“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I want to be half as smart as Hans Von Spakovsky

When my brain grows up I'll be happy if it's half as smart as Hans Von Spakovsky. I was privileged to get to know Hans when he was in Atlanta going through the Coverdell Institute. I had no idea that this fun-loving, sharp talking guy was anywhere near as brilliant as I've since discovered. Since he left us for Washington D.C., I've kept up with him via his writings, the Institute and his appearances on various shows.

Why am I writing about Hans? He is a "Visiting Legal Scholar" at the Heritage Foundation. Every day I get an update from the Foundation and occasionally he is quoted or writes. Even when he doesn't write, seeing the update makes me think of him, however fleetingly.

He isn't mentioned in the article below, nor does he probably have anything to do with it. But I have long neglected giving him a shout out and kudos for doing so much to help the conservative cause. We in the conservative side of the political spectrum are blessed to have people like Hans on our side.

Now, on to why I thought of Hans, the Morning Bell.

Today's Morning Bell from the Heritage Foundation focuses on Omnibus package and its impact on some students. Something you may or may not hear about in the mainstream media is the fact that by signing the $410 Omnibus package (you know, the one with thousands of, gasp, earmarks) Obama is kicking two kids out of his daughter's school. The two students are only able to attend the school due to a scholarship that Obama kills with the stroke of a pen.

It seems to me that if he cared as much about the children as he says he does, if all the "regular" people were at least as important in his estimation as the unions, he'd veto the bill and make them bring him one that was earmark free.

Instead he is countering his so-called principles by tossing underprivileged students out of schools and signing a bill with un-needed earmarks. Then, to add more poop to his mud-pie, he's going to tell us about earmark reform.

The other day he treated us to his view of education. It includes fun things like increased time in school, also known as the babysitting and daycare killing provision.

Here's the Morning Bell from the Heritage Foundation which sparked all of the thoughts above... whew. As always, the Bell is chocked full of information that I wish I had written or thought of myself:

The “Same Chance” Obama Had

Outlining his educational policy yesterday, President Barack Obama said: “And I want every child in this country to have the same chance that my mother gave me, that my teachers gave me, that my college professors gave me, that America gave me.” These are wonderful words, but unless President Obama vetoes the $410 billion omnibus spending bill heading towards his desk, he will fall far short of living up to them.

Inserted into the omnibus’ 1,132 pages is language dictated to Congress by teachers’ unions killing 1,700 scholarships that enable kindergarten through 12th grade students from low-income families in the District of Columbia to attend private schools. Conservatives in the Senate fought to strip the provision from the bill last night, but were defeated by the liberal majority.

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was passed by Congress in January 2004 and approximately 7,200 children have applied for the 1,700 spots in the program. A 2008 Department of Education study found that after just 19 months of instruction, scholarship students realized slightly higher academic achievement than those students who applied but were not lucky enough to secure a spot in the program. A more recent University of Arkansas study has shown that parents are overwhelmingly satisfied with their children’s experience in the program. Common reasons for this higher level of satisfaction included appreciation for the ability to choose their child’s school and the success their children are having in their new school environments.

President Obama and his administration are very familiar with the empowering benefits school choice brings to families struggling to educate their children. Growing up in Chicago, Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attended a private school. Growing up in Hawaii, President Obama attended a private school. Growing up first in Chicago, and now in Washington, Obama’s two daughters attended and still attend private schools. In fact, two of Obama’s daughter’s classmates are able to attend Sidwell Friends thanks to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. By signing the omnibus spending bill, Obama will be denying these children the “same chance” he had as a child.

Some in the media are portraying Obama’s speech as “tough talk on teachers” since the president said he wanted to spend additional money on “effective” teachers. But the teachers unions were in no way disappointed with what Obama actually said. National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel said: “I think people are putting words in his mouth and jumping to conclusions about what he supports.” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten added: “The devil is in the details, and it is important that teachers’ voices are heard when we implement the president’s vision.”

Well, the voices of teachers unions are already being heard, and unless President Obama does something about it, those voices will cost 1,700 children the “same chance” President Obama had to school choice.

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