Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Greatest Moments of Liberal History

School Choice Week

Sunday, January 23, marks the start of School Choice week.

According to the American Federation for Children, there has been an 86% increase in student enrollment in school choice programs over the past five years.

When we look at Pennsylvania, we find that 1,821,146 children are in K-12 schools at a cost of $11,098 per pupil.

Pennsylvania allows charter schools. School Boards, the PA Dept. of Education for Virtual Schools, and the Philly School Reform Commission all have the power to authorize a charter school.

Pennsylvanians can also take advantage of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program which allows lower income household students to attend the public or private school of their choice. There is also a corporate deduction for contributions to scholarship organizations or educations improvement organizations.

Education of our children should be a truly non-partisan issue. With the entrance of public sector education unions in the debate, it very frequently becomes quite political.

Public school teachers seem to view any choice on the part of the parents of the children they are charged with educating as a threat to their very existence. They cry out that if parents have a choice in where their children are educated public school systems will be bankrupted, children will be hurt due to a lack of accountability in private schools, be indoctrinated into right-wingers, and that all the smart kids will leave for greener pastures in private schools.

Some even venture into Constitutional Law saying that because some schools have a religious identity, the perceived separation between church and state will be violated. They seem to gloss over the fact that Pell Grants, the GI Bill, and federal daycare vouchers can all be used at religious institutions.

The fact is that we presently subsidize many failures on the part of the public education system. Parents rightfully want their children out of failing schools and frankly, out of harms way in some cases. Every good parent tries to give their child the best opportunity and the greatest number of resources to achieve success in life. If a public school doesn’t provide that, why should parents be forced to keep their child in a failing school simply based on their zip code?

It is unfair to parents and an absolute detriment to our children. Parents should be empowered to make choices to meet the educational needs of their children.

A good step towards this goal is a SB 1. State Senators Jeff Piccola (R) and Anthony Williams (D) have proposed SB 1 which will expand School Choice in Pennsylvania by allowing parents of children under the poverty line to take the state share of the educational dollars spent on their child and divert that money to a private, religious, or public school of their choice.

This is a great step toward giving parents real choices about their children’s education.

SOTU 2011

He said it once, he said it twice, he said it three times, but this time…he really means it. President Barack Hussein Obama’s State of the Union Address is expected to focus on job creation and fixing the economy.

Yes, jobs will be President Obama's top priority

Based on past practice, President Obama will talk about using “investments” to further this goal. These “investments” likely will take the form of more federal spending programs a la the crap sandwich that was supposed to create (or save) 4 million jobs. The truth is the stimulus boondoggle has resulted millions of jobs lost nationally with no way to pay for the spending.

The jobs outlook is scary for the unemployed. The average period of unemployment has nearly doubled. Workers unemployed 27 weeks or more increased to 6.313 million or 41.9% of the unemployed. The average time spent on unemployment is hovering around 40 weeks.

In addition to the problem of paying the tab for all of this “stimulus” in the future, long term unemployment causes further problems for the US. With millions out of work, Social Security and Medicare will take a massive hit. With less people contributing to these programs and more and more people using them, something has to give.

No one credible disputes that in order to fix the economy, job creation has to occur. At the same time, the national debt today is $14,060,136,959,466.51. Each person’s share is already over $45,000. Does anyone really believe more federal government spending can really create jobs to fix the economy?