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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/07/17 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    Gus Van Horn blog

    Reblogged:Sowell on DeVos

    Thomas Sowell has come out of retirement to express his support for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Of all Trump's cabinet picks so far, she has faced the fiercest opposition in the Senate, where there is a 50-50 stalemate. Calling the DeVos nomination both a once-in-a-generation opportunity for educational reform and a major threat to teachers' unions, Sowell elaborates: [DeVos] has, for more than 20 years, been promoting programs, laws and policies that enable parents to choose which schools their children will attend -- whether these are charter schools, voucher schools or parochial schools. Some of these charter schools -- especially those in the chain of the Success Academy schools and the chain of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools -- operate in low-income, minority neighborhoods in the inner-cities, and turn out graduates who can match the educational performances of students in affluent suburbs. What is even more remarkable, these charter schools are often housed in the very same buildings, in the very same ghettoes, where students in the regular public schools fail to learn even the basics in English or math. You and I may think this is great. But, to the teachers' unions, such charter schools are a major threat to their members' jobs -- and ultimately to the unions' power or existence. If parents have a choice of where to send their children, many of those parents are not likely to send them to failing public schools, when there are alternative schools available that equip those youngsters with an education that can open the way to a far better future for them. [bold added]DeVos might be a dream candidate for this post, if (a) she were a principled advocate of laissez-faire, or (b) she were nominated by such a president, who would make sure her reforms would most likely lead to the abolishment of government schools. Neither is the case and, on top of that, DeVos, who explicitly regardsher activism as as a means to "advance God's Kingdom," wants religious schools to be eligible for vouchers. Plainly, on the grounds of separation of religion and state, these schools shouldn't be eligible, and including them in a voucher program (especially outside the explicit context of privatizing education) reinforces the dangerous precedent of government funding of religious activity set by Bush-Obama's "faith-based initiatives." That said, the mind-killing death grip the unions have on (what should be) education means, in light of Sowell's arguments (and the public not being ready for privatization), that we can't necessarily rule her out on that basis. Many parochial schools produce children better able to think than do the public schools. (And many parents would send their children to them, anyway. Note that this is not the same thing as the government sending their kids to them at the expense of others. The fact that people can misuse their freedom does not in any way justify the government funding or preventing such choices.) I am inclined to favor her nomination with eyes open as a means of reining back the power of the teachers' unions and freeing some young minds in the process. This is not a firm opinion, but DeVos may well be the best selection we can hope for in some time. Regardless, religious conservatives should not be confused with capitalists, and they have repeatedly shown themselves to be just as eager to dine at the trough of government loot as their fellow altruist-collectivistson the left. I would be pleasantly surprised to see her appointment bring us breathing room, but I don't expect much more. And it could well backfire. -- CAV Link to Original
  2. 1 point
    What a game! Fatherhood and a greater interest in soccer combined long ago to make me only an very occasional viewer of the NFL. And so it was that I found myself watching Super Bowl LI yesterday -- at my wife's urging. I knew the Super Bowl was coming soon, but it wasn't until my wife asked me to pick up Super Bowl goodies from the store Thursday that I realized it was right on top of us. I expected the Patriots to win and, having lived in Boston, was rooting for them, but I fully expected them to put the game safely out of reach quickly enough for me to retire early. With the opposite apparently happening and not really having dogs in the hunt, I made the mistake of confusing Tom Brady for a mere mortal and went upstairs to get ready to move the kids to their beds. When I returned, there was a football game on, the kind I'd never forgive myself for not watching. Like millions of others, I got to see Tom Brady and Bill Belichick make Super Bowl history against a fearsome opponent. I am happy to pay for that spectacle with the small price of feeling tired this morning. Seeing someone overcome what he did early in the season and for much of the game is something I needed, and it will be good to remember. Brady was on fire. There was a look in his eye that told me he would win or put up a valiant fight. He wasn't there just because he is a professional. But football is just as much a mental game as it is a physical one, and it is worth reading about how the coaches and players engineered this comeback: Undeterred by Jones' brilliant grab, Belichick settled on the double-Julio Jones strategy. And then the Patriots started getting pressure on Ryan, coming up with two huge sacks in the fourth quarter. The first a strip sack that changed the game. The second sack pushed the Falcons out of field goal range. All of Belichick's tinkering had finally paid off. After scoring 28 points over the first 36 minutes of the game, the Falcons were shut out the rest of the way. We've praised Belichick (and rightfully so? [sic] but give credit to both Matt Patricia, who's established himself quite the reputation as a defensive coordinator and should be getting a head job very soon, and the Patriots secondary for playing their part in the turnaround. "We made some adjustments," Patricia said. "[Our defensive backs] do a good job of coming back and giving us feedback. I think those guys understand the game to a level that I don't think anybody really comprehends. They'll come back and say 'Hey, we see this, we think we can do this, maybe let's make this adjustment,' and that's what they did." [bold added]I recall hearing at one point in the first half that Belichick had said that a coach who waits until halftime to make changes is too late. This game proves it, although the payoff didn't become apparent until late in the game, after it seemed to me to be a lost cause. Ignore the complaints about the NFL's tie-breaking procedure (which I admit is flawed) or the idea that the Falcons "choked." They were a worthy opponent, whom it took a coaching genius and one of the game's greatest players to defeat. They are young and, if they are as good as I think they are, this loss will galvanize them in much the same way Deflategate did the Patriots this year. They will have something to prove, and if they persist, I think they will prove it. -- CAV Link to Original