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Archive for October 2013

Hail to the Chief

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Neil Cavuto

Neil Cavuto, Fox News, stated the following directly to President Obama on his daily afternoon program last Thursday (October 24, 2013).

Obama is blaming Fox News for 2/3 of the country disliking Obamacare. Here’s Neil Cavuto’s explanation and it is great. If you don’t understand what is bad about ObamaCare please read his comments and you will understand.

Mr. President, Fox News isn’t what’s making Americans sick about your healthcare law. Your healthcare law is. Welcome, everybody, I’m Neil Cavuto. And excuse this departure from form. But I think this is just poor form. So, it’s time we set some things straight.

Mr. President, we at Fox News are not the problem. I hate to break it to you, sir. You are. Your words are. Your promises are. We didn’t sell this healthcare law. Sir, you did. Remember this?

President Barack Obama: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period.

Mr. President, tell that to tens of thousands of retirees at IBM and Time Warner and dozens of others, who’ve been dumped from their coverage and told to find their own coverage. Fox News didn’t break that news to them, Mr. President. Their companies did.

Fox News didn’t push more of those firms to hire part-time workers. Your healthcare law did. Fox News didn’t incentivize fast food restaurants to scale back their benefits. Your healthcare law did. Fox News didn’t make doctors want to opt out. Your healthcare law did. Fox News didn’t make insurance premiums skyrocket. Your healthcare law did. Just like Fox News didn’t grant hundreds of exemptions to companies that needed them. You did. And Fox News didn’t delay one key provision after another, including online enrollment for those small business exchanges. You did.

Just like it wasn’t Fox News that said we had to pass this to see what was in this. You did. Or was that Nancy Pelosi? Sometimes I’m confused. But of this I am not. Fox News didn’t re-do basic math. Sir, you did. Fox News didn’t say you can cover 30 million more Americans and not see a hit in premiums. You did. Fox News didn’t say you could throw in those with pre-existing conditions and not have to pay for it. You did. Fox News didn’t all but say you could get something for nothing. You did. Fox News didn’t come back years later and say, oh yea, we did raise some taxes. You did.

Here’s where you are right about Fox News, however, Mr. President.

We can do math. And did. You cannot. And did not. We said it, and proved it. You didn’t. And we’re all suffering for it. Take it from the numbers guy at Fox. Numbers don’t lie. The number of Americans working part-time are nervous. The number of retirees days away from being dumped on exchanges are anxious. The number of company bosses with any news to pass along on those exchanges, but are still clueless. The number of doctors who want out. The number of congressmen now opting out. No, Mr. President, none of those numbers lie.

But with all due respect sir, I can only conclude you do know; I know, I know you hate us at Fox. But please take a look in a mirror, and fast.  You think we’re the skunk at your picnic. But that doesn’t mean we’re the ones that stink. Because that smell isn’t coming from the folks reporting on your law. Mr. President, that smell is your law.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

October 31, 2013 at 06:00

The President has a ‘Valerie’ problem

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Silvio Canto, Jr.

Maybe President Obama walks around the Oval Office singing the old Monkees’ tune:

 “There’s a girl I know who makes me feel so good.
And I wouldn’t live without her, even if I could.
They call her Valeri. I love her Valeri.”

We understand President Obama’s desire to have a loyal subordinate, a White Sox fan and someone close to Mrs Obama.  However, it may be time to look for someone who is more qualified and who understands that the federal government is a very complex enterprise and not a one-party town like Chicago.

John Fund has a good post about Lady Valerie:

“Jarrett, an old Chicago friend of both Barack and Michelle Obama, appears to exercise such extraordinary influence she is sometimes quietly referred to as “Rasputin” on Capitol Hill, a reference to the mystical monk who held sway over Russia’s Czar Nicholas as he increasingly lost touch with reality during World War I.

Darrell Delamaide, a columnist for Dow Jones‘s MarketWatch, says that “what has baffled many observers is how Jarrett, a former cog in the Chicago political machine and a real-estate executive, can exert such influence on policy despite her lack of qualifications in national security, foreign policy, economics, legislation or any of the other myriad specialties the president needs in an adviser.”

Delamaide believes the term “vacuous cipher” that was applied to Jarrett stung so much because it could be used as a metaphor for the administration in general.

He writes that what “has remained consistent about the Obama administration is that vacuity – the slow response in a crisis, the hesitant and contradictory communication, a lack of conviction and engagement amid constant political calculation.”

The stunning revelation that President Obama wasn’t kept properly apprised of problems with Obamacare’s website is just the latest example of how dysfunctional Obama World can be.

Whether Jarrett’s influence is all too real or exaggerated is unknowable. What is known is the extent to which she has long been a peerless enabler of Barack Obama’s inflated opinion of himself. “

At the end of the day, President Obama is responsible for his managerial style.  However, a president has to surround himself with very strong people who are competent as well as loyal.

Jarrett may be very loyal and willing to give her life for President Obama.  Unfortunately, President Obama needs a different kind of “gate keeper.”

He needs one who lets “bad news” walk into the Oval Office.

For example, was Valerie Jarrett aware of that the website was not properly tested?  Or that the problems were a lot deeper than a “glitch” here or there?

Even today, does Valerie Jarrett know the full extent of the mess, as Ezra Klein reported.

Why is President Obama always the last one to know?  My good guess is Valerie.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/10/the_president_has_a_valerie_problem.html#ixzz2iwaMcjqH
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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

October 30, 2013 at 06:00

Obama Care: It’s Nixon’s Fault!

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C. Edmund Wright

Robert B. Reich, liberal commentator and Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, insists in today’s Huffington Post that “the Democrat‘s version of Health Insurance would have been cheaper, simpler and more popular” and asks “so why did we enact the Republican version and why are they so upset?”

Yes, he did. And no, there is nothing to indicate that his astonishing editorial is satire. Moreover, there is nothing to indicate in the comments sections that the Huffington Post readership manages to spot any irony in all of this either. This is the low information propaganda machine at full throttle.

Reich’s thesis is that “while Republicans plot new ways to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, it’s easy to forget that for years they’ve been arguing that any comprehensive health insurance system be designed exactly like the one that officially began October 1st, glitches and all.” And in case you’re not sure just which Republicans Reich is referring to, he clarifies that in the next paragraph, stating,

“…in February 1974, Republican President Richard Nixon proposed, in essence, today’s Affordable Care Act. Under Nixon’s plan all but the smallest employers would provide insurance to their workers or pay a penalty, an expanded Medicaid-type program would insure the poor, and subsidies would be provided to low-income individuals and small employers.”

While the absurdities are too numerous to mention here, apparently, Reich is actually trying to hang the disaster of Obama Care around the necks of Republicans because a liberal GOP President thought about something similar four decades ago — conveniently ignoring the fact that not a single Republican currently in office voted for it — and that the party is having a civil war today over the best way to stop it.

Furthermore, since it suits the purpose du jour, Reich and the Huffington post are intentionally conflating the notions of conservative and Republican — a problem not currently inflicting the Tea Party conservative base.

Predictably, Reich takes the obligatory slap at Mitt Romney and The Heritage Foundation, droning that “Mitt Romney made Nixon’s plan the law in Massachusetts” and that “in 1989, Stuart M. Butler of…Heritage…came up with a plan.” Again, Reich is ignoring many inconvenient truths, including Romney’s day one pledge to exempt everyone from Obama Care, and that Heritage’s idea was simply based on everyone pulling their own weight — and by the way — is a quarter century old.

None of this matters to Reich, The Huffington Post, or to the low information crowd they speak to. They are in panic mode, trying desperately to ignore what Obama Care reality is doing to their beloved President — and more to the point — their entire world view. To do so, Reich has one-upped the mantra that it’s Bush’s fault: now it’s Nixons’ fault.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/10/obama_care_its_nixons_fault.html#ixzz2iwZ2SEep
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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

October 29, 2013 at 06:00

‘Vouchers don’t do much good for students’ claim is false

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By Mary C. Tillotson | Watchdog.org

Spend a few weeks in “education reform world” and you’ll find that every time you turn around, there’s another study examining the latest voucher or tax-credit scholarship program.

If I’m not reporting on the results of a study, I’m calling study authors to see what they have to say about the latest school choice legislation.

So I was surprised to find that Stephanie Simon of Politico wasn’t able to locate any. Earlier this week, she argued that “Vouchers don’t do much good for students.” That would be a remarkable claim if she offered good evidence to support it.

“Taxpayers across the U.S. will soon be spending $1 billion a year to help families pay private school tuition — and there’s little evidence that the investment yields academic gains,” she claims.

Simon could have started with Greg Forster’s study for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Forster examined the results of at least a dozen other studies on school choice.

“The empirical evidence consistently shows that choice improves academic outcomes for participants and public schools, saves taxpayer money, moves students into more integrated classrooms, and strengthens the shared civic values and practices essential to American democracy,” he concluded.

Critics like Simon “are ignoring a broad swath of the research we’ve done over the years,” said Patrick Wolf, a professor of education and endowed chair in school choice at the University of Arkansas, who’s studied voucher programs in Milwaukee and Washington, D.C.

Wolf also shed some light on some of Simon’s information — she compared Milwaukee voucher students to Milwaukee public school students; apparently, the voucher students aren’t scoring as high on their tests.

“It’s an apples to zebras comparison,” Wolf told me. “The population of public school students is advantaged relative to the students in the voucher program,” he said.

And the $1 billion Simon says taxpayers will shell out to private schools? Very few voucher programs actually hike taxes to fund vouchers. They almost always redirect the money from the public school to the private school the student attends.

“It’s not new dollars. It’s a rethinking of who’s making the decisions about the dollars we spend,” said Lindsey Burke, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

That seems to be the root of the disagreement over school choice and education reform: Who ought to take the lead role in educating children?

School choice proponents argue that parents should take the lead role. This makes sense. Who, other than parents, are most invested in their children’s success?

“They have the most to gain if their child is well-educated, and the most to lose if their child is not well-educated, so they definitely have plenty of skin in the game,” Wolf told me.

Parents, as a rule, know their kids and care about their kids in a way no one else does or can. I spent much of last year helping several local families with homeschooling — I tutored math and writing for the older students and helped more broadly with the younger kids. I got to know one of the moms especially well and chatted with her frequently about how her kids were doing and what she had planned for the following year.

It was early in the year when she started considering how to educate her kids this fall. She has two elementary-school sons who are also close friends, but whose personalities are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Their mom knew what I learned during the school year, that the boys need very different approaches to learning — different kinds of attention and different challenges.

She compared some of the area academies, schools and homeschool groups and weighed factors like academic rigor, class size, cost, location, schedules, structure, teachers, the social environment and how all that fit with her kids’ needs. She made a decision and her boys are doing great.

That’s not how bureaucracies work.

The National Education Association opposes vouchers and other choice program but “supports real school improvement within the existing public school system that will address the individual needs of ALL children,” according to a statement by President Dennis Van Roekel.

But what of the students who just aren’t wired for a sit-down-and-listen-to-teacher approach? I attended an excellent Catholic elementary school, but some of my classmates struggled because they needed a more active, hands-on approach. What of the families that switch schools for more diversity, or who don’t want their kids in a school where all the students are black and all the teachers are white? What about kids who are bullied in one school but not in another, or whose personalities conflict with some teachers but not others?

“The number one reason parents give for choosing their child’s school is some indicator of academic quality,” Wolf said. “Safety is generally second, but there are dozens of studies and national surveys that show that parents place academic quality at a very high level when making their school choices, but for some of them, there are other things that are important. A lot of it’s going to depend on the individual, the particular needs of their student, and [parents] know those needs better than anyone else.”

Yes, failing schools need improvement (and the data show more money isn’t the answer), but that’s not the end of education reform. A blanket, one-size-fits-all approach is dehumanizing and unfair.

Is there evidence that school choice “yields academic gains” and benefits children in other ways? Yes, plenty. We can point to test scores and graduation rates and taxpayer savings, but much of what makes an education excellent or mediocre are all those things that can’t be measured.

If we’re going to entrust children — read: the future of this country — anywhere, let’s think for a minute about who will reliably make the best decisions for them and fight for the best opportunities for them.

It’s their parents, who love them in ways no one else ever will. There may be no metrics for love, but love is a powerful force.

Contact Mary C. Tillotson at mtillotson@watchdog.org.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

October 28, 2013 at 00:00

Posted in Other

Experts: School choice improves education in public schools

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By Mary C. Tillotson | Watchdog.org

Students’ ability to leave public schools may actually improve the educational quality at those taxpayer-funded institutions, says an expert.

That’s because public schools tend to improve programming for the students who stay, said Matthew Ladner, senior adviser for policy research at the Florida-based Foundation for Excellence in Education.

The program is the biggest school voucher program in the country, and it allows students with disabilities to transfer to a different public school in the district or an adjacent district, or to a private school, with state funding following the student.

Ladner spoke at the National Summit for Education Reform, hosted by the foundation, last week.

“Having the option to leave if you need to makes it less likely that you’re going to need to do so,” he said. “We see remarkable academic improvement among some of the most disadvantaged students in the entire public school system. These are public school gains, these are the students, quote, ‘left behind in the damaged public school.’ They’re making remarkable academic progress.”

“There’s zero evidence that it has damaged the public school system in any way,” he said.

Research on the Florida Opportunity Scholarship Program, a voucher program struck down by the state supreme court in 2006, provides further evidence, said Christy Hovanetz, senior policy fellow at the foundation, at the summit.

The scholarship program awarded vouchers to students in underperforming schools. Researchers looked at D-rated schools and compared those with an F in their history and those without.

The schools with an F in their history had threats of students using vouchers to leave, and they significantly increased student achievement, Hovanetz said.

“Even though there’s choice, not that many people are taking advantage of it, but it’s doing more to help improve the schools in which the students stay as well as a choice for parents who believe they have a better option for their student,” she said. “Choice does make a difference in student performance — not just for the students who opt for the choice, but also for everybody who sticks around in those public schools.”

Contact Mary C. Tillotson at mtillotson@watchdog.org.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

October 25, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

Why Has Conservative Media Ignored Michelle Rhee’s Connection to Common Core?

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Ann Kane

Now that citizens across the country are becoming more aware of the detrimental aspects of the already adopted Common Core State Standards, Michelle Rhee, the face of education reform, has commented “I do think that there has to be a very strong defense of the common core[.]”

In a recent interview Rhee suggested to proponents of CCSS to switch up the argument “The federal government is trying to stick something down your throat” with “This is about China kicking our butts. Do you want China to kick our butts? No!”

Do we really want to be like China? Why doesn’t she address the concerns of the people, that there is an actual danger of a centralized bureaucracy controlling everything our children will learn from zero to career ready?

Ever since Rhee came on the scene in DC in 2007, she hasn’t said much about textbooks or standards. Did Rhee hoodwink unsuspecting Republican governors and other GOP legislators into accepting Common Core by not talking about curriculum whenever she was asked?

The way it looks, Rhee had her role–lobbying state legislatures to implement her reforms of teaching to the test, merit pay for teachers, removal of teacher tenure, removal of last in, first out and allowance of vouchers–and her colleague at StudentsFirst the “architect” of Common Core David Coleman had his role–write up one set of national standards to centralize curricula.

Yet Rhee knew all along that Coleman who acted as Treasurer/Director of her lobbying organization StudentsFirst was crafting Common Core at the same time. In all the weeks of talk radio’s Glenn Beck vetting the CCSS, why did he not mention Rhee’s affiliation with Coleman and Common Core? Why has the conservative media omitted any negative information on Rhee from its reporting?

Since Rhee has made it difficult to follow her money, and StudentsFirst’s major contributors like Bill Gates, Walton Foundation, Foster Freiss and Betsy DeVos are considered bipartisan, nonpartisan or conservative this can mean only one thing: Republicans who fell for the Common Core hook line and sinker must also be connected to Michelle Rhee financially.

Why else would no one who has the conservative bully pulpit call out Rhee’s relationship with the CCSS? The fact that 48 states may backtrack and attempt to weed out the problems caused by CCSS smells just like Obamacare. Ramrod a program nobody in their right mind would want through the legislature, and then try to get rid of it. Good luck.

But even those on the right who have discovered the problems with CCSS still won’t go all the way and round up all the suspects. Why?

Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

October 24, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Other

SIX THINGS THE US DEPT OF EDUCATION DID TO DEPRIVE YOUR CHILD OF PRIVACY

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Christel Lane Swasey

The story of Common Core and data mining begins as most stories do, with a huge, unmet need.

Self-appointed “stakeholder” know-it-alls at the federal level (also at state, corporate, and even university levels) determined that they had the right, and the need, for open access to personal student data– more so than they already had.

They needed state school systems to voluntarily agree to common data core standards AND to common learning standards to make data comparisons easy.

So, without waiting around for a proper vote, they did it. The CEDS (Common Education Data Standards) were created by the same people who created and copyrighted Common Core: the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). No surprise.

CEDS common elements

Because the federal “need” to control schools and data was and is illegal and unconstitutional –the federal government “needed” to do (and did) at least six sneaky things.

SIX SNEAKY THINGS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DID TO DEPRIVE YOUR CHILD OF PRIVACY:

1. Sneaky Thing Number One: It bribed the states with ARRA Stimulus monies to build 50 linkable, twinlike State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS). This act created a virtual national database.

These SLDS’s had to be interoperable within states and outside states with a State Interoperability Framework. Utah, for example, accepted $9.6 million to create Utah’s SLDS. Think about it. All states have an SLDS, and they are built to be interoperable. How is this not a de facto national database?

2. Sneaky Thing Number Two: It altered the (previously privacy-protective) federal FERPA (Family Educational Rights Privacy Act) law to make access to personally identifiable student data –including biological and behavioral data– “legal”.

So now, the act of requiring parental consent (to share personally identifiable information) has been reduced from a requirement to just a “best practice” according to the altered federal FERPA regulations.

Best practice FERPA

For more information on this, study the lawsuit against the Department of Education by the Electronic Information Privacy Center (EPIC).

The Department of Ed also altered FERPA’s definitions of terms, including what would be defined as “personally identifiable information”.

Biometric Definition FEDERAL

So personally identifiable, shareable information now includes biometric information, (which is behavioral and biological information) collected via testing, palm scanning or iris scanning, or any other means. Schools have not been told that the information they submit to the state SLDS systems are vulnerable to federal and corporate perusal. Legislators write bills that call for the testing of behavioral indicators– but have they considered how this can damage a student’s lifelong need for, and right to, privacy?

The Department of Education openly promotes schools collecting data about students’ personalities and beliefs in the report called “Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perserverance.” This document promotes the use of facial expression cameras, posture analysis seats, wireless skin conductance sensors and other measures of students’ beliefs and emotions. See page 44.

3. Sneaky Thing Number Three: The US Department of Education partnered with private groups, including the CCSSO (that’s the Council of Chief State School Officers –copyright holders on Common Core–) to collect student data nationally.

The CCSSO, or “Superintendents’ Club” as I like to call it, is a private group with no accountability to voters. This makes it in-valid and un-American, as far as governance goes. The CCSSO has a stated mission: to disaggregate student data. Disaggregate means to take away anonymity.

CCSSO disaggregation

The CCSSO states that it has a mission to collect data nationally in partnership with the US Dept of Ed: “The Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) is CCSSO’s network of state education agency officials tasked with data collection and reporting; information system management and design; and assessment coordination. EIMAC advocates on behalf of states to reduce data collection burden and improve the overall quality of the data collected at the national level.

The CCSSO site states that its data collection effort is a USDOE partnership: “The Common Education Data Standards Initiative is a joint effort by CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United Staes Department of Education.”

(Do you recall voting for this arrangement, anyone? Anyone? –Me neither! )

4. Sneaky Thing Number Four: It used private-public partnerships to promote data linking among agencies. The Data Quality Campaign is one example. The National Data Collection Model is another example. The Common Educational Data Standards is another example.

What do these “models” really model?

Example one: from the Data Quality Campaign: “as states build and enhance K12 longitudinal data systems they continue building linkages to exchange and use information across early childhood, postsecondary and the workforce and with other critical agencies such as health, social services and criminal justice systems.”

Let that sink in: linking data from schools, medical clinics, and criminal justice systems is the goal of the Federal-to-CCSSO partnership. So nothing will be kept from any governmental agency; nothing is to be sacred or private if it is known by an SLDS serving entity (any state-funded, state-accountable school).

Example two: from the National Data Collection Model:

your child’s name
nickname
religious affiliation
birthdate
ability grouping
GPA
physical characteristics
IEP
attendance
telephone number
bus stop times
allergies
diseases
languages and dialects spoken
number of attempts at a given assignment
delinquent status
referral date
nonschool activity involvement
meal type
screen name
maternal last name
voting status
martial status
– and even cause of death.

Proponents point out that this is not mandatory federal data collection. True; not yet. But it’s a federally partnered data model and many states are following it.

5. Sneaky Thing Number Five: The Department of Ed created grants for Common Core testing and then mandated that those testing groups synchronize their tests, report fully and often to the U.S. Department of Education, share student-level data, and produce “all student-level data in a manner consistent with an industry-recognized open-licensed interoperability standard that is approved by the Department”.

So federally funded Common Core tests require Common data interoperability standards.

Check out that Cooperative Agreement document here.

But, do you think this “Agreement” information does not apply to you because your state dropped its SBAC or PARCC membership –as several states have? Think again. There is an incestuous, horrific pool of private and public organizations, all of which are VOLUNTARILY agreeing to Common Core based, technological interoperability and data collection standards!

The Data Quality Campaign lists as its partners dozens of groups– not only the CCSSO and NGA (Common Core creators), not only the College Board –which is now run by the lead architect of Common Core, David Coleman; –not only Achieve, Inc., the group that contracted with CCSSO/NGO to write the Common Core, but even the School Interoperability Framework Association, the Pell Institute (Pell Grants), Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, American Institutes for Research (Utah’s Common Core testing provider) and many other Common Core product-providing organizations.

So virtually everyone’s doing data the same way whether they’re privately or publically funded. This should freak anybody out. It really should. We the People, individuals, are losing personal power to these public-private partnerships that cannot be un-elected and that are not subject to the transparency laws of elected offices.

6. Sneaky Thing Number Six: The Department of Education directly lied to the American Society of News Editors. In a June 2013 speech given to the American Society of News Editors, Secretary Duncan mocked the concerns of parents and educators who are fighting Common Core and its related student data mining:

A new set of standards — rigorous, high-quality learning standards, developed and led by a group of governors and state education chiefs — are under attack as a federal takeover of the schools. And your role in sorting out truth from nonsense is really important… They make.. outlandish claims. They say that the Common Core calls for federal collection of student data. For the record, we are not allowed to, and we won’t. And let’s not even get into the really wacky stuff: mind control, robots, and biometric brain mapping. This work is interesting, but frankly, not that interesting.”

Despite what the state school board and the federal Department of Education claim, corporations do know that Common Core and student data mining are interdependent.

CEO of Escholar Shawn Bay spoke at a recent White House event called “Datapalooza.” He said (see his speech on this video, at about minute 9:15) that Common Core “is the glue that actually ties everything together” for student data collection.

And President Obama himself has called his educational and data related reforms so huge that they are cradle to career” -affecting reforms. Secretary Duncan now refers to the reforms not as “K-12″ but as “p-12″ meaning preschool/prenatal. These reforms affect the most vulnerable, but not in a positive way, and certainly not with voters’ knowledge and consent.

The sneakiness and the privacy invasion isn’t just a federal wrong; there’s state-level invasion of local control, too: to be specific, our state’s robbing parents of the right to fully govern their own children.

When I asked my state school board how to opt out of having my children tracked by the State Longitudinal Database System, I was told that the answer was no. There was no way to opt out, they said: all children registered in any state school system (charters, online schools, homeschool-state hybrid programs) are tracked by the SLDS. Here’s that letter.

The Answer is No

Despite Constitutional and G.E.P.A.-law prohibitions, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan admitted that “The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more”. Duncan also said, “America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform.” (Yes, it’s been so quiet that the people governed by it weren’t asked about this revolution.)

Yet, federal speeches, and scholarly research conferences and corporate marketers now openly push for common standards and common data systems. From the official White House website to federal educational grant applications to federally partnered corporate sites, to Secretary Duncan’s speeches, there are countless examples to show that the priorities of the federal government are these four things: 1) standards 2) staff 3) “robust” national data systems 4) labeling certain schools as low-achieving.

And the data product sales companies couldn’t agree more.

Common Core proponents insist that Common Core has nothing to do with data mining. But the federal government always bundles the common standards and the data systems, always. This federal push for common data standards and common education standards ought to be household knowledge. That is step number one, seeing the federal patterns and federal pushes for what they are.

EDFACTS

So, what difference does it make? I hear people say that since they have nothing to hide, they’re unconcerned about who’s tracking their children or their families without consent.

I say our founding fathers didn’t write the Constitution without inspiration.

The Constitution describes the God-given right to privacy:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

How easy will it be for those with access to the national databases to label a person as behaviorally unstable and therefore, unworthy of passing a background check for a job or for a gun purchase? How easy will it be for those with access to the databases to search and seize anything at all that they deem inappropriate, that they deem threatening, that they deem theirs?

Privacy is not properly protected by our state school systems and those who ought to know this, don’t. It’s not their fault; the truth has been carefully, quietly hidden. But widespread knowledge of the facts can –and must-– alter these facts.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

October 23, 2013 at 06:00

Teen pregnancy drops as Planned Parenthood vanishes

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Bob Unruh

Communities looking to reduce their teen pregnancy rates perhaps should consider one move before all the others: closing down any Planned Parenthood business.

That’s because a new study of one region of the country shows that as Planned Parenthood operations shut down and moved out, the teen pregnancy rate plunged by almost half.

The study comes from the pro-life American Life League, but it uses government figures to reach its conclusions. It analyzed one section of the nation – the Texas Panhandle region – where over the course of several years 19 Planned Parenthood businesses closed or left.

The result? Teen pregnancies dropped from 43.6 per 1,000 girls to 24.1 among a stable population of about 13,000 teen girls aged 13-17.

“People don’t realize that Planned Parenthood must work hard to replace the 43 percent of its customers it loses each year,” said Rita Diller, national director of ALL’s STOPP International project. “It normally does this by promoting sexual promiscuity to teens. This study suggests that when Planned Parenthood leaves, teens are more likely to embrace chastity.”

She continued: “We know that the pro-abortion first-response will be ‘consider the source.’ But American Life League is not the source; the source is the officials records of 16 counties within the Texas panhandle. From 1994 through 2010, Planned Parenthood facilities in these counties went from 19 to zero. In the same period, the teen pregnancy rate dropped almost in half, from 43.76 per 1,000 to 24.1 per 1,000. … Those aren’t our numbers; those are government numbers.”

The study is called Planned Parenthood Federation of America: A 5-Part Analysis of Business Practices, Community Outcomes and Taxpayer Funding.

On the topic of community outcomes, it reports that Planned Parenthood offers numerous suggestions to reduce the number of teen pregnancies, none of which involves abstinence. Instead, it suggests “sex education” that begins in kindergarten.

“While many things factor into the teen pregnancy rate, the fact that the TPR continually declined as Planned Parenthood facilities closed – and reached its lowest point in recorded history two years after disaffiliation of the last two remaining facilities – was a significant confirmation that Planned Parenthood’s presence and its ‘evidence based’ sex education programs are not a necessary component to reducing teen pregnancy,” the report said.

The report noted that the closures happened because of “education and activism against Planned Parenthood.”

Other findings of the study include that PPFA now gets $542 million annually from taxpayers but that it still was reducing “health services” while taxpayer funding rose 78 percent over the last six years.

It also found that while it brands itself has a health-care provider, the services it provides actually are plunging.

“There is no evidence that PPFA acted to provide enhancement of healthcare services but PPFA set a new record for abortions performed and total abortion market share,” the report said.

It also is generous with its executives, paying director Cecile Richards more than $583,000 and each of 74 other executives an average of about $166,000, the report said.

“Planned Parenthood at its zenith in 1978 had 191 regional affiliates. In 2012, this number was whittled down to 74, according to Planned Parenthood’s own releases,” the report said.

Regarding delivery of health-care services, ALL reported, Planned Parenthood cancer screens dropped 29 percent and the number of female contraceptive clients was down 18 percent.

All categories of services, in fact, were down, ”except one – abortions,” according to Jim Sedlak, ALL vice president.

And its business model would collapse except for the taxpayer funding it gets, the report said.

“Claims that PPFA ‘preventive healthcare services’ are critical to reducing teen pregnancy are not supported. To the contrary, results suggest that further study of Planned Parenthood’s impact on communities is warranted, considering the fact that its comprehensive sex education model, recruiting of teens to recruit other teens, and promotion of contraceptives as sexual freedom are in decline,” said Brown.

The study showed that PP has received more than $6.8 billion in taxpayer money since 1964, with huge increases coming in recent years under the direction of President Obama. And since 1970, it has terminated the lives of 6.3 million unborn children, equal to the populations of Chicago and Los Angeles.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/10/teen-pregnancy-drops-as-planned-parenthood-vanishes/#gX6SjyiUjKXewZS9.99

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

October 22, 2013 at 06:00

Posted in Liberal, Politics

The Tiny Mind of Boehner: A Jail with No Bars

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By C. Edmund Wright

In contemplating the bizarre, incompetent, and feckless behavior of House Speaker John Boehner over the years, I am reminded of the signature scene from the 1969 Western comedy Support Your Local Sheriff:  In it, the sheriff (James Garner) ridicules dim-witted prisoner Joe Dandy (Bruce Dern), deriding him and maintaining full control even though his jail has no bars.

The money scene is from 2:40 through 3:30:

The cell on the right is yours. We don’t have any bars yet…but we’re gonna operate just as if the bars are there…so while you’re in this jail, you stay on that side of the line, and you and I will get along just fine…stay right there and behave yourself.”

This mocking manipulation is backed up only by some red paint drizzled on the floor where the bars should be, yet Danby is convinced it is the bloody remains of the last inmate.  That blood, like the fanciful memories of the 1995 shutdown that calcify the speaker and many other Republicans, is merely a fiction.  Even über-liberal pollster Nate Silver recognizes this, insulting the Beltway conventional wisdom on both sides this week — and correctly stating that political consequences of the 1995 shutdown are “overrated in Washington’s mythology.”

Indeed they are, and keep in mind that 1995 was a totally different information universe.  This was before Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge had become the major factors they are today, and it was prior to Fox News, hundreds of other talk shows, and the entire right-wing blogosphere emerging as a counter to the Jurassic media.  This also preceded many Americans developing the general disdain for government per se they have now.

Silver knows, as do many of us, that the threat of ’95 is merely red paint.  Besides, the ’96 congressional elections were pretty good for Republicans, even with the Dole/Kemp ticket weighing the party down and only the nascent conservative alternative media.

And yet, Boehner remains traumatized by 1995 and is cowering in the corner of a brig, where the bars have been fabricated in his fearful and isolated head.  Of course, prisoner Boehner is joined by most establishment Republicans in this fantasy penitentiary.  It’s the big house for little minds — drones held captive by the absurd assumption that the entire nation thinks the way the Beltway population does.  They remain convinced that the red paint of ’95 was real GOP blood.

Moreover, this mindset is combined with a childish and insecure need to be loved, a yearning so strong that jettisoning everything one stands for is a price well worth paying at any time, including in what could well be a seminal moment in history.  One of the ironies is that Boehner has had a legitimate chance to be loved — albeit by the conservative base — as he was elected speaker following the disastrous reign of Nancy Pelosi and the first two years of Obama.  A bigger man would have embraced every opportunity provided by this timing — the chance to put a stop to the train wreck known as the Obama-Reid-Schumer agenda.  It is no exaggeration to say that history has given Boehner a shot at being one of the most consequential speakers in all of history.  It is also no exaggeration to say that he is simply not up to the task.

The latest evidence is the recent ill-considered capitulation in the shutdown/ObamaCare standoff, where Boehner and his lieutenants have apparently offered surrender to Obama with the enemy flag within sight.  Spooked by an absurd NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of only 800 people — grossly oversampling Democrats and government workers to boot — Boehner once again has been cowed by red paint and is a prisoner of imaginary bars in his head.

Yes, this one tiny and preposterous poll has changed everything.  Boehner is ignoring the AP poll showing Obama’s approval underwater at 37% versus 53%.  Lost in a brain fried by tanning-bed overexposure apparently is the significance that Obama is losing with the precious independents — to the tune of 16-60%!  I thought the GOP establishment and Boehner were obsessed with independents!

Also lost on the isolated Boehner is a mountain of anecdotal evidence that park rangers and other low-level functionary bureaucrats are giving Obama and big government a bad name by the minute with their near-criminal acts against citizens, while the ObamaCare rollout is simultaneously imploding and bringing reality-based shame on the entire scam.  The Republicans were picking up brownie points by the minute!  This was all lost on the Beltway GOP.

But forget polls for a minute, and even public opinion.  A speaker of the House should do the right thing regardless of the polls, and the right thing is to fight Obama and ObamaCare in the most aggressive and judicious way possible.  There can be legitimate arguments made over the most judicious path forward regarding the coming debt limit deadline, but there is no arguing that holding fast to the shutdown “CR” and ObamaCare delay was starting to work.  More to the point, there is no doubt that charging halfway up the hill and then waving the white flag is the worst of all possible outcomes in every way imaginable.

This will lead to bad policy, more ObamaCare, and even less respect for Republicans from all sides.  Moderates will lose faith, the base will become even more disgusted, and the liberals will laugh even harder.  Given the chance to stare down conventional wisdom and do the right thing in historic circumstances, Boehner has again blinked.

And it is all so unnecessary.  John Boehner, once a small-businessman legislator from Ohio — once a man fully in touch with America and capable of writing large parts of the Contract with America — is now just a pathetic, frightened shell of his former self.  Isolated from the reality of the country, Boehner is now just another creature of the Beltway.  He is powerful, arrogant, and wealthy.  But his mind is a confined space, surrounded by bars of his own imagining.  You can bet Obama and his pals like David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett are laughing.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/10/the_tiny_mind_of_boehner_a_jail_with_no_bars.html#ixzz2hdhO0riD
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Written by Leatherneck Blogger

October 21, 2013 at 06:00

How is Gov. Nixon doing in 2013? Grades are in

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By Mike Ferguson | for Missouri Watchdog

KANSAS CITY – How did the governor do in 2013?

On Tuesday, we discussed the performance of the Missouri Legislature with various parties on the left and right sides of the political spectrum.

We got their opinions on the governance of Gov. Jay Nixon, too. Grades varied greatly, mostly dependent on whether respondents were for or against big government.

Here’s what they had to say.

Carl Bearden, a former Republican state representative and current executive director of United for Missouri, flunks the Democrat.

“Governor Nixon moved seamlessly and swiftly to the left after his re-election,” Bearden said. “He spent much of his time during session campaigning for more government spending on such things as Medicaid expansion, the likes of which most Missourians reject.”

Bearden said that Nixon’s tactic of withholding funding for certain categories helped defeat the Republicans’ plan to cut income taxes, accusing the two-term governor of using his “bully pulpit.”

“He won the battle with special interest groups solving a crisis of his own creation, but he lost a lot of ground with the general public who by the time veto session had arrived, were supporting the override of his veto by significant margins,” Bearden said.

The former St. Charles lawmaker was among the most vocal about the Missouri Department of Revenue document scanning scandal, and continues to have harsh words for Nixon about it.

“The governor denied it was happening and then ran from it when he could no longer deny it,” Bearden said. “Even today, he refuses to accept responsibility for what has happened on his watch.”

Nixon earns a solid “B” from Jeanette Mott-Oxford, a former Democratic state representative and current executive director of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare.

He made the case repeatedly and strongly that it was in Missouri’s best interest to expand the income guidelines for Medicaid to cover low-wage workers up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level,” she said.

The GOP-dominated Legislature decided to reject that component of Obamacare expansion.

Mott-Oxford said she was happy to see Nixon’s public relations campaign and subsequent political win over the Republican-led tax reform plan.

“He traveled around the state tirelessly to explain his veto of the poorly crafted and unwise tax cut proposal, HB 253. Projected to reduce state revenues by $800 million to $1.2 billion per year, this bill could have been a disaster for public schools, mental health and many other essential programs and services,” she said.

So what cost Nixon an “A” grade with Mott-Oxford this year? In her view, it’s his unwillingness to spend more on social and other government programs.

“Gov. Nixon, like a long line of GOP and Democratic governors before him in Missouri, continues to either pretend or delude himself that we can fix the understaffing of state departments and the underfunding of essential state programs by new technology and ‘working smarter,’” she said.

Ray McCarty, the head of Associated Industries of Missouri, hands out a “C” to Nixon.

He liked Nixon’s signature on a bill to reduce companies’ interstate and international tax liabilities, as well as on another piece of legislation to ensure occupational diseases are covered under the exclusive remedy provisions of the workers’ compensation law.

Still, it was a mixed bag of applause and frustration for Nixon from AIM’s perspective.

“The governor vetoed several bills that were high priorities for Associated Industries of Missouri, including the first broad-based tax cut in nearly 100 years, a bill limiting punitive damages against mining companies that ceased operations prior to 1975 (HB 650), and two bills that would have strengthened the definition of misconduct for unemployment purposes to prevent the unreasonable payment of unemployment compensation to former employees that have been dismissed for valid reasons (HB 611 and SB 28).”

McCarty faults Nixon not only for some of the vetoes, but also for what he considers a lack of communication early in the legislative process.

“Of course, we wish he would have signed these bills. We also would have appreciated a better understanding from the governor’s office regarding any compromise the governor would accept on tax cuts, language addressing Missouri’s unreasonably low standard for employment discrimination claims against employers and language preventing abuse of Missouri’s whistleblower protection statutes.”

Sean Nicholson, executive director of Progress Missouri, scores Nixon the highest with an A-minus.

He touted Nixon’s aggressive push for Medicaid expansion and his veto of the tax cut bill.

“He also vetoed dangerous and unfair legislation that would have harmed workers, like paycheck deception and attacks on the prevailing wage,” Nicholson said.

While Nicholson, overall is happy with Nixon’s performance there were some areas that kept the governor from getting that perfect mark from the left-leaning organization.

“Governor Nixon should have vetoed HB 400 and sent the message to legislators that doctors and patients – not politicians – should make medical decisions about women’s health,” Nicholson said.

http://watchdog.org/107790/how-is-gov-nixon-doing-in-2013-grades-are-in/

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

October 18, 2013 at 06:00

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