The dignity of work -- not AOC’s Green New Deal -- will save the next generation

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she is concerned for future generation, as all of us should be – but not for many of the reason outlined in her Green New Deal. What we should also be concerned about – very concerned – is the example being set by those elected officials who are advocating for handouts to Americans who are “unwilling to work” and undermining the values that have defined this country since its inception.

The New York Democrat’s proposal is simply the latest progressive attack on work and opportunity, and it’s yet another step down a slippery slope towards dependency and away from personal responsibility.

Read more at FoxNews.com

Free Speech Crisis is a Failure of K-12 Education

At universities across the country, including Yale, Purdue, Missouri, Princeton, and Georgetown, students have protested environments they find hostile and supportive of racial discrimination. In several of these cases, students have called for limits on free speech and the press in the midst of their protests, shocking pundits, parents, and others nationwide with their lack of understanding and respect for our fundamental First Amendment rights.

These actions, however, are supported by the results of a recent PEW research poll, which found that 40% of millennials support government limits on free speech when it pertains to offensive statements about minority groups, a significant increase from their counterparts in previous generations.

Why are millennials so affable to government limits on free speech?

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Igniting a passion for liberty through classroom engagement

While initially penned on parchment paper, the Constitution transcends time and technology to remain one of the most influential and inspirational documents in the history of the world. Issues debated in Philadelphia by the Founders are still argued in the halls of Congress with a vigor and passion that rivals that of Madison and Jefferson. The Constitution is more than a word tossed around during debates or campaign speeches—it is the foundation of our republic and the fabric with which our story has been written.

Our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, so eloquently detailed in the Declaration of Independence, are protected by the very structure of the Constitution. To its core, the Constitution was written to ensure that individual liberty trumps that of government in every way possible.

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Everyone Wins with Carly In at the next Debate

The long road to the GOP nomination got a bit more interesting when Carly Fiorina earned a spot on the main stage of this month’s upcoming CNN debate.

Following an exceptional performance in the undercard Fox News debate, Fiorina has experienced a substantial surge in the polls. Ranked in the top 10 in 12 state-based polls (and in the top three in the latest poll out of Iowa), Fiorina has seen her favorability increase by double digits over the last two weeks.

Her participation is a win-win for everyone – from CNN to the GOP to the primary voter. Not only does CNN get to promote her involvement and benefit from a potential ratings boost (because who isn’t interested in watching Fiorina and Trump go toe-to-toe on the same stage?), but the GOP now boasts a legitimate candidate who can combat the war on women narrative in primetime.

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How Education ‘Reform’ Serves Everyone But Our Kids

Originally posted at TownHall.com

It’s the quintessential tragedy of education reform today. Paychecks – not children – are the golden ticket of a movement that has been hijacked by consultants and experts with years of business experience yet none in the classroom. Bureaucrats and reformers talk a big game about closing achievement gaps, raising high school graduation rates, and improving accountability and performance mechanisms for school districts and classrooms. Yet they fail to deliver when the time comes to put visions into workable, applicable plans. Paychecks are cashed while schools are shuttered and children are left holding the textbooks, unable to read them.

For a case in point, look at Newark, New Jersey, where massive philanthropic gifts have done nothing to stem budget shortfalls, school closures and teacher layoffs. Just this week, The New Yorker released a 12-page expose on Cory Booker’s vision for Newark Public Schools. Consistently one of the most underperforming school districts in the country, Newark has been in immense need of transformational reform for years. Booker, a national advocate for school choice, sought help from an unlikely source – CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, who pledged $100 million with a requirement for matching funds to enact Booker’s plan.

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Think the NSA and IRS are bad?

Originally posted at Rare.us.

For the last twelve months, we’ve watched conservative Republicans in Congress rail against unconstitutional NSA spying and the targeting of tea party groups by the IRS. Many question why government needs access to all of our information in the first place.

Yet, largely unnoticed and with bi-partisan approval from Congress, a large and powerful infrastructure is actively collecting the data of millions of American kids every single day.

According to Politico, “(Education) tech companies of all sizes, from basement startups to global conglomerates, have jumped into the game. The most adept are scooping up as many as 10 million unique data points on each child, each day.”

“That’s more data, by several orders of magnitude, than Netflix or Facebook or even Google collect on their users,” Politico adds.

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No Winners or Losers, Just Mediocrity

Originally Posted at Smart Girl Politics - SGPAction.com

It’s October 2014. Hot dogs are cooked, peanuts are ready, and stadiums have perfected their version of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Ten teams have risen above the pack and are set to begin battle in the Major League Baseball playoffs. 

However, Bud Selig has called a press conference three days before the first pitch that he says will change the landscape of America’s past time forever.

He enters the room flanked by Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, and Bill Gates. Determined, they adjust their microphones and eye the reporters. “We know many of you are excited to begin playoff competition, a tradition that spans families, franchises, and generations,” Selig says. “However, after long thought and input by trusted advisors, we’ve decided that this level of competition is unhealthy. Every team has worked hard for 162 games, shown up to practice and double headers in the heat, and should be rewarded for their participation. We’ve decided to award every team, and every player, with an award of achievement rather than allow just one team to celebrate winning a World Series championship. As fans, this makes all of you winners.”

The room is silent. Reporters and fans start checking their clocks and calendars, ensuring it isn’t actually April 1st.

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Insert Witty "War on Women" Paycheck Fairness Reference Here

Originally Posted at RedState.com

President Obama’s latest pen and phone exercise is aimed at satisfying the Democrats demands for a “Paycheck Fairness Act.” Adept at playing politics for election year gains, the left is again touting the false premise[1] that women only make $ 0.77 for every $1.00 a man does, creating an artificial divide where a government “fix” provides more problems rather than free-market solutions that actually work.

Does workplace discrimination exist? Absolutely. But it’s also been illegal since 1963.[2] Government mandates and arbitrary wage requirements only serve to increase restrictions on the ability of employers and entrepreneurs to reward quality employees with bonuses and higher wages. It limits their ability at the bottom line to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

So why the need for an unnecessary executive order? It’s an election year, and Democrats are struggling with a failed Obamacare launch and public lack of faith in the administration’s ability to keep “promises.” Rather than tackle real problems, the White House has opted to pander to the “war on women” set.

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An Open Letter to Arne Duncan from a "White, Suburban Mom"

Originally Posted to RedState.com

Secretary Duncan,

Given your recent comments, it should come as no surprise to you that someone like me, a “white suburban mom,” would be opposed to Common Core. Every parent has the right – the duty – to be responsible for their child’s education, and to raise concerns when they feel the system does not meet their needs. This is not political silliness. This is good parenting.

However, given your description of my appearance and my lifestyle as some sort of pejorative slur, your claims that I am “politically silly,” your assumption that I am preoccupied with some label of “brilliance” for my child, you may be surprised to hear that my opposition is rooted much deeper than the color of my skin, the location of my residence, or any declaration of potential brilliance for my son.

As both a mother and a former teacher, I’m concerned that these standards were not piloted. They were not internationally bench-marked, as you claim. They came in the form of federal grants (aka bribes) intended to incentivize cash strapped states to accept curriculum standards sight-unseen. I’m concerned that unfunded mandates for local classrooms will increase burdens on teachers, while limiting their abilities to be innovative and creative for individual children.

I’m concerned with expensive programs, new resources, and a large testing consortium creating a “common” standard of performance with little motivation for competition, challenge, or excellence. Despite lacking full implementation, it has already been reported that the $350 million spent on national testing consortiums has not resulted in the gains promised to the states in the first place. I don’t believe that standards should be tied to requirements for longitudinal data tracking systems, or national assessments, or No Child Left Behind waivers.

I believe in the power of public education. I believe that teachers deserve our trust and the freedom to create classroom environments and lesson plans that uniquely challenge their students. Simply “teaching to the test,” rather than teaching students to enjoy the process of learning, would be a tragic unintended consequence of Common Core.

Every child has the potential for excellence. But that excellence, and yes, “brilliance,” looks different on every child – because NO child is common.

I call on you to rescind your statements, and apologize to those parents, grandparents, community members, educators, administrators, analysts, and legislators who rightly raising concerns about your program (which the American Federation of  Teachers compared to Obamacare, by the way).

We deserve our concerns to be addressed in a manner free from insult and innuendo. If you cannot find it in yourself to do this, you are welcome to join this “white suburban mom” for dinner, where my 6 year-old can explain to you what The Golden Rule means.

Regards,

Whitney Neal

Delaware Governor Jack Markell Gets it Wrong on Common Core. Again.

Originally Posted at RedState.com

Upon reading last Sunday’s Washington Post opinion column written by Delaware Governor Jack Markell, titled, “The tea party is wrong on the Common Core curriculum,” I was floored at the abundance of inaccuracies and lies by omission.

To date, 45 states have adopted Common Core Standards- in exchange for the opportunity to receive federal stimulus dollars. In the private sector, we call this a “bribe.”

Contrary to the Governor’s claims, the standards were not state-led. They were funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and written by a DC-based organization called Achieve, an organization beholden to corporate donors like the Gates, GE, IBM, Intel, and Pearson- who incidentally, all stand to profit from Common Core.

Under Common Core, your child’s education will be just that- common. Every child will be treated the same, regardless of each student’s individual needs, strengths, or career goals. The expectations for a high school junior in Delaware may be the same as in California as Governor Markell asserted, but the expectation will be a consistent standard of mediocrity.

There has not been any means testing to ensure these standards are successful in the classroom. Content experts who reviewed the standards (only 1 out of 60 being a teacher) were not given any proof that their feedback was received, and their changes were not reflected in the final standards.

Although I am disappointed in the Governor’s opinion regarding federally-mandated education curriculums, I’m not surprised. His own state of Delaware received $119 million to implement Common Core standards and the surrounding requirements through the Federal Race to the Top program (a committee on which he co-chaired).

Apparently a kind word and big check will get you a lot farther in Delaware than just a kind word.

All children deserve access to a quality public education – one that is accountable to parents and local school boards, not Washington insiders and corporations. I will be testifying as an expert witness this Thursday (tomorrow) at 7pm at the Cape Henlopen School Board in Delaware to request that Delaware opt out of Common Core. I invite Governor Markell to attend the meeting, and rethink his position on educational freedom.