Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Conservatives ... shut up about Harriet Miers, willya?

So I spent yesterday afternoon listening to talk radio, and all I heard was whining. Everyone from Wall Street Journal editorialists to mainstream conservative talk show hosts were wailing and moaning about how they've been let down by Bush and his cronyism.

Boo-fricking-hoo, guys. Man up and study your history. Once again, Bush is underestimated -- and this time it's by the people who are supposed to be the least likely group to do so.

So you want a nominee with a "track record" do you? You mean like Earl Warren's? Harry Blackmun's? John Paul Stevens? Souter's? What does appointing justices with a "track record" of conservativism get you if you're a Republican president? Consult Nixon, Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush Sr. for your answer.

So Bush decides he's going to appoint someone he's known for more than 20 years. He decides to appoint a woman who is a committed Christian, a Sunday School teacher, a member-in-good-standing of a conservative non-denominational bible-believing church ... and you guys are upset because doesn't have a "track record?"

Do yourselves a favor and shut up. You're embarrassing me.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Why I support NCLB

I've had long, heated discussions with teachers and former teachers about the No Child Left Behind act. These people generally fall into two categories -- either they are passionately opposed to NCLB because they don't think it will work, or they are passionately opposed to NCLB because they don't think it was "funded properly."

The reason this issue is a concern of mine is due to what Tocqueville called "the principle of self-interest, rightly understood." This is also the reason I take the position I do regarding NCLB (that I support it wholeheartedly).

I believe that NCLB is good for our kids ... all of our kids. Now, I don't subscribe to any such "progressive" notions as a socially engineered public education system designed to punish high achievers and make everyone "average." But there is no denying the fact that currently, kids who don't meet the "average" standard are shoved to the side and ignored, or segregated completely from the mainstream. Thus you have a system in which a school gets recognized for its "great teaching" because it produced a significant number of high-scoring test-takers, while that same school often spends the bare minimum of time, effort and money on the kids who are struggling to achieve average scores.

Now, I have a daughter with Down Syndrome. She's not old enough yet to have experienced what it's like to get shoved off to the side when it comes to her education ... and God willing, she never will. The reason NCLB is particularly valuable for her education is because it dovetails so well with another piece of legislation -- the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Taken together, these two programs can potentially mean that my daughter is going to get the best education the public school system can give her. If you're interested in finding out exactly how, read this.

The teachers I have discussed this with, as well as the teacher's union, maintain that the NCLB creates a "hostile environment" for them as teachers and school administrators. I have heard arguments against NCLB ranging from "quality teaching is not quantifiable and shouldn't be tied to funding," to "NCLB encourages teachers to teach students how to take tests instead of teaching them the subject-matter." Nearly all of these arguments are important and significant, and I don't pretend to have all the answers to them, but nor do they have the answers to my argument, which can be summed up by simply asking "how did the pre-NCLB system ensure that BOTH of my children (the one with Down Syndrome and the one without) receive the best education they can get?"

I'm interested in what my readers think about this issue -- especially the ones with school-age children of their own. I've stated my case ... now tell me why I'm wrong.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Moving In ...

Welcome to all of my readers from over at typepad. I have had some difficulties with that account, so I've decided to come back over here where I started blogging at blogspot.com.

I may try to grab some of the older posts, but for the most part, I'll just be starting over. Please change your bookmarks to this new address.

I'll begin posting regularly again tomorrow (Sept. 29).