A Further Perspective

A Further Perspective

The Top Five Reasons Teachers Unions Need to Change

By 8.5.15

A hundred years ago, teachers first formed unions in the U.S. At that time, too many teachers lost their jobs for reasons such as an unplanned pregnancy, or gaining too much weight. Wages and working conditions back then could often be, well, substandard.

Today, by contrast, union-negotiated employment policies protect mediocre and bad teachers from consequences for abysmal performance and even, in some cases, criminal activities. Teachers who feel misrepresented and have no desire to belong to a union are nevertheless forced to pay for these organizations.

Here are five reasons states should change their laws regarding teachers unions and education job protection.

A Further Perspective

Climate Change, California Drought, and Joe Del Bosque

By 8.4.15

Many people think Obama is a phony. They also think that he is amazingly shallow or ignorant on important policy issues. One of these is climate change, which Obama is repackaging this week, taking on natural gas as well as coal.

Another is the worsening California drought, which he uses shamelessly to pitch his half-baked ideas on global warming. The two are related at least in the public mind and politics. 

Joe Del Bosque has joined these ranks. 

Let’s do a fast rewind. In February 2014, President Barack Obama arrived on Air Force One with Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein aboard in Fresno, California, en route to a golf weekend in Palm Springs. The entourage helicoptered west, before a long presidential motorcade moved on to Los Banos. On farmland capable of producing at least a million melons, empty as far as the eye could see, joined by Gov. Jerry Brown, the President linked California’s lack of rain to climate change and carbon pollution.

A Further Perspective

Parental Choice 2.0

By 8.3.15

The K-12 world as we knew it at the end of the 20th century still employed a 19th century factory model of schooling.

Lawmakers from various states engaged in parental choice in the form of public charter schools and private choice programs. Millions of children are on waiting lists for these choice options, a powerful indicator of parental demand.

Today a small but growing number of states are blazing a new trail with adoption of a Parental Choice 2.0 approach — commonly called Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).

These accounts give some parents state-monitored bank accounts from which to finance and customize the education of their children. Participation had been limited to subsets of children, such as those with learning disabilities.

In June, Nevada made a historic step forward when Governor Brian Sandoval signed legislation giving all families with children in public school access to the program.

This represents the way of the future in K-12.

A Further Perspective

Documented Irresponsibility

By 7.28.15

People who entered the United States illegally may be called “undocumented” in politically correct circles, but what is all too well documented is the utter irresponsibility of both political parties in dealing with immigration issues.

Both Democratic and Republican administrations have left the border with Mexico porous for years — porous not just for Mexicans but for anybody else, including terrorists from the Middle East.

Two very different issues have gotten jumbled together in the political stew called “comprehensive immigration reform.” The first and most fundamental issue is whether we are going to have an immigration policy at all. The second issue is: Just what should that immigration policy be?

If we do not control our own border, then we do not have any immigration policy. We may have immigration laws on the books, but if anybody can cross the border that wants to, those laws are just words on paper and a bad joke.

A Further Perspective

The Fact-Free Left: Part II

By 7.23.15

There is no way to know what is going on in someone else’s mind. But sometimes their behavior tells you more than their words.

The political left’s great claim to authenticity and honor is that what they advocate is for the benefit of the less fortunate. But how could we test that?

T.S. Eliot once said, ‘Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.’

This suggests that one way to find out if those who claim to be trying to help the less fortunate are for real is to see if they are satisfied to simply advocate a given policy, and see it through to being imposed — without also testing empirically whether the policy is accomplishing what it set out to do.

The first two steps are enough to let advocates feel important and righteous. Whether you really care about what happens to the supposed beneficiaries of the policy is indicated by whether you bother to check out the empirical evidence afterwards.

A Further Perspective

Chattanooga and the Fact-Free Left

By 7.21.15

The outrage over another multiple murder of American military personnel on American soil by another Islamic extremist has been exacerbated by the fact that these military people had been ordered to be unarmed — and therefore sitting ducks.

Millions of American civilians have also been forbidden to have guns, and are also sitting ducks — for criminals, terrorists, or psychos.

You might think that, before having laws or policies forcing fellow human beings to be defenseless targets, those who support such laws and policies would have some factual basis for believing that these gun restrictions save more lives, on net balance, than allowing more legal access to firearms. But you would be wrong.

Most gun control zealots show not the slightest interest in testing empirically their beliefs or assumptions. There have been careful factual studies by various scholars of what happens after gun control laws have been instituted, strengthened, or reduced.

A Further Perspective

It’s Hard Out Here for a Redneck

By 7.20.15

By the time Andrea Mitchell interviewed Valery Levitt, former classmate Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, she already had a thing or two figured out about the young Muslim who’d murdered at least five U.S. military personnel in a shooting rampage in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last Thursday. He was a typical redneck who clung to his guns and religion. “Were guns a big part of activity — social or other activity?… Did he hunt? Did he shoot? I mean, was that just part of small-town Tennessee activity?” she asked hopefully. Only his religion was Islam. So he must also have suffered “prejudice against him because of his ethnicity.” Right?

Most rednecks don’t have to deal with prejudice — they dispense it — so no wonder the poor lad cracked up! Unfortunately, Ms. Levitt didn’t have a clue about what Andrea was going on about, so that theory didn’t go anywhere.

A Further Perspective

Spinning Out of Control

By 7.18.15

It is a safe prediction that for years to come the debate over the Obama Iran deal will rage, with one question looming largest; namely, which was worse… the treaty or the press conference?

Actually, it was not a conference but what is known in Washington-speak as a “press availability.” This refers not to the press being available but to the President making himself available to the press and all its relentless scrutiny. For once Obama came through, making himself thoroughly available; all his specious sophistry, all his testy narcissism, all his Freudian solipsism, was on display. To coin a phrase, he had all his centrifuges spinning. And, as Jackie Mason would add, I say this with the highest respect.

In one contentious exchange, Major Garrett of CBS wondered how the President was “content” to leave American hostages trapped in Iran, basting in Hell while he basked in Heaven. Obama contended he was not the least bit content; why, he had even met with some of the families of the hostages!

A Further Perspective

Life, Where Is Thy Sting?

By 7.16.15

A husband comes home to find the kitchen sink has broken and the entire kitchen is flooded. In the midst of the wreckage stands his beleaguered wife, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Stop crying, honey,” he says. “You are only making it worse.”

This grim jest captures the experience of those sincere compassionate souls who devote themselves to the battle for human life; against euthanasia, against assisted suicide, and, most poignantly, against abortion. The larger war is already lost, and millions of babies will be murdered each year. This daunting reality makes it hard to find the moxie to fight the small legislative and public policy battles. Those tussles require just as much energy, yet all we can hope to save are here a few, there a few.

A Further Perspective

Apropos Iran and Obama

By 7.15.15

A few notes on Iran and its pal, Mr. Obama.…

1. Does anyone think that the Iranian deal that Barack Hussein Obama has just agreed to will really keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb?

2. Does any person of normal intelligence anywhere trust the Islamic Republic of Iran to keep its word?

3. Has the Islamic Republic of Iran ever kept its word about any important subject?

4. Has the President of the United States ever signed a life or death agreement with a government whose leaders were shrieking “Death to America” as the ink was drying on the agreement?