The Texas State Board of Education (TSBOE) is in the process of adopting new social studies and history textbooks. Once approved, the books will likely be used in schools for more than a decade, and because Texas is a huge market for textbooks, other states often adopt the choices Texas determines, thus making this decision particularly influential.
Education, business, and government leaders are gathering this week in Washington, DC to discuss the future of American education at the Thought Leader Summit (held from Nov. 10–13), an event held as a part of the National Education Initiative. Among the many topics that will be discussed is the advancement of online education, a technological gift that could save conservatism in America.
Just in time for the holiday season, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is gearing up what can only be called a “war on fun,” persecuting legitimate foreign and domestic businesses for selling legal products to consumers, under the guise of protecting children.
The ongoing struggle between parents and the Missouri government over the state’s school transfer law is another example of politics and bureaucracy winning out over parents, children, and their futures.
Rates of smoking and use of other tobacco products among teens are so low that they no longer provide a valid basis for the draconian anti-tobacco policy prescriptions favored by the FDA and CDC.
Homeschooling seems to be an easy target for critics of school choice. It always has been. With homeschoolers being by definition outside the education establishment, some people attach a stigma to their choice, suggesting homeschooled children and their families must be somewhat weird. Recent claims about Adam Lanza, alleged perpetrator of the Newtown massacre, are just the latest and perhaps most egregious example.
To ensure the quality of the education provided to students, the Texas State Board of Education has begun the process of updating its textbooks to reflect the latest information and advancements in history and science, because part of giving kids the best education possible means giving them access to the best resources available.
Behavioral psychologists and economists have considered incentives to be a normal part of human nature for decades, if not centuries, but applying them to education still stokes controversy. For example, some people recoil at the idea of paying kids and their teachers for high scores on Advanced Placement tests that get students college credit in high school, as some schools in Northern Virginia are doing,
By exercising even a little of the critical thinking the pushers of these national standards claim to want mandated in all classrooms, consumers can learn a big, valuable lesson about polling that seeks to shape public opinion rather than honestly gauge it.
I have difficulty with viewing these arguments from Wehner and Gerson (and David Frum) as anything but naive posturing. For Gerson, the aim seems to be that the drug war is something that is helping people, and backing off from it is bad for society; for Wehner, he seems to conclude that the path back to electoral success is doubling down on the drug war to appeal to single women and moms.
In their new book, Rewards: How to use rewards to help children learn – and why teachers don’t use them well, Herbert Walberg and Joseph Bast point out, “research makes clear that reward systems can significantly raise academic achievement levels … for adolescents.”
According to data collected by the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, American students continue to slide down the international rankings, failing to break the top 20 best-performing countries as of 2012. U.S. students rank below average in math and near average in reading and science. PISA is just one assessment, but it reflects a clear trend: U.S. students are not achieving what they need to achieve in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Our current immigration rules outline acceptable reasons for border agents to follow, when deciding whether undocumented aliens can cross into the United States. What has and is continuing to happen with the unprecedented 60,000 currently asking for entry is an example of how our laws are being violated by “gaming the system”. The aliens were given a “cheat sheet” (see above), which has been found at the border, with prepared instructions on how to answer designated questions asked by border agents how to provide the right answers, which will in turn guarantee them entry. One of the more important questions they are being asked is their reason for wanting to leave their country of origin. The aliens were told to claim it was due to poverty and/or fear of their government or gangs. Those answers are the “triggers” or the “loop holes” in our immigration law, which were originally written and intended for specific purposes (such as preventing sex trafficking) and certainly not for qualifying half the world’s population for entry into America.
Since October of last year 52,000 – 60,000 unaccompanied children have arrived at our border with Mexico with an expectation of being allowed into our country. They came mostly from Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador, based on information they received promising America had relaxed their immigration laws and if they managed to reach our borders, they would be allowed entry, especially the children.
When people do not feed, talk to, read to, discipline, or provide shelter to their children, is it still appropriate to call these people parents? Across the country, school districts are now able to phase in a federal program that provides taxpayer-funded breakfast and lunch to every single child enrolled in the school. That’s every child, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. A child who attends that school and has millionaire parents can receive taxpayer-funded breakfast and lunch every single school day.
The politics of dramatically expanding the child tax credit entitlement (and yes, it is an entitlement) just don’t make all that much sense to me. Consider the landscape of America today, where more people are staying single longer and having fewer kids of their own volition, as they pretty much always do all over the world as cultures become more highly educated. These are not recent developments: