Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why do politicians tolerate disastrous public schools?

Obama is certainly doing the right thing by refusing to expose his children to the dangerous and incompetent DC public schools. Hypocritical or not, he should not be criticized for this move.

The best way to eliminate the hypocrisy is to change positions on the other side of the equation. As President, he will have a valuable opportunity to stand up to the teachers unions, an opportunity that alas seems destined to be squandered.

These unions have proven themselves to be the enemy of every man, woman, and child in this country. With all the attention given to our nation's external enemies, we must remember that the President is also sworn to defend America against her internal enemies.

No President can uphold his oath without working to get the NEA and AFT out of American schools.
- Jim Peschke, Croydon, NH

The following piece appeared in the Union Leader.

Jonah Goldberg: Why do politicians tolerate disastrous public schools?

Friday, Nov. 28, 2008

Hypocrisy is an overblown sin. Better to be a hypocrite who occasionally violates his principles than a villain who never does.

I bring this up because the usual, and entirely expected, round of conservative complaints about Barack Obama's public-schools hypocrisy has begun, and I'm finding it all a bit tedious.

The Obamas will send their two daughters to the expensive private school Sidwell Friends. Yes, that makes him something of a hypocrite because he is a vocal opponent of giving poor kids anything like the same option.

But you know what? Who cares? Personally, I would think less of the Obamas if they sent their kids to bad schools out of some ideological principle. Parents' first obligation is to do right by their own kids.

In Washington, we have these arguments every time a rich Democrat sends his kids to private schools, which is very often. The real issue is why the public schools are unacceptable to pretty much anyone, liberal or conservative, who has other options. Maybe in the rich suburbs of New York or Los Angeles, wealthy opponents of school choice run less risk of being labeled hypocrites; they can skip the pricey private schools because their public campuses aren't hellholes.

But most Washington public schools are hellholes. So parents here -- including the first family -- find hypocrisy a small price to pay for fulfilling their parental obligations.

According to data compiled by the Washington Post in 2007, of the 100 largest school districts in the country, D.C. ranks third in student spending, around $13,000 a pupil, but last in spending on instruction. More than half of every dollar of education spending goes to the salaries of administrators. Test scores are abysmal; the campuses are often unsafe.

Michelle Rhee, D.C.'s heroic school chancellor, in her 17 months on the job has already made meaningful improvements. But that's grading on an enormous curve. The Post recently reported that on observing a bad teacher in a classroom, Rhee complained to the principal. "Would you put your grandchild in that class?" she asked.

"If that's the standard," replied the defensive principal, "we don't have any effective teachers in my school."

So if Obama and other politicians don't want to send their kids to schools where even the principals have such views, that's no scandal. The scandal is that these politicians tolerate such awful schools at all. For anyone.

The main reason politicians adopt a policy of malign neglect: teachers unions, arguably the single worst mainstream institution in our country today. No group has a stronger or better-organized stranglehold on a political party than they do. No group is more committed to putting ideological blather and self-interest before the public good.

Rhee has been pushing a new contract that would provide merit pay to successful teachers. The system is voluntary: Individual teachers can stay in the current system that rewards mere seniority or opt to join a parallel system that pays for superior performance. Many talented teachers would love the opportunity.

Alas, the national teachers unions insist that linking pay to results is an outrageous attack on the integrity of public schools. They have insisted that D.C. teachers not even be allowed to vote on the contract.

The Democratic Party continues to tolerate this sort of thing because public school teachers continue to be reliably liberal voters. And their unions cut big checks.

Obama, however, bragged about being different during his campaign. He declared himself independent from teachers unions and boasted his support for Rhee. But his recent appointment of Stanford professor -- and teachers union apologist -- Linda Darling-Hammond to head his education transition team is seen by many as a sign that reformers like Rhee can expect little support from the new White House.

And where are the Republicans? Well, if you want a good example of why hypocrisy isn't the worst thing in the world, just look at the GOP. Because the party supports school-choice vouchers, it's simply out of the debate. School choice has much to recommend it. But it's no silver bullet, and vouchers will never gain full acceptance in rich suburbs.

School choice does immunize Republicans from the charge of hypocrisy, however. So rich Republicans can send their kids to ritzy private schools without fear of violating their principles. Good for them. Unfortunately, their principled insulation also makes them largely irrelevant to a debate in which people like Rhee could use all the help they can get.

Jonah Goldberg's e-mail is

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Michelle Malkin has a wonderful piece on her site titled Giving Thanks for Self- Reliant Americans. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Giving thanks for self-reliant Americans
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2008
In The Year of Bottomless Bailouts, I am most grateful this Thanksgiving for Americans who refuse to abandon thrift, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. When the moochers and entitlement-mongers drive you mad, remember that our nation still serves as home to millions of citizens who do for themselves. Like our Founding Fathers, they are God-fearing people – the ones elitist pundits deride as “oogedy-boogedy” – who will never put their faith in The Cult of You Owe Me.

They are people like my reader Jen, who runs a family farm called the Double Nickel in New Mexico. Tired of hearing all the hand-wringing, “in times like these” rationalizations for unprecedented federal intervention in the market to rescue beleaguered businesses and homeowners, Jen wrote me a letter this week about her own plight and triumph over adversity:

To read the rest of her column go to Michelle

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The End to Free Markets?

Readers of our BLOG know we are fans of the free market and the benefits of free markets to free societies. Dick Morris has a great article about the free market on

Public schools are a government monopoly and not a part of the free market. Because of that the quality is poor, accountability is none existent and productivity is low. Until our legislators stop pandering to the unions and the various groups associated with public schools we will continue to see costs increase, productivity decrease, accountability decrease and the quality of education our children receive will continue to decrease.

Recently the government has been bailing out so called free market businesses, these moneys will probably be minute compared to the probable bailouts of the States and State pensions including teachers pensions that will come under the Obama Administration. My suggestion to readers is to cut your spending now because you will be paying big taxes to those government groups who refuse to live within their means.


The Free Market Consensus 1989-2008: RIP

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 7:16 PM
By: Dick Morris & Eileen McGann

The subprime mortgage crisis is only the Sarajevo which caused the financial collapse. The real reason is the massive explosion of debt at all levels and in all forms that has engulfed the world. Since 1992, the total of debt in the world has gone from a level equal to global GDP to a level that is now 3.7 times as much as global GDP. This debt explosion, explained in Charles Morris' book (no relation) The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, consists not only of mortgages, but bonds for corporations that can't repay them, credit cards for consumers who are neck deep in debt, car loans for drivers who can't meet the payments, student loans that are swamping young couples, and default insurance sold by companies that can't make good on their commitments. This massive debt has to be sweated out of our global economic system like a heroin addiction.

To read the rest of the article go to

Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama has Chosen a Private School for his Children.

Happy Birthday Jenny!

President Elect Obama could not have been elected without the help of the NEA and its near 3 million members. He has snubbed them big time by choosing a private school. A private school is best for his children but not one most middle class, lower class and poor Americans can choose. One of the biggest civil rights issues facing Americans is the right to choose where to educate their children. If Obama wants to be the candidate of change he should give every American this right. The right to choose would drastically lower the cost of education while increasing the quality of education. In these tough economic times this is exactly what we need. Alas I think he and the Democratic Party will continue to pander to the NEA and government school employees.

The Education Intelligence Agency has a great post about the Obama's choice of schools on their website in their Communiqué for the Week of November 24, 2008: