nationwide, across state lines, to maximize their choices, and heighten competition for their business that will eliminate excess overhead, administrative, and excessive compensation costs from the system.
- Insurance should be innovative, moving from job to home, job to job, and providing multi-year coverage.
- Require any state receiving Medicaid to develop a financial "risk adjustment" bonus to high-cost and low-income families to supplement tax credits and Medicaid funds.
- Allow individuals to get insurance through any organization or association that they choose: employers, individual purchases, churches, professional association, and so forth. These policies will be available to small businesses and the self-employed, will be portable across all jobs, and will automatically bridge the time between retirement and Medicare eligibility.
- We must do more to take care of ourselves to prevent chronic diseases when possible, and do more to adhere to treatment after we are diagnosed with an illness.
- Childhood obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are all on the rise. We must again teach our children about health, nutrition and exercise.
- Public health initiatives must be undertaken with all our citizens to stem the growing epidemic of obesity and diabetes, and to deter smoking.
Sunday, February 24
I hate to be too forward, oh who am I kidding...if you enjoy what you get here at Politics for Moms, please give P4M a shout out.
At one point, when it seemed like the teachers were on the brink of a deal, local television stations showed up at the church. I watched from the stoop of my dorm as the students, numbering maybe 50, enthusiastically picked up their picket signs and turned up the political banter for the cameras.
As a communications and journalism major, I received my first lesson in truth in journalism that night. The TV station aired the piece citing the facts of the proposed deal while showing footage of what they called a "mad mob of students." They went on to imply that half the student body had turned out to insure that their semester continue on schedule. There was only one problem: Temple had nearly 30,000 students attending at that time, so "half the student body" would mean that thousands of students were camped out in front of this Broad Street church clogging traffic.
To add credibility to their assertion, they had zoomed in on just the first three rows of students protesting on the church steps to make it look like a much larger crowd was present.
I'll never forget my naive shock at how the media had taken this small event and skewed the facts to make for a better story. Now whenever I see footage of "mad mobs" of people , I cynically wonder if there was really only a handful of people and some fancy camera angles.
Well, my trip down memory lane was sparked when I read this post Sallie linked to at Buried Treasure that points out how the blatant omission of facts by MSNBC made for a completely different outcome to Nevada's Republican Caucus. The New York Times didn't do much better.
Unfortunately, these are just a few examples of why you really have to be a vigilant consumer of news if you care at all about knowing the truth. Even if you don't care about Ron Paul as a candidate, you should be indignant about how that news was reported.
It just may be your candidate who is misrepresented next.
Nadar is an American attorney, author, lecturer and political activist in the areas of consumer rights, humanitarianism, environmentalism and democratic government.
Nader has been a staunch critic of corporations, which he believes wield too much power and are undermining the fundamental American values of democracy and human rights.
This is Nader's fifth attempt at running for President. He ran for President four times (in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. In 1992 he ran as a write-in in both the New Hampshire Republican and Democratic primaries, and other primaries. In 1996 and 2000, he was the nominee of the Green Party; in 2004, he ran as an independent, but was also endorsed by the Reform Party.
Friday, February 22
Thursday, February 21
Last week, the sidebar poll asked what top three issues are important to you, the voters. Healthcare came in first with 59 percent. So next week we will spend our time examining the healthcare positions of Clinton, Obama, McCain, Huckabee and Paul. Healthcare could be a defining issue for some candidates so don't miss knowing where they stand.
Freedom Friday Carnival
Also, I'm putting a new twist on Freedom Friday. In addition to posting my own picture, I'm also setting up a Mr. Linky and to let all of you post picture on your own blogs. Of course, if you don't have a blog but you have a picture, you can e-mail it to me and I'll post it on this site.
The idea of Freedom Friday is simply to celebrate the many liberties and freedoms we have in this country. It can be a picture of something that symbolizes freedom or a picture of an actual freedom we enjoy. If you're still at a loss, just post a picture of you and your kids or just your kids or just you, so we can see who is out there caring about anything political.
Don't be camera shy, jump into Freedom Friday.
Wednesday, February 20
- Superdelegates are not selected based on the party primaries and caucuses in each U.S. state.
- Instead, the superdelegates are seated automatically, based solely on their status as current or former elected officeholders and party officials. They are free to support any candidate for the nomination.
- At the 2008 Democratic National Convention the 796 superdelegates will make up approximately one-fifth of the total number of delegates.
- Among the superdelegates, there are 270 Members of Congress, 32 Democratic Governors, 20 Distinguished Leaders, and 313 Democratic National Committee Members. The remainder are mostly unpledged add-on delegates that have yet to be named, and mostly named by each state's Democratic party.
- Superdelegates may support any candidate they wish, including one who has dropped out of the presidential race.
Interestingly, the superdelegate is a modern invention. After the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Party changed its delegate selection process to make the convention less subject to control by party leaders and more responsive to the votes cast during the campaign for the nomination. However, some Democrats thought these changes weakened the role of party leaders and elected officials so the superdelegate was created after the 1980 election.
The first test of the superdelegate came in the next election. Gary Hart and Walter Mondale went to the convention with Hart slightly behind in total number of votes cast but Mondale won the support of almost all the superdelegates and became the nominee.
What do you think? Could the superdelegate change the course of history in this election?
Tuesday, February 19
Better yet, why don't you tell me one interesting news/political tidbit from over the weekend.
Posted by Natalie at 10:53 AM
Friday, February 15
However, has compassion become a political liability? Here's one writer's opinion from the New York Times.
Posted by Natalie at 1:35 AM
Wednesday, February 13
For the Republicans, McCain increased his comfortable lead over Huckabee also winning all three primaries, although Huckabee did give him a run for his money in Virginia.
For more on the fall out of these primaries, you can visit:
Obama and McCain Sweep 3 Primaries, New York Times
For Clinton, Bid Hinges on Texas and Ohio, New York Times
McCain to Huckabee: It's Over, Fox News
Tuesday, February 12
If you live in one of the Potomac states and you voted today, leave us a message and let us know that your vote will be counted!
Monday, February 11
This year's Presidential election will go down in the history books for either having the first woman or African-American candidate. Of course, if either of them win the Presidency it will be even that more monumental.
Woman have only had the privilege of voting since 1920. Since then women have continued to bust through the barriers and stereotypes throughout the decades, culminating with the feminist movement in the 1960s that pushed for social and financial equality. Now we're entering a new era where it's likely that we'll see a woman become President in our lifetime.
But with that possibility has brought a new debate: "Are you betraying sisterhood by not voting for a woman in this election?"
Here are a few quotes from the two viewpoints that got me thinking about this question. The first two quotes are from a Hillary supporter who is sad that other woman would pass on the opportunity to vote for a female president.
"We women have faced so many obstacles in this world, and it makes me so sad that those obstacles are put in place by other women"
She also added this:
"What is 'sad' is me breaking the news to my almost 5-year-old daughter that a woman has NEVER been president, even though we make up half the population."
However, another woman didn't see the dilemma in the same way.
"Do not imply that I am betraying my sisterhood by not voting for a woman. This sister stood up for Hillary Clinton when her husband made a fool of her. Repeatedly. This sister is a thinking, feeling, informed, and opinionated woman who knows how to think for herself, and most importantly is raising her daughters to be the same."
What do you think?
*Since the article I linked to above definitely promotes one viewpoint, I thought it only fair to give you another article on the other school of thought.
Posted by Natalie at 2:35 PM
- Wow, didn't expect Obama to sweep all the primaries---and pretty decisively too. Obama has great momentum going into the Potomac primaries tomorrow. Is this going to be the defining moment in the campaign for the nomination?
- Clinton replaced her campaign manager today. I guess that pretty much sums up her displeasure with the weekend's results.
- Although McCain leads comfortably in the delegate count, I was still shocked to see Huckabee win two of the primaries. The third primary, Washington, was won by McCain by less than 200 votes. You couldn't have scripted a more exciting contest.
- Huckabee would have to win over 80% of the remaining primaries to win the nomination. Nothing is impossible, but that would require a miracle.
Posted by Natalie at 2:01 PM
I think one of the greatest compliments came from a comment I saw on another site. She wrote, "I found this great blog that explains a lot about what is going on in terms I can understand." That is exactly what I wanted to acheive...a place where you could learn what's going on in plain, every day language. Not the biased double-speak we are treated to on the news.
So jump in and feel free to join the conversation. We have great commenters who love to think and challenge each other. There have been plenty of great discussions all done with respect and grace.
Posted by Natalie at 8:25 AM
Friday, February 8
According to Wikipedia, "the term libertarianism usually refers to a political philosophy maintaining that all persons are the absolute owners of their own lives, and should be free to do whatever they wish with their persons or property, as long as they allow others the same liberty."
Another source said "Libertarians are frequently characterized as conservative on economic issues and liberal on personal issues."
This site defines it as a belief "that each person owns his own life and property, and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life - as long as he simply respects the same right of others to do the same. Another way of saying this is that libertarians believe you should be free to do as you choose with your own life and property, as long as you don't harm the person and property of others."
A commenter on a Google message board offered this clarification, "It is not true that all Libertarians are against the use of force... Liberterians usually accept the authority of government, but only as long as it acts in a legitimate way and at the appropriate level. Authorities and overseers have their limit. Any ideologies that take away the right of an individual to free will and independent action, such as communism, oppose Libertarianism."
Okay, so how does that play out when it comes to issues? This site lists these issues as basic Libertarian policies:
"Most libertarians support: legalization of drugs, legalization of all consensual sexual acts between consenting adults (including sodomy and prostitution), abolition of government censorship in all its forms (including restrictions on pornography), free trade, noninterventionist foreign policy, abolition of rent control, abolition of the minimum wage, abolition of farm and business subsidies, abolition of arts subsidies, privatization of Social Security, abolition of welfare, and drastic reduction of taxes."
Now the mom in the comments who classified herself as a libertarian said she considered herself a "Libertarian with more conservative leanings on social issues." Knowing her personally, I'm pretty sure she doesn't approve legalizing drugs, all sexual acts or p*rn. I think these definitions might fit her better,
"principled advocates for individual freedom and responsibility - and the pure free-market private-enterprise economic system..."
"...status quo in America today is the semi-socialist, semi-fascist mixed-economy welfare-state - a system inimical to personal freedom and responsibility. Libertarians do not support such a system, and oppose any and all measures to expand it while favoring the total repeal of interventionist laws and regulatory agencies."
Please feel free to correct me, 2 Boys' Mom, if I'm misrepresenting you.
You'll find a quiz here to help you determine if you are a Libertarian. Also, although Ron Paul is running for President as a Republican, there are many who would like to see him run on the Libertarian ticket. We'll have to keep our eyes on that one.
For a Democrat, suspending a campaign gives you three benefits:
- He can continue to receive federal matching funds for his campaign donations.
- He will remain on the ballot of the remaining primary states, and retain the delegates he has amassed so far.
- If he gets over 15% in a congressional district, then he still gets delegates.
I searched and searched and searched for a clear explanation of what a suspended campaign means for a Republican but found almost nothing on the subject. The best I came up with is this quote from an article on Politico.com:
Romney suspended his campaign rather than officially end it in order to continue to represent the interests of his delegates, said spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom. "We want to make sure that the governor's principles are reflected in the platform and at the convention. We have a number of pledged delegates and we don't want to completely abandon them. But we're not laboring under unrealistic expectations that Governor Romney might magically become the Republican nominee."
If anyone finds a more in-depth explanation, I'd love for you to forward the link to me.
Thursday, February 7
"I disagree with Senator McCain on many issues. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and I agree with him on eliminating Al Qaeda and terror worldwide,"So it looks like John McCain is the Republican nominee.
“If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention … I’d forestall the launch of a national campaign and, frankly, I’d be making it easier for Sen. Clinton or Obama to win,” Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.”
“This isn’t an easy decision. I hate to lose,. If this were only about me, I’d go on, but it’s never been only about me. I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America in this time of war, I feel I have to now stand aside, for our party and for our country.”
The flag flying on your front porch
Kids playing dress up
A national monument
Wednesday, February 6
Democrats - 2,025 delegates needed to win nomination
Clinton: 783 (AS, AZ, AR, CA, MA, NJ, NY, OK, TN)
Obama: 709 (AL, AK, CO, CT, DE, GA, ID, IL, KS, MN, ND, UT)
Republicans - 1191 delegates needed to win nomination
McClain: 559 (AZ, CT, DE, IL, OK, NJ, NY, MO, CA)
Romney: 265 (AZ, MA, MN, ND, UT, MT, CO)
Huckabee: 169 (AL, AR, GA, WV, TN)
Honestly, I am a little baffled by the results. Here are some of my observations from the night:
1. Why is Huckabee going after Romney and not McCain? You would think that Huckabee is more closely aligned with Romney on issues than McCain and would at least fight McCain on principle as well as the fact that McCain is the front runner. That leads me to conclude 1) Huckabee is really not as conservative as he would like us to believe or 2) Huckabee and McCain are striking some type of deal where Huckabee will be the V.P. candidate.
2. Michele McGinty over at Reformed Chicks Babbling perfectly summed up my next observation,
"Turn out has been much greater for the Democrats than for the Republicans. I don't think we're that happy with our choice. None of these candidates are fully conservative and each appeal only to a segment of the base. None of them will be able to make the party coalesce around them in the fall. If the base does coalesce, it will be for other reasons (to beat Hillary, the war, etc.), not because we want any of these guys as our president."
3. I read that 70% of Democrats would be happy with either Clinton or Obama as their nominee. So that makes the next question which one of them would be more likely to defeat the Repulican ticket?
4. Or, is the real question who is America ready to have as President---a woman or an African-American? That question gets a little more complicated when you take into account these facts from John Judis at The New Republic:
- Clinton lost among blacks, but she should be able to win back those voters in November.
- In California, Clinton lost white men by a whopping 52 to 34 percent.
- She lost white independents by 58 to 30 percent.
- In California, 6.5 percent of those voters who didn’t vote for Clinton said that gender of the candidate was “an important factor.” One must assume that the actual percentage is higher (voters don’t like to admit to prejudice) and that any of those voters who would not want to vote for a woman, but who potentially could vote for a Democrat, did not vote at all in the primaries, but will be around in the general election.
- Obama had trouble with white working-class voters. In New Jersey, which a Democrat pretty much will have to win in November, Obama won only 31 percent of the white vote.
- Over 11 percent of those who voted against Obama (a group that might also include some Latinos) said that race was an important factor in their vote.
- Here, too, one must assume that the actual percentage is higher and that it would be even higher among voters in a general election.
- Democrats can win a state like Connecticut without winning these voters, but it won’t win most of the big Middle Atlantic and Midwestern states without them.
These races are far from over and it looks like states with late primaries may actually decide the nominees. I even saw one pundit suggest that the Democratic nominee won't be selected until the convention in August when the more than 800 super delegates get to vote.
Despite what side of the fence you sit on, it looks like we have a horse race!
Tuesday, February 5
If you live in one of the 24 states that are holding primaries today, and you voted, leave a comment and let us know three things:
1. What state are you from?
2. Did you take your kids with you to vote?
3. Who did you vote for? And, if you want, why did you vote for them. Who knows, you may be able to sway all of us indecisives!
Let the ones of us who live in non-voting states today live vicariously through you!
Posted by Natalie at 1:23 PM
- Voting is free.
- Voting makes some people feel as good as if they just gave blood, but you don't get cookies or a pin.
- Other people have a real problem with voting, probably involving the act of taking responsibility.
- Many, many people feel uncomfortable voting for someone they think might lose.
- Other people think there's no such thing as a wasted vote.
- If you voted with your parents, I bet you're more likely to vote now.
- People rarely dress up when they go out to vote.
- There are no prizes or other promotions associated with voting (vote once, get another vote free).
- If a person votes for you, they feel a lot more connected to the work you do.
- Elections are quite close more than you would imagine. Which means that votes surely matter.
- Yet a majority of people don't bother.
Seth concludes with a great question, "I wonder which reason above matters most?"
Monday, February 4
How did primaries start?
Primaries emerged in the early 20th century as a democratic reform in the Progressive era. Oregon was the first state to enact a primary into law, in 1910. Primaries waned in popularity through much of the 20th century: As recently as 1968, the Democrats nominated a presidential candidate, Hubert Humphrey, who did not run in a single primary. Post-1968 reforms have greatly increased the number of primaries.
What is a primary?
The primaries are votes within each party to decide who will be the candidate representing the party in the general election. When you vote in the primaries, you're actually selecting delegates to attend the party convention and vote for the candidate you voted for.
The Nitty Gritty
The number of delegates for each state is proportional to the population of that state. The Democrats use a higher ratio than the Republicans, which means they have more delegates overall.
For the Democrats, the delegates are split up based on how the vote went within the party in each state. For example, in Colorado, if Obama won 65% of the vote he'd get 28 of the 40 delegates. If Clinton got 27% of the vote, she'd get 12 delegates. If Edwards took 7% of the vote he'd got no delegates because it's not exactly a proportional split -- it's decided by majority in each district (the details differ from state to state).
The Republicans have winner-take-all primaries. So if Mitt Romney wins 51 percent of the vote, he gets all that state's convention delegates.
The primaries are essentially over when one candidate gets over half of the total national delegates, which gives him a majority at the convention. To track the number of delegates each candidate has won, you can visit this site.
The National Conventions
The delegates from each state meet at their party's National Convention to vote for the candidate they represent. If no candidate has a majority going into the convention, the candidate gets decided there. This year, the Democratic National Convention is August 25-28 in Denver, CO. The Republican National Convention is September 1-4 in Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN.
Both parties will fill out their conventions with "superdelegates," who are public officials or party officeholders selected by virtue of the positions they hold, and who are not bound to support a particular candidate.
The delegates determined in the primaries are committed to vote for their candidate only on the first ballot at the convention. After that, they can vote for anyone. In 2000, McCain "released" his delegates to vote for Bush so that Bush could have a unanimous vote.
At the convention, the party delegates also write the official party platform. As was the case at the GOP convention in 2000, there was some controversy over whether the platform would oppose abortion, among other issues. Bush influenced the platform, but isn't bound by it, so the platform's abortion view differs from his.
The whole delegate system was intended to replace the "smoke-filled rooms" where powerful members of the party secretly chose a candidate. The Constitution doesn't talk about how party nominees are chosen, so every party can decide for themselves. Surprisingly, smoke-filled rooms and secret processes are perfectly legal; we just use this primary process because people like it better.
via seattlepi.com & On the Issues
1. Read up on the candidates and know what their positions are on the issues most important to you. Links to all of their web sites are on the left sidebar. You'll find entire sections devoted to the issues on each site.
2. Go Vote. It sounds logical but I'm always amazed at the number of people who don't vote. Excuses range from "I forgot" to "My vote doesn't count" to "I didn't like any one" to "I didn't have time." There is no excuse.
3. Come back here and leave a comment on tomorrow's post telling us what state you are in and who you voted for. It will be like our own little exit poll.
Some analysts are saying that the Republican nomination may be decided after tomorrow's vote while it may take a few more months and primaries to decide the Democratic nomination. My state's primary isn't until April so I really hope both parties make this a nail bitter to the end. I don't know if there is a more fair way of doing primaries so every one feels like their vote truly mattered, but when races are already decided before you even vote it really fuels the "My vote doesn't count" excuse and undermines the process.
Remember: Research, Vote, Report.
Posted by Natalie at 11:11 AM
Sunday, February 3
If you were generous enough to include the site button in your sidebar, thank you!! However, we did discover a glitch in the code that left a little empty text box on the bottom corner of the button that didn't harm anything, it just looked ugly. So we've fixed the code and you can install a new, beautiful looking button back on your site. You'll find the code on the right sidebar.
Thanks for helping us spread the word!
Posted by Natalie at 12:51 AM
Friday, February 1
I think the differences between all the candidates and their education plans was pretty clear. All of the Democrats had what I like to call "womb to groom" plans. They presented very detailed and all-encompassing plans that, in some cases, provided for a child before they were even born all the way through college and to the altar. A lot of great programs were proposed that addressed literacy, after-care, teacher education and retention, greater accountability and leveling the playing field for kids in low-income areas. Only a few of these plans had a price tag attached to them and none of them told us where the money was coming from to fund these efforts.
On the other hand, Republican candidates took a much more hands off approach to education. Simply stated, they think parents and the market should drive education. I tend to lean more in this direction of thinking.
I want my candidate to have a strong desire to see school choice become a reality. I would like to see a system where we aren't tied to the school in our neighborhood but we're free to attend any school in our city that would best meet our children's needs. Have a child that excels in the arts? Send them across town to the school that places emphasis on music or art education. Want your child to learn Chinese? Enroll them in the school that has added Chinese language classes to their offerings because they know the market is demanding this type of education.
I think releasing schools from the government regulations that tie their hands would actually create better and higher achieving schools. I mean, name me a government run agency that actually runs efficiently and maybe even turns a profit. There isn't one. But name me a successful business and I'll show you a business that continually strives to provide the best product available and at the best cost. Let the free market into the school systems and suddenly you'd see schools that don't squander money on programs that don't work. You'd see the good teachers rewarded for their work.
So what about underachieving and unsafe schools? Wouldn't they suffer the most? Well, some of them would probably have to shut down because they failed to perform---but itsn't the good? Why do we allow schools that aren't thriving to continue on thinking that if we just slap another band-aid on them (a.k.a. another government sponsored program) they will suddenly become a high achieving school. The problem with those schools is greater than a single program.
The conventional wisdom is that if we give more money to schools that will equate with higher test scores, better teachers and greater student success. In 2004, American schools spent an average of $8,400 per student. My kids attend a small private school that spends $5,700 per student. The teachers make half of what their public school peers make, there is less money for enrichment programs, they don't have computers in every classroom and the facilities aren't fancy. In fact, there isn't even a library in the school. However, this little school has produced three National Merit Finalists in the first two classes it graduated and the average SAT score is 1400.
Their secret? Well, many of you will argue that it's because they only enroll Einsteins and don't have to dirty their hands with kids who have learning disabilities or kids who are troublemakers ---at least that was my impression before my kids were enrolled there. Actually, I have found they are just average kids and some do struggle with dyslexia, autism, and a host of other learning difficulties. However, the school's emphasis on parental involvement, teaching the basics, and maintaining a peaceful and ordered environment has created a school where kids love learning and that has translated into academic success.
Schools can do more with less. We just have to give them the freedom to run their schools like they are in the business of educating tomorrow's leaders instead of holding them back with programs and mandates and rules that pushes education to the background and leaves political correctness as its guiding force.
I found this great article that detailed how San Francisco and a few other cities around the nation are moving to a school choice system and how it is changing the face of education for the better. Hey, if San Francisco can make it work, surely we all can find a way to move our schools to an education market.
That's how I see the issue of education in America. How do you see it?