Forbes – Common Core Razes Charter School Standards

17 Apr

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A battle is raging between those who would challenge our public school monopolies and those who wish to nationalize school curricula. There is much more at stake here than how Jane and Johnny learn to read.

The success of the American experiment has always rested on a balance between opposing forces, between those seeking common purpose and those sustaining healthy diversity. A great nation needs both in proper measure. A common language, a common set of founding principles, a common respect for each other and the rule of law binds us together. A diversity of objectives, a richness of experiences, and a willingness to challenge the status quo challenges us to keep moving forward. Nowhere is this more important than in education.

The Charter School movement, an autonomous mix of initiatives taking place in cities and states across the country, has made spectacular progress. Charters are proving that schools under local control, answerable directly to the parents and children they serve, can outperform monopoly public schools that have been captured by entrenched interests, principally teachers’ unions and the politicians their profuse campaign donations can buy.

Charter schools’ ability to experiment and innovate, guided by parental choice, is often the best hope for urban minority children who would otherwise face bleak life prospects. If current trends continue, charter schools could revolutionize K-12 education, discovering paths to success that no union boss or central planner could divine.

But trends might not continue, because countervailing forces are attempting to drag both Charter Schools and high performing public schools down to least common denominator standards called Common Core. Designed by technocrats in Washington, this “one size fits all” curriculum was dispatched to the states along with financial “incentives” to encourage “voluntary” adoption. Fortunately, attempts to slip Common Core under the radar have failed, as informed opposition swells.

Common Core Conundrum

Common Core Conundrum

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcasts – Tax Day Special

14 Apr

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Tax Day Special- The Tax Pledge of Allegiance

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Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, discusses his experiences growing up in Massachusetts and how it helped propel him to fight for lower taxes for all Americans, how citizens enforce his organization’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and what we can expect during the remainder of the Obama presidency.

LISTEN (full length interview)

DOWNLOAD FROM ITUNES (as aired)

WATCH (on YouTube)

 

Tax Day Special- Solve Inequality: Tax the Rich

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Robert Reich, University of California, Berkeley Professor and former Secretary of Labor, discusses his experiences growing up and in college and makes the case against tax cuts, which he blames for greater income inequality—a problem he claims can be addressed through tax hikes on the rich.

LISTEN (full length interview)

DOWNLOAD FROM ITUNES (as aired)

WATCH (on YouTube)

Forbes – Dueling Visions for Taxing Times: Grover Norquist v. Robert Reich

13 Apr

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Limited government, federalism, and supply side economics, or tax, spend, and equalize

This is why I got into radio: A pairing of guests representing two competing visions for the nation’s economic future, each making their case in turn, no shouting.

Their policy recommendations are diametrically opposed. “No new taxes,” says one. “Tax the rich,” says the other. Their understanding of how our economy works, what drives innovation and growth, the proper role of government, the lessons of history, and what makes homo economicus tick couldn’t be more at odds. Their contrasting backgrounds—the precocious rebel who grew up to shame tax-raising  politicians vs. the bullied intellectual who reached the loftiest corridors of power—couldn’t be more revealing.

This week, I’m pleased to have Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, as back-to-back guests on RealClear Radio Hour, sharing their views on what each believes is wrong with America and how they propose to fix it.

To read the rest of the colum click here.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcast Robert Sirico, Michael Cannon

8 Apr

From the 2014 Conservative Leadership Conference in Raleigh, NC

A Moral Defense of Capitalism
April 5, 2014

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Devout humanist, Catholic priest, and social justice advocate Father Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute, discusses his personal philosophical journey and the commonalities binding together Western civilization, the Christian tradition, and modern economic policy.

LISTEN (full-length interview)

DOWNLOAD FROM ITUNES (as aired)

WATCH on YouTube

The Evolution of Obamacare
April 5, 2014

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Cato Institute health policy expert Michael Cannon discusses how—and why—Obamacare continues to  metamorphose at the administration’s whim, and how the resulting inconsistencies led to one of the most important challenges to the law, Halbig v. Sebelius.

LISTEN (full-length interview)

DOWNLOAD FROM ITUNES

WATCH on YouTube

Forbes – Will Republican Culture Warriors Snatch Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory?

4 Apr

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I was recently invited to speak at the annual Conservative Leadership Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, a regional red-meat gathering of the conservative faithful trying to help Republicans win back control of the government. Since I’m neither a conservative nor a Republican—nor faithful, for that matter, as I am a rather unabashed atheist—you might wonder what I was doing there. I’ll give you the same answer I gave the conference attendees. To have any hope of becoming a majority party, you ought to take a page from libertarians trying to make common cause with Republicans by focusing on economic freedom as a uniting cause, while setting the culture war aside.

The conservatives I met there are not the caricature often pushed in the mainstream media. Yes, they say grace before every meal. Yes, they take their religion seriously. And yes, their faith informs their behavior, language, and political beliefs. But this isn’t a bunch of old white racists seeking to disenfranchise minorities and send children to work in coal mines. This was a racially diverse crowd of thoughtful people concerned about the swelling power of Washington, the misuse of that power, and the fiscal disaster that awaits us if we don’t do something about it.

To read the rest of the column click here.

RealClear Radio Hour Podcast: Marian Tupy, Matt Ridley

30 Mar

The Measure of Human Achievement
MAR 29, 2014
Marian Tupy, editor of HumanProgress.org and Senior Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute, introduces this new website, which culls the best resources on development, health, and progress—and illustrates the massive improvements in our global economic, social, and cultural situation, despite the doomsayers’ drumbeat.

LISTEN (full-length interview)
DOWNLOAD FROM ITUNES (as aired)
WATCH ON YOUTUBE (with slides)

Why We Should Be Optimistic About the Future
MAR 29, 2014
Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, recounts the long, flawed history of pessimistic predictions and invites us to examine the facts behind our inexorable march of progress. To illustrate, he describes how agriculture is supporting our growing population at an ever lower cost to the environment. As a result, human well-being and life expectancy are improving at rates previously unimaginable, notwithstanding man-made disasters like biofuel policy.

LISTEN (full-length interview)
DOWNLOAD FROM ITUNES (as aired)
WATCH ON YOUTUBE (with slides)

Forbes – Lights Out For Earth Hour

28 Mar

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If green zealots get their way, we will be sitting in the dark for a lot more than an hour.

You would think that demonizing electricity would be a tough sell to a populace devoted to smartphones, gaming consoles, DVRs, flat screen TVs, iPhones, tablets, and the next “must have” gadget. But you’d be wrong. Earth Hour, an annual “turn off your lights” media event sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), continues to grow, despite the inherent contradiction between its purported goal of conservation-by-denial and how we and the developing world aspire to live today.

But it’s not just us here in America. How can the human race possibly achieve greater prosperity without bringing electricity to the billions of people on Earth who do not yet enjoy its blessings? The WWF’s campaign doesn’t say. Instead, it simply relies on the worn-out idea that humans once lived “in harmony” with nature and that “the planet” would be better off (for whom?) if we all returned to a simpler, less technologically dependent lifestyle.

Such musings have been a recurring theme in Western civilization for generations, particularly among wealthy elites. Fortunately, for centuries the consequences of back-to-nature evangelizing were restricted to a few intellectual poseurs reading some impenetrable books by some other intellectual poseurs who somehow convinced a slightly larger circle of poseurs that they had special insights on how the world should be.

To read the rest of the column click here.

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